The Bali Process on People Smuggling, Trafficking in Persons and Related Transnational Crime

Protecting Migrants at Sea: a practical guide to fulfilling international obligations

Recent movements in the Mediterranean and Andaman highlight the complexity of challenges that States face in protecting life and safety at sea.  To support efforts to strengthen operational capacity of States to protect migrants at sea, the Regional Support Office (RSO) in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has developed Protecting Migrants at Sea: a practical guide to fulfilling international obligations.

This publication is a companion piece to the IOM publication Protection of Migrants at Sea (IOM, 2018). It is comprised of a guidance note outlining international obligations to protect migrants at sea, in the context of search and rescue, interception/interdiction and disembarkation.

Drawing extensively on discussions held at an expert roundtable hosted by the RSO in Istanbul, 5 - 6 November 2019, this practical guide outlines conceptual challenges in operationalizing international obligations, and offers nuanced analysis in addressing these challenges in practice. The second section of the publication is a series of fictionalized practical scenarios, accompanied by discussion questions and responses. These scenarios were piloted at the Istanbul roundtable, and are offered for users to adapt for the purposes of facilitating roundtable discussions, practical table top exercises, or other capacity building activities.