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Japan Supports UN Migration Agency Assistance to Returnees, Displaced in DRC

IOM - News - Mar, 03/20/2018 - 09:30

Kasai – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has received USD 900,000 of funding from the Government of Japan to assist 200,000 returnees, displaced people and members of host communities affected by the crisis in Kasai, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Since conflict erupted in August 2016 in the Kasai central province, a complex humanitarian crisis has emerged and rapidly spread throughout the region. As a consequence of the conflict, the Greater Kasai region now hosts an estimated 1.4 million of the country’s 4.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). Some individuals also fled from the violence to neighbouring Angola.

With a gradual stabilization of the security situation, people started to return home in 2017, particularly in Central Kasai – nearly 700,000 people have returned to date. However, security incidents and inter-community tensions persist, causing new displacements.

Poor sanitation, a lack of access to basic health services and poor hygiene conditions have led to outbreaks of cholera and made children more vulnerable to malnourishment. Global Acute Malnutrition rates in children under five years old have reached 14 per cent, well above the ten per cent emergency threshold. Some 300,000 children are malnourished and at risk of dying.

IOM has partnered with the humanitarian community to conduct data tracking activities and multi-sectoral assessments in the Greater Kasai region, to provide humanitarian partners with reliable information and data for planning and implementing necessary assistance.

Based on the identified needs, the new Japan-funded project will be implemented at a key border community in Kamako, where more than 200 people cross the border every day on the way back from Angola. IOM’s interventions will focus on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH); the provision of primary healthcare and non-food items; and community sensitization and protection, with a particular focus on gender-based violence.

Moreover, IOM will also introduce a Japanese water purification technology in partnership with Nippon Poly-Glu Co., seeking social business opportunities to strengthen community resilience and durable solutions in the crisis affected areas.

“With this innovative, cost effective and environmentally friendly technology from Poly-Glu, IOM will treat a large amount of turbid riverine water in a short time and provide an adequate amount of safe water daily to serve 10,000 people in Kamonia [territory],” said IOM DRC Migration Health Programme Coordinator Aki Yoshino.

“This funding contribution from Japan will help IOM to scale up its humanitarian operation in Kasai, and provide direct assistance to the most vulnerable populations along the border space,” said IOM DRC Chief of Mission Jean-Philippe Chauzy.

The humanitarian situation in the DRC has deteriorated dramatically over the past year. In December 2017, IOM launched an appeal for USD 75 million to urgently meet the growing needs of displaced people and the communities hosting them across the country.

The IOM Humanitarian Appeal for the Democratic Republic of the Congo is available online at https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/country_appeal/file/IOM-Appeal-DRC11.12.2017.pdf

For more information, please contact Aki Yoshino, Tel: +243810325533, Email: ayoshino@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:10Image: Region-Country: JapanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Internally displaced Congolese live in extremely harsh conditions in the Magloire collective centre, Tanganyika. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Viet Nam, British Embassy Host Sustainable Sourcing, Ethical Labour Practices Workshop

IOM - News - Mar, 03/20/2018 - 09:29

Ho Chi Minh City – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the British Embassy in Viet Nam, with support from the Swedish Embassy, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), and the Department of Labour, Invalids and Social Affairs (DOLISA), are hosting a workshop on sustainable sourcing and ethical labour practices for private sector partners in Ho Chi Minh City today (20/3) .

Modern-day slavery remains a major global challenge, with an estimated 40.3 million victims in 2016. Approximately 25 million of those were victims of forced labour, with the highest prevalence in the Asia-Pacific region. Over half of the victims were found working for private sector companies across almost all sectors.

“When acting responsibly, business is a strong partner to end and remedy situations of modern slavery, but more importantly prevent it in the first place,” said David Knight, IOM Chief of Mission for Viet Nam and Regional Coordinator for Viet Nam, Cambodia and Lao PDR. “IOM is part of a growing alliance of like-minded actors seeking to promote the understanding that doing good for workers and their families is also good for business.”

Consumer demand in Asia for responsibly sourced products has been growing rapidly in recent years, and many companies have robust internal policies in place that address labour and human rights risks within their own operations and supply chains.

“The UK 2015 Modern Slavery Act gives law enforcement the tools to fight modern slavery, ensure suitably severe punishments for those responsible, and enhance support and protection for victims,” said British Ambassador to Viet Nam Giles Lever. “The reporting requirements under the Act, as well as similar laws in France, the Netherlands and California, mean that companies need to show the goods and services they produce are free from any connection with modern slavery and human trafficking. Preventing abusive recruitment and labour practices is no longer an optional corporate social responsibility action. It is increasingly an essential requirement for all global brands.”

Bringing together representatives from over 40 companies including Coats, ECCO, IKEA, Adecco, Hogan Lovells and Decathlon, as well as local businesses, the Ho Chi Minh workshop examined legal frameworks and practical solutions to promote responsible business principles and ethical labour practices. These can not only contribute to the prevention and elimination of modern slavery in supply chains, but can also provide a pathway to sustainable business development in Viet Nam.

During his keynote speech Ian Pascoe, Managing Partner at Grant Thornton, pointed to the positive business impact for companies in Viet Nam of ensuring they conform to internationally recognised standards on labour and ethical business practices: “These investments pay back substantially and are critical in today’s modern trading environment, which is highly interconnected and where consumers are increasingly informed through social media,” he noted.

“Migrants moving to urban centres within Viet Nam or across borders for work are opportunity seekers with specific vulnerabilities and need special attention and action from the business community,” added Knight. “As labour mobility around the world continues to grow, IOM wants companies to make a greater effort to ensure ethical recruitment and equal treatment of migrant workers.”

IOM’s 2017-2022 regional CREST programme – Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking – is funded by the Regional Development Cooperation Section at the Embassy of Sweden in Thailand. It facilitates multi-stakeholder consultations to promote good corporate practice and public-private partnerships. It also partners with international companies to enhance supply chain transparency and build the capacities of all actors across the supply chain to adhere to international social and labour standards in the context of labour mobility.

Read more about CREST here:
For more information please contact Maximilian Pottler at IOM Viet Nam, Tel: +84 283 822 2057, Email: IOM_CREST@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:08Image: Region-Country: Viet NamThemes: Capacity BuildingLabour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants at the workshop in Vietnam. © IOM

The role of the private sector is central in stamping out modern-day slavery, particularly in Asia and the Pacific. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Over 800 People Participate in IOM-Organized Crisis Simulation in Niger

IOM - News - Mar, 03/20/2018 - 09:29

Agadez – On March 15, more than 800 people from local communities, authorities, civil society and security forces participated in a crisis simulation exercise in Agadez, organized by IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

Using a real-life scenario, the simulation exercise tested local and regional authorities’ abilities to respond to a mass migration movement into Niger precipitated by a crisis at the border. Based on the results of the exercise, a regional crisis contingency plan will be drafted in conjunction with authorities in Agadez.

Agadez is located in northern Niger, a region regularly affected by migration flows both in and out of the country. Over the last few decades, the movement of goods and persons has increased considerably in Niger, requiring improved structures for immigration and border management (IBM) to more effectively manage cross-border movements. As a result, the state has been confronted with the challenge of better facilitating these legitimate movements while maintaining secure borders.

IOM’s IBM unit has been active in Niger since 2015 and is implementing projects aiming to reinforce border management in the country and the Sahel region. Since then, more than 15,000 people have been reached through awareness-raising activities aimed at improving the dialogue between communities and authorities.

Through the creation of prevention committees along Niger’s borders, and the inclusion of local populations in simulation exercises and awareness campaigns, IOM includes border communities as full actors in border management.

Within this context, the simulation exercise sought to enhance community involvement in crisis management. Communities from the surrounding area played the roles of both displaced populations and welcoming community. The exercise incorporated a strong community engagement component to foster communication between local communities and authorities. As communities are the first to directly encounter signs of a crisis, communication with local authorities is crucial both in ensuring a quick and effective crisis response, as well as in preventing future crises.

At the end of the exercise, IOM distributed over 400 hygiene kits to participating community members, and will deliver six tents to be used in crisis management to the Agadez Governorate.

The simulation was part of the project Engaging Communities in Border Management in Niger – Phase II, funded by the US Department of State. This was the third exercise of its kind organized by IOM in Niger, which had held two exercises in the Zinder region in 2017. The simulation was planned in close partnership with the Prime Minister's Office, the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Natural Disaster Management and the Ministry of Health of Niger.

Throughout the second phase of the project, IOM will continue to support capacity-building and community engagement activities in Agadez and Tillaberi regions, building on the lessons learned through this simulation exercise. A fourth simulation exercise will take place in Tillaberi region in October 2018.

For more information, please contact Arthur Langouet at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8006 6561, Email: alangouet@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:06Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Capacity BuildingOthersDefault: Multimedia: 

The fourth cross-border crisis simulation exercise took place on March 15 in Agadez. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection, Reintegration in Horn of Africa Launched in Somalia

IOM - News - Mar, 03/20/2018 - 09:28

Mogadishu - The Government of Somalia, the European Union (EU) and IOM, the UN Migration Agency last week (15/03) launched a project to help approximately 1,000 Somali migrants reintegrate, once they have returned home following being stranded in another country. The EU-funded "Reintegration Facility" project will also assist 1,000 Ethiopians to return from Somalia and reintegrate in their home country.

“Helping young Somalis to return home in safety after often horrific migration experiences and then to settle back and contribute to their communities… lies at the heart of this programme,” said Mariam Yassin, Special Envoy for Migrants’ and Children’s Rights.

During the launch, Dyane Epstein, IOM Somalia’s Chief of Mission, said that she was delighted to see that there were participants from so many important organizations present because, “for the programme to be truly effective in supporting returning migrants and their communities, it must be a ‘joint initiative’ between all stakeholders.” She continued by describing how the ‘Joint Initiative’ will be aiming to develop further this essential close co-operation to facilitate safe, humane and dignified Voluntary Return and Reintegration.

"It is our collective responsibility to help those who want to return, not only with assistance to travel home, but also with support to reintegrate them with their host communities," said Anders Djurfeldt from the EU Delegation.

The project will increase the capacities of partner countries and relevant stakeholders to develop or strengthen return and reintegration policies and processes; facilitate safe, humane and dignified assisted voluntary return processes among partner countries; and facilitate sustainable reintegration across three dimensions: successful economic reintegration and strengthened livelihoods, social reintegration and psycho-social reintegration. 

The programme is part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative, backed by the EU Trust Fund, covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries.

For more information, please contact:

Dyane Epstein at IOM Somalia, Tel: +252 612 777 712, Email: depstein@iom.int

Julia Hartlieb at IOM Somalia, Tel: +254 731 988 846, Email:  jhartlieb@iom.int

Anders Gettou Djurfeldt, EU Delegate to Somalia, Email: delegation-somalia@eeas.europa.eu

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:04Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Signs Cooperation Agreement with Kingdom of Bahrain

IOM - News - Mar, 03/20/2018 - 09:28

Manama – The 8th of March marks a milestone in the relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the UN Migration Agency (IOM), following the signing ceremony of a Cooperation Agreement that will pave the way for establishing official IOM presence in Bahrain.

Upon an invitation by His Royal Highness Prince Salman bin Hamad Al Khalifa, Crown Prince, Deputy Supreme Commander and First Deputy Prime Minister of Bahrain, IOM’s Director General (DG), William Lacy Swing, visited Bahrain on 8 March to discuss strengthening Bahrain-IOM relations.

The signed Cooperation Agreement complements Bahrain’s 10 years of IOM observership and crowns the strong relationship between IOM and the kingdom, particularly through IOM technical cooperation with the Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA). This significant development will be the cornerstone for advancing cooperation between Bahrain and IOM in the fields of Migration Management and Counter-Trafficking.

DG Swing conveyed to His Royal Highness IOM’s support of his leadership and vision in the reforms of the Bahrain labour market, which will certainly make a positive impact on Bahrain and the region. He further assured of IOM’s firm support in advancing the priorities of the Government of Bahrain through its global expertise in the vast field of migration.

For more information, please contact: Mohamed El Zarkani, IOM Kuwait, +965 25308169, melzarkani@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:02Image: Region-Country: KuwaitThemes: IOMOthersDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Philippines, ECHO Support Metro Manila Resilience to Natural Disasters

IOM - News - Mar, 03/20/2018 - 09:28

Manila – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) have launched a project that aims to build up the resilience of vulnerable populations constantly threatened by natural disasters, particularly the threat of an anticipated major earthquake in Metro Manila in the Philippines.

The Mass Evacuations in Natural Disasters (MEND) project which focuses on Metro Manila’s most vulnerable urban poor communities, particularly informal settlements, kicked off with a five-day training (12-16/03) with 64 participants from local government units, relevant government agencies and NGOs.

MEND seeks to enhance the Metro Manila region’s capacity to prepare for the ‘Big One’ – the potentially massive earthquake anticipated along the region’s west valley fault, which traverses various parts of Metro Manila and the surrounding provinces. The fault moves roughly every 400 years according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology, which means that the metropolis is due for a 7.2 magnitude earthquake.

“When I first heard of the ‘Big One’ I was nervous. Being part of the fault line, our area is exposed to a lot of risk,” a barangay councillor Alex Santos of Quezon City shared his anxiety on the potential earthquake. Quezon City is one of Manila’s most densely populated areas with around 2.9 million people.

Local community leaders like Santos are worried about their capacity to respond to such an event; a damaging earthquake of that magnitude will no doubt overwhelm the resources of local governments.

For the MEND project, IOM has combined urban displacement management through their Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) expertise, as well as an innovated mass evacuation in natural disasters approach. The project also focuses on supporting the development of contingency plans, identifying the most accessible areas for safe evacuation as well as providing training on information gathering and management. The project will also utilize the Organization's Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) information gathering and management tools.

Notably, this particular type of project is also a first for ECHO in the field of urban disaster preparedness.

Arlynn Aquino, ECHO programme officer, shared some optimism on the initiative: “ECHO has historically supported humanitarian emergencies. This is, therefore, one of the rare times we’ve invested in preparedness, and it is amazing to witness that this modest investment is creating a ripple effect for frontline responders.”

Aquino added, “We hope this will continue to raise awareness on the value of preparing for a disaster and it is our hope that local governments will use their positions of influence to bring the knowledge that they gained from the workshop and deliver it to their communities.”

Speaking at the conclusion of the training, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Kristin Dadey noted: “The Philippines continues to be a shining example in the region. Their ability to prepare for major disasters is a model for others to follow, as is the Filipino’s resilience in dealing with disasters when they happen.”

The initial training sets the momentum for a field simulation exercise scheduled for April 2018. The simulation will involve urban poor communities in three target cities in Metro Manila.

For more information, please contact Kristin Dadey, IOM Philippines, Tel: +63 917 803 5009, Email: kdadey@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the participants at the IOM-ECHO at the Mass Evacuations in Natural Disasters (MEND) project launch. © IOM

Some of the participants at the IOM-ECHO at the Mass Evacuations in Natural Disasters (MEND) project launch. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Announces Winners of South American Journalism Prize

IOM - News - Mar, 03/20/2018 - 09:28

Buenos Aires – Last Friday (16/03), the South America Regional Office for IOM, the UN Migration Agency, celebrated the work of journalists who have highlighted the social, economic and cultural contributions of migrants to their countries of origin and destination, at the South American Journalism Prize in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The awards themed Migration with a Human Rights-based Approach and Gender Perspective also recognized journalistic works which have contributed to raising awareness about migrants’ rights, including access to healthcare, employment and education and also helped to counter xenophobia, racism and discrimination against migrants and their families.

Ten works were selected among 167 applications from all over South America. The finalists were evaluated by five migration, journalism, human rights and gender experts: Claudia Palacios, Colombian journalist and director of the Casa Editorial El Tiempo television network; Lelio Mármora, director of the Migration and Asylum Policy Institute at the Tres de Febrero University; and Javier Palummo, Director of Research and Information Management of the MERCOSUR Institute of Public Policies in Human Rights. The jury also included Matteo Mandrile, IOM Regional Development Officer for South America and Mariana Beherán, IOM Argentina Research Coordinator.

Also in attendance were René Mauricio Valdés, UN Resident Coordinator in Argentina, representatives of the Government of Argentina and MERCOSUR, as well as Elba Rodriguez, winner of MasterChef Argentina in 2014, who shared her experiences as the daughter of Bolivian migrants in Argentina.

At the award ceremony, Diego Beltrand, IOM Regional Director for South America, highlighted the important role of the media as key partners in shaping the public opinion on migration. He also emphasized the need to talk about migrants’ rights, and called for the use of accurate migration terminology and an inclusive language to combat racism, xenophobia and discrimination.

One of the jurors, Palacios said that journalists have a great responsibility when covering migration issues. “Migration means growing and strengthening human capital, which brings benefits to the places of origin and destination, and the role of journalists in promoting this view is essential,” she stressed.

Following the announcement, the winners were invited to a training session in Buenos Aires on how to cover migration topics with a human rights-based and gender perspective.

The Prize contributes to the "I am a Migrant" and "TOGETHER" global campaigns, which seek to change the negative perceptions of migrants and help tackle xenophobia, racism and discrimination. It is part of a project launched in October 2017, funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF), IOM Colombia and IOM Peru.

Watch the video of the Awards Ceremony: https://youtu.be/s92F5_L-fa0

See the full list of winners here: http://robuenosaires.iom.int/news/ganadores-del-premio-suramericano-de-p...

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 20, 2018 - 15:58Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

The South American Journalism Prize was awarded to 10 journalists. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN launches 2018 appeal for Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi host communities: Joint UNHCR/IOM Press Release

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 15:37

United Nations agencies and NGO partners today released the 2018 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis, a US$951 million appeal to meet the urgent needs of nearly 900,000 Rohingya refugees and more than 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in the communities hosting them.

Over the months since the outset of the Rohingya influx, this has been the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis, with tens of thousands fleeing by land and sea from Myanmar daily at the peak of the emergency. Some 671,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since 25th August 2017. The Bangladesh Government and Bangladeshi people have responded with extraordinary generosity and hospitality.

Almost seven months on, refugees from Myanmar continue to arrive. And the situation in Cox’s Bazar remains fluid. The Kutupalong-Balukhali site, where some 600,000 refugees are now living, is today the largest and most densely populated refugee settlement in the world. Precarious conditions for the refugees and the ongoing emergency response are about to be further challenged by the approaching monsoon season and rains. More than 150,000 Rohingya refugees are in places at risk of landslides and floods, in what could become a disaster on top of the current emergency.

The 2018 appeal for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis – launched today in Geneva by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, IOM Director General William Swing and UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo - aims to address these challenges, bringing together the critical efforts of more than 100 UN agencies and national and international NGOs. The international humanitarian response aims to ensure refugees and host communities receive the life-saving assistance, protection and support they desperately need, complementing the continuing efforts of the Bangladeshi authorities.

“We are talking about truly critical needs here both on the part of the Bangladeshi communities who have so generously opened their doors, and of a stateless and refugee population that even prior to this crisis was among the world’s most marginalised and at risk,” said High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “The solutions to this crisis lie inside Myanmar, and conditions must be established that will allow refugees to return home. But today we are appealing for help with the immediate needs, and these needs are vast.”

The appeal aims to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of refugees and host communities, and support environmentally sustainable solutions, confidence-building and resilience of affected populations until the end of 2018. It also includes contingency planning for 80,000 more Rohingya refugees in the coming months.

"The needs and vulnerabilities of the Rohingya refugee population in Bangladesh are immense,” said William Swing, IOM Director General. “Many Governments generously supported the last Rohingya crisis appeal. Given the large scale of the emergency and the amount of humanitarian services needed to ensure lives can be protected with dignity, continued and enhanced support is necessary."

The needs are urgent. The funding will help in meeting the life-saving and acute humanitarian needs both of refugees and of affected host communities. More than half the appeal (54 per cent) is to ensure food, water and sanitation, shelter and other basic aid. Food needs alone account for 25 per cent of the total.

Over 16 million litres of safe water are needed every day for the Rohingya refugee population. Some 12,200 metric tons of food are required every month. At least 180,000 refugee families need cooking fuel. Some 50,000 latrines need to be constructed and maintained, and at least 30 sewage management facilities are required.

Forty-three primary health centres and 144 health posts are needed. Another 5,000 classrooms for 614,000 children and youth must be made available for there to be proper access to education. Some 100 nutrition treatment centres and a range of protection programmes for the 144,000 single mothers and their families and the 22,000 children at risk are also an urgent priority. Around 400,000 children in refugee and host communities require trauma care and related support.

“Obviously there is great appreciation for the generosity with which the response has been funded. But let’s not forget one thing: the biggest donor to this crisis is Bangladesh,” said Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh.

“In terms of being the first responders, in terms of providing land, in terms of keeping its borders open, in terms of providing asylum, in terms of building roads, extending electricity networks, providing food, seconding civil servants, providing police and army to keep order in the camp. The biggest donor to this crisis continues to be the people and the government of Bangladesh.”

The humanitarian response in Bangladesh faces immense challenges. Conditions are congested, and hundreds of incidents of gender-based violence are reported weekly. Public health concerns are acute, including measles, diphtheria and diarrhoea.

The Rohingya refugee situation in Cox’s Bazar is an acute humanitarian crisis that needs urgent funding to save lives and provide essential aid. So far, the emergency response from September 2017 to February 2018 has received 74 per cent of the funding needed (US$321 million of the US$434 million required).

Your support is urgently needed to assist children, women and men fleeing contact in Bangladesh. Please give now.

For more information, please contact:

For IOM:
In Geneva, Olivia Headon, oheadon@iom.int or +41 79 403 53 65
In Geneva, Andrej Mahecic, mahecic@unhcr.org; +41 79 642 97 09
In Cox's Bazaar, Caroline Gluck, gluck@unhcr.org, +880 1872 699 849
In Cox's Bazaar, Firas Al-Khateeb,khateeb@unhcr.org,+880 1885 934 309

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 22:24Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Women and children wait for aid in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, where 1 million Rohingya refugees are now living. Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Ghana Assists 106 Ghanaians to Return Home

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 13:03

Accra – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Ghana in partnership with the Government of Ghana and the Airport Authorities facilitated the arrival of 106 Ghanaians, including 9 women, 2 infants and one child, from Libya via charter at the Kotoka International Airport.

This is the third charter flight organized by IOM to support the dignified return of Ghanaians from Libya, since July 2017; bringing the total number of returns to 496 (457 men – 39 women).

All Ghanaians whose returns are facilitated by IOM have chosen to voluntarily come home. As a part of its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme, from Libya and other transit areas, IOM conducts pre-departure interviews and medical examinations for all returnees and facilitates the acquisition of travel documents and issuance of exit visas through the Ghanaian Mission in Malta. Between 5-10 February 2018, IOM facilitated an official visit to Libya of a delegation of 5 government officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Ministry of Interior and the Ghana Immigration Service. The visit, which focused on increasing outreach to the Ghanaian community in Libya and providing enhanced consular services, supported the organization of the charter flight that arrived on Tuesday, 13 March.

“Contrary to the first two charter flights we have previously organized where almost all the returnees were coming from detention centres, two-third of the arrivals on this flight were living in the city. It is important to acknowledge the diverse composition of the Ghanaian population in Libya as well as their diverse needs before and after repatriation. IOM continues to assist detained migrants but we are at the same time increasing efforts to reach stranded migrants outside of detention,” explained Sylvia Lopez Ekra, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission.

Upon their arrival, all returnees were screened by Port Health, registered by Ghana Immigration Service and were provided cash support by IOM for immediate needs. IOM also provided migrants with food and water, as well as buses to local transport hubs. These migrants will have the opportunity to benefit from reintegration assistance which can consist of counselling, referrals to services including psychosocial and medical, and other support as needed.

“Considering the scale of returns, one of the key challenges we will be facing is to provide adequate reintegration support to returnees. It is important to remember that meaningful and sustainable reintegration is complex and requires time but, if done right, has the potential to complement local development in areas with a large number of returning migrants” added Ms. Lopez-Ekra. 

The new, integrated approach to reintegration assistance rolled out by IOM in the West and Central African Region combines support for returning migrants and their home communities. It aims to mitigate possible tensions at home for returnees by involving local communities in the reintegration process and raising awareness to address potential stigma of return. For this reason, projects can be participatory and community-based projects, as well as collective and individual initiatives.

IOM Ghana return and reintegration support of stranded Ghanaian migrants stranded in Libya is part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration launched in December 2016, through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). Since June 2017, IOM Ghana has helped facilitate the return of 544 stranded Ghanaians migrants (502 men – 42 women), mainly from Libya and Niger. The main goal of IOM’s work in Africa under the Joint initiative is to strengthen mechanisms to protect and assist migrants along all migratory routes through advocacy and direct assistance.

As of 13 March 2018, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has assisted 10,171 migrants to return home safely from Libya with support from the European Union, African Union, and the Libyan Government since the scale up of Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) on 28 November 2017. Some 23,302 migrants have returned through IOM’s VHR programme since January 2017. 

Some 23,302 migrants have returned through IOM’s VHR programme since January 2017. You can read more here.

For further information, please contact Anita J. Wadud at IOM Ghana: Tel. +233 302 742 930 ext. 2400, Email: ajwadud@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 20:01Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff providing cash and registration support to newly arrived Ghanaian returnees from Libya at the Kotoka International Airport.
Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Appeals for USD 182 Million to Help 900,000 Rohingya Refugees, Local Community in Bangladesh

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 10:57

Cox’s Bazar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is appealing for USD 182.1 million to assist 900,000 Rohingya refugees and local community members in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. IOM’s appeal is part of a broader USD 951 million UN Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis covering the same March – December 2018 period.

On 25 August 2017, a mass exodus of Rohingya refugees began from northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Fleeing an upsurge of targeted violence, nearly one million Rohingya refugees are now sheltering in Cox’s Bazar, including thousands who arrived during previous influxes.

The local rural community, which has long been in need of support, has found itself in the middle of the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world. IOM is providing livelihood, environmental improvement and health support to both refugees and locals to mitigate the impact of soaring food prices and overloaded infrastructure.

“As the monsoon season approaches, we are at a vital point where we have to increase our support for people affected by the crisis – both Rohingya refugees and local Bangladeshis,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, reflecting on monsoon preparedness efforts underway in Cox’s Bazar.

IOM has relocated 236 families living in areas at risk of landslide and floods to safer areas. A further 9,675 families have been trained by IOM in how to strengthen their shelters against wind and rain, and reduce the dangers associated with living on unstable, muddy hillsides.

IOM is also working to reduce the environmental impact  of  the  refugee by providing alternative sources of fuel. The refugees are currently dependent on wood for cooking, which has led to massive deforestation in the area.

“I look after 80 families, who settled down on top of this hill,” said Abu Ahammad, one of the block leaders in the refugee settlements. “It’s sandy here and people didn’t get much land, so they’ve built their houses over the whole hillside with only bamboo and tarpaulins. The sandy soil will collapse when it rains and people will die as the houses fall down on top of each other. There are also latrines over there, which will be destroyed,” he added.

As those fleeing Myanmar arrived with little or nothing, providing them with basic shelter has been vital. Over the past six months, IOM has distributed 120,000 kits, which now house some 600,000 people.

Most refugees who lived in Cox’s Bazar before August 2017 live in very poor conditions. Some 40,000 of these people have benefitted from IOM help to upgrade their shelters. Others who have arrived since the crisis in August are now also in urgent need of shelter upgrades, which IOM will continue to provide.

IOM is leading site management and site improvement work in Cox’s Bazar, while also directly managing some of the settlement sites as well. Since August 2017, it has built over seven kilometres of road, 220 bamboo bridges, seven kilometres of pedestrian pathways, five and a half kilometres of pedestrian steps with handrails and five kilometres of drainage. Improving infrastructure is particularly important for people with disabilities, elderly people and single female-headed households to assess services in the settlements.

Since August 2017, IOM has trucked 1,992 cubic metres of clean drinking water into the settlements. It has also constructed 1,949 latrines, 110 deep tube wells and 116 wash rooms, with 28 more under construction. It has also distributed 220,000 bars of soap and 30,070 hygiene kits. Crowding and poor sanitation is a major concern and through 2018 IOM will continue to improve access to safe drinking water and better sanitation.

IOM has also supported the expansion of primary, reproductive and secondary health care services, as well as public health and outreach campaigns, for both Rohingya refugees and local Bangladeshis, since before the crisis. Over the past six months IOM medical staff have conducted over 242,000 consultations. Over 12,000 antenatal care sessions and some 1,400 deliveries were supported in IOM health facilities.

Through its Mental Health and Psychosocial Services (MHPSS), including  individual  counseling,  in-patient  care and patient referrals, which are currently being expanded, IOM has reached over 5,000 people since August.

IOM’s Needs and Population Monitoring Survey tracks new refugee arrivals to settlements and host communities, the number of people in each settlement and their needs. This information is shared with the entire humanitarian community to inform the humanitarian response.

Since August 2017,  IOM  has  also identified  and  assisted 15,257  extremely  vulnerable individuals (EVIs) and 37 victims of human trafficking. It has provided psychological first aid to 4,332 individuals and referred 1,887 people to specialized health facilities.

In addition, dignity kits have been distributed to 7,315 households and 20,276 solar lanterns have been distributed to vulnerable women.

IOM’s protection team carries out daily protection programming, including community outreach to EVIs and case management for survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human trafficking. It provides counseling, legal information and conducts group psychosocial support services, in close coordination with IOM’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Unit.

As the lead agency of the Communication with Communities (CwC) Working Group, IOM continues to advocate for the full integration of accountability to affected populations in all sectors of the response.

IOM also hosts the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) Secretariat, which coordinates the humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar. Funding to continue and enhance the ISCG as the coordination structure for the emergency response is also included in IOM’s appeal.

Read the appeal summary : ¨https://www.iom.int/appeal/rohingya-humanitarian-crisis-iom-appeal-summary.
For more information, please contact:
IOM HQ: Olivia Headon, Tel: +41794035365, Email: oheadon@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 18:01Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

A women queues for aid in Cox’s Bazar, which is now hosting close to one million Rohingya refugees. Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Improves Living Conditions for Internally Displaced Families in DR Congo’s Tanganyika Province

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 10:57

Kalemie – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in the south-eastern Congolese city of Kalemie, continues the urgent relocation of internally displaced families from congested and unhealthy urban collective centres to a displacement site recently established in nearby Kalunga. The majority of the collective centres are former schools.

More than 200 families were transferred by IOM from the EP La Gloire school to Kalunga on Wednesday (14/03), bringing the total number of families helped to relocate to 1,930.

“We hope to conclude the relocation of the last 240 remaining families sheltering at the school in the coming days,” said Amalia Torres, Head of IOM’s Sub-office in Kalemie. “The rains are worsening already poor living conditions at the school and the families are desperate to move to the Kalunga displacement site, where they will find decent living conditions,” said Torres.   

Some 11,800 displaced families are still living in extremely dangerous conditions in six collective centres in Kalemie – the EP La Gloire school being one of them.

“Many families are using simple mosquito nets as shelter. The complete absence of space between those squalid and flimsy dwellings exposes them to fire, diseases, insecurity and many other protection risks,” added Torres.

IOM aims to relocate to Kalunga and other pre-identified sites, a total of 6,000 displaced families from four schools in Kalemie with funding from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund – Rapid Response (CERF-RR). 

Prior to the transfer of displaced families, IOM carries out site planning activities such as plot demarcation, construction of transit hangars and defines sanitary corridors to ensure the basic Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) standards are met in the extensions of the site.

The Kalunga site currently hosts some 3,500 internally displaced families. IOM and partners provide them with shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. Displaced children also have access to educational facilities and families have resumed agricultural activities to help them complement their food and nutritional needs.                

IOM in Kalemie has also supported the safe and voluntary return of 390 people to Kasanga-Mtoa and Lukuangulo, located some 10 kilometers from Kalemie.

On the basis of the results of IOM’s return intention survey in the targeted sites, families that are not able to go back to their areas of origin due to the persistent insecurity, are transferred to displacement sites. There they receive an IOM emergency shelter kit and technical support to build their own shelter. For the most vulnerable, IOM and the site committee have mobilized and trained a group of young internally displaced people to build the shelters if they cannot do it on their own.

On 13 March, Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and OCHA Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Sigrid Kaag, Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, visited the displacement sites in Kalunga and nearby Katanika, where they met the site committees and internally displaced people. 

The delegation, which also included Kim Bolduc, Humanitarian Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Julien Harneis, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, also met with Richard Ngoy Kitangala, Governor of the Province, Virginie Nkulu Nemba, Provincial Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, and other humanitarian actors in the Province. Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM DRC Chief of Mission accompanied the delegation. In the Kalunga site, IOM presented the delegation with ongoing relocation and emergency shelter activities that aim to improve the living conditions of families displaced in school premises in Kalemie through their transfer to transit sites.

Some 630,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Tanganyika province, bringing the total number of displaced to 4.5 million with some 13.1 million in urgent need of humanitarian assistance this year.

“IOM hopes that the 13 April 2018 pledging conference in Geneva co-hosted by the European Commission, the UN and the Dutch Government will help us address the huge humanitarian challenges in the DRC,” says IOM’s Chauzy. “The world simply cannot sit back and ignore the immense suffering of the Congolese people.”   

In December 2017, IOM launched an appeal for USD 75 million to urgently meet the growing needs of displaced people and the communities hosting them across the country. So far it has received USD 4.7 million as part of its appeal.   

You can read IOM’s full appeal here

For more information, please contact:
Olivia Headon in IOM HQ, Tel: +41794035365, Email: oheadon@iom.int
Jean-Philippe Chauzy in IOM Kinshasa, Tel: +243 827 339 827, Email: jpchauzy@iom.int   

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:39Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Displaced Congolese in the Kalunga site, Tanganyika province. © IOM

Internally displaced Congolese live in extremely harsh conditions in the Magloire collective centre, Tanganyika. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 12,318 in 2018; Deaths Reach 463

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 10:56

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 11,636 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 73 days of 2018, with about 48 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece (29%), Spain (22%) and Cyprus (less than 1%). This compares with 20,306 at this point in 2017.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Thursday the 5,945 men, women and children arriving as irregular migrants to Italy this year represents a decline of more than 62 per cent over last year’s irregular sea arrivals through this date.

Di Giacomo added that IOM Rome has learned of rescue operations occurring Thursday adding the NGO Open Arms rescued 218 migrants, while IOM also learned another 270 migrants were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard.

IOM Libya's Christine Petré reported that late Wednesday night at around 23:00 local time, 122 migrants (97 men, 24 women, one child) were returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard after having boarded unseaworthy dinghies in their attempt to reach Europe. The migrants left from the Abu Sitta disembarkation point in Tripoli, where these migrants received water, food, primary health check-ups and protection screenings by IOM staff. Five of the women also received pregnancy care. Migrants were transferred to Tajoura detention centre.

On Thursday, she reported, 96 migrants (53 men, 40 women, three children) received emergency assistance from IOM after they were returned to Libyan shores by the Libyan Coast Guard. IOM staff provided hygiene kits, blankets, health and protection screenings. Three migrants with petrol burns were treated and family phone calls were provided. Migrants were transferred to Tajoura detention centre. IOM at this time is trying to learn if these rescued migrants were among the same ones IOM Rome reported on Friday morning, or from a separate attempt made to reach Europe.

No emergency cases were identified and no bodies were retrieved in either of the rescues reproted this week by IOM Libya.

So far this year, 3,279 migrants have been returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard, a 56 percent increase compared to the same period in 2017.

Through 15 March Italy arrivals are averaging just over 80 persons per day, well below the levels of the two previous years (see chart below). In both 2016 and 2017 March arrivals were low through the middle of the month, and then rose quickly as the weather warmed.

Di Giacomo also reported statistics from Italy’s Ministry of Interior concerning the leading nationalities among irregular migrants so far in 2018 (see chart below).

Eritrea was the leading sender through February, as was the case in January, followed by Tunisia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Libya and the Côte d’Ivoire. Given the small number of arrivals in February (1,058 migrants in 28 days – or less than 40 per day) the number of newcomers arriving in February from each of these nations was small: 124 from Nigeria, 31 from Côte d’Ivoire, 30 from Libya and 13 from Pakistan.
Nonetheless, the statistics demonstrate growing activity from Africa’s northern coast: a total of 1,583 arrivals have left for Italy this year from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya – or roughly one-third of all arrivals through the first two months of 2018.
IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia that over the three days (11-13 March) the Hellenic Coast Guard reported two incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Chios. The Coast Guard rescued 58 migrants and transferred them to that island.  Those rescued, plus another 130 migrants arriving in Kos, Rhodes, Megisti and Lesvos bring the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory through 13 March to 3,562 (see chart below) – an average for the year of just under 50 persons per day.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that total arrivals by sea in 2018 have reached 2,764 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 14 March.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported Thursday that deaths on the three Mediterranean routes – 463 as of March 14 – were down some 14 per cent below their total at this same time in 2017, when 536 migrants had been counted as drowned or missing in the waters between North Africa and Italy.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 740 migrant fatalities in 2018, compared with 1,046 through 14 March last year (see chart below).

Most recently, three people lost their lives in Mexico during their journey to the US border: on 12 March, the remains of a 22-year-old migrant from El Salvador were found near Federal Highway 200 in Tapachula, Chiapas, while on 13 March a young Honduran migrant was hit by a train in San Mateo Ixtacalco, Cuautitlán. On the US-Mexico border, a 20-year-old Mexican man drowned in the Río Bravo, near Reynosa Díaz, Tamaulipas.

The Missing Migrants Project also recorded one death on 12 March at the Greece-Turkey border, as the remains of one migrant were retrieved by Greek authorities in the Evros River, which flows along the country’s north-eastern border with Turkey.

On the same day, a 22-year-old Eritrean man died in Italy after being rescued from an overcrowded boat off the coast of Libya. He disembarked in Pozzallo, Sicily on 12 March from Proactiva Open Arms’ rescue ship and was immediately taken to the hospital. He died 12 hours later.

MMP 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.

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

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:30Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

US, UN Back Efforts to Assess Impact of Papua New Guinea Earthquake, Deliver Aid to Survivors

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 10:56

Port Moresby – Almost three weeks after the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck Papua New Guinea’s remote provinces of Hela and Southern Highlands, IOM teams are working with the government and partners to assess the full impact of the disaster and deliver essential lifesaving aid to survivors, even as landslides and aftershocks continue to affect the region.

The government estimates that over 544,000 people across five provinces were affected by the quake, which left at least 145 people dead. Over 270,000 are in need of immediate aid, including food, water, medicines, tarpaulins, tents and blankets.

The government and its aid agency and private sector partners have targeted seven of the worst-hit Local Level Governments (LLGs) in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces. It has also set up two forward operating bases and two emergency operations centres close to the quake’s epicentre.

But while main roads have largely been cleared, aid workers warn that damage estimates may continue to rise as many affected communities remain cut off by landslides and are only accessible by air.

“Many among the affected populations live in remote communities that are a challenge to access at the best of times.  In the face of a natural disaster of this magnitude, they have become even more isolated.  Air support to reach these people is critical,” said IOM Papua New Guinea Chief of Mission Lance Bonneau.

IOM, which is leading the Shelter, Non-Food Item (NFI), and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) clusters in the emergency response, has deployed displacement tracking teams, assisted by oil and gas company ExxonMobil and other local partners on the ground, to assess the impact, needs, and assistance gaps for people affected by the quake.

The mapping generated by the displacement tracking matrix (DTM) will contribute to the PNG National Disaster Center’s coordination of the multi-partner relief effort to ensure that the right assistance gets to the populations who need it most.  

IOM, which this week received USD 100,000 from USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, has already delivered basic shelter and non-food relief items to over 400 displaced families. The US funding will allow it to provide basic shelter, water and sanitation to another 800 of the hardest hit families and will also support training for local authorities and NGOs managing Care Centre shelters for quake survivors.

Another USD 100,000 channeled to IOM last week by UNOCHA – the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – will be used to provide more lifesaving aid, including shelter materials and water containers, to another 2,500 families.

“We welcome the support provided thus far, but the needs remain significant.  The full impact of the earthquake is still coming to light, as landslides continue to affect unstable areas. Traditional water and food sources have been compromised and entire populations have been traumatized by the scale of this disaster. We need to continue to address the immediate needs of those most affected, but we also need to think about longer term recovery and reestablishment of community infrastructure.  Shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene are critical needs now and will continue to be into the foreseeable future,” said Bonneau.

For further information, please contact IOM Port Moresby. Wonesai Sithole, Tel: +675 4 3213655 Email: wsithole@iom.int  or Lance Bonneau, Tel: +675 321 36 55, Email: lbonneau@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:32Image: Region-Country: Papua New GuineaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Families in Hulia-Beleria displaced by the February 26, 2018, earthquake which struck Hela province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: David Helo / United Church in Hela

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

International Donors Visit UN Migration Agency Sites in Libya, Niger

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 09:56

Tripoli/Niamey – Yesterday (15/03), international donors completed a visit to witness activities carried out by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Libya and Niger. A total of 17 Government donors from European countries and the United States participated in the visit to these two important countries on the Central Mediterranean migration route.

In Libya, donors visited detention centres where IOM distributes humanitarian aid and provides support for the improvement of living conditions, while also providing protection assistance and offering voluntary humanitarian return support.

IOM advocates for alternatives to detention and for the reopening of IOM's shelter for vulnerable migrants, which closed in 2011. Donors also visited Tripoli’s main port where they met with the Libyan Coast Guard and saw efforts related to a rescue operation, including IOM-supported primary health check-ups and protection screenings.

The donor group also held consultations with the Mixed Migration Working Group, which is comprised of UN agencies and NGOs and is co-led by IOM and UNHCR, the Refugee Agency. It aims to ensure effective coordination of protection and assistance to migrants and refugees in Libya, including in detention centres, in urban areas, along the mixed migration routes from southern to northern Libya, and in rescue-at sea-situations.

In Niger, the donor group visited IOM’s migrant transit centres and participated in focus group discussions with migrants who recounted their ordeals while journeying to Libya or Algeria. The delegation also visited one of IOM’s reintegration projects, a kindergarten managed by a Nigerien returnee from Belgium, in Niger’s capital, Niamey.

The delegation met with Government officials, traditional authorities, the UN Country Team and agencies, and other diplomatic representatives during the three-day visit, throughout which an ongoing discussion took place about scaling up the reintegration of migrants.

IOM has six transit centres in Niger where migrants have access to various services, including basic assistance and support for obtaining identity documents. The centres are open and the accommodation is voluntary. All migrants arriving at the centres are registered, profiled and informed of their rights by IOM staff. Their stay in the centres is usually short (one to two weeks), enabling migrants to make their return plans, communicate with their families and secure travel documents and transport tickets to their community of origin.

More than 7,000 migrants last year voluntarily returned to their countries of origin with help from IOM’s mission in Niger. This February, IOM Niger assisted more than 1,300 migrants to return home.

Despite a drastic reduction in the number of irregular migrant arrivals in Italy – the per-day average dropped from 2,142 in 2015 to 163 in 2018 – over the past four years, the Mediterranean remains one of the deadliest migration corridors in the world. The dangers of this perilous journey start long before Libya.

In the first quarter of 2018, IOM has helped around 4,000 migrants – the same ones languishing in detention centres, typically survivors of harrowing voyages at sea – return home to more than two dozen countries. That is in addition to the 19,370 men, women and children IOM flew safely home from Libya last year.

IOM’s main priority in Libya and for the Central Mediterranean route is saving lives.

A recent statement from William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, called for six urgent and concrete actions to better protect migrants on the route: end the arbitrary detention of migrants; improve registration to help better determine the size of the vulnerable population and what their needs are; support Libyans, as migrants are not the only ones affected by the security situation in Libya; help the Libyan authorities develop their migration management structures; prosecute smugglers and traffickers; and, most importantly, create more safe and legal pathways for people to migrate safely to Europe. Read more here.

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon, IOM HQ at Tel: +41794035365, Email: oheadon@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:38Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

International donors meet with migrants in Niger. Photo: IOM

International donors meet with migrants in Niger. Photo: IOM

International donors meet with migrants in Niger. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Drought Response Coordination Improves in Four Federal Member States in Somalia

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 09:55

Mogadishu - Four Federal Member States of Galmudug, Jubaland, Hirshabelle, and South West State in Somalia have improved their drought and emergency response coordination as a result of support provided by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The ongoing drought affecting Somalia has led to the displacement of some one million people within the last 12 months, bringing the total number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Federal Member States to over two million.

The majority of IDPs live in collective sites or with host communities in urban areas, often facing harsh conditions with limited access to basic services, precarious physical security, and increased exposure to gender-based violence (GBV). A Drought Impact Needs Assessment—carried out by the Federal Government in 2017, with the support of the UN, World Bank and EU, found USD 1.7 billion in recovery needs across Somalia as a result of drought. Municipal support for displaced persons is one of the sectors with the highest level of needs.

Under a year-long project, IOM and UNDP provided technical support and expertise to regional government-led Drought Response Committees, district administrations and other disaster management institutions in the four Federal Member States, improving the information flow and enhancing cooperation between Federal Government and each State on drought and emergency response.
The support provided includes the appointment of eight Somali experts on drought coordination, early recovery and information management to each State, as well as data collection.

Ridwaan Abdi, Director of the National Humanitarian Coordination Center (NHCC) of the Federal Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, thanked IOM and UNDP for supporting greater coordination and information sharing among Federal Member States, and between the Member States and the Federal Government.

“Such local capacity investments are highly appreciated,” Abdi added. “Considering the current alarming humanitarian situation in the country and the need for good coordination and information, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs & Disaster Management (MoHADM) supports the continuation of this project and would also like to see teams of experts utilized more in Federal Member State Line Ministries.”  

Representatives attending the event from Galmadug, Jubaland, Hirshabelle and South West State also underscored the important achievement of bringing key stakeholders together in the same room, and reiterated the need for further collaboration to find long term solutions to drought response.

Jennifer Pro, IOM Somalia’s Drought Response Coordinator, explained: “This project has been instrumental in strengthening coordination gaps and identifying potential areas of support, as well as facilitating discussions on early recovery and longer-term resilience building. IOM is committed to supporting the Federal Government and Member States in better responding to the immediate and long term needs of drought and emergency affected populations.” 

Abdul Qadir, UNDP Somalia Climate Resilience Portfolio Manager, said climate change and drought response is a vital issue for Somalia, explaining “Different studies show that this particular region will be 3.2 centigrade hotter by 2080, and one of the best ways to adapt to climatic events is through joint initiatives like this one.”

“UNDP will continue to partner with our government counterparts and other UN agencies to strengthen disaster coordination and information management systems in Somalia at both Federal and State levels,” Qadir added.

IOM and UNDP work to support the Government of Somalia and the Member States in building long term resilience and response to cyclical drought and emergencies, through water infrastructure, climate adaption, disaster management, durable solutions and life-saving humanitarian response projects across the country.

For more information please contact Yuko Tomita, Programme Support Coordinator, IOM Somalia:  Email:  ytomita@iom.int, or Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, UNDP Somalia. Email: keelin.fitzgerald@undp.org

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:36Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Representatives from four Federal Member States of Galmudug, Jubaland, Hirshabelle, and South West State in Somalia attended the briefing session. Photo: Tomita Yuko / IOM 2017

Representatives from the Federal Government of Somalia thanked IOM and UNDP for supporting greater coordination and information sharing in Federal Member States, and between the Member States and the Federal Government. Photo: UNDP Somalia 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Japan Supports IOM Efforts to Prevent Gender-Based Violence in Somalia

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 09:52

Mogadishu – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, with support from the Government of Japan has completed the distribution of 150 solar lanterns to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Galkayo, a district in the north-central Mudug region of Somalia, and Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital city.

According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), there are over two million internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout Somalia. As a result of both protracted and acute displacement, women and girls may be more exposed to protection risks including gender-based violence (GBV), combined with a potential dearth of health and social support services.

With support from the Government of Japan, IOM is coordinating GBV prevention and response efforts, with a focus on raising awareness and providing survivors with comprehensive psychosocial support, medical referrals and legal aid, where feasible. Last September, IOM trained staff from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Mogadishu to build their capacity in GBV case management and GBV information management systems (GBVIMS).

In early February 2018, IOM Somalia hosted a Psychological First Aid (PFA) training of Trainers (ToT) and a GBV Mainstreaming ToT in Dolow, Gedo in collaboration with the GBV working group. Facilitated by a Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist (MHPSS), the training aimed to build a multi-sectoral capacity among implementing partners from the Health, DTM, WASH and CCCM sectors on concepts around GBV, risks, the role of humanitarian actors from various sectors in prevention and mitigation and to build the capacity of field workers in crisis situations.

PFA provides humane, supportive and practical assistance for people who are distressed, in ways that respect their dignity, culture and abilities.

This week in Galkayo, female-headed households and 18 GBV survivors in Sawade, Bulo and Afarta Tanngi IDP sites received 75 solar lanterns. In Mogadishu, GBV survivors, people with disabilities and newly displaced female-headed households in Dagahweyne IDP site received the remaining 75 lanterns.

Fadumo*, one of the recipients of a solar lantern at the Gadahweyne IDP settlement, said with a smile: “I am happy to have received the lights; it will go far to supporting my family and allow me to do my chores easily at night. With the solar lantern I will have more time to study at night and early in the morning after prayers; this has brightened our nights and we are hoping for more opportunities to brighten our lives.”

To date IOM has distributed over 7,508 solar lanterns to drought-affected communities across Somalia since 2013, prioritizing female- and child-headed households.

* Name changed to protect her identity

For more information please contact the Programme Support Unit at IOM Somalia, Tel: +254715990600, Email: iomsomaliapsu@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Gender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

In Galkayo, female headed households and 18 GBV survivors in Sawade, Bulo and Afarta Tanngi IDP sites received 75 solar lanterns. Photo: Jama Hassen Abdille / IOM 

In Galkayo, female headed households and 18 GBV survivors in Sawade, Bulo and Afarta Tanngi IDP sites received 75 solar lanterns. Photo: Jama Hassen Abdille / IOM 

In Mogadishu, GBV survivors, people with disabilities and newly displaced female headed households in Dagahweyne IDP site received 75 lanterns. Photo: Ayan Mohamoud  / IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Over 1,000 Mexican Judicial Officers Trained to Improve Prosecution of Human Traffickers

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 09:52

Mexico City – This week (14/03), IOM Mexico concluded a training project which saw some 1,050 Mexican judicial officials trained, over a two-year period, on how to improve prosecution of human traffickers. In total, 35 capacity building sessions were held in 29 of the country’s 32 states.

Of the total participants, more than 50 per cent were high-level judicial officers – judges and magistrates – while the remainder were legal aides. Overall, there was a slightly higher attendance of women throughout the trainings.
When the project was initiated in 2015, Mexico’s conviction rate for trafficking in persons (TIP) cases was 13.16 per cent, with 204 convictions out of the 1,550 cases investigated from 2009 to 2014 (US Department of State’s 2015 TIP Report).

IOM Mexico carried out an in-depth assessment of jurisprudence to identify where the paradigmatic challenges rested and at what level of the prosecution process management obstacles in trafficking cases could be found. This report became the basis for the 35 training sessions delivered around the country over the last two years.

Trainings focused on basic aspects of TIP, international and national legal frameworks as well as the clear definitions of differences between TIP and other crimes. In this regard, the trainings centered on the correct identification of victims of trafficking while guaranteeing victims' protection throughout the investigation process.

A preliminary analysis of attained results shows that the training sessions were effective in terms of increasing knowledge among judicial authorities in Mexico. While pre-test approval rates reached 37 per cent, post-tests rose to 75 per cent. Furthermore, the large majority of attendees’ comments mentioned that the sessions were extremely useful.

These training sessions stand as a component of a larger project funded by the United States Department of State to monitor and combat trafficking in persons and involved the Commission of Higher Courts of Mexico (CONATRIB). The project is centered on strengthening the capacities of Mexican authorities to prevent, detect, identify, and prosecute cases of trafficking in persons guided by a human rights and gender perspective.

The Counter-Trafficking, Child Migration and Gender Unit of IOM Mexico continues to work with Mexican authorities, the private sector and civil society in order to strengthen detection, identification, and attention of victims of TIP in Mexico. As part of these efforts, IOM Mexico has promoted the development of Standard Operating Procedures in several states, as well as specific Trafficking in Persons Protocols for the Ministry of Labor and the National Institute for Migration.

For further information, please contact Rogelio Quintero at IOM Mexico, Email: rquintero@iom.int, Tel: +52 1 55 55363922; or Cesia Chavarria, Email: iommexicocomunica@iom.int, Tel: +55 5536 3922.

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: MexicoThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Mexican judicial officers attending a training session in Quintana Roo state. Photo: IOM Mexico. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency, Strathmore University Launch Solar Water Training

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 09:49

Nairobi – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has partnered with Strathmore University in Kenya to start a Solar Water Pumping course, launched on 13 March.

The course is part of the IOM-led Global Solar and Water Initiative (GLOSWI), supported by the European Union, and will be incorporated into the Strathmore Energy Research Center curriculum. Training courses will run several times each year. Other project partners include Oxfam and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The effort is aimed at building capacity among humanitarian engineers, government specialists, private sector actors and consultants working in the fields of water supply and clean energy.

“Our partnership with Strathmore University is unique in nature and will serve as a model for sharing solar water innovations with future engineering practitioners,” said IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa Jeffrey Labovitz. “We are now at a time where clean and affordable energy can increase access to water in places where in the past, access involved walking long distances.”

Across many rural communities and poor urban centers in East and Horn of Africa, millions of people suffer from a dearth of access to clean and safe water. They are often forced to trek miles to get water from streams for domestic and livestock consumption.

This initiative has already trained many water and energy specialists from various humanitarian agencies and UN bodies in East and Horn of Africa, in a bid to make the water supply more sustainable, ecological and cost-efficient in both humanitarian and development settings. Many of those trained are providing services to local communities and within settlements for refugees and internally displaced persons. 

The use of clean energy in water projects is growing exponentially in East Africa, with hundreds of millions of US dollars invested every year.

“East Africa offers huge untapped potential for providing affordable and clean water to communities who need it most,” said Jérôme Burlot, Water and Sanitation expert for EU Humanitarian Aid in East Africa. “By training more water experts, we can spread the knowledge and skills to exploit this potential.”

The course will help the trainees with hands-on training, while fostering further dialogue on best practices for effective solar water pumping in East Africa. Solar water pumping focuses on solar technology, fluid dynamics, pump mechanics, hydrology and irrigation.

Potential applications of this course include small-scale irrigation, potable water supply for institutions, community-scale water supply schemes and livestock water supply.

For more information please contact Kenneth Odiwuor, Tel: +254 722 560363, Email: kodiwuor@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: Capacity BuildingHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Connects Border Information Management Systems in Guinea

IOM - News - Ven, 03/16/2018 - 09:49

Conakry – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, earlier this week, linked two powerful border management systems enhancing its ability to monitor migration flows with six neighboring states.

At the government’s request, IOM connected its Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) system to the United States Government’s Personal Identification Secure Comparison and Evaluation System (PISCES).

“MIDAS allows Guinea to more effectively manage our borders and have a strong database for the development of its national migration policy,” said Lamine Keita, Director of the National Direction of Border Police (DCPAF).

Operational in 19 countries around the world, MIDAS helps states to regulate their borders, balancing the need for security with the economic benefits of the flow of goods and services between nations. The system collects, processes, stores and analyses traveller information in real time across an entire border network, and provides a strong statistical basis for migration-related policy development and planning. All the data collected by MIDAS is the exclusive property of the implementing nation.

IOM Guinea has been working with Guinean authorities since 2012 to overcome the challenges posed by security and border management.

As part of a USD 1,573,000 Japanese government-funded Border Management project, IOM has trained security officials, built border posts and linked the DCPAF with three border police offices through MIDAS, in Kourémalé-Guinée (Guinea-Mali), Boundou-Fourdou (Guinea-Senegal) and Pamelap (Guinea-Sierra Leone).

For further information, please contact: Lucas Chandellier at IOM Guinea, Tel. +224 628 33 86 53, Email: lchandellier@iom.int or Yohei Komura, Tel. +224 628 47 74 16, Email: ykomura@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:28Image: Region-Country: GuineaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Stranded Migrants, Refugees Return Home from War-torn Yemen: IOM

IOM - News - Gio, 03/15/2018 - 05:56
Language English

Yemen – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, continues to help stranded migrants in Yemen return home, with the latest of its humanitarian return movements taking place this week (12/03) – one from Al Hudaydah for 41 Ethiopian migrants and a Croatian migrant and the other from Aden for 144 Somali refugees.

Since March 2015, the conflict in Yemen has greatly affected both Yemenis and migrants and the closure of most of Yemen’s ports is preventing migrants from returning home on their own. Through its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme, IOM is providing transportation and return support from Yemen to the migrants’ final destinations in their home countries.

The journey for 36 Ethiopian migrants stuck in Sana’a started last Saturday (10/03), when IOM transported them by bus to the port of Al Hudaydah. There they joined a further five Ethiopian migrants, who were staying at IOM’s Migrant Response Point (MRP).

IOM’s MRP provides shelter, food, medical assistance and other humanitarian support for stranded migrants. Following exit formalities, a total of 42 migrants (41 Ethiopians and one Croatian) boarded the ship and departed from Al Hudaydah Port for Obock, Djibouti. On arrival, they were met by IOM staff, who assisted with their onward travel to Ethiopia.

On the same day (12/03), IOM in coordination with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, helped 144 Somalis refugees depart Aden to return home. This group were assisted through the Assisted Spontaneous Return programme (ASR) for Somali refugees in Yemen, which is carried out in close collaboration with the Yemeni Authority, Somali National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (NCRI) and the Somali Consulate.

“Every month, around 10,000 migrants enter Yemen. Usually their hope is to reach the Gulf countries but they often become targets of the conflict, seldom making it to their destinations,” said Khan Aseel, Officer in Charge of IOM’s Hudaydah sub-office.

“After being misled by smugglers, they are left stranded and destitute in Yemen, while also at risk of further abuse by smugglers, as well as the effects of the ongoing conflict. Migrants face a variety of dangers, from death due to starvation and dehydration during the journey to exploitation and abuse like abduction, forced labour, sexual abuse, torture and threats once in country,” said Aseel.

“After facing desperate circumstances, it is extremely important that a safe route home is available to them.  Often migrants can be overlooked during such a crisis as Yemen, but IOM is committed to providing a way for them to get home,” added Aseel.

So far in 2018, IOM has helped nearly 660 stranded migrants return home from Yemen, while in 2017, 2,860 were assisted.

IOM’s 2018 return movements from Yemen are currently funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the German Government and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

For more information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: smalme@iom.int

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 12:54Image: Region-Country: YemenDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM