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IOM Provides Transport, Access to Aid for Eritrean Refugees in Ethiopia

IOM - News - Mar, 03/14/2017 - 09:49
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Ethiopia - IOM has begun providing emergency transportation assistance for Eritrean refugees to access humanitarian services in refugee camps in the Tigray Region of Ethiopia. A recent spike at the beginning of 2017 saw over 4,500 refugees crossing the Eritrea-Ethiopia border and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance.

In Endabaguna reception centre, located 20 kilometres west of Shire, refugees are being registered by the Administration of Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and the UN refugee agency UNHCR. Hosting over 1,000 refugees, the Endabaguna reception centre is currently operating at three times its capacity. Decongesting the overcrowded centre is crucial to avoid exposing the refugees to various health and protection risks.

According to UNHCR registration data, 39 percent of new arrivals are children, of whom 14 percent were identified as unaccompanied or separated. ARRA and UNHCR have procedures to reunite the unaccompanied and separated children with their families but the process is often lengthy, resulting in children remaining in the screening centre for extended periods of time.

Based on an urgent request from ARRA, IOM began providing emergency transportation assistance from 1 March to decongest Endabaguna and help refugees to safely reach the camps in Tigray. With the spike in new arrivals, ARRA’s logistical capacity was fully stretched to provide transport both from concentrated points along the 1,000 km border to Endabaguna and from there to camps.

Funding from the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) enabled IOM to step in and move a total of 897 refugees to date to Hitsats, Adi Harush, Mai-Ani and Shimelba refugee camps.

Benium, 27, a skilled machinist, fled Asmara, Eritrea, to escape being forced into the military. He arrived in Ethiopia on foot, exhausted and in constant fear for his safety. “There were many times when I did not think I would make it. I did not know that there would be transportation to the (Adi Harush) refugee camp and I am glad to finally be safe,” he said.

To ensure safe and orderly movements, IOM conducts pre-departure medical screening to ensure refugees are fit for travel. Registered nurses escort vulnerable refugees, including pregnant women and people with disabilities.

People who are found to be unfit to travel or require additional medical follow up on arrival in camp are referred to existing health services provided by ARRA. On arrival, refugees are provided with a camp orientation and receive basic non-food items and food. They then meet with an IOM social worker to discuss their situation and the risks of further irregular migration.

“With no foreseeable end to the flow of refugees from Eritrea, ensuring safe and orderly migration for individuals to access critical and lifesaving assistance in refugee camps must be made a priority,” said Ashenafi Tefera, IOM’s Senior Operations Assistant in Shire.

As 150–200 refugees arrive daily at the Endabaguna screening centre, IOM will continue to work in close coordination with ARRA, UNHCR and partners to ensure refugees are supported with transport to safely reach the refugee camps.

For further information, please contact Ashenafi Tefera at IOM Ethiopia. Tel: +251.966.216.611, Email: atefera@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastEthiopiaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Trains Madagascar Officials on Border Management

IOM - News - Mar, 03/14/2017 - 09:49
Language English

Madagascar - IOM, in cooperation with the Directorate for Intelligence, Immigration and Emigration Control of Madagascar’s Ministry of Public Security, last week held a three-day awareness raising workshop on concepts and practices of integrated border management.

Border management remains a crucial issue in Madagascar, a country still recovering from a five-year political crisis (2009 - 2014) that significantly degraded the capacity of the State to police its borders. With more than 5,000 km of coastline and its strategic location across the Mozambique Channel in the western Indian Ocean, the porosity of borders has been conducive to transnational and national criminal and illegal activities.

The workshop is part of an 18-month joint UN initiative that seeks to support security sector reform in Madagascar. Under the initiative, funded by the UN Peace Building Fund (PBF), which brings together IOM, UNDP, UNICEF, UNFPA and OHCHR, IOM is leading the implementation of a multi-faceted border management component.

“In an increasingly mobile world, efficient border and immigration management policies and structures, supported by coordinated risk assessment, and by professional and well trained border and immigration officers, are the cornerstones to secure borders that enable safe and orderly migration,” said IOM Madagascar Head of Office Daniel Silva y Poveda.

Participants in the workshop included representatives from all the key governmental organisations working on border management, including the Ministry of Public Security, the Malagasy Customs, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Transportation, the Gendarmerie, and the Prime Minister’s Office.

The programme was designed to improve their understanding of the significance of integrated border management and highlighted the need for interconnectivity and complementarity between departments.

As the UN Migration Agency, IOM is increasingly called upon by States to assist in addressing complex border management challenges. Its Immigration and Border Management (IBM) portfolio comprises some 200 projects, involving several hundred predominantly field-based staff.

For further information, please contact Daniel Silva y Poveda at IOM Madagascar, Tel: +261.32565 4954, Email: dsilva@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 14, 2017 - 16:44Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastMadagascarDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 19,567, Deaths: 521

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:55
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Switzerland - IOM reports that 19,567 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 8 March, over 80 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece. This compares with 143,544 through the first 68 days of 2016. 

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports the same number of Mediterranean deaths – 521 – as were reported on Tuesday (7/3). The total of 521 does not include three deaths on Wednesday that were reported on Friday morning (10/03) in the Libyan coastal city of Al Khums. These deaths so far this year compare with 471 during the same period in 2016.   

Rome spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo on Thursday supplied recent figures indicating that through February 28, most of nearly 13,500 migrants leaving Libya by sea during 2017’s initial two months came from just four countries – Guinea, Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire and Bangladesh – which combined accounted for 6,727 migrants rescued at sea. Other countries showing a growing presence on this route were Morocco, Iraq and Cameroon (see chart, below).

 

Arrivals by sea to Italy - Main Countries of Origin
Total 2017/2016 Comparison
(Source: Italian Ministry of Interior)

Main Countries of Origin

January/February 2017

January/February 2016

Guinea

2,092

763

Nigeria

1,687

1,618

Cote d’Ivoire

1,645

734

Bangladesh

1,303

N.A.

Gambia

1,244

1,402

Sénégal

1,215

899

Morocco

977

494

Mali

645

793

Iraq

275

N.A.

Cameroon

258

252

Tot. All Countries of Origin

13,439

5,273

While there has been an increase in arrivals of migrants coming from Western African countries, Di Giacomo said that 2017 arrivals from Bangladesh, at 1,303 migrants (almost entirely male), is a significant increase. This trend was also apparent last year, he added, when Italian authorities recorded 8,131 Bangladeshi arrivals, up from 4,386 in 2014 and 5,040 in 2015.

“In recent weeks IOM field staff have talked to Bangladeshi migrants disembarking at landing points in Sicily and Apulia,” noted Federico Soda, Director of IOM’s Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome. “Some of them said that they had their trip to Libya organized by an ‘agency’ that provided them with a working visa at a cost of USD 3,000 – 4,000. From Bangladesh, they first travelled to Dubai and Turkey, and finally reached Libya by plane. At the airport, an ‘employer’ met them and took their documents. Many of them lived in Libya for a year and a half before crossing the Mediterranean to Italy.”

“Others had been living in Libya for up to four years. They witnessed the same recruiting tactics with a slight difference: victims departed from Bangladesh and travelled through Turkey before eventually reaching Libya by plane. In general, to reach Europe, Bangladeshi labour migrants have to rely on agents who organize their travel from Dhaka,” he added.

According to information gathered by IOM, Bangladeshi migrants pay up to USD 10,000 to reach Libya. The price does not include the journey from Libya to Italy, which they reported to IOM costs approximately USD 700. IOM helped 27 Bangladeshis to voluntarily return to their country this week, flying from Libya to Dhaka on a commercial flight. According to Bangladeshi media, these individuals – all rescued at sea – had been brought back to Libya by Libyan Coast Guard vessels and spent months in detention before IOM could facilitate their repatriation.

Also on Thursday, Christine Petré of IOM Libya wrote that IOM’s team continues to sift through reports of violence against migrants across Libya’s coastal region. Details of reports from Subratah of 22 migrants killed either in a shoot-out between rival smuggling gangs or in a confrontation between the migrants and smugglers remain unclear and contradictory. IOM has not been able to speak to any survivors who have been able to offer details on why or how the discharge of fire occurred but is trying to learn more to gain clarity of the events.

IOM Libya learned this week of a counter narrative to this tragedy. On Tuesday (7/3) bodies of 11 African migrants were found by locals from Tellil, who were traveling on a road headed to the coast. These witnesses alerted local police station in the area, but when they came back with police the bodies had gone. Later 15 bodies - including one of an infant - were discovered in a mass grave in the village of Enneandha. All the adults were male. Gunshots were the cause of death of all 15 victims. It is still not known if these victims are from the Subratah incident, or if this is a separate event.  

Ms. Petré also added information to reports IOM released earlier this month on over one hundred bodies found buried near the town of Bani Walid over the past three months. “Bodies are buried without their handlers identifying neither the identities nor nationalities. Many are undocumented as it is not uncommon that bodies are found along the desert road. Their deaths are sometimes related to falling from the trucks that carry them towards the coast. Migrants who fall off the trucks and get lost in the desert are not likely to survive. Many of them come from African countries. 

 

Deaths of Migrants and Refugees: 1 Jan. 2016 - 9 Mar. 2016 vs. 1 Jan. - 9 Mar. 2017

Jan 1-March 9

2017

2016

Mediterranean

521

471

Europe

13

11

Middle East

10

29

North Africa

47

389

Horn of Africa

0

83

Sub-Saharan Africa

0

23

Southeast Asia

44

35

East Asia

0

0

US/Mexico

60

46

Central America

8

13

Caribbean

81

29

South America

0

10

Total

784

1,139

Meanwhile in Greece, the Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 113 migrants and transferred them to Patra. Authorities reported on Tuesday (7/3) that a vessel carrying the migrants (109 Pakistanis, 3 Syrians, 1 Indian – no women or children) had first been sighted in waters 32 miles west of Paxoi.

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:
http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170310_Mediterranean_Update.pdf

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For further information please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17 Email: sschneider@iom.int
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey, Tel. (Direct): +90 (0)312 454 3048, Mobile: +90 (533) 698 7285, Email: adwommoh@iom.int  or Mazen Aboulhosn, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email: maboulhosn@iom.int
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int  or Christine Petré, Tel. (Direct):  +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, OIM Genève, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, OIM Italie, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:50Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM, EU Strengthen Ties on Global Migration at Senior Officials Meeting

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:50
Language English

Belgium - Senior officials from the European Union (EU) and IOM met in Brussels yesterday (9/03) to further strengthen cooperation on addressing the challenges and the opportunities related to global migration governance.

The annual strategic meeting, known as “The Senior Officials Meeting,” was hosted by European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

“There is no doubt that today migration is one of the mega-trends that define our century. In Brussels, for example, more than half of the population was born in a foreign country. Building walls and fences is not only against our common humanity, it is also a bad policy,” said Commissioner Stylianides.

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing and Deputy Director General Laura Thompson took part in the high-level dialogue – the fourth of its kind – together with other senior officials from the European Commission (DG HOME, DG DEVCO, DG NEAR and DG ECHO), the European External Action Service. Officials from IOM’s Geneva Headquarters and the regional office in Brussels also attended. 

Ambassador Swing welcomed the deepening of the strategic dialogue between IOM and the EU since the signing of the IOM-EU Strategic Cooperation Framework in 2012, which has led to more regular channels of cooperation, discussion and joint planning to respond to the mounting migration and mobility challenges of 21st century migration.

“The EU and IOM share the view that no country can effectively address migration alone, and that all countries, international organizations, civil society and local authorities need to work together to make a comprehensive, coherent and sustainable European migration policy a reality,” he said.

This year’s EU-IOM meeting takes place at a time where the scale and complexity of migration challenges facing Europe and the world continue to challenge a collective response at every level.

The EU and its Member States, as well as international partners, have been called upon to respond simultaneously to both the root causes and the consequences of increasing human mobility, multiple complex emergencies, and persistent economic challenges. Demographic decline, a changing climate, and a dangerous, migration-averse political climate continue to characterize the prevailing global situation.

Discussions at this year’s meeting focused on strategic and operational approaches to addressing global migration and forced displacement challenges, in particular, how to work towards a sustainable and coherent approach to migrant protection, voluntary return, and reintegration.

Concrete implementation of recent global policy developments such as the 2016 New York Declaration for refugees and migrants and the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration were discussed in connection with the European Partnership Framework with Third Countries, the Joint Valletta Action Plan, and the EU's new approach to foster self-reliance of forcibly displaced populations and to support their hosts.

The EU and the IOM agreed on further stepping up cooperation along the Central Mediterranean route, particularly in Libya, in order to ensure protection for those in need and more efficient migration management adhering to human rights and international standards. The parties also discussed how IOM can continue playing an important role in the implementation of the Migration Partnership Framework, with a number of priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The EU and its Member States remain one of the largest contributors to IOM's budget with more than 540 projects contracted in 2015 and 2016 with a total value of EUR 890 million. Half of the funding comes from the European Commission services. From 2014 to 2016, IOM has received on average around EUR 51 million in EU humanitarian aid per year.

Ahead of the meeting, IOM published the second edition of its partnership report showcasing its global cooperation with the EU on migration and mobility.  The new report captures the main features and tangible results of the IOM-EU partnership from 2015 to 2016 with a focus on joint efforts in implementing the Joint Valletta Action Plan, as well as IOM’s engagement with the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

IOM-EU Cooperation on Migration and Mobility: Addressing the Valletta Summit Priorities Together examines how IOM and the EU are working together across the five priority domains agreed at the Valletta Summit in 2015: development benefits of migration and addressing root causes; legal migration and mobility, protection and asylum; prevention of and fight against irregular migration, migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings; and return, readmission and reintegration.

Download the report here: http://eea.iom.int/images/Download/IOM-EU%20Cooperation%20Booklet%202015...    

For further information please contact IOM’s Regional Office in Brussels. Anna Eva Radicetti, Tel: +32 2 287 71 10, Email: aeradicetti@iom.int or Melissa Julian Tel: +32 2 287 71 33, Email: mjulian@iom.int.

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:48Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaBelgiumThemes: OthersDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Shelters, Winter Supplies Reach 1,100 Vulnerable Afghan Returnee Families in Nangarhar

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:46
Language English

Afghanistan - During the first week of March 2017, IOM delivered shelter and winter supplies to 1,112 vulnerable Afghan families who returned to Nangarhar province from Pakistan.

Since the beginning of 2016, nearly 260,000 undocumented Afghans have returned from Pakistan. Over 70 percent of them have settled in Nangarhar province, both in the provincial capital Jalalabad and in rural districts.

Many of the returnees have lived outside of Afghanistan for more than 20 years, or were born in Pakistan as part of the undocumented Afghan community there. The returnees face challenges as they reintegrate into communities contending with conflict and record levels of displacement.

IOM staff visited returnee families in these areas in the weeks leading up to the distribution, and found that many needed shelters and supplies for cold weather. A winter kit consisting of blankets, a heater and a gas cylinder, as well as a shelter with a tarpaulin, were distributed to the families.

“These are items that should really benefit returnees living in very difficult situations,” said Ikramullah Wahidy, IOM Cross-Border Return and Reintegration Coordinator in Nangarhar.

Like many returnees, Abdul Wahad was born in Pakistan and has struggled to restart his life after returning to Afghanistan. Although he is only 30 years old, he wears a brace and has to frequently sit and rest due to a recent back injury.

“I was a tailor in Pakistan and made a good living, but one day I fell off the roof while working on my house,” he says. “Now I can’t work much and am dependent on my brother. The support today will help me a lot, since I don’t even have a blanket.”

While returns from Pakistan have declined since the peak in 2016, previous surges in returns have been unpredictable and an estimated 1 million undocumented Afghans still remain in Pakistan. IOM is scaling up its operations at the border in preparation for further returns, and is working with partners to develop sustainable solutions for reintegration.

Funding for the distribution of the winter kits was provided by the governments of the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland.

A second round of distributions is planned for a further 600 returnee families in Kabul, Laghman and Kunar, starting on March 12th.

For further information, please contact Matt Graydon at IOM Afghanistan. Tel. +93 729 229 129, Email: mgraydon@iom.int

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:44Image: Region-Country: AsiaAfghanistanThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Japan Donates USD 6.7 Million to Aid Displaced Iraqis: IOM

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:43
Language English

Iraq - In the midst of ongoing operations in Mosul, the Government of Japan is providing USD 6.7 million to IOM to support its humanitarian response to displacement in Iraq.

Over a one-year period, this contribution will support IOM to assist internally displaced Iraqis, as well as returnees and host community members.

The project will fund two components of the emergency response efforts: shelter support to maintain and upgrade emergency shelter sites and critical arrangements (unfinished schools and religious buildings, among others) to safely house new internally displaced persons (IDPs); and provision of emergency seasonal non-food items (NFI) to meet the immediate needs of families fleeing from conflict.

In areas retaken by the Iraqi government, the project will contribute to promoting community stabilization through several initiatives, including:

  • Providing 100 low-cost houses with infrastructure.
  • Implementing six community infrastructure rehabilitation projects (also called Quick Impact Projects), including the rehabilitation of schools and health centres, in response to the communities’ expressed needs.
  • Providing training to community members and law enforcement officials on community policing principles.
  • Carrying out a detailed assessment, through IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, on return movements to retaken areas to inform programmatic decision-making and benefit the wider humanitarian community.

IOM has identified the need for comprehensive community recovery packages targeting areas of return, and is committed to respond to the urgent needs of returnees. IOM’s community stabilization initiatives respond to infrastructure damage in retaken areas with urgently needed rehabilitation projects. In addition, the project will continue supporting its successful eye care health activities for vulnerable communities.

In the previous round of the IOM Iraq’s Japan-funded programme from May 2016 to February 2017, more than 5,500 displaced children received vision screenings, and more than 1,000 received full eye examinations and prescription glasses.

“The contribution of the Government of Japan has enabled IOM to support thousands of displaced Iraqis with emergency assistance and livelihoods,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss. “We are pleased to continue this important partnership, in coordination with the Government of Iraq and humanitarian partners, to improve conditions for those who are still living in displacement as well as for those facing the challenge of returning home in retaken areas,” he added.

Tiba, a 7-year-old displaced girl from Mosul, who now lives in Erbil, said: “I am very comfortable with the glasses. I wanted the frame to be pink. I am happy now that I can read, write and watch TV with them. I thank Japan for the eyeglasses. My family is displaced now, but I hope we can return to Mosul one day.”

Over three million Iraqis continue to be displaced across Iraq since January 2014. Due to Mosul military operations, which began in mid-October 2016, an additional 283,000 Iraqis have been displaced (cumulative); more than 215,000 are currently displaced; and more than 68,000 have returned home. More than 57,000 have been displaced from West Mosul in the past two weeks.

The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul operations are available at: http://iraqdtm.iom.int/EmergencyTracking.aspx

Please click to download the latest:

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations - Factsheet (March 9):

http://iraqdtm.iom.int/Downloads/DTM%20Emergency%20Tracking/Mosul%20Cris...

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Data Snapshot (March 9): http://iomiraq.net/article/0/9-march-2017-mosul-displacement-snapshot

For further information please contact Hala Jaber at IOM Iraq, Tel. +964 751 740 1654, Email: hjaberbent@iom.int 

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:40Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Stranded Nigerian and Gambian Migrants Return Home from Libya

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:40
Language English

Libya - On 7 March, IOM helped 171 stranded Nigerian migrants – 76 men and 95 women – to return home from Libya by air. Two days later, on 9 March, IOM assisted another 141 stranded Gambians – all men – to return home to Banjul. It was IOM Libya’s first charter flight to the Gambia.

The two charter flights were coordinated with Libyan, Nigerian and Gambian authorities and departed from Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport. IOM provided pre-departure interviews, medical check-ups and material assistance, including clothes and shoes.

Among the Nigerian passengers was 23-year-old Gloria*, who came to Libya with her husband to try to travel to Europe. In Libya, they were arrested and taken to different detention centres. Gloria now hopes that her husband also will receive IOM voluntary return assistance so that they can be reunited at home in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, 17-year-old Esther* dreamt of continuing her education but lacked the financial means. She then decided to travel to Libya and eventually on to Europe. In Libya, she was pushed to work in demeaning conditions, which is why she decided to return home.

Maris* was working as a hairdresser in Nigeria, when she met a man who promised to find a decent job for her in Libya and to ultimately help her reach Europe. After reaching Libya, she was forced to work as a hairdresser without pay in horrible conditions. “I did not see the sun for four month,” she told IOM. “I am glad that I am being helped to get home,” she added.

Among the passengers on the Nigerian flight were 13 unaccompanied minors (12 girls and 1 boy), of whom 11 received family tracing assistance from IOM Libya’s protection team, funded by the Government of Italy. There was also a victim of human trafficking and a disabled person who required a medical escort.

The 24 most vulnerable cases on the Nigerian flight will also be eligible for reintegration support, which will give them the opportunity to start a small business or to continue their education. IOM will also support any medical treatment needed as a consequence of their time in Libya.

Three unaccompanied minors and two passengers who received medical assistance, but were deemed fit to travel without medical escort, returned home as part of the Gambian group. Twelve migrants from that group are entitled to receive IOM’s reintegration assistance on arrival in the Gambia.

“My wife and daughter are waiting for me to return with gifts,” explained 35-year-old electric engineer Peter* who is returning home to Gambia empty handed after having lost all his savings in Libya. His wife is currently pregnant with their second child and his daughter is in school “I have nothing to give them, I would rather die than to return empty handed, but I will go home now and work in my country and die there,” he told IOM.

The return assistance was funded by the UK Foreign Office, the Government of the Netherlands and the EU’s Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace. It was part of IOM’s return assistance programme.

So far in 2017, IOM Libya has helped 1,164 stranded migrants return to their countries of origin. Of these, 298 were eligible for reintegration assistance.

*All migrant names have been changed to protect identities.

For further information, please contact IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Ashraf Hassan, Tel +216 29 794707, Email: ashassan@iom.int

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:38Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastLibyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Trains Latin-American, Caribbean Officials on International Migration

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:33
Language English

Argentina - IOM is providing training on international migration to 30 government representatives from 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries. The 39th edition of the Inter-American Course on International Migration started in Mar del Plata, Argentina this week (6/3) and will run through 21 March.

The IOM course, which has trained nearly 850 government officials over the years, has 20 leading experts and scholars in the migration field participating this year.

IOM's Regional Director for South America, Diego Beltrand said that the course helps to train government officials on migration policies – both from free mobility and migrants’ rights perspectives. Officials can apply their expertise not only to the policies of their states, but also in the multilateral fora where migration is discussed, he noted.

Counsellor Ana Cristina Saíno, head of the International Migration Directorate of the General Directorate of Consular Affairs at Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the importance of training officials in charge of migration and consular matters.

She noted that Argentina is committed to the respect and protection of migrants’ human rights, and recalled the words of Chancellor Susana Malcorra, who said on the occasion of the High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants held in September 2016 in New York: “For Argentines, migration is part of our social DNA and has marked the social, political and cultural organization of our country since the beginning.”

The course consists of six modules on topics including: understanding migration processes, international protection of migrants, instruments of migration governance as well as policies and programs of international migration. It also focuses on international dialogue and regional integration processes.

Pablo Ceriani, Vice President of the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW), noted: “Training on human rights is an essential step towards the design of integral, legitimate and effective migration policies.”

José Fernando Rubiano, Advisor of the Colombia Nos Une Program of the Ministry of Foreigner Affairs of Colombia described the course “as a fundamental pillar to understand migration in Latin America and valuable tool to continue formulating effective migration policies to migrants.”

The course is also being attended by experts from UNHCR, UN OHCHR, the Institute for Public Policy on Human Rights (IPPDH) of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) and the Scalabrini International Migration Network.

More information about the course is available here in Spanish: http://robuenosaires.iom.int/sites/default/files/publicaciones/Brochure_...

For further information, please contact Juliana Quintero at the IOM Regional Office in Buenos Aires, Tel. + (54) 11 5219 2033, Email: juquintero@iom.int

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:30Image: Region-Country: AmericaArgentinaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Norway Training Focuses on Mental Health, Well-being of Migrants

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:30
Language English

Norway - IOM, in partnership with the Norwegian Institute for Public Health (NIPH), this week organized a series of trainings designed help to improve migrant mental health and psychosocial well-being in Norway.

The week-long series of seminars, workshops and trainings was geared towards improving the knowledge and skills of members of the Norwegian NGO community, academics and professionals working with vulnerable groups, including migrants.

The programme was led by Guglielmo Schinina, IOM’s Head of Global Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication. He explained that migrants have mental health needs just as non-migrant populations do, but they also face a number of extraordinary stressors which can adversely affect their well-being and make their integration into society more difficult. 

“Most importantly, we cannot forget that mental health, as with any form of health, is a right for migrants as much as it is for non-migrant populations,” he said. 

One of the highlights of the joint IOM-NIPH sessions was the in-depth exchanges concerning the objectification of migration and the myths surrounding “healthy migrants” and “vulnerable migrants”. The discussion therefore focused on ways to work on the resilience of host communities to be accepting of migrants as much as to help migrants in need.

A separate round-table discussion focused on the inclusion of migrants in the arts with the aim of creating a network to develop social theatre to identify and address the psychosocial needs of the migrant community.

Once a predominant focus on mental problems and “trauma”, psychosocial intervention has now shifted to strengthening resilience and social support.

Steve Hamilton, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Norway, explained why strengthening the capacity of the community through a dedicated series of events dedicated to migrant mental health and psychosocial well-being is beneficial.

“IOM’s commitments are to all migrants in a community and therefore extend to the community as a whole.  Within any community there are those with mental health concerns that need to be addressed in a timely manner. So enhancing an overall ability to support, and better understand, these individuals is essential,” he noted.

IOM created its first psychosocial program in 1998, followed by the creation of a unit in 2000 and finally by the foundation of a global section at its headquarters in 2009.

In just the past two years, IOM has provided mental health and psychosocial support to more than 720,000 migrants, displaced persons, and conflict-affected individuals in 32 countries, and trained 4,500 professionals worldwide.

For further information please contact Sigurd Tvete at IOM Norway, Tel +47 406 749 86, Email: stvete@iom.int

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:29Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaNorwayThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration HealthDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Seeks Greater Access to Decent Work for Migrant Women and Girls

IOM - News - Mer, 03/08/2017 - 06:13
Language English

Switzerland - We live in a world in constant motion, writes IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.  This is defined by the mobility of capital, goods and services but above all the mobility of people. Millions of people are moving, within and across borders, in search of something better.   

One of the fastest growing groups is women and girls migrating for employment, caught up in the ever-changing, globalized world of work. Current estimates by the International Labour Organization put the official number of international female migrant workers at 66 million, which does not include the large numbers of migrant women working or migrating irregularly. Numbers of internal female migrant workers are estimated to be much greater.

On International Women’s Day 2017, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) embraces the official United Nations theme, Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030, by honouring migrant women and girls.

We salute their achievements and acknowledge the challenges they face. And as we work with Member States to draft a ground-breaking Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, we call on governments and the international community to expand their access to decent work and ensure that their migration experience is as positive as possible.

The world of work has never been more globalized and interconnected than it is today. A labour shortage in one part of the world is often filled by workers from the other side of the world. Women are very much part of this phenomenon and can be found in all labour market sectors.

For example, global care chains create demand for care and domestic work that draws women from countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Latin America, to perform such work in Europe, North America and the Middle East.

In countries of origin too, other women and girls are stepping into the service gaps left by the family members who have sought employment abroad.  Many other women and girls are migrating to work in other sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing and hospitality.

For many women and girls, migrating for work is an attractive proposition. It can allow them to advance economically, socially and professionally; it can contribute to an increase in self-confidence, autonomy and control over their lives; and it can enable them to better support their families. It might also expose them to new, more equitable gender norms.

For the host societies, the contributions of female migrant workers are of enormous benefit. In addition to filling important labour gaps, these women also contribute to the economies of their host societies. And those who perform care and domestic work also enable other people, often women, to pursue employment and other activities outside of the home by relieving them of duties that might otherwise fall on them.

For the countries of origin, female migrant workers are not only an important source of remittances; when they eventually return home, whether temporarily or permanently, they also take back newly acquired skills and knowledge.

Unfortunately there is another, less pleasant side to this picture. Migration can also present many challenges for women workers, starting even before migration takes place. Unscrupulous recruiters may mislead or cheat women seeking to migrate for work, leading to abuse and exploitation. In extreme cases, women can be tricked and fall into the hands of human traffickers.

Those women who succeed in reaching their destination often end up working in more informal and less regulated labour market sectors (including domestic work and care giving) where wages are low and worker protection insufficient.

At the other end of the skills ladder, higher-skilled migrant women often work in sectors where they have difficulty in getting official recognition for their professional skills and qualifications. As a result, they often suffer disproportionately from underemployment and deskilling.

For all migrant women – and irregular migrants in particular – these challenges can be made worse by sexism, racism and xenophobia. There is, however, reason to hope for a better deal.

On 19 September 2016, world leaders agreed to work towards the development of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This is a unique opportunity to ensure that the particular needs of female migrant workers, and of all women and girls affected by migration, are sufficiently addressed by governments and the international community alike. As we work to draft this ambitious and much-needed document, we must ensure that they are not left behind. 

Posted: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 13:06Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: OthersDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

USD 25 Million Sought to Aid Conflict-Affected People in Ukraine in 2017

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 11:00
Language English

Ukraine - Three years into the conflict-related crisis in Eastern Ukraine there are acute humanitarian needs, including access to shelter, work, essential services, and even food and water.

IOM has just announced plans for its assistance to the civilian population for 2017, with a programme to reach over 180,000 people in critical need that will cost USD 25 million to implement.

Since April 2014, an estimated 9,700 people have been killed in the fighting in Eastern Ukraine and a further 22,600 have been injured. In all, 3.8 million people need humanitarian assistance.

“Many of the people who need urgent help are trapped in villages along the contact line without fuel for heating and cooking, hot water, food, or basic necessities,” said IOM’s Chief of Mission for Ukraine, Manfred Profazi. “There are 1.6 million people displaced across the country, many of whom are jobless, struggling to pay their utility bills and lacking funds for food and medical expenses.”

In addition to tangible aid (including hygiene products, blankets and coal) IOM plans to further support internally displaced persons (IDPs) and their host communities through self-employment training and grants. Some families will receive cash to help them pay their bills as commodity prices have skyrocketed.

IOM will also help refurbish social infrastructure, host community events, and provide psychological assistance to build morale and mutual trust among conflict-affected communities.

“In situations of mass displacement there is a hugely elevated risk of human trafficking,” noted Profazi. “Traffickers know the market and cynically move in to exploit vulnerable people who are desperate to provide for their families. We will work with communities both to prevent it happening and to assist victims.”

Finally, IDPs and conflict-affected people will be provided with accurate information on their rights and how to travel safely via IOM-supported hotlines, while IOM’s national monitoring system will conduct regular surveys among IDPs on their situation, intentions and movements, giving the authorities the information needed to provide support. 

View the Appeal here: http://www.iom.org.ua/sites/default/files/iom_ukraine_2017_crisis_respon...

For further information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine. Tel. +38 044 568 50 15, Email: vzhluktenko@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:26Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaUkraineDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Turkey Helps Over 15,000 Syrians to Apply for Family Reunification in Germany

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:52
Language English

Turkey - Since July 2016, IOM Turkey has helped over 15,000 Syrians to access Germany’s Family Assistance Programme (FAP).  The programme helps vulnerable migrants to apply for German family reunification visas and avoid dangerous irregular migration by sea across the Mediterranean.

Over half a million Syrians and Iraqis have registered for asylum in Germany since 2015 and approximately 320,000 have been granted refugee status, according to the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

With funding from the German Federal Foreign Office, IOM operates FAP offices in Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq to guide Syrian and Iraqi refugee families through the visa application process. It helps them to correctly complete the forms that will allow them to reunite with close family members already granted asylum in Germany.

The FAP aims to help reunite up to 35,000 families from the region. So far, approximately 25,000 families have been able to join their relatives in Germany. Eighty-five percent of FAP beneficiaries are women.

The need for complementary legal pathways for migration, including new and existing family reunification programmes, is growing, as displacement continues to grow.

“As the region continues to suffer from conflict, each year we see an increased demand for additional resettlement and family reunification options,” said Lado Gvilava, IOM Turkey Chief of Mission. “Now is the time for governments, civil society and international organizations to work together to offer additional safe, orderly and legal options for people fleeing violence, rather than forcing them to risk irregular migration.”

Arefa, a Syrian mother, was assisted by IOM’s FAP office in Turkey. At the height of the 2015 Mediterranean Crisis, her husband was one of almost a million migrants and refugees to make the dangerous journey to Germany in the hope of building a safe life for his family.

“We lost everything in Syria. After years of war, my children needed a future to look to,” said Arefa. In Istanbul she waited with her five children for news from her husband. 

Six months after her husband was granted refugee status in Germany, Arefa was able to save the EUR 30 needed for her (five-person) family’s visa appointment. “I had no idea what to do or how to get the documents that the German government needed,” she said. 

Thanks to IOM, Arefa was able to prepare and submit the required paperwork. She and her children also attended integration classes organized by IOM to help prepare them for life in Germany. After nearly two years of separation, Arefa and her family have now finally been reunited in Germany. 

Successful FAP applicants receive residency permits valid for the same duration as those of their family members in Germany. In order to receive refugee status, they must still go through Germany’s official asylum application process. 

More details about the FAP program can be found at Familyreunion-syria.diplo.de or through Facebook www.facebook.com/IOM.Family.Assistance.Programme.

For further information, please contact IOM Turkey. Eleonora Servino, Email:  info.fap.tr@iom.int or Abby Dwommoh, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email: mediaIOMTurkey@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:28Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaTurkeyThemes: Family ReunificationRefugee and Asylum IssuesResettlementDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 19,384, Deaths: 521

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:51
Language English

Switzerland - IOM reports that 19,384 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 5 March, over 80 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece. This compares with 138,524 through the first 65 days of 2016. 

IOM Rome spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo reports that, according to Italian Ministry of Interior figures, in 2017 15,844 migrants arrived in Italy by sea as of 6 March. On March 5th, some 1,442 migrants were brought ashore by the Italian Coast Guard and the NGOs SOS Mediterranée and ProActiva Open Arms.

Di Giacomo added that according to testimony gathered in Lampedusa – where 178 migrants landed last Sunday – six people were lost during the sea crossing.  That brings the number of Mediterranean fatalities this year to 521 through March 5, compared to 471 at this point in 2016.

Kate Dearden of IOM’s Missing Migrants Project in Berlin reported Monday that since last Friday’s (3 March) report, IOM had recorded the following 48 fatalities in the Mediterranean. They included:
 
March 2:  The body of a man was recovered near Tarifa, Spain.
March 3:  A 16-year-old rescued at sea died on the Siem Pilot rescue ship.
March 3:  25 missing, with 115 survivors, off Tajoura, Libya.
March 4:  6 missing with 178 survivors, in the central Mediterranean between Libya and Italy.

At the same time, Christine Petré of IOM Libya reports that on 3 March, 110 migrants (104 men and 6 women) were rescued off Tripoli by the Libyan Coast Guard, after their wooden boat started taking on water.

She said that 66 of the migrants were transferred to Triq Al Sekka detention centre, where IOM provided them with non-food aid, including blankets and hygiene kits. The other 44 were transferred to Triq Al Shook detention centre, where the NGO International Medical Corps provided emergency assistance.  She said the total number of migrants rescued off Libya so far this year is 2,650 men, women and children.

Among the rescued migrants taken to Triq Al Sekka detention centre were four women, who spoke with IOM. Still suffering from shock from the traumatic rescue operation, 20 year-old Aminata* (pseudonym), from Mali, explained her father died when she was young and that she came to Libya to earn money to support her mother and siblings. She had spent 10 months in Libya as a cleaner to get enough money to pay for a smuggling boat to Europe.

Near her sat one of the other rescued girls. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she explained that she lost her sister to the sea that day. Devastated, she didn’t know what would come next, fearing to return home empty handed, yet trapped at the detention centre with little hope for the future.

IOM’s Petré added: “There were reports of deaths (prior to the rescue), which we are following up. I have received information regarding dead migrants found in Subratah. It seems there was an exchange of fire between smugglers, which led to the death of 22 migrants.”

These last victims are counted with North Africa fatalities recorded by Missing Migrants (see chart, below), whose data today show a total of 782 fatalities since the beginning of the year. In addition to the growing death toll on the Mediterranean, Missing Migrants added 17 more deaths in the month of February along the US-Mexico border, due to the addition of monthly data from Pima County, Arizona, where historically remains of migrants are recovered by Border Patrol, local law enforcement and human rights investigators throughout the year. 2017’s recovery rate along the border is running close to one victim per day as winter ends – about 30 per cent ahead of last year. 

Deaths of Migrants and Refugees: 1 January 2016 - 5 March 2016 vs. 1 January - 5 March 2017

Region

2017

2016

Mediterranean

521

471

Europe

13

11

Middle East

10

28

North Africa

47

385

Horn of Africa

0

82

Sub-Saharan Africa

0

23

Southeast Asia

44

35

East Asia

0

0

US/Mexico

59

42

Central America

7

13

Caribbean

81

29

South America

0

10

Total

782

1,129

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:  http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170307_Mediterranean_Update.pdf 
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For further information please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41.79.103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17 Email: sschneider@iom.int
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey, Tel. (Direct): +90 (0)312 454 3048| Mobile: +90 (533) 698 7285, Email: Adwommoh@iom.int  or Mazen Aboulhosn, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email: maboulhosn@iom.int
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int  or Christine Petré, Tel. (Direct):  +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, OIM Genève, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, OIM Italie, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:27Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

International Donors Visit IOM Iraq Crisis Response Operations

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:41
Language English

Iraq - A delegation of diplomats and aid officials visited Erbil, Iraq 3-5 March 2017 to see first-hand IOM humanitarian projects in response to the ongoing displacement crisis.

Over three million Iraqis have continued to be displaced across Iraq since January 2014. More than 211,000 Iraqis are currently displaced due to Mosul military operations, which began in mid-October 2016, and more than 51,000 have been displaced from West Mosul in the last 10 days. Across the country nearly 500,000 Iraqis are living in critical shelter arrangements (unfinished buildings, informal settlements, religious buildings and schools).

In response to ongoing displacement and humanitarian needs, IOM is assisting displaced families and affected communities through the provision of emergency response services including non-food item kits, shelter, primary health care, psychosocial assistance, displacement tracking, livelihoods assistance and light infrastructure projects. In 2016, more than 1.2 million Iraqis received assistance from IOM.

In speaking with families at an informal shelter site, an abandoned government building in Erbil, the visiting donor representatives learned more about the challenges faced by displaced Iraqis. Ismael, a father of four, explained his family’s situation:

“We were displaced in 2014 from Bashiqa, Ninewa governorate, when ISIL attacked our area. One of my daughters was wounded by four bullets during the attack. We managed to get her to Erbil and provide her with medical care. Another one of my daughters is still having psychosocial issues due to the trauma of seeing her sister wounded and covered in blood.”

“When we first arrived in Erbil, we had not heard much about camps, so we started looking for a place to stay and we found this building that had no doors, windows, electricity or running water,” Ismael continued. “We prefer this to being in a camp, because here we have freedom of movement and also occasional access to daily paid work opportunities. The children do not go to school, because there are no Arabic schools nearby and they do not understand Kurdish.”

Visiting representatives of IOM donor countries, including Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Germany and New Zealand – and a locally based representative of South Korea, visited this and another informal site on the grounds of a school, where IOM is providing Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) services such as on-job training, shelter upgrades (electricity, windows, doors, water tank, plastic sheeting, plumbing) and other items including first aid kits, hygiene kits and fire extinguishers.

The representatives also visited projects, including an IOM medical clinic in Debaga camp for displaced Iraqis, and psychosocial support services at informal shelter sites. At Hikma School in Erbil they viewed a hybrid solar power system, installed through IOM’s Community Assistance Projects, which provides infrastructure support for communities hosting large numbers of displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees. The donors also learned about the situation of Iraqis who chose to return to Iraq from Europe through IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “Entering the fourth year of the ongoing conflict, the humanitarian crisis in Iraq continues, now with displacement from West Mosul.  As we continue to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable Iraqis, ongoing support is needed. We are pleased to welcome our donors and partner representatives to see the situation in Iraq first hand, as we work together to provide the lifesaving assistance required.”

Delegation member Paivi Laing, Finland’s Ambassador to Iraq said: “I am a person who reads a lot about what is going on in the Middle East, but to come here and see how displaced persons living in the camps, and how IOM and other agencies are assisting them is just eye opening. It was important for us to hear from displaced Iraqis about their experiences and personal stories of displacement. We understand that the cause of displacement is not over yet, as we know that where we are now is probably only one hour from ISIL. So these families really need assistance, somebody has to do the job to help them; it is very interesting to see how IOM is in doing that in practice.”

The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul operations are available at: http://iraqdtm.iom.int/EmergencyTracking.aspx.

Please click to download the latest:

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Factsheet: http://iraqdtm.iom.int/Downloads/DTM%20Emergency%20Tracking/Mosul%20Cris...

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Data Snapshot: http://iomiraq.net/article/0/iom-iraq-dtm-snapshot-5-march

For further information, please contact Sandra Black at IOM Iraq. Tel: +964 751 234 550, Email: sblack@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:25Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Tunisia Helps Stranded Migrants from West, Central Africa Return Home

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:40
Language English

Tunisia - Today IOM helped 61 stranded migrants from Senegal, Guinea, Chad and Côte d’Ivoire to return home from Tunisia through its assisted voluntary return programme.

The migrants arrived at the Southern border of Tunisia several weeks ago, having fled on foot from insecurity in Libya. Like many others, they stayed temporarily in a migrant shelter managed by the Tunisian Red Crescent (TRC), where they asked IOM for support to safely travel home.

IOM works in coordination with its partners in the southern Tunisia to provide migrants with humanitarian assistance, providing dignity kits, which are based on the specific needs and vulnerabilities of each migrant. Many of the migrants reported physical and psychological abuse, labor exploitation and discrimination against them while in Libya.

IOM offers migrants pre-departure assistance, including coordination with their embassies for the delivery of travel documents, social and medical assistance, in partnership with TRC and Doctors without Borders (MSF), during their short stay in Tunisia.

“I am excited to soon reunite with my family, especially with my daughter Khady,” said Ibrahim, a 32-year-old Senegalese migrant. “It has been a very difficult journey. Once back in Senegal, my main objective will be to let my family and friends know about the risks of irregular migration through Libya,” he continued.

“I am glad to return back home and get back to my life in Senegal, after all the troubles I went through during my time in Libya,” said Mohamed, 22 years old. “I won’t try to reach Europe by boat again – it is too risky and this is not a solution for myself, or my family,” he explained.

This year, the number of migrants arriving in Tunisia from Libya has increased. Many migrants see no other option but to come to Tunisia to find safety and eventually return home. Since the beginning of January 2017, IOM Tunisia has helped 128 vulnerable and stranded migrants to return home. IOM will assist around 100 more people with voluntary return in the coming weeks.

IOM assists stranded migrants in cooperation with the Tunisian authorities, local partners and the governments of their countries of origin. It is also supporting government and civil society through capacity-building activities, as well as the strengthening of referral and assistance mechanisms for vulnerable migrants in Tunisia.

This voluntary return programme is funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and the European Union’s Regional Development and Protection Programme for North Africa. 

For further information, please contact Lorena Lando at IOM Tunisia. Tel: +216. 28 54 29 54, Email: llando@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:24Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastTunisiaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Colombia Hosts International Workshop on Tuberculosis in Vulnerable Populations

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:39
Language English

Colombia - IOM and the Colombia Anti-Tuberculosis League, together with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and Baylor College of Medicine, held an international training on tuberculosis (TB) in vulnerable populations. Held in Bogotá on 1–3 March, the aim of the training was to build Colombia’s capacity to foster actions for the prevention and control of tuberculosis.

The event was financed by the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and executed in the framework of the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategy to End Tuberculosis.

Those facing complex situations diagnosing and managing TB, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), border communities, children, people living on the streets, or people living with HIV, are just a few examples of what are considered to be vulnerable populations.

The training targeted general and family health practitioners, pulmonologists, internists, heads of local TB programmes, academics, insurance companies, and community and business leaders.

The activity provided a general vision of medical management and the spread of TB in Colombia, with a focus on global experiences managing the illness, including cases of drug-resistant TB. Discussions were held on key aspects including prevention, diagnosis and treatment options, as well as monitoring, managing contacts, and focus on the interrelationship between migration and TB. One discussion panel focused on clinical and programmatic perspectives on Baylor’s Excellence Centers in Africa.

Marcela Rojas, a contractor for the Ministry of Health, explained that in Colombia the incidence of TB has been 25 cases for every 100,000 adult inhabitants and 3.9 cases for every 100,000 children under 15 years old, a pattern that has been sustained for the past ten years.

Rojas highlighted that the success of treatment in Colombia has reached 76 percent in adults and 85 percent in children under 15, although these numbers are under the goal set for the country (90 percent across the entire population).

Speaking at the workshop, Poonam Dhavan, Migration Health Programme Coordinator for the IOM Migration Health Division in Geneva, explained: “Migration is a social determinant of health, and risk factors for TB can be affected by the living and working‎ conditions, and socioeconomic status of vulnerable migrants, including internally displaced persons, or conflict-affected populations or undocumented migrants. Achieving the end TB strategy targets in Colombia will require that no one is left behind including vulnerable populations.”

“The support from the Global Fund over the last five years has enabled us to work with partners in strengthening the capacity of local TB programmes, providing technical assistance, and mobilizing civil society and persons living with TB with the ultimate goal of achieving TB goals in Colombia,” said Beatriz Gutierrez, Migration Health Coordinator for the IOM Mission in Colombia.

"IOM Colombia is proud to have welcomed a distinguished delegation of speakers and participants from the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, National Institutes for Health, Country Coordinating Mechanism for Global Fund, and international experts from WHO, IOM Migration Health Division, Baylor College of Medicine; as well as the many representatives from local TB programmes and civil society in Colombia,” said Alejandro Guidi, IOM Colombia Chief of Mission. “In working with our partners, we look forward to continuing the collaboration to promote health for all in Colombia.”

IOM’s migrant health assessments programme provides a comprehensive range of TB screening-related services, including physical examinations, radiological investigations, tuberculin skin tests, sputum smears and cultures, drug susceptibility testing (DST) and directly observed treatment (DOT).  TB treatment is provided either directly by IOM or through a referral system, in partnership with national tuberculosis programmes (NTPs). 

‎Between 2002 and 2014, IOM examined more than 2.6 million refugees and economic migrants. In 2014 alone, close to 321,000 migrant health assessments were conducted in 77 countries worldwide, primarily in those classified as having mid and high-tuberculosis burdens.

The training was supported by national and international organizations and experts, including the WHO, Baylor College of Medicine, the Texas Children’s Hospital, the Ministry of Health, the National Health Institute, the Colombian Pulmonology Foundation, the Risaralda Comfamiliar Clinic, the Colombian Association for Pediatric Pulmonology, the Colombian Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery, the Santa Clara Hospital, and the Pontificia Bolivariana University.

For further information, please contact Karen Mora at IOM Colombia Tel. + (57) 1 639 7777, Email: kmora@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:23Image: Region-Country: AmericaColombiaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Chinese Officials Study International Migration Law, Standards at Beijing Workshop

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:39
Language English

China - IOM has organized a two-day training workshop on “International Migration Law and International Standards” in Beijing. The main objective was is to provide a broad overview of the migration-related legal instruments and frameworks to Chinese officials charged with aspects of migration management.

The training, organized by IOM in the framework of the EU-China Dialogue on Migration and Mobility Support Project, attracted 51 Chinese participants from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, including provincial offices, Commerce, Human Resources and Social Security, Civil Affairs and Education, the State Administration for Foreign Expert Affairs, the National Health and Planning Commission and senior academic experts.

Two experts on migration law conducted the training, which was led by IOM’s International Migration Law (IML) Unit and supported by an International Migration Law expert and academician from Malta/United Kingdom, and the Director of the ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia.

The overarching objective of the training was to enhance the understanding of the global environment that constitutes the framework for cooperative migration governance and provide pragmatic recommendations that can be drawn on for practical action and improvement in migration management in and for China.

During his opening remarks, Tian Lin, Counsellor of the International Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized that migration issues have become an important theme for global management and the training provided an opportunity for participants to learn from the experience of the international community.

Recognizing that international migration law is an essential cornerstone of a state’s migration management framework, IOM undertakes training for state authorities, civil society and other stakeholders through its International Migration Law unit. Capacity building efforts in this area remain an important element of IOM support to partner governments in enhancing their knowledge on IML application in their respective settings.

For further information please contact Etienne Micallef at the IOM Liaison Office to China, Email: emicallef@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:22Image: Region-Country: AsiaChinaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Burkina Faso Opens New Boreholes in Béguédo

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:35
Language English

Burkina Faso - IOM Burkina Faso – in partnership with the governments of Italy and Belgium and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) – has opened two new boreholes in the rural commune of Béguédo, located in Bulgou province in Central-East Burkina Faso.

A borehole is a hole driven into the ground to release drinking water in areas where access to potable water is scarce. The Central-East region of Burkina Faso is suffering from land degradation and faces significant challenges, including inadequate agricultural and pastoral land, low agricultural yields, riverbank erosion and silting up of the Nakambé River.

This region in Burkina Faso is the country’s largest migration area and many people migrate, hoping to reach Europe, especially Italy.

IOM Burkina Faso’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme shows that at least 80 percent of assisted migrants in 2016 came from the Central-East region.

The boreholes are also part of a EUR 243,000 IOM project funded by the governments of Italy and Belgium: “Support for sustainable land management and improved livelihoods in the Béguédo area through incentive mechanisms with the commitment of the diaspora.”

The project aims to mobilize diaspora resources for sustainable land management in the Central-East region through income-generating activities and access to drinking water. 

The project informs the local population of Béguédo about the diaspora, migration issues, and implementation of water systems for sanitation. It also examines how to recover degraded lands through techniques adapted to each type of soil, training activities and diversification of production and farm income.

The project is implemented by the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD in partnership with IOM.

For further information, please contact Cindy Nouria Zongo at IOM Burkina Faso, Tel: +226 67711366 Email: czongo@iom.int  

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:21Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastBurkina FasoDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Migration Trends in Libya 2016: Flow Monitoring Report

IOM - News - Ven, 03/03/2017 - 12:22
Language English

Libya - IOM Libya’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), has released its 2016 Flow Monitoring overview report, providing a comprehensive analysis of over 8,000 surveys conducted with transiting migrants throughout Libya in 2016.

The surveys, which were carried out with a sample of migrants at Flow Monitoring Points – key locations that transiting migrants pass through – gathered information on migrants’ nationalities, educational backgrounds, employment experience, motivations for leaving their countries and intended destinations.

The report highlights the diversity of the population of migrants transiting Libya. The main countries of origin were Niger, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria and Chad. Also among the top 10 nationalities surveyed were migrants from Mali, Senegal, and Burkina Faso. The main nationality among female migrants surveyed, however, was Nigerian – followed by women from Niger, Egypt and Sudan.

Most male and female migrants surveyed were in their twenties, averaging 29 years of age.

The majority of migrants were unemployed prior to departing their countries, and 88 percent reported having left for economic reasons. Others reported leaving due to limited access to basic or humanitarian services, war or political conflict.  Migrants intended either to remain in Libya or to continue on to Italy, France, Germany, or elsewhere in Europe, due to a variety of reasons.

According to those surveyed, “appealing socio-economic conditions” represented the main pull factor influencing migrants’ choice of destination country. Others cited “presence of relatives” or “the ability to claim asylum” as migration drivers.

“DTM’s strength is that we have been in the field engaging with migrants for a long time,” noted DTM programme manager Daniel Salmon. “By collecting data on a daily basis over six months, we have been able to gain a much better understanding of the motivations, conditions and characteristics of migrants in Libya, and obtain valuable data that was severely lacking beforehand.”

This report is the latest from the Libya DTM’s Flow Monitoring Module. DTM’s Flow Monitoring produces bi-weekly statistical reports and monthly survey analysis reports reporting on Libya’s migrant population. Flow Monitoring assessments feed into DTM’s broader data collection activities on mobile populations in Libya. 

The programme also provides regularly updated baseline data on the numbers, locations, conditions and needs of IDPs, returnees and migrants in Libya through its Mobility Tracking reports. Together, DTM assessments work to provide the international community with the data it needs to extend targeted humanitarian support to the most vulnerable populations in the country, and to formulate evidence-based longer term policies and interventions for the benefit of these populations.

For the full report and all other DTM publications, please see www.globaldtm.info/libya

For further information, please contact IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Daniel Salmon, Email: dsalmon@iom.int

 

Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 - 18:19Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastLibyaThemes: Missing MigrantsOthersDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Internal Displacement in Mali Could End in 2017, If No Further Violence: IOM

IOM - News - Ven, 03/03/2017 - 12:04
Language English

Mali - Internal displacement in Mali can be resolved by the end of 2017, but only if there is no resurgence of communal violence or armed conflict. IOM is calling on all groups in Mali to help foster a stability and peace to avoid further displacement and encourage the return home of those still displaced.

Over 500,000 people have been displaced by the armed rebellion in northern Mali and the ensuing military coup in January 2012. A further 31,000 people were displaced in 2016 due to communal violence, which has now abated.   

The total number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the country is now 44,762 individuals (7,980 families), according to the Commission on Movement of Population (CMP) of the National Directorate for Social Development of the Ministry of Solidarity and Humanitarian Action.

The majority (61 percent or 27,250) of the displaced are still in the north. They are mainly located in Gao (7,760), Ménaka (10,381) and Tombouctou (9,109).

IOM and its humanitarian partners are assisting with the return and reintegration of the remaining IDPs in the north and other parts of the country. The number of displaced people returning home will continue to increase, if there is no further insecurity to prevent them from doing so.

“The situation remains fragile and unpredictable from a security point of view. If there is no re-occurrence of armed conflict or community violence spurring further displacement, and with the right humanitarian assistance to the displaced and host communities, I am confident that, at the end of 2017, internal displacement will be a thing of the past,” said Bakary Doumbia, IOM Mali Chief of Mission. “Numbers have already decreased by over ninety percent,” he added.

IOM will redouble its efforts to provide support to displaced people spontaneously returning home to safe areas through the provision of return assistance. It will also continue community stabilization activities, including rehabilitation of damaged houses, provision and distribution of core relief items, promotion of social cohesion, provision of training and promotion of youth employment, psychosocial assistance, and income generating activities. These activities, supported by the peace initiatives in the affected areas, are designed to foster peaceful coexistence among the population.

Following the 2012 crisis and the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people, IOM, in close collaboration with the government, launched its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) to provide up-to-date information on movements and the needs of IDPs and returnees.

While still providing technical support, IOM handed over the management of the DTM to the government in November 2015 - transferring the data collection process and analysis to the National Directorate for Social Development (DNDS), whose staff had supported DTM field operations from the outset.

DTM activities are now carried out in coordination with IOM and are funded by USAID’s Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Government of Japan, the European Commission Humanitarian Aid & Civil Protection Department (ECHO), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA) and the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID).

For further information, please contact David Coomber at IOM Mali, Tel: +223 90500002, Email: dcoomber@iom.int.

 

Posted: Friday, March 3, 2017 - 18:58Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastMaliThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM