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Migration and Families Left Behind in Cambodia

IOM - News - Ven, 02/02/2018 - 07:55

Phnom Penh – In villages across rural Cambodia, where an estimated million adults have migrated to neighbouring Thailand, and as many as four million have migrated inside Cambodia to find work, grandparents usually stay behind to bring up their grandchildren.

The social cost to families “left behind” by migrant workers on the global stage is clearly considerable, but up to now has attracted very little research, according to IOM Global Migration Health and Epidemiology Coordinator Dr. Kol Wickramage.

“Labour migration has become a crucial engine for economic development for many countries worldwide. But while remittances sent home by migrant workers garner most attention in the ‘migration for development’ discourse, relatively little is known about the social and health impacts, for instance, on the health status of the children,” he said.

“We don’t know how separation from parents may affect children’s nutritional, behavioral and psychological development. Or whether internal or cross border migration is linked to the increased placement of children in residential care. Or how it may be changing the roles for primary care givers in the community,” he added.

The Cambodian government has now asked IOM, the UN Migration Agency, to implement a one-year research project to examine some of these issues in rural Cambodia.

The initiative was launched this week. Funded by the IOM Development Fund, the New Venture Fund and PLAN International, it will also be supported by the Louvain Corporation and the University of Hong Kong.

“The aim is to provide the government with an evidence base to inform policy interventions related to vulnerabilities and strengths related to migration and those left behind. It will also generate key data to inform child protection actors with an evidence base to trial and inform culturally appropriate interventions in the future,” said IOM programme manager Troy Dooley.

“We can see in Cambodia the positive impact of migration for the country via remittances and skills development. But to ensure any emerging strengths and vulnerabilities related to dynamic shifts in migration trends in Cambodia are well managed or addressed, we first need to collect the evidence to inform policy,” he added.

For more information please contact Troy Dooley at IOM Cambodia, Tel. +85512367498, Email: tdooley@iom.int. Or Dr. Kolitha Wickramage at the IOM Global Administrative Centre in Manila, Tel. +6391752 45474, Email: kwickramage@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, February 2, 2018 - 14:54Image: Region-Country: CambodiaThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

Cambodian children are often brought up by their grandmothers when their parents migrate in search of work. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Why Gaziantep Still Matters Seven Years After Start of Syrian Conflict

IOM - News - Ven, 02/02/2018 - 07:54

Gaziantep – Next month marks the seventh anniversary of the start of the war in Syria. Since the beginning, Turkey has been the main destination country for many of the 3.4 million Syrians seeking refuge and a better life. Over 1.5 million live along the border in south and south-eastern Turkey, with the highest concentration in the municipality of Gaziantep.

IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson travelled to this city of 1.9 million this week to see how it has coped over the years, meet with the Mayor, and visit IOM project sites. “We appreciate the efforts of the Government and people of Turkey to provide essential services for migrants and refugees,” said Ambassador Thompson. “Gaziantep is a successful example of a municipality improving migrants’ wellbeing and fostering social cohesion.”

Gaziantep’s Mayor Fatma Sahin has been a role model for developing policies that ensure integration remains a defining characteristic of the local environment. She was elected the first female mayor of Gaziantep in 2014 and, before that, the first female Member of Parliament from Gaziantep, and the first Minister of Family and Social Policy.

Recognizing the tremendous needs of the Syrian refugee community, Sahin and the Gaziantep Municipality initiated many programmes addressing issues such as social cohesion, employment, education, housing, health and municipal services for refugees and migrants.

The municipality opened the first school for Syrian students in Turkey in 2012, and in 2015 became the first municipality in the country to have its own Directorate of Migration Affairs. IOM Turkey has been a close partner of the Municipality, helping it to implement the projects that make these policies a reality.

The municipality has provided over 50,000 Syrians with free medical care, organized Turkish language and education classes for over 10,000 minors, and established industrial zones close to the border in which public-private ventures can employ Syrians. IOM joined these efforts, and works to create livelihoods opportunities for refugees and migrants, meet medical, housing, and transportation needs, and helps draw Syrians and local Turkish host communities closer together through community centres which run a variety of activities and events.

After her meeting with the Mayor, Ambassador Thompson visited Gaziantep Metropolitan Municipality’s Ensar Community Centre which IOM has been supporting with funding from the Japanese Government since mid-2017. Ambassador Thompson met with young people and women of all ages engaged in a range of activities from mosaic-making to painting, cooking and sports (taekwondo, handball, basketball).

“The Gaziantep Municipality values IOM’s support of our initiatives such as the Ensar Community Center,” said Mayor Sahin. This support has played a crucial role in helping to develop our institutional capacity to effectively address migrants’ needs.”

As the conflict in Syria continues to displace civilians every day, Gaziantep remains an active host city. It also continues to be a crucial lifeline for humanitarian relief for civilians inside Syria, with agencies such as IOM running humanitarian operations from Gaziantep.

For more information please contact Lanna Walsh at IOM Turkey, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email: lwalsh@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, February 2, 2018 - 14:53Image: Region-Country: SyriaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Deputy Director General (right), Ambassador Laura Thompson, with Gaziantep’s Mayor Fatma Sahin. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

IOM Deputy Director General, Ambassador Laura Thompson, in front of the Ensar Community Centre. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

IOM Deputy Director General, Ambassador Laura Thompson, at the Ensar Community Centre taekwondo class. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

IOM Deputy Director General, Ambassador Laura Thompson, visiting a language class at the Ensar Community Centre. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Participates in Launch of Somalia Drought Response

IOM - News - Ven, 02/02/2018 - 07:52

Mogadishu – Since 2006, IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, has been providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to migrants and mobile populations in Somalia – including internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host community members. With its Head Office located in Mogadishu, IOM has a strong presence in all regions of Somalia through a multitude of projects implemented by 289 staff.

This week (30/01) IOM participated in a high-level event marking the release of the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), which seeks USD 1.5 billion to address the needs of 5.4 million Somalis. The Recovery and Resilience Framework (RRF) outlining the way forward for recovery and resilience was also presented.

The event was hosted by the Federal Government of Somalia and attended by senior dignitaries from the European Union, the United Nations and the World Bank. Prime Minister Hassan Ali Khaire, in his opening remarks, reaffirmed his government’s commitment in moving Somalia from crisis to recovery.

The 2018 RRF is based on the Drought Impact Needs Assessment which analyses the root causes and impacts of recurrent droughts. It is developed in line with the priorities of the National Development and aligned with the 2018 HRP. The Framework recommends medium- to long-term options to finance and implement recovery interventions.

The RRF also defines policy measures required to support resilience and recovery as well as proposing institutional arrangements to manage, implement and monitor recovery.

These recommendations will be applied in parallel to and in complementarity with humanitarian relief.

The 2017 drought led to the displacement of more than 1 million Somalis, adding to the nearly 1.1 million previously displaced. Due to the commendable work by Somali authorities who led the drought response, the provision of nearly USD 1.3 billion by the international community, and the humanitarian actors who were on the ground to provide life-saving assistance, famine was averted. But now, one year later, continued delivery of urgent humanitarian relief is even more vital. The critical humanitarian needs require the international community to sustain its commitment.

“In 2018, IOM will continue to provide frontline emergency response in the sectors of Health, Water Sanitation and Hygiene, Shelter, Camp Coordination and Camp Management and displacement tracking, as well as multi-sectoral returns assistance to stranded Somali Nationals,” noted Dyane Epstein, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission. “As much as possible, IOM emergency teams will work with partners and the government to ensure that emergency response is integrated, timely and accountable.”

IOM’s Consolidated Appeal for Emergency Programming in Somalia was developed in line with the 2018 HRP, as well as the migration priorities of IOM, namely the special needs of internally displaced Somalis and returning populations.

IOM has seven IOM field offices as well as the Nairobi support office in Kenya. IOM has also scaled up its operations and capacities within Somalia in response to the recent drought and maintains a strong portfolio of multi-sector humanitarian interventions.

Download IOM Somalia’s Consolidated Appeal here

For more information, please contact: IOM Somalia Programme Support Unit at IOM Somalia, Tel: +251 715 990600, Email: iomsomaliapsu@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, February 2, 2018 - 14:51Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration and Climate ChangeMigration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM has scaled up its operations and capacities within Somalia in response to the recent drought and maintains a strong portfolio of multi-sector humanitarian interventions. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 

IOM has scaled up its operations and capacities within Somalia in response to the recent drought and maintains a strong portfolio of multi-sector humanitarian interventions. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Japan, IOM Open Health Centre in DRC's Kongo Central Province

IOM - News - Ven, 02/02/2018 - 07:50

Kinshasa – The burden of repeated outbreaks of infectious diseases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – such as Ebola, yellow fever and cholera – are major public health problems for the Congolese people and a threat to regional health security.

With a focus on prevention, Japan’s Ambassador to the DRC in collaboration with IOM, the UN Migration Agency, inaugurated a new health centre (30/01) built in Lufu, Kongo Central province on the border between DRC and Angola.

The structure – built with support from the Government of Japan for USD 525,000 – will enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Health to prevent, detect, and respond to epidemics and other public health emergencies in the border space. This achievement is

part of the support that the Government of Japan and IOM provide to the DRC in order to comply with the standards of the International Health Regulation (2005).

Indeed, the DRC shares more than 10,000 km of border with nine countries where large volumes of migration flows are observed, factors which contribute significantly to each country’s risk of cross-border transmission of disease.

In his address, Ambassador of Japan to the DRC Hiroshi Karube stressed the importance of 'strengthening the health system' at the 'border' level by referring to the recent outbreaks of yellow fever and cholera that have spread between DRC and Angola. With this in mind, Japan reiterated its commitment to supporting local initiatives supporting national efforts in the field of health.

"Japan remains a privileged partner of IOM, particularly on migration issues and dealing with health issues in border areas," said IOM DRC’s Mamadou Ngom.

A representative of the National Ministry of Public Health warmly thanked the Government of Japan for supporting the building of this health centre in the border area with Angola, which will contribute to the primary health of the people as well as to the fight against the spread of infectious diseases.

They also reminded those gathered that this first medical centre on the border aims to "ensure the application of the International Health Regulations but also the care of populations regardless of race and ethnicity."

In July 2016, the Government of Japan, through several institutions including IOM, extended emergency aid amounting to 3.5million US dollars for the DRC and Angola to fight against the yellow fever epidemic. This health centre reinforces Japan's commitment to the fight against the spread of transboundary infectious diseases.

For more information please contact IOM DRC, Aki Yoshino, Tel: +243 829 715 652, Email: ayoshino@iom.int or Mamadou Ngom, Tel: +243 815 087 980, Email: mngom@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, February 2, 2018 - 14:48Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoDefault: Multimedia: 

The health centre will enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Health to prevent, detect and respond to epidemics. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

The health centre will enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Health to prevent, detect and respond to epidemics. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM-Developed System to Provide Effective Border Management for Cambodia-Thai Border

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 09:06

Battambang Province – Cambodia’s General Department of Immigration has launched a new border pass management system at the Doung International Border Control Post, in Battambang province on the Cambodian–Thai border. The system will use software developed by IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

The Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) has been installed, with financial support from Canada, to allow Cambodia to more effectively manage cross-border movements of local residents and migrant workers traveling with border passes.

Expediting border procedures is an important element of economic cooperation between the two countries. People using border passes need to be quickly and accurately identified and registered, within the mixed flow of migrants moving back and forth across the border. This calls for a cost-efficient solution that balances security with facilitation.

MIDAS is a powerful border management information system that processes and records all information about border pass travellers, including their biographical data and facial images. It also provides a systematic registration of all entries and exits, allowing for analysis of statistics and trends to inform evidence-based migration policies.

“MIDAS answers a real need,” said General Sok Phal, Cambodia’s Director of Immigration. “It allows for more effective border management of local Cambodian border residents entering and leaving Cambodian territory, while providing a solid statistical basis for migration policies and strategies.”

The new system can also register minors (in Cambodia, this is any person under the age of 12) travelling with a legal parent or guardian. Photos and birth certificates are captured and stored in a database, which allows immigration officers at the border to verify the identity of both the adults and the children travelling with them. This offers protection against child trafficking and identity fraud when issuing border passes.

“The system, which was installed in November and now processes on average 1,000 crossings a day, is already demonstrating significant potential to provide Cambodian immigration and provincial authorities with an overview of border pass movements,” said IOM project manager Brett Dickson. “Feedback from frontline immigration officers is also positive, showing that it makes identity checks and processing of border pass travellers easier and faster.”

“We hope MIDAS will help to optimize Cambodian border control posts and border operations for effective border management, and promote orderly cross-border migration,” added IOM Cambodia Chief of Mission Dr. Leul Mekonnen. “It should also help to reduce irregular migration by facilitating and expediting regular movements, ultimately helping to ensure the safer movement of migrant workers and border residents.”

Currently, MIDAS is only installed in Battambang Province on a pilot basis. The Cambodian Government and General Department of Immigration have asked for the system to be scaled up and extended to five other border control posts along the Cambodian-Thai border.

For more information please contact Brett Dickson, IOM Cambodia; Tel: +855 12 222 132, Email: bdickson@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:02Image: Region-Country: CambodiaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM hands over new border pass management system to Cambodia. Photo: Chhaya  Chhin / UN Migration Agency 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Appeals for USD 103.7 Million to Provide Lifesaving and Recovery Assistance in South Sudan

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 07:11

Juba – After more than four years of armed conflict – and despite efforts to revive the peace process – humanitarian needs in South Sudan remain immense, as conditions continue to deteriorate.

To address these growing needs, IOM South Sudan is appealing for USD 103.7 million in 2018 to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance, as well as to support transition, recovery and migration management initiatives.

Today, an estimated 7 million people in South Sudan need relief aid, including 1.9 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). As conditions worsen each day that the crisis persists, sustained levels of lifesaving assistance are crucial.

“As civilians continue to bear the brunt of the crisis, experiencing violence and displacement, timely and effective humanitarian assistance is critical,” says IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission William Barriga. “IOM remains committed to responding to these needs and reaching the most vulnerable, wherever they are.”

The Appeal seeks to support approximately 1 million displaced people, their host communities, communities of potential returnees and migrants in South Sudan. In line with the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan, IOM will continue multi-sector humanitarian responses in camp coordination and camp management, displacement tracking and monitoring, health, shelter and non-food items, mental and psychosocial support and water, sanitation and hygiene.

In view of diverse displacement and crisis dynamics across the country, IOM has adopted an integrated approach, whereby migration management, recovery and stabilization efforts complement humanitarian interventions to build community resilience and reduce dependency on humanitarian aid.

The commitment to reaching the most vulnerable remains a priority. One IOM medical assistant and registered nurse, Mary*, walks more than one and a half hours to work from her small village every day, often in sweltering heat, to get to a basic but lifesaving IOM clinic in Baggari, a hard-to-reach area south of Wau town.

Also affected by the violence that has struck many communities in South Sudan, Mary recalls: “I ran from my house when fighting started in Wau [in 2016]. They took everything from my house and I ran because I feared for my life.” But, as she sits in the small clinic, she says, “I love this work. I love my people, and I love the patients.”

The Consolidated Appeal is available online for download.

*Name changed

For more information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, or +39 347 4709782, Email: amclaughlin@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:07Image: Region-Country: South SudanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Wau protection of civilians site. File photo: Peter Bauza 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 5,502 in 2018; Deaths Reach 213

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 07:11

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 5,502 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 28 January. This compares with 5,288 coming ashore during a similar period in 2017. Italy accounts for approximately 58 per cent of the total, with the remainder split between Spain (22 per cent) and Greece (20 per cent).

IOM Rome reported on Monday (29 January) that 965 migrants have been rescued at sea during the weekend by Italian and international rescue ships, with some still being brought to land late Monday (and so not included in the above table).

During a rescue operation, the NGO Ship Aquarius (SoS Mediterranée) recovered two bodies, but there are indications more migrants lost their lives. The Aquarius will probably arrive at a Sicilian port Tuesday.

 

IOM Italy also reported statistics from Italy’s Ministry of Interior listing the top 11 nationalities among the nearly 120,000 irregular migrants arriving from North Africa during 2017. Of the top five countries of origin – Nigeria, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Bangladesh and Mali – only one country, Bangladesh, registered more irregular arrivals on this route than had come in 2016.  Of the others – Eritrea, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, The Gambia – only Tunisia and Morocco show increases over the previous year (see chart below).

 IOM Libya’s Olivia Headon reported that on Saturday (27 January), IOM provided emergency medical assistance to five migrants, who have been returned to Libyan shores while attempting the journey to Italy across the Mediterranean Sea. In total, 86 migrants, including 62 men, 15 women and nine children, were in the group. IOM is following up with these cases to see what assistance is needed in terms of protection and to offer assistance getting home to their countries of origin, if they want it. She reported late Monday that an additional rescue operation was occurring, although details were not forthcoming.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported Monday that over the days 25-27 January, the Hellenic Coast Guard reported there were at least two incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Lesvos. The Coast Guard rescued 113 migrants.

Over 200 migrants entered Greece by sea over last Friday and Saturday; however, overall arrivals this year continue a trend that began in 2017, when migrant arrivals along the Mediterranean Sea’s Eastern routes hit their lowest levels in four years. The 1,089 arrivals to Greece this year through 27 days are similar to the totals that were witnessed a year ago – but remain in sharp contrast with arrivals from the year before that, when a total of 67,415 arrived in a single month  (see chart below).

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday total land and sea arrivals of irregular migrants through the month’s first 29 days have topped 1,453 including 216 land border crossings at the African enclave of Melilla.

Since the last IOM report on Friday (26 January) the Organization’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) added seven more deaths in the Mediterranean to bring this month’s total to date to 213, compared with 251 at this date last year. The deaths of two women were recorded on the Central Mediterranean on Saturday, leaving two children orphaned. According to this report, migrants had already fallen overboard before rescuers appeared on the scene, including several children and an infant of 18 months – an indication that in coming days new casualty figures are likely to rise from this incident. In the Western Mediterranean, the bodies of two migrants – a man and a woman – were recovered after their boat capsized off the coast of Mostaganem, Algeria.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded the deaths or disappearances of 361 people during migration this year.  In the Americas, a bus returning migrants from Mexico to Honduras crashed in Rio Hondo, Guatemala last Thursday (25 January), killing at least one Honduran migrant and injuring 20 others. On Friday, a man drowned attempting to swim from Tijuana across the border to the United States, the eleventh death on the US-Mexico border recorded this January (see chart below).

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here
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 more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email: mmocanu@iom.int
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail: dtsagalas@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Olivia Headon, IOM Libya, Tel: + +21651 084554 Email: oheadon@iom.int
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 71 860 312 ext. 109, Mobile +216 28 78 78 05, Email: mchabbi@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:06Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Rohingya Refugee Crisis Creates New Generation of Bangladeshi Aid Workers: IOM

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 07:09

Cox's Bazar – From new job seekers to experienced professionals, Bangladeshis are rallying to apply for new jobs and learn new skills as part of vital humanitarian efforts to help Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar.

The influx of Rohingya refugees, which began in late August last year, has expanded job opportunities across a wide range of aid jobs in Cox’s Bazar, where the IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has hired about 500 Bangladeshis in the past five months. Hundreds of others have found new jobs with other international and national aid agencies.

Over 688,000 new Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh over the past five months, bringing the total number of Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar to around 900,000. More continue to arrive every week.

The new staff recruited by IOM to cope with the emergency in Cox’s Bazar since August 2017 join over 250 local national staff who were already working for the UN Migration Agency in Bangladesh on a variety of migration-related projects.

The majority are working on the frontline of the refugee crisis in Cox’s Bazar, playing important roles in supporting both the refugee and host communities, while learning a broad range of new skills.

Enamul Hoque, 29, joined IOM in December 2017 as one of three frontline staff team leaders assessing needs and delivering essential services to refugees and local people in the Shamlapur area of Cox’s Bazar.

A graduate in anthropology, with a particular interest in grass roots interventions, he had been aware of the Rohingya refugees since he was a child. “I’m enjoying the monitoring and service provision programming skills I’m acquiring in this job and am looking forward to developing my career in the humanitarian sector,” he said.

While IOM staff such as Enamul are new to humanitarian work, many specialized professionals have also found work with IOM. Among the newly recruited personnel, IOM has employed almost 200 medical professionals, including doctors, paramedics, nurses, midwives, counselors, technologists, radiographers, pharmacists and vaccination staff.

Dr. Romana Islam has been working with IOM in Cox’s Bazar for three years. “I’d always worked on general obstetric issues and never really thought about gaining other skills and experience. But following the refugee influx, I’ve dealt with a significant number of sexual violence cases and people in need of mental health support. Working on these issues has really enhanced my experience in different fields and encouraged me to broaden my studies,” she said.

Other professionals have also found new work opportunities supporting IOM in sectors such as program development and implementation, engineering, finance, administration and information technology.  Human resources (HR) assistant Israt Sharmin is among them. With more than five years’ experience in corporate HR, she joined IOM’s Cox’s Bazar resource management team in September last year to work on local recruitment.

“This opportunity improved my skill set in many ways. I’ve learned to apply modern international standards to the recruitment process, where previously I had worked in a very traditional way. I’ve also benefited from working in a large organization with people from a diverse range of nations and backgrounds,” she said.

For some workers, the changes brought to their role by the influx have been less dramatic, but still brought significant benefits. Mobarak Ali, 25, an IOM maintenance worker from Cox’s Bazar was working on a casual basis for over three years. After the influx, he was offered a full-time position. “I’ve been working for IOM as a full-timer for three months now. It’s a secure job and the regular income suits me much better,” he said.

Besides the newly recruited national and local staff, IOM has also worked with its local partners NGOs Mukti and Bangla-German Shampreeti to recruit over 250 health promoters to work in the refugee camps. They are trained before providing primary healthcare, psychosocial counselling, and maternity care to people in both the refugee settlements and host communities.

Milki Barua, 26, lives in Ukhiya district and recently joined Mukti as a health promoter in the vast Kutupalong extended makeshift settlement. She had never had a formal job before November last year, but was desperately seeking work to support her two young children after her husband lost his job. “This job was a great opportunity in terms of my financial security and to develop my professional skills,” she said.

“Most of the health promoters are new to this  sector. They had little or no experience in outreach work related to health issues. The trainings we’ve provided and the work they’re doing in the field has helped them becoming a workforce with a very specific skillset that is very much in demand in Bangladesh’s current job market,” said Mukti project coordinator Jebor Mulluk.

IOM managers leading the response on the ground say that the opportunity to bring on board a mixture of skilled national and local professionals and others seeking to develop new skills has played an invaluable part in the emergency response, while also supporting wider workforce development.

“Bangladesh’s welcome to and support for so many refugees has naturally created a lot of challenges. But it has also brought some benefits to the local employment sector,” said Raid Ramahi, IOM Bangladesh’s Resource Management Officer. “It has actually created opportunities for skills and capacity development for a young and aspiring workforce, which will be of value to the whole country.”

For more information please contact Fiona MaGregor at IOM Cox's Bazar. Tel. +8801733335221, Email: fmacgregor@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:05Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

HR Assistant Israt Sharmin, part of IOM Bangladesh’s vital humanitarian efforts to help Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. Photo: UN Migration Agency 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Co-hosts Private Sector Workshop to Eliminate Modern Slavery and Trafficking in Companies, Supply Chains

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 07:08

Hong Kong – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in partnership with Liberty Asia, international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), have hosted a workshop in Hong Kong to help private sector companies to meet internationally recognized human rights principles, particularly relating to labour rights, modern day slavery and human trafficking.

The issue of modern day slavery remains a major challenge around the world with an estimated 40.3 million victims in 2016. Of these, approximately 25 million were victims of forced labour, notably in the Asia-Pacific region. Over 60 per cent or 16 million victims of forced labour were working for private sector companies.

“Globalization means that many leading international companies now outsource their supply chains overseas to reduce costs. This can put them at risk of associating themselves with severe exploitation of workers in their global supply chains. This workshop was about sharing information and experiences. It brought companies together to explore their potential to act as powerful drivers of sustainable change towards a business model for the eradication of modern slavery and trafficking in global supply chain,” said IOM China Head of Office Pär Liljert.

“We are living in a time that is seeing the very rapid growth of transparency frameworks and due diligence regimes that are mindful of third party rights and the impact of the actions of corporations on workers, communities and consumers. This forward-looking session was about positive engagement and solutions to the increasingly complex supply chain issues we are facing today,” said Liberty Asia Head of Legal Archana Kotecha.

Representatives from over 30 major companies including Adidas, BOC International Holdings, Hang Seng Bank, MGM, The Body Shop International, Debenhams, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Deutsche Bank participated in the workshop to discuss the international principles related to labour rights, contemporary legal frameworks and practical solutions to eliminate modern slavery and trafficking in the business sector. 

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which provided the venue for the workshop, has a longstanding track record of working to promote responsible business principles and practices through its Business and Society workstreams.

With the adoption of a Private Sector Partnership Strategy 2016-2020, IOM recognized the significant role of the business community to positively impact and further the benefits of migration. IOM’s CREST (Corporate Responsibility to Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking) initiative builds on this premise and is specifically designed to help companies maximize the benefits of migrant labour in their operations and supply chains. Through improved access to ethical recruitment and fair employment practices, IOM’s initiative ultimately aims to improve the protection of migrant workers’ human and labour rights in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information please contact Nurul Qoiriah at IOM China’s Hong Kong sub-office, Tel: 2332 2441, Email: nqoiriah@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:04Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

USA for IOM Marches Against Slavery in Los Angeles

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 07:07

Los Angeles – This past weekend (27/01), USA for IOM, the non-profit partner of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), joined the “March Against Slavery in Libya and Beyond” in Los Angeles, California. The march organized by activists Sahndra Fon Dufe and Angelique Mendes aimed to raise awareness of migrants being abused and exploited in Libya and other countries around the world.

In November 2017, CNN reported that African migrants were sold off as slaves in Libya for the equivalent of approximately USD 400. Earlier in 2017, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, had sounded the alarm on the existence of markets under slave like conditions along the migratory route through Libya and reported harrowing testimonies shared by African migrants in Niger and Libya.

 “We are horrified that migrants are exploited and enslaved and we condemn it in all its forms in Libya. IOM is working closely with national authorities and with countries of origin to disrupt this human suffering along the migration route exploitation and assists the most vulnerable, whilst at the same time and calling for the protection of all victims and migrants. Today, we are glad to see that members of the civil society are also joining these efforts and taking action to denounce and demand the end all forms of modern slavery worldwide,” said Luca Dall’Oglio, CEO of USA for IOM.

In 2017, IOM helped over 19,000 migrants out of Libya. Upon their arrival back home, the most vulnerable migrants also received psychosocial support. Additionally, all migrants were given a small allowance to cover their immediate needs such as transportation, clothing and housing once they arrived. In 2018, IOM is continuing voluntary humanitarian return operations from Libya and providing tailored reintegration assistance to re-establish themselves socially and economically within their communities.

In Los Angeles, USA for IOM was represented by one of its board members, Tolu Olubunmi. “The world was shocked and outraged by the photos and videos of an existing modern-day slave trade,” Olubunmi said. “This weekend, passionate and vocal supporters of the Anti-Slavery movement turned their outrage into action and marched in the streets of LA and in other cities around the world. These rallies are a testament to the global support for eradicating this worst kind of evil and restoring hope to its victims,” she added. 

Dall’Oglio warned that “as long as migration remains under the management of smuggling and trafficking networks, we will continue to see desperate individuals being abused throughout their migration journey.” However, he added that “by facilitating and encouraging alternative modalities for regular, documented and safe migration channels, we will be better equipped to address human rights violations and to combat more effectively transnational criminal networks preying on the migrants.”

All proceeds from anti-slavery t-shirts sales and donations received by the “March Against Slavery in Libya and Beyond” are to be donated to USA for IOM to support IOM’s relief efforts in assisting and protecting vulnerable migrants in Libya and other transit countries.

For more information please contact Hajer Naili, Tel: +1 202 568 3757, Email: hnaili@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:03Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Counter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 4,742 in 2018; Deaths Reach 206

IOM - News - Ven, 01/26/2018 - 09:53

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 4,742 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 25 January. This compares with 3,831 coming ashore during a similar period in 2017. Italy accounts for approximately 57 per cent of the total, with the remainder split between Spain (24 per cent) and Greece (19 per cent).

IOM Libya’s Olivia Headon reported that eight Sudanese migrants – who were depicted in videos that went viral last weekend showing them being tortured and begging their families to send money to smugglers to save their lives – were released and are now in a hospital.

Libyan Special Forces secured the release of the migrants following an investigation by the Libyan authorities. Headon reported that IOM is assessing the situation to see how best to assist in terms of ensuring that the migrants receive appropriate medical assistance.

“They all have second degree burns and we are in touch with the hospital management where the group are to ensure that they receive much needed treatment and that they have enough medical supplies. Once our team has met with the group, they will assess each individual’s case and if needed refer them to our colleagues in UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency,” said Headon.

IOM refers cases in need of international protection to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported Thursday that between 20 and 24 January Greek authorities indicate no new arrivals of migrants or refugees via sea, continuing what has been a rather steep decline in irregular arrivals on the Eastern Mediterranean route that began almost two years ago (see chart below).

IOM Greece also shared on Thursday the 2017 figures on irregular migrants' nationalities as reported by Greece’s Hellenic Coast Guard regarding the remarkable geographic range of migrants detected by authorities entering the country by sea for each month of the last year.

As has been the case for recent years, Syrians, with 12,311 migrants, were the top entering group, followed by Iraqis (5,818) and Afghans (2,891). Other large senders included Pakistan (983), Palestine (689), Iran (689) and Cameroon (547). Congo, with 1,075 migrants, remains a strong sender to Europe via the eastern Mediterranean Sea route, as are Algeria (840) and Morocco (351). Somalis totaled 228, while there were 201 migrants from Yemen.

Some unexpected senders included Kuwait (473), the Comoros Islands (8) and a handful of Latin American countries, led by the Dominican Republic (97), Haiti (15), Colombia (9), Bolivia (5) and Brazil (1). Greek authorities also reported 174 irregular migrants from Turkey (see chart below).

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday total land and sea arrivals of irregular migrants through the month’s first 24 days have topped 1,340 including 216 land border crossings at the African enclave of Melilla.

Since the last IOM report on Friday (19 January), the Organization’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) added five more deaths in the Mediterranean to bring this month’s total to date to 206. At this time last January, IOM had reported the deaths on the Mediterranean of 244 men, women and children.

On 21 January, the remains of one migrant were retrieved near Qarapoli, Libya by local fishermen. In the Western Mediterranean, three migrants died on 23 January after their boat sank while trying to reach Spain although the Moroccan Navy rescued 57 survivors and brought them to Nador, Morocco. On the same day, another shipwreck took place off the coast of Aïn El Turk near Oran, Algeria. Eleven survivors were rescued by local civil protection authorities, but a 3-year-old girl remains missing.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded the deaths of 349 people during migration this year (see chart below).

On Thursday, IOM Yemen reported that over 30 migrants and refugees drowned on 23 January in an incident off the coast of Arah in Lahj Governorate, Yemen. Around 176 migrants (170 Ethiopians and 46 Somalis) were traveling on a boat that left Al Buraiqa district in Aden and was heading towards the Djiboutian shores. During a transfer to another boat off the coast of Arah, several people fell into the sea and drowned: over 30 bodies have been pulled from the water, but there are fears the death toll could rise further.

On the US/Mexico border, a woman drowned while trying to cross the Río Bravo near Nuevo Laredo in Tamaulipas, Mexico on 23 January. In Central America, a migrant was found dead on 24 January after being hit by a freight train near Ciudad Guzmán in Jalisco, Mexico.

In the Middle East, the body of a Syrian woman was found near the Masna’a border crossing in eastern Lebanon on Tuesday, 23 January. The forensic examination determined that the woman had died roughly a month ago. In this border area, 16 Syrian refugees lost their lives last weekend due to hypothermia.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.
 

The latest Mediterranean Update infographic is available here.
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 more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email: mmocanu@iom.int
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail: dtsagalas@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Olivia Headon, IOM Libya, Tel: +41794035365, Email: oheadon@iom.int
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel:  +216 71 860 312 Ext 109, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Email: mchabbi@iom.int
.

Language English Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:20Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM and UNHCR condemn refugee and migrant drownings off the coast of Yemen

IOM - News - Ven, 01/26/2018 - 09:51

Geneva - IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, are outraged and saddened at the drownings of at least 30 refugees and migrants off the coast of Aden, Yemen earlier this week.

Survivors of the incident have reported to UN and partner staff that an over-crowded boat packed with at least 152 Somalis and Ethiopians departed 23 January from the Al Buraiqa coast in Aden in a boat headed across the Gulf of Aden towards Djibouti. The vessel is believed to have been operated by unscrupulous smugglers who were attempting to take refugees and migrants to Djibouti, while also trying to extort more money from these refugees and migrants. The boat capsized amid reports of gunfire being used against the passengers.

Of the passengers on board, 101 were Ethiopian and 51 were Somali. At least 30 people have died in this tragic incident.

IOM and partners are working with the Yemeni Coast Guard to further understand the incident. Patrolling teams of IOM, DRC and Intersos have been providing emergency assistance to survivors including medical assistance, food, water and psycho-social support services.

“As we have been saying for almost five years now, the preservation of human life is our utmost priority everywhere,” said IOM Director William Lacy Swing in Davos, Switzerland, today. “Yemen is no exception, we are deeply troubled by reports of this latest incident.”

IOM and UNHCR have long been warning that prolonged conflict and insecurity in Yemen exposes vulnerable refugees and migrants to a heightened risk of human rights violations including arbitrary arrest, detention, trafficking and deportation.

With Yemen a traditional transitory and migratory hub in the region, more than 87,000 migrants and refugees risked their lives on the high seas in 2017, seeking to reach Yemen from the Horn of Africa by boat, despite prevailing conflict and rapidly deteriorating humanitarian conditions. To raise awareness about the horrendous risks and dangers in Yemen, UNHCR launched a regional awareness campaign titled “Dangerous Crossings” last year aiming to inform those contemplating the journey in countries of origin and transit.

IOM and UNHCR—together with partners including Intersos and DRC—are members of the Mixed Migration Working Group in Yemen which has been responding to the needs of migrants and refugees in Yemen. The Group is appealing for more urgent support to respond to the needs of those most vulnerable in Yemen and to actively pursue solutions for refugees and migrants.

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

“Safe Spaces” Offer Psychosocial Support to Rohingya Women

IOM - News - Ven, 01/26/2018 - 09:49

Cox's Bazar – “The reason we have the mirror is that after everything that has happened to them, many of the women cannot bear to look at themselves,” says Lufta Bokshi, a psychosocial support officer who is helping Rohingya women refugees in Bangladesh come to terms with life after fleeing deadly violence and rape in Myanmar.

“We encourage them to look in the mirror so they can see they are still beautiful and that life can still be beautiful too,” she says.

At this new women’s safe space created by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, for Rohingya women in one of Cox's Bazar's vast refugee camps, a lot of work has gone into making things beautiful with the most basic of materials.

Outside, a sunflower is already showing its face in the newly planted garden. Inside, colourful hand-made paper flowers adorn the walls.

Despite the clamour and the chaos outside – where life in the camp is noisy and hard and holds many dangers – inside the security of the high bamboo fence that protects this space, a feeling of calm and safety reigns.

Only women are allowed to enter. Even the guard, who sits in a little bamboo cabin at the entrance, is female. And for those who come here, that matters so much.

IOM has recently opened four such spaces, with another four more planned and set to become operational in coming weeks.

“The spaces play a vital role in ensuring women and adolescent girls have somewhere they feel safe to express themselves, access important information, develop social networks, and strengthen their  resilience to find positive ways to cope in the future,” said Megan Denise Smith, an IOM operations officer in Cox's Bazar specializing in cases of gender-based violence (GBV).

More than 688,000 Rohingya refugees have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since a major upsurge in violence in Myanmar's North Rakhine State in August 2017.

While women at the centre say they feel safer here than they did in Myanmar, the violence and loss that they and their families experienced in Myanmar are experiences that remain with them in Bangladesh. The space to discuss their worries past and present helps them to develop coping mechanisms.

 

“When we share our worries with our sisters here, we feel much better. I feel happy because we can learn things from each other,” says Asama*, a young mother who attends the centre.

“In Myanmar we weren’t used to this. We never got a chance to get together to gossip, because the [authorities] thought that when we got together in a group we were organizing something against them.”

When women in the camps mention “family problems” they may be referring to normal ups and downs in relationships. But Mostafizur Rahman, an IOM psychologist, explains that usually they mean that they are trying to cope with the loss of one or more relatives in the violence they fled.

Raysuana, a participant in a focus group about what kind of support women attending the centres need, scores her relationship with close family and other relatives as 2 out of a possible 5. She says she doesn’t have any immediate family left. They all died in Myanmar.

The opportunity to discuss feelings out loud in a secure and supportive environment is crucial, according to staff and the women who attend the spaces. In Rohingya traditional society, women are rarely afforded the opportunity to speak up publicly. Here, they say, they can talk “fruitfully”, free from the “dominance of men”.

“When I stay in my own house, I worry more. But in the safe space I can be with other people who are similar to me and we can share our emotions,” says Fatima, another focus group participant.

At the IOM safe spaces women receive individual and group counselling. There are also craft materials, board games and television, where they can watch films and other programmes to help them build up their confidence and resilience.

“I can’t sleep at night for thinking about all the different things we can do (to help) these women,” says Bokshi, whose local organization PULSE is an IOM partner at the safe spaces.

Women and girls in the camps need psychosocial support not just to deal with the violence and traumatic experiences of the past, but also the current difficulties that they now face. The everyday challenges of surviving in a place surrounded by hundreds of thousands of strangers; coping with a life lived under tarpaulins, reliant on food aid just to survive; and the increased risk of gender-based violence that comes with life in a refugee camp.

Women and adolescent girls who visit the safe spaces also learn about the dangers of human trafficking. This is a very real risk in the camps, where traffickers can lure vulnerable adults and children with promises of good jobs and a better life, but in reality deal in slavery, forced labour, sexual exploitation and other abuses.

There is no single solution to finding ways to offer support to women in the refugee camps. While stories of violence, rape and loss are all too common, each person’s experience and response is unique.

But the IOM safe spaces offer a place for women to come together and find their strengths as individuals and through shared experiences.

The mirror is not just used in psychosocial support sessions. “When the women come in here, they are able to take off their head scarves away from the view of men. They can use the mirror to apply face cream or put on some make up. Little things. But things that give them a chance to feel normal,” says Bokshi.

During the past week, IOM responded to 159 protection/gender-based violence (GBV) cases. Since the start of the current crisis in August 2017, IOM has identified 15,151 extremely vulnerable individuals. Some 447 GBV cases have been assisted through IOM’s case management. Another 4,153 individuals have received psychosocial first aid and 24 victims of trafficking have been identified and assisted.

(*Some names have been changed for protection reasons.)

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox's Bazar. Email: fmacgregor@iom.int, Tel. +8801733335221.

Language English Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:23Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Gender and MigrationHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) opens a new women’s safe space for Rohingya women in one of Cox's Bazar's refugee camps. Photo: Fiona Macgregor / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) opens a new women’s safe space for Rohingya women in one of Cox's Bazar's refugee camps. Photo: Fiona Macgregor / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Assists 142 Gambian Migrants to Return Home from Libya

IOM - News - Ven, 01/26/2018 - 09:42

Banjul – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) together with the Government of The Gambia assisted 144 Gambian migrants to return home on Monday (22/01), of which 17 came from Trig al Seka detention centre. A flight chartered by IOM Libya landed at Banjul international airport with six women and one child on board.

These returns were among the 1,155 migrants flown out of Libya this year through 24 January, and the more than 19,000 rescued overall from dire conditions in the North African country (see chart below). Another 592 left on 25 January as well.

Besides the 144 returned to Gambia on Monday, IOM Libya on Wednesday assisted 190 migrants to return home – 136 migrants returning on a single chartered flight to Togo and 54 migrants via three commercial flights to Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Senegal.

The majority of those migrants previously resided in the urban areas of Tripoli, whilst 27 migrants were detained at Trig al Seka prior to departure. On Thursday (25/01) IOM moved 592 returnees on two chartered flights to Mali and Guinea Conakry.

Said Hassan, one migrant happy to return to The Gambia after two years in Libya: “So many people are there. Many are dead, not even buried. Some are sick, in prison, without medication; they are suffering there. I thank God to be back in my homeland. You know, you have two choices in life. You can try to go to Italy to help your people, and family. But God made it like this. Don’t lose faith. You just have to keep fighting and look for other things in your country.”

Some 18,000 Gambians have reportedly landed in Italy after leaving Libya over the past two years – 11,929 in 2016 and 5,774 through the end of November last year. Monday’s flight was the second this year to Gambia. Another is scheduled for 14 February.

Upon their arrival, returnees were provided with immediate assistance by IOM Gambia including medical care, food and hygiene kits. IOM staff began the registration and profiling process which helps provide insight into the profile of the returnees, the reasons of their departure, their migratory path and their living conditions in Libya. The questionnaires will help IOM adapt the reintegration assistance to the needs of the returnees and that of their communities of return.

After the registration and profiling process, some of the returnees were provided shelter for the night. The day after (23/01) they attended an information session where they could ask questions about their reintegration assistance and during which IOM performed health screenings.

IOM Gambia also gave each returnee pocket money (EUR 65) to cover their immediate needs as well as the transportation costs to their final destination. Within the next months, IOM will assess the returnees’ situation on a case-by-case basis to help them find alternatives to irregular migration and ensure their sustainable reintegration in their community of origin.

These returns and reintegration assistance are funded by the EU-IOM Joint initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. Since the launch of the programme in the Gambia in May 2017, 1,128 Gambian migrants were able to return home safely.

The following flights are proposed for the weeks ahead:

For more information, please contact Marianna Bertelle at IOM Gambia; Tel: +2202169647, Email: mbertelle@iom.int.

Or Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:18Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM together with the Government of The Gambia assisted 142 Gambian migrants to return home on Monday 22 January. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Out of the 142 returnees, 17 came from Trig al Seka detention centre. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Out of the 142 returnees, 17 came from Trig al Seka detention centre. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

IOM staff began the registration and profiling process which helps provide insight into the profile of the returnees. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

After the registration and profiling process, some of the returnees were provided shelter for the night. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Syrian Refugees Arrive in Zagreb through Croatia’s First Resettlement Programme

IOM - News - Ven, 01/26/2018 - 09:42

Zagreb – Twenty-six Syrian refugees landed safely in Zagreb on Thursday (25/01) after leaving Turkey as part of Croatia’s first ever resettlement programme, launched last year.

The new arrivals included five families and one unmarried male. There were 14 adults and 12 children on the flight, 11 male and 15 female.  A young pregnant woman and her husband were among the group. 

An additional ten refugees who are part of the group arrived safely this morning (26/01).

The refugees who arrived Thursday are the second group resettled by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, which supports the Republic of Croatia’s initiative to accept a total of 150 refugees from Turkey.

The first group of 40 refugees arrived on 28 November 2017.

Immediately after landing at the Zagreb Airport, IOM provided the new arrivals with assistance, including young children, women and some people with medical needs, among them one person in a wheelchair and another with severe visual impairment. After leaving the airport, the new arrivals were taken to the reception center for asylum seekers in Kutina.

As was successfully done in the case of the first group of refugees arriving in November, IOM staff will provide a Croatian language course and orientation on topics such as living and working in Croatia, building social networks, getting familiarized with the institutions and organizations, and rights and obligations in the areas of education, housing, health and employment. 

At the same time, IOM is implementing capacity building, as well as networking and partnership building activities with national and local stakeholders in the interest of a sustainable resettlement programme, including through the provision of housing solutions and volunteering schemes.

In addition to helping Croatia meet its internationally assumed obligations, the protection and humanitarian character of the pilot resettlement project continues to ensure the availability of a much-needed safe and legal channel for the most vulnerable refugees.

For more information please contact Igor Aničić at IOM Croatia, Email: ianicic@iom.int, Tel: +385 1 64 63 887 or Ivan Piteša, Email: ipitesa@iom.int, Tel: +385 1 48 16 885.

Language English Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:19Image: Region-Country: CroatiaThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Twenty-six Syrian refugees arrived in Zagreb on Thursday 25 January. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

After leaving the airport, the new arrivals were taken to the reception center for asylum seekers in Kutina. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

The new arrivals include five families and one unmarried male. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

IOM assisted Syrian refugees at the reception centre for asylum seekers in Kutina. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

IOM staff will provide a Croatian language course, as well as orientation on topics such as living and working in Croatia, building social networks, rights and obligations as it pertains to education, among others. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Syrian refugees leaving Zagreb airport after their arrival from Turkey. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency in Finland Releases Guidelines for Identifying Victims of Human Trafficking

IOM - News - Ven, 01/26/2018 - 09:38

Helsinki – Many health and social workers struggle to identify victims of trafficking, surveys show. The UN Migration Agency (IOM) office in Finland released practical guidelines for the identification and referral of trafficking victims on Tuesday (23/01).

Upon publication, the new guidelines received praise from the country’s Minister of the Interior, Paula Risikko, who said these guidelines should be included in the curricula used to educate nurses, doctors, police officers, border guards and social workers.

“This guide is an excellent tool for all professionals,” Minister Risikko said at a launch event. “It is concise and clear, very easy to read. It clearly states the problem and the solutions for those who might never have encountered a victim of trafficking before in their work.”

IOM Finland put together the concise guide with a cross-sectoral expert group, with support from the Funding Centre for Social Welfare and Health Organisations (STEA). The guidelines were launched at an event in Helsinki. During the spring of 2018 there will be events in several cities around Finland to promote the guide.

Health and social workers are in a key position to identify victims of trafficking, but they seldom have had sufficient training on how to do so. The new guidelines are meant to be a practical tool to help individuals recognize the signs that a person might be a victim, and how to proceed. Many victims of trafficking are deeply traumatized; therefore, professionals need to know how to handle clients who have been through such experiences.

In Finland, cases of human trafficking have been encountered in various fields; for instance, forced labour, sexual exploitation and forced marriages. Last year 127 cases were referred to the National Assistance System for Victims of Trafficking, but the actual number is thought to be higher. As in other countries, trafficking is a crime in Finland that is often not identified correctly. Victims might be treated as guilty of related offenses – such as irregular immigration or working illegally – when they have actually been trafficked.

Trafficking also is an often-unreported crime due to the victims’ shame and dependence on the perpetrators.

The new guidelines underline the importance of building trust with victims. It is recommended to inform them of doctor-patient confidentiality during consultations and always seek their consent for any further interventions.

In cases where children are suspected of being exposed to trafficking, child protection law bestows the right to act even without the child’s consent.

The path to recovery may be long, but with the support of knowledgeable health and social service professionals, it becomes possible.

 “Sometimes the professionals will have to give very hands-on assistance to the victim in getting help,” said Jaana Sipilä, coordinator of counter-trafficking projects at IOM Finland. “Many might have a lowered capability to function, and are unable to take initiative themselves.”

The guide includes three categories of factors that need to be taken into account: signs of trafficking, outside control and factors that might expose a person to trafficking.

Some of the signs that health and social workers can look for include, for instance, injuries or chronic diseases that have not been treated, a frail state of general health, evidence of substance abuse and addictions, and problems of sexual and reproductive health. Frequent injuries or signs of abuse could also be signs of trafficking. Issues with mental health and traumatic experiences are common, as are consequences of social exclusion. Young victims of human trafficking may show difficulties in school or studies.

“The younger the child is when falling victim to trafficking, the more he or she will have internalized the twisted self-image of him or herself as not worthy of more than being trafficked,”  said Anne Suokas-Cunliffe, a psychologist and psychotherapist who leads the Centre for Trauma Therapy and Trauma Education in Finland. “He or she might also resist any kind of treatment or help.”

During the next phase of the project, in-depth training will be arranged to enhance social and health professionals’ skills in treating and caring for trafficked persons. The project is a part of Government of Finland’s National Action Plan against Trafficking in Human Beings 2016-2017.

The guide is available in hard copy and can also be downloaded in Finnish from the IOM Finland website (http://iom.fi/fi/ihmiskaupan-uhrin-ensivaiheen-tunnistaminen-ja-palveluohjaus).

For more information please contact: Jaana Sipilä at IOM Finland, Tel: +358 9 684 11522, Email: jsipila@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:22Image: Region-Country: FinlandThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

The launch of the guidelines was held in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health at the Estate Hall in Helsinki. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

The launch of the guidelines was held in cooperation with the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Health at the Estate Hall in Helsinki. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Opens Office in Dollow, Somalia

IOM - News - Ven, 01/26/2018 - 09:37

Dollow – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, opened an office in Dollow this week (25/01), in the Gedo region of Somalia.

This is in response to the large-scale displacements into Dollow in 2017, due to drought and insecurity. IOM has scaled up its emergency response programming in the region.

IOM currently works to meet the basic needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in settlements and affected host communities in Dollow through camp management, shelter reinforcement, water and sanitation provision, and health interventions. The work is done with a long-term perspective and an eye towards early recovery and durable solutions. Operating out of the Dollow office, IOM also implements community stabilization activities across the wider Gedo region, including the rehabilitation of schools and district administration offices.

“IOM’s work in Dollow would not be possible without the steadfast support and goodwill of the local authorities,” noted Kevin Merkelz, an IOM Operations Officer in Dollow. “The establishment of this office demonstrates our commitment to serve the affected communities of Dollow in 2018 and beyond.”

Dollow continues to host both newly displaced persons and those in situations of protracted displacement. In December 2016, an estimated 4,800 IDPs were living in Dollow, according to UNHCR’s Protection and Return Monitoring Network. By May 2017, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) estimated that over 40,000 individuals lived across 58 IDP sites. This figure increased to 75,684 by September 2017, when the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) cluster undertook a Detailed Site Assessment.

IOM’s CCCM team is working closely with the Government of Somalia and Dollow District authorities to improve living conditions in displacement sites through site expansion and planning, as well as coordination with non-governmental organizations and other UN agencies.

IOM has been operational in Somalia since 2006, working closely with the Federal Government of Somalia, regional authorities, other UN agencies, donor governments, and civil society to address migration challenges.

For more information, please contact: IOM Somalia Programme Support Unit at IOM Somalia, Tel: +251 715 990600, Email: iomsomalia@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:21Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

An IDP settlement in Dollow, Somalia. Photo: Kevin Merkelz / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

The new IOM office in Dollow, Somalia, opened in response to the large-scale displacements into the city in 2017 due to drought and insecurity. Photo: Hillary Ngetich / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

IOM field staff consult displaced communities regarding their most pressing needs. Photo: Donald Osunga / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

IOM field staff also consult with community leaders about proposed expansion plans for IDP settlements in Dollow, Somalia. Photo: Alberto Piccioli / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency in Egypt Launches Campaign to Foster Community Cohesion

IOM - News - Ven, 01/26/2018 - 09:34

Cairo – Living Together, a clickfunding campaign in Egypt launched by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, to promote community cohesion among migrants and the Egyptian communities hosting them has gone viral.

Aiming to use innovative solutions to foster values of diversity, coexistence and community cohesion, IOM Egypt partnered with Egyptian Startup Bassita, UNAOC Innovation Award Safarni, Drosos, and the French Institute in Egypt to launch its campaign, featuring Egyptian star Boshra. Children of migrants and host communities are of special concern. 

The campaign went viral within the first three days following its launch reaching 176,000 views, 16,000 likes, 3,000 shares and 2,000 comments across various social media platforms, which makes it among the top organically viral campaigns ever released by IOM in any country, and the most engaging campaign. It has also received endorsements from numerous public figures in Egyptian society. In just one week, the campaign managed to achieve almost half of its funding target.

Developed by Bassita, the campaign uses click-funding to capitalize on viral posts in social media in order to crowdsource. Clickfunding gives viewers the chance to contribute to fundraising for social initiatives through “the click of a mouse or tap of a screen.” The objective of the campaign is to gather 1 million points. For every point earned, 1 EGP will be given to Safarni – an initiative designed to take children on an imaginary journey to a new country, through simulated travel experiences and intercultural workshops, where they meet children from other cultural backgrounds and are introduced to the local language, food, games, dances and songs – to further promote cultural diversity and contribute to enhancing community cohesion.

“IOM is pleased to support the Clickfunding campaign for Safarni; an initiative that will contribute to IOM Egypt’s ongoing efforts to foster community cohesion and promote cultural diversity between migrants and the Egyptian communities hosting them,” said IOM Egypt Chief of Mission Laurent De Boeck. 

Relying on recent research on tackling the root causes of discrimination and prejudice, the workshops provided by Safarni to Egyptian and migrant children in Cairo’s Ard El Lewa district endeavor to humanize diversity and support communities in their efforts to become more inclusive and better integrated.

“After the success of the first IOM campaign A Day Without Migrants, it was important to continue to promote community cohesion between migrants and Egyptians,” stated Alban de Ménonville, Co-Founder of Clickfunding. “This second campaign will deeply impact the lives of children living in Ard El Lewa, by allowing them a positive platform to connect with cultures from around the world.”

The Living Together campaign falls under the framework of the EU-funded Regional Development and Protection Programme for North Africa (RDPP NA), and supports the achievement of the following UN Sustainable Development Goals: Quality Education, Reduced Inequalities and Partnerships for the Goals.

For more information about the campaign please contact Laurent De Boeck, Tel: +202 2736 51 40/41, Email: iomegypt@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:17Image: Region-Country: EgyptThemes: Community StabilizationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Egypt launched a click-funding campaign to promote community cohesion among migrants and the Egyptian communities hosting them.

Click-funding gives viewers the chance to contribute to fundraising for social initiatives through “the click of a mouse or tap of a screen”. 

The campaign went viral within the first three days following its launch reaching 176,000 views, 16,000 likes, 3,000 shares, and 2,000 comments.

Developed by Bassita, the campaign uses click-funding to capitalize on viral posts in social media in order to crowdsource Safarni – an initiative designed to take children on an imaginary journey to a new country, through simulated travel experiences and intercultural workshops.

The objective of the campaign is to gather 1 million points. For every point, 1 EGP will be given to Safarni to further promote cultural diversity and community cohesion.

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Donates Publications to Guatemalan National Library

IOM - News - Ven, 01/26/2018 - 09:33

Guatemala City – IOM donated today (26/01) a compilation of its most recent publications to the Guatemalan National Library Luis Cardoza y Aragón, of the Ministry of Culture and Sports, to contribute to the accessibility of updated data and information to the public.

To achieve orderly, safe and humane migration, it is essential to have migration information from all perspectives. Thus, IOM handed over a series of reports – as well as comics with information aimed at students of pre-school, primary and secondary levels – on migrant’s rights.

The documents address issues such as: remittances; food insecurity and migration; the implications of violence against women in the migration experience; human mobility; and child labour and migration, among others.

The official ceremony was led by the National Library’s Chief, Ilonka Matute; National Coordinator for IOM’s Mesoamerica Program, Honeyda Morales; and IOM’s Senior Operations Assistant for the Return and Reintegration Project, Sebastian Berkovich.

This contribution to the National Library not only supports the human right to information and education, but also helps toward the achievement of Sustainable Development Goal 17 which calls for increasing the availability of timely, reliable and quality data disaggregated by income, sex, age, race, ethnic origin, immigration status, among others.

For more information, contact IOM Guatemala: Melissa Vega, Email: mevega@iom.int or Alba Miriam Amaya, Email: aamaya@iom.int. For inquiries on the National Library, Email:  secretariabng@mcd.gob.gt, Tel: 2232-2443 / 2253-9071. 

Language English Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:16Image: Region-Country: GuatemalaThemes: OthersDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Regional Office Expands Cooperation with Forthcoming OSCE Chair

IOM - News - Ven, 01/26/2018 - 09:32

Bratislava – On Wednesday (24/1) the Director of IOM’s Vienna Regional Office Argentina Szabados met with the State Secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Lukas Parizek in the capital, Bratislava. 

Slovakia assumes the annual Chairmanship of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in 2019.

The meeting explored how the Slovak Republic can prepare for its OSCE Chairmanship and how it can advance migration priorities with OSCE States.

IOM’s Szabados welcomed Slovakia’s appointment as chair of the largest regional security and cooperation grouping in the world, as well as its advancement of OSCE’s current priorities, including migration. “IOM looks forward to continued cooperation with the Government of Slovakia in advancing migration governance both bilaterally and multilaterally within the OSCE framework,” she said.

Szabados noted IOM’s extensive presence throughout the region, with interventions in areas ranging from curbing human smuggling and trafficking, to preventing and combating violent extremism, as well as migration and development programming. She emphasized the importance IOM, as the UN Migration Agency, places on gender aspects of its work.

State Secretary Parizek, and Director General for International Organizations, Development Assistance and Humanitarian Aid Karla Wursterova, expressed their appreciation of  IOM’s office in Bratislava to IOM Regional Director Szabados, and to Head of Office Zuzana Vatraľová. Secretary Parízek noted that “Since Slovakia became an IOM Member State in 1996, it has been pleased to be a contributor to the Organization's budget, and its programming.” He added that he looks forward to further deepening Slovakia’s relations with IOM as a practical and constructive partner on migration issues.

For more information please contact Amr Taha, IOM Regional Office in Vienna, Tel: +43 660 535 3658, Email ataha@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Friday, January 26, 2018 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: AustriaThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

State Secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Lukas Parizek greets IOM Regional Director Argentina Szabados.

State Secretary of the Slovak Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs Lukas Parizek greets IOM Regional Director Argentina Szabados.

Delegations from IOM and the Government of Slovakia at this week’s meeting in Bratislava.

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM