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IOM, EU Strengthen Ties on Global Migration at Senior Officials Meeting

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:50
Language English

Belgium - Senior officials from the European Union (EU) and IOM met in Brussels yesterday (9/03) to further strengthen cooperation on addressing the challenges and the opportunities related to global migration governance.

The annual strategic meeting, known as “The Senior Officials Meeting,” was hosted by European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides.

“There is no doubt that today migration is one of the mega-trends that define our century. In Brussels, for example, more than half of the population was born in a foreign country. Building walls and fences is not only against our common humanity, it is also a bad policy,” said Commissioner Stylianides.

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing and Deputy Director General Laura Thompson took part in the high-level dialogue – the fourth of its kind – together with other senior officials from the European Commission (DG HOME, DG DEVCO, DG NEAR and DG ECHO), the European External Action Service. Officials from IOM’s Geneva Headquarters and the regional office in Brussels also attended. 

Ambassador Swing welcomed the deepening of the strategic dialogue between IOM and the EU since the signing of the IOM-EU Strategic Cooperation Framework in 2012, which has led to more regular channels of cooperation, discussion and joint planning to respond to the mounting migration and mobility challenges of 21st century migration.

“The EU and IOM share the view that no country can effectively address migration alone, and that all countries, international organizations, civil society and local authorities need to work together to make a comprehensive, coherent and sustainable European migration policy a reality,” he said.

This year’s EU-IOM meeting takes place at a time where the scale and complexity of migration challenges facing Europe and the world continue to challenge a collective response at every level.

The EU and its Member States, as well as international partners, have been called upon to respond simultaneously to both the root causes and the consequences of increasing human mobility, multiple complex emergencies, and persistent economic challenges. Demographic decline, a changing climate, and a dangerous, migration-averse political climate continue to characterize the prevailing global situation.

Discussions at this year’s meeting focused on strategic and operational approaches to addressing global migration and forced displacement challenges, in particular, how to work towards a sustainable and coherent approach to migrant protection, voluntary return, and reintegration.

Concrete implementation of recent global policy developments such as the 2016 New York Declaration for refugees and migrants and the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration were discussed in connection with the European Partnership Framework with Third Countries, the Joint Valletta Action Plan, and the EU's new approach to foster self-reliance of forcibly displaced populations and to support their hosts.

The EU and the IOM agreed on further stepping up cooperation along the Central Mediterranean route, particularly in Libya, in order to ensure protection for those in need and more efficient migration management adhering to human rights and international standards. The parties also discussed how IOM can continue playing an important role in the implementation of the Migration Partnership Framework, with a number of priority countries in sub-Saharan Africa.

The EU and its Member States remain one of the largest contributors to IOM's budget with more than 540 projects contracted in 2015 and 2016 with a total value of EUR 890 million. Half of the funding comes from the European Commission services. From 2014 to 2016, IOM has received on average around EUR 51 million in EU humanitarian aid per year.

Ahead of the meeting, IOM published the second edition of its partnership report showcasing its global cooperation with the EU on migration and mobility.  The new report captures the main features and tangible results of the IOM-EU partnership from 2015 to 2016 with a focus on joint efforts in implementing the Joint Valletta Action Plan, as well as IOM’s engagement with the EU Trust Fund for Africa.

IOM-EU Cooperation on Migration and Mobility: Addressing the Valletta Summit Priorities Together examines how IOM and the EU are working together across the five priority domains agreed at the Valletta Summit in 2015: development benefits of migration and addressing root causes; legal migration and mobility, protection and asylum; prevention of and fight against irregular migration, migrant smuggling and trafficking in human beings; and return, readmission and reintegration.

Download the report here: http://eea.iom.int/images/Download/IOM-EU%20Cooperation%20Booklet%202015...    

For further information please contact IOM’s Regional Office in Brussels. Anna Eva Radicetti, Tel: +32 2 287 71 10, Email: aeradicetti@iom.int or Melissa Julian Tel: +32 2 287 71 33, Email: mjulian@iom.int.

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:48Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaBelgiumThemes: OthersDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Shelters, Winter Supplies Reach 1,100 Vulnerable Afghan Returnee Families in Nangarhar

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:46
Language English

Afghanistan - During the first week of March 2017, IOM delivered shelter and winter supplies to 1,112 vulnerable Afghan families who returned to Nangarhar province from Pakistan.

Since the beginning of 2016, nearly 260,000 undocumented Afghans have returned from Pakistan. Over 70 percent of them have settled in Nangarhar province, both in the provincial capital Jalalabad and in rural districts.

Many of the returnees have lived outside of Afghanistan for more than 20 years, or were born in Pakistan as part of the undocumented Afghan community there. The returnees face challenges as they reintegrate into communities contending with conflict and record levels of displacement.

IOM staff visited returnee families in these areas in the weeks leading up to the distribution, and found that many needed shelters and supplies for cold weather. A winter kit consisting of blankets, a heater and a gas cylinder, as well as a shelter with a tarpaulin, were distributed to the families.

“These are items that should really benefit returnees living in very difficult situations,” said Ikramullah Wahidy, IOM Cross-Border Return and Reintegration Coordinator in Nangarhar.

Like many returnees, Abdul Wahad was born in Pakistan and has struggled to restart his life after returning to Afghanistan. Although he is only 30 years old, he wears a brace and has to frequently sit and rest due to a recent back injury.

“I was a tailor in Pakistan and made a good living, but one day I fell off the roof while working on my house,” he says. “Now I can’t work much and am dependent on my brother. The support today will help me a lot, since I don’t even have a blanket.”

While returns from Pakistan have declined since the peak in 2016, previous surges in returns have been unpredictable and an estimated 1 million undocumented Afghans still remain in Pakistan. IOM is scaling up its operations at the border in preparation for further returns, and is working with partners to develop sustainable solutions for reintegration.

Funding for the distribution of the winter kits was provided by the governments of the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Sweden and Switzerland.

A second round of distributions is planned for a further 600 returnee families in Kabul, Laghman and Kunar, starting on March 12th.

For further information, please contact Matt Graydon at IOM Afghanistan. Tel. +93 729 229 129, Email: mgraydon@iom.int

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:44Image: Region-Country: AsiaAfghanistanThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Japan Donates USD 6.7 Million to Aid Displaced Iraqis: IOM

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:43
Language English

Iraq - In the midst of ongoing operations in Mosul, the Government of Japan is providing USD 6.7 million to IOM to support its humanitarian response to displacement in Iraq.

Over a one-year period, this contribution will support IOM to assist internally displaced Iraqis, as well as returnees and host community members.

The project will fund two components of the emergency response efforts: shelter support to maintain and upgrade emergency shelter sites and critical arrangements (unfinished schools and religious buildings, among others) to safely house new internally displaced persons (IDPs); and provision of emergency seasonal non-food items (NFI) to meet the immediate needs of families fleeing from conflict.

In areas retaken by the Iraqi government, the project will contribute to promoting community stabilization through several initiatives, including:

  • Providing 100 low-cost houses with infrastructure.
  • Implementing six community infrastructure rehabilitation projects (also called Quick Impact Projects), including the rehabilitation of schools and health centres, in response to the communities’ expressed needs.
  • Providing training to community members and law enforcement officials on community policing principles.
  • Carrying out a detailed assessment, through IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, on return movements to retaken areas to inform programmatic decision-making and benefit the wider humanitarian community.

IOM has identified the need for comprehensive community recovery packages targeting areas of return, and is committed to respond to the urgent needs of returnees. IOM’s community stabilization initiatives respond to infrastructure damage in retaken areas with urgently needed rehabilitation projects. In addition, the project will continue supporting its successful eye care health activities for vulnerable communities.

In the previous round of the IOM Iraq’s Japan-funded programme from May 2016 to February 2017, more than 5,500 displaced children received vision screenings, and more than 1,000 received full eye examinations and prescription glasses.

“The contribution of the Government of Japan has enabled IOM to support thousands of displaced Iraqis with emergency assistance and livelihoods,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss. “We are pleased to continue this important partnership, in coordination with the Government of Iraq and humanitarian partners, to improve conditions for those who are still living in displacement as well as for those facing the challenge of returning home in retaken areas,” he added.

Tiba, a 7-year-old displaced girl from Mosul, who now lives in Erbil, said: “I am very comfortable with the glasses. I wanted the frame to be pink. I am happy now that I can read, write and watch TV with them. I thank Japan for the eyeglasses. My family is displaced now, but I hope we can return to Mosul one day.”

Over three million Iraqis continue to be displaced across Iraq since January 2014. Due to Mosul military operations, which began in mid-October 2016, an additional 283,000 Iraqis have been displaced (cumulative); more than 215,000 are currently displaced; and more than 68,000 have returned home. More than 57,000 have been displaced from West Mosul in the past two weeks.

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

Please click to download the latest:

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations - Factsheet (March 9):


IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Data Snapshot (March 9): http://iomiraq.net/article/0/9-march-2017-mosul-displacement-snapshot

For further information please contact Hala Jaber at IOM Iraq, Tel. +964 751 740 1654, Email: hjaberbent@iom.int 

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:40Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Stranded Nigerian and Gambian Migrants Return Home from Libya

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:40
Language English

Libya - On 7 March, IOM helped 171 stranded Nigerian migrants – 76 men and 95 women – to return home from Libya by air. Two days later, on 9 March, IOM assisted another 141 stranded Gambians – all men – to return home to Banjul. It was IOM Libya’s first charter flight to the Gambia.

The two charter flights were coordinated with Libyan, Nigerian and Gambian authorities and departed from Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport. IOM provided pre-departure interviews, medical check-ups and material assistance, including clothes and shoes.

Among the Nigerian passengers was 23-year-old Gloria*, who came to Libya with her husband to try to travel to Europe. In Libya, they were arrested and taken to different detention centres. Gloria now hopes that her husband also will receive IOM voluntary return assistance so that they can be reunited at home in Nigeria.

In Nigeria, 17-year-old Esther* dreamt of continuing her education but lacked the financial means. She then decided to travel to Libya and eventually on to Europe. In Libya, she was pushed to work in demeaning conditions, which is why she decided to return home.

Maris* was working as a hairdresser in Nigeria, when she met a man who promised to find a decent job for her in Libya and to ultimately help her reach Europe. After reaching Libya, she was forced to work as a hairdresser without pay in horrible conditions. “I did not see the sun for four month,” she told IOM. “I am glad that I am being helped to get home,” she added.

Among the passengers on the Nigerian flight were 13 unaccompanied minors (12 girls and 1 boy), of whom 11 received family tracing assistance from IOM Libya’s protection team, funded by the Government of Italy. There was also a victim of human trafficking and a disabled person who required a medical escort.

The 24 most vulnerable cases on the Nigerian flight will also be eligible for reintegration support, which will give them the opportunity to start a small business or to continue their education. IOM will also support any medical treatment needed as a consequence of their time in Libya.

Three unaccompanied minors and two passengers who received medical assistance, but were deemed fit to travel without medical escort, returned home as part of the Gambian group. Twelve migrants from that group are entitled to receive IOM’s reintegration assistance on arrival in the Gambia.

“My wife and daughter are waiting for me to return with gifts,” explained 35-year-old electric engineer Peter* who is returning home to Gambia empty handed after having lost all his savings in Libya. His wife is currently pregnant with their second child and his daughter is in school “I have nothing to give them, I would rather die than to return empty handed, but I will go home now and work in my country and die there,” he told IOM.

The return assistance was funded by the UK Foreign Office, the Government of the Netherlands and the EU’s Instrument Contributing to Stability and Peace. It was part of IOM’s return assistance programme.

So far in 2017, IOM Libya has helped 1,164 stranded migrants return to their countries of origin. Of these, 298 were eligible for reintegration assistance.

*All migrant names have been changed to protect 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, March 10, 2017 - 17:38Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastLibyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Trains Latin-American, Caribbean Officials on International Migration

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:33
Language English

Argentina - IOM is providing training on international migration to 30 government representatives from 18 Latin American and Caribbean countries. The 39th edition of the Inter-American Course on International Migration started in Mar del Plata, Argentina this week (6/3) and will run through 21 March.

The IOM course, which has trained nearly 850 government officials over the years, has 20 leading experts and scholars in the migration field participating this year.

IOM's Regional Director for South America, Diego Beltrand said that the course helps to train government officials on migration policies – both from free mobility and migrants’ rights perspectives. Officials can apply their expertise not only to the policies of their states, but also in the multilateral fora where migration is discussed, he noted.

Counsellor Ana Cristina Saíno, head of the International Migration Directorate of the General Directorate of Consular Affairs at Argentina’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, highlighted the importance of training officials in charge of migration and consular matters.

She noted that Argentina is committed to the respect and protection of migrants’ human rights, and recalled the words of Chancellor Susana Malcorra, who said on the occasion of the High-Level Meeting on Refugees and Migrants held in September 2016 in New York: “For Argentines, migration is part of our social DNA and has marked the social, political and cultural organization of our country since the beginning.”

The course consists of six modules on topics including: understanding migration processes, international protection of migrants, instruments of migration governance as well as policies and programs of international migration. It also focuses on international dialogue and regional integration processes.

Pablo Ceriani, Vice President of the UN Committee on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW), noted: “Training on human rights is an essential step towards the design of integral, legitimate and effective migration policies.”

José Fernando Rubiano, Advisor of the Colombia Nos Une Program of the Ministry of Foreigner Affairs of Colombia described the course “as a fundamental pillar to understand migration in Latin America and valuable tool to continue formulating effective migration policies to migrants.”

The course is also being attended by experts from UNHCR, UN OHCHR, the Institute for Public Policy on Human Rights (IPPDH) of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) and the Scalabrini International Migration Network.

More information about the course is available here in Spanish: http://robuenosaires.iom.int/sites/default/files/publicaciones/Brochure_...

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

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:30Image: Region-Country: AmericaArgentinaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Norway Training Focuses on Mental Health, Well-being of Migrants

IOM - News - Ven, 03/10/2017 - 10:30
Language English

Norway - IOM, in partnership with the Norwegian Institute for Public Health (NIPH), this week organized a series of trainings designed help to improve migrant mental health and psychosocial well-being in Norway.

The week-long series of seminars, workshops and trainings was geared towards improving the knowledge and skills of members of the Norwegian NGO community, academics and professionals working with vulnerable groups, including migrants.

The programme was led by Guglielmo Schinina, IOM’s Head of Global Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication. He explained that migrants have mental health needs just as non-migrant populations do, but they also face a number of extraordinary stressors which can adversely affect their well-being and make their integration into society more difficult. 

“Most importantly, we cannot forget that mental health, as with any form of health, is a right for migrants as much as it is for non-migrant populations,” he said. 

One of the highlights of the joint IOM-NIPH sessions was the in-depth exchanges concerning the objectification of migration and the myths surrounding “healthy migrants” and “vulnerable migrants”. The discussion therefore focused on ways to work on the resilience of host communities to be accepting of migrants as much as to help migrants in need.

A separate round-table discussion focused on the inclusion of migrants in the arts with the aim of creating a network to develop social theatre to identify and address the psychosocial needs of the migrant community.

Once a predominant focus on mental problems and “trauma”, psychosocial intervention has now shifted to strengthening resilience and social support.

Steve Hamilton, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Norway, explained why strengthening the capacity of the community through a dedicated series of events dedicated to migrant mental health and psychosocial well-being is beneficial.

“IOM’s commitments are to all migrants in a community and therefore extend to the community as a whole.  Within any community there are those with mental health concerns that need to be addressed in a timely manner. So enhancing an overall ability to support, and better understand, these individuals is essential,” he noted.

IOM created its first psychosocial program in 1998, followed by the creation of a unit in 2000 and finally by the foundation of a global section at its headquarters in 2009.

In just the past two years, IOM has provided mental health and psychosocial support to more than 720,000 migrants, displaced persons, and conflict-affected individuals in 32 countries, and trained 4,500 professionals worldwide.

For further information please contact Sigurd Tvete at IOM Norway, Tel +47 406 749 86, Email: stvete@iom.int

Posted: Friday, March 10, 2017 - 17:29Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaNorwayThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration HealthDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Seeks Greater Access to Decent Work for Migrant Women and Girls

IOM - News - Mer, 03/08/2017 - 06:13
Language English

Switzerland - We live in a world in constant motion, writes IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.  This is defined by the mobility of capital, goods and services but above all the mobility of people. Millions of people are moving, within and across borders, in search of something better.   

One of the fastest growing groups is women and girls migrating for employment, caught up in the ever-changing, globalized world of work. Current estimates by the International Labour Organization put the official number of international female migrant workers at 66 million, which does not include the large numbers of migrant women working or migrating irregularly. Numbers of internal female migrant workers are estimated to be much greater.

On International Women’s Day 2017, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) embraces the official United Nations theme, Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030, by honouring migrant women and girls.

We salute their achievements and acknowledge the challenges they face. And as we work with Member States to draft a ground-breaking Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, we call on governments and the international community to expand their access to decent work and ensure that their migration experience is as positive as possible.

The world of work has never been more globalized and interconnected than it is today. A labour shortage in one part of the world is often filled by workers from the other side of the world. Women are very much part of this phenomenon and can be found in all labour market sectors.

For example, global care chains create demand for care and domestic work that draws women from countries in South Asia, Southeast Asia and Latin America, to perform such work in Europe, North America and the Middle East.

In countries of origin too, other women and girls are stepping into the service gaps left by the family members who have sought employment abroad.  Many other women and girls are migrating to work in other sectors, such as agriculture, manufacturing and hospitality.

For many women and girls, migrating for work is an attractive proposition. It can allow them to advance economically, socially and professionally; it can contribute to an increase in self-confidence, autonomy and control over their lives; and it can enable them to better support their families. It might also expose them to new, more equitable gender norms.

For the host societies, the contributions of female migrant workers are of enormous benefit. In addition to filling important labour gaps, these women also contribute to the economies of their host societies. And those who perform care and domestic work also enable other people, often women, to pursue employment and other activities outside of the home by relieving them of duties that might otherwise fall on them.

For the countries of origin, female migrant workers are not only an important source of remittances; when they eventually return home, whether temporarily or permanently, they also take back newly acquired skills and knowledge.

Unfortunately there is another, less pleasant side to this picture. Migration can also present many challenges for women workers, starting even before migration takes place. Unscrupulous recruiters may mislead or cheat women seeking to migrate for work, leading to abuse and exploitation. In extreme cases, women can be tricked and fall into the hands of human traffickers.

Those women who succeed in reaching their destination often end up working in more informal and less regulated labour market sectors (including domestic work and care giving) where wages are low and worker protection insufficient.

At the other end of the skills ladder, higher-skilled migrant women often work in sectors where they have difficulty in getting official recognition for their professional skills and qualifications. As a result, they often suffer disproportionately from underemployment and deskilling.

For all migrant women – and irregular migrants in particular – these challenges can be made worse by sexism, racism and xenophobia. There is, however, reason to hope for a better deal.

On 19 September 2016, world leaders agreed to work towards the development of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. This is a unique opportunity to ensure that the particular needs of female migrant workers, and of all women and girls affected by migration, are sufficiently addressed by governments and the international community alike. As we work to draft this ambitious and much-needed document, we must ensure that they are not left behind. 

Posted: Wednesday, March 8, 2017 - 13:06Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: OthersDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

USD 25 Million Sought to Aid Conflict-Affected People in Ukraine in 2017

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 11:00
Language English

Ukraine - Three years into the conflict-related crisis in Eastern Ukraine there are acute humanitarian needs, including access to shelter, work, essential services, and even food and water.

IOM has just announced plans for its assistance to the civilian population for 2017, with a programme to reach over 180,000 people in critical need that will cost USD 25 million to implement.

Since April 2014, an estimated 9,700 people have been killed in the fighting in Eastern Ukraine and a further 22,600 have been injured. In all, 3.8 million people need humanitarian assistance.

“Many of the people who need urgent help are trapped in villages along the contact line without fuel for heating and cooking, hot water, food, or basic necessities,” said IOM’s Chief of Mission for Ukraine, Manfred Profazi. “There are 1.6 million people displaced across the country, many of whom are jobless, struggling to pay their utility bills and lacking funds for food and medical expenses.”

In addition to tangible aid (including hygiene products, blankets and coal) IOM plans to further support internally displaced persons (IDPs) and their host communities through self-employment training and grants. Some families will receive cash to help them pay their bills as commodity prices have skyrocketed.

IOM will also help refurbish social infrastructure, host community events, and provide psychological assistance to build morale and mutual trust among conflict-affected communities.

“In situations of mass displacement there is a hugely elevated risk of human trafficking,” noted Profazi. “Traffickers know the market and cynically move in to exploit vulnerable people who are desperate to provide for their families. We will work with communities both to prevent it happening and to assist victims.”

Finally, IDPs and conflict-affected people will be provided with accurate information on their rights and how to travel safely via IOM-supported hotlines, while IOM’s national monitoring system will conduct regular surveys among IDPs on their situation, intentions and movements, giving the authorities the information needed to provide support. 

View the Appeal here: http://www.iom.org.ua/sites/default/files/iom_ukraine_2017_crisis_respon...

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

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:26Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaUkraineDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Turkey Helps Over 15,000 Syrians to Apply for Family Reunification in Germany

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:52
Language English

Turkey - Since July 2016, IOM Turkey has helped over 15,000 Syrians to access Germany’s Family Assistance Programme (FAP).  The programme helps vulnerable migrants to apply for German family reunification visas and avoid dangerous irregular migration by sea across the Mediterranean.

Over half a million Syrians and Iraqis have registered for asylum in Germany since 2015 and approximately 320,000 have been granted refugee status, according to the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF).

With funding from the German Federal Foreign Office, IOM operates FAP offices in Turkey, Lebanon and Iraq to guide Syrian and Iraqi refugee families through the visa application process. It helps them to correctly complete the forms that will allow them to reunite with close family members already granted asylum in Germany.

The FAP aims to help reunite up to 35,000 families from the region. So far, approximately 25,000 families have been able to join their relatives in Germany. Eighty-five percent of FAP beneficiaries are women.

The need for complementary legal pathways for migration, including new and existing family reunification programmes, is growing, as displacement continues to grow.

“As the region continues to suffer from conflict, each year we see an increased demand for additional resettlement and family reunification options,” said Lado Gvilava, IOM Turkey Chief of Mission. “Now is the time for governments, civil society and international organizations to work together to offer additional safe, orderly and legal options for people fleeing violence, rather than forcing them to risk irregular migration.”

Arefa, a Syrian mother, was assisted by IOM’s FAP office in Turkey. At the height of the 2015 Mediterranean Crisis, her husband was one of almost a million migrants and refugees to make the dangerous journey to Germany in the hope of building a safe life for his family.

“We lost everything in Syria. After years of war, my children needed a future to look to,” said Arefa. In Istanbul she waited with her five children for news from her husband. 

Six months after her husband was granted refugee status in Germany, Arefa was able to save the EUR 30 needed for her (five-person) family’s visa appointment. “I had no idea what to do or how to get the documents that the German government needed,” she said. 

Thanks to IOM, Arefa was able to prepare and submit the required paperwork. She and her children also attended integration classes organized by IOM to help prepare them for life in Germany. After nearly two years of separation, Arefa and her family have now finally been reunited in Germany. 

Successful FAP applicants receive residency permits valid for the same duration as those of their family members in Germany. In order to receive refugee status, they must still go through Germany’s official asylum application process. 

More details about the FAP program can be found at Familyreunion-syria.diplo.de or through Facebook www.facebook.com/IOM.Family.Assistance.Programme.

For further information, please contact IOM Turkey. Eleonora Servino, Email:  info.fap.tr@iom.int or Abby Dwommoh, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email: mediaIOMTurkey@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:28Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaTurkeyThemes: Family ReunificationRefugee and Asylum IssuesResettlementDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 19,384, Deaths: 521

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:51
Language English

Switzerland - IOM reports that 19,384 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 5 March, over 80 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece. This compares with 138,524 through the first 65 days of 2016. 

IOM Rome spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo reports that, according to Italian Ministry of Interior figures, in 2017 15,844 migrants arrived in Italy by sea as of 6 March. On March 5th, some 1,442 migrants were brought ashore by the Italian Coast Guard and the NGOs SOS Mediterranée and ProActiva Open Arms.

Di Giacomo added that according to testimony gathered in Lampedusa – where 178 migrants landed last Sunday – six people were lost during the sea crossing.  That brings the number of Mediterranean fatalities this year to 521 through March 5, compared to 471 at this point in 2016.

Kate Dearden of IOM’s Missing Migrants Project in Berlin reported Monday that since last Friday’s (3 March) report, IOM had recorded the following 48 fatalities in the Mediterranean. They included:
March 2:  The body of a man was recovered near Tarifa, Spain.
March 3:  A 16-year-old rescued at sea died on the Siem Pilot rescue ship.
March 3:  25 missing, with 115 survivors, off Tajoura, Libya.
March 4:  6 missing with 178 survivors, in the central Mediterranean between Libya and Italy.

At the same time, Christine Petré of IOM Libya reports that on 3 March, 110 migrants (104 men and 6 women) were rescued off Tripoli by the Libyan Coast Guard, after their wooden boat started taking on water.

She said that 66 of the migrants were transferred to Triq Al Sekka detention centre, where IOM provided them with non-food aid, including blankets and hygiene kits. The other 44 were transferred to Triq Al Shook detention centre, where the NGO International Medical Corps provided emergency assistance.  She said the total number of migrants rescued off Libya so far this year is 2,650 men, women and children.

Among the rescued migrants taken to Triq Al Sekka detention centre were four women, who spoke with IOM. Still suffering from shock from the traumatic rescue operation, 20 year-old Aminata* (pseudonym), from Mali, explained her father died when she was young and that she came to Libya to earn money to support her mother and siblings. She had spent 10 months in Libya as a cleaner to get enough money to pay for a smuggling boat to Europe.

Near her sat one of the other rescued girls. With tears rolling down her cheeks, she explained that she lost her sister to the sea that day. Devastated, she didn’t know what would come next, fearing to return home empty handed, yet trapped at the detention centre with little hope for the future.

IOM’s Petré added: “There were reports of deaths (prior to the rescue), which we are following up. I have received information regarding dead migrants found in Subratah. It seems there was an exchange of fire between smugglers, which led to the death of 22 migrants.”

These last victims are counted with North Africa fatalities recorded by Missing Migrants (see chart, below), whose data today show a total of 782 fatalities since the beginning of the year. In addition to the growing death toll on the Mediterranean, Missing Migrants added 17 more deaths in the month of February along the US-Mexico border, due to the addition of monthly data from Pima County, Arizona, where historically remains of migrants are recovered by Border Patrol, local law enforcement and human rights investigators throughout the year. 2017’s recovery rate along the border is running close to one victim per day as winter ends – about 30 per cent ahead of last year. 

Deaths of Migrants and Refugees: 1 January 2016 - 5 March 2016 vs. 1 January - 5 March 2017










Middle East



North Africa



Horn of Africa



Sub-Saharan Africa



Southeast Asia



East Asia






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For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:  http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170307_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 Greece: 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
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, OIM Genève, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, OIM Italie, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:27Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

International Donors Visit IOM Iraq Crisis Response Operations

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:41
Language English

Iraq - A delegation of diplomats and aid officials visited Erbil, Iraq 3-5 March 2017 to see first-hand IOM humanitarian projects in response to the ongoing displacement crisis.

Over three million Iraqis have continued to be displaced across Iraq since January 2014. More than 211,000 Iraqis are currently displaced due to Mosul military operations, which began in mid-October 2016, and more than 51,000 have been displaced from West Mosul in the last 10 days. Across the country nearly 500,000 Iraqis are living in critical shelter arrangements (unfinished buildings, informal settlements, religious buildings and schools).

In response to ongoing displacement and humanitarian needs, IOM is assisting displaced families and affected communities through the provision of emergency response services including non-food item kits, shelter, primary health care, psychosocial assistance, displacement tracking, livelihoods assistance and light infrastructure projects. In 2016, more than 1.2 million Iraqis received assistance from IOM.

In speaking with families at an informal shelter site, an abandoned government building in Erbil, the visiting donor representatives learned more about the challenges faced by displaced Iraqis. Ismael, a father of four, explained his family’s situation:

“We were displaced in 2014 from Bashiqa, Ninewa governorate, when ISIL attacked our area. One of my daughters was wounded by four bullets during the attack. We managed to get her to Erbil and provide her with medical care. Another one of my daughters is still having psychosocial issues due to the trauma of seeing her sister wounded and covered in blood.”

“When we first arrived in Erbil, we had not heard much about camps, so we started looking for a place to stay and we found this building that had no doors, windows, electricity or running water,” Ismael continued. “We prefer this to being in a camp, because here we have freedom of movement and also occasional access to daily paid work opportunities. The children do not go to school, because there are no Arabic schools nearby and they do not understand Kurdish.”

Visiting representatives of IOM donor countries, including Sweden, Finland, Luxembourg, Germany and New Zealand – and a locally based representative of South Korea, visited this and another informal site on the grounds of a school, where IOM is providing Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) services such as on-job training, shelter upgrades (electricity, windows, doors, water tank, plastic sheeting, plumbing) and other items including first aid kits, hygiene kits and fire extinguishers.

The representatives also visited projects, including an IOM medical clinic in Debaga camp for displaced Iraqis, and psychosocial support services at informal shelter sites. At Hikma School in Erbil they viewed a hybrid solar power system, installed through IOM’s Community Assistance Projects, which provides infrastructure support for communities hosting large numbers of displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees. The donors also learned about the situation of Iraqis who chose to return to Iraq from Europe through IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “Entering the fourth year of the ongoing conflict, the humanitarian crisis in Iraq continues, now with displacement from West Mosul.  As we continue to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable Iraqis, ongoing support is needed. We are pleased to welcome our donors and partner representatives to see the situation in Iraq first hand, as we work together to provide the lifesaving assistance required.”

Delegation member Paivi Laing, Finland’s Ambassador to Iraq said: “I am a person who reads a lot about what is going on in the Middle East, but to come here and see how displaced persons living in the camps, and how IOM and other agencies are assisting them is just eye opening. It was important for us to hear from displaced Iraqis about their experiences and personal stories of displacement. We understand that the cause of displacement is not over yet, as we know that where we are now is probably only one hour from ISIL. So these families really need assistance, somebody has to do the job to help them; it is very interesting to see how IOM is in doing that in practice.”

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

Please click to download the latest:

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Factsheet: http://iraqdtm.iom.int/Downloads/DTM%20Emergency%20Tracking/Mosul%20Cris...

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Data Snapshot: http://iomiraq.net/article/0/iom-iraq-dtm-snapshot-5-march

For further information, please contact Sandra Black at IOM Iraq. Tel: +964 751 234 550, Email: sblack@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:25Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Tunisia Helps Stranded Migrants from West, Central Africa Return Home

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:40
Language English

Tunisia - Today IOM helped 61 stranded migrants from Senegal, Guinea, Chad and Côte d’Ivoire to return home from Tunisia through its assisted voluntary return programme.

The migrants arrived at the Southern border of Tunisia several weeks ago, having fled on foot from insecurity in Libya. Like many others, they stayed temporarily in a migrant shelter managed by the Tunisian Red Crescent (TRC), where they asked IOM for support to safely travel home.

IOM works in coordination with its partners in the southern Tunisia to provide migrants with humanitarian assistance, providing dignity kits, which are based on the specific needs and vulnerabilities of each migrant. Many of the migrants reported physical and psychological abuse, labor exploitation and discrimination against them while in Libya.

IOM offers migrants pre-departure assistance, including coordination with their embassies for the delivery of travel documents, social and medical assistance, in partnership with TRC and Doctors without Borders (MSF), during their short stay in Tunisia.

“I am excited to soon reunite with my family, especially with my daughter Khady,” said Ibrahim, a 32-year-old Senegalese migrant. “It has been a very difficult journey. Once back in Senegal, my main objective will be to let my family and friends know about the risks of irregular migration through Libya,” he continued.

“I am glad to return back home and get back to my life in Senegal, after all the troubles I went through during my time in Libya,” said Mohamed, 22 years old. “I won’t try to reach Europe by boat again – it is too risky and this is not a solution for myself, or my family,” he explained.

This year, the number of migrants arriving in Tunisia from Libya has increased. Many migrants see no other option but to come to Tunisia to find safety and eventually return home. Since the beginning of January 2017, IOM Tunisia has helped 128 vulnerable and stranded migrants to return home. IOM will assist around 100 more people with voluntary return in the coming weeks.

IOM assists stranded migrants in cooperation with the Tunisian authorities, local partners and the governments of their countries of origin. It is also supporting government and civil society through capacity-building activities, as well as the strengthening of referral and assistance mechanisms for vulnerable migrants in Tunisia.

This voluntary return programme is funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration and the European Union’s Regional Development and Protection Programme for North Africa. 

For further information, please contact Lorena Lando at IOM Tunisia. Tel: +216. 28 54 29 54, Email: llando@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:24Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastTunisiaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Colombia Hosts International Workshop on Tuberculosis in Vulnerable Populations

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:39
Language English

Colombia - IOM and the Colombia Anti-Tuberculosis League, together with the Ministry of Health and Social Protection and Baylor College of Medicine, held an international training on tuberculosis (TB) in vulnerable populations. Held in Bogotá on 1–3 March, the aim of the training was to build Colombia’s capacity to foster actions for the prevention and control of tuberculosis.

The event was financed by the Global Fund to Fight Aids, Tuberculosis, and Malaria, and executed in the framework of the World Health Organization (WHO) Strategy to End Tuberculosis.

Those facing complex situations diagnosing and managing TB, including internally displaced persons (IDPs), border communities, children, people living on the streets, or people living with HIV, are just a few examples of what are considered to be vulnerable populations.

The training targeted general and family health practitioners, pulmonologists, internists, heads of local TB programmes, academics, insurance companies, and community and business leaders.

The activity provided a general vision of medical management and the spread of TB in Colombia, with a focus on global experiences managing the illness, including cases of drug-resistant TB. Discussions were held on key aspects including prevention, diagnosis and treatment options, as well as monitoring, managing contacts, and focus on the interrelationship between migration and TB. One discussion panel focused on clinical and programmatic perspectives on Baylor’s Excellence Centers in Africa.

Marcela Rojas, a contractor for the Ministry of Health, explained that in Colombia the incidence of TB has been 25 cases for every 100,000 adult inhabitants and 3.9 cases for every 100,000 children under 15 years old, a pattern that has been sustained for the past ten years.

Rojas highlighted that the success of treatment in Colombia has reached 76 percent in adults and 85 percent in children under 15, although these numbers are under the goal set for the country (90 percent across the entire population).

Speaking at the workshop, Poonam Dhavan, Migration Health Programme Coordinator for the IOM Migration Health Division in Geneva, explained: “Migration is a social determinant of health, and risk factors for TB can be affected by the living and working‎ conditions, and socioeconomic status of vulnerable migrants, including internally displaced persons, or conflict-affected populations or undocumented migrants. Achieving the end TB strategy targets in Colombia will require that no one is left behind including vulnerable populations.”

“The support from the Global Fund over the last five years has enabled us to work with partners in strengthening the capacity of local TB programmes, providing technical assistance, and mobilizing civil society and persons living with TB with the ultimate goal of achieving TB goals in Colombia,” said Beatriz Gutierrez, Migration Health Coordinator for the IOM Mission in Colombia.

"IOM Colombia is proud to have welcomed a distinguished delegation of speakers and participants from the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, National Institutes for Health, Country Coordinating Mechanism for Global Fund, and international experts from WHO, IOM Migration Health Division, Baylor College of Medicine; as well as the many representatives from local TB programmes and civil society in Colombia,” said Alejandro Guidi, IOM Colombia Chief of Mission. “In working with our partners, we look forward to continuing the collaboration to promote health for all in Colombia.”

IOM’s migrant health assessments programme provides a comprehensive range of TB screening-related services, including physical examinations, radiological investigations, tuberculin skin tests, sputum smears and cultures, drug susceptibility testing (DST) and directly observed treatment (DOT).  TB treatment is provided either directly by IOM or through a referral system, in partnership with national tuberculosis programmes (NTPs). 

‎Between 2002 and 2014, IOM examined more than 2.6 million refugees and economic migrants. In 2014 alone, close to 321,000 migrant health assessments were conducted in 77 countries worldwide, primarily in those classified as having mid and high-tuberculosis burdens.

The training was supported by national and international organizations and experts, including the WHO, Baylor College of Medicine, the Texas Children’s Hospital, the Ministry of Health, the National Health Institute, the Colombian Pulmonology Foundation, the Risaralda Comfamiliar Clinic, the Colombian Association for Pediatric Pulmonology, the Colombian Society of Pulmonology and Thoracic Surgery, the Santa Clara Hospital, and the Pontificia Bolivariana University.

For further information, please contact Karen Mora at IOM Colombia Tel. + (57) 1 639 7777, Email: kmora@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:23Image: Region-Country: AmericaColombiaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Chinese Officials Study International Migration Law, Standards at Beijing Workshop

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:39
Language English

China - IOM has organized a two-day training workshop on “International Migration Law and International Standards” in Beijing. The main objective was is to provide a broad overview of the migration-related legal instruments and frameworks to Chinese officials charged with aspects of migration management.

The training, organized by IOM in the framework of the EU-China Dialogue on Migration and Mobility Support Project, attracted 51 Chinese participants from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, including provincial offices, Commerce, Human Resources and Social Security, Civil Affairs and Education, the State Administration for Foreign Expert Affairs, the National Health and Planning Commission and senior academic experts.

Two experts on migration law conducted the training, which was led by IOM’s International Migration Law (IML) Unit and supported by an International Migration Law expert and academician from Malta/United Kingdom, and the Director of the ILO Country Office for China and Mongolia.

The overarching objective of the training was to enhance the understanding of the global environment that constitutes the framework for cooperative migration governance and provide pragmatic recommendations that can be drawn on for practical action and improvement in migration management in and for China.

During his opening remarks, Tian Lin, Counsellor of the International Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, emphasized that migration issues have become an important theme for global management and the training provided an opportunity for participants to learn from the experience of the international community.

Recognizing that international migration law is an essential cornerstone of a state’s migration management framework, IOM undertakes training for state authorities, civil society and other stakeholders through its International Migration Law unit. Capacity building efforts in this area remain an important element of IOM support to partner governments in enhancing their knowledge on IML application in their respective settings.

For further information please contact Etienne Micallef at the IOM Liaison Office to China, Email: emicallef@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:22Image: Region-Country: AsiaChinaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Burkina Faso Opens New Boreholes in Béguédo

IOM - News - Mar, 03/07/2017 - 10:35
Language English

Burkina Faso - IOM Burkina Faso – in partnership with the governments of Italy and Belgium and the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD) – has opened two new boreholes in the rural commune of Béguédo, located in Bulgou province in Central-East Burkina Faso.

A borehole is a hole driven into the ground to release drinking water in areas where access to potable water is scarce. The Central-East region of Burkina Faso is suffering from land degradation and faces significant challenges, including inadequate agricultural and pastoral land, low agricultural yields, riverbank erosion and silting up of the Nakambé River.

This region in Burkina Faso is the country’s largest migration area and many people migrate, hoping to reach Europe, especially Italy.

IOM Burkina Faso’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme shows that at least 80 percent of assisted migrants in 2016 came from the Central-East region.

The boreholes are also part of a EUR 243,000 IOM project funded by the governments of Italy and Belgium: “Support for sustainable land management and improved livelihoods in the Béguédo area through incentive mechanisms with the commitment of the diaspora.”

The project aims to mobilize diaspora resources for sustainable land management in the Central-East region through income-generating activities and access to drinking water. 

The project informs the local population of Béguédo about the diaspora, migration issues, and implementation of water systems for sanitation. It also examines how to recover degraded lands through techniques adapted to each type of soil, training activities and diversification of production and farm income.

The project is implemented by the Global Mechanism of the UNCCD in partnership with IOM.

For further information, please contact Cindy Nouria Zongo at IOM Burkina Faso, Tel: +226 67711366 Email: czongo@iom.int  

Posted: Tuesday, March 7, 2017 - 17:21Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastBurkina FasoDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM