Tipo de práctica:
The Northwest Africa - Atlantic route refers to the maritime route connecting several countries and territories along the Northwest African coast with the Canary Islands. This route, already active in 2006, saw an increasing number of movements in 2022 and 2023 after a period of comparatively lower flows. The Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies in the region are first responders to the needs of people on the move on the Atlantic route and in the other countries in West Africa through multiple projects, including the IFRC Global Route-Based Migration Programme. National Societies in Senegal, The Gambia, Mali, and Mauritania, as part of this Global Programme, are working with each other, as well as with their respective governments and IOM, to provide assistance and protection to people on the move, including survivors of shipwrecks and other returnees. To facilitate this work, National Societies have signed Memorandums of Understandings with their governments to ensure that they can provide unhindered humanitarian assistance. In The Gambia, for example, the National Society works with the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs and has signed an MoU with The Gambia Immigration Department. The Gambia Red Cross is also part of the National Coordination Mechanism on Migration and participates in relevant working groups with several Ministries and departments. This allows the Red Cross to cooperate with the authorities, including in situations of displacement or migrants being stranded at borders. The National Society has also trained authorities (including border police and security officers) about migrants’ rights and referral pathways to the Red Cross, to facilitate access to assistance such as temporary shelter, food and non-food items, family reunification, life-saving information, first aid, psychosocial support (PSS) and counselling, and medical referrals. The Gambia Red Cross also collaborates with medical facilities, pharmacies, and restaurants to provide free medical care, medication, and food for migrants, including at border crossing points. National Societies in West Africa also coordinate their activities through the Sahel Plus Migration Technical Working Group (Sahel +), of which National Societies in Mali, Mauritania, Burkina Faso, The Gambia, Cape Verde, Guinea Bissau, Guinea Conakry, Niger, Senegal, and Chad are members. Through this coordination platform, National Societies communicate with each other and share or exchange information for learning, coordination, collaboration, and support, and for early information about the conditions of migrants moving along the Transatlantic route. This type of exchange also allows relevant National Societies to prepare themselves to go to the border and assist returnees with transportation to their families, Restoring Family Links services, provide medical assistance including first aid, PSS, food and non-food items, and shelter.