Humanitarian Assistance and Migration Issues
Geneva has a longstanding tradition as centre of international humanitarian law, refugee protection and humanitarian assistance. Major humanitarian organizations such as the ICRC, the IFRC, UNHCR and UN-OCHA are situated in Geneva.
The work of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) is based on the 1949 Geneva Conventions and their Protocols. It is an independent, neutral organization ensuring humanitarian protection and assistance for victims of war and armed violence and in response to emergencies. Moreover, it promotes respect for international humanitarian law and its implementation in national law. The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) carries out relief operations to assist victims of disasters, and combines this with development work to strengthen the capacities of its member National Societies. The Austrian Red Cross participates actively in its work.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. As the world’s leading refugee organization it leads international action to protect refugees and other persons displaced by conflict. In 2011 UNHCR celebrated the 60th Anniversary of the Refugee Convention and the 50th Anniversary of the Convention on the Reduction of Statelessness.
The Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)is the arm of the UN Secretariat responsible for bringing together humanitarian actors to ensure coherent response to emergencies. OCHA's mission is to mobilize and coordinate effective and principled humanitarian actionin partnership with national and international actors in order to alleviate human suffering in disasters and emergencies, advocate for the rights of people in need, promote preparedness and prevention, and facilitate sustainable solutions.
In the field of migration Geneva hosts the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the world’s leading migration organization. In close cooperation with its Member States such as Austria IOM carries out projects for the benefit of migrants, based on the principle of humane and orderly migration. IOM was founded in 1951 and celebrated its 60th Anniversary in 2011.
The Austrian Mission liaises closely with all these organizations and participates actively in their proceedings. Austria also supports a range of specific projects carried out by these organizations across the world.