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IOM Director General António Vitorino Thanks the State of Kuwait for USD 3 Million Contribution to Assist Organization in Humanitarian Work in Syria

PBN News Germany - Wed, 07/24/2019 - 12:59

Geneva—International Organization for Migration Director General António Vitorino today (24 July) received the Permanent Representative of Kuwait in Geneva at his request. The Ambassador conveyed the best wishes of the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs to Director General Vitorino and the appreciation of his recent visit to Kuwait.

Director General Vitorino responded by expressing his appreciation for his visit and his meetings with His Highness and the Deputy Prime Minister and other officials. The Ambassador offered a contribution from Kuwait to IOM in the amount of USD 3 million for its efforts in Syria. Further, the Ambassador promised another contribution from his government to IOM for humanitarian work in Yemen, which is expected soon.

DG Vitorino thanked the Ambassador for his continuous support to IOM and to the Emir, people and government of Kuwait for their humanitarian leadership.

For more information please contact  Joel Millman; IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 22 717 9486 | Mobile: +41 79 103 87 20, Email:


Language English Posted: Wednesday, July 24, 2019 - 12:32Image: Region-Country: KuwaitThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Credit: Tamer Aboalenin/2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

First Reception Centre for Victims of Trafficking Opens in Niger

PBN News Germany - Tue, 07/23/2019 - 10:26

Zinder – Niger, a major migratory hub in West and Central Africa, sees numerous vulnerable migrants transiting the country, including victims of trafficking (VoTs) and potential VoTs. Between 2016 and 2019, IOM assisted 326 VOTs, most of them minors (34%) coming from Nigeria (49%), Niger (24%), and Benin (14%). In addition, many Nigerien nationals fall prey to trafficking and exploitation, in Niger and abroad.

Ahead of World Day against Trafficking in Persons on July 30, IOM and the National Agency for the Fight Against Trafficking in Persons (ANLTP) in Niger, opened last week (19/07), the first reception centre for victims of trafficking in the country, situated in the region of Zinder.

In order to respond to the growing need for tailored assistance for vulnerable cases , the reception centre was built as part of the project Enhancing Capacities to Fight Trafficking in Persons in Niger, implemented between February 2017 and January 2020, in alignment with the National Action Plan on Trafficking in Persons (NAP) and its priorities, and with support from the US Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).

When deciding to embark on this migration route, many migrants are deceived by smugglers about their final destination and the financial opportunities waiting for them. Hadiza, for example, was promised by “a friend of a friend” a free trip to Europe and a job in a restaurant upon arrival. “That’s what she promised me,” recalled Hadiza.

“Once in the country of transit or destination, these migrants often end up victims of forced labour and/or sexual exploitation,” said Eva Pons, IOM’s Protection Officer in Niger. “Migrants using irregular channels are more vulnerable to abuse during their journey and become easy prey for traffickers.”

To reinforce authorities’ capacity to combat trafficking in persons in Niger, the project has proposed using shelters for VoTs, as well as a media campaign among host communities impacted by migration flows to raise awareness about human trafficking and its risk factors.

At the centres, potential victims can be properly identified and adequately assisted with medical and psychosocial support, as well as with socio-economic, administrative and legal assistance. To further support their recovery, VoTs will also benefit from individual reintegration support in their countries or communities of origin as part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

The National Action Plan (NAP) sets out to build three different reception centres for victims of trafficking in the regions of Zinder, Agadez and Niamey. After having equipped the shelter, IOM has now handed it over to the Government, but will continue to support the centre until January 2020.

“The reception centre for victims of trafficking in Zinder is not only the first support centre for victims in Niger, but also the first in Francophone Africa,” said the director general of the ANLTP, Gogé Maïmouna Gazibo, during the launch. “This centre can exist today thanks to the will of state authorities and IOM, who supported our commitment to fight trafficking in persons from the very beginning.”

IOM has been working on counter-trafficking in Niger since 2010 and along with the Government of Niger, has made considerable efforts to combat human trafficking within the country, particularly in the field of prevention and victim protection.

“We are very proud to be able to stand on this historic day alongside the ANLTP and national authorities for this crucial event in the fight of trafficking in persons in Niger,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “On this occasion, IOM renews its commitment to support the Government of Niger in fighting human trafficking and protecting its victims.”

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

On July 19, IOM and local authorities opened the first reception center for victims of trafficking in Niger. Photo: IOM/Margaux Follenfant

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

30 Chadian Journalists Trained This Month, Topping 600 Trainees in West and Central Africa Since 2018

PBN News Germany - Tue, 07/23/2019 - 10:26

N’Djamena – This month (10-11/07), 30 Chadian journalists gathered for a workshop on migration organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital.

In a country where migration dynamics are complex and where various categories of migrants – internally displaced persons, refugees, Chadian returnees and third-country migrants – coexist, local journalists sometimes require guidance navigating migration coverage.

Through the Maison des Médias du Tchad (House of Chadian Media), an IOM partner, these reporters and their staff requested training to provide participants with the necessary terminological and legal tools to cover migration in an informed way. Many also requested training in learning how to distinguish between types of migrants, especially those with vulnerabilities.

Since 2018, nearly 600 journalists participated in the workshops, across West and Central Africa – including 51 journalists and 44 student-journalists in the Gambia alone.

These workshops were funded by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

“The idea is to raise awareness and ask simple questions: asking participants who of their parents were born in Chad or who studied abroad. Thus, the journalists realize that reporting on migration is not just about deaths in the Mediterranean,” explained Anne Kathrin Schaefer, IOM Chief of Mission in Chad.

In the West and Central Africa region, in July alone, IOM also organized training workshops for journalists in Banjul, Gambia (4-5 July), which brought together 25 journalists from the country, including two former beneficiaries of the Assisted Voluntary Return Programme. In Yaoundé, Cameroon, IOM arranged a session for 20 journalists from 3-4 July.

“The word ‘migrant’ has been so abused in the media that I felt embarrassed any time I heard it. For me, it referred to the African with frizzy hair, hungry and thirsty, sold into slavery,” said Chadian blogger Moukhtar Ben Ali, one of the participants in the training. “But even in Chad, since its independence, our government is yet made up of migrants.

“Why do we insist on talking about irregular migration, when it represents only 10 per cent of the world’s movements? And why do we only describe ‘migration’ as being an African issue, when the African continent is the fourth ‘supplier’ of international migrants? This is not fair,” he concluded.

Chadian photographer Abdoulaye Barry also participated in the training to stress the significance of media images and the importance of enhancing photojournalism in the country: “We should go beyond the simple fact of producing images of migration. We should give this phenomenon a soul, and that’s what makes photography splendid,” he said.

IOM in Chad is also preparing to launch the Beyond the Headlines campaign, which aims to train young graduates on photography and journalism so that they can cover the migration phenomenon in Chad in a different way.

As migration continues to be frequently covered in the media, particularly through the prism of deaths in the Mediterranean or in the desert, the diversity of migration is rarely reflected in news articles. Beyond the Headlines is an initiative that gives all migrants in Chad the opportunity to share their stories and put a human face on the complexity of the phenomenon.

By offering a broader vision of migration, the project will provide a multidimensional vision of migration in Chad.

“A thorough review of Gambian current issues revealed many gaps in media coverage of migration and related issues; these gaps pertain to the use of terminology and ethical issues. Training was the first step forward to close the gaps, and equipped journalists with skills to better report on migration in a wider regional context,” said Lamin Jahateh, Programme Manager at Gambian Press Union.

“Far from being a marketing campaign, this training will enable journalists in Cameroon to produce news angles,” said Emmanuel Jules Ntap of Voice of America, also participating in the training.

Participants also interviewed Sudanese and Central African refugees awaiting resettlement in countries such as France and were trained on interview techniques for vulnerable persons such as victims of trafficking.

For more information, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221 78 620 62 13, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

30 journalists participated in the first media training on migration in N’Djamena. Photo: IOM/Kimani DeShields-Williams

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Quality Control Centre in Nairobi

PBN News Germany - Tue, 07/23/2019 - 10:26

Nairobi – One of the ways to respond quickly and effectively to emergencies is being able to provide humanitarian supplies in a timely manner to those affected by a humanitarian crisis. Having humanitarian supplies ready is one thing but making sure they are of the highest quality is another.

Therefore, quality control centres like the one recently launched in Nairobi, Kenya, by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are critical for humanitarian operations. IOM strives to ensure that a “culture of quality” gets embedded in its humanitarian operations to effectively provide services to affected populations.

The Quality Control Centre will support and strengthen IOM’s humanitarian operations in the East and Horn of Africa region. This is the fourth IOM Quality Control Centre opened in the past year, besides Manila, Gaziantep and Juba.

At the same time, IOM with support of ICRC (International Committee of the Red Cross) held a quality control training for 10 staff including procurement, warehouse, finance, operation and pipeline staff. The training is part of a continuous capacity building of IOM field missions on Quality Control and Quality Assurance processes, which include providing the right tools and practical skills on Quality Control, learning from challenges and good practices, and creating opportunities for continuous improvement.

The procurement and delivery of emergency supplies through the IOM-managed Core Pipelines allows humanitarian agencies and partners to reach crisis-affected populations with life-saving water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and shelter/non-food items (S/NFIs).

“IOM is committed to deliver goods and services that are relevant, timely and of quality to address the needs of all migrants. The organization is increasing its capacity, both systems and human resource, to ensure that mechanisms are in place towards functional Quality Control and Quality Assurance processes,” Joy Navarra-Valdez, IOM’s Global Quality Control Officer said.

She added: “Mainstreaming quality is one pathway of fulfilling our accountability to our beneficiaries as we address their needs, ensuring their safety and well-being, and that our partners and donors will know that we are putting great emphasis on these.”

The IOM Quality Control mechanism has been developed as part of the Global Stocks project of prepositioning which has identified warehouses in strategic locations from which missions can request support. The Nairobi warehouse was identified in 2015 as a pilot warehouse and has proven its strategic importance with 41 shipments to date. Thereafter, IOM established global hubs and stockpiles in Manila and Panama in 2016 and 2017, respectively supported by Innovation Norway and DIFD (Department for International Development, UK).

IOM stockpiles in its warehouses core items such as plastic sheets, blankets, buckets, kitchen sets, mosquito nets, bladder tanks and onion tanks. Others include latrine slabs, jerry cans, ropes, non-food item bags, sleeping mats, multipurpose tents and rub halls. Eighteen missions have been supported by the project since 2015.

For more information, please contact:

For Nairobi Quality Control Centre/Global Stock, Eric Khamala, Email:, Tel: +254 204 221 187

For Quality Control, Global Procurement Support Unit, Vladimir Maslarov, Email:, Tel: +63 2230 1999

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 16:20Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: ShelterDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff inspect a newly established sample room meant to store samples of humanitarian supplies as part of operations at the Quality Control Centre.

IOM teamed up with the International Committee of the Red Cross to hold a quality control training for 10 procurement, warehouse, finance, operation and pipeline staff drawn from IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Tackling Human Trafficking in Tajikistan

PBN News Germany - Tue, 07/23/2019 - 10:26

Dushanbe – So far this year the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Tajikistan has provided direct assistance to 17 victims of trafficking and prevented eight other cases of potential trafficking, most of whom were male. This is a big increase from 2018, when over the course of an entire year IOM Tajikistan assisted 20 adult Tajik nationals, 19 of them women, to return home and access reintegration assistance.

Many of these victims were rescued from sexual and labour exploitation in the United Arab Emirates and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

With these cases as context in this landlocked Central Asian state, high-profile initiatives are being organized by IOM Tajikistan to mark World Anti-Trafficking Day, which takes place annually on 30 July.

One day before the commemoration, the top youth debate teams from across Tajikistan will convene in the capital, Dushanbe, to compete in a two-day national debate tournament. The topic: trafficking in human beings, which is intended to increase awareness in Tajik society of human trafficking and the need to protect the rights of victims.

The final round of the tournament brings together 36 high school and university students from Dushanbe and the districts of Sughd, Badakhshon and Khatlon. The finalists have won qualifying rounds at district level through debates on child labour and children rights, benefits and risks of migration, and migrants’ rights.

Fighting human trafficking in Tajikistan and the consolidation of the country’s victim-centred support system also will be at the heart of an academic conference to be held on July 30 at the Tajikistan National University (TNU), organized by IOM partnering with the TNU National Training Centre on Fighting Human Trafficking and Tajikistan’s Inter-Ministerial Anti-Trafficking Committee.

Local think tanks, academia, civil society and government agencies will explain their victim-centred efforts and experience while discussing new uses of technology to fight these crimes in Tajikistan. Other topics on the agenda include legal representation of victims during investigation and prosecution; full support packages for victims; prevention of re-victimization and stigma; the use of the internet in preventing human trafficking and irregular migration; regional and global best practices, and Tajikistan’s international commitments.

“Most of the victims assisted by IOM are referred to us by the Tajik authorities, thanks to our close cooperation in detecting and protecting victims. We are equally proud and honoured by our partnership with the Tajik civil society. Our cooperation with over 20 non-governmental organizations around the country has grown stronger over years of working together in securing legal, medical, education and psychological assistance to victims,” explained Cristina Gheorghe Tranca, Chief of Mission, IOM Tajikistan.

For more information please contact Abdulfattoh Shafiev at IOM Tajikistan, Tel: +992 48 7010222, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 23, 2019 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: TajikistanThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Young participants in the IOM-organized national anti-trafficking debating competition in the city of Khujand.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Joint Statement: IOM Director General António Vitorino and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi welcome consensus on need for action on Libya, Mediterranean

PBN News Germany - Mon, 07/22/2019 - 19:23

Today’s discussions in Paris with European States on addressing the situation on the Mediterranean Sea, and preventing loss of life in Libya, are welcome and much-needed. The violence in Tripoli in recent weeks has made the situation more desperate than ever, and the need for action critical. 

We welcome the consensus at today’s meeting on a need to end the arbitrary detention of refugees and migrants in Libya. There needs to be a process of orderly release of people in detention centres either to urban areas, or to open centres that allow reasonable freedom of movement, shelter, assistance and protection from harm, plus independent monitoring and regular unhindered access for humanitarian agencies. In light of the risks of abuse, maltreatment or death, no one should be returned to detention centres in Libya after being intercepted or rescued at sea. 

The renewed commitment today from States to preventing loss of life on the Mediterranean Sea is also encouraging. The status quo, where search and rescue operations are often left to NGO or commercial vessels, cannot continue. An EU State search and rescue operation, similar to programmes we have seen in recent years, is needed. 

The crucial role played by NGOs must be acknowledged. They should not be criminalised nor stigmatised for saving lives at sea. Commercial vessels, who are increasingly being relied upon to conduct rescue operations, must not be requested to transfer rescued people to the Libyan Coast Guard, nor directed to disembark them in Libya, which is not a port of safety. 

Discussions on establishing a temporary, predictable arrangement for disembarking people after they have been rescued at sea, and sharing responsibility amongst States for hosting them afterwards, were promising. We encourage these talks to progress further. A joined-up approach to this situation is in everyone’s interests.  

In the meantime, evacuations and resettlement out of Libya continue to be a vital lifeline for people facing an immediate threat to their lives. We continue to urge States to work with us to get the most vulnerable refugees in Libya out of danger, and we welcome the expressions of support in this regard that have been heard today.  

Lastly, greater efforts are needed to address why people leave their homes in the first place. While multiple conflicts in North and Sub-Saharan Africa continue unresolved, and development challenges persist, some will continue to seek alternatives for themselves and their families. 

Brokering a lasting peace in Libya must be the overriding priority. The international community should use any leverage it has to bring the warring parties together in dialogue, and establish a political solution that restores stability and security.  




In Geneva, Joel Millman, +41 79 103 8720,  


In Geneva, Charlie Yaxley, +41 795 808 702, 

In Paris, Céline Schmitt, +33 6 23 16 11 78,,  


Language English Posted: Monday, July 22, 2019 - 19:22Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Migrants RightsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, European Asylum Support Office Sign Working Arrangement

PBN News Germany - Mon, 07/22/2019 - 12:01

Paris—The  European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have established a formal cooperation framework to guide the relevant areas of common work in the fields of international protection and migration management.

The Working Arrangement was signed today by the Executive Director of EASO, Nina Gregori, and the Director General of the IOM, António Vitorino, in Paris.

The Working Arrangement covers cooperation in several areas where EASO and the IOM’s mandates converge in ensuring that the rights of migrants and applicants for international protection are safeguarded, while supporting national governments in meeting their obligations and needs. These areas include early warning, preparedness and contingency, the reception conditions of applicants, returns to countries of origin, resettlement, voluntary relocation and supporting migrants with vulnerabilities and specific protection needs.

Cross-cutting areas of cooperation are also included in the Working Arrangement, such as training initiatives, exchange of expertise and joint work on capacity-building activities for national authorities. 

Commenting on the signing of the Working Arrangement, Nina Gregori stated: “EASO and the IOM have worked together for several years in helping authorities safeguard the rights of migrants and applicants for international protection. I welcome today’s formalization of this cooperation, which strengthens the important work both parties carry out and is another example of the EU’s emphasis on strong international synergies in migration and asylum management.”

António Vitorino said: “Partnership between IOM and EASO has seen significant expansion in the last few years, reflecting the growth and complexity of needs in the field of asylum and migration in the EU and neighbouring countries. Establishing cooperation for complementarity is a pre-cursor for ensuring highest-quality support to migrants, asylum-seekers and our shared Member States”

EASO and the IOM also work together to support countries in the European neighbourhood in managing migration and asylum procedures in line with international and, where applicable, EU law. This includes joint training to national authorities, the coordination of resettlement from non-EU  countries to the EU as well as the exchange of data, information and documentation.

For more information please contact Joel Millman, IOM Geneva, Tel.: +41 79 103 8720; Email:


Language English Posted: Monday, July 22, 2019 - 17:58Image: Region-Country: FranceThemes: IOMInternational and Regional CooperationDefault: Multimedia: 

Nina Gregori, Executive Director of EASO (left) and António Vitorino, IOM Director General after signing agreement in Paris on 22 July 2019. 

Nina Gregori, Executive Director of EASO (left) and António Vitorino, IOM Director General sign agreement in Paris on 22 July 2019. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Return and Reintegration: IOM Releases 2018 Highlights

PBN News Germany - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:30

Geneva – Today (19 July), the International Organization for Migration is releasing the 2018 Return and Reintegration Key Highlights, which provides trends and figures – as well as key initiatives – on the number of migrants assisted to return, voluntarily, to their countries of origin, as well as efforts IOM has made to assist and reintegrate these returnees into their communities during the past year. 

In 2018, IOM assisted a total of 63,316 migrants in returning home through its Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programmes, representing a 12 per cent decrease as compared to 2017. 

As in the previous year, this trend continues to indicate a return to a normal situation after an exceptionally high number of beneficiaries were assisted from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland in 2016.  

2018 confirmed other key trends, such as an increase in assisted voluntary returns from regions outside the EEA and Switzerland, particularly in West and Central Africa, as well as an increase in the caseload of migrants in vulnerable situations assisted worldwide. 

Now in its 41st year, IOM’s AVRR programme is part of the Organization’s core mission. IOM started implementing AVRR programmes in 1979 and has since then provided support to over 1.7 million people.  

In 2018, 65 IOM country offices in host or transit countries provided reintegration-related counselling services to 18,274 beneficiaries before their departure. At the same time, IOM offices in 64 countries of origin provided reintegration-related counselling to 41,461 beneficiaries upon their return.  

“2018 was a particularly eventful year in the field of migration, including on return and reintegration,” said Anh Nguyen, Head of IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance Division. “This publication is key in highlighting global trends and initiatives undertaken by IOM and its partners all over the world to ensure that return takes place in a safe and dignified manner and that reintegration is sustainable,” he added.  

Of the 63,316 migrants assisted last year, almost half – 30,919 individuals, or 49 per cent of all AVRR beneficiaries – were reached by IOM in just two countries, Germany and Niger, each with about 15,000 migrants IOM engaged. The other countries sending large numbers of AVRR beneficiaries home included Greece (4,968 migrants), Austria (3,469), Djibouti (3,392), Belgium (2,795), Netherlands (2,149), Morocco (1,508), Turkey (1,494) and Italy (958). 

Among those opting to go home, Iraqi citizens comprised the largest contingent in 2018, with 5,661 returnees, followed by Guinea (5,088), Ethiopia (4,792), Mali (4,041), Georgia (2,681), Afghanistan (2,232), Albania (2,167), Russian Federation (1,952), Ukraine (1,901) and Côte d'Ivoire (1,834). 

Download chart – Countries Origin  2018 

Download chart – Countries Host 2018

IOM’s AVRR programmes are guided by one vision, seven principles and six objectives embedded in IOM’s AVRR framework, published in December 2018 with the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).  

These programmes help migrants who are unwilling or unable to stay in their host countries to return to their countries of origin. In parallel, IOM country offices worldwide promote the sustainable reintegration of migrants through reintegration counselling (either pre-departure or upon arrival), referral, individual as well as collective and community-based reintegration assistance. 

The 2018 Return and Reintegration Key Highlights is available in full here.  

For more information please contact IOM HQ: Noëlle Darbellay, Tel: +41 22 717 9562, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 17:23Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Building Shelters for Vulnerable Displaced Persons in Burkina Faso

PBN News Germany - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:22

Dori  – The upsurge in violence in the country and insecurity in Burkina Faso’s Sahel, Centre-Nord, Nord, Boucle du Mouhoun, and Est regions have triggered an unprecedented humanitarian emergency. 

As of June 2019, nearly 220,000 persons were displaced, a number that has tripled since December 2018. By the end of the year, this number could reach 335,000 displaced persons. These internally displaced persons (IDPs) have fled armed attacks and conflicts to seek refuge among host communities, often the poorest, who are now struggling to meet their basic protection and assistance needs. 

As living conditions have seriously been undermined for both IDPs and their host communities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is working with other humanitarian actors and the Government of Burkina Faso to immediately address the shelter needs of these communities. Using its own funds, IOM has launched a pilot project to build emergency shelters for vulnerable IDPs in Dori City.  

Among the 2,060 IDPs currently in Dori, 25 vulnerable families  –  a total of 175 persons  –  were selected by IOM and the Regional Directorate for Women, National Solidarity, Family and Humanitarian Action in the Sahel region, to receive these emergency shelters in the pilot phase.  

These shelters, approved by the Burkinabe authorities, conform to the “Sahel Shelter” prototype developed by the Luxembourg Red Cross and can be built almost exclusively with local materials. The Sahel Shelters are termite-resistant and adapted to the Sahelian climate. They will be built with the support of a local team of nine people and under the supervision of IOM. 

Hamidou is one of the beneficiaries of this pilot project. He is the head of the village of Pissi Ntaaga, located in the Arbinda commune, a community that has been a victim of several armed attacks. Hamidou has found refuge in the Dori commune, with about a hundred persons from his community. When he arrived in Dori, about 100 km from Arbinda, exhausted by the journey, this 70-year-old was away from the violence-prone area but had no shelter.   

“Today, I have a shelter for my family and me. This is very useful for us, especially in this rainy season. But I am not alone. I came here with several members of my community,” Hamidou said.  

Rama, six months pregnant, also fled violence in Arbinda with her four children. They, too, found refuge in Dori. “I left my village of Boukouma (Arbinda) after the attacks to seek refuge in Dori. I don’t know anyone here. I live in this school yard with my children. We sleep in the open,” Rama explained.  

This pilot project is part of the humanitarian response to the massive displacement of persons, but this response still falls far short of host and displaced communities’ needs.  

For more information, please contact Mubelo Norra Makaka at IOM Burkina Faso, Tel: +226 54 49 52 19, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 17:21Image: Region-Country: Burkina FasoThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Construction of shelters by IDPs in Dori. Photo: IOM/Judicael Lompo

Construction of shelters by IDPs in Dori. Photo: IOM/Judicael Lompo

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare Promote Ethical Recruitment of Migrant Workers

PBN News Germany - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:15

Vientiane – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) have organized an International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) training for Lao People’s Democratic Republic recruitment agencies to promote ethical recruitment and better protect the rights of Lao migrant workers.   

The two-day workshop, which attracted 37 participants from 24 recruitment agencies, aimed to increase awareness of ethical recruitment practices; provide practical information on the IRIS standard; and explain how to become IRIS certified. IRIS was established by IOM and a coalition of public and private sector partners committed to ethical recruitment and the protection of migrant workers.   

Popular destinations for Lao migrant workers include Thailand, Japan and the Republic of Korea. In 2018 over 90,000 Lao migrants went to work in neighbouring Thailand under a Memorandum of Understanding between the two countries. There has also been increasing transnational cooperation between the Lao People’s Democratic Republic and the rest of Asia in recent years. 

Misato Yuasa, Head of Office of IOM in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, noted that migrants who migrate with the help of recruitment agencies or informal brokers often do not have a clear understanding of the terms and conditions of their future employment and often risk exploitation and abuse. “They may need to spend many months working to repay those costs, and employers may deduct inflated service fees directly from their salary,” she said.   

MoLSW Director General of Skills Development and Employment Anousone Khamsingsavath told workshop participants that it was important for them to gain more knowledge about ethical recruitment and IRIS. “I would like all of you to be active and involved.  Eventually it will improve your companies’ services,” she said. 

The training was part of a regional IOM programme funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) – “Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand (PROMISE)”.  

PROMISE, which is in its second year of implementation, aims to strengthen the linkages between labour migration to Thailand and poverty reduction in the region. It focuses on engaging employers and training institutions in skills development, facilitating ethical recruitment and protection, and improving migrant workers’ access to safe migration and decent employment opportunities.  

For more information about IRIS please visit:  

For more information please contact Misato Yuasa at IOM Vientiane, Tel: + 856 (0) 21 267 734, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 17:14Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Over 90,000 Lao migrants work in neighbouring Thailand under an agreement between the two governments. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Teams Up with Azeri Academia to Study Ancient Water Supply Systems

PBN News Germany - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:13

Ganja, Azerbaijan – The lack of sustainable water supplies has always been a factor in human migration. As the climate changes, this phenomenon has become even more significant, and now IOM in Azerbaijan is embarking on a study of some of humanity’s oldest and most efficient water supply systems.  

The study focuses on the kahriz: a man-made, centuries-old, gravity-fed traditional water-supply system that does not need electricity or fossil fuel to function. This method – very much alive in Azerbaijan and the surrounding region – ensures access to water for current and future generations and contributes to the local communities’ quality of life.  

A Project Implementation Agreement on the establishment of a Kahriz Research and Information Centre and kahriz engineering course was signed last week in Ganja,  Azerbaijan’s second city, between IOM Chief of Mission Vladimir Gjorgjiev, and Ibrahim Jafarov, rector of Azerbaijan State Agricultural University (ASAU).  

The Kahriz Research and Information Centre will be a unique facility for collecting, researching and disseminating information and knowledge on kahriz systems. ASAU faculty members will receive training on kahriz engineering and develop a training curriculum jointly with IOM.   

“We are already implementing a project to renovate 40 kahrizes in selected regions of Azerbaijan close to IDPs communities, but we want to ensure sustainability of this process so that collected experience and knowledge will pass to the next generations,” said Gjorgjiev. 

ASAU rector Ibrahim Jafarov noted that the university has “all the necessary capacity, both human and facility resources, for implementing this project to a high level, and we believe that this partnership will open new research perspectives to sustainability of kahriz engineering.”  

The project is financed by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and focuses on improving the water supply in rural areas through the renovation of over 40 kahriz systems in areas which have a high number of internally displaced persons. In addition to renovating the kahrizes, the project includes components of local capacity building, irrigation improvement, support for IDPs’ small business start-ups, among others. 

For more information please contact Ilqar Xudiyev at IOM Azerbaijan, Tel: +994 50 319 6680, Email 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 17:12Image: Region-Country: AzerbaijanThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Chief of Mission Vladimir Gjorgjiev (left), and Ibrahim Jafarov, Rector of Azerbaijan State Agricultural University (ASAU) at the signing ceremony committing the organizations to establishing a kahriz research centre. Photo: IOM

IOM staff working on the kahriz (water supply system) at Chinarli, Azerbaijan. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

LEARN. ACT. SHARE. Helping to Prevent Modern Day Slavery in Belarus

PBN News Germany - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:11

Minsk – As Belarus continues to be a source and destination country for human trafficking, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) continues to work with the government to educate youth on the phenomenon of modern-day slavery. 

This week, the third annual youth camp, entitled 'LEARN.ACT.SHARE' brought together a group of young people to discuss and react to human trafficking. 

The camp is traditionally organized in mid-July, shortly before the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, and is led by IOM in partnership with other UN agencies, the Government of Belarus, NGOs and private companies.  

“Belarus continues to face challenges as a source and destination country for human trafficking. It is vital that we continue to engage active people in raising awareness for cascading information into their local communities,” said Tatiana Verigo, Senior Programme Assistant at IOM Belarus. “After the LEARN phase provided during this initiative, our participants will be able to ACT and SHARE.” 

The camp is facilitated using a non-formal education approach and includes a wide variety of methods and activities, from informative lectures to role plays and quests. 

The programme is demanding but also gives a lot of room for creativity and team-building. The 18 participants will explore theory and practical aspects of preventative measures: from introduction about what human trafficking is to national counter-trafficking efforts, and the correlation between HIV/AIDS, refugee streams and domestic violence in human trafficking. 

One of the significant outcomes expected at the end of this week is the development of project ideas by the participants to further refine and implement them in their own communities. The participants will learn tools for project development and participate in creative workshops, for example, on making social videos on the topic. 

“On the first day we learned about what is human trafficking, the scale of the problem, types and safety measures. I am excited to learn more from other guests and speakers and already looking forward to organizing preventive activities at my college,” says Darya Litvyakova, one of the participants. 

As before, IOM will support these young people in refining their project ideas into project proposals or draft plans of action for the implementation in the coming months. 

The youth summer camp is the part of the IOM X Belarus campaign launched together with the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Belarus with the support of USAID and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Daily video and photo updates will be available on

For more information please contact Olga Borzenkova at IOM Belarus, Tel: +375 17 2882742. Email 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 17:10Image: Region-Country: BelarusThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants of the 3rd youth summer camp LEARN.ACT.SHARE in Minsk, Belarus. Photo: IOM

Darya Litvyakova, participant at the 3rd youth summer camp LEARN.ACT.SHARE in Minsk, Belarus. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Technology Allows Migrant Returnees in Somaliland to Access Services

PBN News Germany - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:09

Hargeisa, Somaliland – Migrant returnees in Somaliland now stand a better chance of accessing critical services, thanks to the creation of a database application for the registration of returning migrants and the issuance of registration certificates. 

In the Horn of Africa, Somalis account for the largest migrant population after Ethiopians. They move both intra-regionally and out of the region, particularly towards the Arabian Peninsula and Europe. Many also opt to return, often approaching IOM when they get stranded in places like war-torn Libya. 

However, like elsewhere, returning migrants often lack valid documents, having had them lost or confiscated during their migratory journey. Without such enabling documents, which may include national registration certificates, basic support services provided by the government can be out of reach. 

The new database, jointly developed between IOM and the Somaliland’s National Displacement and Refugee Agency (NDRA), intends to enhance the capacity for response in this area. Following a capacity assessment that took place in February 2019, IOM internally developed the application which was launched in June. 

Last week (11 July) IOM donated three high-resolution webcams to NDRA that will be used to take photos of the returning migrants upon registration. Presiding over the ceremony was NDRA chairman Abdulkariim Ahmed Mohamed and IOM’s Head of the Hargeisa Sub-Office Sikhulile Dhlamini, who both welcomed the collaboration between the two agencies. 

According to Mohamed: “NDRA now has a registration system that will collect pertinent information from returnees, which is a result of the technical expertise provided by IOM following a request made by NDRA in February 2019.” He added: “We also appreciate that IOM spent time building the capacity of NDRA staff to enable them to use the database software effectively.” 

Funding for the database’s development was provided by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa, which also supports migrants’ voluntary return and reintegration. It is backed by the EU Trust Fund, which covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries. 

The programme 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.  

Since the launch of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in early 2017, some 288 migrants have safely returned to Hargeisa and the surrounding areas in Somaliland. The new database will support the capture of information upon registration, including migration history, education and skills. 

The system will also provide case management functionalities that in the long run will allow for the tracking of services provided to the registered individuals as well as the possibility of generating a ‘Returnee Registration Certificate’ and extracting reports to analyze trends and common experiences of returning migrants.  

NDRA also plans to deploy the application at its office in Berbera – the biggest port of entry for sea arrivals – where a higher number of registrations are anticipated per month than in Hargeisa.  

Dhlamini said IOM recognizes the importance of data collection in informing understanding of the ever-changing migration flows. “This important step forward, marking our valued partnership with NDRA, means that stakeholders will have accurate information to respond to the most vulnerable,” she said, adding: “The database is a key milestone in ensuring that  returnees to Somaliland are properly registered, which ultimately leads to access to services and enjoyment of rights.” 

For more information, contact Sikhulile Dhlamini at IOM Hargeisa, Email:, Tel: +2522571212 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 17:06Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

NDRA Chairman Abdulkariim Ahmed Mohamed (left) and IOM’s Sikhulile Dhlamini at the official handover of the webcams. Photo: IOM

At the official handover of the webcams provided by IOM. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 34,226 in 2019; Deaths Reach 683

PBN News Germany - Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:06

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 34,226 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 17 July, roughly a 34 per cent decrease from the 51,782 arriving during the same period last year.  

Arrivals this year to Spain and Greece are each well over 10,000 individuals (28,356 combined) accounting for almost 83 per cent of the region’s total, with the balance arriving in much smaller numbers to Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Arrivals to Greece are 1,352 ahead of last year’s totals from this time last year. Arrivals to Spain are 6,589 fewer.  

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 199 days of 2019 are at 683 individuals – or around 47 per cent of the total (1,449 deaths) confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below). 

IOM Italy 

According to IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo, who was citing official Ministry of Interior figures, 3,186 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy in 2019. During the same period this year 4,023 migrants or refugees have been returned from the Central Mediterranean route back to Libya since the start of the year.  

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday on a very busy week with arrivals to Spain, through 17 July, now reaching 12,064 men, women and children. (see charts below). 

Based on the latest report published by the Spanish Ministry of Interior on irregular arrivals to Spain, Spanish authorities have registered a total of 11,703 arrivals through the Western Mediterranean and the Western African Route, in the period from 1 January to 15 July 2019.  According to IOM estimates based on publicly available information, the sea arrivals to the Coast of Andalusia in the last two days added another 361 individuals to that total. 

While monthly arrivals to Spain are lower this year over all (see chart below), fatalities on the Western Mediterranean route remain high – with 204 deaths reported through a little more than six months of this year, compared to 296 at this time in 2018.  

The latest fatality was recorded on 17 July. The death of a woman was reported by the NGO Caminando Fronteras, which runs a hotline for people in distress attempting the sea crossing from North Africa. During a search and rescue operation conducted by Spanish rescue services, 73 people – including 23 women – were    saved from a boat sinking in the Alborán Sea. The rescuers also recovered the remains of a woman. In total, 276 migrants were rescued from four boats that same day: three boats reached by Spanish rescue services, who took the survivors to Almería; a fourth boat was reached by the Moroccan Navy.  

IOM Greece 

It was also a busy week on the Eastern Mediterranean route. IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou noted on Thursday (18/07) that the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least 26 incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos, Samothraki, Symi, Farmakonisi and Limnos and off the port of Alexandroupolis. The HCG rescued a total of 814 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports. 

Those rescues and other landings during the past week bring to 16,292 the total number of irregular migrants and refugees IOM has recorded arriving by sea to Greece this year (see chart below). That’s an increase of over 1,500 irregular migrants over the past seven days. IOM noted that the 349 migrants arriving on Saturday (13 July) – mainly to Lesvos, Samos and Chios – marked the largest single day arrival total since 27 March 2018, when 368 landed. 

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project.  

Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 32,362 individuals, including 1,405 in 2019 (see chart below), although due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography.   

On the US-Mexico border, the Missing Migrants Project team recorded the deaths of five people since last week’s update. On 11 July, a 33-year-old Guatemalan man was reported missing by a group of migrants who were travelling with him in South Bexar County, Texas. According to their testimony, he felt sick and could not continue his journey. A search operation was launched by the Sheriff’s Office, but as of 18 July his remains had not been located. The drownings of four people were reported in the Río Bravo: US Border Patrol agents recovered the remains of two men – one near Brownsville, Texas, and another near Eagle Pass, in Texas. On the south bank of the river, Mexican civil protection authorities located the remains of two young Mexican men.  

In total, at least 455 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 287 recorded through this point in 2018.  

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre 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, click here. Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 16:57Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

United Nations Launches New Fund to Support Greater Cooperation on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

PBN News Germany - Wed, 07/17/2019 - 04:30

New York – UN Member States and UN entities yesterday (16/07) announced the creation of a new funding instrument to support efforts towards safe, orderly and regular migration.

“The Migration Fund can provide the impetus for all of us to take the next step; to bring the Migration Compact to life, to move us closer to realizing the SDGs, and to effect positive change in the field of migration,” said Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, at the launch held at the UNICEF HQ in New York.

Crucial to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

António Vitorino, Director General of the International Organization for Migration and chair of the UN Network on Migration compared the positive impacts of safe and regular migration – migrants make up 3.4 per cent of the world population and contribute 10 per cent of global GDP, with 85 per cent of their earnings contributed to their host countries – with the ‘tremendous human and economic losses’ when migration is poorly managed.

According to UN figures, since 2014, over 32,000 migrants worldwide have lost their lives or gone missing along migratory routes. Many have fallen victim to trafficking, arbitrary detention and exploitative or forced labour. Many more are unaccounted for. Migration governance is “one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation in our time”.

From polarization to comprehensive responses

Unfortunately, DG Vitorino added, the social discourse on migration is today too often framed in binary terms: those in favour or against migration. However, research shows that migration is overwhelmingly positive for migrants and communities of origin, transit and destination – when managed in a safe, regular and orderly manner.

The Migration MPTF was called for by the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2018. Its aim is to provide financing for innovative programmes designed to support States’ migration priorities, ensure the better protection of migrants, foster cooperation, and further the promotion of migration governance that benefits all.   

The GCM objectives are based on existing legislation, policies and practices as agreed by Member States. The Fund represents a commitment to international cooperation on this vital issue and provides on important means by which to open up concrete opportunities to achieve tangible impact on the ground in the pursuit of safe, orderly and regular migration.

Unique instrument for international cooperation on migration

The Fund is now open for contributions, with a target of USD 25 million for its first year of operations and expected to grow. Under the aegis of a representative Steering Committee comprising States, the UN system, and a broad range of partners, the Fund will facilitate the exchange of best practices and evidence-based migration policies.

As a collective endeavour the Fund has the potential to be an important means by which to realise collective commitments towards a world in which no one is left behind.

The event was organized by the Chairs of the Friends of Migration group and the UN Migration Network, which brings together all UN entities working on migration.

Find more information on the Migration MPTF here.

For more information please contact:


Rahma Gamil Soliman, Tel: +1 917 515 7454, Email: or Mohamed Osman, Tel: +1 929 253 5693, Email:

Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF)

Raul de Mora Jimenez, Tel: + 6467814254, Mobile : +1 631 464 8617, Email:


Language English Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 10:05Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Global Compact on MigrationMigration GovernanceUNDefault: Multimedia: 

António Vitorino, the Director General of the IOM and the Coordinator of the UN Network on Migration moderating a panel at the event. Photo: IOM

Attendees at the launch of the Start-Up Fund for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in New York. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

World’s Premiere Migration Film Festival Call for Films

PBN News Germany - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:54

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week issued a call for films for the Global Migration  Film Festival. The multi-venue festival which takes place annually in over 100 countries in December is the world's premiere cultural event on migration. 

The UN organization’s call for submissions includes Full-Length Feature and Short Films, in all genres: fiction, documentary and animation. Filmmakers have long viewed migration as a rich source of storytelling. This unique festival provides an opportunity for filmmakers and viewers the world over to enjoy films about migration that entertain and educate - be the stories dramatic, sad or funny. 

It is in this spirit that IOM launched The Global Migration Film Festival in 2016 with just 30 film submissions. Last year there were 784 submissions from independent filmmakers in 98 countries making it a truly global filmmaking phenomenon. The Festival’s Official Selection of 42 films for 2019 led to 558 screenings in 104 countries around the world, drawing a global audience of over 30,000 people and inspiring film makers and film lovers alike. 

“What an incredible festival. I highly recommend it. IOM is an incredible organization with an important aim. It was wonderful to see my short film playing worldwide,” said filmmaker Juan Romero. 

Post-screening debates and panels are encouraged, and organizers in each participating country may organize their own side events, prize giveaways and more.  

To select a compelling roster of films to be screened, IOM’s call for films has opened with submissions accepted until Friday, 9 August. To merit consideration each submission must address the challenges and promises of migration as well as the many and unique contributions migrants make to their new communities. Both established and emerging filmmakers are urged to participate. 

A committee of international professionals will determine the Official Selection across two categories as follows: 

Full-length features: filmmakers working in all genres are invited to submit films that address festival themes, with a total running time exceeding 41 minutes. 

Short Films: filmmakers working in all genres are invited to submit films that address festival themes, with a total running time with a minimum of 15 minutes up to 40 minutes.  

Only films submitted through the festival’s designated platform, FilmFreeway, will be considered.  


Rules and Terms 

*Deadline for entry* 

Films of all genres (feature, documentary, animation, etc.) and lengths will be accepted until Friday, 9th August 2019. 


*Festival theme* 

All submissions should portray the challenges and promises of migration, and the unique contributions migrants make to their new communities. Films that tackle negative perceptions of migrants, defy stereotypes and portray positive and welcoming actions by and toward migrants are encouraged. 



Films should be in English or subtitled in English. Subtitles are encouraged, even if the dialogue is in English, to ensure maximum comprehension for global audiences.  

Films in other languages are encouraged but must have subtitles in English.  


*Production year* 

Films completed on or after 1 January 2016 are eligible for consideration. 



Films may only be submitted by individuals with the legal right to negotiate the use of the work. 


*Film selections* 

The festival will inform applicants by mid-October if their film is selected.  

For each selected film, either the filmmaker or the individual responsible for the submission should be prepared to provide relevant still images, a trailer, the filmmaker's biography, a photo of the film’s director and the transcripts for subtitling. 

Films submitted already to previous editions of the Festival are not eligible for submission this year.  

*There is no fee to submit films* 

*Films produced with any financial support from IOM are eligible for the competition, but not eligible for grants* 


Click here to access to the official Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) portal. 

For more information, please contact Amanda Nero at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 227 179 482, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 16:48Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ethiopian Returnees Recall Harrowing Irregular Migration Ordeals

PBN News Germany - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:47

Addis Ababa — After being stranded in Yemen, a group of 280 Ethiopians returned home on Wednesday and Thursday (10-11 July) with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The returnees are among a large group of Ethiopian migrants from Yemen who have been taken home as part of an IOM Voluntary Humanitarian Return operation that began in May 2019.  

IOM has safely returned 2,742 Ethiopians in the past 50 days with funding from the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) through the Regional Migration Response Plan (RMRP).  

Ahmed* is one of the returnees who have made it back. “When I left my home town of Wollo and decided to migrate to Saudi Arabia, I never thought I would face this much difficulty,” the 16-year-old said when describing his ordeal.  

This teen said he witnessed torture and extortion, which remain strongly imprinted on his mind. Having left home without his parent’s permission, he went on to endure hardships that eventually made him change his mind about continuing with the journey.   

“When the smugglers tell you of job opportunities and the life you could have there, it sounds like a dream, but that is not the reality,” he said, narrating how he left school in the 9th grade to earn a living.  

“I did not know anything about the torture and extortion that was involved. In the end, my family had to take a loan from relatives abroad to pay 30,000 birr (USD 1,000) that was demanded for my release.”  

Despite the hardships he faced, Ahmed is one of the fortunate ones to have come back in good health. Mohammed, 22, was not so fortunate as he came back to Ethiopia having lost one leg, after surviving an almost fatal gunshot wound in Yemen.  

Holding on to crutches as he waited to be registered with other returnees at IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Transit Centre in Addis Ababa, he said he is now more concerned about returning home to be reunited with his family.  

“I have already informed my family of my condition. They have told me that they would like me to come back. But with no money or a source of income, I am not sure how I will be able to make a living. If I could get help to open a small shop that I can run, that would help me,” he said.  

“A prominent challenge we are facing is the limited funding for programmes to sustainably reintegrate returnees and tackle the root causes of irregular migration in hotspot areas,” explained Malambo Moonga, IOM Ethiopia Head of Migration Management.  

“The limited employment and livelihood opportunities at home make irregular migration to the Middle East through war-torn Yemen a viable option for vulnerable youth in Ethiopia,” he said, highlighting one vicious challenge which has made curbing irregular migration from Ethiopia difficult.  

IOM Ethiopia’s Migration Management Unit is using several methods to raise awareness on the dangers of irregular migration and available livelihood options at home through initiatives such as the Community Conversation programme. Yet, many young Ethiopians continue to be lured by smugglers who tell them how they can easily transform their lives by migrating to the Middle East.  

“I was approached by the smuggler and was told that the situation in Yemen is easy. I had to find the hard way that this was not the case,” said Idris, a 23-year-old returnee.  

Born and raised in Asela, this young man decided to leave for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for work. However, his journey was not so fruitful as he had to ask his wife to sell their cattle to pay for his trip, and now comes back home empty-handed.  

Despite having only bruises to show for his journey, Idris, however, is glad to have returned home alive.  

“I was severely beaten with a stick on my back and it is still aching. They were demanding hawala (ransom). I saw some migrants lose their eyes and three men die. So, I really feel I was fortunate to have made it back alive.”  

*Names of the returnees have been changed to protect their privacy.  

For more information please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251911639082, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Arrival of migrants at the Bole Addis Ababa International Airport. 

Arrival of migrants at the Bole Addis Ababa International Airport. 

Arrival of migrants at the Bole Addis Ababa International Airport. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Bangladeshi Villagers, Rohingya Refugees Learn to Prepare for Natural, Man-Made Disasters

PBN News Germany - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:44

Cox’s Bazar — When last year’s rains killed two small boys in her village, Bangladeshi villager Liba Akter decided that she had to do something.  

A storm had blown in off the Bay of Bengal, bringing flood waters three feet deep in some places. A seven-year old boy had been walking home and was swept away and died. In a separate incident, a 10-year-old drowned in his house.  

Since then, Liba has become active in an effort organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) aimed at teaching local communities and refugees disaster-risk-reduction skills and mobilizing people to spread the word. 

She said that her community – which is located close to camps housing almost a million Rohingya refugees – has always lived on a knife’s edge. “Severe winds and rains come out of nowhere and destroy homes and kill people. We can’t change the weather, but we can be prepared,” she explained.  

In 2018 IOM specialists began training groups of 18-20 people – teaching them official warning signals and flags indicating approaching cyclones and tropical storms. Participants also learned how to identify and maintain emergency shelters, and how to avoid the waterborne illnesses that follow disasters. 

The first batches of trainees have since fanned out into the community to gain new ‘recruits’ by spreading the word about disaster preparedness and encouraging attendance at future training sessions. Last week, as heavy monsoon rains again struck Cox’s Bazar, 200 people took part in the latest training.  

Weather-related disasters can bring death and destruction to vulnerable communities. But trainers also point to profound social consequences, including the breakup of families and heightened risk of human trafficking.  

“The reality is that natural disasters can be a tremendous opportunity for exploitation by human traffickers. Disasters cause hardship and make people vulnerable, which allows traffickers prey on them,” said IOM disaster risk reduction specialist Mohammed Ahsan Ullah.  

He noted that Cox’s Bazar district faces numerous socio-economic challenges, and this makes residents particularly vulnerable to human traffickers posing as brokers. “They come in and try to ingratiate themselves with the community. Then they find the weakest and most needy and offer them incentives. The most common being an all-expense-paid journey to Malaysia where a job is guaranteed.”   

When victims arrive in the destination, their passports are often confiscated, and they are held in prison-like conditions. Men can be forced to work long hours on construction sites for little or no pay, and women may be sent into forced abuse and sexual exploitation, he added.  

Anwara Begum, a 30-year-old villager who took part in the training, said that understanding the dangers of human trafficking will have a real impact in her community. “We can now spot fraudulent brokers when we meet them, and we know what permits we need to go and work in another country legally,” she said. 

For more information please contact George McLeod at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +880 18 7071 8078, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 16:43Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Bangladeshi villager Liba Akter says the death of two children in her village caused her to become active in disaster risk mitigation. Photo: IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Venezuelan Migrants Face Risks of Trafficking, Exploitation and Discrimination: IOM

PBN News Germany - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:43

San Jose – One of every five Venezuelan nationals recently arrived in countries in Central America and the Caribbean has faced a high risk of labour exploitation or trafficking for forced labour, according to a recent International Organization for Migration (IOM) survey, applied to 4,600 respondents in five countries.  

Twenty per cent responded positively to survey indicators of labour exploitation, and male respondents showed higher vulnerability.   

They reported being victims of exploitative practices like working without payment, being forced to work, working to pay a debt, and even being held against their will. 

Between July and December 2018, IOM conducted a series of surveys, using its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) methodology, in Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Guyana, to enhance the quality of data on this population and their needs.   

The analysis of the data shows there is an association between the risk of labour exploitation and those working in the informal sector: over half of the interviewed said that they work in the informal economy, increasing the risk of becoming a victim of abuse, exploitation and human trafficking.  

The analysis also shows high risk of discrimination based on nationality. Approximately one-third of respondents said that they had experienced discrimination since leaving. 

“Many Venezuelans who come to Central America and the Caribbean support themselves by working in the informal economy, which exposes them to possible exploitation,” said Rosilyne Borland, IOM Senior Migration Protection and Assistance Specialist for Central America, North America and the Caribbean. 

“Our findings show the presence of risks of human trafficking for labour exploitation, and make it clear we must continue to work to increase the capacity of governments, UN agencies and NGOs to respond. Sexual exploitation of Venezuelans in the region is also a serious problem, and it should be part of our efforts, but we must not forget other forms of exploitation,” she emphasized.  

Since the mid-1990s, IOM and its partners have provided protection and assistance to close to 100,000 men, women and children who were trafficked for sexual or labour exploitation, slavery or practices like slavery, servitude or for organ removal.  

IOM will continue to support the efforts of States and civil society to address the most urgent needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in the region. IOM approaches to counter trafficking in persons and exploitation include actions to reduce risk, such as to regularize migrants, improve their living and working conditions, as well as targeted support to protect and assist victims.    

This analysis and other activities related to the response plan for refugees and migrants from Venezuela are carried out thanks to the financial contribution of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the Department of State of the United States (PRM). 

Access full report here

For more information please contact Rosilyne Borland at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 22125300. Email, or Eliza Galos, at IOM Headquarters: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 16:41Image: Region-Country: Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)Themes: Human SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

Over 4,000 people were surveyed in the context of IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), the analysis shows reported needs and gaps in assistance. 

Over 4,000 people were surveyed in the context of IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), the analysis shows reported needs and gaps in assistance. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Basketball Summer Camp in Niger Brings Back Hope to West African Youth

PBN News Germany - Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:41

Niamey – Back in 1993, Yacouba Sangaré was playing for Niger’s national basketball team. A talented student-athlete, Sangaré’s promise was acknowledged with an opportunity to further his education in the US. In 2001, he graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education with an advanced degree in International Education.   

A few years after settling in the US, Yacouba and his wife, Tracy, launched Hoops4Kids, a basketball summer camp for young Nigeriens. Since 1997, Hoops4Kids has launched programmes in Niger, Benin, the United States and Mexico. In the over 20 years since their programme began, Yacouba and Tracy have launched more than 2,000 young people into better futures through sport.  

“One of the reasons I started this youth programme was because I felt this was the perfect opportunity to go back to Niger and give back to the community,” Yacouba explained. “I feel like there is so much in the US and there is nothing here. Every time I come back, I want to do something to give back to the community because 20 years ago, I was those kids.”   

This month he was back again. From 9 to 13 July, IOM supported a Hoops4Kids basketball summer camp in Niger’s capital, Niamey – its 18th since 1997 – thanks to support from the European Union, within the framework of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism.   

The programme aims to give young people aged 4 to 17 an opportunity to develop their athletic skills, meet peers from other cultures and learn how to take care of their health and enjoy physical activities as they broaden their own horizons. During 2019’s edition of Hoops4Kids in Niamey, each of the 40 participants enjoyed full board and lodging, as well as a full complement of basketball equipment and sport accessories. 

“This basketball camp means a lot to us young Nigeriens. I hope that through experiences like this, I can one day fulfil my dream of playing for the NBA,” affirmed Mahamadou, one of the participants from Niamey. 

The multicultural exchange and social dynamic of the programme have always stood at the core of Hoops4Kids. This year, five migrants from IOM’s transit centre in Niamey also took part in the basketball summer camp. Mohamed has been at the centre for a few weeks now as he patiently awaits to return to the Central African Republic, through the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, also under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration

“We want to do it in a way that it will represent a lot of people. It will represent girls, it will represent poor kids, it will represent kids who have a lot of means. This is an opportunity for all these people to be together for a week,” Yacouba said. 

“You have to participate in things like this because you don’t know what you can become in life. You can be a basketball player tomorrow, and what we have learned here might help us someday,” said Mohamed, who came from the transit centre. 

By bringing together participants from different nationalities, the camp also provides IOM an opportunity to disseminate messages on safe migration. Throughout the week, IOM’s community mobilizers or ‘MobComs’ organized film screenings, debates and facilitated interactions between participants. 

Hoops4Kids works with multiple partners, including basketball leagues, youth organizations, authorities, embassies and international agencies. Yacouba takes the time each year to meet with relevant authorities and organizations in order to evaluate the programme and discuss the strengths, challenges, and next steps of the programme. 

While the programme hopes to raise enough money to continue to send young Nigeriens abroad, either to study or to attend sport camps, this year's participants were excited to even get to play with professional players.  

Adam, 21, is one of eight coaches training the kids in this year’s edition. Yacouba recognized his talent early on while and did his best to find opportunities for Adam to develop his skills abroad.  

Adam now plays competitively in the USA for Oklahoma’s Murray State College. “Kids today need to know that education is the most important thing for their future,” Adam says. 

Adamou, IOM’s Medical Clerk for the past two years, certainly agrees. He could be seen cheering from the sidelines during the camp’s finale. “I am part of the 1997 Hoops4kids promotion,” Adamou said. “I may not be a professional basketball player now, but the camp did shape me into who I am today.” 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 16:38Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

The 22nd edition of the Hoops4Kids programme brought together 40 participants from the region. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

The 22nd edition of the Hoops4Kids programme brought together 40 participants from the region. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

The 22nd edition of the Hoops4Kids programme brought together 40 participants from the region. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN