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UN Migration Agency Assessment Aims to Improve Afghan Border Management as Thousands Return from Pakistan

IOM - News - Mar, 05/02/2017 - 11:00
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Afghanistan – This week, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) completed an assessment of border management capacity at Afghanistan’s two main border crossings with Pakistan.

The assessment, led by an international border management expert, will help to streamline the registration process for returnees and other migrants and identify other areas where IOM can provide support to the Afghan government.

In 2016, an unprecedented 600,000 Afghans returned from Pakistan through the Torkham border crossing in Nangarhar province and the Spin Boldak border crossing in Kandahar province.

“With returns in 2017 on track to meet or even surpass the levels of last year, it is essential to have a comprehensive understanding of the current procedures at the border, and to look at how they can be improved,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission Laurence Hart.

Over several visits to Torkham and Spin Boldak in April, the assessment team met with officials from the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, Border Police, customs officials, humanitarian actors and migrants.

Based on interviews and observations at the borders, IOM will produce an assessment report addressing key areas of administrative and operational capacity including infrastructure and

available equipment; human resources and competencies; the regulatory framework guiding relevant government agencies; procedures and workflow; capacity gaps and issues.

The assessment, which is funded by the Government of Norway, will also identify ways to enhance the integrity and security of the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation’s returnee registration process.

“The report resulting from the assessment will include short-term recommendations for streamlining registration, document security and other border procedures, as well as technical assistance needs that could be addressed by IOM over the longer term,” said IOM border management expert Erik Slavenas.

“In providing border management technical assistance, IOM pays particular attention to promoting good governance, respect of human rights and the rule of law, and the special needs of vulnerable populations in the border areas,” he added.

As a first step toward improving efficiency at the border, the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation, with the support of IOM, rolled out the Afghan Returnee Information System (ARIS) in late 2016.

ARIS, a digital registration process for both undocumented and refugee returnees, replaced a paper-based registration system. It allows for better data collection and data sharing. ARIS was funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

For further information, please contact Nasir Haidarzai at IOM Kabul, Tel. +93 794 100 542, Email: nhaidarzai@iom.int.

Posted: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 16:44Image: Region-Country: AsiaAfghanistanThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency, Iraq Ministry of the Interior Affirm Cooperation in Community Policing Programme

IOM - News - Mar, 05/02/2017 - 11:00
Language English

Iraq – IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss and Minister of Interior of the Government of Iraq, Qasim Al Araji, have both confirmed continued cooperation to assist communities affected by the ongoing conflict and to enhance security, namely through the Community Policing programme, after meeting recently in Baghdad.

The Community Policing programme is implemented by IOM in partnership with the Ministry of the Interior (MoI) to promote stability in Iraq. The Community Policing model is key to foster stabilization, especially in newly retaken areas. IOM Iraq’s current two-year project ‘Strengthening Community Policing in Iraq’, is funded by the German Government.

“IOM and the Iraqi Government have a common aim, that is, to enhance stability in Iraq. Community policing plays a major role in this effort, with the essential involvement of the Ministry of Interior," said IOM's Weiss. "We look forward to expanding our cooperation to further assist vulnerable people and communities in Iraq. We appreciate the support of the German Government to forward community policing,” he continued.

“In the Middle East, in general, the relationship between police and communities is not strong enough; citizens may feel restricted from communicating with police. In Iraq, there are problems in Mosul and Anbar and in some provinces due to a lack of trust," said Minister Araji. "The role of Community Policing is to strengthen the relationship between police and the community members and serve as a mediator among citizens, tribes, stakeholders and youth, which will lead to fuller cooperation with the police to extend security," he continued.

The Minister added: “The Ministry of the Interior is working hard to win the people’s trust through Community Policing, especially as Community Policing has a significant role after the expulsion of ISIL. The Ministry appreciates IOM’s work on strengthening community policing in Iraq.”

The programme is enhancing knowledge of Community Policing principles through trainings, workshops and conferences; it is also establishing Community Policing Forums (CPFs) that bring together representatives from local communities, police services, civil society organizations, government officials and displaced Iraqis.

The purpose of CPFs is to enhance communication and build trust between local communities and police, thereby creating a safe environment to discuss and develop strategies on security related issues. The forums address issues that concern the community and contribute to improving security through cooperation and information sharing.

A total of 49 CPFs have been established across Iraq; 34 established by IOM’s Community Policing programme, and 15 independently established by local police, building on the CPFs model. CPF locations include the retaken area of Qayara in Ninewa governorate.

Through the Community Policing programme, IOM has conducted 20 trainings, six conferences and six workshops, reaching over 1,100 police officers, community members, law enforcement, civil society and judiciary representatives.

The current project, funded by the German Government, has also provided in-kind support to community policing, including vehicles and technical, security and communication equipment.

Based on the agreement with the Iraqi MoI, IOM will rehabilitate or build additional community policing offices to improve community access to law enforcement services in the governorates of Salah al-Din, Anbar, Diyala and Ninewa and will reconstruct the Community Policing Department Headquarters in Baghdad.

The Community Policing programme is part of IOM Iraq’s integrated approach to community stabilization, which includes working with vulnerable communities and government authorities to provide light infrastructure projects and social cohesion activities, and to expand economic opportunities.

As military operations in the Mosul corridor continue, IOM is responding to resulting displacement through the provision of emergency response services including non-food item kits, shelter, livelihoods assistance, primary health care, psychosocial assistance and displacement tracking.

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has identified more than 3 million displaced Iraqis across the country since January 2014. Now six months into the Mosul military operations, cumulatively, IOM DTM has identified an estimated 424,000 individuals displaced since 17 October 2016. Of these, as of 14 April 2017 more than 97,000 have returned to their areas of origin, and as of 18 April, more than 331,000 are still displaced.

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

For further information, please contact IOM Iraq: Sandra Black, Tel. +964 751 234 2550, Email: sblack@iom.int or Zeffira Zanfagna, zzanfagna@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 16:43Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqThemes: Community StabilizationDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Egypt Releases Publication on Interpreting Economic Migration Flows

IOM - News - Mar, 05/02/2017 - 11:00
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Egypt – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) in Egypt has released a publication entitled, Promoting a Common Understanding of Migration Trends which proposes an alternative and innovative methodology for interpreting economic migration flows.

The model presented in the publication helps in building evidence-based labour market and demographic scenarios to support countries of origin and destination of labour migrants in improving managing migration flows in an economically efficient and humane way, for the benefit of all. The publication, which is now available at IOM’s Online Bookstore, is written by IOM Consultant Prof. Michele Bruni, whose research for over 20 years has focused on the development of stock and flow models and their application to the analysis of the labour market.

According to Eurostat, between 2010 and 2100 Europe’s population is projected to decline by more than 100 million (13.7 percent). Based on the same source, the region’s old age/dependency ratio – the percentage of non-working over 65-year-olds dependent on those of active working age – will nearly double to 1.9 workers per retiree by 2060, from 3.7 in 2012. This indicates an “increasing burden to provide for social expenditure related to population aging (for example, pensions, healthcare and institutional care),” according to the publication.

Conversely, countries in the Middle East and North Africa experience high youth unemployment as a result of booming fertility rates. In Egypt, every year approximately 550,000 new Egyptian workers join an already saturated labour market and many of them join the ranks of the 3.6 million unemployed.

The demographic transitions in these countries could be addressed by promoting a common understanding on how labour market needs on both sides of the Mediterranean can be aligned to plan and manage successful labour migration for the benefit of all.

The publication was made possible within the framework of IOM’s cooperation with the Government of Egypt for enhancing mobility of Egyptian citizens as an alternative to addressing labour market challenges, and in preventing irregular migration from the country, in particular among youth. “IOM Egypt established a migration unit with Egypt’s Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS), which will use the proposed model to prepare forecasts and analysis of labour market needs in Egypt and abroad,” explained Teuta Grazhdani, IOM Egypt’s Head of Labour Mobility and Human Development Unit.

The purpose is to support relevant government authorities in initiating evidence-based dialogue on labour mobility with European and non-European countries as well as promoting alternatives to irregular migration for the benefit of all, including countries of departure and arrival and, most importantly, for migrants themselves,” said Grazhdani. Within the same framework, IOM Egypt recently facilitated a two-day study visit to Berlin, Germany, for seven CAPMAS officials to better mainstream migration data into national development plans. The delegation met with the IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) and the German authorities to discuss the importance of migration data collection, and data sharing and analysis to inform policy development.

This publication is part of the “Developing Capacities for Forecasting and Planning Migration across the Mediterranean project funded by IOM’s Development Fund and implemented by IOM Egypt.

For further information, please contact Teuta Grazhdani at IOM Egypt. Tel: +202-27365140, Email: iomegypt@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 16:42Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastEgyptThemes: Migration ResearchMigration and DevelopmentDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Peru’s National Migration Policy Includes IOM’s Migration Governance Framework

IOM - News - Mar, 05/02/2017 - 11:00
Language English

Peru – The Government of Peru recently enacted a decree which approves the National Migration Policy 2017-2025, in response to the challenges of "the growing decision of millions of Peruvians to migrate to other societies and that of citizens of the whole world, who attracted by the development of the country, migrate to Peru looking for new opportunities."

This first National Migration Policy "has considered the principles, objectives and guidelines of the Migration Governance Framework" approved by IOM Member States in 2015, recognizing international human rights standards, placing the well-being and social inclusion of the migrants at the center of state policies.

Jose Ivan Davalos, IOM Peru Chief of Mission, welcomed Peru's important advances in establishing an institutional and programmatic framework for migration governance. The progress has been particularly visible since 2011 through the creation of the Intersectoral Work Group for Migration Management (MTIGM in Spanish) and recently with the modernization of migration legislation and the approval of this first National Migration Policy 2017-2025.

“The National Migration Policy recently approved is an important reference for the region and sets the agenda for more effective actions on behalf of migrants and their families,” said Davalos.

The development of the National Migration Policy was initiated in September 2015 within the framework of the joint work of the MTIGM and IOM through the project Strengthening Migration Management in Peru funded by the IOM Development Fund.

Subsequently, during 2016, IOM continued to provide technical assistance to the institutions involved in developing the National Migration Policy, as well as its Implementation Plan, which is also expected to be approved shortly.

Find more information about Peru’s decree approving the National Migration Policy 2017-2025, here: http://bit.ly/2pncSm8

For further information, please contact Ines Calderon at IOM Peru, Tel. +51 1 633 0000, Email: icalderon@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, May 2, 2017 - 16:41Image: Region-Country: AmericaPeruThemes: Migration PolicyDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix: 381,463 Migrants in Libya

IOM - News - Ven, 04/28/2017 - 08:19
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Libya - IOM, the UN Migration Agency has found that the trip to Libya is reportedly costing more for a larger proportion of migrants from Sudan and Nigeria. In 2016, 60 percent of Nigerian respondents and 41 percent of Sudanese respondents reported paying between USD 1,000 and 5,000 for their journey to Libya.

This increased to 71 percent of Nigerian respondents and 64 percent of Sudanese respondents in the first few months of 2017. This data was collected through Flow Monitoring surveys conducted among 1,314 migrants.

This data is included in the Round 8 DTM Migration information package, which presents data collected between December 2016 and March 2017. It highlights that 381,463 migrants were found to be present in Libya during that period.

The package provides a holistic overview of resident and mobile migrants in Libya. It presents data on migrants’ demographic characteristics, journeys, intentions, relations with the host community, documentation status, educational and vocational backgrounds. The data builds on Libya 2016 Migration Profiles and Trends, which was published in March.

The information package provides detailed information on where 381,463 migrants from 38 different nationalities are in Libya. It also includes a dataset, which for the first time, provides a quantification of migrants by nationality in each location. The regions of Misrata (66,660 individuals), Tripoli (53,755 individuals), and Sebha (44,750 individuals) are reported as hosting the largest number of migrants, while the main nationalities were recorded as Egyptian, Nigerien, and Chadian.

Relations were found to be poor between migrants and the host community with multiple incidents of tension in 17 percent of Libya’s municipalities. However, in 33 percent of the municipalities, migrants were reported to have a positive impact on the local labour market, contributing to a stronger economy and more jobs.

“We are working to fill in the missing link between migrants on the ground, humanitarian actors and policy-makers by providing timely and comprehensive data on migrants across the country, some of whom are transit migrants and others who live and work in Libya,” explained Daniel Salmon, IOM Libya DTM Programme Coordinator. “The report synthesises this information in a digestible format; however, anyone interested in doing any further analysis is highly encouraged to use our datasets, which we make available to the public to use.”

New indicators were added to gather data from key informants on the documentation status of most migrants in their localities as part of efforts to obtain greater data on migrant vulnerabilities. Migrants appeared to have a valid residence document or work permit in less than 20 percent of all cases; with migrants who had been in Libya for a year or more being most likely to have access to a residence permit (in 17 percent of all neighbourhoods reporting).

The Flow Monitoring surveys also indicated that migrants departing from Senegal, Burkina Faso and Nigeria are increasing their use of routes through Algeria rather than Niger to reach Libya as compared to 2016. As an example, 21 percent of migrants who departed from Senegal reported coming to Libya through Algeria and 70 percent reported coming through Niger as compared to 2016 when 85 percent of those departing from Senegal had reported using routes through Niger.

DTM’s Mobility Tracking module provides regular updates to Libya’s baseline on internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and migrants in the country. DTM also publishes data on migrant flows in Libya through its Flow Monitoring reports and provides bi-weekly updates on displacement-related incidents through its Displacement Event Tracker.

All reports, methodologies and datasets are available at www.globaldtm.info/libya

For further information, please contact IOM Libya, Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +21629600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Daniel Salmon, Tel: +21629235097, Email: dsalmon@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:33Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastLibyaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals: 43,357 in 2017; Deaths: 1,089

IOM - News - Ven, 04/28/2017 - 08:19
Language English

Switzerland IOM, the UN Migration Agency reports that 43,357 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 26 April, over 80 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece. This compares with 182,022 arrivals through 26 April 2016.

IOM Greece reported on Thursday that authorities have no new information about as many as 12 missing migrants who were believed to have been on a boat that capsized off Lesvos earlier this week. IOM had reported seven migrants still missing from the incident in which two survivors were rescued – one an expectant mother. Some media this week reported at least 12 passengers remain missing. According to IOM staff, among those rescued or lost were nationals from Syria, Cameroon and Congo.

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported Thursday on information received this week on the remains of 15 migrants buried Wednesday in Bani Walid, north of the city of Alshwareef, one of the cities along the migratory route leading from Libya’s southern borders with Algeria and Niger.

She said “Many migrants travel through the area of Bani Walid and the city of Alshawareef on their way to the capital, Tripoli, and other western coastal cities. The bodies were found along the road or in valleys according to a local NGO in the area that assists the hospital with handling the bodies.”

Before being buried in the local cemetery, the remains of 15 migrants had been kept at the hospital as there was no space in the morgue. According to a local source, at least one victim was shot to death; others succumbed from sickness or from injuries suffered during the journey, such as falling off trucks, Petré said.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project reports that there have been 1,633 fatalities through 26 April (see chart, below), with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – about two thirds of the global total. Nonetheless, this comes to 620 fewer fatalities than were reported up to the same point in 2016. However, these data do not account for full reporting from North Africa and the Horn of Africa, two migration corridors where data collection tends to take longer than in other regions.

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:

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

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

For further information please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
IOM Greece: Alexandra Flessa, Tel: +30 210 99 12 174  Email: aflessa@iom.int
or Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int
or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int  or Christine Petré, Tel. (Direct): +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int or Ashraf Hassan, Tel +216 29 794707, Email: ashassan@iom.int

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

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Libya Helps 421 Stranded African Migrants Return Home

IOM - News - Ven, 04/28/2017 - 08:19
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Libya - On 25 April, IOM, the UN Migration Agency helped 253 stranded Nigerian migrants – 148 women and 105 men – return home to Nigeria from Libya. The group included six children, five infants and two medical cases. Most of the migrants (235) had been detained in Trig al Seka and Abu Slim detention centres in Tripoli, with the remainder living in urban areas.

On 27 April, more migrants were assisted back home as 164 men and 4 women, including 20 unaccompanied migrant children returned to The Gambia with IOM support.  

Both charter flights departed Tripoli’s Mitiga airport and were coordinated with the Libyan authorities, the Nigerian embassy and the Gambian Consulate, respectively. IOM colleagues in the countries of origin also helped upon arrival.

IOM also provided pre-departure interviews, medical check-ups and facilitated exit visas for the passengers. Prior to departure the migrants also received further assistance including non-food item (NFI) kits and shoes.

Among the stranded Nigerian migrants were eight victims of trafficking, six unaccompanied children, a nine-month old baby and two medical cases, escorted by IOM’s medical team.

Forty-three of the most vulnerable cases on the Nigerian flight and 26 of the Gambian migrants were eligible for reintegration support once back home. This assistance will provide an opportunity for the migrants to start fresh by, for example, opening a small business or continuing with their education.

Wendy* had travelled to Libya to pursue her dream as a hairdresser. In Libya, she instead found work as a housekeeper but was victim of a horrendous fire that broke out in her employer’s house. Wendy, who suffered serious burns, returned home to Nigeria, with the help of an IOM medical escort.

The two charter flights are part of IOM’s assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programme which was funded by the European Union, Kingdom of the Netherlands and the US Department of State.

So far in 2017, IOM Libya has helped 2,924 stranded migrants return to their countries of origin. Of those, 588 were eligible for reintegration assistance.

*All migrant names have been changed to protect their identities.

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


Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:31Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastLibyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationMigrant AssistanceDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Bangladesh’s ‘Digital Island’ Bridges Services Gap

IOM - News - Ven, 04/28/2017 - 08:19
Language English

Bangladesh - The Government of Bangladesh, Korea Telecom (KT) and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, yesterday inaugurated a USD 2.2 million ‘digital island project’, which aims to provide better access to health, education and e-commerce services to the 321,218 people who live on the remote island of Moheshkhali.

The island, located in Bangladesh’s southeast district of Cox’s Bazar, is one of the country’s poorest and most remote areas. It has a population density of 900 people per square kilometre, but only 11 physicians for every 2,000 people and an average literacy rate of 30 percent, compared with a national average of 70 percent.

The main issue is staffing. The Government has built enough schools and clinics to cover the population’s needs, but the facilities remain chronically short-staffed. Teachers, doctors and many inhabitants do not want to live in the remote area due to lack of reliable power, jobs and a bridge that connects them to the mainland. Many residents migrate abroad in search of work, often putting their lives in danger.

The Government has partnered with IOM and KT to resolve these issues through the launch of the digital island project, an extension of the Government’s Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021. The 2021 plan aims to improve the quality of its provision of services across the country through technological advances and new partnerships to reach out to its 160 million inhabitants.

KT pioneered the digital island concept in South Korea two years ago and was invited to replicate its success in Bangladesh. The company has installed a fibre optic cable on Moheshkhali that now provides high speed internet to 30 percent of the island’s population or three of the island’s eight union councils.

KT acted as the project designer and equipment technology provider with IOM as the project coordinator. The UN Migration Agency was active in the community before the project materialized due to its ongoing work to stem irregular migration from the area.

“Today’s launch is one more step towards the Digital Bangladesh Vision 2021, when we will have a prosperous and equitable middle-income Bangladesh by our golden jubilee of independence. What has been done on the Island of Moheshkhali can be replicated in other hard-to-reach areas of the country, so that all corners of the country can benefit from the digital revolution,” said Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, addressing the inauguration via video link.

“I am grateful to the Government of Bangladesh for entrusting IOM with this project and supporting it since its inception. I believe that this pilot scheme can set an example and show how the use of technology in remote areas can really bring about social change,” said IOM Bangladesh Chief of Mission and Special Envoy to India, Sarat Dash.

KT’s Chief Executive Chang-Gyu Hwang, who spoke from South Korea using the new network, thanked the Government for its support. “Information and communication technology (ICT) plays a prominent role in developing communities and creating better lives. This project will be a good model for other areas in Bangladesh and even other countries that experience social and digital gaps,” he noted.

In education, the project has enabled the start of teaching English to about 2,000 students across three primary schools this month with the help of e-learning services provided by three teachers from the Jangoo Foundation in Dhaka. Teachers and students interact with each other in real time via digital equipment that includes cameras, projectors and a computer in a specially designed classroom. The e-learning programme will be extended to another 10 primary schools and two madrasas by the end of July, reaching a total of about 9,000 students.

In health matters, the project is first targeting maternal and neonatal child health needs, given the chronic shortage of female doctors. The project has introduced portable handheld ultrasonic devices in four community clinics and in the Upazila Health Complex that will allow specialist doctors in big cities, such as Dhaka or Chittagong, to diagnose difficult pregnancies and other complications in real-time. This will help reduce the maternal mortality rate, which, at 18 deaths per 10,000 people every year, is above the Bangladesh national average of 17 deaths per 10,000 people.

The project also aims to develop an additional USD 1 million e-commerce element, funded by the Korean International Cooperation Agency, to help farmers connect directly with consumers.

Betel leaf farmer Mohammed Gafun Alam, aged 40, believes he can increase his profit by 67 percent or an extra 100,000 taka (USD 1,200) a year by selling directly to retail customers via an e-commerce portal. He plans to attend training classes provided by the Government and its partners. “If I can sell to Dhaka or another Upazila, I can earn more,” said Alam, who currently only sells his product at a local market twice a week.

A newly renovated community IT space will ensure that islanders can access IT training classes to promote equitable adoption of the new technology and to create a space for online surfing and exploration.

Finally, the project hopes to create new job opportunities in the local community by teaching interested residents how to care for the 19 kilometers of fibre optic cable and the related technology equipment that KT has provided. Classes will be conducted at a KT-renovated learning centre.

KT and IOM hope to hand over management of the entire digital island project to the local community by June 2019.

For further information please contact Shirin Akhter, IOM Bangladesh, Tel: +880 2 55044811-13, Email: sakhter@iom.int. Or Ryung Shim, IOM South Korea, Tel: +82 70 4820 2783, Email: rshim@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: AsiaBangladeshThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Promotes Disaster Preparedness, Safe Shelter Awareness in Papua New Guinea

IOM - News - Ven, 04/28/2017 - 08:19
Language English

Papua New Guinea - IOM, the UN Migration Agency and Humanitarian Benchmark Consulting have delivered a ‘Training of Trainers’ workshop on humanitarian response, camp coordination and camp management, shelter and settlements, and disaster risk management in Lae, Papua New Guinea, for national and provincial government officials from seven provinces.

The workshop, which highlighted the importance of safe shelter in effective disaster risk management, was followed by four trainings on Participatory Approach on Safe Shelter Awareness (PASSA) for at-risk communities in Morobe, Oro, Autonomous Region of Bougainville (ARoB) and Milne Bay provinces.

The workshop and trainings, which were funded by USAID, were attended by a total of 163 participants (142 men and 21 women) from national and provincial government and local communities. The Departments of Provincial and Local Government Affairs, National Planning and Monitoring, and Works and Implementation were represented.

Participants for the provincial and community level trainings were drawn from Morobe, Madang, Oro, East New Britain, West New Britain, ARoB and Milne Bay provinces – areas selected based on their proneness to natural hazards.

The PASSA trainings will help the Government and communities to better mitigate the risks of extreme weather and natural hazards by increasing their awareness of the vulnerability of shelter and settlements in Papua New Guinea.

As part of the training, participants identified historical events, disaster trends and the current situation in their locations in relation to disasters. Based on this analysis, they then mapped out potential hazards, identified existing vulnerabilities and possible impacts, and developed strategies for safe shelter.

IOM PNG Emergency and Disaster Coordinator, Wonesai Sithole, noted: “The objective of the PASSA training is to raise shelter awareness in communities, so that community members can identify the risks affecting their shelters. Through self-examination, they can diagnose their shelter problems and solve them using their own methodology and resources.”

The PNG National Disaster Centre’s Assistant Director Disaster Risk Management, Kaigabu Kamnanaya, said that communities should not only construct shelters that can withstand the impact of disasters, but also they need to analyze potential hazards to determine what measures should be taken in each situation.

“When it comes to disasters, the community needs to determine if it is safe to stay in your current location or if you need to move to safer areas to minimize the impact on your shelter,” he noted.

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

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: AsiaPapua New GuineaThemes: Disaster Risk ReductionDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Australian Assistant Minister Visits Thai-Myanmar Border Refugee Camp

IOM - News - Ven, 04/28/2017 - 08:19
Language English

Thailand - On 27 April, Australian Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Zed Seselja, visited the Mae La refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border, which hosts over 42,000 mainly Karen refugees from Myanmar.

Seselja, who was accompanied by officials from the Australian Department of Social Services and the Australian Embassy, toured the camp, visiting a vocational training school, a monastery and a library, and met an Australia-bound refugee family in their home.

Australia, which has the third largest refugee resettlement programme after the United States and Canada, accepted 13,049 refugees for resettlement in 2016 – 1,310 of them from Thailand.

Since 2004, it has received nearly 13,000 refugees from Thailand, almost all of them from camps on the Thai-Myanmar border.

The Assistant Minister also took part in an Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) class with 18 Karen refugees at the IOM Refugee Processing Centre in the neighbouring town of Mae Sot. The five-day AUSCO programme, which is run by IOM, provides refugees with practical knowledge of Australian culture and society and prepares them for life in their new country.

“As a multicultural society with a long history of immigration, Australia is proud to be a global leader in providing humanitarian assistance to refugees. The course you just completed will help you settle into new lives in Australia,” he told the refugees.

AUSCO was established in 2003 and classes are held for all Australia-bound refugees worldwide prior to their departure. Its Global Office is hosted by IOM Thailand and to date the programme has assisted close to 80,000 people worldwide.  

For further information, please contact Constanze Voelkel-Hutchison, IOM Thailand, Tel: +66 2 343 9360, Email: cvoelkel@iom.int or Reuben Lim, Tel: +66 2 343 9370, Email: rlim@iom.int.

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:28Image: Region-Country: AsiaThailandThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesResettlementDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM, EU Experts Train Chinese Police, Officials to Aid Victims of Human Trafficking

IOM - News - Ven, 04/28/2017 - 08:19
Language English

China - A two-day workshop on international standards for identifying and assisting victims of trafficking took place in Nanning, China, this week. It targeted Chinese police officers and officials and was organized by IOM, the UN Migration Agency under the framework of its European Union-funded EU-China Dialogue on Migration and Mobility Support Project.

The workshop, which followed a similar training in Nanjing in November 2016, was attended by approximately 85 Chinese police officers and provincial officials from the Ministry of Public Security and other ministries.

The training aimed to enhance the capacity of Chinese officials to identify, protect and assist victims of trafficking and to further strengthen working-level cooperation between EU and Chinese counter-trafficking stakeholders.

Topics addressed included the international legal frameworks on counter-trafficking; the principles, guidelines and screening tools for the identification of trafficked victims; and Chinese and European perspectives on protection and assistance to victims.

The trainers included experts from EUROPOL and EU Member States (Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden) and IOM in China.

Nicole Voorhuis, a Senior Public Prosecutor from the Netherlands and one of the trainers, highlighted the importance of this kind of international cooperation in combating trafficking, “Human trafficking is a complex crime that is both domestic and transnational in character. Consequently we need international cooperation to tackle it as we are stronger, smarter, and have greater capacity when we work together,” she said.

The workshop also provided an opportunity for participants to discuss case studies and international best practices in the identification of victims, protection, direct assistance and the management of shelters.

For further information, please contact Etienne Micallef at the IOM Liaison Office to China, Tel: + 86 138 1120 9875   Email: emicallef@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:27Image: Region-Country: AsiaChinaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Kenya Launches Revised Immigration Border Procedures Manual

IOM - News - Ven, 04/28/2017 - 07:59
Language English

Kenya - On 27 April, the Government of Kenya, with the support of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, launched the revised Immigration Border Procedures and Operations Manual reflecting new immigration laws, policies and procedure. The Manual was first developed in 2006 and later revised in 2010 to accommodate further changes.

Instability, radicalization and armed conflict in neighbouring countries have also influenced recent immigration policy in Kenya. Since 2010, the Government has enacted new immigration laws and policies, key among them: the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011, the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act Regulations 2012, the East African Community (EAC) Common Market Protocol in 2010, and the EAC One Stop Border Posts Act 2016.

In 2014, the Government amended the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, under Section 75 of the Security Laws (Amendment) Act by adding Section 5A-5D to establish Border Control and Operations Co-ordination Committee (BCOCC) to enhance border efficiency and inter-agency coordination in border management.

“The revised Manual will aid border officials in tackling a myriad of migration challenges facing Kenya,” said Gordon Kihalangwa, the Director of Immigration Services, speaking at the launch in Nairobi. “Human trafficking, terrorism, and document fraud are some of the complex challenges we are currently facing at our border posts,” he said.

“The Manual is a result of reassessing immigration and border management against a backdrop of evolving migration trends, policies, profiles, legislations and regulations,” said Mike Pillinger, Head of IOM Kenya. “It pools pertinent up-to-date policies and procedures for the guidance of immigration officers in their daily work at the border posts across Kenya and headquarters in Nairobi,” he continued.

“The revised Manual is a significant step towards the enhancement of border management in Kenya,” said Yoshihiro Katayama Minister-Counsellor, Embassy of Japan, speaking at the launch. “Enhancement of better border management in Kenya means it will help the country mitigate security risks and reduce anxiety,” he said.

The revision of the Immigration Border Procedures and Operations Manual is an activity under the Immigration and Border Management (IBM) project that IOM is implementing in partnership with the Department of Immigration Services of the Government of Kenya, supported by funding from the Government of Japan.

For further information, please contact Etsuko Teranishi-Inoue, Tel: +254708988903, Email: eteranishi@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:26Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastKenyaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Distributes Aid to Displaced in Far North Region of Cameroon

IOM - News - Ven, 04/28/2017 - 07:58
Language English

Cameroon - On 25 April 2017, IOM, the UN Migration Agency and its implementing partner Saheli, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), began a week-long distribution of core relief items and shelter kits to displaced people in the Far North Region of Cameroon. This activity took place within the framework of an ongoing emergency assistance programme under USAID/OFDA funding. 

The operation began with a ceremony, presided over by Alifa Abba Abakoura, the Head of Saheli. The traditional leader or ‘boulama’ and representatives of the displaced communities in Maladock and Ngaga also made remarks. 

During the ceremony, Abakoura explained that the selection of beneficiaries for distribution was based on a vulnerability evaluation conducted in the region. As such, preference was given to the most vulnerable members of the communities, including pregnant and breast-feeding women, widows/widowers, female- and child-headed households and elderly persons.

Some 726 women and 671 men were reached on the first day of distribution, which took place in Maladock and Ngaga villages in the Logone Birni District in Cameroon’s Far North Region. The distribution was followed by a training session given by Saheli representatives for the recipients on tent construction, hygiene and water purification tactics.

“These people are exposed to all the elements and to all kinds of disease. They are finally receiving some crucial items to help protect themselves,” said Emet Hassen, ‘boulama’ of the area.

By 30 April 2017, 1,390 out of 1,600 kits will have been distributed in Fotokol, Waza and Makary.

For further information, please contact Cecilia Mann in IOM Cameroon, Tel: +237 69 179 40 50, Email: cmann@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:29Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastCameroonThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Humanitarian Catastrophe Looms in Yemen with Over 3.3 Million Displaced Since Crisis Began

IOM - News - Mar, 04/25/2017 - 11:21
Language English

Yemen - Yemen has become the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. In total, 18.8 million people need humanitarian or protection assistance. Since 2015, of the 3.3 million people who have been forced to flee their homes to seek safety, two million remain displaced and nearly 1.3 million have returned to the governorates they originated from. With no end in sight for the conflict, displacement is set to continue to increase.

Today (25 April), the United Nations and the governments of Switzerland and Sweden host a High-level Pledging Event in Geneva, Switzerland, for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen. Laura Thompson, the Deputy Director General of the UN Migration Agency, is attending this event.

“We cannot close our eyes to the mobility dimensions of this crisis. IOM has, since the escalation of violence in 2015, scaled up its response in Yemen to assist displaced populations and host communities,” said Ambassador Thompson. “In 2017, IOM is committed to doing more and will continue to deliver life-saving humanitarian aid, with a specific focus on the immediate and longer-term needs of migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the conflict and natural disaster affected communities in Yemen,” she continued.

Years of poverty, underdevelopment, environmental decline, intermittent conflict, and weak rule of law – including widespread violations of human rights – have contributed to over five years of crisis. The breakdown of basic services and institutions, such as hospitals, galloping poverty, environmental decline and collapse of the agricultural sector have all further compounded the situation. The conflict and its economic consequences are also driving a food crisis. Over 17 million people are currently food insecure, of whom 6.8 million require immediate food assistance.

The crisis in Yemen is not only characterized by conflict but also by natural disaster-induced large-scale displacement and complex external migration flows and mobility patterns.

Yemen has a complex migratory status, as a country of origin, transit, and destination. Regular migration flows between the Horn of Africa and Yemen have surged, with 10,000 migrants entering the country each month, as a result of the complex realities of political and economic dynamics in the region. The number of migrants has overwhelmed available resources. In addition to those staying in Yemen, many migrants transit under alarming conditions through war-torn Yemen to Saudi Arabia in search of work, and are often victims of smuggling rings and other criminal networks.

The co-hosts and participants in the High-Level Pledging Event aim to avert a humanitarian catastrophe by raising USD 2.1 billion needed to deliver crucial food, nutrition, health and other lifesaving assistance in Yemen.

As part of the inter-agency humanitarian response plan, IOM is seeking USD 76.3 million in funding to carry out migrant assistance and protection, child protection, shelter support, water and sanitation activities, health and mental health support, food assistance, displacement tracking, efforts to combat gender-based violence and victim support and early recovery activities. IOM has the highest coverage of any UN organization in Yemen with operations in 20 of the 22 governorates and over 600 staff. Read IOM’s strategy for Yemen 2017-2018 here.

“We therefore commit and call on partners to unite behind a holistic and robust humanitarian response; for governments to support and commit to political dialogue towards ending this crisis, and for the parties to the conflict to facilitate immediate, timely and unimpeded humanitarian access,” continued Ambassador Thompson. “More needs to be done before the situation in Yemen reaches a point of no return,” she concluded.                     

For further information, please contact Laurent de Boeck, IOM Yemen, Tel: +967 736 777 915, Email: ldeboeck@iom.int or Olivia Headon at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 403 53 65, Email: oheadon@iom.int


Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 17:18Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastYemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

D.R. Congo: Kasai Emergency Response Benefits from Initial UN Migration Agency Funding

IOM - News - Mar, 04/25/2017 - 11:17
Language English

Democratic Republic of the Congo - The UN Migration Agency Director General William Lacy Swing has approved the release of USD 100,000 from the agency’s Operational Support Income budget to kick-start relief operations for more than 1.1 million people displaced by widespread hostilities to the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s south central Kasai region. 

An upsurge in the fighting between Government forces and tribal militias in the provinces of Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental, Lomani and Sankuru has affected up to 2.4 million people with more than 11,000 Congolese having fled to neighbouring Angola. 

“This internal funding allows us to cover a crucial period between the start-up of our emergency operations for the Kasais and the donor response,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s DRC Chief of Mission. “We continue to work with our UN, Congolese and Angolan counterparts to see whether it is possible to launch a cross-border emergency relief operation to reach southern areas of the Kasai, which until now remain inaccessible because of widespread insecurity and a poor network of roads.”

IOM is also coordinating with CARITAS and other Congolese humanitarian actors that have a presence on the ground to see whether they can help with the distribution of shelter and non-food items, some of which might be procured in Angola.

The IOM mission in the DRC is also preparing to position Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) experts in its Mbuji Mayi Office in Kasai Oriental to help track and monitor displacements and population mobility, including returnees from Angola. The mission is also planning to deploy additional specialists in shelter and camp coordination and camp management to support the nascent international humanitarian response.

The UN Migration Agency is also looking at ways to build on an on-going Japanese-funded programme that strengthens and improves local capacities to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks and other public health occurrences along the border with Angola. 

“The challenges that we and other humanitarians are facing in the parts of the Kasai bordering Angola are considerable,” said Chauzy. “Internal displacements and the return of more than 11,000 Congolese from Angola are exacerbating existing vulnerabilities, including the risks of epidemic outbreak.”

The conflict in central Kasai broke out in 2016 following the refusal of the central Government to recognize the customary authority of Chief Kamwina Nsapu – later killed in a clash with soldiers. Since then, the crisis has spread to seven of the 16 territories in the region, with all sides to the conflict committing indiscriminate acts of violence against the civilian population.

For further information, please contact Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM Kinshasa, Tel: +243 827 339 827, Email: jpchauzy@iom.int.


Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 17:10Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastDemocratic Republic of the CongoThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency, Partners Redouble Efforts to ‘End Malaria for Good’

IOM - News - Mar, 04/25/2017 - 11:09
Language English

Switzerland - Today (25 April), IOM, the UN Migration Agency joins the World Health Organization (WHO), the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and other partners to End Malaria for Good, and bring attention to how the burden of malaria continues to be greatest in the least developed parts of the world and among those with low socioeconomic status.

According to WHO, at the start of 2016, nearly half the world’s population was still at risk of malaria. There is, therefore, an urgent need to pursue multi-sectoral efforts to achieve by 2030 such targets as reducing the rate of new malaria cases by at least 90 percent, eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries, and preventing a resurgence of infection in malaria-free countries.

As the global health community renews its commitment to action against malaria, it is important to bear in mind that several groups of migrants, mobile populations and travellers remain at disproportionately high risk for malaria, including drug and insecticide resistance.

Countries aiming for malaria-free status cannot do so without addressing equitable provision of health services, including health education, accessible diagnosis and effective treatment for migrants, especially those living or working in endemic areas.

In this regard, the Director of IOM’s Migration Health Division, Dr. Davide Mosca said: “Goals, milestones and targets of the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030 cannot be achieved if migrants and mobile populations are left behind in malaria prevention, treatment and care programmes.”

Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) resistance is also a growing concern. According to the WHO World Malaria Report of 2016, parasite resistance to artemisinin – the core compound of the best available antimalarial medicines – has now been detected in five countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), namely Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam and Myanmar. In these countries, IOM missions are engaged in malaria programmes with funding support from donors such as the Asian Development Bank, the Global Fund and the IOM Development Fund.

Any regional elimination efforts will need to provide continuous, coordinated and comprehensive malaria services to all populations throughout the GMS regardless of their immigration status, rather than a piecemeal approach to geographical borders and local populations that reside within. 

Similarly, in the context of crises due to conflicts or natural disasters, there is often an urgent need to provide outbreak response services. For example, in South Sudan in 2016, IOM scaled up resources to respond to an upsurge in malaria cases at the UN protection of civilians (PoC) site in Bentiu, South Sudan. 

During June 2016, malaria cases had more than doubled, accounting for at least 50 percent of all health consultations at IOM’s two primary health care clinics in the site and its mobile clinic in nearby Bentiu town. IOM worked in coordination with the Health Cluster and Population Services International (PSI) and registered all households in the site to receive mosquito nets (49,342 nets distributed to 18,010 households) to prevent further malaria transmission.

“Member States and the international community are collaborating to advance the global refugee and migrant agenda through the Global Compacts, and working together on the health and migration targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). IOM stands ready to cooperate closely with partners, as well as migrant communities and affected populations, to ensure that the needs and vulnerabilities of migrants and mobile populations are well addressed in reaching the ambitious goal to end malaria for good,” said Dr. Mosca.
You can read or find out more about IOM’s work with malaria-affected migrant communities at: health.iom.int/migration-human-mobility-malaria.  
For further information, please contact Dr. Poonam Dhavan at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 9546, Email: pdhavan@iom.int


Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 17:05Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Migration HealthDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Humanitarian Needs Spike for Thousands Displaced in Wau, South Sudan

IOM - News - Mar, 04/25/2017 - 11:04
Language English

South Sudan - IOM, the UN Migration Agency and partners are responding to an influx of more than 22,000 displaced persons in and around Wau town, South Sudan, since the upsurge of violence on 10 April 2017. The influx is stretching existing humanitarian resources and space to shelter displaced families is running out. Needs in the area have remained high since clashes in mid-2016 displaced more than 42,000 people.

A population count on 21 April identified over 16,400 new internally displaced persons (IDPs) sheltering at the UN protection of civilians (PoC) site adjacent to the UN Mission’s South Sudan base, bringing the site’s total population to over 41,700 people. New arrivals are living in very crowded conditions in service areas, along roads and near drainage and sanitation facilities.

Over the weekend, the IOM constructed emergency shelters in a contingency area to relocate families living in the most vulnerable areas. Additional water points and emergency shelters will be constructed in an area previously designated for food distributions, where most new arrivals have settled and built makeshift shelters.

Asunta and her family of five, including three children and her disabled mother, are one such family who, since last week, live in a shelter covered only by a bed sheet and along a crowded access road. “It took us two hours to walk here, carrying only a few things with us as we fled from our house,” she said.

Asunta’s family had been living in the PoC site from the beginning of fighting in late June 2016 until February 2017 when they decided to return to their house in town. However, fearful of the violence that occurred on 10 April, they once again left their home to seek protection at the PoC site.

The Cathedral collective centre also saw a large influx of IDPs over the past two weeks, with as many as 5,000 to 7,000 new arrivals moving to the site. An estimated 15,000 people are currently sheltering in the site.

Amid increased levels of need, relief agencies continue to provide safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health care and psychosocial support across the six displacement sites in Wau town. IOM’s primary health care clinics at the PoC site and Cathedral and Nazareth collective centres have seen a 46 percent increase in consultations over the past week alone.

Of the more than 7.5 million people in South Sudan in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 4.9 million of them face severe food insecurity due to displacement, conflict and economic decline. Since the crisis erupted in December 2013, 3.4 million people have been displaced from their homes, including an estimated 1.9 million IDPs across the country.

For further information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 912 379 793. Email: amclaughlin@iom.int.



Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:59Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth SudanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Top 43,000 in 2017; Deaths: 1089

IOM - News - Mar, 04/25/2017 - 10:56
Language English

Switzerland - IOM, the UN Migration Agency reports that 43,204 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 23 April, over 80 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece. 

IOM Greece reported Monday the deaths and disappearances of 23 migrants or refugees over the weekend off the island of Lesvos in waters between Greece and Turkey. Hellenic authorities reported finding the remains of nine people while Turkish officials reported finding the remains of seven others. There were two survivors and indications of at least seven more people missing. One of the survivors was an expectant mother who was taken to a local hospital.

These deaths nearly tripled the number – from 14 to 37 – of men, women and children known to have died this year on the Eastern Mediterranean route. That figure is barely 10 percent of the total recorded at this time last year, when 376 migrants or refugees were known to have died trying to enter Greece by sea from Turkey. Arrival numbers for the Greek islands also was much higher last year: more than 154,000 through 23 April, compared to just 4,843 this year.

These new deaths on the Mediterranean bring to 1,089 the total number of deaths on the Mediterranean where passage from North Africa to Europe continues to be the deadliest route migrants ply anywhere on Earth, according to data prepared by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project. Over the past week IOM has recorded the deaths of over 100 migrants trying to reach Europe through Spain or Italy after sailing from the North African coast.

So far this year, 36,851 migrants or refugees entered Italy by sea, a nearly 45 percent increase over the total number of arrivals coming to Italy by the Central Mediterranean route last year at this time (see chart below).

Over the weekend IOM also responded to allegations from some quarters that governments and private humanitarian groups, by supporting rescue vessels to assist migrants and refugees, were inadvertently abetting irregular migration by acting as a “pull factor” for people seeking opportunity in Europe. Others have raised the specter of rescue ship operators working in collusion with smuggling groups. 

“We know for a fact that the presence of ships in the Mediterranean does not constitute a ‘pull factor’ that incites migration. Such criticism reminds us of the comments made against the Mare Nostrum Operation – led by the Italian Navy in 2014 – which also was attacked as a ‘pull factor.’ In fact, when the Operation was ended, without being substituted by any other rescue mission, we registered an increase of migrant departures from Libya, and sadly an increase of deaths at sea, too,” said Federico Soda, chief of IOM’s Mediterranean mission.

He added: “The intervention of rescue operators, the great work and combined efforts that NGOs have brought forward in the Central Mediterranean was essential to save thousands of lives.”

NGOs came into play in 2014, first with the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) that started to patrol the water zone between Libya and Italy, carrying out its first rescue operations. The presence of NGOs in the Central Mediterranean then expanded throughout 2015 and even more so in 2016, thanks to the interventions of organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), SOS Mediterranée, Jugend Retter, Proactiva Open Arms, Save the Children, Sea Watch, and Boat Refugee.

IOM Rome spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo reported that the most extensive search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean today occur close to Libyan waters, and are carried out by the many NGOs patrolling the Central Mediterranean area with their ships. The second largest rescue entity is the Italian Coast Guard, and its rescue ships under Triton. Then there are the vessels operating under EUNAVFOR MED and, lastly, commercial ships that sometimes are called on for help in rescuing migrants on dinghies that are adrift or sinking.

Di Giacomo said that in 2016 alone, of a total of 181,436 rescued migrants who were brought to safety in Italy, NGOs saved the lives of 49,796. The Italian Navy rescued 36,084 migrants, followed by the Italian Coast Guard and the ships financed by Frontex (35,875 rescued migrants), EUNAVFOR MED (22,885 rescued), the Frontex agency – except Italian vessels – (13,616 rescued), the commercial ships with 13,888 and, lastly, foreign military ships with 7,404 rescued migrants.

In the first months of 2017, the Libyan Coast Guard also increased its life saving activities compared to the same period last year. Their interventions, also aided by emergency rescues carried out by local fishermen, saved the lives of well over 4,000 people.

“Pointing at rescue ships as a ‘pull factor’ is thus very misleading; we should focus on the ‘push factors’ that keep sending thousands of migrants away from their lands,” Soda said. “We should focus on the worsening of life conditions in Libya, where there is an increasing number of people fleeing for their lives after being targets of violence and abuse.”

Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM Regional Director for the EU based in Brussels, backed those comments and touched on the debate around allegations of collusion between NGOs and smugglers. “IOM believes the discussion should be put back on track: Saving lives is the paramount consideration and responsibility of all actors involved, and we are worried that this has taken a back seat to other concerns,” Ambrosi said. “That deaths at sea are trending at record levels this year indicates that something is very wrong.”

Ambrosi added: “We are not aware of any proven case of collusion between smugglers and NGO rescue-at-sea operators and we feel it is unhelpful to fuel perceptions that equate or conflate profit-seeking criminal interests who put lives at risk with non-profit entities working to saves lives at sea.” 

He concluded: “However, we cannot be naïve. The fact that NGO rescue vessels operate so close to Libyan waters may be exploited by smugglers. This does not however constitute deliberate collusion, but draws attention to the need to better define the role and rules of NGOs and EU assets in the overarching goal of making sure that no one dies at sea.”

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project reports that there have been 1,616 fatalities through 23 April (see chart, below), with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – about two thirds of the global total. Nonetheless this comes to 637 fewer fatalities than were reported up to the same point in 2016. However, these data do not account for full reporting from North Africa and the Horn of Africa, two migration corridors where data collection tends to be slower than in other regions. 

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic: http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170425_Mediterranean_Update.pdf

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

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

For further information please contact:

Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17, Email: sschneider@iom.int
IOM Yemen, Saba Malme, Sana’a, Tel: + 967 736 800 329 (mobile), Email: smalme@iom.int
IOM Greece, Alexandra Flessa, Tel: +30 210 99 12 174  Email: aflessa@iom.int or Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int, or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey, Tel. (Direct): +90 (0)312 454 3048,  Mobile: +90 (533) 698 7285, Email: adwommoh@iom.int or Mazen Aboulhosn, Tel: +9031245 51202, Email: maboulhosn@iom.int
IOM Libya, Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int  or Christine Petré, Tel. (Direct):  +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int or Ashraf Hassan, Tel: +216 29 794707, Email: ashassan@iom.int
IOM Niger, Alberto Preato, Tel: +227 8053 5933, E-mail: apreato@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int

For information or interview requests in French:

Florence Kim, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:50Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Director General Commends South Africa’s Progressive Approach to Migration

IOM - News - Mar, 04/25/2017 - 10:50
Language English

South Africa - IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s Director General, William Lacy Swing arrived in South Africa on 20 April, for a two-day visit during which he met with ministers, donors and colleagues from United Nations agencies in South Africa.

On Thursday morning (20/04), Ambassador Swing met with the Minister of Home Affairs, Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize, to discuss IOM’s support to South Africa’s Border Management Authority, migration data management, collaboration on Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR), regional cooperation on issues related to migration, including the recent White Paper on International Migration for South Africa.

“South Africa’s White Paper is very progressive and sets an example for a comprehensive approach to migration, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Migration Governance Framework adopted by IOM Member States in 2015 and of which South Africa is part,” Ambassador Swing said.

The White Paper acknowledges that migration has an impact on most sectors of government and society and therefore needs to be managed from what IOM terms both “whole-of-government” and “whole-of-society” perspectives that encourage South Africans to embrace international migration as a tool for development while also safe-guarding the nation’s sovereignty, peace  and security.

In addition, Ambassador Swing emphasized that the labour market remains a driving force behind both regular and irregular migration to South Africa.

“There are tremendous opportunities associated with coherent labour migration management,” Ambassador Swing said. “So it’s encouraging to see that the White Paper emphasises the need to attract highly qualified and skilled migrants to increase South Africa’s international competitiveness for critical skills and investment.”  

The UN Migration Agency has been working with Member States of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to support the implementation of key recommendations emanating from the SADC Labour Migration Action Plan, which was adopted in 2013. Through its regional labour migration programme, Developing a Roadmap to Facilitate South-South Labour Mobility in Southern Africa, IOM has supported Member States to formalize intra-regional migration schemes that strengthen the protection of the rights of migrant workers while promoting regional integration.

Ambassador Swing began his final day in Pretoria with a breakfast meeting with the UN Country Team, which includes all heads of UN agencies in South Africa. Later in the day, he met with the Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Luwellyn Landers, and the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Lemias Mashile.

In his meeting with Deputy Minister Landers, Ambassador Swing touched on the bold commitments made by the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and encouraged South Africa to participate in national and regional consultations to enrich the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Global consultations are underway for the Global Compact, with the aim of it being adopted in 2018, and which offers a major opportunity to improve governance of migration, address the challenges associated with today’s migration, and strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.

During his meeting with Mashile, Ambassador Swing took the opportunity to inform the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs about IOM’s approach to AVRR and its newly launched regional project funded by the European Union. “This project offers an unprecedented opportunity for South Africa to work with IOM to promote a more humane and cost-effective way to manage the return and reintegration of migrants,” said Ambassador Swing.

For further information, please contact, Chiara Frisone, IOM Regional Office in Pretoria, Tel: +27 (0)79 520 4696, Email: cfrisone@iom.int


Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth AfricaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Organizes ‘Migration and Displacement in Iraq’ Conference in Erbil

IOM - News - Mar, 04/25/2017 - 10:44
Language English

Iraq - In a joint effort, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the University of Kurdistan Hewlêr (UKH) and Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) organized a conference on Migration and Displacement in Iraq: Working Towards Durable Solutions. Hosted by UKH, the conference, which focused on multiple aspects of forced migration, ran from 19 to 21 April in Erbil, Iraq.

Sessions included: Internal Displacement and Durable Solutions; Returning IDPs and Obstacles to Return; International Migration, Identities and Protection; Social Cohesion, and a special section on Insider Stories on Displacement. The event was funded by the US State Department, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

The conference provided a platform to discuss research outcomes and next steps in humanitarian action and early recovery, with a view to rebuilding communities affected by conflict and finding durable solutions for the nearly 5 million Iraqis, who have been displaced across the country. More than 3 million are currently still displaced but more than 1.7 million have returned to their areas of origin.

“Despite many difficulties and the continuation of the war to this day, with the cooperation and extraordinary efforts exerted by the regional government and the international and local organizations working in Iraq and Kurdistan, and with those of civil society organizations and the local efforts of good people, we have been able to provide basic services for the displaced, but this does not mean that there are no other problems facing IDPs,” said Jasim Aljaf, Iraq’s Minister of Migration and Displacement, at the conference reception. “The displacement on its own is a crisis and we are tempering the pace of it, as we cannot solve all the problems,” he continued.

“We view this conference as an important and timely effort to study the issues, obstacles and challenges pertaining to displacement from all perspectives,” said Kareem Sinjari, Minister of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government. “We hope the displacement crisis is thoroughly and scientifically studied, and we hope that practical and realistic suggestions are put forward that can be implemented in reaching a permanent and durable solution that contributes to restore peace, stability and prosperity for all communities,” he said.

“The pace of displacement in Iraq since the rise of ISIL in 2014 is unprecedented. The problems people will face when they return cannot be underestimated, from communities facing the destruction of schools, health clinics and water systems, to the threat of collective punishment,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq. “A conference like this is critical, as it brings together the very best minds from Iraq and all around the world who understand these issues, to discuss the challenges and chart the way forward together,” she continued.

“The United States is pleased to have supported this conference that has brought together more than 40 researchers from Iraq and overseas,” stated Henry Haggard, Acting Consul General of the United States Consulate in Erbil. “We look forward to working together with all of you to find greater common understanding of the challenges we face and to develop solutions that work,” he said.

“By presenting solid academic research, this conference provides an opportunity to share knowledge and findings on displacement,” stated Thomas Lothar Weiss, IOM Iraq Chief of Mission. “The conference has brought together humanitarian organizations and stakeholders, so we can all work together to apply this knowledge and use our limited resources effectively to assist the most vulnerable Iraqis affected by the current crisis,” he continued.

“We are pleased to have put on this conference in collaboration with IOM and Georgetown University to disseminate valuable research on displaced people in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region,” said Hemin Hussein Mirkhan, Director of the University of Kurdistan-Hewlêr, Center for Regional and International Studies (CRIS).

“The findings and conclusions from the research presentations provide new and insightful material for policy and programming, and give voice to the experience and needs of Iraqi IDPs,” said Rochelle Davis, of Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

IOM presented several studies on migration and displacement, which it researched or supported, on topics including locations of displacement in Iraq, social cohesion, IDP identities, durable solutions for displacement, and migration flows from Iraq to Europe and vice versa.

Research presentations were also given by academics from several universities in Iraq: Kurdistan-Hewlêr, Basrah, Dohuk, Erbil Polytechnic, Kirkuk, Nahrain, Raparin, Salahaddin; and universities abroad: Exeter, Georgetown, London School of Economics and McGill.

Local and international organizations presenting their research included: AMAR Charitable Foundation, Center for Victims of Torture, Danish Refugee Council, Ejaab Organization for Youth Development, International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, Joint IDP Profiling Service, Mercy Corps, Middle East Centre, Middle East Research Institute, and Mixed Migration Platform. UN agencies presenting included: IOM, UNDP, UNHCR and UNESCWA.

Videos of the presentations are available on the IOM Iraq website:


For further information, please contact Sandra Black at IOM Iraq, Tel. +964 751 234 2550, Email: sblack@iom.int


Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM