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Japan, IOM Open Health Centre in DRC's Kongo Central Province

IOM - News - Ven, 02/02/2018 - 07:50

Kinshasa – The burden of repeated outbreaks of infectious diseases in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) – such as Ebola, yellow fever and cholera – are major public health problems for the Congolese people and a threat to regional health security.

With a focus on prevention, Japan’s Ambassador to the DRC in collaboration with IOM, the UN Migration Agency, inaugurated a new health centre (30/01) built in Lufu, Kongo Central province on the border between DRC and Angola.

The structure – built with support from the Government of Japan for USD 525,000 – will enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Health to prevent, detect, and respond to epidemics and other public health emergencies in the border space. This achievement is

part of the support that the Government of Japan and IOM provide to the DRC in order to comply with the standards of the International Health Regulation (2005).

Indeed, the DRC shares more than 10,000 km of border with nine countries where large volumes of migration flows are observed, factors which contribute significantly to each country’s risk of cross-border transmission of disease.

In his address, Ambassador of Japan to the DRC Hiroshi Karube stressed the importance of 'strengthening the health system' at the 'border' level by referring to the recent outbreaks of yellow fever and cholera that have spread between DRC and Angola. With this in mind, Japan reiterated its commitment to supporting local initiatives supporting national efforts in the field of health.

"Japan remains a privileged partner of IOM, particularly on migration issues and dealing with health issues in border areas," said IOM DRC’s Mamadou Ngom.

A representative of the National Ministry of Public Health warmly thanked the Government of Japan for supporting the building of this health centre in the border area with Angola, which will contribute to the primary health of the people as well as to the fight against the spread of infectious diseases.

They also reminded those gathered that this first medical centre on the border aims to "ensure the application of the International Health Regulations but also the care of populations regardless of race and ethnicity."

In July 2016, the Government of Japan, through several institutions including IOM, extended emergency aid amounting to 3.5million US dollars for the DRC and Angola to fight against the yellow fever epidemic. This health centre reinforces Japan's commitment to the fight against the spread of transboundary infectious diseases.

For more information please contact IOM DRC, Aki Yoshino, Tel: +243 829 715 652, Email: ayoshino@iom.int or Mamadou Ngom, Tel: +243 815 087 980, Email: mngom@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, February 2, 2018 - 14:48Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoDefault: Multimedia: 

The health centre will enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Health to prevent, detect and respond to epidemics. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

The health centre will enhance the capacity of the Ministry of Health to prevent, detect and respond to epidemics. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM-Developed System to Provide Effective Border Management for Cambodia-Thai Border

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 09:06

Battambang Province – Cambodia’s General Department of Immigration has launched a new border pass management system at the Doung International Border Control Post, in Battambang province on the Cambodian–Thai border. The system will use software developed by IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

The Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) has been installed, with financial support from Canada, to allow Cambodia to more effectively manage cross-border movements of local residents and migrant workers traveling with border passes.

Expediting border procedures is an important element of economic cooperation between the two countries. People using border passes need to be quickly and accurately identified and registered, within the mixed flow of migrants moving back and forth across the border. This calls for a cost-efficient solution that balances security with facilitation.

MIDAS is a powerful border management information system that processes and records all information about border pass travellers, including their biographical data and facial images. It also provides a systematic registration of all entries and exits, allowing for analysis of statistics and trends to inform evidence-based migration policies.

“MIDAS answers a real need,” said General Sok Phal, Cambodia’s Director of Immigration. “It allows for more effective border management of local Cambodian border residents entering and leaving Cambodian territory, while providing a solid statistical basis for migration policies and strategies.”

The new system can also register minors (in Cambodia, this is any person under the age of 12) travelling with a legal parent or guardian. Photos and birth certificates are captured and stored in a database, which allows immigration officers at the border to verify the identity of both the adults and the children travelling with them. This offers protection against child trafficking and identity fraud when issuing border passes.

“The system, which was installed in November and now processes on average 1,000 crossings a day, is already demonstrating significant potential to provide Cambodian immigration and provincial authorities with an overview of border pass movements,” said IOM project manager Brett Dickson. “Feedback from frontline immigration officers is also positive, showing that it makes identity checks and processing of border pass travellers easier and faster.”

“We hope MIDAS will help to optimize Cambodian border control posts and border operations for effective border management, and promote orderly cross-border migration,” added IOM Cambodia Chief of Mission Dr. Leul Mekonnen. “It should also help to reduce irregular migration by facilitating and expediting regular movements, ultimately helping to ensure the safer movement of migrant workers and border residents.”

Currently, MIDAS is only installed in Battambang Province on a pilot basis. The Cambodian Government and General Department of Immigration have asked for the system to be scaled up and extended to five other border control posts along the Cambodian-Thai border.

For more information please contact Brett Dickson, IOM Cambodia; Tel: +855 12 222 132, Email: bdickson@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:02Image: Region-Country: CambodiaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM hands over new border pass management system to Cambodia. Photo: Chhaya  Chhin / UN Migration Agency 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Appeals for USD 103.7 Million to Provide Lifesaving and Recovery Assistance in South Sudan

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 07:11

Juba – After more than four years of armed conflict – and despite efforts to revive the peace process – humanitarian needs in South Sudan remain immense, as conditions continue to deteriorate.

To address these growing needs, IOM South Sudan is appealing for USD 103.7 million in 2018 to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance, as well as to support transition, recovery and migration management initiatives.

Today, an estimated 7 million people in South Sudan need relief aid, including 1.9 million internally displaced persons (IDPs). As conditions worsen each day that the crisis persists, sustained levels of lifesaving assistance are crucial.

“As civilians continue to bear the brunt of the crisis, experiencing violence and displacement, timely and effective humanitarian assistance is critical,” says IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission William Barriga. “IOM remains committed to responding to these needs and reaching the most vulnerable, wherever they are.”

The Appeal seeks to support approximately 1 million displaced people, their host communities, communities of potential returnees and migrants in South Sudan. In line with the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan, IOM will continue multi-sector humanitarian responses in camp coordination and camp management, displacement tracking and monitoring, health, shelter and non-food items, mental and psychosocial support and water, sanitation and hygiene.

In view of diverse displacement and crisis dynamics across the country, IOM has adopted an integrated approach, whereby migration management, recovery and stabilization efforts complement humanitarian interventions to build community resilience and reduce dependency on humanitarian aid.

The commitment to reaching the most vulnerable remains a priority. One IOM medical assistant and registered nurse, Mary*, walks more than one and a half hours to work from her small village every day, often in sweltering heat, to get to a basic but lifesaving IOM clinic in Baggari, a hard-to-reach area south of Wau town.

Also affected by the violence that has struck many communities in South Sudan, Mary recalls: “I ran from my house when fighting started in Wau [in 2016]. They took everything from my house and I ran because I feared for my life.” But, as she sits in the small clinic, she says, “I love this work. I love my people, and I love the patients.”

The Consolidated Appeal is available online for download.

*Name changed

For more information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, or +39 347 4709782, Email: amclaughlin@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:07Image: Region-Country: South SudanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Wau protection of civilians site. File photo: Peter Bauza 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 5,502 in 2018; Deaths Reach 213

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 07:11

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 5,502 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 28 January. This compares with 5,288 coming ashore during a similar period in 2017. Italy accounts for approximately 58 per cent of the total, with the remainder split between Spain (22 per cent) and Greece (20 per cent).

IOM Rome reported on Monday (29 January) that 965 migrants have been rescued at sea during the weekend by Italian and international rescue ships, with some still being brought to land late Monday (and so not included in the above table).

During a rescue operation, the NGO Ship Aquarius (SoS Mediterranée) recovered two bodies, but there are indications more migrants lost their lives. The Aquarius will probably arrive at a Sicilian port Tuesday.


IOM Italy also reported statistics from Italy’s Ministry of Interior listing the top 11 nationalities among the nearly 120,000 irregular migrants arriving from North Africa during 2017. Of the top five countries of origin – Nigeria, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Bangladesh and Mali – only one country, Bangladesh, registered more irregular arrivals on this route than had come in 2016.  Of the others – Eritrea, Sudan, Tunisia, Morocco, Senegal, The Gambia – only Tunisia and Morocco show increases over the previous year (see chart below).

 IOM Libya’s Olivia Headon reported that on Saturday (27 January), IOM provided emergency medical assistance to five migrants, who have been returned to Libyan shores while attempting the journey to Italy across the Mediterranean Sea. In total, 86 migrants, including 62 men, 15 women and nine children, were in the group. IOM is following up with these cases to see what assistance is needed in terms of protection and to offer assistance getting home to their countries of origin, if they want it. She reported late Monday that an additional rescue operation was occurring, although details were not forthcoming.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported Monday that over the days 25-27 January, the Hellenic Coast Guard reported there were at least two incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Lesvos. The Coast Guard rescued 113 migrants.

Over 200 migrants entered Greece by sea over last Friday and Saturday; however, overall arrivals this year continue a trend that began in 2017, when migrant arrivals along the Mediterranean Sea’s Eastern routes hit their lowest levels in four years. The 1,089 arrivals to Greece this year through 27 days are similar to the totals that were witnessed a year ago – but remain in sharp contrast with arrivals from the year before that, when a total of 67,415 arrived in a single month  (see chart below).

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday total land and sea arrivals of irregular migrants through the month’s first 29 days have topped 1,453 including 216 land border crossings at the African enclave of Melilla.

Since the last IOM report on Friday (26 January) the Organization’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) added seven more deaths in the Mediterranean to bring this month’s total to date to 213, compared with 251 at this date last year. The deaths of two women were recorded on the Central Mediterranean on Saturday, leaving two children orphaned. According to this report, migrants had already fallen overboard before rescuers appeared on the scene, including several children and an infant of 18 months – an indication that in coming days new casualty figures are likely to rise from this incident. In the Western Mediterranean, the bodies of two migrants – a man and a woman – were recovered after their boat capsized off the coast of Mostaganem, Algeria.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded the deaths or disappearances of 361 people during migration this year.  In the Americas, a bus returning migrants from Mexico to Honduras crashed in Rio Hondo, Guatemala last Thursday (25 January), killing at least one Honduran migrant and injuring 20 others. On Friday, a man drowned attempting to swim from Tijuana across the border to the United States, the eleventh death on the US-Mexico border recorded this January (see chart below).

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.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email: mmocanu@iom.int
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail: dtsagalas@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Olivia Headon, IOM Libya, Tel: + +21651 084554 Email: oheadon@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: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:06Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Rohingya Refugee Crisis Creates New Generation of Bangladeshi Aid Workers: IOM

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 07:09

Cox's Bazar – From new job seekers to experienced professionals, Bangladeshis are rallying to apply for new jobs and learn new skills as part of vital humanitarian efforts to help Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar.

The influx of Rohingya refugees, which began in late August last year, has expanded job opportunities across a wide range of aid jobs in Cox’s Bazar, where the IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has hired about 500 Bangladeshis in the past five months. Hundreds of others have found new jobs with other international and national aid agencies.

Over 688,000 new Rohingya refugees have fled Myanmar into Bangladesh over the past five months, bringing the total number of Rohingyas in Cox’s Bazar to around 900,000. More continue to arrive every week.

The new staff recruited by IOM to cope with the emergency in Cox’s Bazar since August 2017 join over 250 local national staff who were already working for the UN Migration Agency in Bangladesh on a variety of migration-related projects.

The majority are working on the frontline of the refugee crisis in Cox’s Bazar, playing important roles in supporting both the refugee and host communities, while learning a broad range of new skills.

Enamul Hoque, 29, joined IOM in December 2017 as one of three frontline staff team leaders assessing needs and delivering essential services to refugees and local people in the Shamlapur area of Cox’s Bazar.

A graduate in anthropology, with a particular interest in grass roots interventions, he had been aware of the Rohingya refugees since he was a child. “I’m enjoying the monitoring and service provision programming skills I’m acquiring in this job and am looking forward to developing my career in the humanitarian sector,” he said.

While IOM staff such as Enamul are new to humanitarian work, many specialized professionals have also found work with IOM. Among the newly recruited personnel, IOM has employed almost 200 medical professionals, including doctors, paramedics, nurses, midwives, counselors, technologists, radiographers, pharmacists and vaccination staff.

Dr. Romana Islam has been working with IOM in Cox’s Bazar for three years. “I’d always worked on general obstetric issues and never really thought about gaining other skills and experience. But following the refugee influx, I’ve dealt with a significant number of sexual violence cases and people in need of mental health support. Working on these issues has really enhanced my experience in different fields and encouraged me to broaden my studies,” she said.

Other professionals have also found new work opportunities supporting IOM in sectors such as program development and implementation, engineering, finance, administration and information technology.  Human resources (HR) assistant Israt Sharmin is among them. With more than five years’ experience in corporate HR, she joined IOM’s Cox’s Bazar resource management team in September last year to work on local recruitment.

“This opportunity improved my skill set in many ways. I’ve learned to apply modern international standards to the recruitment process, where previously I had worked in a very traditional way. I’ve also benefited from working in a large organization with people from a diverse range of nations and backgrounds,” she said.

For some workers, the changes brought to their role by the influx have been less dramatic, but still brought significant benefits. Mobarak Ali, 25, an IOM maintenance worker from Cox’s Bazar was working on a casual basis for over three years. After the influx, he was offered a full-time position. “I’ve been working for IOM as a full-timer for three months now. It’s a secure job and the regular income suits me much better,” he said.

Besides the newly recruited national and local staff, IOM has also worked with its local partners NGOs Mukti and Bangla-German Shampreeti to recruit over 250 health promoters to work in the refugee camps. They are trained before providing primary healthcare, psychosocial counselling, and maternity care to people in both the refugee settlements and host communities.

Milki Barua, 26, lives in Ukhiya district and recently joined Mukti as a health promoter in the vast Kutupalong extended makeshift settlement. She had never had a formal job before November last year, but was desperately seeking work to support her two young children after her husband lost his job. “This job was a great opportunity in terms of my financial security and to develop my professional skills,” she said.

“Most of the health promoters are new to this  sector. They had little or no experience in outreach work related to health issues. The trainings we’ve provided and the work they’re doing in the field has helped them becoming a workforce with a very specific skillset that is very much in demand in Bangladesh’s current job market,” said Mukti project coordinator Jebor Mulluk.

IOM managers leading the response on the ground say that the opportunity to bring on board a mixture of skilled national and local professionals and others seeking to develop new skills has played an invaluable part in the emergency response, while also supporting wider workforce development.

“Bangladesh’s welcome to and support for so many refugees has naturally created a lot of challenges. But it has also brought some benefits to the local employment sector,” said Raid Ramahi, IOM Bangladesh’s Resource Management Officer. “It has actually created opportunities for skills and capacity development for a young and aspiring workforce, which will be of value to the whole country.”

For more information please contact Fiona MaGregor at IOM Cox's Bazar. Tel. +8801733335221, Email: fmacgregor@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:05Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

HR Assistant Israt Sharmin, part of IOM Bangladesh’s vital humanitarian efforts to help Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar. Photo: UN Migration Agency 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

UN Migration Agency Co-hosts Private Sector Workshop to Eliminate Modern Slavery and Trafficking in Companies, Supply Chains

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 07:08

Hong Kong – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in partnership with Liberty Asia, international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI), have hosted a workshop in Hong Kong to help private sector companies to meet internationally recognized human rights principles, particularly relating to labour rights, modern day slavery and human trafficking.

The issue of modern day slavery remains a major challenge around the world with an estimated 40.3 million victims in 2016. Of these, approximately 25 million were victims of forced labour, notably in the Asia-Pacific region. Over 60 per cent or 16 million victims of forced labour were working for private sector companies.

“Globalization means that many leading international companies now outsource their supply chains overseas to reduce costs. This can put them at risk of associating themselves with severe exploitation of workers in their global supply chains. This workshop was about sharing information and experiences. It brought companies together to explore their potential to act as powerful drivers of sustainable change towards a business model for the eradication of modern slavery and trafficking in global supply chain,” said IOM China Head of Office Pär Liljert.

“We are living in a time that is seeing the very rapid growth of transparency frameworks and due diligence regimes that are mindful of third party rights and the impact of the actions of corporations on workers, communities and consumers. This forward-looking session was about positive engagement and solutions to the increasingly complex supply chain issues we are facing today,” said Liberty Asia Head of Legal Archana Kotecha.

Representatives from over 30 major companies including Adidas, BOC International Holdings, Hang Seng Bank, MGM, The Body Shop International, Debenhams, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Commonwealth Bank of Australia and Deutsche Bank participated in the workshop to discuss the international principles related to labour rights, contemporary legal frameworks and practical solutions to eliminate modern slavery and trafficking in the business sector. 

Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which provided the venue for the workshop, has a longstanding track record of working to promote responsible business principles and practices through its Business and Society workstreams.

With the adoption of a Private Sector Partnership Strategy 2016-2020, IOM recognized the significant role of the business community to positively impact and further the benefits of migration. IOM’s CREST (Corporate Responsibility to Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking) initiative builds on this premise and is specifically designed to help companies maximize the benefits of migrant labour in their operations and supply chains. Through improved access to ethical recruitment and fair employment practices, IOM’s initiative ultimately aims to improve the protection of migrant workers’ human and labour rights in the Asia-Pacific region.

For more information please contact Nurul Qoiriah at IOM China’s Hong Kong sub-office, Tel: 2332 2441, Email: nqoiriah@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:04Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

USA for IOM Marches Against Slavery in Los Angeles

IOM - News - Mar, 01/30/2018 - 07:07

Los Angeles – This past weekend (27/01), USA for IOM, the non-profit partner of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), joined the “March Against Slavery in Libya and Beyond” in Los Angeles, California. The march organized by activists Sahndra Fon Dufe and Angelique Mendes aimed to raise awareness of migrants being abused and exploited in Libya and other countries around the world.

In November 2017, CNN reported that African migrants were sold off as slaves in Libya for the equivalent of approximately USD 400. Earlier in 2017, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, had sounded the alarm on the existence of markets under slave like conditions along the migratory route through Libya and reported harrowing testimonies shared by African migrants in Niger and Libya.

 “We are horrified that migrants are exploited and enslaved and we condemn it in all its forms in Libya. IOM is working closely with national authorities and with countries of origin to disrupt this human suffering along the migration route exploitation and assists the most vulnerable, whilst at the same time and calling for the protection of all victims and migrants. Today, we are glad to see that members of the civil society are also joining these efforts and taking action to denounce and demand the end all forms of modern slavery worldwide,” said Luca Dall’Oglio, CEO of USA for IOM.

In 2017, IOM helped over 19,000 migrants out of Libya. Upon their arrival back home, the most vulnerable migrants also received psychosocial support. Additionally, all migrants were given a small allowance to cover their immediate needs such as transportation, clothing and housing once they arrived. In 2018, IOM is continuing voluntary humanitarian return operations from Libya and providing tailored reintegration assistance to re-establish themselves socially and economically within their communities.

In Los Angeles, USA for IOM was represented by one of its board members, Tolu Olubunmi. “The world was shocked and outraged by the photos and videos of an existing modern-day slave trade,” Olubunmi said. “This weekend, passionate and vocal supporters of the Anti-Slavery movement turned their outrage into action and marched in the streets of LA and in other cities around the world. These rallies are a testament to the global support for eradicating this worst kind of evil and restoring hope to its victims,” she added. 

Dall’Oglio warned that “as long as migration remains under the management of smuggling and trafficking networks, we will continue to see desperate individuals being abused throughout their migration journey.” However, he added that “by facilitating and encouraging alternative modalities for regular, documented and safe migration channels, we will be better equipped to address human rights violations and to combat more effectively transnational criminal networks preying on the migrants.”

All proceeds from anti-slavery t-shirts sales and donations received by the “March Against Slavery in Libya and Beyond” are to be donated to USA for IOM to support IOM’s relief efforts in assisting and protecting vulnerable migrants in Libya and other transit countries.

For more information please contact Hajer Naili, Tel: +1 202 568 3757, Email: hnaili@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 30, 2018 - 14:03Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Counter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM