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With Public and Private Sectors at Odds, Traffickers Win. Let’s Work Together to Protect its Victims.

IOM - News - Lun, 07/30/2018 - 05:44

By William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General  

The world’s workforce has never been more mobile - from the gardener in California to the banker in Singapore. Whether it’s the dishwasher in Rome or the designer in London, we recognize human ambition is on the move; everyone – skilled or unskilled, with work permits or without – is seeking an identical goal: how to deploy their talents in those markets that reward them best.

Simple economics trigger those journeys that start with a dream of a better life and can result in enormous collective benefits for countries of both origin and destination when done in a safe and orderly way.  

But as we mark the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, we also are reminded, sadly, that migrants are too often exposed to disproportionate risks of exploitation and abuse when looking for better employment opportunities away from home.

Every year, millions of migrants are trafficked within and across borders and find themselves trapped in forced labour. In some cases, men and women are coerced into work, enduring violence, threats or psychological manipulation. Often, they find themselves indebted via unfair recruitment processes or employment conditions, all the while facing enormous pressures from their families and communities who may have gone into debt themselves, just to start their job search.

Other forms of exploitation are only slightly more benign – having to toil under dangerous conditions, settling for menial wages, facing hidden deductions and unreasonable restrictions during both work and non-work hours. These abuses, too, harm migrants and violate their rights. 

These types of abuse can occur all along an industry’s supply chain and can be easily concealed among layers of sub-contractors. As consumers, while constantly looking for low-cost goods and cheaper services, we are obligated to consider the workers who make the products we desire and the services we need.  

Trafficking in persons exists today in every country and every economic sector. Whether the business is coffee, clothing or construction, this much is clear: no workplace or community is immune to human trafficking. 

It is so pervasive it can only be tackled with a global, all-hands approach. Consumers, especially, must join their governments, their local business community and work together to demand that decent work standards are met. We must all insist that supply chains are free from human trafficking and other forms of exploitation.

We are already seeing signs of change. A growing number of companies are taking action in their supply chains; more governments are developing new policies and regulatory mechanisms for greater business accountability. Civil society also plays a critical role in advocating for migrants’ rights and ensuring they have access to the protection and assistance services they need. 

One famous example: as recently as 2015 the world became aware of widespread abuse of workers in Southeast Asia fishing grounds. Hundreds of workers laboured in virtual slavery. Governments often lacked the means to enforce protection norms, which many employers learned to ignore.

That is beginning to change. Consumers and large retailers, aware of the negative impact of supply chain abuse, now demand more transparency. And so do governments, passing new laws requiring greater accountability from the multinational merchants that market seafood. 

While these positive trends are encouraging, much more needs to be done. Today, I will focus on a key challenge, which I see as the next frontier in supply chain engagement: mobilizing the private sector to ensure that migrants who have been wronged receive the remedy and justice they deserve. 

Beyond strengthening their due diligence, companies can and must take responsibility for harm perpetrated against their workers and ensure that all possible steps are taken to assist victims of trafficking in their recovery – which they can do by working closely with governments, civil society organizations, international organizations, and the victims themselves. States bear the primary responsibility to address human trafficking and protect trafficked victims. By establishing stronger connections between private sector and public efforts to help victims of trafficking, together we can do the work of rebuilding broken lives.

Earlier this year IOM, the UN Migration Agency, launched a set of practical guidelines for companies to address this challenge. In line with the United Nations’ “Protect, Respect, and Remedy” Framework, IOM’s Remediation Guidelines describe the many avenues that businesses can take to offer remediation to victims of exploitation, in partnership with local State and non-State actors.

These routes include facilitating access to victim services and support systems such as medical or psychosocial care; relocating victims to new job environments; offering voluntary return to countries of origin; support for recovery, rehabilitation, and reintegration where possible. Businesses should also ensure they have established feedback loops so that they can continually improve reporting mechanisms, protection for whistle-blowers, and prevention of further harm. 

More and more companies are coming together to address the risks they face in supply chains, but remediation for victims of trafficking remains a new area of work for the private sector. We must therefore redouble our efforts to ensure that support for victims of trafficking becomes a key pillar in our work.

IOM’s Remediation Guidelines for Victims of Human Trafficking in Extended Mineral Supply Chains can be accessed here.  

Language English Posted: Monday, July 30, 2018 - 11:43Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM: Most Victims Trafficked Internationally Cross Official Border Points

IOM - News - Lun, 07/30/2018 - 05:13

Geneva – On the occasion of World Day against Trafficking in Persons (30/07), new data released by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, show that in the last ten years, almost 80 per cent of journeys undertaken by victims trafficked internationally cross through official border points, such as airports and land border control points.  

Trafficking in persons is often seen as an underground activity, linked to irregular migration, and hidden from the authorities and the general public. IOM case data depict a different story, indicating that most trafficking is in fact happening through official border points. This highlights the crucial role that border agencies and service providers at border points can play to identify potential victims and refer them for protection and assistance.  

Women are more likely to be trafficked through an official border point than men (84 per cent of cases, versus 73 per cent for men). Adults are also more likely to be trafficked across official border points than children (80 per cent of cases, versus 56 per cent for children).  

Victims are exploited at some point during their journey in two thirds of cases, meaning that they are likely to cross official borders having already experienced some form of exploitation, while one third may still be unaware that they are being trafficked and may believe they are taking up new opportunities abroad that have been promised to them. 

Khadija, a fourteen-year-old girl, was trafficked through an official border point between Uganda and Kenya in 2015. Without her knowledge, her father had arranged to marry her off in Kenya, and sent her to Kenya with a man she didn’t know. When Khadija and the man reached the border between Uganda and Kenya, he took her passport and told her he would help her clear immigration. He hid her under the seat of the car until they were on their way to the Kenyan capital. Khadija was transferred to members of her family who were arranging the marriage. Luckily, Khadija was able to contact her embassy, who helped her with IOM support.  

Some victims trafficked through official border points carry forged travel documents (9 per cent of cases), while others do not have their own travel documents (23 per cent of cases).  

The figures presented here are based on data from victims IOM assisted during the last ten years, involving about 10,500 journey legs undertaken by nearly 8,000 victims. The data are hosted on the Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC), which is the world’s first data portal to include human trafficking case data contributed by multiple agencies. Launched in 2017, the CTDC currently includes case records of over 80,000 trafficked persons from 171 countries who were exploited in 170 countries. 

The final draft of the Global Compact on Migration for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration, adopted by UN Member States on the 13 July 2018, calls for whole-of-government approaches to enhancing border management cooperation on proper identification, timely and efficient referral, as well as assistance and appropriate protection of migrants in situations of vulnerability at or near international borders, in compliance with international human rights law. It highlights the need for improving screening measures and individual assessments at borders and places of first arrival, by applying standardized operating procedures developed in coordination with local authorities, National Human Rights Institutions, international organizations and civil society. 

IOM’s new data echo this need and show that national governments should devise and operate robust border management procedures that are sensitive to migrants’ vulnerabilities and protection needs, coupled with well-established systems to ensure that migrants having suffered from violence, exploitation, and abuse are identified and referred to relevant service providers in a timely manner. 

Front-line actors, including border management officials at air, sea and land border-crossing points, can play an important role in facilitating the timely identification of victims and potential victims of trafficking, as well as of traffickers. There is a need to continue developing the capacity of these actors to identify and refer victims of trafficking at an early stage upon arrival, and to strengthen cooperation mechanisms at border points so that victims who are identified upon arrival can be referred to service providers for their protection and assistance. 

It is also important to continue providing training and awareness raising to service providers at border points in departure and destination countries such as airport staff, airline personnel, and railway personnel, and to develop procedures for communication and reporting to local authorities. Leveraging technology at border points could also contribute to improving data collection which, in turn, can help with risk analysis and smarter identification in real-time. 

IOM’s programming provides a unique source of primary data on human trafficking. The organization maintains the largest database of victim case data in the world, which contains case records for over 50,000 trafficked persons whom it has assisted. This victim case data is used to inform policy and programming, including for estimating prevalence and measuring the impact of anti-trafficking interventions. 

Regularly updating policies and interventions based on new evidence is key to improving counter-trafficking initiatives at border points. The new information highlights the importance of leveraging operational data from direct assistance activities to inform counter-trafficking policies and programmes. 

More information about IOM’s Counter-Trafficking initiatives can be found here.  

For more information please contact Harry Cook at IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179111, Email: hcook@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Monday, July 30, 2018 - 11:09Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Sri Lanka Launches New Border Management Strategy

IOM - News - Ven, 07/27/2018 - 11:22

Colombo – The Sri Lankan National Border Management Committee (NBMC) launched a new border management strategy yesterday (26/07) with technical assistance from IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

Endorsed in May this year by the Cabinet of Ministers, the strategy proposes moving towards an integrated border management environment. While still recognizing the autonomy of individual border agencies, integration aims to promote inter-agency collaboration with a view to improving the border environment, including enhanced risk detection and prevention, and increased service to the public, industry partners, businesses and other stakeholders, while maintaining compliance with international standards to align with global security and service standards for border-related matters.

“Today marks a historic date that symbolizes our collective readiness in addressing challenges in Sri Lanka’s border management,” stated Defence Secretary Kapila Waidyaratne in his keynote address as the Chair of the NBMC. He further noted that the strategy introduces a “smart border concept because it aims to move away from reactive to more proactive intelligence driven by risk-based border control.”

Central to border management is upholding and enhancing national security. To this end, all migration and trade should be ideally conducted using intelligence-driven and risk-based principles. This can assist in assessing and quickly clearing the majority of people and goods, while expending resources on people and goods that pose a risk or require interception, such as those involved in transnational organized crime (smuggling harmful drugs and narcotics, contraband, people smuggling and trafficking, or presenting a hazard to public health or a risk to bio-security).

Efficient and effective border management not only contributes to secure borders, but also facilitates the smooth movement of people and goods across borders as well as increasing regional and international trade and transits - a key prerequisite for economic growth and poverty reduction. This includes streamlining movement of people and goods, while also considering security impacts. Development challenges are complex; collaborative and coordinated approaches along with the introduction of enhanced technologies are required to ensure sustainable growth.

As evidenced by the launch of Sri Lanka’s new Integrated Border Management Strategy, agencies involved in border processes are required to review their policies and practices that impact on migration and trade for alignment with efficient, secure and client-focused services.

“Every county must have a strategy to manage entry and exit of people across their borders,” stated Controller General of the Department of Immigration and Emigration Nihal Ranasinghe. “Sri Lanka is no exception. In this context [the] event introducing a new border management strategy for Sri Lanka has a high national significance.”

“At a time when Sri Lanka is experiencing an increased cross-border movement of people and goods as a result of rapidly rising trade and tourism, a revitalized economy, and increased economic and cultural ties with other countries, this new integrated border management strategy can greatly assist the government in achieving the twin objectives of maintaining national security and fostering economic development” commented IOM Sri Lanka Chief of Mission Giuseppe Crocetti.

The development of the Sri Lanka Integrated Border Management Strategy was supported by IOM as a part of a broader technical assistance programme funded by the Government of Australia through its Department of Home Affairs.

For more information please contact Shantha Kulasekara at IOM Sri Lanka. Tel. +94115325354, Email: SKULASEKARA@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, July 27, 2018 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: Sri LankaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Mr. Kapila Waidyaratne, Secretary of Defence and Chairman of National Border Management Committee, giving keynote address. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

European Union Announces New EUR 2 Million Assistance for Refugees, Host Communities in Uganda

IOM - News - Ven, 07/27/2018 - 10:51

Hoima, Kyegegwa and Moyo Districts – The European Union's Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations department (ECHO) has confirmed fresh funding worth EUR 2 million to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support refugees and host communities in western and north-western Uganda.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, will use the funds to deliver life-saving interventions on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) for refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and South Sudan, as well as the host communities in Kyangwali settlement in Hoima district, Kyaka II settlement in Kyegegwa district, and Palorinya settlement in Moyo district.

The overarching objective of the project is to neutralize the risk of WASH-related diseases such as diarrhoea and cholera.

Since December 2017, thousands of Congolese asylum seekers have been streaming across the border into Uganda, fleeing ethnic clashes and human rights violations by armed militia in Ituri, North Kivu and South Kivu provinces. According to UNHCR, more than 80,300 Congolese have fled to Uganda since 1 January 2018 – many crossing Lake Albert in dangerous boats and canoes.

The latest EU project activities will benefit 82,700 direct beneficiaries, under a one-year project titled Strengthening Wash Service Delivery for Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda. The beneficiaries will include 14,700 Ugandan members of the communities hosting the refugee population.

This project brings European Union Humanitarian Aid commitments to IOM Uganda in the last 14 months to EUR 4 million. Already EU Humanitarian Aid has been funding IOM’s WASH Service Delivery to South Sudanese Refugees and Host Communities in Uganda – in Yumbe and Moyo districts.

The EU-funded activities in Moyo will complement another IOM Uganda WASH project, funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN-CERF), worth USD 1 million.

Speaking about the new EU funding, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, Christos Stylianides said, “The escalation of the crisis in Congo since late last year has created a serious emergency in Uganda, with tens of thousands of vulnerable refugees at risk of deadly diseases. Therefore, the European Union has had to come in with these funds to support the life-saving interventions.”

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, welcomed the European Union’s continued humanitarian support.

“When you have huge numbers of vulnerable asylum seekers in confined spaces, the support of the EU is particularly significant,” DG Swing said. “Because if you do not provide safe water and sanitation, if people are not helped to build latrines, then you run a risk of losing thousands of already vulnerable people. So, this European Union humanitarian aid is not simply assisting people, it is saving lives.”

Among the key interventions, IOM will construct a piped water system in Kyaka II settlement, to deliver water to nearly 30,000 people. This water system was earlier designed by IOM under another project funded by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (UN-CERF). The system will be powered by mains electricity and a generator, with an automatic changeover function.

In Kyangwali settlement, Hoima district, the project will motorize a borehole drilled earlier by UNHCR to deliver water in a sustained manner to at least 7,000 individuals.

The project will also build two 50 cubic metre rainwater-harvesting tanks to supply water specifically to schools and health centres not served by the piped water system in Kyangwali and Kyaka II.

It is projected that by bringing safe water closer to the populations, the interventions will also help reduce the incidence of gender-based violence in the two settlements and reduce over-reliance on the expensive and unsustainable trucking of water.

The project will also conduct and coordinate comprehensive hygiene promotion campaigns in Kyangwali and Palorinya settlements, provide hygiene kits and support the construction of household, communal and institutional latrines.

Additionally, IOM will support a range of related activities, including soap-making and recycling and bio-composting of waste to make manure and poultry feeds.


Summary of some of the key Interventions



Kyaka II settlement

- Piped water system
- Support establishment, training and equipping of water management board and user committees.
- 50m3 water tanks
- 152 latrines for persons with special needs
- 8 blocks of institutional latrines
- Solid waste disposal system
- Medical waste disposal facility

Kyangwali Settlement

- Piped water system
- Support establishment, training and equipping of water management board and user committees.
- 50m3 water tank
- 4 institutional latrine blocks
- 700 household latrines
- 800 latrines for Persons with special needs
- Solid waste disposal system
- Medical waste disposal facility
- Train, equip and deploy 20 hygiene promoters and 10 village health team members for Sebagoro

Palorinya settlement

- 500 household latrines
- 500 latrines for Persons with special needs
- 4 blocks of institutional latrines
- Solid waste disposal system
- Medical waste disposal facility
- Train, equip and deploy 10 hygiene promoters

For further information please contact Richard M. Kavuma, IOM Uganda, Mobile: +256 772709917 / 700 646 403; Email: rmkavuma@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, July 27, 2018 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: UgandaThemes: Community StabilizationHumanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Jerrycans 'queuing' up for water in a Ugandan refugee settlement. The ECHO funding will build a piped water system in Kyaka II and Kyangwali settlements in western Uganda. IOM/Peter Nzabanita 

The water reservoir tank for the newly constructed piped water system funded by ECHO in Bidibidi refugee settlement, northern Uganda.  Photo: IOM/ Abubaker Mayemba 


Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Niger’s Voluntary Return Assistance of Migrants Eclipses 2017 Totals

IOM - News - Ven, 07/27/2018 - 10:50

Niamey –The UN Migration Agency’s (IOM) assisted voluntary return efforts in Niger have already eclipsed figures from last year, largely fuelled by the distressing outflow of migrants across the Algeria-Niger border. The mission reports this week that more than 10,000 migrants have been assisted to date, compared to roughly 7,000 in all of 2017.

“The IOM team is working tirelessly to facilitate voluntary returns and provide protection assistance to all West African migrants, whether rescued from the desert or requesting our assistance while in Niger,” said IOM Chief of Mission in Niger, Giuseppe Loprete.

Close to 90 per cent of the more than 8,000 rescued migrants were discovered during 84 search operations near the border towns of Arlit and Assamaka.

Despite the fact that more than half of the roughly 12,000 migrants who have arrived at IOM’s six transit centres in Niger so far this year lack any form of identification, IOM has managed to process over 5,000 requests for travel documents thanks to the efforts of consulates, embassies and Nigerien authorities.

“We thank the Government of Niger and all West African countries for the provision of valid travel documents, which remains our main concern due to the lack of documentation among migrants,” said Loprete. “None of this would be possible without the continued support of the European Union.”

IOM assists all migrants, Nigeriens or third-country nationals, who wish to return home. The main countries of origin for those who have received voluntary assistance this year were Mali, Guinea-Conakry, Cameroon, Niger, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and Burkina Faso.

The latest group of 391 migrants stranded at the border arrived on 13 July. Of this group, 315 were assisted and transported to the transit centre in Arlit two days later; 64 made their own way to that location and nine decided to head back to Algeria from Assamaka.

Condé was among one of the recent groups to be repatriated from Algeria to Niger, after having spent two years abroad. “I will surely never travel without papers again. We may not have everything at home, but if you have enough strength and determination, you can make a life for yourself anywhere,” said the Guinea-Conakry national.

Together with his wife, Condé is now waiting to be assisted with voluntary return at IOM’s transit centre in Agadez.

The numbers of people seeking help has exploded in recent years. In 2015, 1,721 migrants were provided voluntary return to their countries of origin. In 2016, the figure almost tripled, to over 5,000. May 2018 saw IOM assisting an all-time peak of nearly 3,400 migrants with voluntary return.

Accommodation at the transit centres is voluntary: people are free to leave when they choose. All migrants arriving at the centre are registered and profiled, and provided shelter, food, water, and medical and psychosocial assistance. 

IOM arranges airline and bus reservations for all migrants wishing to return to their countries of origin and has provided escorts from airports and bus stations.

“Over the last three years, the EU and its member states have contributed to consolidating the approach and making these returns safe and dignified. There has been excellent cooperation. Our aim now is to reinforce it by including additional options to voluntary returns, such as community development, job creation and micro-finance support linked to our reintegration programme, both in countries of transit and origin,” Loprete said.

The six transit centres in Niger are supported by the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism (MRRM) funded by the European Union and co-financed by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), the Department for International Development (DFID), the German Cooperation and the governments of the Netherlands, France and Switzerland.

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration together with the MRRM programme are funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

For more information, please contact Giuseppe Loprete, IOM Niger at Tel: +227 9219 9503, Email: gloprete@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, July 27, 2018 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationEUTFMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Migrants assisted at IOM’s transit centre for women in Niamey. Photo: IOM 


Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

New Insulin Supply Renews Hope for Diabetic Libyans

IOM - News - Ven, 07/27/2018 - 10:49

Tripoli – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in close collaboration with World Health Organization (WHO) and the Libyan Ministry of Health, has assisted seven municipalities in Libya with a supply of much needed insulin with the support and funding of the Italian Government.

According to WHO, 13.7 per cent of Libyans are diabetic, and the availability of insulin remains the most pressing need for patients. With the support of the Italian Ministry of Interior, the Libyan Ministry of Health, and WHO, IOM provided insulin in seven days to seven municipalities in the east, west and south of the country, namely Tobruk, Benghazi, Sirte, Sabha, Zintan, Gharyan and Tripoli. The insulin was distributed by the municipalities to local health institutions.

“Continuing to receive assistance is our most important concern, as we do not wish to give people hope and then take it back from them,” said Omran al-Omyani, Health Committee Head of the Municipal Council in Zintan. “The last time we received medicine, the quantity was not sufficient for all. We also have another batch of medicine in the east, but we have not been able to bring it here due to lack of proper transportation.”

The health sector in Libya has been deeply affected by the ongoing conflict. Due to lack of stability, getting supplies and resources to health institutions has been one of the main challenges faced by the Libyan Ministry of Health.

“This campaign is part of IOM’s expanding support to Libyan Health System in reaching out to its communities,” said IOM’s Health Programme Manager, Dr. Arif Hussain. “The intervention was coordinated closely with the Libyan Ministry of Health, the seven targeted municipalities and WHO to ensure that affected patients are guaranteed access to much-needed healthcare.”

Under the current crisis and limited government resources especially for the health sector, IOM is scaling up its support to Libyan communities and authorities. In March 2018, the organization provided much needed medical equipment to the National Center for Disease Control (NCDC) to improve early detection of TB, especially MDR (Multiple Drug resistant) TB cases and provided vaccine (cold) boxes for the immunization programme. IOM is also in the process of providing equipment and supplies to selected health facilities including primary health care centres and secondary care hospitals, besides capacity building interventions for the health care providers. 

Additionally, IOM continues to provide direct health assistance to migrants once they are returned to the Libyan shore at disembarkation points, as well as essential medical care in detention centres in Libya.  

For more information, please contact Maya Abu Ata at mabuata@iom.intor Safa Msehli at smsehli@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, July 27, 2018 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM, WHO and Libyan Ministry of Health deliver much needed insulin in Libya. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 55,001 in 2018; Deaths 1,504

IOM - News - Ven, 07/27/2018 - 10:48

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 55,001 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 25 July 2018. That total compares to 111,753 at this time last year, and over 250,000 at this time in 2016.
Arrivals to Spain (see chart below) this month have overtaken those to Italy. To date just over 38 per cent of all Mediterranean irregular migrants have come via the Western Mediterranean route, whose irregular migration volume has more than tripled those registered at this time last year. 

Arrivals to Italy trail Spain by almost 3,000; a week ago the gap was less than 200. Greece counts about 28 per cent of all arrivals. Significantly, Greece’s arrivals thus far in 2018 are running more than 5,000 ahead of last year’s totals on this date, an increase of better than 50 per cent.

Arrivals to Italy, on the other hand, are down over 80 per cent compared to 2017.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths of 1,504 men, women and children seeking to cross the Mediterranean in 2018 – more than half of those deaths since 1 June.

Most recently IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths of 10 people who went missing in the Western Mediterranean. On 24 July, 32 survivors were rescued from a sinking boat by the Moroccan Navy after more than two days at sea. According to their testimonies collected by Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras, 10 people drowned before they were rescued.

Deaths in the Western Mediterranean in recent months have reached devastating levels, with 304 fatalities recorded by the Missing Migrants Project between January and 25 July 2018, far outpacing the 124 recorded in the equivalent period of 2017 – and the 224 recorded as drowned or missing during all of last year.

IOM notes the passing of the 1500th Mediterranean fatality in 2018 – which occurred this past week – marks the fifth consecutive year that sad benchmark has been reached. Despite the steep drop in the volume of all arrivals across the region, 2018 remains one of the deadliest on record – on a per capita basis – simply because so many fewer crossers are being recorded.

The mark of 1,500 deaths was reached in 2014 on 28 July, the latest date IOM’s Missing Migrant Project has for that milestone, and just a few days later than this year’s date. In 2015, 1,500 deaths were recorded by 18 April, while in both 2016 and 2017 those dates were 25 May and 19 May, respectively.

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported that on Wednesday (25 July) the remains of two migrants were retrieved (two men of African descent) in Tajoura.  She noted that same day 31 migrants (all men, including one boy) received medical and protection assistance as they were disembarked by the Libyan Coast Guard. The migrants had been lost at sea for over more 12 hours without water and food after embarking on a small rubber boat in Sabratha. Two migrants originated from Ghana and the rest are from Bangladesh. Following humanitarian assistance, all were transferred to Trig al Seka detention centre.

So far this year, 12,162 migrants have been returned to Libyan shore, Petré said.

IOM Libya’s Petré reported on two sets of Voluntary Humanitarian Return charters completed from Libya in the past 10 days. On 17 July, IOM assisted 136 stranded migrants to return home on one chartered flight (127 migrants) to Mali and nine migrants returning on three commercial flights to Sierra Leone (1), Ghana (4) and Burkina Faso (4).

On 24 July, IOM assisted 166 stranded migrants to return home on one chartered flight (159 migrants) to Mali and seven migrants on two commercial flights to Algeria (5) and Ethiopia (2) including four medical cases and two unaccompanied migrant children.

IOM Libya has assisted 16,591 since the scale-up phase started 28 November 2017 and a total of 29,721 migrants have returned home from Libya with IOM’s assistance since 1 January 2017. 

IOM Madrid’s Oussama El Baroudi reported Thursday that total arrivals at sea in 2018 have reached 20,992 men, women and children, irregular migrants who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 25 July—or over 1,400 arriving since IOM’s last report on Monday, 23 July. With this month’s figures Spain is the Mediterranean’s most-sought destination for irregular migrants traveling by sea, surpassing Italy and Greece.
El Baroudi also shared preliminary overview from Spanish authorities on the top five groups entering Spain by sea from 1 January through 25 June. “Sub-Saharan Africans,” as one category, comprise the largest slice entering irregularly via Spanish waters in 2018. That category was followed, separately, by Guinea (Conakry), Morocco, Mali and Ivory Coast.
Additionally, 3,125 migrants have attempted to enter Spain irregularly via the country’s African enclaves of Melilla and Ceuta, according to Spanish authorities (see chart below).

As remarkable as Spain’s rise in irregular migration activity has been through 2018, even more important is its recent surge. Over the year’s first five months, a total of 8,150 men, women and children were rescued in Spanish waters after leaving Africa – and average of 54 per day. In the 55 days since May 31, a total of 12,842 have arrived – or just over 230 migrants per day.

At this present rate, IOM believes irregular migrant arrivals by sea to Spain could well pass the total for all of last year – 22,108 – before this month’s end on Tuesday.

IOM Athens’ Christine Nikolaidou said Thursday that IOM has learned from the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) of at least at least three incidents from 23-25 July requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Kos and Chios. The HCG rescued a total of 90 migrants and transferred them to those islands. Another 87 landed without intervention on Rhodes and Oinouses – bringing to 177 the total arrivals during those three days.

Through 25 July, the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory since 1 January is 15,528.

April remains the busiest month for irregular migration by land and sea to Greece, with a total of 7,009 men, women and children arriving. February was the lowest with 1,610 (see charts below).

IOM's Balkans team reported Thursday an estimated 1,468 new irregular migrants have been apprehended by authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania during July thus fasr in 2018—more than ten times the 134 registered in all of July 2017. In total, since the beginning of the year, there have been 12,735 apprehensions in the respective countries.
The majority of irregular migrants were registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina, a total of 9,056. According to the information received from IOM field teams, migrants are predominantly crossing to Bosnia and Herzegovina from neighbouring Serbia and to a lesser extent, from Montenegro. Their aim is to continue their journey towards EU countries. Therefore, migrants mainly are located in the North-Western part of the country in the areas around Bihać and Velika Kladuša. It is estimated that approximately 3,500 migrants currently are in the country.
Irregular migrants are also continuing to transit through Albania and Montenegro, where authorities registered a total of 3,679 individuals. Based on DTM flow monitoring data, there were 2,356 arrivals to Montenegro, over ten times the 226 reported between June and July 2017. In Albania, DTM field data collectors tracked 1,323 migrants—seven times the 178 registered at the end of the second quarter of 2017. In addition, authorities in Albania reported that 682 migrants were apprehended while trying to exit the country towards Montenegro.
Pakistan, Syrian Arab Republic, Iran, Afghanistan, Algeria and Iraq are the most common countries of origin declared by the migrants intercepted in all three countries between January and July 2018.
Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths of 2,291 people during migration to international destinations in 2018 (see chart below).
On the US-Mexico border, three people died in recent days while trying to cross into the United States. On 24 July, US Border Patrol officers responded to a distress call regarding two Mexican nationals, a father and son, who were lost in a ranch near Sullivan City, Texas. When they found them, they were taken to the local hospital, where the father died of cardiac arrest. On the same day, Mexican civil protection authorities recovered the body of a young man from the Río Bravo/Grande, near the first international bridge in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.
On 22 July, the remains of a Mexican woman were recovered from a ranch near Laredo, Texas. She died of dehydration shortly after crossing the border. Additionally, the Missing Migrants Project team received information from the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office regarding remains recovered in Hidalgo County, Texas, in the first half of 2018. The remains of 17 migrants have been retrieved by Sheriff’s deputies along highways, on ranches or in the river between 1 January and 30 June 2018. 
In North Africa, an Egyptian man was shot at the Al-Baydan security checkpoint south of Ajdabiya, Libya on 24 July.
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 migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int
For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
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
Atigoni Avgeropoulou, IOM Greece, Tel:   +30 210 99 19 040 ext. 166; M. +30 69 48 92 98 09, Email: aavgeropoulou@iom.int
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional DTM, Austria, Tel: + +43 1 5812222, Email: izakoska@iom.int
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel. +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Tel: +216 71 860 312 (Ext. 109), Email: mchabbi@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, July 27, 2018 - 16:50Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Staff Tackle Floods and Landslides to Support Rohingya Refugees During Monsoon

IOM - News - Ven, 07/27/2018 - 10:48

Cox's Bazar – UN Migration Agency (IOM) staff have been working round the clock this week, as monsoon downpours caused flooding and landslides in Rohingya refugee camps in Bangladesh, where almost one million people are living in bamboo and tarpaulin shelters after fleeing violence in Myanmar.

IOM health teams waded through waist-high water in some areas in a bid to reach their patients and were able to keep all but one medical facility operating despite extremely difficult ground conditions.
To ensure medical needs were met in the area where the clinic was not accessible to staff, an IOM mobile medical team worked out of a local school. In total over 1,500 medical consultations were carried out by IOM health workers on 25 July – one of the heaviest days of rain.

To ensure access to vital aid and services could continue, three teams from the Site Maintenance Engineering Project (SMEP) a joint project between IOM, WFP and UNHCR worked through the night of 25/26 July to prevent road collapses on a key route through the megacamp.

IOM site management staff assessed over 1,800 people affected by weather-related incidents, and supported distribution of emergency supplies including shelter, food and bedding materials.

“With heavy rains expected to continue over the coming weeks, IOM and partners will continue to do everything we can to keep people safe and support them during these very challenging conditions, but we desperately need more funding to enable us to keep up this life-saving work,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, IOM’s emergency coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

At present, just one quarter of the funding for the joint response to the Rohingya crisis has been secured and the continuation of critical services is now under threat.

IOM shelter staff this week also provided full shelter upgrade kits or materials such as tarpaulins and ropes to families whose shelters were destroyed and damaged by the rains.

A small number of families were relocated from one of the worst affected flood areas to a newly prepared area of the camp.

IOM protection staff supported the assessment of those whose shelters were affected by the weather and helped identify extremely vulnerable individuals to ensure they received additional support, including for those who needed emergency relocation.

IOM, through the Inter Sectoral Coordination Group, has offered to support the Government of Bangladesh in its work with the host community in Cox’s Bazar. Assessments are being carried out and IOM stands ready to support all those affected.

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

Language English Posted: Friday, July 27, 2018 - 16:55Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Rohingya refugees affected by heavy monsoon rains receive IOM shelter materials to help repair and secure their shelters. Photo: IOM 

Staff from the joint Site Maintenance Engineering Project worked through the night to prevent road collapses and keep vital access open in the Rohingya refugee camps. Photo: IOM/SMEP 

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

More Support Vital for 970,000 Displaced People in Ethiopia's Gedeo, West Guji

IOM - News - Ven, 07/27/2018 - 10:48

Dilla – Roughly 970,000 people have been internally displaced by conflict in Ethiopia’s Gedeo Zone and West Guji in the past four months, the majority in June. With so many people becoming displaced in such a short time period, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and humanitarian partners have been scaling up their presence to provide urgent, live-saving assistance.

IOM is providing shelter assistance and essential aid items, facilitating access to water and sanitation services and raising awareness about hygiene to the displaced populations in both areas, many of whom have found shelter in unfinished buildings or in unhealthy conditions with just a sheet of tarpaulin for protection from the elements.

Access to safe sanitation and clean water is of concern, as is ensuring health needs are met. In the past three weeks, IOM has constructed 318 latrine stances, seven temporary communal shelters and eight communal kitchens. To improve the overall delivery of humanitarian assistance, IOM is providing displacement tracking and site management support.

Access IOM's latest reports on displacement in Gedeo and West Guji here

Two airlifts this week have delivered 200 tonnes of aid donated by UKAID to Ethiopia bound for the internally displaced populations in Gedeo and West Guji. Most people fled their homes with little more than the clothes they were wearing. The UKAID airlifts contain badly needed shelter materials and blankets as Ethiopia is in the midst of its cold rainy season. IOM and partners began distributing aid yesterday and expect it will take approximately 15 days to reach an estimated 50,000 displaced people.

Earlier this week, IOM released a much-needed appeal for USD 22.2 million to continue its humanitarian operations in Gedeo and West Guji.

“We are extremely grateful to the donors, who have shown great support for the people and Government of Ethiopia, but more funding is urgently required to meet the needs of the hundreds of thousands displaced people in Gedeo and West Guji,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission and Representative to the African Union, IGAD and UNECA. “Without additional funding, lives will be at risk. The needs are immense – the international community’s response must match them.”

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon, Tel: +251902484062, Email: oheadon@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, July 27, 2018 - 17:00Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

A girl looks into her shelter in an overcrowded displacement site in West Guji, Ethiopia. Photo: IOM/Olivia Headon

A woman's name is checked against the registration list before she receives aid from UKAID in Gedeo, Ethiopia. Photo: IOM/Olivia Headon 

Men, women and children queue for aid from UKAID in one of the largest displacement sites in Gedeo, Ethiopia. Photo: IOM/Olivia Headon 

A displaced man carries material to build or reinforce his shelter in Gedeo, Ethiopia. Photo: IOM/Olivia Headon 

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Allocates USD 75,000 to Aid Victims of Lao Dam Disaster

IOM - News - Ven, 07/27/2018 - 10:48

Vientiane – As rescue operations continue in villages flooded by the collapse on Monday (23/7) of the vast Saddle Dam D, part of the Xepien – Xenamnoy hydropower project in south-eastern Lao People's Democratic Republic's Attapeu province, IOM has allocated USD 75,000 to kickstart its emergency relief operations in the area. 

According to the Lao authorities, the disaster was triggered by heavy rains across the region brought by Tropical Storm Son-Tinh. The storm affected an estimated 16,256 people in 11 provinces across the country.

The damage caused by the dam breach was particularly severe in 13 villages in Sanamxay district, which affected an estimated 6,351 people. Some 3,060 people are now displaced and staying in temporary emergency shelters. Twenty-six deaths have been recorded and 131 people are still missing.

The water from the flash flooding is now reportedly receding, but weather forecasters warn of more heavy rain today through Monday. Washed out roads and the destruction of 14 bridges in the area are also making road access to the remote area very difficult, while shallow water in flooded areas is also hampering access by boat.

IOM, which between 2016-2018 managed a malaria control project in the area, which borders Viet Nam and Cambodia, is working with UN partners and the Lao authorities to identify most urgent needs. According to an initial government assessment, these include food, drinking water, personal hygiene kits, mobile toilets, clothing, tents and housing repair kits. Boats to access the worst hit areas are also needed.

IOM has deployed technical experts from its regional Asia-Pacific office in Bangkok to the Lao People's Democratic Republic specializing in displacement management, migration health, camp coordination and camp management, emergency assessment, displacement tracking and logistics support.

The initial USD 75,000 of IOM funding will go towards areas of greatest need identified by the government and UN partners. They will likely include provision of shelter materials, tarpaulins and plastic sheets; non-food items including clothing, blankets, buckets, jerry cans, kitchen sets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets and tools; and medicines.

The emergency response is organized by sector or “Cluster”. IOM is co-leading the Shelter Cluster with UN Habitat and the Ministry of Public Works and Housing. It is also part of the Health and Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) Clusters, which are led by WHO and UNICEF respectively.

Malaria is endemic in the affected area, but IOM Regional Health Specialist Dr. Patrick Duigan says that displaced families may be at greater risk of waterborne diseases in the aftermath of disaster. “Floods often wash away mosquitos and larvae, which reduces the risk of malaria for the first eight weeks or so. Then, as the area dries out, the risk of malaria will return,” he said.    

“IOM is now putting our global expertise in emergency response at the disposal of the government of the Lao People's Democratic Republic – our newest member state – to help it to cope with the aftermath of this major disaster. But we are also committed to helping these people in the longer term to restart their lives and are reaching out to international donors,” said IOM Lao PDR Head of Office Misato Yuasa.     

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, began operations in the Lao People's Democratic Republic in 2002, and in June 2018 the country joined IOM as its 171st member state.

For more on IOM programmes in the Lao People's Democratic Republic, please click here.

For more information please contact Chris Lom at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. Tel. +66.62.602.8752, Email: clom@iom.int. Or Misato Yuasa at the IOM Vientiane in the Lao People's Democratic Republic. Tel: +856.21.267.730, Email: myuasa@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Friday, July 27, 2018 - 17:05Image: Region-Country: ThailandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Sanamxay villagers sought safety on the roofs of their houses to escape the flooding following the July 23 dam collapse. Photo: CNN. 

Some 3,060 displaced people are now staying in temporary shelters having fled their flooded homes in Sanamxay district. Photo: CNN. 

Large areas of Sanamxay district remain submerged following the July 23 dam collapse. Photo: CNN.

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM, African Union Launch Study on Benefits, Challenges of Free Movement of Persons in Africa

IOM - News - Ven, 07/27/2018 - 10:40

Addis Ababa – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the African Union Commission (AUC) have launched a study on the Benefits and Challenges of Free Movement of Persons in Africa.

The study – commissioned by the AUC and IOM to further inform deliberations on and work towards continental integration – explores the argument for free movement, while also highlighting potential pitfalls, and enables for a well-governed continental free movement regime.

One key conclusion is that the benefits of free movement far outweigh any challenges that may rise; moreover, solutions to those challenges do not lie in slowing the march towards freer movement of African citizens on the continent, but in AU Member States individually and collectively working to address the key challenges, the study has noted.

Ambassador Hope Tumukunde Gasatura, in her capacity as chair of the Specialized Technical Committee of the African Union on Migration, Refugees and IDPs and Ambassador of Rwanda to Ethiopia and Djibouti, underlined that Rwanda’s experience following its decision to ensure visas are obtainable upon arrival for all African nationals has occasioned many benefits, including an increase in tourism and a more favourable trade balance for Rwanda. None of the often-touted security concerns linked to migration have played out in the case of Rwanda.

The Commissioner for Political Affairs for the African Union Commission, Ambassador Minata Samate Cessouma, noted that free movement of persons will be critical to achieving the socio-economic and political integration and prosperity envisioned in Agenda 2063 – The Africa We Want. She noted the progress made thus far in facilitating free movement of persons – so far, 32 African countries have signed the Protocol to the Treaty Establishing the African Economic Community Relating to Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Right of Establishment, and some several countries are reflecting on how to commence implementation of visa upon arrival policies. However, she underlined the urgency in moving towards ratification and implementation of the protocol, noting that the fifteen ratifications are required for the protocol to come into force. Thus far, only Rwanda has ratified the protocol.

In her overview of the study, Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission and Representative to the AU, IGAD and UNECA, discussed the benefits of free movement as advanced in the study. She explained that free movement of persons will be key to reaching the target of 50 per cent intra-African trade by 2045 as envisioned in Agenda 2063. She went on to underline the key recommendations advanced in the study as proposed responses to the challenges to implementing a free movement regime, and potential threats it could bring in. The study notes that these include the need to improve national civil registration systems and enhanced capacities of border management and law enforcement capabilities of Member States.

Dr. Khabele Matlosa, Director of the AUC/Department of Political Affairs applauded the study, adding that “It is critical for us to unveil the findings of the study as they will help Member States to approach the issue of free movement from an informed stand point.” He appreciated the fact that the study takes account of current efforts of the African Union and its respective Regional Economic Communities to facilitate free movement of persons in Africa.

The study, and indeed the support that IOM has continued to provide to AU deliberations and work towards continental free movement, has been made possible through financial support from the Government of Norway. In his message of support, Andreas Gaarder, Norway’s Ambassador to Ethiopia, Djibouti, the African Union and IGAD declared that “Inter-Africa trade cannot happen when businesses, ideas, and people cannot move around the continent. Migration and labour mobility present an opportunity for growth and economic development.” Ambassador Gaarder concluded by reassuring the AUC and its partners of Norway’s continued support with a view to facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration.

For more information, please contact Mazango Eric, Email: emazango@iom.int or Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 6611117 (Ext. 455), Mobile: +251 91 163 9082, Email: salemayehu@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Friday, July 27, 2018 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Migration ResearchDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM and the African Union Commission launch report on the Benefits and Challenges of Free Movement of Persons in Africa. Photo: AUC 

Press Release Type: Global
Categorie: Press Room IOM