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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 40,944 in 2018; Deaths Reach 934

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:58

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 40,944 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through the first 171 days of 2018. That total compares to 84,675 at this time last year, and over 215,997 at this time in 2016.

In other words: Mediterranean arrivals at this point in 2018 are running at significantly below half of last year’s total to date, and some 19 per cent of 2016’s volume at this same point during that year.  Deaths, too, are much lower than at comparable periods of the past two years. In 2017 IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reported 2,133 deaths through 21 June; at this point in 2016 the figure was 2,911 – or over three times 2018’s estimated total of 960.

The largest shortfall since last year has been on transit via the so-called Central Mediterranean route linking North Africa to Italy. IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo notes that this year’s traffic towards Italian ports – 16,228 men, women and children through 20 June – is at a level nearly 78 per cent below that recorded through 20 June last year.

With the year swiftly approaching its mid-point, IOM notes that in none of the past four years have irregular migrant sea arrivals fallen short of 119,000 – last year’s total.

This year migrant arrivals to Italy by sea are below 17,000 – a remarkable turnaround for a country that has witnessed an annual average arrival rate of 156,000 migrants per year over the last four years (see chart below).

June arrivals to Italy, Di Giacomo recorded, are running now at less than 25 per cent of their 2017 rate, and less than 33 per cent of 2016’s volume (see chart below).

Nonetheless, the perils faced by migrants remain daunting.  IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo notes that
Italy’s most recent landing was recorded on 19 June in Pozzallo, where the ship of the Italian Coast Guard "Diciotti" brought a total of 523 migrants saved during the previous days in the Mediterranean.

Among them were survivors of a shipwreck that occurred on 12th June, migrants who had been rescued by the US Navy ship USS Trenton. Those, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, said they had left Zuwara, in Libya, during the night of 11 June, sailing on a dinghy carrying 117 people, including 20 women and a one-year-old child.
After seven hours of navigation, the boat began to deflate and many migrants fell into the water. The US Trenton, patrolling nearby, intervened and managed to bring 41 people to safety. Overall, 76 migrants lost their lives, survivors said, including 15 of the 20 women and the one-year-old child.

Upon arrival in Italy, these migrants were exhausted by the stress and the trauma they experienced; many also reported being victims of terrible violence perpetrated by their smugglers: kept locked for months in a house near the sea, where men reportedly were beaten and women were raped.

Early Thursday (21 June) IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported on several ongoing search and rescue operations unfolding along Libya’s coastline. The Libyan Coast Guard, she said, returned 301 migrants (252 men, three women and 46 children – all boys); the majority from Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire were transferred to Trig al Seka detention centre. IOM offered emergency assistance.

The migrants said they started their journey in Garaboli, leaving on two rubber dinghies. The migrants received emergency primary health assistance, and protection screenings were provided at the disembarkation point.

Petré added that on Wednesday (20 June), the Libyan Coast Guard returned 42 migrants (36 men, four women and two children) who also received IOM emergency assistance. The migrants started their journey in Garaboli on one rubber dinghy.

All migrants were registered by the Libyan Coast Guard. The migrants, the majority from Guinea, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria, were then transferred to Ain Zara detention centre.

Tragically, the body of a Guinean national was retrieved during the operation. Later that day, 20 migrants (19 from Mali and one from Guinea) were returned to Basis disembarkation point by the Libyan Coast Guard and transferred to Tajoura detention centre.

For the week, IOM Libya is reporting 936 migrants returned to shore by authorities. The latest incident occurred Friday morning when 85 migrants were returned near Tripoli. Most were from Pakistan and Algeria.

So far this year, 8,310 migrants have been returned to the Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard, Petré reported. A total of 37 corpses were retrieved on Libyan soil this week after washing ashore. Additionally, there are reports of a capsized dinghy on Tuesday (19 June) north of Almaya.  Survivors reported most passengers were from Sudan.

"We know there were five survivors taken to hospital," said Ms. Petré. "There were life vests found on the beach, which would indicate other survivors. But we don't know how many to consider missing."

IOM Madrid’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday Spanish arrivals in June through the 20th of the month are 3,993, by far the heaviest volume for any month this year so far, and on track to be the busiest month off Spain in over four years of the current Mediterranean emergency (see charts below).

IOM's team in the Balkans reported this week that during the first two weeks of June, authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina registered 1,076 new migrants and asylum seekers which totals to more than 6,600 arrivals since the beginning of 2018 (almost six times the 1,119 reported for all of 2017).

Pakistan is the most commonly reported origin country by irregular migrants and asylum seekers registered this year in Bosnia and Herzegovina (27% of all cases), followed by Syrian Arab Republic (18%), Afghanistan (13%) Iran (11%) and Iraq (8%).

Authorities in Montenegro reported 285 irregular apprehensions in the first two weeks of June, adding up to a total of 1,733 migrants and asylum seekers intercepted by the authorities in Montenegro since the starts of this year. This shows nine times increase in arrivals to Montenegro when compared to 187 registered in the same period in 2017 and increase of more than double when compared to the 807 registered arrivals in the whole of 2017. Migrants and asylum seekers registered in Montenegro are mostly of Syrian origin (45%), followed by those declaring Pakistani (16%), Algerian (11%) and Iraqi (8%) origin.

In Albania, another 46 irregular apprehensions on entry were reported in the first two weeks of June 2018 giving a total of 1,733 since the beginning of the year. Further on, another 421 migrants and asylum seekers were registered on exit from the country on the border with Montenegro between April and June. More than a third of the overall registered population were of Syrian origin and another 28% reported Algerian origin and 13% Libyan.

According to available data, intensified movements have been observed also in Slovenia where in May only, authorities apprehended 1,158 irregular migrants, almost double than the 573 reported in April 2018. Between January and May authorities registered a total of 2,383 migrants and refugees, four times increase compared to the 567 registered in the same period 2017. One quarter of individuals declared themselves as nationals of Pakistan (27%), followed by Algeria (19%), Syrian Arab Republic (9%), Afghanistan (7%) and Morocco (7%).

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported Thursday that over three days (18-20 June) the Hellenic Coast Guard reported at least three incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Samos and Lesvos. The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 48 migrants off the island of Samos and 38 migrants off the island of Lesvos – a total of 86 migrants – and transferred them to the two islands.

IOM Greece further reported that besides those 86, another 75 irregular migrants arrived during the three days, landing in Oinouses and Kos, and bringing to 12,514 the total number of irregular migrants entering Greece via sea since January 1 –  an average of around 73 persons per day (see charts below).

IOM Greece also reports that “Omed,” a three-year-old boy, lost his life in the open accommodation site located at Thiva, Greece. The boy, who was found dead in the sewage tank, was from Iraq.  The incident took place Monday evening (18 June), just hours after his family reported his disappearance. Greek authorities have started an investigation; IOM has no update regarding autopsy results or the investigation.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 1,592 people who died or went missing while migrating in 2018 (see chart below).

In the Mediterranean alone, 934 people have lost their lives at sea since the beginning of the year. In the Central Mediterranean, at least 12 people have died in the past four days off the coast of Libya.

On 18 June, the remains of five people, including two women, were recovered from a sinking boat 8 miles of Melittah area in Tripoli, Libya. The day after, a boat capsized north of Al Maya. Five survivors were rescued and transferred to the Janzour Hospital, while the remains of six people, including two children, were retrieved on the shore. On 20 June, the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted 82 migrants and recovered one body from a boat north of Tajura, Libya.

There were several other additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since Tuesday’s update.

On the US/Mexico border, the remains of a young man who died from dehydration were recovered on 18 June on the side of highway 131 between Eagle Pass and Brackettville. Previously, on 10 June, the remains of one migrant were found in a ranch near Falfurrias in Brooks County, Texas. The same day, a man drowned in the Río Bravo – his body was recovered in McAllen, Hidalgo County.

In Europe, a 20-year-old Guinean man was crushed by a bus near Brussels, Belgium. The young migrant was clinging to the axle underneath the bus, which was bound for the UK, when he was tragically killed as the vehicle stopped.

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.
Download the 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
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui, IIOM 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
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, June 22, 2018 - 15:50Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migrant Returns from Yemen Postponed as Displacement Increases due to Hudaydah Offensive

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:58
Language English

Sana’a – Due to the ongoing offensive, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has been forced to postpone its voluntary humanitarian return assistance to migrants stranded in Hudaydah until further notice. The same military operations have, so far, caused 5,775 Yemenis to flee their homes in the Hudaydah area since it began last Wednesday (13/06) – this figure is set to increase over the coming days.

“A few weeks ago, it was almost unimaginable that the situation in Yemen – already the world’s worst humanitarian crisis – could have deteriorated even further to the extent that the military offensive on Hudaydah has caused,” said Sarat Dash, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission. “We call on all parties to the conflict to show respect for human life, whether they be Yemeni nationals or a migrant caught in the conflict,” he added.    

Last Thursday (14/06), IOM cancelled a voluntary humanitarian return operation that would have helped over 200 migrants get home from the warzone via Hudaydah port. In addition, an unknown number, but estimated to be in the thousands, of migrants are stranded in or near the frontlines. Following heavy shelling and air strikes near IOM’s Migrant Response Point (MRP) in Hudaydah, 22 migrants were immediately evacuated to Sana’a, where they are currently housed with foster families. They have been traumatized by the experience and IOM counsellors are working closely with them.

In 2017, IOM helped 2,860 migrants return home from Yemen, of whom 746 migrants were voluntary returnees through Hudaydah port – the majority of whom were Ethiopian migrants but others included Sri Lankans, Indians, Nigerians and Pakistani migrants. So far in 2018, IOM has assisted over 430 migrants with return assistance via Hudaydah port. It is unknown how many migrants live or are transiting through Yemen but IOM estimates that approximately 100,000 entered the country in 2017, mostly en route to the Gulf countries.  

"Voluntary humanitarian return is a lifeline for many migrants, who become stranded in Yemen, without it migrants are forced to spend longer in a warzone putting their lives at great risk and causing undue distress to people, who have typically already suffered enormously," said Dash.

The rising displacement caused by the offensive is in addition to the over 89,000, who were already displaced in the Governorate prior to the current military offensive. Humanitarian partners are preparing a response for 60,000 internally displaced households (approximately 420,000 individuals) through 12 Humanitarian Service Points and Transit Sites – this includes new and old displacements.

Due to the increasing displacement, IOM's Migrant Response Point (MRP) has become a centre, not only for comprehensive support to vulnerable migrants, but for humanitarian assistance to internally displaced Yemenis – the largest of its kind in the area at the moment. So far, IOM and partners have provided food, cash assistance, transport, health care and psychosocial support from the MRP to nearly a thousand individuals. 

“Many displaced people I have met are extremely distressed from being caught in the offensive and most, who arrive at the MRP, are extremely hungry, having often gone without meals for days,” said Alisher Makhkamov, who is overseeing IOM’s operations in Hudaydah as part of an inter-agency team, which includes representatives from UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, WHO and IOM.

In addition to four medical staff that IOM has provided to three health care facilities in Hudaydah, IOM deployed a mobile medical team in an ambulance and staffed with one doctor and three nurses to Hudaydah to meet the emergency healthcare needs of affected populations. A second mobile health team and five ambulances will be deployed in the coming days.

“The safety of our staff is paramount, and we urge the parties to the conflict to create a space for humanitarians to operation safely, ensuring that they have access to the populations that they are putting their lives on the line to assist,” said Dash.

For more information, please contact: 
IOM Yemen: Saba Malme, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: smalme@iom.int
 IOM HQ: Olivia Headon, Tel: +41794035365, Email: oheadon@iom.int

Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:48Image: Region-Country: YemenDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

True stories of Trafficked Rohingya Refugees used by IOM to Raise Awareness, Counter Risks in Bangladesh

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:58

Cox's Bazar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has launched a series of new comic books, which tell the true-life stories of Rohingya refugees who have fallen victim to human trafficking, to raise awareness among those vulnerable to the crime in South Bangladesh.

In late August 2017, violence in Myanmar sparked an exodus that forced over 700,000 Rohingya refugees to flee their homeland in Myanmar to Bangladesh. The border area of Cox’s Bazar where they now live was already the target of human traffickers even before hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived in just a few months.

Without access to proper livelihood opportunities in Myanmar or Bangladesh, and the majority of the population stateless due to long-standing ethnic discrimination in Myanmar which denies them the right to travel legitimately to other countries, Rohingya refugees are extremely vulnerable to exploitation. While the nature of the crime means it is clandestine and it is impossible to know the exact number of Rohingya refugees directly affected by trafficking, a large section of the almost one million refugee population are potential targets, as are the communities hosting them.

Mahira*, eight years old, was encouraged by a neighbour and her family in a Rohingya refugee camp to go and work, taking care of a baby in a nearby town. When she got there the little girl found herself cut off from her family, working from early morning to late at night and brutally beaten whenever the baby cried.

Mariam*, a young Rohingya woman, thought the opportunity to leave the refugee camp where she lived to take up work as a hotel maid in a beach resort would lift her family out of destitution. Instead, she was tricked and found herself living in a brothel. The “kind aunty”, who found her the job, had sold her into forced prostitution.

Rashid*, a Rohingya father of two, thought he was leaving the refugee camp for a good job in another country. Abroad in an unknown land, he was imprisoned in a storage container and brutally beaten within earshot of a telephone call to his family, who were blackmailed to pay a ransom for him.

These three real-life stories of Rohingya refugees have been adapted by IOM into cartoon form to help teach the refugee and host communities in Cox's Bazar about the very real dangers of human trafficking.

More than 76 victims of trafficking have now directly received assistance from IOM protection staff.  However, this nowhere near reflects the scale of the problem on the ground.

The vast majority of those who fall into traffickers’ hands do not return. But even if they do manage to return home to their families, for some survivors – particularly those who have escaped the sex industry – bearing the shame and stigma associated with their experience means they never report what happened to them. While concerns about refugee women and girls being trafficked into the sex industry are a key focus for IOM, experts say that trafficking can take many forms.

“As these stories based on true experiences show, trafficking affects everyone, not only women and children, but men too," said Dina Parmer, Head of Protection at IOM Cox’s Bazar. "Targets might be approached in many different ways. Traffickers often use vulnerability factors to take advantage of them. That’s why it is so important to raise awareness among the refugee and host communities on the different forms of trafficking and how to identify potentially dangerous situations early on,” she added.

As a lead agency in trafficking prevention across the globe, IOM protection staff have experience in tackling trafficking risks in a wide variety of settings. However, the sudden surge of refugees from Myanmar into Bangladesh created particular challenges. Due to the fact that Rohingya is a language that relies on oral rather than written communication, an innovative solution was needed to help explain risks in a community where text based messaging is not possible.

“These comics are simple, but clear. They are designed to be used by community outreach volunteers in order to explain the risks of trafficking and how to avoid them to community members in language that can be understood by everyone,” said Parmer.

An initial run of 550 comic books has been produced and at least 250 community outreach volunteers from IOM and partners will use them to help spread awareness of trafficking risks.

“This comic is very compelling and easy to understand. It will be accompanied by oral storytelling followed by a discussion led by the community outreach volunteers. It will make the session more attractive; hopefully they will get the message and mitigate the risk of trafficking,” said trainer Jishu Barua of IOM’s counter-trafficking partner organization, Young Power in Social Action (YPSA).

For more information, please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar, Fiona MacGregor, Tel: +8801733335221, or Olivia Headon, Email: oheadon@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:46Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM has created a series of cartoon books using real life stories of Rohingya refugees to help raise awareness of the risks of trafficking.

IOM has created a series of cartoon books using real life stories of Rohingya refugees to help raise awareness of the risks of trafficking.

IOM has created a series of cartoon books using real life stories of Rohingya refugees to help raise awareness of the risks of trafficking.

IOM has created a series of cartoon books using real life stories of Rohingya refugees to help raise awareness of the risks of trafficking.

IOM has created a series of cartoon books using real life stories of Rohingya refugees to help raise awareness of the risks of trafficking.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Regional Director Visits Nigeria in Support of Moves Against Human Trafficking

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:55

Benin City – Representatives for IOM, the UN Migration Agency, recently went to Edo State, Nigeria to pay a courtesy visit to the Governor and the lyase (Prime Minister) of Benin, and discuss the recent steps taken to combat human trafficking in the region prone to irregular migration.

Richard Danziger, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa, also met with over 80 returnees who were attending business skills training in preparation for their reintegration assistance under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Nigeria.

During the visit, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki invited IOM to be part of the coordination team for the State's recent flagship programme Managing Migration through Development Transformation in Edo State, which aims to prevent irregular migration, combat trafficking in persons, reinforce public services in at-risk communities and promote economic prosperity in the region.

“Edo State administration has set the pace in the way it has continued to manage the issue of irregular migration and human trafficking,” said Danziger. “It has set the template for others to borrow from.”

Edo State plans to ensure the eradication of human trafficking and irregular migration affecting the region by 2020, mainly through its new Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (TiP/SoM) Taskforce – established in 2017 in a bid to provide home-grown solutions to “the menace which has bedeviled the society.”

“If we create opportunities domestically, who says they [potential migrants] will still be interested in leaving?” asked Governor Obaseki. “We cannot stop people from leaving but we can reduce their will to go and the risks they can face when they make the dangerous journey.”  

For the past three years, Nigerian has been the main nationality of sea arrivals to Italy, and 59 per cent of the victims of trafficking (VoT) assisted by IOM in 2016 were Nigerians. IOM also estimates that about 80 per cent of Nigerian women and girls arriving by sea in 2016 are likely to be VoT for sexual exploitation; an estimated 94 per cent of these women and girls trafficked to Europe come from Edo State (according to UNODC). 

In addition to paying large sums of money to their traffickers, Nigerian victims of trafficking are subjected to a voodoo rite which forbids them from breaking the ‘contract’ they have entered into with the trafficker. The fear of breaking the voodoo oath is a tool of subordination which deeply affects the victims of trafficking and impacts their will to return home without having fully paid their “debt”. Thus the role of traditional and religious leaders is vital in breaking these chains and rescuing the victims.

After his visit to Edo State Governor, Danziger visited Chief Sam Igbe, the lyase of Benin, and discussed the Royal Majesty Oba of Benin’s recent statement revoking the voodoo oath and placing a curse on perpetrators of human trafficking instead. The hope is that this statement will empower victims to come forward and seek assistance which the federal and state governments provide with the support of partners, including IOM.

“There’s nothing new to see out there,” said Igbe, who stressed that human trafficking is not a ‘tradition’ in Edo State. “It is a lie that you can pick money in the streets in Europe.”

“We need to assist the victims but we also need to address the root causes of migration or this problem will carry on,” Danziger added.

The one-day visit to Edo State ended with a surprise visit to IOM beneficiaries taking their first business skills training as part of their reintegration assistance since they returned from Libya.

Since April 2017, IOM Nigeria has assisted over 8,000 Nigerians to return home safely thanks to the EU-IOM Joint initiative for migrant protection and reintegration.

Prior to his visit with Edo State officials, Richard Danziger met with the ECOWAS President, the Commissioner for Trade, Customs, and Free Movement, and the Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender to reaffirm IOM’s commitment to support ECOWAS in advancing free movement within the Region.

For more information, please contact IOM Nigeria:
Jorge Galindo, Tel: +2348036452973, Email: jgalindo@iom.int
Abrahm Tamrat, Tel: +234 906 228 4580, Email: tabrahm@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:44Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa Richard Danziger visits the Governor and the lyase (Prime Minister) of Benin, and discuss the recent steps taken to combat human trafficking in the region prone to irregular migration. Photo: IOM

IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa Richard Danziger meets with returnees who were attending business skills training in preparation for their reintegration assistance under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Nigeria. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Insufficient Data on Migration and Health Undermine Health Systems’ Responses

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:54

Berlin – Data and information on the health of migrants and health issues stemming from migration could make health systems’ responses more effective. Yet such data are scarce, according to a recently published health information page on the Global Migration Data Portal.

The Global Migration Data Portal was launched by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in 2017. It serves as a unique access point to timely, comprehensive migration statistics and reliable information about migration data globally. The health information webpage was authored by IOM’s Migration Health Division in coordination with IOM´s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC). It outlines existing and potential data sources on the health of migrants, and data limitations that hinder countries from better understanding migration and health; addressing public health issues; and making national comparisons to drive evidence-informed policies and practices.

IOM’s Migration Health Division reiterates its call to collect better disaggregated data on the health of migrants as mentioned in the reports from the first and second Global Consultation on Migration Health, held respectively in 2010 and 2017, as well as in the 2008 and 2017 World Health Assembly Resolutions on the Health of Migrants.

According to IOM, the need to enhance health information systems and improve countries’ capacities to collect data on migration health remains a challenge for both developing and developed nations. At the international level no standardized guidance on what data to collect, and how to do so, exists. Also, there is no global health framework with indicators to measure and monitor the health of migrants.

“To address this issue, three things are needed,” stated Jacqueline Weekers, IOM’s Director of Migration Health. “Better approaches to identify sources of migration health data at national, subnational, regional and sub-regional levels; improved methods for analyzing such data; and finally, greater investments in enabling member states and relevant agencies to collaborate across sectors to advance the field of migration health data informatics.”

IOM’s Migration Health Division has developed a repository of its health-related projects and technical outputs into an open-source online portal. The website serves as a practical platform for connecting research experts and scholars, learning about global migration health research initiatives, and improving evidence-based policy and practice. Upcoming events relevant to migration and health are also presented through the portal.

Additionally, a global database of IOM’s migration and health research publications is being created via an open source platform; the publications will be searchable by type of migrant and topic such as mental health, nutrition, etc.

For more information, please contact Kol Wickramage at IOM Philippines, Tel: +63 2 230 1631, Email: kwickramage@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:40Image: Region-Country: GermanyThemes: Migration ResearchDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM ‘Know Before You Go’ Campaign Kicks off as part of Social Protection Week In Zambia

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:53

Lusaka – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, hosted an awareness campaign on Human Trafficking and Safe Migration dubbed “Know Before You Go” in Zambia this week.

The “Know Before You Go” campaign was conducted as part of an outreach programme during the Government of Zambia’s Social Protection Week which runs from 18-22 June 2018, and is aimed at promoting public awareness of social protection as a tool that can be used to address poverty and vulnerability challenges. With the initiative now in its second year, the theme of National Social Protection Week 2018 is ‘Decentralisation and Innovation’, both of which are key to effective and efficient implementation of Social Protection programmes.

The “Know Before You Go” campaign is spearheaded by IOM Zambia and relevant stakeholders. The awareness outreach campaign was held in Chazanga Community, a migrant-host community located just outside of Lusaka, and the activities included a drama performance, which covered several themes associated with Social Protection Week including misconceptions and myths around human trafficking, risks and dangers associated with human trafficking (abuse, violation of the law, etc.) and delivering information on safe migration and its benefits. Approximately 300 individuals from Chazanga were mobilized by Community Welfare Assistance Committees (CWACs) who have previously been trained by IOM on Safe Migration practices and prevention of Human Trafficking.

“Trafficking is a serious violation of human rights and as Government, we want to ensure that people have the correct information on safe migration and that they know how to prevent trafficking in their communities,” said Mubanda Chansa Chileshe, National Coordinator for the National Secretariat on Human Trafficking.

Speaking at the same event, IOM National Project Officer Bertha Nguvulu committed IOM’s continued support to the Government of Zambia for the coordination of national anti-human trafficking responses and the protection efforts of vulnerable migrants.

Adopted in 2014, Zambia has an overarching National Social Protection Policy crafted around the pillars of Social Assistance; Social Security (social insurance); Livelihood and Empowerment; and Protection and Disability. The Government of the Republic of Zambia is committed to addressing the high levels of poverty, vulnerability and insecurity in the country. As part of the United Nations Joint Programme on Social Protection, IOM worked closely with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, and supported the updating of the Communication Strategy on Mixed Migration and Human Trafficking which contributes towards the implementation of the Government of Zambia’s Social Protection Policy, specifically the strategy under the Protection Pillar on promoting awareness of rights and entitlements for vulnerable groups.

“Know Before You Go” is being rolled out to various part of the country. The campaign was made possible with financial support from DFID, Irish Aid, and the Governments of Finland and Sweden.

For further information, please contact Bertha Kalyocha Nguvulu at IOM Zambia, Tel: +260 975 766 486, Email: bnguvulu@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:38Image: Region-Country: ZambiaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Drama Group Performing a play on internal trafficking during the Know Before You Know Campaign. Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

“Voices of Migration” Concert Brings Two World Premieres to Vienna

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:51

Vienna – Far too often we see sensational headlines where migration is portrayed in a negative light. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), together with the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), is working to transform this toxic narrative of migration with the hosting of a special concert, the “Voices of Migration”, to be held at the United Nations in Vienna next week, on 28 June.

The concert will celebrate the immense talent and rich diversity that migration brings, for migration rejuvenates and elevates culture, such as cuisine, art, fashion and, of course, music. The concert will perfectly exemplify the most positive outcomes of migration – the unique union of diverse groups of people resulting in beautiful works of art.

Two world premieres by migrant composers are the pinnacle of an extraordinary programme curated by Bärli Nugent, the Assistant Dean of the world-renowned Juilliard Music School of New York.

“This concert underlines what an important part migration plays in culture and the arts,” said Argentina Szabados, Director of IOM’s Regional Office in Vienna, which covers South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“This is the first musical event of its kind that will be a cultural treat which will inspire us all to accentuate the positive aspects of migration, and dispel the toxic narrative of migration”, she said.

“The United Nations Information Service (UNIS) is delighted to support this concert”, said Martin Nesirky, Director of the UNIS Vienna office. “Sometimes mere words are not enough to convey the full range of emotions associated with a theme like migration. Sometimes we hear words and so often we fall deaf to them. Music and the arts can restore our sensitivities and open our hearts anew.”

The stories behind the music are as powerful as the music itself. Composer Cem Güven, a first-year undergraduate student from Turkey studying at Juilliard has named his world premier piece “Aylan Bebek”. It is in memory of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy, whose lifeless body photographed on a Turkish beach after his family’s failed attempt to reach Greece, cried out to the conscience of the world.

The second world premier is inspired by the poem Hour by Scottish poet Carol Ann Duffy. The piece for soprano, flute and piano, composed by Shayan Mokhterani, will be followed by a dramatic reading of the poem by Kenyan actress Mercy Otieno.

Bärli Nugent explained why she has put this concert together: “As humanity seems increasingly estranged in a never-ending generational cycle, I am an artist-citizen seeking to make a contribution towards understanding and fellowship amongst peoples. My goal is, and always has been to share stories and change lives through music.”

Nugent’s Austrian mother studied piano in Vienna under the great Austrian composer Richard Stöhr , before he was forced out of Austria after the Anschluss of 1938, migrating to the USA, and teaching Leonard Bernstein (among others) at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.

She will play part of Stöhr’s Flute Sonata to commemorate her connection with the composer and his country. The concert will end with selections of Mozart’s flute, violin and piano music.

Voices of Migration takes place at the Vienna International Centre at 12.30 on Thursday 28 June. To register, please contact press@UN.org.

For more information please contact IOM’s Regional Office for South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Email: rovienna@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:38Image: Region-Country: AustriaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Bärli Nugent, Assistant Dean, The Juilliard School, New York, reflects on the journey that led to her curating a musical selection for a unique concert presented by the United Nations Migration Agency at the UN Vienna Headquarters on June 28.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 40,073 in 2018; Deaths Reach 857

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 09:13

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 40,073 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through the first 24 weeks of 2018.

That total compares to 80,683 at this time last year, and over 215,000 at this time in 2016.

In other words: Mediterranean arrivals at this point in 2018 are running at under half last year’s level on this date, and about 18 per cent of 2016’s volume at this point in the year.  Deaths, too, are much lower than at comparable periods of the past two years. In 2017, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reported 2,106 deaths through 19 June; at this time in 2016 the figure was 2,999 – or over three times 2018’s estimated total of 857.

This past weekend saw a surge of activity in Spanish waters, which so far this year have seen the arrival of 12,063 men, women and children, reports IOM Madrid’s Ana Dodevska. Spanish arrivals in June are now nearly 4,000, by far the heaviest volume of the year so far (see charts below).

Dodevska reported the following developments between Friday and Monday (15-19 June):

  • 15 June: 682 people rescued on the Western Mediteranean Route.
  • 16 June: 304 people rescued on Western Mediterranean Route.
  • 17 June: A total of 934 arrivals, including the 630 people travelling on the Aquarius. Another 152 individuals (146 men, 3 women and 3 minors) were rescued on the Western African Route and were transferred to Arguineguín (Canary Islands). The remaining 152 were rescued by Salvamento Maritimo on the Western Mediterranean Route and disembarked on the ports of Almeria, Motril and Melilla.
  • 18 June: A total of 419 individuals arrived on the Spanish coast during the first day of this week. Some 379 were rescued by Salvamento Maritimo and other 41 arrived by their own means at the Alboran Island. The last update was done at 18:30h.

 

She also reported these points from the arrival of the rescue vessel Aquarius on 17 June:

  • Five members from the IOM office in Madrid travelled to Valencia to assist on the arrival.
  • The first ship ("Datillo") arrived around 06:30 on the Port of Valencia with 274 migrants. The Aquarius ship carrying 106 individuals (the most vulnerable from a health point of view), arrived in Valencia few hours later (around 1100h). The third ship was the Italian naval vessel “Orion” with 250 people on board. According to the information provided by the Spanish Ministry of Interior, there were 26 different nationalities on board. The 10 main nationalities were from Sudan, Nigeria, Eritrea, South Sudan, Algeria, Ghana, Guinea Conakry, Sierra Leone, Senegal and Gambia.

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported that on Sunday the Libyan Coast Guard returned to Libyan shores 76 migrants (62 men, 12 women, two children) who received emergency primary health assistance including pregnancy care for two women. Food was also provided at the disembarkation point and all migrants were registered by the Libyan Coast Guard. The migrants, the majority from Nigeria, Guinea and Senegal, departed from Azzawiyah in one rubber boat. Following the assistance, the migrants were transferred to Tajoura detention centre, where IOM will follow up with further assistance including protection and Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) screenings.

No fatalities were reported. Petré said that so far this year, 7,243 migrants have been returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard and added that last Thursday (14 June), IOM assisted 157 stranded migrants returning home to Nigeria on one chartered flight. Among the migrants were 14 medical cases and one unaccompanied migrant child. IOM Libya has assisted 14,785 since the scale-up phase started 28 November 2017 and a total of 27,916 migrants have returned home from Libya with IOM’s assistance since 1 January 2017. 

Nonetheless, the Mediterranean remains a dangerous place for irregular migrants. In 2018, some 857 people have lost their lives at sea since the beginning of January.

In the Central Mediterranean, the NGO Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) reported that two people went missing in the rescue conducted by the Aquarius ship off the coast of Libya on the night of 9 June. MSF staff interviewed survivors and learned that two young men, a Senegalese and a Nigerian, were lost at sea during a complicated rescue in which one of the boats broke apart.

While the Aquarius was sailing to the Spanish port of Valencia, the Guardia Costiera vessel “Diciotti” disembarked 937 survivors and the remains of two migrants in Catania, Italy on 11 June.

On 12 June, the US Navy ship “Trenton” rescued 41 people from a boat in distress off the coast of Libya, and observed approximately 12 bodies in the water which, unfortunately, could not be recovered during the rescue operation. The 41 survivors were transferred to an Italian Coast Guard ship on 17 June and will disembark in Italy soon. Additionally, the Italian Coast Guard ship “Dattilo” arrived to Catania on 17 June and disembarked 523 migrants and the remains of one person who had died after being rescued off the coast of Libya.

In the Western Mediterranean, at least 48 people lost their lives since last Thursday. On 14 June, the Spanish maritime safety agency, Salvamento Marítimo, recovered the body of a young man and rescued 11 survivors in the Gibraltar Strait. On Friday, the remains of four migrants were retrieved during multiple rescue operations conducted in the Gibraltar Strait. On Sunday, four migrants were rescued from a sinking boat 18 miles south of Cabo de Gata, Almería. According to their testimonies, 47 people were on the boat when they departed from Morocco. A merchant vessel retrieved one body in the Alboran sea on Sunday evening; therefore, an estimated 42 people remain missing and are presumed dead.

IOM Greece’s Antigoni Avgeropoulou reported Monday that over five days (13-17 June) the Hellenic Coast Guard reported at least seven incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos and Samos. The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 137 migrants off the island of Samos and 100 migrants off the island of Lesvos, and rescued a total of 237 migrants and transferred them to those respective islands.

Avgeropoulou reported that besides those 237, another 191 irregular migrants arrived during the five days, landing in Chios, Rhodes, Oinouses and Kos, bringing to 12,353 the total number of irregular migrants entering Greece via sea since 1 January – an average of around 74 persons per day (see charts below).

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 1,508 people who died or went missing while migrating in 2018.

There were several additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since last week’s update. On the US/Mexico border, three people drowned in the Rio Grande while trying to cross into the US from Mexico: on 10 June, the remains of a man were found near Campo Las Águilas in Piedras Negras, Coahuila, while on 13 June another body was recovered in Piedras Negras, near Éjido El Moral. Mexican civil protection authorities recovered the remains of another migrant on 17 June near International Bridge III in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas.

In southwest Texas, at least five people were killed and several others injured in a vehicle accident on Sunday, 17 June. Four migrants died in the crash, which took place near Big Wells, Dimmit County, about 50 miles from the border with Mexico. A fifth person died later at the hospital.     

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.

Download the 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
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
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: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 15:07Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Mongolian Consular Officers Work Together to Combat Human Trafficking

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 09:12

Ulaanbaatar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in collaboration with the Consular Department of Mongolia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, has organized a pre-departure training on human trafficking for 31 Mongolian consular officers.

The training in the Mongolian capital was designed to help the officers better understand the crime of trafficking in persons within a human rights framework – enabling them to identify victims and offer better protection to Mongolian nationals abroad. It will also help them to process suspect applications for Mongolian visas.   

The US State Department’s 2017 Trafficking in Persons Report classifies Mongolia as a “Tier 2” country that is making significant efforts to eliminate human trafficking, but needs to do more. It notes that Mongolian victims of forced labour have been identified in Turkey, Kazakhstan and Israel. Victims of sex trafficking have been identified in the Republic of Korea; Japan; China; Hong Kong SAR, China; Malaysia; Germany; Sweden; and the United States. It also cites cases of forced labour from China and the Democratic People's Republic of Korea working in Mongolia.

“The training was an excellent forum for the participants to discuss how to identify trafficked people in an effective and timely manner by looking at their profiles and learning from case studies about various forms of trafficking for sexual exploitation and forced labour. It will also help them to spot signs of potential trafficking during the visa application process,” said Etienne Micallef, IOM’s Officer-in-Charge for IOM China and Mongolia.

"Consular protection staff play a critical role in combating human trafficking through victim identification. But they also need to be able to provide support to victims, organize referrals and, if necessary, coordinate the return of victims to their country of origin in a dignified and prompt manner," he added.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 15:00Image: Region-Country: MongoliaDefault: Multimedia: 

Mongolian consular officers take part in IOM counter trafficking training in Ulaanbaatar. Photo: IOM 2018.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Isolated Communities in Upper Nile Receive Shelter Assistance: IOM

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 09:12

Juba – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Africa Development Aid delivered much-needed shelter and household items to more than 10,200 returnees, internally displaced persons and the communities hosting them in Tonga, an isolated area of South Sudan’s Upper Nile region, last week.

The distribution followed an assessment conducted in May, which found that thousands were in need, with many households recently returning to Tonga after fleeing violence between Government and opposition forces in April 2017.

Although a sense of security has returned to Tonga, fighting and isolation have left the area without basic services. IOM and humanitarian agencies are rushing to provide support as the May-to-October rainy season begins to intensify. Tonga, which is located on a river, is only accessible by air and boat. During the rainy season, access by road to communities within Tonga will become extremely difficult.

Lina, 27 years old, is living in Tonga with her two children. By the time she and her children had reached Tonga in 2016, they had already fled twice since the war began in 2013. When fighting struck Tonga in April 2017, she once again fled to Fangak, a nearby town. After a year, she felt it was safe enough to return to Tonga.

Lina is not alone. Many people have returned since fleeing the 2017 fighting and others have sought safety in Tonga from insecurity in other parts of the country. Some have arrived very recently from as far as southern Unity, where renewed violence is inflicting a devastating toll on civilians and forcing thousands from their homes.

Having left or lost most of their belongings, families like Lina’s were in urgent need of plastic sheeting to cover their makeshift shelters, blankets to protect their children at night and mosquito nets to prevent malaria, which will become more prevalent as the rains set in.

During the distribution, households received plastic sheeting, a blanket, a mosquito net, a half cooking set and rubber rope to support shelter construction.

In March 2018, IOM migration health teams also participated in a multi-sector assessment and response mission to Tonga. During an eight-day mission, IOM supported the Tonga primary health care clinic to provide primary health care services, conducting 413 medical consultations, vaccinating 465 children and reaching over 2,200 people with health promotion messages. 

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 14:54Image: Region-Country: South SudanThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsShelterDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM and ADA distribute shelter and household items in Tonga, South Sudan - IOM-Koja 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UK, Syrian Children Pin Hopes and Dreams Together at IOM Refugee Week Workshop

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 09:02

London – The similarities and shared values of Syrian refugee and British children were on display at a special workshop organized as part of IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s participation in the 20th Anniversary Refugee Week in London on Sunday (17/06).

Dozens of British and Syrian children explored the question “What makes me, me?” and tried to unpack what is important to them at the IOM-facilitated Building Tomorrow Together workshop – designed to promote understanding and integration for Syrian and British youth.

At the workshop held in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, the children shared their hopes and dreams on leaf-shaped pieces of paper, and pinned their leaves together on a tree-shaped art installation.

The fully grown, leaf-decorated tree showed the children that they have more things in common with each other than differences. Many of the kids’ leaves expressed the importance of family, homes and safe places to play.

Riad, a 10-year-old boy from Hama, Syria who participated in the workshop, has lived through more years of war than peace.

“I hope I can make good friends and have a house with a garden where my little brother can play,” he said. “I hope to go to school and it would be nice if it is near a toy shop. I believe life can be beautiful.”

“War is a silly way to solve things,” said another participant, 10-year-old Maya from Devon, UK. “I hope we would have less war and pollution.”

IOM began the series of workshops in Lebanon in 2017 as an activity for Syrian children, while their parents attended an IOM-implemented pre-departure orientation that provided information for refugee families about what to expect when they arrive in the UK.

“Learning about each other is at the heart of integration,” said Dipti Pardeshi, IOM UK Chief of Mission.

“Through Building Tomorrow Together, children are able to look beyond labels of ‘refugee’ or ‘Brit’ to understand that many of their own self-identities and hopes are similar. Despite varied backgrounds, integration is about finding common ground and building on it,” Pardeshi continued.

Children accounted for nearly 50 per cent of the 5,760 refugees resettled to the UK in the financial year ending March 2018, according to the Office of National Statistics. 

IOM implements pre-departure health assessments, pre-departure orientation and movement management, and travel arrangements for refugees going to the UK. IOM also supports national and local governments to develop integration programmes as part of a holistic migration management strategy.

This was the third year that IOM participated in Refugee Week in the UK, one of the leading national initiatives working to counter negative rhetoric and highlight the potential benefits of integration programmes for both the refugee and host communities.

For more information, please contact Abby Dwommoh at IOM UK, Tel: +44 (0)78 733 011 93, Email: adwommoh@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 14:51Image: Region-Country: United KingdomDefault: Multimedia: 

Rowan, 8, from Devon hopes for peace as part of IOM's Building Tomorrow Together workshop. Photo: IOM

Sammy, 7, drew a picture with all his favourite things, including sea creatures, at IOM's Building Tomorrow Together workshop on 17 June. Photo: IOM

IOM's tree on which Brit and Syrian kids pin their hopes. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Addresses Prevention of Sexual Abuse, Exploitation and Harassment and Internal Displacement at ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 09:01
Language English

New York – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is co-hosting two side events at the United Nations Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) Humanitarian Segment (HAS) today (19/06) taking place at the UN Headquarters, New York. The first event will focus on the prevention of sexual abuse, exploitation (PSEA) and harassment and the second on addressing complex internal displacement crises.

HAS is an essential platform for discussing strengthening the coordination and effectiveness of UN humanitarian assistance and will be underway from today until 21 June. The theme of this year’s discussion is “Restoring humanity, respecting human dignity and leaving no one behind: Working together to reduce people’s humanitarian need, risk and vulnerability”.

In the first side event, IOM is co-hosting “Rebuilding Trust and Increasing Accountability to Prevent Sexual Abuse, Exploitation and Harassment of and by Humanitarian Staff”. UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock will moderate a panel, with IOM Director General and Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) Champion on PSEA William Lacy Swing delivering a keynote address. Co-organized with the Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) and InterAction, the other panellists will include representatives from Oxfam America, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), as well as the UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia.

The panel will discuss the humanitarian community’s PSEA and Sexual Harassment and Abuse (SHA) efforts, as well as the Member States’ role in ensuring that these collective efforts are adequately resourced, political will is sustained and that their nationals are held to account for any misconduct.

Following the panel presentations, Member States and other stakeholders will be invited to make statements from the floor on institutional commitments to address all forms of sexual misconduct. The event will be an opportunity for IOM to reiterate its commitment with IASC and partners to be accountable to those they serve and those they work alongside. In the second side event, “Reducing displacement risk and addressing complex internal displacement crises: Ethiopia, showcasing emerging good practice in operationalizing the humanitarian-development nexus”, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies Mohammed Abdiker will moderate a panel and deliver closing remarks. The event is co-organized with the European Union, Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

In 2017, the world again experienced high rates of internal displacement, driven by conflicts, political instability, sudden and slow-onset disasters, environmental factors and unsustainable refugee returns. According to the Global Report on Internal Displacement, there were 30.6 million new internal displacements associated with conflict or disasters across 143 countries and territories.

This side event will focus on issues around protracted displacement and durable solutions. It will explore how states can integrate internal displacement effectively in both long-term development planning and crisis response, and how UN agencies, donors, and other actors can work together to support states in this process. The panellists will also look at what ‘operationalizing the humanitarian-development nexus’ means in the context of internal displacement, including ways to address financing, coordination and evidence gaps.

Among the panellists will be the Permanent Representative of the Mission of Ethiopia to the United Nations in Geneva, the Deputy Permanent Representative of Delegation of the European Union to the United Nations, the UN Resident Coordinator, UNDP Resident Representative and UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia as well as the Director of the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre.

2018 marks the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement, which provide a critical normative framework, grounded in international law, for addressing internal displacement.

Throughout this year, IOM is marking the anniversary through numerous events, stories and a campaign.

More info on the 2018 ECOSOC Humanitarian Affairs Segment can be found here.

For more information, please contact Rahma Soliman at IOM New York, Tel. +1 917 515 7454, Email: rsoliman@iom.int 

Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 14:48Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Releases MigApp Mobile Application in French, Spanish, Arabic

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/19/2018 - 09:01

Geneva – Today (19/06), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has launched a second release of its mobile application –  MigApp – in French, Spanish and Arabic.

IOM’s MigApp gives migrants easy access to migration-related information and select IOM services. MigApp also helps migrants make informed decisions and allows IOM to reach a broader range of migrants by leveraging the latest mobile technology.

"The French, Spanish and Arabic versions will allow IOM to significantly widen its scope by providing a reliable source of migration-related information and services to migrants in West Africa, the Americas and the Middle East," said Alex Dougan, MigApp Project Manager, from the organization’s Headquarters in Geneva.

"When we developed MigApp, our goal was to help address the challenges encountered by migrants and displaced people. Given the widespread use of mobile phones, MigApp allows IOM to inform and support more migrants directly, a key part of the Organization’s mandate," he added.

MigApp was also updated with new migration-related information and services; self-paying migrants travelling to the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and United States from South Africa, Nepal, Pakistan and Egypt, can now book their medical appointments through MigApp.

A list of key institutions in the United Kingdom and their contact details have also been added under the “Country Information” feature. Users can now find information on hospitals, clinics and more in the UK. Other updates include the addition of contact details for Country Medical Centres, and the operating hours of IOM Medical Centres when using the map under Medical Services feature. Additional Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) information has also been added to the app.

MigApp aims to offset the volume of misinformation on migration circulating today by providing migrants with information on visas; health and travel regulations; alerts on global incidents arising from conflict or natural disasters; and contacts of counter-trafficking hotlines around the world.

The first version of MigApp was released on 18 December 2017 as part of IOM’s transition to digital mobility. Mobile applications have created a new avenue of communication with migrants and new tools for IOM staff to conduct their work in remote areas.

MigApp was developed thanks to financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). 

Download MigApp for Android or iOS. 
For more information, please contact Alex Dougan at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 9352, Email: adougan@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 19, 2018 - 14:44Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM’s Director General Swing Praises Spain for Bringing 600+ Migrants to Safety

PBN News Germany - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 12:35

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency praises Spain’s action bringing over six hundred migrants stranded on Mediterranean rescue ships to safety.

“I’m glad Spain has stepped forward to defuse this crisis, but I fear a major tragedy if states start refusing to accept rescued migrants as was threatened,” said IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing. “Keeping the rescued people at sea is not, of itself, going to dissuade other migrants from crossing to Europe and they too will need to be rescued sooner or later,” he added.

IOM believes that all EU Member States need to do more to support front-line states and welcomed the Spanish initiative to bring the migrants to safety. Mr. Swing emphasized Monday that the total numbers of irregular migrant arrivals have fallen dramatically from their peak during a 12-month period in 2015 and 2016, when over one million men, women and children crossed the Mediterranean bound for Greece, Italy and Spain.  “This is a political crisis, not a migrant crisis,” Director general Swing added.

“Stopping one boat or more in the Mediterranean Sea is not an answer to Europe’s migration challenges,” Director General Swing explained. “A comprehensive approach to migration governance is needed, combining opportunities for safe and orderly movement, humane border management and countering migrant smuggling and trafficking.”

IOM urges the EU to re-consider a revision of the Dublin regulation based on the European Parliament’s proposal, and to reach agreement in Council to ensure solidarity among member states fully respecting the provisions of the Treaties.

“The best way forward is for the EU to reach a common response and shared governance of the migration flows," explained Eugenio Ambrosi, Director of IOM’s regional office for the EU.  “Fair distribution of migrants via a coordinated, humane and shared EU response from all European countries - not just those of the Mediterranean - is the only solution which saves lives, upholds rights and preserves European unity,” he added.  

“Saving lives should always be our top concern. We must urgently find a means to help these rescued migrants and work for a comprehensive method of supporting migrants and States throughout Europe,” Director General Swing concluded.

 

Language English Posted: Monday, June 18, 2018 - 18:28Image: Region-Country: SpainThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

Spanish medical staff carried out preliminary health checks on the migrants at Valencia’s port. Photo: Alberto Saiz/Associated Press

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Belgium and IOM Collaborate To Reduce High Costs of Money Transfers to Developing Countries

PBN News Germany - Mon, 06/18/2018 - 10:41

Brussels — Belgian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation Alexander De Croo joins forces with IOM, the UN Migration Agency, to build a comprehensive price comparison app for international money transfers (remittances).

Belgium will support the development of MigApp: an app that provides objective information to migrants about migration, and includes a price comparison tool for international money transfers. Remittances are the private funds that migrants send to their home countries. At the request of Minister De Croo, IOM is expanding the app so that services from all fourteen partner countries of the Belgian Development Cooperation can be integrated in the price comparison tool. This extension has been made possible thanks to a new partnership between IOM and RemitRadar, an online financial technology provider active in the field of remittances. With the app, users will be able to assess the cheapest service provider options for sending money home. Belgium is one of the four pilot countries where the app has been launched. Other EU pilot countries include Greece, Ireland and The Netherlands.

Minister De Croo said: “The new price comparison tool should contribute to a decrease in the rates [of remittances], which are much too high at the moment. In some cases, one can even speak about extortionate prices. By giving an easy access for the users to information about the cheapest and fastest option, we aim at stimulating the competition. More and more [financial technology] enterprises are investing in mobile money, whose  rates are on average half of the classic money transfers compared to the main popular players.”

According to World Bank figures, migrants sent USD 466 billion to developing countries in 2017, an amount that exceeds the amount of official development aid three times over. As such, migrants contribute greatly to the economy of developing countries. However, the problem with remittances resides in their high transfer costs. On average, the cost of sending the money is equal to 7,1% of the amount being sent; for remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa this transfer costs are 9.4% on average, and even higher in some cases. The UN has, in the framework of the Sustainable Development Goals, agreed to lower the costs of remittances to an average of 3% by 2030.

William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, has recognized remittance flows as ‘economic lifelines’ for migrant families. Remittances reduce poverty, provide better health care and access to nutrition and increase education opportunities for children. In an op-ed published ahead of the International Day of Family Remittances (celebrated on 16 June), Ambassador Swing wrote: “let us pause to recognize the tremendous contribution of migrants, both in their financial and social remittances to economies, but most importantly to individual families.”

For more information please contact Geraldine D’Hoop at IOM Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 7412, Email: gdhoop@iom.int

Language English Posted: Monday, June 18, 2018 - 10:39Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Signature of the framework agreement between IOM and the Government of Belgium, September 2016.  Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Urges Restraint, Calls for Protection of Migrants in Hodeidah Operation

PBN News Germany - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 19:29

Sana’a – The military offensive on Yemen’s busy port city of Hodeidah, which began yesterday (13/08), is putting the lives of 600,000 people at risk. IOM, the UN Migration Agency, warns of the drastic impacts that the military operation is having on migrants and humanitarian access to all affected communities. With its UN and other partners, IOM urges restraint and calls for respect of International Humanitarian Law, especially the protection of civilians, including migrants.

“Three years of ceaseless conflict have devastated Yemen and now this military operation is restricting humanitarian operations, causing further loss of life, internal displacement and suffering for the Yemeni people,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies. “We are concerned about the migrants caught up in the deadly fighting either living in or attempting to transit through the country,” he added.  

To evacuate the stranded or displaced families that want to leave areas of active conflict, IOM is coordinating with transportation service providers to potentially move them to safety.

In collaboration with National Authority for the Management and Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Recovery (NAMCHA) and civil society, IOM has identified 12,766 internally displaced households, over 89,000 individuals, in Hodeidah as of 13 June 2018, with Al-Khawkhah (3,732 households), Al-Garrahi (2,990 households) and Al-Hali (1,107 households) districts hosting the largest amounts of displaced people in the Governorate. IOM has positioned 1,000 emergency shelter materials and other essential aid items in Bait-Al-Faqih district, where 700 households had been displaced to by 13 June. The number of people displaced to this district is also expected to increase in the coming days. Displacement locations without sufficient drinking water are being identified and IOM will begin water trucking to these areas shortly. Additional water sanitation and hygiene gaps are being assessed.     

Despite the fighting, IOM provides health care personnel to health care facilities in Hodeidah: a physician, two nurses and a midwife, as well as medical supplies and ambulances. The team rotates between three different facilities. IOM also plans to deploy two mobile medical teams, each roving in an ambulance and staffed with one doctor and three nurses, to Hudaydah, catering to the emergency healthcare needs of affected populations. Additional medical support is being planned in consultation with the Health Cluster.

Ahead of the military operation, IOM stockpiled core relief items, including food baskets, fuel and water to respond to expected needs on the ground. Of the 500 food baskets already procured, some 200 baskets have been distributed to 200 families in collaboration with the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and NAMCHA. IOM is urgently procuring an additional 1,500 baskets. Each food basket is expected to support a family for two weeks.

IOM procures the majority of its aid items locally, but does use the city’s port to help migrants, who become stranded in the country, return home through its Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme. So far in 2018, IOM assisted the voluntary return of over 350 migrants through Hodeidah Port. Due to the escalating fighting, the Organization was forced to postpone until further notice a return movement of over 200 Ethiopian migrants planned for earlier today (14/06). IOM’s Migrant Response Point in Hodeidah, which provides comprehensive support to vulnerable migrants, remains operational with an extremely reduced staff.

“Many migrants are stranded in or near the frontlines. Our Migrant Response Point in Hodeidah is currently running with skeletal staff, impacting how much we can help conflict affected migrants. And with our voluntary humanitarian return operations on hold for moment, the situations for migrants in Hodeidah is bleak,” said Abdiker.  

Nearly 60 IOM national staff are present in Hodeidah, with four performing critical programme functions and the rest currently on standby to join active duty, working from home for their own protection. In the coming days, IOM hopes to deploy an international presence to Hodeidah to support national staff in responding to the humanitarian needs of displaced and conflict-affected Yemenis and migrants.

“The safety of our staff based in Hodeidah is a massive concern and we are putting whatever measures we can in place to protect them but they are in the middle of a warzone. Our national colleagues come from the communities affected by the ongoing offensive and put their lives on the line every day to save those of others’,” said Abdiker.

“The humanitarian communities’ top priority is to save lives and provide assistance and protection to those affected by the conflict. This is extremely hindered when security is such a concern in an area that humanitarians cannot access to work,” Abdiker concluded.

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon at IOM HQ, Tel: +41794035365, Email: oheadon@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 15, 2018 - 01:26Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsMigrant AssistanceDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM to Provide Reintegration Assistance for 32 Ethiopian Migrants from Egypt

PBN News Germany - Thu, 06/14/2018 - 10:08

Addis Ababa - Following a visit by Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed to Egypt last weekend, 32 Ethiopian irregular migrants, who were detained in the country, were pardoned by Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi and flown back to Ethiopia on 11 June 2018.

Upon arrival at the Addis Ababa Airport, the 32 returnees were welcomed by Dr. Aklilu Hailemichael, State Minister at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as Ms. Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission and Representative to the ECA AU and IGAD.

The returnees, all young at age, were smuggled to Egypt intending to go to Europe. Following the Eastern and Southern Migratory routes, this Northern Migratory Route is one of the major paths migrants from Ethiopia use in search of better work opportunities in Europe. In 2017, more than 1,700 migrants have lost their lives trying to reach Europe while crossing the Mediterranean Sea. Many migrants become stranded in transit countries like Egypt and face detention for crossing the borders irregularly.

With funds provided by the European Union under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, the returnees were then transported to the IOM Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Transit Center where they were provided with an overnight accommodation and onward transportation allowance to return back home. Working in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia, IOM also provides general reintegration assistance that supports the returnees’ economic, social and psychosocial needs. 

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused procedures and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. The project, backed by the EU Trust Fund, covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries.

Since July 2017, under the Joint Initiative, over 1,100 Ethiopian returnees from Chad, Djibouti, Kenya, Libya, Malawi, Mozambique, Niger, Somalia-Bossaso, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Yemen and Zambia have been provided with post-arrival assistance and general assistance. Meanwhile, IOM is currently processing complementary reintegration assistance including economic, social and psychosocial assistance to the most vulnerable.  

For more information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia: Tel: +251116611117 (Ext. 455), Mobile: +251911639082, Email: salemayehu@iom.int or Helina Mengistu at IOM Ethiopia: Tel: +251116611117 (Ext. 109), Mobile: +251910220414, Email: hmengistu@iom.int

Language English Posted: Thursday, June 14, 2018 - 16:02Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaDefault: Multimedia: 

Reception at AVRR Transit Center for Ethiopian Returnees From Egypt. Photo IOM

Reception at Bole international Airport for Ethiopian Returnees From Egypt. Photo IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migrant Arrivals in Europe Significantly Down Despite Aquarius Controversy

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 12:55

Geneva – As the Aquarius rescue vessel makes the three-day journey to Spain, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 35,504 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea as of Sunday, 10 June 2018. This compares with 73,748 arrivals across the region during the same period last year. So far this month, 2,746 arrivals to Italy, Greece and Spain have been recorded, the majority of which arrived in Spain. The 14,330 migrants, who are registered as having arrived by sea to Italy this year is 76.81 per cent lower than that reported last year in the same period, which was recorded as 61,779.

Over the weekend, over 1,420 migrants were rescued at sea: the nearly 630 migrants on Saturday aboard Aquarius welcomed by Spain, as well as an additional over 790 on Sunday, who were brought to Italy.

IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing has welcomed the decision by Spain to offer a safe harbour to over six hundred migrants – including scores of children and seven pregnant women – who had been waiting aboard the Aquarius since Sunday (10/06). “Stopping one boat or more in the Mediterranean Sea is not an answer to Europe’s migration challenges. A comprehensive approach to migration governance is needed, combining opportunities for safe and orderly movement, humane border management and countering migrant smuggling and trafficking," said Director General Swing. Read full statement here.

In Libya, on Saturday (09/06), IOM provided emergency health assistance, including pregnancy check-ups and treatment for fuel burn wounds, to 262 migrants (196 men, 48 women, 18 children) upon their return to shore by the Libyan Coast Guard. IOM also distributed food and water upon disembarkation, as well as blankets, mattresses and hygiene kits. Some 110 of the migrants had departed from Sabratha in one rubber boat with most coming from Mali, Nigeria, the Ivory Coast, Guinea and Cameroon. The remaining 152 migrants, departed from Garaboli and Zwara in two rubber boats, with the majority from Mali, the Ivory Coast, Guinea and Senegal. IOM continues to provide humanitarian assistance to them in the detention centres where they are now held, including voluntary humanitarian assistance, while also advocating for the closure of the centres. So far this year, 7,114 migrants have been returned to Libyan shores by the Libyan Coast Guard. 

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 1,417 people who died or went missing while migrating in 2018. In the Mediterranean alone, 792 people have lost their lives at sea since the beginning of the year. Most recently, four people died on the Western Mediterranean route between North Africa and Spain: Spanish maritime safety agency rescued 49 people and recovered 4 bodies from a sinking boat off the coast of Melilla on 10 June. On 2 June, a boat carrying approximately 180 people capsized off the coast of Kerkennah island, in Sfax, Tunisia. As of Saturday, 9 June, Tunisian authorities had recovered 81 bodies, of which 49 had been returned to their families. The bodies of 31 people haven’t been found yet.

There were several other additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since last Friday’s update. In Italy, the remains of a young migrant were found inside a truck in the A57 motorway near Venice on 6 June. The authorities believe that he likely hid in the truck in Greece before it boarded a ferry headed for Italy. On the Greece-Turkey border, 5 people died and 11 were injured in a vehicle accident in the Egnatia Odos highway, near Kavala, Greece. Three Iraqi children, a Syrian man, and another man of unconfirmed nationality lost their lives in this tragic accident on 8 June. On 10 June, a 21-year-old Afghan man died in the Port of Patras after hiding in a truck in an attempt to reach Italy, the Hellenic Coast Guard reported. In France, one migrant was killed after being hit by a vehicle in the A16 motorway, near Grande-Synthe, Calais.

On the United States-Mexico border, the remains of a 49-year-old Mexican man were found in a ranch in Maverick County, Texas on 7 June. He had died of dehydration shortly after crossing the border. 

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 more information, please contact:  

Leonard Doyle IOM Spokesperson in Geneva, Tel: +41 792857123, Email: ldoyle@iom.int  

Olivia Headon IOM Information Officer - Emergencies, Tel:  +41 79 403 5365, Email: OHeadon@iom.int   

Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@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

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:51Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

As the Aquarius rescue vessel makes the three-day journey to Spain, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 35,504 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea as of Sunday, 10 June 2018. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Director General Welcomes Spain’s Offer of Safe Habour for Migrants Aboard Aquarius

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:57

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency has welcomed the decision by Spain to offer a safe harbour to over six hundred migrants – including scores of children and seven pregnant women – who have been waiting aboard a rescue vessel since Sunday (10/06)

“I’m glad Spain has stepped forward to diffuse this crisis, but I fear a major tragedy if states start refusing to accept rescued migrants as was threatened,” said IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing. “Keeping the rescued people at sea is not, of itself, going to dissuade other migrants from crossing to Europe and they too will need to be rescued sooner or later,” he added.

With the weather worsening and concerns growing for the welfare of the most vulnerable migrants aboard the Aquarius, the Spanish Government has offered to receive the ship, although it will another three to four days sailing to reach port. The Aquarius picked up nearly 630 migrants, including over 120 unaccompanied children and seven pregnant women on Saturday (09/06).  

The Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the SOS Mediterranee operated-ship rescued migrants from rubber vessels and took some others from "Italian navy ships, Italian coast guard ships and merchant vessels”.  

IOM believes that all EU Member States need to do more to support front-line states and welcomed the Spanish initiative to bring the migrants to safety.  

“Stopping one boat or more in the Mediterranean Sea is not an answer to Europe’s migration challenges,” Director General Swing said. A comprehensive approach to migration governance is needed, combining opportunities for safe and orderly movement, humane border management and countering migrant smuggling and trafficking." 

“Saving lives should always be our top concern. We must urgently find a means to help these rescued migrants and work for a comprehensive method of supporting migrants and States throughout Europe,” he said.

IOM urges the EU to re-consider a revision of the Dublin regulation based on the European Parliament’s proposal, and to reach agreement in Council to ensure solidarity among member states fully respecting the provisions of the Treaties.

For more information, please contact:  

Leonard Doyle IOM Spokesperson in Geneva, Tel: +41 792857123, Email: ldoyle@iom.int  

Olivia Headon IOM Information Officer - Emergencies, Tel:  +41 79 403 5365, Email: OHeadon@iom.int   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:56Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

The Aquarius picked up nearly 630 migrants, including over 120 unaccompanied children and seven pregnant women on Saturday (09/06).  Photo: Getty

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ukraine “Europe’s Largest Crisis”: IOM Regional Director on Visit to Eastern Ukraine

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:51

Kyiv – “Ukraine is the largest displacement crisis in Europe since the Balkan wars,” according to Argentina Szabados, IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s Regional Director for Southeastern and Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “Now in its fifth year, with thousands dead and 1.5 million displaced, it is scandalous that this conflict remains largely forgotten.”

She was speaking on her return to the Ukrainian capital Kyiv on Sunday (10/06) following a visit to conflict-affected areas of Eastern Ukraine.

“What has particularly moved me is that one-third of the affected are elderly, who have practically nothing. How are they supposed to take care of themselves and ensure they have enough food, fuel, warm clothing or medicines, or to repair their houses that have been ruined by shelling?”

The conflict in the east of Ukraine has escalated over recent weeks, causing widespread destruction and casualties among military and civilians, aggravating the suffering on both sides of the so-called contact line.

Despite all this, crisis response efforts in Ukraine remain underfunded, with the Humanitarian Response Plan for last year only funded to the tune of 37 per cent. This year’s plan has only received 17 per cent of the USD 38 million sought. 

Regional Director Szabados visited the country to show IOM’s solidarity with conflict-affected communities, spending time with the communities, staff, donors, and partners in the country. IOM provides direct humanitarian aid, employment training and grants, supports initiatives aimed at social cohesion and peacebuilding, and helps rehabilitate social infrastructure. Since the annexation of Crimea and outbreak of the conflict in 2014, IOM has assisted over 245,000 internally displaced and conflict-affected persons.

Meeting with Regional Director Szabados, Vadym Chernysh, Minister for Temporary Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine, noted that “it is of crucial importance to assist the most vulnerable among both displaced and local populations for successful conflict prevention and peacebuilding, as IOM does”.

On her return from the Donetsk Region Szabados spoke of the “heartbreaking stories” she had heard and seen. She praised the resilience of those who had been able to start their lives from scratch, developing successful businesses or finding employment in their new communities. “IOM provided them with additional resources – assets and some training – but it is their own motivation and courage that makes the result so impressive”.

“The international community’s involvement is vital in assisting the most vulnerable; supporting millions of conflict-affected Ukrainians and strengthening recovery. The people of Ukraine must be able to get back on their feet and build a future filled with hope,” added Szabados. "It is time to act".

For more information, please contact:

Joe Lowry, IOM Regional Office for South-eastern Europe, Eastern Europe, and Central Asia, Tel: +436603776404, Email: jlowry@iom.int

Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel. +38 044 568 50 15 or +38 067 447 97 92, Email: vzhluktenko@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:48Image: Region-Country: UkraineDefault: Multimedia: 

House destroyed by shelling in Luhansk Region where IOM provides cash assistance to vulnerable residents. Photo: IOM/2018

IOM Regional Director Argentina Szabados visits IOM-supported sewing courses in Kramatorsk, eastern Ukraine. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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