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UN Migration Agency, FXcompared to Launch Money Transfer Comparison Tool

IOM - News - Mar, 06/27/2017 - 11:56

Denmark – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is partnering with FXcompared, a money transfer comparison website, to build its money transfer comparison tool. The new partnership aims to help migrants find the best money transfer options when sending money home.

FXcompared is an independent online service that enables individuals and SMEs to compare international money transfer companies.

This tool will be integrated into the MigApp, the new mobile phone application under development by IOM, as well as across IOM’s websites. By adding this new feature to its app, IOM hopes to give migrants access to relevant, secure, and trusted information during their journey.

Every year migrants send over 400 billion dollars in remittances to developing countries, far exceeding the amount of overseas development assistance (ODA). These remittances contribute to basic needs such as food, health care, education and housing in migrants’ countries of origin. However, remittance transfer costs remain high for many migrants sending money to certain parts of the world.

“IOM sees this partnership as a key to the success of MigApp since it will provide MigApp users with the best information on remitting money back home, saving on the transactions and making sure more money is sent home," said Grant Robertshaw, ICT Business Relationship Manager at IOM. "Additionally, their data and intelligence arm, FXCintel, provides an unmatched level of market understanding and research supporting their overall product,” he added.

MigApp aims to offset the enormous amount of misleading and unreliable information available to people on the move by providing a central and accessible source of reliable and accurate migration information and services.

“At FXcompared, we have a strong belief in the need for transparency of information and ease of use for migrants around the world to find the best ways to send money," said Daniel Webber, FXcompared CEO. "The remittances sent often support critical family or development goals. We are delighted to be supporting the UN Migration Agency with our technology platform to help improve the lives of the billion migrants worldwide.”

The Money Transfer Comparison tool will be presented at Stand M50 at the Money 20/20, Europe’s largest FinTech event held in Copenhagen on 26-28 June.

For further information, please contact Leonard Doyle at IOM HQ: Tel. +41 79 285 7123, Email: ldoyle@iom.int or Andrea Barnes at FXcompared: Tel: +1 212 600 8556, Email: andrea@fxcompared.com.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 17:01Image: Region-Country: DenmarkThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Ukraine Business Fair Showcases UN Migration Agency Support to Conflict-affected and Trafficking Survivors

IOM - News - Mar, 06/27/2017 - 11:56

Ukraine – Over the weekend, a market sprung up in the centre of Ukraine’s capital city. Traders came to Kyiv from all over the country. Their wares ranged from soap to honey, from toys to furniture – but everyone had one thing in common. They had all experienced unexpected journeys, whether fleeing the conflict that has cost 10,000 lives in the east, surviving human trafficking, or simply failing to find work and ending up in a difficult situation.

The 100 traders at this weekend's Business Fair on St. Sophia Square represented over 5,500 people who have been assisted by the UN Migration Agency’s Economic Empowerment Programme over the past ten years. Each has submitted a business proposal and received a small grant to bring their ideas into reality.

“Anybody can run into some bad luck and might need assistance to get back on their feed, to get shelter and a little bit of training, and look what people have been able to accomplish with just a little help from IOM and USAID. It’s really inspiring,” said US Ambassador Marie Yovanovich, touring the Fair. “Today’s event shows in very concrete ways that individuals who suffer unexpected and tragic consequences as they try to get ahead economically can and do find their way back, and even prosper.”

Originally developed to assist survivors of human trafficking, the programme was expanded to assist conflict-affected and displaced Ukrainians like Oksana, who proudly showed her traditional Ukrainian handicrafts at BizFair.

“Life has been very tough since we left our home in Luhansk,” Oksana reflected. “We left without our coats, without even a pillow and now we have to survive. We really appreciate this programme which gives us a chance to do something for ourselves.”

Manfred Profazi, IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission, explained that the Organization has been helping people not only to become more self-reliant and economically independent, “but also contribute to the life of their communities through the creation of additional work places and provision of services and goods their communities need and appreciate.”

Support for the programme over the past 10 years has come from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway, the Government of Canada, the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA), the European Union, and the Government of Japan.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 17:00Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Counter-TraffickingInternally Displaced PersonsMigration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

US Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch and IOM Ukraine's Chief of Mission Manfred Profazi at IOM's Business Forum and Fair in Kyiv. "Panda" is a beneficiary of IOM's Economic Empowerment Programme for former victims of trafficking, IDPs and conflict-affected people.

Over 100 micro-entrepreneurs representing a variety of business spheres from different regions of Ukraine gathered in Kyiv for a Business Fair and Forum organized by IOM, and funded by USAID. 

Over 100 micro-entrepreneurs representing a variety of business spheres from different regions of Ukraine gathered in Kyiv for a Business Fair and Forum organized by IOM, and funded by USAID. 

Over 100 micro-entrepreneurs representing a variety of business spheres from different regions of Ukraine gathered in Kyiv for a Business Fair and Forum organized by IOM, and funded by USAID.

Categorie: Press Room IOM

Portraits of Welcome: Londoners Reflect on ‘Our Shared Future’ for Refugee Week

IOM - News - Mar, 06/27/2017 - 11:56

United Kingdom – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) explored the theme of “Our Shared Future” through two art projects – Portraits of Welcome and Building Tomorrow Together – as part of the 2017 Refugee Week celebrations in the United Kingdom (UK) at the Southbank Centre in London, on 24 June 2017.

IOM UK ran the second edition of it participatory arts project creating visual messages, Portraits of Welcome, by inviting members of the public to reflect on what the future may hold for our shared community. Photographer Marcia Chandra captured engaging portraits to put public faces to their thoughts for the future. Portraits and accompanying quotes were printed on the spot for participants to take away with them, and to add to a growing exhibition for the public.

“We are all wired for connection,” said Dipti Pardeshi, IOM UK Chief of Mission, when reflecting on Our Shared Future. “A shared future is a connected one. One where we value diversity as an important ingredient in a recipe that, when mixed well, makes our society richer and more satisfying.”

To further illustrate the theme of Our Shared Future, IOM UK also displayed an art installation in the shape of a tree, with materials produced by children in Lebanon and the UK, as part of the Building Tomorrow Together project.

Children from Globe Primary School, Bethnal Green, held the first UK workshop for the project in tandem with Syrian refugee children in Beirut, who were participating in an IOM Cultural Orientation session before they were relocated to the UK. All the children were encouraged to think about their identity and what a positive shared future could look like. Working thousands of miles apart, both UK and Syrian children created an inspiring collaborative tree installation, with their thoughts and messages appearing as leaves sprouting from the tree, which will continue to grow as more children in Beirut and London contribute their messages, ideas and thoughts.

“I hope to live in a house and go to school, with a playground where I can play in. I hope I can study to become a doctor, but if I can’t, I would like to be a princess,” said Lana, eight years old, at the Lebanon workshop.

For further information, please contact Christopher Gaul at IOM UK, Tel: +44 207 811 60, Email: cgaul@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 16:59Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: Diversity and IntegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Photo: © Marcia Chandra

Photo: © Marcia Chandra

Photo: © Marcia Chandra

Photo: © Marcia Chandra

Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency in Egypt Launches ‘Aware Migrants’ Info-Campaign

IOM - News - Mar, 06/27/2017 - 11:56

Egypt – Last week, in Egypt, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) launched “Aware Migrants”, a multicultural information sharing campaign focusing on migration and awareness raising. The campaign is supported by the Egyptian National Coordinating Committee on Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons (NCCPIM&TIP) and funded by the Italian Ministry of Interior.

The campaign aims to sensitize potential migrants to the dangers of irregular journeys across the desert and the Mediterranean Sea. The campaign features the real risks through powerful video testimonials from migrants who have made it to Europe, having endured abuse from smugglers, and sometimes traffickers, along the way.

"We have a duty to inform our African sisters and brothers about the risks and dangers of the trip to the unknown," said Ambassador Naela Gabr, Chairperson of NCCPIM&TIP. "This campaign is an important tool highlighting the different forms of exploitation they could face. We must work together to stop irregular migration and smugglers."

The campaign, which will be largely disseminated through social media, will be complemented by awareness raising activities in cooperation with African embassies in Egypt. The aim is to provide the opportunity for migrants to exchange opinions and experiences.

The campaign is in line with NCCPIM&TIP's “National Strategy on Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration 2016-2026, which provides the overall institutional framework for the Egyptian Government to counter the smuggling of migrants and to ensure the protection of vulnerable migrants in Egypt.

In recent years, the number of migrants arriving to Italy from Egypt has increased. In 2016, IOM estimates that up to 10 per cent of all arrivals to Italy using the Central Mediterranean Route left from Egypt, while the remaining 90 per cent left from Libya.

“In light of the increased numbers, IOM has been working closely with NCCPIM&TIP and other stakeholders to raise awareness about the dangers of irregular migration," said Andrea Dabizzi, Head of the Migrant Assistance Unit in IOM Egypt. "Meanwhile, IOM and its partners have been promoting the provision of alternatives, including employment and skill enhancement programmes within Egyptian communities that generate high rates of irregular migrants."

Dabizzi also added that in 2016, more than 3,400 Egyptian youth benefited from IOM’s employability interventions including job fairs, technical and entrepreneurship trainings, as well as soft skills enhancements programmes in six Egyptian Governorates.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 16:58Image: Region-Country: EgyptThemes: Counter-TraffickingIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

New Registration Centre Provides Essential Services for Irregular Migrants in Albania

IOM - News - Mar, 06/27/2017 - 11:56
Language English

Albania – A new centre for Registration and Temporary Accommodation for irregular migrants was opened last week, in Gerhot, Albania, close to Kakavija Border Crossing Point with Greece. The new facility was established by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in coordination with Albania's Directorate for Border and Migration Police.

The facility will be able to host 60 people and comprises 15 fully equipped units. One is for registration, 10 for accommodation, two sanitary blocks (one each for men and women), and two bathrooms. All units are equipped with fire extinguishers, and two fire hydrants are installed at the centre. Four minivans have been provided by IOM in order to facilitate the transfer of migrants to and from the centre for any additional services.

“The overall objective of the project is to ensure that migrants and refugees entering Albania have access to shelter, medical support and assistance, and all the services they need,” explained Alma Jani, IOM’s representative in Albania, at the official opening ceremony. “Irregular migration is never ideal, nor easy, and this new facility will help the authorities to do their work, and give those passing through a measure of comfort and dignity.”

The centre was developed with funding from a Migrant and Refugee Fund grant received through the Council of Europe Development Bank, under the project “Improving Reception Capacities and Access to Services for Migrants and Refugees Entering Albania”, implemented over the past year with a total budget of EUR 400,000.

The project also increased registration capacities of the Border and Migration Police in Kakavija Border Crossing Point through the provision of computers, printers and passport readers. For the migrants, 4,000 leaflets about the migration process were printed in eight languages (English, Russian, French, Arabic, Pashtu, Dari, Farsi, Urdu) as well as 3,000 mini-dictionaries in six languages (English, Russian, French, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu). Trainings on Humanitarian Border Management and Migration Crisis Management were also provided for border officials and other interested groups.

For further information, please contact Alma Jani at IOM Albania, Tel: +355692023251, Email ajani@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 16:57Image: Region-Country: AlbaniaDefault: Multimedia: 

Rebani Jaupi, Deputy Director, Albanian State Police (left) and IOM’s Alma Jani officially open the registration centre. Photo: IOM

The new registration centre.

Categorie: Press Room IOM

Central, South Asian Civil Society Groups Meet to Combat Human Trafficking

IOM - News - Mar, 06/27/2017 - 11:56
Language English

Afghanistan – A two-day regional counter-trafficking forum bringing together civil society representatives from Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan was hosted last week by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in the Tajikistan capital Dushanbe.

The forum brought together civil society organizations working in the field of counter-trafficking to promote cross-border and regional cooperation, and to strengthen protection and reintegration mechanisms for victims of human trafficking and other vulnerable groups.

“Trafficking in persons is a serious concern in Afghanistan and its neighboring countries,” said Laurence Hart, IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission. “By bringing together organizations that have been on the frontline of fighting trafficking in the region, this forum provides a valuable opportunity for exchange of ideas and improved cooperation.”

While usually the source country for victims of human trafficking, the participating countries have also been identified as transit and destination countries for men, women, and children subject to forced labour and sexual exploitation. An increase in the number of young female victims of trafficking arriving in Afghanistan from neighboring countries has also been observed in recent years.

Civil society organizations play an important role in reaching victims and survivors of human trafficking, to provide them with legal, social and psychological assistance, and to reintegrate them back to society.

At the forum, the participants presented the unique human trafficking situation in their respective countries, and discussed the efforts being made to combat the crime and assist survivors. Emphasis was placed on sharing best practices and exploring opportunities for joint programming and advocacy to implement regional initiatives.

“Civil society organizations are the eyes, ears and hands of the international community in the field,” said IOM Tajikistan Chief of Mission Dragan Aleksoski. “Civil society is an agent of change helping us to understand the needs of vulnerable people and plan our activities accordingly. This event will serve as a starting point for fruitful cooperation between civil society organizations from all of the participating countries.”  

In 2016 IOM Afghanistan launched a multi-year counter-trafficking project funded by USAID which aims to improve regional cooperation and strengthen the prevention of human trafficking, protect victims and improve response through a more holistic approach.

This week’s forum is the first major regional cooperation initiative under the project, which will continue to foster networking and advocacy on human trafficking in south and central Asia.

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

Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 16:56Image: Region-Country: AfghanistanDefault: Multimedia: 

 NGO delegates from south and central Asia in Dushanbe. Photo IOM

Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Opens Haiti's First Border Resource Centre to Help Returning Haitians

IOM - News - Mar, 06/27/2017 - 11:42

Haiti – On 20 June, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) opened Haiti's first Border Resource Centre (BRC), in coordination with the Mayor of Anse-à-Pîtres and the Ministry of Social Affairs and Labour. The BRC is the first State institution tasked with ensuring the safe and respectable return of Haitian migrants to their country of origin. Three additional BRCs are in the process of being built at the remaining three official border sites: Malpasse, Belladère, and Ouanaminthe.

These centres will allow local protection agencies to better identify, orient, and assist vulnerable migrants – all while creating a space where the agencies can collaborate with each other and provide psycho-social counselling. The project also seeks to put in place referral mechanisms in order to facilitate greater access to basic services and support the sustainable reintegration of vulnerable migrants in Haiti. 

“Migrants are human beings beyond all else. Opening a centre where we can welcome migrants and provide them with psychological counseling to heal their wounds is a strong symbolic and humane gesture. This important initiative is supported and encouraged by the Haitian government,” said Roosevelt Bellevue, Minister of Social Affairs and Labour, during the opening of the BRC.  

A sizeable number of Haitians irregularly cross the border into the Dominican Republic in search of services and opportunities. The absence of documentation only worsens their vulnerabilities and exposes them to different forms of abuse and ill-treatment, such as human trafficking, including forced labour and sexual exploitation, among others.  

“Since the expiration of the registration period to the National Regularization Plan of Foreigners (NRPF) in June 2015, IOM has recorded that more than 202,252 Haitian migrants have spontaneously returned or were deported to Haiti," explained Fabien Sambussy, IOM Haiti Chief of Mission. "This figure shows that assistance is needed throughout the border region in order to help vulnerable migrants returning home, particularly women and children. Many arrive in precarious conditions. They might have no access to resources, have been separated from their family, are undernourished or exhausted from having spent several days in Dominican detention centres.”  

IOM, with financial support from the Canadian Government, has implemented an assistance project for migrants: “To Help Vulnerable Children and Women in the Border Regions of Haiti.” 

“Canada is proud to help ameliorate the protection and the promotion of the fundamental rights of women and children. This initiative is well aligned with the new feminist policy of development assistance of Canada,” said Ivan Roberts, Head of the Haiti-Canada Cooperation. 

“Respecting human dignity remains an unbroken part of the history in the fight for women’s rights. In every circumstance the rights of women must be respected,” said Eunide Innocent, Haiti's Minister of the Status of Women and Women’s Rights. 

For further information, please contact Julie Harlet in Haiti, Tel: +509 46388051, Email: jharlet@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 17:03Image: Region-Country: HaitiThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationIntegrated Border ManagementMigrant AssistanceMigrants RightsDefault: Multimedia: 

Ivan Roberts, Head of Canadian Cooperation in Haiti; Minister of Social Affairs and Labor, Roosevelt Bellevue; and Fabien Sambussy, IOM Head of Mission in Haiti.

The Border Resource Centre of Anse-a-Pitre at its inauguration.

The Minister of Social Affairs and Labor,  Roosevelt Bellevue, and the Head of Canadian Cooperation in Haiti, Ivan Roberts.

Categorie: Press Room IOM

52 Dead in Niger as UN Migration Agency Search and Rescue Operation Saves 600 Stranded Migrants in Sahara Desert

IOM - News - Mar, 06/27/2017 - 11:37

Niger – Sunday morning (25/06), 24 migrants alerted authorities in Niger that they had been stranded in the desert. It is not clear for how long they had been walking in the deserts of central Niger, near Seguedine. The 24 were taken to Seguedine, where one died on arrival, making the total number of survivors, 23. Among the survivors, there are migrants from Gambia, Nigeria, Senegal and Cote d'Ivoire.

They had been in a group of 75 migrants in three different cars, eventually abandoned by smugglers during the journey north. The authorities went back to where they had found the survivors to look for the other 51 who had been in the group, but they could not be found due to a sand storm. The migrants were presumed dead and search missions resumed once the sand storm ended – the bodies have yet to be found. IOM teams on the ground in Dirkou went this morning to pick up the 23 survivors and take them to IOM's transit centre in Dirkou.

At IOM's transit centres across Niger migrants receive direct assistance including water, food, shelter, and medical and psychological assistance. They are also assisted with voluntary return and reintegration upon their return.

More than 600 lives have been saved since April 2017 through a new search and rescue operation run by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in Niger. The operation is financed by the Government of the Netherlands and the European Union (EU) Trust Fund.

Smugglers are exploring new migratory routes along the Northern Corridor, the busiest and most important transport route in East and Central Africa. IOM's new operation provides life-saving assistance to migrants in distress in areas where there is limited humanitarian presence.

In April 2017, IOM launched a new project financed by the Government of the Netherlands: “Migrants Rescue and Assistance in Agadez Region” (MIRAA). The MIRAA project will last for 12 months, and aims to ensure the protection of migrants in hard-to-reach areas while also strengthening the management of migration by the Government of Niger.

“We are enhancing our capacity to assist vulnerable migrants stranded in Northern Agadez, towards the Niger-Libya border,” said Giuseppe Loprete, IOM Niger Chief of Mission. “Saving lives in the desert is becoming more urgent than ever. Since the beginning of the year we have been receiving frequent calls to rescue victims who embark on this route‎,” Loprete adds.

MIRAA is complementary to the larger initiative “Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism” (MRRM), developed by IOM Niger and financed by the EU Trust Fund. It aims to bring together in one mechanism a wide range of services and assistance for migrants, including assisted voluntary return to their countries of origin and reintegration once they return.

Adaora*, 22 years old, is one of the survivors of a rescue mission on 28 May, and the only woman to have survived from her group. Adaora left Nigeria in early April hoping for a better future in Europe. There were 50 migrants on the pick-up truck when it left Agadez for Libya, but only six are still alive today.

“We were in the desert for ten days. After five days, the driver abandoned us. He left with all of our belongings, saying he was going to pick us up in a couple of hours, but he never did,” Adaora recalls.

Adaora had left Nigeria with two close female friends, who both died in the desert. “They were too weak to keep going,” she sadly remembers. “We buried a few, but there were just too many to bury and we didn’t have the strength to do it,” Adaora adds.

During the next two days, 44 of the migrants died which persuaded the six left to start walking to look for help. “We had to drink our own pee to survive,” she says.

“I couldn’t walk anymore. I wanted to give up,” she recalls. Two other migrants carried her until a truck driver picked them up and took them to local authorities who then alerted IOM staff in Dirkou in the Agadez Region of north-eastern Niger.

By the time the six survivors reached IOM’s transit centre in Dirkou, Adaora was unconscious. She received medical assistance, and once recovered, she gave a detailed account of her experience to both the authorities and IOM staff. Two of the other migrants from the group went back with IOM staff and the authorities to find the bodies and identify the victims.

After having received medical assistance at IOM’s transit centres in both Dirkou and Agadez, Adaora is currently recovering at IOM’s transit centre for migrants in Niamey, awaiting her imminent voluntary return to Nigeria.

Adaora says she had no idea what the route was going to be like, otherwise she would have never left Nigeria. Going back, she wants to continue her work as a nurse. “I think it’s important we all assist each other when we are in need,” she says.

On 9 June, another 92 migrants were also rescued through an IOM search and rescue operation; among them were 30 women and children.

*Adaora's name has been changed to protect her identity

For further information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 27, 2017 - 17:04Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

A migrant being assisted by an IOM staff member in Seguedine. Photo: IOM 2017

Adoara, one of the 23 survivors found stranded in the desert in Niger. Photo: IOM 2017

Categorie: Press Room IOM