The Monaco Red Cross has been involved for almost nine years in helping immigrants trying to make the crossing from Italy into France, and not without controversy.

Much of the charity’s efforts are centred on Ventimiglia, the Italian border town where many illegal migrants congregate. During 2023 the Monaco Red Cross (MRC) helped more than 4,000 young people who had made it to the Orméa Centre, in Sainte-Agnès, above Menton. MRC also supported Caritas teams in offering hot food and has been helping several young women who were raped on their journeys to Europe.

The organisation says its aim is to provide assistance to those in difficulty, whatever their legal status. However, there has been a shortfall in donations for cross-border migrants and hostility has been expressed in some social media posts.

The Monaco Red Cross is also involved in aiding the SOS Méditerranée, a ship that controversially carries out regular operations at sea to provide assistance to would-be refugees making their way to Europe on makeshift boats.

Such at-sea rescues have become a major political issue, particularly in Italy, with opponents claiming that the demographic make-up of Europe is under threat.

Frédéric Platini, of MRC, said that the aim goes beyond financial aid, “to also invest humanly.”

Red Cross workers in Morocco following a devastating earthquake in 2023. MRC donated 100,000 euros. IFRC