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Renovated International Airport Opens in Garowe, Somalia with IOM Support

IOM - News - Ven, 01/12/2018 - 08:20

Garowe – The newly renovated Garowe International Airport opened its doors on 8 January in the capital of Puntland state, Somalia. The airport had been closed since 2013 and now aims to make Garowe a hub for international travel.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, supported the renovation efforts led by the Puntland authorities, in full coordination with the federal government and international partners.

“A well established and functioning airport in Garowe is a step in the right direction towards the vision of secure and humane migration within, from, and to Puntland and the greater Somalia,” said Dyane Epstein, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission during the opening ceremony. “With the concerted efforts of all dedicated stakeholders, including those present here today, I believe that we can look forward with optimism,” she added.

The President of the Federal Republic of Somalia, Mohamed Abdullahi Farmajo attended the event. Other government representatives present included the President of Puntland State, Vice President of Puntland State, the Minister of Transport and Civil Aviation of the Federal Government of Somalia, the Deputy Minister of Aviation and Airports of Puntland State and federal and state directors. Also present were representatives from the EU, World Bank and the UN, as well as government delegations from Ethiopia and Turkey. 

Equipment and furnishings to support the smooth functioning of the airport was donated to the Government through the generous funding of the EU under the Better Migration Management (BMM) Programme, which aims to strengthen immigration and border management capacities. Additionally, IOM’s support for the airport through the BMM programme will increase capacities in data management, reception of passengers and queue management.

“The Ministry of Civil Aviation and Airports commends the dedicated collaboration between the Puntland Government, the Federal Government of Somalia and our international partners including UN members such as the UN Migration Agency for ensuring successful re-operationalization of Garowe Airport,” said Suad Salah Nurm, Deputy Minister of Civil Aviation and airport. 

With the support of IOM, Garowe International Airport will be able to collect passenger information using the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), IOM’s border management information system. This information is critical to a well-functional border management, as migration trends can be analysed by immigration authorities to improve services and inform policy. MIDAS is operational in over 19 countries globally, with its largest presence in Somalia.

BMM is funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), and coordinated through the German Corporation for International Cooperation GmbH (GIZ). It aims to improve migration management to reduce the trafficking and smuggling of migrants, within and from the Horn of Africa.  IOM is one of the implementing partners within the programme.

For more information please contact Yuko Tomita, IOM Somalia, Tel: + 254 715 990 600, Email: iomsomaliapsu@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Community StabilizationDefault: Multimedia: 

Dyane Epstein, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission during the opening ceremony of the renovated Garowe International Airport in Somalia. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency, Japan Help 1,500 Syrian Families Survive Winter

IOM - News - Ven, 01/12/2018 - 08:20

Amman – This week, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and its partner NICCOD, a Japanese Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), distributed cash assistance to 1,500 Syrian female headed households or families having at least one member living with disabilities in Zarqa, Jordan.

Two vouchers totalling 70 Jordanian Dinars (JD) are being distributed to every family to purchase food and other essential items. This distribution is in addition to the winterization and regular assistance provided by other NGOs and UN agencies to these refugee families.

“I will buy with the vouchers, olive oil, sugar and rice,” said Aisha, a refugee from Deraa living in Zarqa since 2013. “We are seven at home: two daughters, four sons and me. Only one of them works; and one of them is sick, so this assistance is very useful for us. We face a lot of challenges to pay our bills, and during winter the house is very cold and humid, so we spend more on heating,” said Aisha.

Bringing assistance to vulnerable refugees and their families is an integral part of a one year IOM project funded by the Government of Japan. The Ambassador of Japan to Jordan Hidenao Yanagi, conducted on 10 January a field visit to NICCOD’s Center in Zarqa accompanied by Enrico Ponziani, IOM Jordan’s Chief of Mission. The visit allowed Ambassador Yanagi to monitor the progress of the refugees’ assistance activity, as well as meet families at the distribution point.

“Even though it has been seven years since the onset of the Syrian crisis, vulnerable Syrian refugees in Jordan are still facing very severe situations especially during the harsh winter season when the most vulnerable face greater worries and difficulties in daily survival,” stated Ambassador Yanagi. “Therefore, the Government of Japan provided its support for IOM to deliver this most needed assistance to vulnerable Syrians in Zarqa,” he concluded. 

In 2017, the Government of Japan extended a grant of over USD 600,000 to IOM to provide humanitarian support to Syrian refugees in Jordan.

“The support of the Government of Japan has been fundamental during the last years to bring assistance to the Syrian refugees and to back the efforts of the Government of Jordan in responding to the Syria crisis,” said Ponziani. “We are also glad to collaborate with Japanese NGOs particularly NICCOD in implementing this distribution,” he added.

For more information, please contact Laura Sisniega in IOM Jordan, Tel: +962 79 7048167, Email: lsisniegacrespo@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018 - 15:14Image: Region-Country: JordanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

1,500 Syrian female headed households or families with at least one disabled member received cash assistance in Zarqa, Jordan. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Each family received two vouchers totaling 70 Jordanian Dinars to purchase food and other essential items. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Bringing assistance to vulnerable refugees and their families is an integral part of a one year IOM project funded by the Government of Japan. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Young Libyans Get Three New Football Pitches in Country’s Conflict-Affected South

IOM - News - Ven, 01/12/2018 - 08:19

Libya – Since the beginning of the crisis in 2011, insecurity has been rampant in southern Libya and, as in many crises, young people and children are among the worst affected. To provide safer and accessible public spaces for young people and children to play in, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has built three football pitches in the Sabha and Al Qatroun districts.

The chronically instable situation in southern Libya is compounded by intercommunal conflict, among other major challenges such as shortages of basic services, lack of rule of law and collapsed institutions. Through local meetings, communities in Sabha and Qatroun raised the need to IOM for public spaces where young people can safely practice sports regardless of their ethnic background. They hoped that playing together might also improve relations between different ethnic groups. Recreation spaces also be a great asset for psychosocial support to conflict affected youth, while also helping contribute to combatting radicalization. 

In answer to this request, the development of recreational public spaces began and was closely coordinated with and supported by the community representatives, local authorities and Councils to which IOM handed over the playgrounds. The construction of the pitches by three local construction companies, supported by the European Union and the Government of Germany, was completed at the start of January 2018.

“Communities in our neighbourhood are excited by this new facility, especially the children,” said Omar Mohammed Almelka, CMC member and representative of Alkarama area in Sabha, where one of the pitches was built. “IOM is the first agency to take on a project like this in the area and we hope the support continues with other projects that benefit our communities,” added Almelka.

Football is one of the most popular sports in Libya but most neighbourhoods in Sabha and Qatroun districts lack sports facilities. For example, young people in Tayouri in Sabha, including Tibu (ethnic group), Tuareg (ethnic group), internally displaced persons and migrants, used to be forced to travel long distances on highly insecurity routes through areas still heavily affected by the ongoing conflict to reach the closest sports club. Now, more than 5,000 young people are able to enjoy a game of football safely close to where they live on the three new pitches.

“It is now our duty as the local communities to work together to protect this facility for our future generations; we should take care of it as it belongs to all communities around Sabha and not exclusively to the Tayouri neighbourhood,” said Shoaieb Musa, a civil society activist in Tayouri neighbourhood present during the handover ceremony of the football pitch to community.

Over the course of 2017, IOM organized sport activities and tournaments in recreational centres and schools. Some 1,500 children aged between 10 and 17 years participated in sports tournaments in 2017 and 15 schools were rehabilitated and two recreational centres were built by IOM.

In May 2017, IOM, in cooperation with local stakeholders, also organized a peace festival in southern Libya, in which different tribes, along with internally displaced persons and migrants, celebrated unity and peaceful coexistence. 

Building upon last year’s activities, 2018 will see an increasing focus on youth engagement and social events targeted to them with the aim of bringing together various tribes, families and backgrounds in support of community cohesion and stability in southern Libya.

For more information, please contact IOM Libya:
Christine Petre, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Patrick Charignon, Tel: +216 29 257 585, Email: pcharignon@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018 - 15:13Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Community StabilizationDefault: Multimedia: 

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) builds three football pitches in Sabha and Al Qatroun districts in Libya to provide safer and accessible public spaces for young people and children to play in. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) builds three football pitches in Sabha and Al Qatroun districts in Libya to provide safer and accessible public spaces for young people and children to play in. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) builds three football pitches in Sabha and Al Qatroun districts in Libya to provide safer and accessible public spaces for young people and children to play in. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) builds three football pitches in Sabha and Al Qatroun districts in Libya to provide safer and accessible public spaces for young people and children to play in. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) builds three football pitches in Sabha and Al Qatroun districts in Libya to provide safer and accessible public spaces for young people and children to play in. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM, Partners Work to Coordinate Counter Trafficking Efforts in Mongolia

IOM - News - Ven, 01/12/2018 - 08:19

Ulaanbaatar – Senior government officials, representatives of relevant line ministries, civil society partners and international agencies met in Ulaanbaatar on Wednesday (10/1) to discuss the challenges facing implementation of Mongolia’s National Action Plan (NAP) to combat human trafficking.  

Trafficking in persons is a major concern in Mongolia, which the US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Report 2017 describes as “a source and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking.” It categorizes Mongolia as “a Tier 2 country that does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking, but is making significant efforts to do so.”

The TIP report points to the continued development of the mining industry in the south of the country. That has led to an increase in internal and international migration, increasing the risk of trafficking, particularly along the China-Mongolian border. Increasing their vulnerability to exploitation, truck drivers transporting coal across the border often have their passports confiscated as collateral for their vehicles. Young women are also at risk of being exploited in prostitution by drivers waiting to cross the border.

The annual consultative meeting, which was co-funded by the European Union’s European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR), is part of a project run by the UN Migration Agency, IOM, with local project partners, the Mongolian Gender and Equity Centre (MGEC) and End Child Prostitution and Trafficking (ECPAT).

Vice Minister of Justice and Home Affairs and Head of the Anti-Trafficking Sub-Council Battumur Enkhbayar told delegates: “Strengthened cooperation among stakeholders, including community participation, is key to success in combating human trafficking. Today’s meeting is one of the examples how we closely cooperate with international agencies in protecting victims and preventing this kind of crime. As a result of today’s meeting, we should openly discuss challenges and collectively find solutions.”

The workshop provided recommendations for more efficient NAP implementation. These will be endorsed by the Ministry of Justice and Home Affairs and then shared with government departments, law enforcement agencies, civil society organizations and the general public.

Agencies represented at the meeting included the Ministries of Foreign Affairs; Justice and Home Affairs; Labour and Social Welfare; the Anti-Trafficking Sub-Council; Border Protection Agency; Immigration Agency; National Police Agency; National Intelligence Agency; National Agency for Family, Youth and Child Development; State Prosecution Office; Law Enforcement Academy; State Specialized Inspection Agency; Supreme Court Council; National Human Rights Commission of Mongolia; Child and Family Development Centers from nine districts; Umnugobi and Dornogobi provinces, ECPAT; MGEC; ILO, Asia Foundation and Talita Asia.

For more information on the EIDHR project please go to: http://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/country/docs/mongolia/IOM-Mongoli....

For more information, please contact Zuzana Jankechova at IOM Mongolia, Tel: +976 70143100, Email: zjankechova@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Friday, January 12, 2018 - 15:11Image: Region-Country: MongoliaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Working session teams at Annual Consultative Meeting on human trafficking in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. Photo: Ankhbayar Erdenebaatar/UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Up to 100 Migrant Lives Feared Lost off Libya

IOM - News - Mer, 01/10/2018 - 11:44
A Deadly Start to the New Year for Migrants on the Mediterranean 

Tripoli – The Libyan Coast Guard reported Wednesday that up to 100 migrants remain missing in the third deadly shipwreck on the Mediterranean Sea since Saturday. Now, barely a week into the New Year there already are reports of close to 200 migrants or refugees dead or missing on the Central Mediterranean route.

By contrast, IOM recorded just 26 migrant deaths on the Mediterranean Sea lanes during the just-ended month of December 2017, at a time when Mediterranean migrants deaths were dropping sharply. January 2017, for example, had witnessed some 254 deaths. Now, this week’s reports suggest that 2018’s start may be even deadlier.

IOM reported on Tuesday 09 January that a total of 81 Mediterranean Sea deaths of migrants or refugees were recorded in the first eight days of the year. Five of those deaths were in Western Mediterranean waters off Spain and Morocco. The rest – 76 with a possibility of many more – were recorded in the waters between Italy and Libya.

In the latest incident for this year, on Tuesday 9 January, three rubber boats with 279 migrants (19 women, 243 men, 13 boys and four girls) were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard (Watch video), whose rescue operation lasted at least 12 hours.

Reuters spoke to survivors who say that about 50 people who had boarded the boats now are missing, while Libya’s Coast Guard stated in a press release it believes that number might be as high as 100.

According to survivors’ testimony, around 100 migrants remain missing. IOM, the UN Migration Agency, was present at their disembarkation point in Tripoli and provided food and water to all survivors.

IOM’s Christine Petré reported that the boats departed from near the Libyan coastal towns of Azzawiyah and Al Khums. The majority of the survivors came from African countries including The Gambia, Senegal, Sudan, Mali, and Nigeria. The Libyan Cost Guard reported that eight survivors are from Bangladesh (one woman) while two are from Pakistan.

“It’s very distressing that during the first 10 days of 2018 we have seen close to 800 migrants rescued or intercepted off the Libyan coast with more lives lost at sea,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. “More has to be done to reduce irregular unsafe movements of people along the Central Mediterranean route.”

IOM continues today to provide support and direct humanitarian assistance to the survivors of this latest tragedy, many of whom now are at Libya’s Tajoura detention centre.

Language English Posted: Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - 18:42Image: Region-Country: LibyaDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the rescued migrants aboard a Libyan Coastguard vessel. Photo: IOM Libya/Eshaebi2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 1072 in first week of 2018; Deaths Reach 81

IOM - News - Mar, 01/09/2018 - 10:05
Language English

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 1,072 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea during the first week of 2018, with around 450 each landing in Italy and Greece and the remainder in Spain. This compares with almost an identical number – 1,159 – coming ashore during a similar period in 2017.

Data on deaths at sea, however, are much grimmer.  Through the first eight days of the new year, a total of 81 Mediterranean Sea deaths of irregular migrants or refugees were recorded. Five of those deaths were in Western Mediterranean waters off Spain and Morocco.

The rest – 76 with a possibility of many more – were recorded in the waters between Italy and Libya. IOM recorded just 26 migrant deaths on Mediterranean Sea lanes during the month of December.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported Monday (8 January) that IOM staff gathering testimony of survivors of a shipwreck that occurred Saturday morning determined that 64 people lost their lives after leaving Libya on a rubber dinghy reportedly carrying 150 men, women and children. The Italian Coast Guard Ship ‘Diciotti’ rescued 86 migrants who survived to the incident, while recovering the remains of eight others, with the balance – believed to be 64 people – now lost at sea.

Survivors arriving in the port of Catania, Siciliy, on Monday morning provided the following details of the incident: the migrants left from Garabuli (Libya) after midnight between Friday and Saturday morning. After some eight to nine hours at sea, their over-crowded craft began to take on water. Many panicked and fell into the water.

A Coast Guard ship arrived almost immediately and managed to rescue 86 people while recovering the remains of six women and two men.  The migrants on board came mainly from Sierra Leone, Mali, Ivory Coast, Cameroon and Nigeria.

According to testimony gathered by IOM in Catania, at least five of the missing are children between the ages of two and six. Among the survivors are four 4 children – aged two, three, nine and 10. The three-year-old child, a girl, is said to have lost her mother in the tragedy.

A second incident off the Libyan coast this weekend reportedly claimed the lives of 12 more migrants. IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported Monday that there was one rescue at sea operation over the weekend in Libyan territory.

She explained: “On Sunday (7 January), 270 migrants (159 men, 53 women, 46 boys and 12 girls) received humanitarian emergency assistance after spending two days at sea off the Libyan coast as they attempted to reach Italy by boat. The surviving migrants received food and water; health and vulnerability needs were attended to at the disembarkation point in Tripoli. The remains of two female bodies were found as well, with the cause of death unknown. According to witnesses, 10 migrants lost their lives at sea prior to the rescue operation.”

Petré later reported on a second operation taking place Monday morning, explaining that 135 migrants (81 men, 49 women, three boys and two girls) were detected off Tripoli, brought to shore and then transferred to Trig al Seka detention centre in Tripoli.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska, also on Monday, reported 379 migrants entered Spain irregularly during the first week of 2018, 170 by sea and 209 by land at Melilla, all if the latter on a single day, Saturday 6 January.
(see charts below)




IOM Spain reported total sea arrivals for 2017 reached 21,791 while land arrivals were 5,995 (divided between Ceuta with 2.018 and Melilla with 3.977).

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) in Berlin reported Sseveral new deaths also were reported on the Western Mediterranean route. The body of one migrant was retrieved off the coast of Sanlúcar de Barrameda, near Cádiz, Spain, on 4 January. The following day, the Moroccan Navy rescued four people and recovered four bodies from a sinking boat near the Tanger-Med cargo port east of Tangiers, Morocco.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported Monday that at least four incidents occurred off the island of Lesvos, Samos and Chios that required search and rescue operations. The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 143 migrants, transferring them to those respective islands.

Almost 200 migrants came ashore at Lesvos, Samos and Chios islands on New Year’s Day, and another 250 over the following five days.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrant Project (MMP) has recorded the deaths of 82 people during migration in the first week of 2018. Deaths recorded in the Mediterranean so far in 2018 total 81 – compared with 11 through the first seven days of 2017.

The Missing Migrants Project recorded 5,382 migrant deaths and disappearances worldwide during 2017. However, several data sources have yet to report numbers of migrant fatalities in certain areas for 2017, meaning that the number of recorded deaths last year is not yet final. (see chart below)

Missing Migrants Project (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 at 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, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: ADODEVSKA@iom.int
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel:  +216 28 78 78 05 (mobile) office: +216 71 860 312 EXT. 109, Email: mchabbi@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 16:49Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Supports Construction of Protective Shelter for Vulnerable Migrants in Zambia

IOM - News - Mar, 01/09/2018 - 09:51

Sesheke, Zambia – IOM, the UN Migration Agency and the Government of Zambia are supporting the construction of a protective shelter in the country’s border district of Sesheke to offer a place of safety for vulnerable migrants, particularly women and children, and ultimately ensure that they avoid unnecessary detention.

The shelter will receive referrals of vulnerable migrants and provide them with other much needed services, including healthcare, with a view to finding lasting solutions which may include return to the migrants’ country or place of origin.

Sesheke District, a border town between Zambia and Namibia, is both a source and transit district for migrants moving in what are known as “mixed” flows. These include victims of human trafficking, refugees and asylum seekers, as well as irregular migrants, many of whom need protective support.

 “Government will endeavour to provide adequate protection services to vulnerable migrants as they are a marginalised group; we need to protect them and ensure their rights are protected and they have access to adequate protection services,” said Emerine Kabanshi, Minster of Community Development and Social Welfare, during the ground-breaking ceremony of the protective shelter in Sesheke last week (04/01).

The border district presents migration dynamics which are exacerbated by high poverty levels and unemployment, which are ion turn linked to environmental factors such as irregular rainfall patterns.

These harsh realities have forced many Zambians to move to other parts of the country, as well as across borders into neighbouring countries in search of opportunity and a better life. Some, invariably, end up being exploited.

The district also lacks adequate mechanisms for the identification and referral of vulnerable migrants to appropriate services. Coordination among actors is not very strong and many vulnerable migrants, including children, end up in detention facilities due to a lack of available protective services, including shelter.

During the ceremony, the Minister also launched the Zambia Communication Strategy on Mixed Migration and Human Trafficking. Themed “Know Before You Go”, it is designed to ensure that migrants, or potential migrants, possess relevant information and documentation prior to making their move, regardless of intent.

“Prevention of human trafficking requires knowledge and understanding of the trafficking dynamics but among communities of the potential dangers and strategies to migrate safely. In short: Know Before You Go!,” said IOM Zambia Chief of Mission Marianne Lane.

Lane also echoed the words of the IOM Director General, William Lacy Swing, who said: “Migration is not a problem to be solved, but a reality to be managed; moreover, migration is inevitable and desirable, if well managed.”

The project is financially supported by the US State Department, Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migration (PRM) and Irish Aid, DFID and the Governments of Sweden and Finland s part of their support to the United Nations Joint Programme on Social Protection (which combines efforts by the ILO, IOM, FAO, WFP and UNICEF).

For more information, please contact at IOM Zambia, Bertha Kalyocha Nguvulu, Tel: +260 211 254 055, Mobile: +260 975 766 486; Email: bnguvulu@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 9, 2018 - 16:48Image: Region-Country: ZambiaDefault: Multimedia: 

Annie Lane, IOM Zambia Chief of Mission, during the Ground-Breaking Ceremony of the protective shelter in Sesheke on 4 January 2018. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Helps Nearly 3,000 Migrants Get Home from Yemen in 2017

IOM - News - Ven, 01/05/2018 - 10:36

Aden – During the final days of 2017, IOM, the UN Migration Agency succeeded in completing two movements of stranded Somalis and Ethiopians out of Yemen, despite immense security challenges and difficult sea conditions. Two boats were deployed, one headed to Aden to evacuate Somali refugees, while the other went to Hudaydah to evacuate Ethiopians, who were considered especially vulnerable due to the dangers of rising violence near that port city.

The 27 December operation was the 19th assisted voluntary humanitarian return conducted by IOM out of the city of Aden sea port, taking 138 Somali men, women and children home in cooperation with UNHCR. With this final movement in 2017, IOM Yemen helped a total of 2,241 Somali refugees through its sub-office in Aden. The total number of Ethiopian migrants helped return home through Hudaydah seaport via Djibouti reached 746 people during 2017.

It took several attempts to move a second group, some 71 Ethiopians, all occurring within days of the Somali movement. Complications beyond the control of IOM delayed the movement until 31 December but at 4:30 PM on New Year’s Eve, an IOM boat successfully left for Djibouti.

The next morning (1/01/2018), maritime authorities informed IOM that heavy waves near Djibouti would prevent the continuation of the voyage, forcing IOM’s vessel to return to international waters near Yemen. Later that afternoon, authorities informed IOM its boat could set back on its course, ending what had become a long ordeal.

“It was very challenging to conduct movements out of Hudaydah seaport due to the security threats that are present in Yemen’s northern Governorates. Those require us to liaise with different counterparts and authorities as well as the coalitions,” said Hanan Hajori, of IOM Yemen’s Assistance and Protection unit in the Hudaydah sub-office.

Without such permission, return assistance might not happen. In addition, due to rough seas and weather a number of movements had to be cancelled several times. “At the end, migrants in Hudaydah were taken out safely despite of all these challenges,” Hajori added.

While most UN agencies deal with the challenges that come with shortages in funding, IOM Yemen’s additional concern lies in the paramount issue of the safety of migrants and refugees while they are in IOM’s care.

Providing food, shelter and medical assistance are key aspects of IOM’s operations. IOM must also deal with complex security situations and volatile changes on the ground that can derail weeks of preparations in a matter of seconds. Keeping up with a heavy demand for operational efficiency as well as psychosocial efforts to lift the spirits of the people under IOM care requires working day and night to effectively help migrants so they may reach their final destination safely.

“This process usually takes from five to six hours, if everything is going smoothly,” said Rabih Sarieddine, an IOM official directing the sea-borne operations. “Nevertheless, on many occasions, the movement can be delayed for hours due to security matters, such as poor coordination between the security cells on the ground and the coalition, or due to lack of resources at a port, say, where a captain isn’t available.”

None of these are easy passages. Embarkation at a collection/transit centre generally starts in the early morning hours before buses can move to a port. There, beneficiaries go through security and immigration checks, after which the IOM team begins assisting beneficiaries onto their vessel.

A journey from Aden to Berbera typically takes between 12 and 15 hours, depending on the sea conditions, Sarieddine explained.

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

Language English Posted: Friday, January 5, 2018 - 17:32Image: Region-Country: YemenDefault: Multimedia: 

Embarkation of beneficiaries. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Embarkation of beneficiaries. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

2018 Brings No End to Violence Against Rohingya as Refugees Continue to Flee to Bangladesh

IOM - News - Ven, 01/05/2018 - 10:36

Cox's Bazar – This week, Rohingya refugees were still arriving in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh – the New Year bringing no end to the reports of violence and fears, which forced them to flee their homes in Myanmar.

A major upsurge of violence in Northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, in late August 2017 forced hundreds of thousands to flee their homes. Over 2,400 refugees are estimated to have arrived in Bangladesh during December 2017, with more people continuing to arrive each day as 2018 begins. While the number of daily arrivals has dropped significantly since the height of the influx, many of those now reaching Bangladesh say they faced additional challenges, which delayed their escape.

“We couldn’t leave before now because our village was surrounded. A month ago my two sons were slaughtered. They went out fishing and they were killed,” said 50-year-old Ahmed, who was one of the first to arrive in Bangladesh in 2018 along with his two daughters, aged 20 and 18, and his 15-year-old son.

He said that the family had endured weeks of fear in their village in Rathedaung, Rakhine, unable to leave their house even to collect firewood. Ahmed said that they had to pay a bribe of 150,000 kyat (c.USD $112) to the neighbours, who had been threatening them, to be allowed to leave.

On arrival at the Balukhali settlement in Cox’s Bazar, Ahmed and his remaining family received medical check-ups and shelter kits of ropes, tarpaulins and basic household goods to enable them to create a place to live in the sprawling camps where 655,000 other refugees have sought safety since August.

“I feel safe here,” said Ahmed’s 18-year-old daughter Raysuana, who said her mother had died years ago and her father had worked hard to bring up his family alone as a widower.

As they waited at the arrival point in Balukhali, a puddle of water fell through a section of the tarpaulin roof. The unexpected noise left Ahmed badly shaken. “We continue to see a great deal of distress among Rohingya survivors arriving in Bangladesh," said Olga Rebolledo, IOM’s mental health and psycho-social support coordinator in Cox's Bazar. "They have faced a lot of adversity and many are in need of psycho-social support to help restore a sense of safety and further strengthen the resilience they’ve already shown,” added Rebolledo.

As an indication of why some of the new arrivals have reached Bangladesh so many weeks after the main influx, out of the 17 families waiting to be led to their new shelter sites by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, on 4 January, ten were declared “extremely vulnerable” cases: mostly single mothers, widows or people with disabilities, who will struggle to build their own shelters or even survive without the additional support, which will be provided by IOM and partner organizations. IOM guided the "extremely vulnerable" new arrivals to the less congested part of the site, where they will live, helping carrying their shelter kits. Once they got to the new site, help was given to construct their shelters.

“The houses on both sides of ours [in Buthidaung, Rakhine] were burned. Only my house was left,” said one of the new arrivals, Asama Begum, 35 years old. Her husband died before the violence, leaving her with a new baby and a son now 15 years old. She said the teenager was attacked a few months earlier leaving him with a badly cut leg, which became infected and swollen, rendering him unable to escape when others fled their village. “I stayed because my son was sick. We were really scared to be alone in the house, but tried just to find the mental strength to stay. But then [people] started burning down the [remaining] empty houses around ours and we could not stay any longer," said Asama.

She said she paid someone to carry her son to safety.

“After moving from one country to another, at least, we are getting this shelter. It is so peaceful here. We weren’t even allowed to stand freely in our own country so getting this means a lot,” she said as she stood looking out at the shelter she was about to move into.

Nearby, Ahmed was about to become her new neighbour. Initially anxious about how he would clear the ground on which he would build his shelter, he relaxed after IOM partner’s site management volunteers put him in touch with the maji camp leader who was able to lend him tools.

“It will be peaceful here. No one chasing or torturing us. No fear of death. I witnessed my daughter tortured and my sons slaughtered. I will never go back. I’d rather die here,” said Ahmed.

Since the crisis began in late August 2016:

  • IOM has reached more than 620,000 individuals with shelter kits
  • IOM case workers have identified 14,361 extremely vulnerable individuals in need of additional support and more than 3,830 people have received psychological first aid
  • IOM health workers have reached more than 150,000 patients with primary health care

 

For more information please contact:
 Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +8801733335221, Email: fmacgregor@iom.int
 Shirin Ahkter at IOM Dhaka, Tel: +880 2 55044811-13, Email: sakhter@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, January 5, 2018 - 17:31Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM volunteers help people recognized as “extremely vulnerable” to carry shelter kits from the IOM arrival point at Balukhali to their new shelter site at Cox’s Bazar on 4 January 2018. Photo: Fiona MacGregor/UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Asama Begum, a widowed mother of two recently arrived from Bangladesh, looks out as IOM volunteers help her construct a shelter at a new shelter site in Cox’s Bazar on 4 January 2018. Photo: Fiona MacGregor//UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reached 171,635 in 2017; Deaths Reach 3,116

IOM - News - Ven, 01/05/2018 - 10:35

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 171,635 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea during 2017, with just under 70 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 363,504 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

Mediterranean Developments

IOM Rome reported Thursday (4 January) that, according to Ministry of Interior figures, 119,310 men, women and children arrived by sea as irregular migrants to Italy last year, the lowest total in four years, or since the Mediterranean migrant emergency began. IOM has been compiling arrival data across the Mediterranean since 2014 (see chart below).

Sea Arrivals in Italy 2014-2015 Country Total 2014 Total 2015 Total 2016 Total 2017

Italy

170,100

153,842

181,436

119,310

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported Thursday that over the last 12 days of 2017, the Hellenic Coast Guard reported at least 10 incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios and Rhodes. The Coast Guard rescued a combined 320 migrants and transferred them to these respective islands.

Namia said that a total of 795 irregular migrants entered Greece by sea during this same period, although on three of those days no migrants were detected entering. The busiest day of the period was New Year’s Eve, when 217 migrants came ashore on Samos and Lesvos.  Christmas Eve was also busy; 177 migrants came ashore at Lesvos on 24 December, the second busiest day of the period.

Overall, 2,574 migrants entered Greece by sea during December, bringing the 2017 total on the Eastern Mediterranean route to 29,595. As with the Central Mediterranean route to Italy, this was the lowest total IOM has recorded in four years (see chart below). 

Sea Arrivals in Greece 2014-2015 Country Total 2014 Total 2015 Total 2016 Total 2017

Greece

34,442

853,650

173,614

29,595

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has reported 3,116 deaths in the Mediterranean during 2017, not including at least two deaths recorded in late December, when one body was recovered on the coast of Libya and an 18-month-old child reportedly drowned off Turkey.

­­­Worldwide, IOM’s MMP recorded the deaths of 5,376 people during migration between 1 January and 31 December 2017.  This total includes 128 migrant deaths recorded in 2017just in Pima County, Arizona. The Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner recorded159 deaths in 2016.  Despite that lower figure, fatalities along the US-Mexico border remained high in 2017, with 369 recorded, or just over one per day. The total for 2016 was 396.

A total of 714 migrant deaths were recorded across the Americas in 2016, a figure that dropped in 2017 by 15 per cent to 607. One major factor in the drop: IOM has so far not recorded any confirmed fatalities during migration anywhere in South America in 2017 (compared with 32 in 2016) – despite receiving unconfirmed reports of Venezuelan migrants dying last year in accidents in Ecuador, Brazil and Chile. In the current crisis, Venezuelans consider each of those states destination countries, where many are able to enter through regular channels, without needing to use secret routes that often prove dangerous. That makes it harder to classify deaths en route as occurring “during migration,” especially if the migrants are traveling commercially, essentially as tourists mixing with the local population. 

This past year also witnessed significantly less irregular movement across South America by Haitians and Cubans. That also may account for the drop in confirmed deaths. Haitians and Cubans, however, did perish in greater numbers in 2017 at sea. IOM recorded 156 migrant drownings in the Caribbean in 2017, compared with 105 in 2016.

At the same, other parts of the world proved more deadly than in previous years, for people trying to migrate. IOM recorded more than triple the number of migrant deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa, where 387 men, women and children died in 2017, compared with 92 migrant fatalities in 2016. Southeast Asia also saw a rise – although not as sharp – to 298 deaths in 2017, compared with 187 in 2016.  In the Middle East in 2017, IOM recorded 214 migrant deaths, an even 100 over the same period in 2016, when 114 migrant deaths were recorded (see chart below).

Europe also proved deadlier in 2017 than the year before – with 94 deaths recorded compared with 62 in 2016. During the days 21-29 December, four young men died while trying to migrate within Europe.  Near Calais, France, a 15-year-old Afghan male was hit by a truck on 21 December, and an Eritrean man was crushed inside a truck on 29 December near that same location.  On 27 December, a migrant in his twenties died when he fell off a vehicle on a motorway in southern France. On 28 December, the remains of a fourth migrant were recovered on the Greek side of the Evros River, which comprises the border with Turkey.

The global total of recorded migrant deaths for 2017 – 5,376 – is well below (by precisely one-third) 2016’s total of 7,932.

Nonetheless, IOM’s researchers caution that a number of global data sources – including local medical examiners, NGOs and police departments – have yet to produce reports with total numbers of migrant fatalities for 2017. That means the number of recorded migrant deaths in 2017 is likely to increase. 

One migrant death has already been recorded by IOM in 2018. On 3 January, a man who had drowned trying to cross the Rio Bravo from Mexico into the United States was recovered near Tamaulipas.

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

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, Berlin, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 71 860 312 ext. 109, Mobile:  +216 28 78 78 05, Email: mchabbi@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, January 5, 2018 - 17:30Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

New Year, New Country – IOM Steps Up Assistance to Newly Arrived Irregular Migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina

IOM - News - Ven, 01/05/2018 - 10:35

Sarajevo IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, is responding to increased numbers of migrants crossing into Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). The latest arrivals originate mostly from North Africa, through Greece, Albania, and neighboring Montenegro.

The numbers are small in global terms, but nationally significant. Border police detained 735 irregular migrants in 2017, compared with fewer than 100 in all of 2016.

“This has put the capacity of the relevant authorities and national aid agencies such as the Red Cross under strain,” said Peter Van der Auweraert, IOM’s sub-coordinator for the Western Balkans. “In line with our mandate as the UN Migration Agency, we’ve been helping the Red Cross in Trebinje to provide on-arrival support to migrants through the purchase of food, hygienic products and clothing.”

To cope with additional arrivals, IOM has also increased the staffing of its migrant protection teams in East Sarajevo and Mostar. They are IOM’s first line responders and, when needed, provide transport and medical and psychosocial assistance, especially to vulnerable migrants.

IOM has recruited a translator for Arabic language to assist authorities to communicate with the new arrivals and an on-call doctor in Trebinje to ensure that those in need have access to medical support.

“It is crucial to treat each migrant with dignity and respect for their basic human rights, including their right to claim asylum in BiH,” added Van der Auweraert. “This is why we are reinforcing our migrant protection teams, as they play a critical role in supporting authorities with assessing needs and ensuring access to the appropriate assistance.” 

Migrants arrive cold, hungry and completely disoriented. Most are single men, but some, like Rawad (name changed to protect his identity) come with their entire family. “We sold everything we had for 5,000 euros and moved on towards Europe through Greece, Albania, reaching Bosnia on 28 December. During the trip the person who smuggled us across the border with Montenegro to Bosnia suddenly asked for additional 2,000 euros on top of the 5,000 we already paid, which we didn’t have. The smuggler destroyed our passports and dropped us out in the open somewhere in the mountains of Eastern Bosnia.”

“The smuggler destroyed our passports and dropped us in the mountains”
By Ismar Milak

While the world’s attention is drawn to the plight of migrants and refugees in Asia and Africa, a small but significant number of irregular migrants continue to arrive in central European countries like Bosnia and Herzegovina, placing huge strains on local authorities.

Rawad (name changed to protect his identity) is one of 735 irregular migrants who crossed into Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2017. He arrived just a few days ago, with his wife, one adult son and four young sons and daughters.

“We are from Syria, from a small town we had to flee about five years ago,” he begins.

“My family found refuge in Aleppo and stayed there until one month ago, when we decided to leave, being in fear for the lives of our children. On top of everything, one of my sons is asthmatic, while my daughter is sick too.”

“We sold everything we had for 5,000 euros and moved on towards Europe through Greece, Albania and Macedonia, reaching Bosnia on 28 December. During the trip,” he continues after taking a short gasp, “the person who smuggled us across the border with Montenegro to Bosnia suddenly asked for an additional 2,000 euros to the 5,000 we already paid, which we didn’t have. The smuggler destroyed our passports and dropped us out in the open somewhere in the mountains of Eastern Bosnia.

“It was hard before too, but this is where true ordeal started; we spent four nights in the mountains, exposed to extreme cold with nothing to support us. We were later told that the mountains and places which we passed through were likely to be covered in landmines and that we were very lucky for making it here. Our youngest daughter is traumatized. I truly don’t know how we survived this.”

The family was eventually found by local police in Pale, a small town not far from the capital Sarajevo, exhausted, terrified and hungry. One of the possessions found on them was a plastic bag with their chopped and torn passports. Since the state migrant facilities are full due to the increased influx, the IOM migrant protection team was asked to assist.

They provided the family with emergency psychological checkups and accommodation in one of Sarajevo’s hotels, where they are still located and recovering.

Recognizing the close escape Rawad’s family had in the mine-pocked mountains, IOM and the Red Cross are preparing information materials and maps identifying the areas in BiH that remain covered with minefields, following the war in the 1990s. “Migrants are not aware of this danger,” says Peter Van der Auweraert, IOM’s representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina. “While there have been no incidents so far, it is important to ensure that it remains this way, as some of the areas through which migrants are traveling are highly dangerous.”

IOM’s response was provided through the Direct Assistance activity of the project Enhancing Capacities and Mechanisms to Identify and Protect Vulnerable Migrants, funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

Ismar Milak is a programme officer with IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina.

IOM is also increasing its capacity to offer migrants who want to return home Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) through its migrant protection teams who can help in obtaining of the necessary travel and identity documents, a return flight ticket and financial assistance at the beginning and the end of the return process.

Van der Auweraert does not believe that the country is on the cusp of a large influx of migrants and refugees, but states: “Together with UNHCR and its other UN partners, IOM will continue to work with the asylum and migration authorities to ensure that they can manage the continued arrival of small groups of migrants and refugees, also through the readmission as it is currently in place with Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia.”

For more information, please contact Peter Van Der Auweraert at IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tel: 387 33 293 400, Email: pvanderauweraert@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, January 5, 2018 - 17:29Image: Region-Country: Bosnia and HerzegovinaDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina teams work with a newly arrived family. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Voluntary Humanitarian Return flights resume January 1 as UN Migration Agency continues efforts to assist migrants in Libya

IOM - News - Mer, 01/03/2018 - 06:23

Tripoli - On Monday, 1 January, the UN Migration Agency’s Libya mission chartered its first flight of 2018 under the Voluntary Humanitarian return (VHR) programme, assisting 142 returnees departing from Libya to Gambia.

IOM’s Libya Mission will continue on January 8 chartered flights taking vulnerable migrants detained in Libya back to their homelands, a programme that resulted in 19,370 stranded Third Country Nationals leaving primarily the Tripoli area in 2017.

The UN Migration Agency’s next charter is set for Monday 8 January, when around 180 Nigerian nationals are scheduled to be assisted under VHR to Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city and commercial hub. That flight will bring to close to 20,000 the number of migrants IOM has escorted home from Libya since the beginning of 2017.

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has identified 432,574 migrants in Libya, mainly in the Tripoli, Misrata and Almargeb regions, and estimates the number of migrants to be between 700,000 and one million.

Some 11,074 migrants have gone back to their home countries since IOM scaled up its efforts to facilitate the help for migrants interested in return assistance from Libya following the unrest in Sabratha in the beginning of October. The top four countries of return in 2017 were: Nigeria, Gambia, Guinea Conakry and Mali with a charter to Nigeria on 29 December marking the last VHR movement in 2017.

Blinking as they stepped into the sunlight, 301 migrants were escorted from Libya’s detention centers last month to take what would be the first of a series of flights that would see them safely home in Nigeria and Guinea by day’s end. Thus, ended an odyssey which began over a year ago for some of the migrants who left home full of the hope of making a fresh start in Europe.

Escorted by IOM officials, the migrants left Zwara detention center early Wednesday 27 December, taking small planes between the Libyan cities of Zwara and Misratah. In a highly complex operation, fraught with security issues, the migrants were then flown home via charter flights to Lagos and Conakry.

All the migrants volunteered to be returned home by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, rather than face an uncertain future, including lengthy periods in detention and with the potential for abuse from traffickers and smugglers in Libya. It is not known how many have suffered whilst in Libya.

At the Gbessia International Airport in Conakry, the returnees were welcomed by representatives of the ministries of foreign affairs, youth and youth employment, and social affairs and protection.

Among the Guinean returnees was a young man named Moussa. “Look at this,” he said, showing a bullet scar on his calf. “Someone fired at me while I was running in the desert, because it was impossible for me to be caught, I was running so fast.”

“I came to welcome my friends, my little brothers,” said Kabinet, a returnee who had spent two years in prison in Libya, where he was also subjected to violence.

“I’m a sort of big brother. That’s why I thought it would be good for me to see [the returnees] when they got off the plane,” he explained. “In Libya, I worked under harsh conditions in a factory. We had different dreams, to play football in Europe, to take care of our families. We now hope to open a small cleaning business. There seems to be another desert to cross but we will give it all.”

Upon arrival to Conakry, the returnees received travel kits of toiletries and snacks; the most vulnerable migrants received psychosocial support, as well. All migrants also received a “pocket money” allowance of €50 to cover their immediate needs such as transportation, clothing and housing once they arrived. Each was transported to a local transit center to spend the night (upon request), receiving additional meals in the process.

In the wake of shocking reports about rampant migrant abuse and squalid and overcrowded conditions across multiple detention centers in Libya, talks at the AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from to 29 to 30 November, led to a major revamping of measures to tackle smuggling and mistreatment of migrants on the central Mediterranean migration route, which has claimed 2,833 migrant lives to drowning this year alone. Leaders from both regions committed to work together to end the inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees in Libya. Another issue discussed at the summit was how to address jointly the root causes of irregular migration.

For the past year, the return of migrants has been funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), Italy, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Norway, Finland, The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund and the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration - US Department of State (PRM)

For more information please contact Christine Petre, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int or Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179205, Email: jgalindo@iom.int

Language English Posted: Wednesday, January 3, 2018 - 13:02Image: Region-Country: LibyaDefault: Multimedia: 

Some 11,074 migrants have gone back to their home countries since IOM scaled up its return assistance efforts from Libya in the beginning of October. Photo: Lucas Chandellier/UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

By New Year’s Day, UN Migration Agency Expects 19,000 migrants will have gone home from Libya

IOM - News - Ven, 12/29/2017 - 11:36

Blinking as they stepped into the sunlight, 301 migrants were escorted from Libya’s detention centers this week to take what would be the first of a series of flights that would see them safely home in Nigeria and Guinea by day’s end. Thus ended an odyssey which began months earlier when the migrants left home full of the hope of making a fresh start in Europe.

All the migrants volunteered to be returned home by IOM, rather than face an uncertain future, including lengthy periods in detention with the potential for abuse from traffickers and smugglers in Libya. It is not known how many suffered abuse while in detention or while en route.

Escorted by IOM officials, the migrants left Zwara detention center early Wednesday 27 December, taking small planes between the Libyan cities of Zwara and Misratah. In a highly complex operation, fraught with security issues, the migrants were then flown home via charter flights to Lagos and Conakry.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is scaling up efforts to evacuate migrants from Libya and help them reach their home countries under the Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance (VHR). In addition to the Nigeria and Guinea flights, on Thursday (28/12), another charter flight carrying 170 returnees landed in Bamako, Mali.

In the wake of shocking reports about rampant migrant abuse and squalid and overcrowded conditions across multiple detention centers in Libya, talks at the AU-EU Summit in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire from to 29 to 30 November, led to a major revamping of measures to tackle smuggling and mistreatment of migrants on the central Mediterranean migration route, which has claimed 2,833 migrant lives to drowning this year alone. Leaders from both regions committed to work together to end the inhumane treatment of migrants and refugees in Libya. Another issue discussed at the summit was how to address jointly the root causes of irregular migration.

So far in 2017, 18,803 returnees have been assisted under the VHR programme. That number is expected to reach 19,000 migrants by the end of this month. Close to 6,000 migrants have returned to their countries of origin since the evacuation phase started on 28 November.

At the Gbessia International Airport in Conakry, the returnees were welcomed by representatives of the ministries of foreign affairs, youth and youth employment, and social affairs and protection.

Among the Guinean returnees was a young man named Moussa. “Look at this, ” said Moussa, showing a bullet scar on his calf. “Someone fired at me while I was running in the desert, because it was impossible for me to be caught, I was running so fast.”

“I came to welcome my friends, my little brothers,” said Kabinet, a returnee who had spent two years in prison in Libya, where he was also subjected to violence.

“I’m a sort of big brother. That’s why I thought it would be good for me to see [the returnees] when they got off the plane,” he explained. “In Libya, I worked under harsh conditions in a factory. We had different dreams, to play football in Europe, to take care of our families. We now hope to open a small cleaning business. There seems to be another desert to cross but we will give it all.”

Upon arrival to Conakry, the returnees received travel kits of toiletries and snacks; the most vulnerable migrants received psychosocial support, as well. All migrants also received a “pocket money” allowance of €50 to cover their immediate needs such as transportation, clothing and housing once they arrived. Each was transported to a local transit center to spend the night (upon request), receiving additional meals in the process.

IOM has identified 432,574 migrants in Libya, mainly in the Tripoli, Misrata and Almargeb regions, and estimates the number of migrants to be more than 700,000 and up to 1 million.

For the past year, the return of migrants has been funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), the United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, The UN’s Central Emergency.

Watch a testimony from Amadou, a returnee from Guinea here.

Language English Posted: Friday, December 29, 2017 - 18:05Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Returnees arrive in Conakry, Guinea. Photo: Lucas Chandellier/UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM