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UN Principals call for solidarity with Rohingya refugees

PBN News Germany - Tue, 10/17/2017 - 09:47
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Joint Statement on the Rohingya Refugee Crisis

Mr. Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees

Mr. Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator

Mr. William Lacy Swing, Director General, International Organization for Migration


UN Principals call for solidarity with Rohingya refugees

(16 October 2017, Geneva/New York): After violence broke out in Myanmar’s Rakhine state on 25 August, more than 500,000 Rohingya refugees crossed into neighbouring Bangladesh in less than five weeks. Tens of thousands of refugees have arrived since, fleeing discrimination, violence and persecution, as well as isolation and fear.

The speed and scale of the influx made it the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis and a major humanitarian emergency. The Government of Bangladesh, local charities and volunteers, the UN and NGOs are working in overdrive to provide assistance. But much more is urgently needed. The efforts must be scaled up and expanded to receive and protect refugees and ensure they are provided with basic shelter and acceptable living conditions. Every day more vulnerable people arrive with very little -- if anything – and settle either in overcrowded existing camps or extremely congested makeshift sites.

They are fully dependent on humanitarian assistance for food, water, health and other essential needs. Basic services are under severe strain. In some sites, there is no access to potable water, and sanitation facilities are absent, raising health risks for both the refugees and the communities hosting them.

Bangladesh has kept its borders open, offering safety and shelter to fleeing families. We have been moved by the welcome and generosity shown by the local communities towards the refugees. Now a critical Pledging Conference in Geneva on 23 October 2017 is being organized by OCHA, IOM and UNHCR and co-hosted by the European Union and Kuwait. It provides Governments from around the world an opportunity to show their solidarity and share the burden and responsibility. Their further generous support for the Joint Response Plan, which was recently launched by the UN and partners, is urgently needed to sustain and scale up the large humanitarian effort already under way. The plan requires US$434 million to meet the life-saving needs of all Rohingya refugees and their host communities – together an estimated 1.2 million people – for the difficult months to come.

We call on the international community to intensify efforts to bring a peaceful solution to the plight of the Rohingya, to end the desperate exodus, to support host communities and ensure the conditions that will allow for refugees’ eventual voluntary return in safety and dignity. The origins and, thus, the solutions to this crisis lie in Myanmar.

Let us all come together on 23 October at the pledging conference and send a strong message to the Rohingya refugees and their generous hosts in Bangladesh that the world is there for them in their greatest time of need. 

For further information, please contact:

Jens Laerke, OCHA Geneva, , Tel. +41 79 472 9750

Olivia Headon, IOM Geneva,, Tel: +41 79 403 53 65 

Duniya Aslam Khan, UNHCR Geneva,, Tel: +41 79 453 25 08

Russell Geekie, OCHA New York,, Tel: +1 917 331 03 93




Posted: Tuesday, October 17, 2017 - 09:44Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migration: Making the Move from Rural to Urban by Choice

PBN News Germany - Mon, 10/16/2017 - 05:01

Statement by UN Migration Director General William Lacy Swing on World Food Day, 16 October 2017 

For the first time in history, more people live in cities than rural areas. 

Every year millions of people leave their homes in the countryside and migrate towards urban centres both within their own countries and across borders. Some of these people move simply to seek new opportunities and improve their lives. Others are forced to flee due to conflict or sudden or slow onset disasters, such as drought, flooding or rising sea levels, which are often exacerbated by climate change and environmental stress. 

Rural populations, whose livelihoods depend on agricultural, are particularly vulnerable to migration pressures. They are more exposed, have high natural resource dependency and limited ability to cope with and manage risk.  

We cannot ignore the families, who put down the hoe and pick up their suitcases, because they make less and less each year from the same plot of land. Even when the yield is good, they struggle to survive. In this common case, migration to cities is not a true choice. The impact of this migration in urban planning and development must be acknowledged for the migrants and cities to thrive and prosper. 

Slow and sudden onset disasters are expected to continue to impact millions of rural households around the world. Towns and cities will be a magnet for migrants and displaced people, which risks swelling the ranks of the urban poor. Key to combatting displacement is to address its root causes by helping rural communities better prevent and prepare for disasters and other crises that might affect them, developing more resilient agricultural livelihoods.  

Thousands of IOM staff around the world work to empower rural communities to assess their own risks and develop their own responses, suited to their local context. Let an international organization put a risk reduction measure in place for a community, it will be extremely expensive and probably fail. Empower community members to assess, develop and build their own programmes, they will succeed more often than not. 

Of course, this alone will not stop displacement. 

Climate action is paramount. Climate change is having far-reaching effects on agricultural productivity and food security. It is among the main reasons for the record numbers of people compelled to migrate from rural areas to towns and cities around the world.  

Importantly, the Paris Agreement recognizes the need to protect vulnerable populations, including migrants, and establishes a dedicated task force to advance strategies that avert, minimize and address displacement related to climate change. We need to systematically integrate migration, climate change and agriculture into rural development and poverty reduction programmes, disaster risk reduction and crisis planning and develop agricultural policies and practices that enhance resilience in the face of climate-induced migration.  

What about those, who do not flee their homes because of conflict or disasters, but for whom migration is still their only option? Poverty is forcing families from their farms and villages. Real rural development is key to a better shared future, where young people have more opportunities at home that can compete with those in cities.   

This is not to say that migration is not beneficial. It overwhelmingly is when well-managed, and especially as a risk reduction, adaptation and socio-economic development strategy - benefitting both home and host community. Inclusive policies are key to making migrants more resilient, and more resilient migrants help reduce risk for both communities of origin and of destination.  

Proactive and inclusive urban planning at the local level and effective national mobility management policies are essential not only to reduce the vulnerabilities linked with movement into cities, but also to leverage the socio-economic potential of migration for the development of migrants and host societies. Further, migrants’ remittances can be a powerful force for strengthening rural food security and increasing socio-economic investment in places of origin. 

A vital change that needs to happen to make the future of migration wholly beneficial to migrants and host communities is ensuring that all migrants – internal and international – feel like they have a real choice to stay or to go. 

IOM and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) are working towards this change in the future of migration together. At a strategic level, this is emphasized through our upcoming joint co-chairmanship of the Global Migration Group (GMG) in 2018.  

The GMG brings together heads of international organizations to promote the wider application of all relevant international and regional instruments and norms relating to migration, and to encourage the adoption of more coherent, comprehensive and better coordinated approaches to the issue of international migration.  

At the operational level, FAO and IOM collaborate on projects related to strengthening the resilience of vulnerable populations in rural areas to the impacts of natural hazards, climate change, food security and displacement. It is a cooperation that I think will continue to grow and strengthen as migration continues to be a megatrend in the world, which will become only greater with the worsening effects of climate change. 

This future that we are working towards cannot be a distant one or we are doing a disservice to the people both IOM and FAO are meant to support and advocate for. 


Language English Posted: Monday, October 16, 2017 - 10:56Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeOthersDefault: Multimedia: 

Amina, a former pastoralist and now displaced by drought, tends a garden that is nourished by the run off from a nearby water point in an IDP camp in Somalia. Photo: Muse Mohammed/UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Humanitarian Needs Spike as Rohingya Arrivals in Cox’s Bazar Top 536,000

PBN News Germany - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:57

Cox’s Bazar –  An estimated 536,000 people have fled Myanmar and arrived in Cox’s Bazar, southern Bangladesh, over the past 47 days, according to the IOM-hosted Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) of aid agencies. Numbers spiked again this week when some 15,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh between 9-11 October.  

“I came here five days ago. Five members of my family, including my pregnant wife are still on the other (Myanmar) side. I’ve talked to them by phone. They had to leave home and are now living in the open on a beach. They said that 8-9,000 people are on the beach waiting for an opportunity to cross,” said Mohammad Yakub, 50, speaking to IOM in Shahporir Dwip, a Bangladeshi island in the Naf river close to the border between the two countries.

The speed and scale of the influx has triggered a humanitarian emergency in Cox’s Bazar, where close to three quarters of a million refugees now depend on humanitarian assistance for shelter, food, water, sanitation and other life-saving needs. Prior to the August influx, Cox’s Bazar was already hosting over 200,000 previously displaced Rohingya, placing the district’s infrastructure and basic services under immense strain.  

Earlier this week ISCG aid agencies appealed for USD 434 million as part of a 6-month Humanitarian Response Plan targeting 1.2 million people, including the Rohingya refugees and 300,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis living in host communities in Cox’s Bazar.

“The seriousness of the situation cannot be over-emphasized. These people are malnourished and there is insufficient access to clean water and sanitation in many of the spontaneous sites. They are highly vulnerable. They have fled conflict, experienced severe trauma and are now living in extremely difficult conditions,” said IOM Bangladesh Chief of Mission Sarat Dash.

Many of the new arrivals require immediate health assistance and agencies have appealed for USD 48 million to scale up primary health care in all the new settlements over the next six months.

“The risk of an outbreak of communicable disease is very high given the crowded living conditions and the lack of adequate clean water and sanitation. Maternal, newborn and child health care are also in desperately short supply given the very high numbers of pregnant or lactating women and children among the new arrivals,” said IOM Senior Regional Health Officer Patrick Duigan.

Since 25 August, ISCG agencies have provided over 210,000 people with healthcare assistance. Health partners are supporting the district health department with 12 medical teams in the new influx areas of Teknaf and Ukhia sub-districts. Nine health centers have also been established in remote, hard-to-reach areas of the new settlements.

Some 35,500 children between the age of 5 – 15 years have been vaccinated against measles and rubella, and over 72,000 children between the age of 0 – 5 have been vaccinated against polio and received Vitamin A supplementation. An oral cholera vaccination campaign targeting the entire population also began this week.

Almost all of the refugees arrive with virtually nothing and need tarpaulins for shelter, as well as non-food items (NFI) such as clothing, mosquito nets, cooking sets, soap and blankets. As of last week, some 288,000 people have received emergency shelter assistance and 54,000 NFI assistance since 25 August. Over 17,000 households have received acute emergency kits including one tarpaulin per family of five. Over 2,500 households received have received two tarpaulins and 5,000 have received blankets and sleeping mats.

The massive increase in the number of people in multiple sites is also overwhelming existing water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) facilities. WASH sector agencies believe that some 750,000 people out of the 1.2 million people targeted by the response plan will need WASH assistance in the next six months.

Since 25 August, over 333,000 people have been reached with WASH assistance, but agencies believe that almost same number of people are still in immediate need of WASH services. Collectively, the sector has installed 3,249 tube wells, but there are concerns about the quality of the wells and whether they are too shallow, given falling water tables.

Some 8,100 emergency latrines have also been built, but the fill rate currently exceeds the construction rate. This is being is compounded by the shortage of land and a lack of sewage management infrastructure. WASH agencies say that USD 74 million is needed to meet WASH needs through February 2018.

Against this backdrop, there is tremendous pressure on the existing settlements, with the population of multiple sites and settlements more than doubling since August 25. This has resulted in a huge need site management for an estimated 700,000 people. This will cost an estimated USD 65 million, according to ISCG site management agencies.

For more information please contact IOM Bangladesh:

In Cox’s Bazar: Hala Jaber, Tel : +8801733335221, Email:
 In Dhaka: Shirin Akhter, Tel: +8801711187499, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 14:34Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

This week (9-11 October) some 15,000 Rohingya crossed into Bangladesh from Myanmar, bringing the total arrivals since late August to over 536,000. Photo: UN Migration Agency/Muse Mohammed 2017  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Syrian Refugees Resettled in Chile under UN Migration and Refugee Agencies' Programme

PBN News Germany - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:20

Beirut/Santiago – On 11 October, a group of 66 Syrian refugees departed from Lebanon, Beirut to Santiago, Chile under the Emerging Resettlement Countries Joint Support Mechanism (ERCM), which is co-implemented by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

At Santiago airport, Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile, welcomed the refugees (38 adults and 28 children). Half of them will be located in Villa Alemana and the other half in Macul, thanks to agreements between the Ministry of Interior and those municipalities.

“Our wish is that they, step by step, start leaving behind their fear, pain and uncertainty. We are aware that they come from a difficult history and we want them to find in our country a land that welcomes them with friendship and good will, so they can rebuild their history and raise their families in peace and safety,” President Bachelet said in her welcome message.

“The State of Chile has the obligation, but also the privilege, of extending its hand, because we are a land of democracy, peace and respect,” added President Bachelet.

The ERCM came out of the Leaders’ Summit on Refugees in September 2016, during which a number of countries – including Chile – pledged to receive refugees with support from the international community.

IOM and UNHCR coordinated the logistics with Lebanese and Chilean authorities, who conducted selection interviews in Beirut for this group.

All refugees underwent a health assessment according to the health protocol coordinated with the Government of Chile, to identify and address any pre-existing health conditions, and were re-assessed shortly before departure to ensure they were fit-for-travel. The Consul of the Embassy of Chile came to the airport to personally bid farewell to the refugees and wish them well on the journey to their new lives in Chile.

The Syrians attended pre-departure orientation sessions where they learned some basic information about Chile. Such sessions help migrants address uncertainties about their destinations and equip them with necessary information to integrate into Chilean society. There will be additional post-arrival orientation classes in Santiago to facilitate the transition and start of the integration process.

The ERCM helps emerging resettlement countries select, prepare, and assist with the movement of refugees, while developing systems to support refugees integrate after arrival. IOM and UNHCR are currently working closely with Argentina, Chile, and Brazil in this regard.

This process was coordinated by the Ministry of Interior, IOM, UNHCR and Caritas Chile.

For more information, please contact T. Craig Murphy at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 797 01 25 10, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 14:33Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

Syrian refugees departing from Beirut after attending pre-departure orientation sessions about life in Chile. Photo: UN Migration Agency/Marielle Tra 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Names Ukrainian Eurovision Winner as National Anti-Trafficking Goodwill Ambassador

PBN News Germany - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:20

Kyiv – The Ukrainian singer and winner of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2016, Jamala, has been named a counter-trafficking Goodwill Ambassador for IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Ukraine. The partnership was launched through her support of the public service campaign Danger Might be Invisible at First.

The campaign was officially presented in the Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, yesterday (12/10). A video, which is part of the campaign, will start airing on Ukrainian TV channels on 18 October, marking the European Union Anti-Trafficking Day. In addition to the television campaign, an outdoor campaign will be launched nationwide.

“Many people in Ukraine earn poverty level salaries and are willing to work anywhere and under any conditions. They are the ones who most often fall prey to human traffickers and end up exploited,” said the singer.  “Unfortunately, the number of victims is growing every year, and while this campaign will not solve the problem, it will draw the attention of media, State and the general public. The main goal is to warn Ukrainians that they need to be careful when considering job offers abroad.”

A recent IOM survey revealed that one fifth of the Ukrainian population say that they would be willing to cross a border illegally, work in locked premises and hand over their passports to an employer. “This means that a fairly large share of the population is prone to risky behaviour which may lead to them being exploited,” explained Thomas Lothar Weiss, IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission. “We greatly appreciate Jamala’s involvement in our campaign aimed at prevention of modern slavery. We believe that her engagement in trafficking prevention will help save many lives,” said Weiss.

Research commissioned by IOM Ukraine estimates that over 230,000 Ukrainians have been victims of human trafficking since 1991. Since January 2000, IOM Ukraine has helped nearly 14,000 of them to recover from the experience and rebuild their lives. During the first half of 2017 alone, the IOM Mission in Ukraine identified 639 persons who had suffered from labour and sexual exploitation in 23 countries, including Ukraine. This number represents a jump of 30 per cent compared to the same period in 2016.

Danger Might be Invisible at First, launched by IOM and Jamala, is funded by the US Agency for International Development (USAID) and endorsed by the Ukraine’s Ministries of Social Policy and Internal Affairs.

Jamala has had a long association with IOM Ukraine, having been the face of the local MTV EXIT campaign, conducted in partnership with IOM, aimed at raising awareness about human trafficking and safe migration. She presented real-life stories of victims of exploitation in a documentary entitled Trading Lives. Other international celebrities, such as Jared Leto and Angelina Jolie, were also faces of similar campaigns.

For more information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenkoat IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15 or 067 447 97 92, email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 14:32Image: Region-Country: UkraineDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Community Centres Engage Iraq’s Displaced, Returnees and Host Communities in Peacebuilding

PBN News Germany - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:19

Erbil – As Iraq recovers from years of conflict and widespread displacement, support is required not only to repair damaged physical infrastructure, but also to strengthen social relations.

There are 3.2 million internally displaced persons in Iraq due to the current conflict, as well as 2.2 million displaced who returned to their place of origin.  While host communities have shown remarkable hospitality towards displaced people, over-stretched resources strain social relations, and even the most resilient communities have been affected by occupation and conflict.

To support displaced Iraqis, their host communities and those returning to their place of origin, IOM has established four community centres in the governorates of Baghdad, Diyala, Kirkuk and Ninewa. The centres are funded by a contribution from the European Union.

The community centres offer a safe space for people to gather and engage in community initiatives that are aimed at enhancing self-confidence, mutual trust and dialogue through peacebuilding activities, vocational and leadership training, mediation sessions and self-help groups. The ultimate goal of these activities is the building of skills required to manage interpersonal conflict and support inclusive social relations. More than 4,600 people have already participated in activities at the community centres.

“The community centre in Kirkuk is the only centre of its kind in this area. It is a favourite meeting point for many displaced people and host community members who come to learn vocational skills, engage in discussions and make new friends,” said Ekhlas Abdulmajeed, the team leader at the community centre in Kirkuk, which was established in December 2016.

“The centre plays an important role in bringing people together and helping them to break social barriers and reduce tensions. One of the most popular activities is a three-month tailoring course for women, which creates opportunities for them to engage with their peers and community,” Ekhlas added. At each community centre IOM also offers childcare, to ensure that mothers can engage in activities too. All activities are free of charge.

Manal was forcibly displaced from Fallujah after a mortar from ISIL destroyed her family home. She fled to Baghdad, where she visited IOM’s community centre.

“We were safe in Baghdad, but I felt isolated, as I was previously a teacher but in Baghdad I had no regular social activities.

“I heard through a friend that IOM offered activities at a community centre. I participated in the mediation training, which taught skills related to dialogue and communication, and negotiation between conflicting parties. I made new friends and discovered important ideas that will help with future challenges,” said Manal.

IOM’s community centres host activities including advocacy initiatives, film and book discussion groups, and theatre performances. The centres also provide small grants to volunteer networks for activities including public space beautification and establishment of community gardens.

Vocational training opportunities include English and literacy courses, sewing, hairdressing, barbering, AC repair and arts and crafts. Leadership and peacebuilding courses are offered for youth. These activities provide participants with the opportunity to build relationships, get to know people of diverse backgrounds and challenge potential stereotypes. 

Ibrahim, 22, was displaced from Mosul to Kirkuk in 2014. Coming from Mosul with a different cultural background to those in Kirkuk, Ibrahim said he faced challenges in gaining people’s trust and making friends within the host community.

“Going to the community centre gave me the chance to interact with more local residents and learn about communities with different backgrounds. It helped me to explain to community members that people who fled Mosul are also survivors of ISIL violence. This was challenging, as some people perceive us differently because we were displaced from an ISIL-controlled area.”

Community centres are managed by IOM staff from IOM’s Psychosocial Support and Social Cohesion team, who work closely with community focal points.

To ensure sustainability, IOM carries out its community-based activities in close coordination with both Iraq’s and the Kurdistan Region of Iraq’s Ministry of Youth and Sports, and the Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs.

To watch a video on the Community Centres click here:

Displacement continues across Iraq:

Mosul – Nearly one year after the start of Mosul operations, which began on 17 October 2016, according to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), an estimated 800,100 individuals are currently displaced and more than 297,800 individuals have returned (as of 11 October 2017).

Hawija and Shirqat – More than 15,600 Iraqis are currently displaced due to Hawija and Shirqat operations, which began on 21 September 2017. Over 102,700 individuals were also displaced from these areas between August 2016 and 21 September 2017. Over 31,200 people have returned following the operations during these periods (as of 12 October 2017).

IOM Iraq DTM data about displacement across Iraq can be accessed at:


For more information please contact IOM Iraq: Sandra Black, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 14:31Image: Region-Country: IraqDefault: Multimedia: 

A group of women participate in a literacy course at the IOM Iraq Community Centre in Baghdad. Photo: UN Migration Agency 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Distributes Live-saving Aid to Families Returning to Lainya, South Sudan

PBN News Germany - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:18

Juba – IOM is currently distributing essential relief supplies to approximately 3,800 families in South Sudan’s Lainya County. The distribution will continue through mid-October 2017.  

Thousands had fled from Lainya and neighbouring areas in 2016 as fighting spread south from the country’s Juba toward the Equatoria region, with includes Lainya. While many people crossed the border to refugee camps in neighbouring Uganda, thousands fled to remote areas within South Sudan.

This distribution in Lainya comes after one in the County in July 2017 and follows an IOM and partners-led mission in August, which verified reports of increased returns to the area. As their confidence in the security situation in Lainya improved, displaced people gradually started to return to the County.

August’s rapid assessment identified immense needs among those returning. The South Sudanese refugees walked for five days with very few belongings from Uganda to reach Lainya. The internally displaced people had fled took very little with them as they ran in search of safety so brought little back with them too. Displaced families said that their homes had been looted during the clashes.

Many of the displaced people reported that they missed the first distribution in July due to security concerns.

IOM is distributing essential household items, including blankets, sleeping mats, mosquito nets, cooking sets, bags, plastic sheeting, household water treatment supplies, buckets, collapsible jerry cans and soap. IOM is working alongside Lacha Community and Economic Development (LCED), a South Sudanese non-governmental organization, to complete the distribution.

The distribution area is vast as the communities are spread out and many continue to seek shelter in remote areas. Poor road conditions, due to lack of infrastructure and the rainy season, have led to delays in the response as trucks delivering supplies have faced obstacles in reaching the County.

As needs soar across the country, IOM rapid response needs continue to respond in remote areas. In Mayom County, Jonglei, IOM is improving access to safe drinking water and conducting hygiene promotion activities in response to reported Cholera cases in June and July. In Rubkona County and areas of Bentiu town, Unity, IOM is digging 20 wells to improve the supply of clean water for vulnerable displaced and host communities.

After nearly four years of conflict, an estimated 4 million South Sudanese remain displaced from their homes, including 1.88 million internally displaced people and 2.1 million who have sought refuge in neighbouring countries. IOM response teams continue to provide multi-sector humanitarian assistance to vulnerable individuals across the country.

For more information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 912 379 793, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 14:30Image: Region-Country: South SudanDefault: Multimedia: 

Distribution of relief items in Lainya, South Sudan in July 2017. Photo: UN Migration Agency 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Skilled Labour Mobility in Southeast Asia Key to Development: UN Migration Agency

PBN News Germany - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:18

Bangkok – Southeast Asia is on the move. Of the estimated 9.85 million migrants in the region, almost seven million originate from member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

This intra-regional movement of migrants is expected to increase with closer economic integration under the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) established in 2015. The AEC aims to turn ASEAN into a regional trading bloc of over 622 million people and the world’s seventh largest market valued at USD 2.6 trillion. An estimated 14 million jobs are expected to be created as a result.

But while the AEC blueprint includes provisions for human capital development, progress toward freer skilled mobility has been hampered by various barriers from a lack of mutual skill recognition to the limited availability of market information on labour demand and supply.

As an initial step, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is partnering with the current ASEAN Chair, the Philippines, to organize a two-day capacity building workshop for ASEAN member state officials on referencing and quality assurance processes for foreign workers’ qualifications.

The event, which will take place in Manila 16-17 October, will strengthen the capacity of member states to implement the ASEAN Guiding Principles for Quality Assurance and Recognition of Competency Certification Systems.

“Closer economic integration means greater interdependence between ASEAN member states. The region stands to gain substantially by adopting a more comprehensive approach to facilitating skilled labour mobility, which can help address gaps and promote regional competitiveness and development,” said IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, Dr. Nenette Motus.

"This workshop is a welcome opportunity for us to look into the assessment and certification system with the ASEAN member states using the ASEAN Guiding Principles. With ASEAN integration, we are expecting an increased mobility and exchange of labour within the region. [Mutual] recognition of skills and competency is becoming ever more imperative,” said Secretary Guiling A. Mamondiong, Director General of the Philippines’ Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA).

The workshop is part an IOM Development Fund-supported project: Strengthening Capacity on Skills Recognition, Recruitment and Labour Migration Information in Support of ASEAN Integration. The project is designed to support the ASEAN Community Vision 2025 in the realization of a politically cohesive, economically integrated and socially responsible ASEAN.

Other project initiatives in the pipeline include capacity building on quality assurance and accreditation of foreign workers’ skills and qualifications; support to the development of a user-friendly online labour migration information sharing mechanism; and the mapping of existing recruitment channels and support mechanisms.

These activities will enhance the capacity of ASEAN member state officials to manage and share labour market information, contribute to the development of mutually accepted skills recognition and quality assurance practices and standards, and increase access to gender-sensitive migration services for migrants.

For more information, please contact Joshua Hart at IOM Thailand, Tel: +66 2 343 9341, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 14:29Image: Region-Country: ThailandDefault: Multimedia: 

Cambodian delegates take part in a national consultation on the Global Migration Compact. Photo: UN Migration Agency 2017   

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 142,913 in 2017; Deaths Reach 2,775

PBN News Germany - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:17
Language English

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 142,913 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 11 October, with over 75 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 318,791 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome reported Thursday (12 October) that official figures from the Italian Ministry of the Interior show 108,402 migrants and refugees have arrived in Italy by sea this year, including 1374 men, women and children rescued and brought to shore since Sunday. Another 659 migrants rescued Wednesday are not yet included in Italy’s arrival data.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported that the nearly 3,000 arrivals to Italy through the first third of October indicate migrant flows from Libya may be rising again after a lull in arrivals this past summer. Just under 4000 arrivals were recorded by Italy this past August, and 6,288 in September – both totals considerably lower than those recorded during those same months in 2015 and 2015.

Last October 27,384 men, women and children arrived in Italy by sea, the most of any month in 2016. (see chart below)

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia on Thursday reported on six events occurring off the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Kos, and Chios that required search and rescue operations. The Hellenic Coast Guard managed to rescue the 686 migrants and transferred them to the respective islands.
Ms. Namia further reported that migrant sea arrivals to Greek territory totalled 1508 for the first ten days of October, and 21,050 for the year so far. (See chart below)

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reports that on Thursday (12 October), 72 migrants (44 men, 16 women and 12 children) were rescued/intercepted off Tripoli and transferred to Tajoura detention centre. IOM also received information regarding a second rescue/interception but is awaiting confirmation and additional details.
So far this year, 18,477 migrants have been rescued/intercepted in Libyan waters.
Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrant Project (MMP) has recorded 4,616 migrant fatalities in 2017.  Since the last update (10 October), MMP recorded two deaths in Europe: on 27 September, a young Libyan migrant died on the A28 motorway near Abbeville, France, when he fell from the truck to which he was clinging. On 8 October, another migrant died in a train accident near Gemünden am Main in Bavaria, Germany.  The two companions with whom he was travelling survived the accident.
Additionally, MMP recorded the deaths of three migrants on the US/Mexico border: one migrant died in a train accident near Uvalde, Texas, and two drowned in the Río Bravo near Nuevo Laredo, in Tamaulipas, Mexico, on8 and 11 October. So far in 2017, 70 migrants have drowned when attempting to cross the swift-flowing Río Bravo in order to reach the United States. This total compares with 52 through this date in 2016 and 29 through the same period in 2015.
In the Central Mediterranean, a boat carrying 87 migrants collided with a Tunisian navy vessel near the island of Kerkennah (Sfax) last Sunday, 8 October. Tunisian authorities confirmed 38 survivors and the remains of eight persons recovered. The estimate of those missing* currently stands at 41. These deaths bring the total of fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2017 to 2,775. 
*When deaths occur at sea, Missing Migrants Project often relies on the estimates of survivors once they are rescued, with the lowest estimate of missing persons always used in the dataset.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic:
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:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:

Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 14:28Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Governments and Private Sector Share Experience in Promoting Ethical Recruitment

PBN News Germany - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:14
Language English


Geneva –  Representatives from governments, the private sector, UN agencies and civil society will meet during the margins of the sixth thematic session of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) today (13/10) to discuss how to better promote ethical recruitment and protect the rights of migrant workers.

The Ethical Recruitment in Global Labour Mobility side event is hosted by the Government of Sweden and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) – with support from IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

The event will be opened by Ola Henrikson, Director General, Migration and Asylum, Ministry of Justice of the Government of Sweden and Ambassador Laura Thompson, IOM Deputy Director General. Panellists include representatives from IKEA, the World Employment Confederation, the Philippine Overseas Labour Office and the UK Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority.

“From the Swedish Government’s point of view, labour migration is something fundamentally positive. If well managed, it can be a strong and important driver of economic growth and development,” said Henrikson.

“While fundamental aspects of international migration are, and must be, regulated by states, employers are often key stakeholders with the power to ensure positive effects of migration. Responsible employers can play an important role by ensuring good recruitment practices that benefit migrant workers, who are often exposed to additional vulnerabilities on the labour market. This is especially true in this day and age, where production is global, and manpower increasingly crosses borders,” added Henrikson.

 “No one attending this event today would want to have to pay for their own jobs, we wouldn’t expect our children to have to pay, we wouldn’t want to sell our land, mortgage our house, give the equivalent of many months’ salary, just to secure employment. And yet everyday all around the world millions of workers are expected to do just that. That’s why we’re here, to end an economic model premised on the vulnerability of workers,” said John Morrison, Chief Executive, Institute for Human Rights and Business.

“We know from our own experience that the exploitation of migrant workers often begins at the recruitment stage when workers are forced to pay predatory recruitment fees or are misled about the job offer,” said Ambassador Thompson.

“While there is no doubt that the current international recruitment model disadvantages the worker, it also doesn’t serve the interests of business. IOM is pleased to be supporting this important side event, and the efforts of governments, civil society and the private sector to make international recruitment fair for everyone,” added Ambassador Thompson.

The GCM presents a unique opportunity for the international community to move away from reactive approaches to migration governance, and to determine the steps to be taken to reach a common future in which migration is safe, orderly and regular. It will aim to enhance international cooperation on the governance of migration, by establishing a framework to enhance the opportunities and address the challenges posed by human mobility.

For more information, please contact:

Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179111, Email:

Hailey St. Dennis, IHRB, Tel: +44 (0) 75 088 78015, Email:

Kasja Aulin, Permanent Mission of Sweden to the United Nations, Tel: +41 22 908 08 26, Email:


Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 14:27Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Nepal Develops National Migration Health Policy

PBN News Germany - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:10
Language English

Kathmandu – Nepal’s Ministry of Health and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, this week (11/10) hosted a half-day consultation meeting in Kathmandu on the development of a National Migration Health Policy to address migrant health issues.

Migration continues to grow in Nepal and migrants and their families, who make an important economic and social contribution to the country’s national development, face a range of health issues at home and abroad.

According to the Department of Foreign Employment, over half of all Nepali households now have at least one migrant family member currently abroad or living in Nepal as a returnee. Nepal ranks 23rd among all remittance-receiving countries in the world. In terms of the contribution of remittances to GDP, it ranks third after Tajikistan and Kyrgyz Republic.

The new policy, which is in line with Nepal’s newly promulgated 2015 Constitution, aims to address the health rights of Nepali migrants. The level of education and skills of Nepali migrants tends to be low and they are therefore prone to health-related risks throughout the migration cycle. Their health is also affected by the lack of linguistically or culturally appropriate health services in their countries of destination.

“We cannot achieve Sustainable Development Goal 3.8 on universal health coverage unless the health needs of migrants and refugees are met. The access of refugees and migrants to quality health services is of paramount importance to rights-based health systems, global health security and to public efforts aimed at reducing health inequities. This policy will provide an opportunity to promote a more coherent and integrated approach to health, beyond the treatment of specific diseases for all populations, including migrants, irrespective of their legal and migratory status,” said IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Paul Norton.

The policy will be based on principles that recognize the health rights of citizens; the right to health-related information at both pre-departure and employment at destination stages; easy access to health services, accountability of health services providers; and regulated and monitored health assessment services. It will aim to reduce health vulnerabilities of migrant workers in all stages of the migration cycle and also protect the health of host communities from public health threats related to migration.

“Migrants are contributing a lot to the economy of Nepal and their health is very important for us. The new constitution has envisioned health as one of the fundamental rights and aims to improve access to free primary health care services for all citizens, including migrants…This policy is being developed to promote the health of migrants and address the health-related issues and challenges that they face during the migration process,” said Dr. Shrikrishna Giri, Chief of the Policy, Planning and International Co-operation Division of Ministry of Health.

The Kathmandu meeting was attended by government officials, UN agencies, development partners, NGOs, academia, the private sector and media. The Ministry of Health will incorporate feedback from the consultation and initiate a process for endorsement of the policy. Based on the policy, related action plans will be developed and implemented.

The National Migration Health Policy is part of a project: Strengthening Government Capacity in the Development and Implementation of a National Strategic Action Plan on Migration and Health in Nepal, implemented by IOM in collaboration with Ministry of Health. The project is funded by IOM Development Fund.

For further information please contact Paul I. Norton at IOM Nepal, Tel. +977 1 4426250, Email: Or Nepal’s Ministry of Health, Tel +977 1 4211963, Email:

Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 14:26Image: Region-Country: NepalDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Cambodia Hosts National Consultation on Global Migration Compact

PBN News Germany - Fri, 10/13/2017 - 09:01
Language English

Phnom Penh – Cambodia this week (11/10) hosted a national consultation on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). The meeting, in Phnom Penh, in the run up to Asia-Pacific regional GCM consultations to be held in Bangkok November 6-8, attracted over 170 participants from government, civil society and the private sector. It was chaired by Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of the Interior and Chairman of the National Committee for Counter Trafficking Samdech Krolahom Sar Kheng.

The GCM, which was launched during the UN General Assembly in September 2016 as part of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, aims to establish an international cooperation framework on migration. The agreement will be closely linked to the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and is expected to be adopted by UN Member States at an intergovernmental conference in late 2018.

IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Dr. Nenette Motus welcomed Cambodia’s national consultation as a means to ensure that the GCM recognizes the contributions of the migrants at its core, and at the same time safeguards their safety, dignity and human rights.

“The recommendations of this and other national consultations will inform the upcoming regional consultations and ultimately the Global Compact. They relate not just to migrants and their families in Cambodia, but also have important messages for the countries of transit and destination,” she said.

IOM Cambodia Chief of Mission of Cambodia Dr. Leul Mekonnen noted that migration has become an integral part of the social and economic fabric of Cambodia and an important contributor to poverty reduction. “More than a million Cambodians are migrating across borders every year, and even more are migrating internally,” he said.

“Ensuring the well-being of migrants and the families they leave behind is critical for the country and its sustainable development. The national consultation is an important platform through which Cambodia can ensure that policy dialogue, cooperation and partnership on migration issues are included in the GCM,” he added.

The Cambodian national consultation was structured to cover several thematic priorities identified by a Ministerial Working Group led by the Ministry of the Interior. These were specific to the Cambodian and regional setting and related to climate change and migration, labor mobility, trafficking in persons, remittances and development, border management and the human rights of migrants.

For more information please contact Dr. Leul Mekonnen at IOM Phnom Penh. Tel. +855 12900131. Email:

Posted: Friday, October 13, 2017 - 14:25Image: Region-Country: CambodiaDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Hosts Global Meeting of Consultative Processes on Migration

PBN News Germany - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 03:42

Geneva - The Seventh Global Meeting of Chairs and Secretariats of Regional, Inter-regional and Global Consultative Processes on migration (GRCP 7) took place on 10 and 11 October 2017 in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s discussion focused on inter-state consultation mechanisms on migration and the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

The meeting brought together representatives of 19 inter-state (at the regional, inter-regional or global level) consultation mechanisms on migration. Representatives of UN Regional Commissions and regional economic organizations, also participated. The meeting sought to identify common inputs to the Global Compact.

“The Seventh Global RCP Meeting is a key opportunity for all consultative processes on migration and their regional partners to contribute towards the formulation of the Global Compact as a comprehensive international cooperation framework on migrants and human mobility,” said UN Migration Director General William Lacy Swing. 

IOM has engaged with various regional, inter-regional and global processes on migration around the world since the 1990s to advance multilateral understanding and action on migration trends and challenges. Since 2005, IOM has endeavored to bring them together on a regular basis (previous meetings were held in Thailand, Peru, Botswana and Egypt) to foster synergies and exchanges among the various consultative processes.

The outcome document of the meeting combines all the good practices and partnerships derived from regional approaches in various parts of the world, which can be considered during the preparation for the Global Compact.

For more information, please contact Kristina Galstyan at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 (0) 22 7179419, Email:

Language English Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 09:08Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

The meeting gave the opportunity to consolidate inputs and recommendations from all regions to the Global Compact for Migration. Photo: IOM/Jorge Galindo 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Office at Geneva Hosts Final Round of Global Compact for Migration Thematic Consultations

PBN News Germany - Thu, 10/12/2017 - 02:59

Geneva – The United Nations Office at Geneva is hosting the sixth and final thematic consultations of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). The two-day event focuses on irregular migration and regular pathways, including decent work, labour mobility, recognition of skills, and qualifications amongst other pertinent issues.

This final thematic session will lead to the next GCM meeting to be held in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico in December where governments will gather to take stock of the discussions that began on 8 May with the first thematic session on human rights of all migrants, social inclusion, cohesion and all forms of discrimination.

The current thematic session (12-13 October) will be arranged into three panels with the objectives of exploring comprehensive migration policies to address irregular migration and propose more regular pathways including family reunification, regularization, and transition from informal to the formal economy, among others.

The panels will also serve as a platform to exchange ideas on how to reduce the costs of labour migration, promote fair and ethical recruitment and explore labour migration schemes between countries of origin and destination.

A series of side events will complement these discussions by focusing on topics such as health, ethical recruitment and skills recognition.

These latest GCM consultations are being held in a week when several intergovernmental meetings are taking place Geneva, including the Seventh Global Meeting of Chairs and Secretariats of Consultative Processes on Migration, which focused on the regional inputs to the GCM.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has provided support to the consultation phase of the GCM, particularly by extending the required technical and policy expertise, including the publication of suggested actions to States for expanding labour mobility channels.

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM HQ, Tel: +417179205, Email:

Language English Posted: Thursday, October 12, 2017 - 08:56Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

Lek Khon looks after her granddaughter and grandnieces and nephews in a small village near Siem Reap, Cambodia. Her daughter and nieces have all left to work abroad in places like Thailand to earn better wages and Lek Khon is left behind to care after all of their children for extended periods of time. Photo: UN Migration Agency/Muse Mohammed 2016

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Alarmed Following Collision of Navy Vessel, Migrant Boat near Tunisia

PBN News Germany - Wed, 10/11/2017 - 20:24

Tunis – Eight migrants have died in the wake of a collision between a Tunisian navy vessel and a boat reportedly carrying 87 migrants on Sunday, 8 October. A further 38 migrants have been rescued and approximately 41 are still missing.

The tragic incident happened in the early hours of Sunday about 54 kilometers off Kerkennah Island, Tunisia. The migrants’ boat is believed to have left from the Tunisian port of Sfax and was headed towards Italy.

The 38 survivors, all Tunisian nationals, were rescued from the sea by the Tunisian navy on board the vessel involved in the Collison. They were brought back to Sfax and released shortly after. Tunisian authorities announced yesterday (10/10) that they are undertaking a rigorous investigation into the circumstances of the incident.
IOM, the UN Migration Agency is following up on the status of the missing migrants. “We are saddened with this tragedy that is affecting so many migrants and their families” said Lorena Lando, IOM Tunisia Chief of Mission. “IOM is committed to support and advocate for safe and dignified migration. We are concerned about the increasing events of irregular migration from Tunisian coasts and we work closely with all stakeholders to develop long-term solutions,” added Lando.

“The number of Tunisian migrants who reached Italy by sea has increased,” said Federico Soda, Director of IOM’s Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, commenting the recent trends. “From January to August 2017, 1357 Tunisians have reached the Italian coast, while IOM estimates that over 1400 have arrived during the month of September 2017 alone. While the increase of September it is quite unusual, numbers per se are quite low compared to the arrivals registered in Italy in 2017,” said Soda.

For more information, please contact IOM Tunisia:

Lorena Lando, Tel: + 216 28542954, Email:

Myriam CHABBI, Tel: + 216 27 645 998, Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, October 11, 2017 - 20:20Image: Region-Country: TunisiaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Health Partners Launch Massive Cholera Vaccination Campaign in Cox’s Bazar

PBN News Germany - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:34

Cox's Bazar  –  In a race to prevent an outbreak of cholera among over half a million Rohingya refugees who have arrived in the past six weeks, health teams in Cox’s Bazaar, Bangladesh today launched a mass immunization operation to dispense oral cholera vaccine (OCV).

The campaign follows a joint international effort to mobilize 900,000 doses of the vaccine from global emergency stockpiles, and detailed planning led by Bangladesh’s Ministry of Health and Welfare and international agencies, including the World Health Organization, IOM, UNICEF and MSF.

The first round of the campaign, carried out at upazila or sub-district level, will immunize 650,000 Rohingya men, women and children, aged one year and above, over the next seven days.

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare requested the vaccine from the International Coordinating Group on Vaccine Provision (ICG) on 27 September. The ICG is a coordinating mechanism that brings together WHO, UNICEF, MSF, and the International Federation of the Red Cross.

GAVI, the vaccine alliance, is providing financial support and multiple national and international agencies, including IOM, the UN Migration Agency, are implementing the campaign.

More than 200 mobile vaccination teams, each with five members, have been mobilized and dispersed across 12 Rohingya camps and makeshift settlements to roll out the campaign.

It will target new settlements in Ukhiya and Teknaf sub-districts of Cox’s Bazar, and Naikkhongchorri sub-district of Bandarban, as well as surrounding host communities.

IOM, which has mobilized 200 volunteers to conduct the campaign, today began work in Jamtoli makeshift settlement.

IOM volunteers will go house to house, together with community focal points members, to ensure all the refugees receive the vaccine to protect them against cholera.

In the second round of the campaign, 250,000 children between the ages of 1 to 5 will be given a booster dose between 14 days and 3 months after they received the previous dosage.

Since August 25, an estimated 519,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh having fled violence in Myanmar in the largest and speediest movement of a civilian population in Asia since the 1970s.

Cholera is an acute diarrheal disease which can kill people very fast if untreated. In severe cases, it can lead to extreme dehydration, shock and death within a few hours. The symptoms of cholera can include watery diarrhea and vomiting, muscle cramps and weakness.  It is contracted mainly by eating or drinking something that has been contaminated by faeces or vomit infected with cholera germs.

It can easily spread in densely populated communities where access to safe water and sanitation are poor. Poor hygiene behavior, limited volumes of containers, soap distribution and water treatment as well as high population density are all attributors. Living in overcrowded crammed and squalid settings with little or no sanitary facilities are the perfect conditions for an outbreak.

Over 4,500 Rohingya have already been treated for diarrhea and many others for dehydration, and over 14,000 children under the age of 5 have severe acute malnutrition, according to the Inter Sector Coordination Group in Cox’s Bazar. Malnourished children are at least six times more prone to die from a diarrheal disease like cholera.

In the past large cholera outbreaks in refugee camps came with an attack rate of 1-5% with a peak reached after 2-4 weeks; duration of epidemic varies from 1-3 months.

While OCV is a safe and effective tool against cholera, it does not provide protection against other causes of diarrhea, and it remains important to follow the preventive measures for diarrheal diseases: drinking only water that has been properly boiled or treated, practicing good sanitation and food hygiene, and seeking prompt treatment at the health facility if you are sick.

In the last week, at least 10,292 cases of diarrhea have been reported and treated from across the settlements and camps.

“This critically important initiative to protect already vulnerable populations against cholera is welcome and the collaborative efforts of all involved are laudable. But there are still multiple and serious public health risks for this refugee population and a massive scale up of resources and the overall response is needed to mitigate further risks of life threatening illnesses,” said IOM Senior Regional Medical Officer for Asia and the Pacific Patrick Duigan, speaking in Cox’s Bazar.

For more information please contact:

In Cox’s Bazar:
Hala Jaber, Tel : +8801733335221, Email:
Leonard Doyle, IOM Spokesperson, Tel: +41 792857123, Email:

In Dhaka
Shirin Akhter Tel: +8801711187499, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 17:25Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration HealthRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

A Rohingya boy receives one of the first Cholera vaccine doses, at a UN Migration Agency (IOM) clinic in Jumbali, in the world’s second largest mass immunization for the disease which started this morning (10/10). Photo: Muse Mohammed / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Responding to Urgent Shelter Needs of Thousands Affected by Hurricane Maria in Dominica

PBN News Germany - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:25

Dominica – Three weeks after the devastating crossing of Category 5 Hurricane Maria over Dominica, islanders are in dire need of water, electricity, food and other supplies. However, the most urgent need for the long term is housing.

“From available satellite, visual imagery and based on estimated housing stock of just above 26,000 homes, it has been estimated that 23 per cent are gone. Those houses do not exist anymore. They have either been blown into the sea or totally scattered in pieces across the island,” said Jean Philippe Antolin, who leads IOM response operations in the Caribbean. “Thirty-nine per cent of the houses have sustained severe damage, and a further 28 per cent have been affected to some degree,” he added.

The numbers reflect the painful human situations in the shelters where more than 2,000 Dominicans are still living, while the rest are staying with relatives and friends.

Tosca Augustine and her three children ran to a neighbouring school for protection just before the hurricane hit Dominica, and they are still living in one of the classrooms with another family. “My home just vanished into thin air. Nothing, nothing left to remember from it. Everything is gone,” Tosca explained.

When asked about her future, Tosca said: “It took so long to gain all of the things that I had, clothes, equipment for fishing; that is what we do for a living. I don’t know where we must go from here. It’s like everything is useless or hopeless.”

In response to the critical situation, IOM, the UN Migration Agency is engaged in a vast array of activities ranging from delivery of supplies to coordination efforts. In Dominica, IOM is co-leading with the Ministries of Social Services and Planning, the Shelter and the Non-Food Items (NFI) sectors.

Additional to the USD 100,000 released by IOM to scale up the shelter response in Dominica, USD 350,000 has been secured from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) for shelter and DTM (Displacement Track Matrix) deployment.

IOM has gathered information regarding official and unofficial shelters housing displaced people. Some 100 shelters (33 of which are schools) are housing 2,751 people. The number of people temporarily sheltering with host families is not known.

Many Dominicans routinely sleep in shelters or with host families but return to their own homes during the day to salvage their belongings and clear debris.

IOM is also providing pipeline, distribution and coordination support to shelter and non-food items (NFI) donated by the UK Department for International Development (DFID) and the French Government under the UCPM (the European Union Civil Protection Mechanism).

Items delivered by IOM in shelters and distributions centres are mainly solar lights, water purification supplies, and kitchen and hygiene kits, all essential for alleviating the severely damaged living conditions of Dominicans.

On Sunday, UN Secretary-General António Guterres joined a UN distribution – including IOM – at the Kalinago Territory indigenous community, in eastern Dominica.

Addressing the local and the international community, SG Guterres made a call for action on climate change. “When the planet is warmer, and the sea is warmer, these storms become more intense, more frequent and more devastating. And that is why we need to ask those that are responsible for what has happened here because they have been contributing to global warming, that they need to stop this trend,” he added.

You can support IOM relief efforts in Dominica by donating here.

For more information, please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 2212-5300, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 17:02Image: Region-Country: DominicaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration and Climate ChangeMigration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

On Sunday 8 October, UN Secretary-General António Guterres joined a UN distribution – including IOM – in eastern Dominica. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

The UN Migration Agency delivers supplies to hurricane-affected families in Dominica. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Hurricane Maria left Dominica islanders in dire need of water, electricity, food and other supplies including housing.  Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

IOM distributes non-food relief items which include solar lights, water purification supplies, and kitchen and hygiene kits. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Aid being distributed in Dominica after the Caribbean was devastated by Category 5 Hurricane Maria over three weeks ago. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Some of the relief items being distributed by IOM and other agencies include solar lights, water purification supplies, and kitchen and hygiene kits, all essential for alleviating the severely damaged living conditions of Dominicans. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 140,538 in 2017; Deaths Reach 2,754

PBN News Germany - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 11:02

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 140,538 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 8 October, with over 75 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 318,207 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome reported on Monday (9 October) that official figures from the Italian Ministry of the Interior show 107,028 migrants arrived by sea to Italy this year, almost 26 per cent fewer than last year in the same period, when 144,445 migrants arrived by sea.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported that Sunday a Tunisian military ship collided with a vessel carrying around 70 migrants in the Maltese search and rescue area, 54 km from the island of Kerkennah (governorate of Sfax). According to Italian media, the migrants – all, apparently, Tunisian – left Tunisia from Kerkennah. The collision caused the craft to sink. Maltese authorities coordinated rescue operations carried out by the Italian Coast Guard and Italian Navy, who confirmed 46 survivors with remains of eight persons recovered. By Monday evening the estimate of those missing remained 20.

Di Giacomo provided the following statistics on Tunisian migration by sea to Italy, which appears to be increasing over previous years. He reported 1,637 Tunisians arrived by sea in Italy in 2014, then 880 the following year and 1,200 last year. During the first eight months of 2017, Di Giacomo reported, 1,357 migrants from Tunisia arrived in Italy, or more than all of 2016. In September, at least another 1,400 arrived.

“It’s a new trend, but I wouldn’t call it a consequence of the recent ‘closing’ of the Libyan route, because the nationalities are different,” Di Giacomo explained. 

“In addition to the estimated 1,400 Tunisian migrants registered in September, we should also consider that there have been many cases where migrants arrived in Sicily and succeeded in disappearing before being intercepted by the police. So, the number is higher, but we cannot say how many,” he added.

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported that IOM has continued its emergency response in Sabratah, where in the aftermath of weeks of conflict in the Libyan coastal city of Sabratah, at least 4,000 migrants – many previously held in numerous informal detention centres and camps – have been transferred to a hangar in the city’s Dahman area, where IOM is providing emergency assistance.

Sabratah, approximately 80 kilometres west of Tripoli, is one of the main departure points for migrant boats attempting to make the perilous journey across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

On 7 October, a day after the first transfer of migrants, IOM sent a field team to the hangar to assess the situation. By the end of the day, the team reported that 2,600 migrants (1,819 men, 704 women and 77 children) were being kept at the site by the Libyan Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM). More migrants from other locations in Sabratah were later transferred to the hangar and more are anticipated to arrive soon.

IOM this week is providing assistance at the assembly point, including psychosocial support. At the same time three critical medical cases received ambulance transfer to a medical clinic and additional migrants were treated for minor injuries.

IOM fears that the number of migrants affected by recent developments in Sabratah will continue to rise. Throughout the day migrants have arrived both in Zuwara and Sabratah, some of whom have walked for hours. This week IOM has received reports of some 2,000 migrants travelling by foot from Sabratah to Zuwara and are now also in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

Some of the current identified needs include milk and diapers for babies, and water and food. IOM’s emergency food intervention in Sabratah continues.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that arrivals to Spain for the month of September totalled 1,004, about half the level for August. The total arrivals for 2017 have now reached 12,328 through 9 October. At this time last year, Spain saw a total of 5,445 migrants arriving by sea.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia on Monday reported four incidents off the islands of Lesvos and Chios that required search and rescue operations. The Hellenic Coast Guard brought 153 migrants and transferred them to the respective islands.

Namia further reported that migrant sea arrivals to Greek territory totalled 822 for the first seven days of October, and 20,364 for the year so far. (See chart below.)

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 4,590 migrant fatalities in 2017. In the Central Mediterranean, at least 8 people drowned and an estimated 20 migrants are missing* after a boat carrying dozens collided with a navy vessel off Tunisia’s southeast coast on 8 October. These deaths bring the total of fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2017 to 2,754. 

Since the last update, MMP recorded another incident in Southeast Asia: 13 migrants died, including 11 children, and at least 18 are still missing* after a boat carrying Rohingya migrants capsized in the Naf River, also on 8 October. Nearly six weeks into a mass exodus of people fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, dozens have died while fleeing to Bangladesh: IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 172 fatalities on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border since 31 August 2017.

Additionally, MMP recorded the deaths of four migrants on the US-Mexico border: one migrant died in Kenedy County, Texas on 6 September; another was found dead in Starr County, Texas on 1 October; one young man was hit by a vehicle in the Interstate 8 near Jacumba, California, on August 25; and the body of one migrant was found inside a tractor trailer at the US Border Patrol Falfurrias Checkpoint on 6 October.

 In Mexico, the remains of another migrant were found near train tracks in Saltillo, Coahuila, on 8 October.

*When deaths occur at sea, Missing Migrants Project often relies on the estimates of survivors once they are rescued, with the lowest estimate of missing persons always used in the dataset.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic:    

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70; E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 16:50Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Trains Libyan Authorities on Migration Data Management Best Practices

PBN News Germany - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 10:41

Tunis – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, this week (3-5/10) trained Libyan officials in migration data management. The officials were from the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM), Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labour, the Bureau of Statistics and the departments of Passport Control and Border Points.

The three-day training, held in Tunis and conducted under the project Enhance Lifesaving Operations at Sea by the Libyan Coast Guard funded by the Government of Switzerland, provided the participants with an overview on migrant data collected by IOM Libya’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, the basic and general concepts for proper data management and the best tools to collect them.

“I know that we are only at the beginning of the training but I can already see that there is remarkable work done by the International Organization for Migration in terms of both collecting and putting data into good use,” said Salwa Mohamed Sriti, from the Bureau of Statistics. “One thing we can work on improving is better involvement of locals when collecting information by DTM staff.”

The training also outlined how to set up effective information systems, during which, Franz Prutsch, IOM’s Regional Thematic Specialist on IBM, explained the importance of the chain: input, process and output, in terms of analyzing and using data, the significance of a user-friendly data base and internal networking.

“There’s always data available and ready for use, but it must be processed within a proper context first, so as to make the best sense of it,” said Prutsch.

The training is an initial step towards developing a national Standards of Procedures (SOP) for migration data management with aims to assist all the relevant Libyan directorates to collect and analyze data for future government strategies.

For more information, please contact IOM Libya:
Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600 389, Email:,  Maysa Khalil, Tel: +216 29 600 388, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 16:04Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Capacity BuildingIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Sub Saharan African migrants about to leave Libya on one of the voluntary humanitarian return charters, organized by IOM. IOM has been training Libya authorities to build up and enhance their migration management capacity which in turn should ensure these migrants’ human rights are protected. Photo: UN Migration Agency

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Biometrics Institute Consolidate Cooperation in Promoting Responsible and Effective Use of Biometrics

PBN News Germany - Tue, 10/10/2017 - 10:04

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Biometrics Institute have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that formalizes closer collaboration on shared priorities, focusing on the responsible use of biometrics in the field of migration management.

Biometric technologies are today a vital part of identity and broader migration management. IOM’s mandate includes support to States to conceptualize and operate their migration programmes, capacity building for better border management, direct assistance to all migrants, including those fleeing conflict or natural disasters, migrant integration and migration and health. With the responsible use of biometric technologies, States – and IOM itself – are better placed to more effectively support migrants including vulnerable persons, to increase the integrity and reliability of processes, and to increase security for all.

The MoU, signed in September 2017, outlines the scope of the intended cooperation and the priority areas of interest to both entities. It will aid the two institutions’ efforts to address new and emerging challenges in a more coordinated way, such as how to use biometrics to better balance facilitation and security requirements, ensure better accessibility to safe transport modes for migrants and refugees, harness the benefits of biometrics to increase safe and regular international cross border mobility and address health challenges linked to international mobility.

IOM has already developed considerable practical expertise and know-how on the use of biometrics in travel documents and border management, and it cooperates closely with the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and its technical working groups.

The enhanced partnership with the Biometrics Institute will facilitate access to further in-depth expertise on the use of biometrics also relevant for other areas where IOM is active, such as registration of migrants in need of assistance, enhanced camp management, migration health, visa facilitation and other migration management fields. 

“IOM has become, over the last years, a major global player in the field of biometrics,” said Florian G. Forster, IOM’s Head of Immigration and Border Management. “The use of biometrics is potentially of interest to all areas in which IOM is active. This new partnership will help us promote the responsible use of biometrics, for the benefit of Member States and individual migrants,” he added.

Following the recommendations based on an internal assessment carried out in 2016, IOM is now reinforcing partnerships and exchanges with key international actors in this area. It is expected that the Biometrics Institute’s expertise and training resources will contribute to strengthening the competencies of IOM staff in the biometrics area, and that the cooperation will contribute to better conceptualize, develop and implement new projects with a biometrics component. IOM will also use the Biometric Institute platform to share and discuss its own experiences.  

The Biometrics Institute is an independent and impartial international membership organization for biometric users and other interested parties established in 2001 to promote the responsible use of biometrics. It provides its members and key stakeholders with information about best practices, including Biometrics Privacy Guidelines, the “Top 10 Vulnerability Questions” and an annual industry survey. It has over 230 membership organizations from around the world representing government agencies, other users, suppliers, academic and privacy experts.

For more information, please contact IOM HQ: Jorge Galindo, Tel: +417179205, Email:, or Florian G. Forster, Tel: +41227179386, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 10, 2017 - 15:37Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMOthersDefault: Multimedia: 

Syrian refugees undergoing biometric registration by immigration officials as part of their application process for resettlement. File photo: Muse Mohammed / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2016

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN