• English
  • Deutsch

Urgent Support Needed for Dominica, Island Hardest-hit by Hurricane Maria

PBN News Germany - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 10:36

Roseau – Two weeks after Hurricane Maria obliterated Dominica, people affected by the Category Five hurricane are still in desperate need of assistance. Lack of access to central and coastal communities, beyond Roseau, the country’s capital, and Melville, have hampered needs assessments and humanitarian relief efforts.

Over 3,000 people have been identified as staying in 78 collective centres across the island through IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s displacement and needs tracking tool. However, the total number of people displaced by the storm is still unknown, as at least 65 centres and numerous unofficial displacement sites and host family locations have yet to be assessed.

With food, water, telecommunications and access cut off since 18 September, the situation in Dominica is growing more difficult every day. Initial assessments indicate that the number of damaged or destroyed buildings is between 17,000 and 20,000, which housed 54,000 people – about 80 per cent of the total population of the island. Twenty-seven people are confirmed dead. This figure may rise once contact is re-established with cut-off communities.

Augustine Taruka, manager of the collective centre in Mahaut Government School, two kilometres north of the capital Roseau, explained to IOM that several families took shelter in the centre when the hurricane destroyed their houses.
For others, they left their homes as the roofs could no longer protect them from Dominica’s ongoing hurricane season, which usually lasts until November.

“We are receiving support, but not enough,” Taruka explained. “We received some drinking water on the 28th [September] but it is already finished, and I can’t let the children drink water from the river as they might get ill. We are trying to collect rainwater, but we don’t have enough buckets.”

Nathan, a five-year-old Dominican temporarily housed in the collective centre, points out to where his house used to be, on the hillside near the school. “In between the two yellow houses,” he said, but all that remains of his house is a mound of debris.

The Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the Government of Dominica report needs for 14,000 tarpaulins, 4,813 cases of water per day, road clearance, bridge reconstruction, shelter repair materials, water purification kits, non-food items, generators, dignity and sanitation materials and medical supplies.

IOM has released USD 100,000 from its own funds to scale up shelter assistance in Dominica, and is appealing for USD 2.2 million to provide emergency shelter, roofing kits, and support to collective centres in the island.

Read the detailed appeal here.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: DominicaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsMigration and Climate ChangeMigration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

People in Dominica affected by the Category Five hurricane Maria are still in desperate need of assistance. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

People in Dominica affected by the Category Five hurricane Maria are still in desperate need of assistance. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

DFID Airlifts Vital Humanitarian Aid to Bangladesh for People Fleeing Violence in Myanmar

PBN News Germany - Tue, 10/03/2017 - 10:35

Bangladesh – The British Government, in collaboration with IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has organized a major airlift of relief items to help some of the estimated 507,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh in the past month to escape violence in neighbouring Myanmar.

The aid, flown into the southern Bangladeshi city of Chittagong by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) on September 28 and 29, included 20,000 blankets, 10,500 sleeping mats, and 10,000 shelter kits. Each shelter kit contains two tarpaulins and the rope necessary to fix them.

The airlift, which will improve the lives of thousands of families, will target people who have been living in spontaneous settlements on roadsides or muddy fields around the Kutupalong and Balukhali Makeshift Settlements since fleeing Myanmar’s North Rakhine State.

Convoys of IOM trucks moved the aid from Chittagong airport to one of IOM’s partner warehouses in the same city for processing and it is now being distributed by IOM and local NGO partners to the newly arrived refugees. On the first day of the distribution, a total 1,000 households will be assisted in Balukhali, each receiving the shelter kit, two blankets and a sleeping mat.

“Many thousands of people are living in the open. We need to provide them with shelter immediately,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies. “This airlift will supply 10,000 families – 50,000 people – with potentially life-saving shelter, mats and bedding to protect them during the monsoon season’s torrential wind and rain. We are greatly appreciative that the UK government, which has partnered with IOM in Bangladesh, Iraq and in other IOM missions, has again decided to work with us to help this extremely vulnerable population,” added Abdiker.

There are massive shelter and site management needs across Cox’s Bazar which reflect the scale of the crisis. IOM in coordination with the UK Government and other partners is working to urgently address these needs.

Of the estimated over 507,000 people, who have arrived in Bangladesh over the past month, an estimated 300,000 people are still in need of emergency shelter.

IOM has distributed 44,456 tarpaulins, with guy ropes to around 44,456 households since the start of the influx on 25 August. It has also distributed 4,152 blankets, 1,595 sleeping mats, 2,784 mattresses, and 1,411 core relief packages. The packages include clothing, mosquito nets, cooking sets, soap and blankets.

114,000 Bangladesh Taka (around USD 1,390) in cash has also been distributed to 57 households (BDT 2,000 or around USD 25 in cash per household) to help with shelter construction. Another 4,000 NFI kits and 6,000 bamboo poles are scheduled for delivery in the next two weeks.

IOM is coordinating the emergency response in Bangladesh through the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG.) It is also leading the shelter and NFI sector, and the site management sector.

In August, ISCG agencies published a Preliminary Response Plan appealing for USD 77 million. As of 1 October, more than USD 36.4 million (47 per cent) has been received and approximately USD 40 million had been pledged by donors.

The UK Government has committed GBP 30 million of new funding to support those most affected by the crisis. Bilateral in-kind assistance has also been provided to Bangladesh by Indonesia, Azerbaijan, Malaysia, India and Morocco.

Since the publication of the Preliminary Response Plan, the number of refugees has spiralled and the plan is now being revised to correspond with the increased humanitarian needs. The revised plan is expected to be launched later this week.

For more information, please contact:
Hala Jaber in Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +8801733335221, Email:
Peppi Siddiq in Dhaka, Tel: +8801755568894, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 3, 2017 - 16:33Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

The British Government has airlifted relief items to help some of the estimated 507,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Yemen on Brink of Humanitarian Calamity says UN Migration Agency Director General in Sana’a

PBN News Germany - Mon, 10/02/2017 - 10:52

Sana’a – As famine and cholera threaten to engulf Yemen in a vast humanitarian crisis, William Lacy Swing, Director General of the UN Migration Agency, on a visit to the country today (02/10), urged authorities to permit an immediate expansion of humanitarian access in order to save lives.

“There is a veneer of normalcy in Sana’a with people thronging busy streets. This disguises the deep crisis that Yemenis are facing. Already 80 per cent of the population –  21 million people – are in desperate need of aid as a result of years of armed conflict, which regularly sees clashes and aerial bombings of urban areas. These 21 million vulnerable Yemenis (along with tens of thousands of migrants passing through the country) do not know where their next meal is coming from. Basic sanitation has broken down across much of the country and millions are without clean water,” said DG Swing.

“The authorities have a responsibility to give humanitarians more access, including reopening the airport for essential aid deliveries, and the world has an obligation to come to the aid of the Yemeni people. The escalating armed conflict is restricting humanitarian aid delivery, aggravating malnutrition and spreading disease. The world’s worst cholera outbreak is now part of this volatile mix and, as mind-numbing as it may seem, one million Yemenis are expected to contract the deadly disease by the end of this year.” 

There have been over 2,000 deaths from the cholera outbreak since October 2016. While it can be deadly within hours, if left untreated, it is easily preventable through basic hygiene. The country’s healthcare and sanitation services are facing complete breakdown. So far, some 750,000 Yemenis have been hit by cholera (up from 276,000 last July) and more than 5,000 additional people are being infected every day.

In addition, more than 3 million of Yemeni children under the age of 5 are at risk of severe acute malnutrition as an ever-present risk of famine looms larger.

“The internecine conflict, which has convulsed Yemen for over two years already, shows no sign of being resolved. It has displaced more than 3 million people from their homes, putting them and their children at grave risk. Of specific concern to IOM is the tragedy that continues to befall many of the 6,000 migrants who continue to enter the country each month. They come in the hope that they can make their way through Yemen to the Gulf countries to find work,” stated DG Swing.

“Few realize the grave dangers they are likely to face along the route, like exploitation and other abuse. Many are abducted by criminal gangs upon landing in Yemen. A common technique is to call the migrant’s family while allowing burning plastic from an empty water bottle drip on a migrant’s skin causing burns and excruciating pain. Families usually pay up quickly and the migrants continue their journey often to be extorted repeatedly by different gangs before reaching their destination,” DG Swing added.

“For Yemenis and migrants, the protracted conflict has become an endless nightmare,” DG Swing stated, while also noting that in meetings with the authorities he has prioritized improved humanitarian access. He has also met displaced people to discuss their needs, as well as migrants.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency has a well-established presence in Yemen with 603 staff across all of the country’s 23 Governorates. Working with UN and other humanitarian partners including many local groups IOM delivers humanitarian aid and tracks the movement and needs of displaced people.

“More than two years of brutal conflict has turned this society upside down leaving a trail of needless devastation in its wake. Those most vulnerable suffer most, especially Yemenis displaced by fighting or migrants trying to pass through the country seeking work in the Gulf,” said DG Swing.

“Today I met with people displaced by fighting, whom IOM was only able to reach with aid a few weeks ago. They are in dire conditions virtually without basic services and this is the first time they received any help since fleeing their homes more than a year ago. So many like them are facing starvation, cholera and death. This is part of the reason for my visit; to see how we can gain more access to the communities that need our help most,” added DG Swing.

“I urge all parties to the conflict to make real efforts towards finding peace because aid alone is not a solution,” DG Swing said.

For more information, please contact Leonard Doyle IOM Spokesperson, Tel: +41 79 2857123, Email:


Language English Posted: Monday, October 2, 2017 - 16:49Image: Region-Country: YemenDefault: Multimedia: 

UN Migration Agency Director General William Lacy Swing speaks to some of IOM's 600 local staff in Sana’a, Yemen. Photo: UN Migration Agency/Saba Malme 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Total Dead Reaches 23 Following Yesterday’s Capsize in Bay of Bengal as More Tragic Details Emerge

PBN News Germany - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:53

Cox’s Bazar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency has learned further details following yesterday’s report (28/09) that Rohingya refugees died when the boat they were using to reach safety in Bangladesh capsized in the Bay of Bengal’s rough seas.

IOM’s local field team immediately traveled to the scene to assist survivors and assess any further response needed. Today (29/09), they report that, having checked with police and the owner of a grocery shop located close to where the incident occurred, the total confirmed dead is now 23. In addition to the remains of 15 people recovered yesterday, eight more bodies were recovered this morning from two locations. Six bodies were recovered where the boat capsized and two bodies washed up in front of the Sea Pearl Hotel a small distance down the shore.  Among the newly confirmed dead this morning were two women aged 35 and 49, as well six young children.

IOM is working to address the needs of the survivors. Confirmed by Government officials, the number of survivors remains 17 as reported yesterday (28/09). From the ten survivors admitted to hospital yesterday, six have been released so far. They have joined the other seven survivors and are all in the process of being moved to Kutupalong, a refugee camp. Of those released from hospital, four were men and two were children.

One of the four men released from hospital spoke with IOM and said that he and some others counted the number of people on board the boat. According this survivor, there were 24 men and boys aged between ten and 35 years old on board. Boys over ten years old were going to be charged the same fare as men, whereas anyone under the age of ten would not be charged. He counted a total of 80 people on board, which differs from the 100 reported to IOM yesterday. Of the 80, he said, at least six were adult women and 50 were children. Many of the children were not travelling with their parents. Based on this updated report, the total missing is now 40. The survivor who recounted this information to IOM lost four family members on board the boat - his whole family – his 22-year-old wife, his eight year old son and twin boys, aged 3 months.

To find out more details on this incident, please read our report from yesterday here.

For more information, please contact:

Hala Jaber in Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +8801733335221, Email:

Peppi Siddiq in Dhaka, Tel: +8801755568894, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 - 17:50Image: Region-Country: BangladeshMyanmarThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 135,937 in 2017; Deaths Reach 2,655

PBN News Germany - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 11:22

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 135,937 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 27 September, with over 75 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 302,803 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome reported on Thursday (28 September) that, according to official figures of the Italian Ministry of Interior, 104,082 migrants arrived by sea to Italy this year, or some 21.5 per cent fewer than last year in the same period.


IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported that on 27 September, 228 migrants (including 172 men, 30 women and 26 children) using two rubber boats were rescued/intercepted at sea off Tripoli by the Libyan Coast Guard. Included among the 26 children were 14 unaccompanied minors. These migrants were transferred to Tajoura detention centre where IOM is distributing non-food aid, including mattresses, pillows and cleaning supplies. The majority of the migrants came from Morocco, Mali and Cote d’Ivoire, Petré said, adding that thus far in 2017, 18,127 migrants have been rescued/intercepted in Libyan waters.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday (28 September) that 958 migrants have arrived by sea this month. Sea arrivals have been recorded by Spanish authorities, marking a sharp drop from the numbers arriving in July and August (see chart below), while the total for now has reached 11,861 – compared with just over 8,000 for all of 2016.

IOM Spain also released a chart listing nearly 50 separate incidents of sea rescues this month (chart here), few with as many as 50 arrivals, and several with many in the single digits.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia on Thursday reported a rescue operation off the coast of Megisti of six migrants (one male adult, two women and three children) while reporting the death of one victim, a nine-year-old girl. Nearby, off the coast of Kastellorizo Island, 20 more migrants (13 men, two women and five children) were identified by the Hellenic Coast Guard and transferred to the island.
She added that according to the Hellenic Coast Guard, there were at least three other incidents off the islands of Lesvos and Samos this week that required search and rescue operations. The Hellenic Coast Guard managed to rescue 87 migrants and transferred them to those two islands.

Namia further reported that migrant arrivals to the Greek islands total 4,125 for the first 26 days of September, making this month 2017’s busiest on the Eastern Mediterranean Sea route. (See chart below.)

Thus far a total of 19,195 migrants this year have entered Greece by sea, which remains only about 10 per cent of last year’s total arrivals and just 2 per cent of 2015’s surge.

The death of the child near Megisti brings to nine the number of migrants confirmed dead on the Mediterranean’s eastern route since the end of April. Another 38 fatalities from a voyage originating in Turkey, but entering the Black Sea, were recorded by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) last week, bringing the 2017 total for all deaths by sea in the area to 84. By comparison, nearly 350 men, women and children drowned on eastern sea routes through this same date in 2016.

So far in 2017, 2,471 migrants have been reported lost at sea on the Central Mediterranean route – compared to 3,055 during the same period last year – and 138 on the Western Mediterranean route linking North Africa to Spain. Last year through this date 116 migrants were reported lost on this route, and 128 for the entire year. (See chart below.)


Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 4,439 migrant fatalities in 2017 as of 28 September. Since last week, MMP recorded seven deaths in the Middle East: three Afghans and one Syrian died in two separate terrorist attacks near Turkey’s southeastern borders, one Afghan died in a car accident in Iran, and two Syrian children died while attempting to cross the Syrian-Turkish border. (See chart below.)

On the US/Mexico border, one migrant drowned while crossing the Río Bravo in Reynosa, Mexico. Last Saturday, 23 September, one Indonesian woman died after a boat capsized off the coast of Tanjung Balau Johor Bahru in Malaysia.

MMP recorded another incident in Southeast Asia: one boat carrying Rohingya migrants fleeing Myanmar capsized off the coast of Bangladesh on 28 September. Nine children, five women and one man died, 17 were rescued (of which 10 remain hospitalized), and 68 are feared dead. Nearly one month 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 161 fatalities since 31 August.

MMP received survey data collected by the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat’s Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism Initiative (4Mi) in Libya between May and September 2017. The 4Mi project interviews migrants in transit and includes questions on deaths witnessed during their journey. From the findings of the 4Mi surveys in Libya, MMP recorded 97 additional deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa and 102 in North Africa between May and September 2017.

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: Friday, September 29, 2017 - 16:09Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Half a Million Refugees in Cox’s Bazar Urgently Need Clean Water, Sanitation, Say UN Migration Agency, Partners

PBN News Germany - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:58

Cox’s Bazar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency and partner aid agencies are struggling to provide clean water and sanitation for an estimated half a million people who have fled Myanmar’s North Rakhine State in the past month and arrived in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

Tens of thousands of the new arrivals are still living in the open with little or no shelter, food or access to healthcare. Daily rain has flooded campsites and left pools of water, many of them contaminated with fecal matter. For many of the refugees, they are the only accessible water source, but pose a lethal threat of waterborne diseases like cholera.

The Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), which is coordinating the emergency response and is hosted by IOM, says that approximately 59 million litres of safe water are now needed every day to meet the basic needs of the new arrivals. 

Since 25 August, aid agencies have managed to provide just 1.5 million litres of clean water a day to the refugee camps, makeshift settlements and spontaneous sites that now cover Cox’s Bazar District.

IOM has been providing an average 12,000 litres of safe water a day to some 1,600 people in Unchiprang, one of the new spontaneous sites in Teknaf since 15th September. To date, 186,000 litres of safe water has been delivered to people living in the site.

Since the new influx began on August 25th, IOM has installed 387 emergency pit latrines in three sites – 40 in Unchiprang, 20 in Balukhali makeshift settlement and 327 in the new Kutupalong Expansion site. With 50 users per latrine, they will serve an estimated 19,350 people.

It has also installed 17 mobile toilets to serve an estimated 850 people. In total, 1,532 emergency latrines have been constructed and are being maintained by IOM partners.

The IOM Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) team has also completed the boring of six deep tube wells. Installation of the wells will be completed in two weeks, providing an additional 3,000 people with clean water in the Kutupalong Expansion site.

In the makeshift settlements and spontaneous sites people desperately need more jerrycans to move and store safe water. In the past week, 15,477 jerrycans have been distributed by aid agencies. IOM delivered 8,458 in Kutupalong makeshift settlement and Unchiprang.

Unchiprang has no access to ground water and needs an estimated 745,550 litres of water a day to be trucked in. The water table is falling and existing water sources are losing their capacity to meet the water needs of the rapidly expanding population. According to IOM water engineers, by January they may no longer be viable. 

Before the August influx, IOM was also providing 240,000 litres of water daily for some 15,000 people living in Leda makeshift settlement. A total of 223 deep tube wells and 1,603 different types of latrine were also in place.

But despite the earlier investment, WASH infrastructure in the settlements is now under immense strain due to the massive population increase in all sites. Areas that are close to the border and the Naf river are in most urgent need of WASH facilities. Many sites have either no or very limited access to safe water and latrines.

The ISCG reports that an estimated 391,000 people need immediate WASH assistance. According to IOM WASH engineers, some 18,000 emergency latrines are needed to provide access to basic emergency sanitation for all the new arrivals. Since 25 August, agencies have been able to reach only 141,070 people in Cox’s Bazar district with WASH assistance. 

For more information please contact IOM Bangladesh:
Peppi Siddiq in Dhaka, Tel: +8801755568894, Email:
Hala Jaber in Cox's Bazar, Tel: +8801733335221, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 - 16:13Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Tens of thousands of the new arrivals are still living in the open with little or no shelter, food or access to healthcare. Photo: Muse Mohammed / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Tens of thousands of the new arrivals are still living in the open with little or no shelter, food or access to healthcare. Photo: Muse Mohammed / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Partners, Seek Poverty Reduction through Safer, More Skilled Labour Migration

PBN News Germany - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:57

Bangkok – Up to 300,000 migrants, especially women from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar heading to or returning from Thailand, are set to benefit from safer migration, improved skills development and better job opportunities over the next four years through a regional programme launched today (29/9) in Bangkok by IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

The USD 8.3 million Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand (PROMISE) project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) aims to improve the employability of migrants; to promote safe migration from Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar into Thailand; and to contribute to poverty reduction in the region.

The programme will be led by IOM, and co-implemented by UN Women, in partnership with the private sector, regional bodies, participating country governments, national training institutions, civil society and the International Labour Organization (ILO).

Most migration to Thailand involves low or medium-skilled migrants, according to an IOM-ILO joint baseline survey carried out in the PROMISE inception phase. Migrant women often have disproportionately lower levels of education than migrant men.  Low skill levels of migrants from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar have a negative effect on their wages, saving rates and remittances.

Technical and vocational training structures in the countries of origin rarely include migrants and do not correspond to the needs of the Thai labour market. The survey findings also suggest that migrants who gain valuable skills when working in Thailand rarely plan to use them when they return home.

To address these challenges, private sector engagement is at the core of PROMISE initiative in recognition of the critical role of employers in ensuring greater protection of migrant workers. The programme will establish partnerships with employers in Thailand and skill development partners in the countries of origin to develop new cross-border models of market-driven migrant skills training. It will also improve access to skills training for migrants already working in Thailand in construction, manufacturing and hospitality.

Other programme components will focus on migrant protection through the promotion of ethical recruitment, migrant worker empowerment and support to regional, bilateral and national efforts in these areas. In addition, PROMISE will also broaden opportunities for returning migrants to use their human, social and financial capital through enhanced job placement services and entrepreneurial support.

Speaking at the PROMISE launch in Bangkok, IOM Thailand Chief of Mission Dana Graber Ladek highlighted the positive planned outcomes of the project. “With PROMISE, IOM and partners want to expand migrants’ access to skills development, ethical recruitment and protection. This benefits not just the migrants and their families, but also the economies and societies of both countries of origin and destination,” she said.

“Switzerland has a strong tradition of assisting the Mekong Sub-region in poverty alleviation. Through SDC, Switzerland is therefore proud to support and finance PROMISE to help Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Thailand achieve the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals,” said Tim Enderlin, SDC Director of Cooperation for the Mekong Region.

Thailand is the main country of destination for migrants from Cambodia, Lao PDR and Myanmar. With falling fertility rates and an ageing population, the country relies on an estimated five million migrant workers to plug labour shortages.

For further information please contact IOM Thailand. Anna Platonova, Email:, Tel: +66 2 343 9335  or Reuben Lim, Email:, Tel: +66 2 343 9370.

Language English Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 - 16:12Image: Region-Country: ThailandThemes: Capacity BuildingLabour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Student chefs train at a hospitality school at Siem Reap, Cambodia, as part of the PROMISE inception phase. File photo: Muse Mohammed / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2016 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Ethiopian Airlines Sign Agreement to Better Help Migrants, Refugees Transiting through Addis Ababa

PBN News Germany - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:57

Addis Ababa – To better facilitate refugee resettlement, as well as assisted voluntary return, to African countries through Addis Ababa, IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, signed a cooperation agreement with Ethiopian Airlines on 22 September 2017.

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport has become one of the major gateways to Africa and Ethiopian Airlines has taken on a major share of refugee resettlement international transportation. IOM Addis Ababa has facilitated the voluntary movement through the international airport, of 6,260 refugees in 2016 and 3,200 refugees in 2017.

This agreement will make it easier for refugees being resettled or migrants returning home through IOM’s programmes to identify where they can find assistance at the airport terminal. Helpdesks will be clearly marked with the IOM and Ethiopian Airline signs.

“Often we have refugees being resettled, or family reunion or assisted voluntary return cases, who do not speak English or the language of the transit country. Unable to communicate, they can miss connecting flights,” said Milun Jovanovic, the Operations Unit Head in IOM Special Liaison Office in Addis Ababa.

“Through the new cooperative agreement, the refugees, and other cases traveling under IOM arrangements, can now be identified, and vital assistance will be provided for them while they are transiting through Addis Ababa.”

Prior to this latest agreement on airport transit assistance, IOM and Ethiopian Airlines signed a Global Agreement and Chartered Flight Agreement for transportation services in August and September of 2016, respectively.

The transiting number of IOM-arranged passengers significantly increased upon the signing of the Global Agreement with the Airline in 2016. The United States takes the largest portion of those resettlement cases with 3,000 refugees resettled in 2017 so far alone.

Ethiopia has also become a host for the largest African refugees, currently hosting more than 800,000 refugees mainly from South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.

For more information, please contact IOM Ethiopia:
Alemayehu Seifeselassie, Tel: +251116611117 (Ext. 455), Mobile: +251911639082, Email:
Milun Jovanovic, Tel: +251116611477/75 (Ext. 200), Mobile: +251911229752, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 - 16:11Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationCounter-TraffickingMigrant AssistanceResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff assist migrants at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Photo: UN MIgration Agency (IOM) 2017

IOM staff assist migrants at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Photo: UN MIgration Agency (IOM) 2017

IOM staff assist migrants at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Photo: UN MIgration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Signs Agreement with Niger to Combat Human Trafficking

PBN News Germany - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:56

Niamey – So far in 2017, IOM, the UN Migration Agency has assisted 107 victims of trafficking in Niger, of whom 27 per cent were women and 60 per cent were children. This compares to 46 assisted victims in 2016.

To enhance support to victims, IOM has signed an agreement with the Nigerien National Agency for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons and Illicit Trafficking of Migrants (ANLTP/TIM). The agreement includes an action plan for the next two years, financed by the European Union.

Niger is not only a country of origin and destination but transit, especially for trafficked men, women, and children subjected to forced labour. Given this, the country continues to be a key place for anti-trafficking and counter-smuggling activities for migrants from and in West Africa.

According to IOM data and interviews from Niger, more than half of the victims of trafficking in Niger assisted in 2017 stated that they were subjected to exploitative begging. Over 30 per cent stated that they were sexually exploited. The victims who were assisted originated from Nigeria, followed by Niger itself.

Since 2010, IOM Niger has developed a series of activities in order to combat human trafficking and to protect the rights of smuggled migrants. IOM has supported the Ministry of Justice during the preparation and adoption of the Order No. 2012-86 on Combating Trafficking in Persons (2010) which criminalizes all forms of trafficking, including slavery and practices similar to slavery.

IOM works in close coordination with the ANLTP and the National Coordination Commission for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons (CNCLTP) through various activities including awareness events, trainings, and its direct assistance to migrants. When assisting children, IOM works in close coordination with juvenile authorities and child protection actors to ensure their best interests at every stage of the process.
“Migrants are exploited every day on these dangerous routes, among them many women and children – some unaccompanied – from Niger and other ECOWAS countries,” said Marine Buckenham, IOM’s Protection Officer in Niger. “Today, 28 September, marks the National Day against Trafficking in Niger. Through this Memorandum and action plan, IOM and ANLTP are reinforcing their cooperation by promoting concrete actions in support of the work done by the Nigerien authorities while assistance is provided to all victims of trafficking identified by our teams and willing to receive help,” Buckenham added.

Since the beginning of the collaboration with ANLTP in 2012, more than 30 trainings and workshops for authorities, judges, border and police officers, social workers, members of civil society and inspectors have been organized. In close partnership with the Government, IOM has also supported the establishment of a mechanism for the identification and referral of victims of trafficking, and the construction of the first centre for victims of trafficking in Zinder, the second largest city in Niger.

As part of this new action plan, IOM plans on developing 10 more training modules in Niger, in particular on the identification and referral of victims of trafficking and the protection of vulnerable migrants.

In 2016, a centre for vulnerable migrants opened in Niamey, allowing for the special monitoring of unaccompanied children, women and families, patients, including migrants with psychiatric disorders, victims of trafficking and any other migrants requiring special follow-up.

At the centre, migrants receive psychosocial support through individual counselling, group therapy, recreational and sporting activities aiming to re-establish their self-confidence, but also through educational activities, such as literacy classes, language courses and short technical trainings.

Almost 40 per cent of the women that passed through IOM’s transit centres in 2016 were subjected to various kinds of abusive or violent treatment during their journey or once they arrived at their destination. Many of these women are lured into embarking on this trip due to false promises of work opportunities without knowing that they are at risk of being trafficked.

Cyntzhia (21) was working as a seamstress in her native Nigeria when someone promised she could find her work as a nanny in Italy. She was traveling from Nigeria to Libya with her sister Esther when the driver abandoned them in the desert.

They now have decided to head back home with IOM Niger’s voluntary return programme. “I’m happy I am going back. Once I arrived at the transit centre in Agadez and started talking to the women there, I realized what kind of work I was actually expected to do once in Europe. It was a real eye-opener,” Cyntzhia said.

The newly signed agreement will strengthen IOM’s direct assistance to migrants and the awareness activities related to trafficking in persons by facilitating the coordination of activities and information exchange between the two institutions.

For more information, please contact Marine Buckenham at IOM Niger, Tel: +22780066617, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 - 16:10Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Counter-TraffickingIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Papua New Guinea Partner to Prepare for Mass Evacuations in Natural Disasters

PBN News Germany - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:55

Port Moresby – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and Papua New Guinea (PNG)’s National Disaster Centre have organized a week-long workshop on mass evacuations in natural disasters.

The training aimed to improve the skills of disaster coordinators and State agencies in managing evacuations and providing relief assistance during emergencies and disasters.

Participants included provincial disaster coordinators, medical professionals and officers from the PNG Fire Service, St. John Ambulance and police. They included 28 men and five women.

The workshop was part of an ongoing collaboration between the National Disaster Centre and IOM to build emergency disaster response capacity in PNG. It included simulation exercises drawing from IOM case studies of disaster prone and affected areas throughout the country where disaster response capacity is limited.

Lessons learned from the recent fire at Hanuabada in the National Capital District Port Moresby, which destroyed 18 houses and damaged another 23 leaving 250 people homeless, were also reviewed.

“Disaster management officers and agencies of the State and organizations responsible for managing disasters play an important role in saving lives during disasters and emergencies,” said Wonesai Sithole, IOM PNG Emergency and Disaster Management Coordinator.

“If disaster officers and coordinators do not plan ahead, organize properly and coordinate mass evacuations or conduct rescue operations during disasters, it can lead to lives being lost,” he added.

Director for National Disaster Centre Martin Mose noted that provincial disaster coordinators must be proactive in their work. “Provincial disaster coordinators must plan ahead and organize well to coordinate disaster response in (their) province,” he said.

For more information, please contact Lance Bonneau at IOM Port Moresby, Tel: +675 321 3655, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 - 16:08Image: Region-Country: Papua New GuineaThemes: Capacity BuildingHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Children whose community is close to a volcano in Papua New Guinea practice an evacuation drill. File photo: Muse Mohammed / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2016

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

“Soy migrante” Launches in South America; IOM, INADI Join Forces against Discrimination, Xenophobia, Racism

PBN News Germany - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:54

Buenos Aires – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism (INADI by its Spanish acronym) have joined forces under the framework of IOM´s global campaign i am a migrant. This joint initiative seeks to raise awareness among the population about positive contributions of migrants in Argentina in order to promote respect for migrant rights and to dispel negative perceptions of migration. 

IOM and INADI launched this week (26/9) an audio-visual production composed of 13 short films chronicling the life stories of migrants from Haiti, Spain, Guatemala, Honduras, Paraguay, Guinea-Bissau, Russia, Peru, Colombia, Italy, Bolivia, and Cuba who today reside in Argentina.

Argentina has traditionally been an important destination country for migrants. At present, more than two million persons born abroad live in its territory. The highest percentages of migrants have come from Bolivia, Paraguay, Chile, Peru, and Uruguay. The country has high standards in terms of migrant rights, as stipulated by the National Migration Law Number 25.871, which recognizes the human right to migrate and ensures equal access to social services, public goods, health, education, justice, work, employment and social security, on the same basis as the country nationals.

IOM´s global i am a migrant campaign aims at fighting discrimination, xenophobia and racism against migrants. It also seeks to show the diversity and the human face of migration, giving a voice to migrants.

In the videos – recorded in the provinces of Neuquen, Mendoza, Rio Negro, Formosa, Misiones, Buenos Aires, and the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires – migrants speak of their reasons for migrating and their migration experiences, as well as during their integration process in Argentina.

 “When you arrive in another country, it is like being born again, because you start anew,” said Manuela Erta Lor, a young Haitian woman today studying tourism in the City of Buenos Aires. “It is also an opportunity for growing,” she explained [Watch video].

“A migrant goes by with a rucksack full of things, not only clothes, but full of customs; it is not easy to leave everything far away,” added Mery Lucas, a Bolivian sanitation agent living in Mendoza. [Watch video].

Gabriela Fernández, IOM Argentina Head of Office, said: “We are witnesses to the opportunities provided by Argentina to migrants. Its migration law is focused on migrants as right-holders.” She added: “The stories included in this campaign depict this vision of Argentina as a nation whose doors are open to migration.”

Claudio Presman, the INADI Intervenor and chief authority, stated: “Argentina is a land that came into being thanks to migrants, and continues today receiving those who migrate.”

He continued: “We are working towards the inclusion of migrant people and discriminatory speeches should be disarticulated.”

The National Institute against Discrimination, Xenophobia and Racism of Argentina is a de-centralized agency whose objective is to develop national policies to combat all forms of discrimination, xenophobia and racism, while promoting and pursuing public federal and transversal policies jointly with the civil society, aimed at achieving a diverse, egalitarian society.

The cooperation between INADI and IOM is part of the Project “Promotion of the Social Inclusion of Migrants in Argentina”, funded by IOM´s Development Fund.

The campaign will be widely broadcast from October on and available at: and

For further information, please contact Débora Taicz, IOM Argentina, Tel: + 5411 4815 1035, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 - 16:07Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Claudio Presman, INADI Intervenor and chief authority (extreme left) and Gabriela Fernández, IOM Argentina Head of Office (extreme right) join guest migrants for a photo opportunity. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Brings Together Embassy Representatives to Discuss Best Practices to Assist Nationals Trapped in Emergencies Abroad

PBN News Germany - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:52

Tunis – IOM Libya and Tunisia are jointly organizing a two-day workshop this week (28-29 September) titled “Coordination for Improved Assistance to Nationals Abroad in Emergencies” for embassy representatives from 16 countries.

The workshop, Assisting Nationals Abroad in Emergencies, held in Tunis, brought together 30 diplomatic staff from 14 African countries, in addition to Bangladeshi and Pakistani embassy personnel, and was funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), under the US Department of State. The workshop is part of the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) initiative, a government-led effort co-chaired by the United States and the Philippines which aims to improve the protection of migrants when the countries in which they live, work, study, transit, or travel experience a conflict or natural disaster.

Another goal of the workshop is to raise awareness of personnel of foreign services and other home country actors about the specific vulnerability of their nationals in the face of different types of crises, provide concrete informational and practical guidance and to reduce the vulnerability of nationals abroad through the delivery of appropriate and accessible information.

The training course aims to provide tools to identify vulnerabilities and the resources including lessons learned from past experiences that can be used to form and implement targeted interventions.
Hosted by Lorenzo Guadagno, manager of MICIC’s building programme, the workshop included sessions on gathering information on migrants abroad, either through awareness campaigns or communicating with migrants before and during emergencies. There was a particular focus on migrants’ vulnerabilities in Libya. 

“Migrants are not necessarily vulnerable, but they can easily become vulnerable in times of crisis,” Guadagno said during the opening session. “Therefore it is essential to develop an inclusive approach and effective collaboration to respond to emergencies. Workshops like this are an excellent opportunity for dialogue.”
Embassy representatives Bella Kalanga (from the Democratic Republic of the Congo), and Ahmed Boubegra (Algeria), each stressed “the importance of sharing experiences as well as competences of neighboring countries so as to develop long-term migration strategies.”

Some of the challenges addressed by participants included humanitarian access to migrants in remote areas, the influence of human trafficking and smuggling networks that cross borders in Africa, lack of registration of migrants and communication and language barriers, which make both migrants and nationals vulnerable.
The capacity building and coordination workshop also included concrete measures on contingency planning at the consular post level, provision of relief and recovery assistance, evacuation of children and identifying priorities.

Chamsiya Moundji, representative of the Comoro Islands, explained: “The migration phenomena has been of increased interest for our compatriots in Tunisia for the past two years; therefore, it is important to learn from partners in other countries that are more experienced in this realm, and this workshop provides an opportunity to exchange experiences.”
For more information, please contact:

IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600 389, Email:
IOM Tunisia: Lorena Lando, Tel:  + 216 71 860312 ext. 101, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 - 16:06Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Capacity BuildingMigrant AssistanceDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Holds Capacity Building Workshop for Malian Border Officials

PBN News Germany - Fri, 09/29/2017 - 10:52

Bamako – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) in Mali, in collaboration with the Malian Ministry for Security and Protection, organised a five-day training (25-29 September) for 10 Malian border officials in border management at the Maison de Partenariat in Bamako.

The participants shared good practices and formulated recommendations to be implemented in the country’s border management policy.

Mali shares 7,561 km of porous borders with its neighbours – Burkina-Faso, Algeria, Mauritania and Niger – and is particularly vulnerable to terrorist group actions, as well as criminal acts such as transnational crime and human trafficking.

Consequently, the capacity building of border officials in border management is a priority in order to consolidate the security situation in the border areas.

Lassana Diombana, trainer and border management assistant at IOM Mali, explained: “IOM acknowledges that security is a prerequisite for the development and continuation of the ongoing stabilization efforts in the Sahel. Development without security is impossible and security without development is ephemeral.”

The participants, many coming from the border region near Kourémalé, south west of Bamako, took part in discussions on how to develop and secure a border post. As the area has a high level of border activity, participants discussed such matters as the legislative framework of a border post, different types of border posts and how to conduct a body check with migrants.

Sergeant Fatouma Diakité from Kati, Mali, said: “Our country has a lot of borders to manage. These trainings are a first step in reinforcing our capacities. It’s not easy to conduct a body search when you have a vulnerable migrant in front of you. Today I can share my experiences and at the same time learning new techniques in order to use my full capacity as a border official.”

The training is part of a series. One of the frameworks of the project is “Strengthening of Security and Border Management in Mali,” which has been financed by the government of Japan. The first training took place in August in Kayes (southwest of Bamako) for 25 participants. The next training will be a training of trainers and will take place In Bamako from 9 October to 10 November in collaboration with European Capacity Building for the Sahel – Mali (EUCAP Sahel).

One of IOM’s objectives is to promote humanitarian and orderly management of migration. It is acknowledged that effective border management can be a powerful tool in the fight against terrorism and cross-border crime, and contribute to the strengthening of national and regional security.

For more information please contact Seydou Tangara at IOM Mali, Tel: +223 76426359, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 - 16:05Image: Region-Country: MaliThemes: Capacity BuildingIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

At Least 15 Dead including 9 Children as Boat Carrying over 100 Rohingya Capsizes in Bay of Bengal

PBN News Germany - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 20:08

Cox’s Bazar – A boat packed with approximately 100 Rohingya desperately escaping violence in Myanmar capsized in the rough seas of the Bay of Bengal this evening (28/09), while en route to Bangladesh. The remains of 15 Rohingya - nine children, five adult women and one adult man - were recovered off the shores of Ukhiya, Bangladesh, near the village of Shamlapur.

Local community members saw the boat capsize and were able to immediately launch rescue operations. Fire and civil defence services, as well as, Shamlapur community members, rescued some 17 people – ten of whom have been hospitalized. IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s local team travelled to the scene to see what immediate support was required by survivors and to assess how IOM could respond.

IOM staff found Khadija Begum*, a 22-year-old female survivor, in a local grocery shop. They approached her and sensitively asked her in the Ukhiya dialect, which is similar to her own, if she needed help. Still in shock, she was waiting as the rescue operations continued. Gradually, she recounted what happened. Khadija Begum said that among the rescued children, who have not been hospitalized, one is hers and five are her neighbours' children. Khadija Begum also said that one of her own children, a baby of eight months, was drowned when the boat capsized and that her 35-year-old husband, Abdul, is one of the ten people, who had been hospitalized. Khadija Begum's mother-in-law, 55 years old, was also drowned, as was her 30-year-old sister-in-law along with her 4-year-old child.

She said that they had boarded the boat yesterday evening and had been on it for about a day.

Leaving their village in Rakhine State, Myanmar, they walked for two days and two nights to reach the place, where the boat embarked from. There was about 100 people on board – although it could have been more - of whom, she said the majority were children.

They had been floating in the sea all night (27/09) with no food. Afraid of being detected by authorities, the captain did not try to anchor the boat near the shore until late this afternoon (28/09). He had been searching for an unguarded point. At 5:00pm today (Bangladesh), while trying to anchor the boat, and given how rough the seas currently are from torrential wind and rain, the captain lost control of the boat and it capsized. The incident happened very close to the shore but where the water was still dangerously deep. Local community members saw the boat capsize and were able to immediately launch rescue operations. The boat was destroyed and washed away.

“These people thought they had finally arrived to safety but died before even touching land,” said Abdullah Al Mamoun, one of the IOM staff members who travelled to the scene, where he saw the remains.

Khadija Begum said that the captain was a Bangladeshi man, who was missing since the incident. She also said that the amount they were meant to pay for the journey was not fixed. They were to pay the captain once he got them to safety and before getting off the boat, which never happened.

The IOM team liaised with local authorities and other UN agencies to ensure the survivors, who did not need to be hospitalized, had somewhere to go. They are now being taken care by a member of the local civil council. This is a temporary arrangement and longer term assistance and shelter is currently being discussed.

The fate of the other approximately 68 Rohingya on the boat remains unknown as torrential wind and rain continues. Community members, police, border control and fire service are all still on the scene as they are expecting the remains of more victims to wash up on the shore. They are also hoping to rescue more survivors.

The Shamlapur fishing village, some 35 kilometres south of Cox’s Bazar, is where many Rohingya have settled in makeshift homes during past influxes – now living amongst the Bengal community. Since violence flared on August 25, at least 518,000 Rohingya have fled from Northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Rohingya enter the country through a variety of crossing points, including land and marine routes in coastal areas on the Bay of Bengal, as well as over the Naf River in Teknaf, a sub-district of Cox’s Bazar.

Now in the midst of the monsoon rainy season, this journey is especially hazardous and deadly as this tragedy underscores.

Most of the half a million newly arrived Rohingya live in Kutupalong and the surrounding hillocks in tent cities and overcrowded make-shift settlement. IOM is leading the humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar. Emergency response in the settlements is being scaled up to meet the enormous health, safety and security needs, but the needs far outstrip the current capacity in country. IOM is also conducting site planning for the new temporary displacement site on land allocated by the Government of Bangladesh near the Kutupalong Makeshift Settlement, as well as allocating and building up site management capacity in existing makeshift and new spontaneous sites. One of the biggest challenges to addresses needs in Bangladesh is lack of funding. The UN will be launching an updated inter-agency appeal in the coming week.

*Name changed to protect identity

For more information, please contact:

Hala Jaber in Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +8801733335221, Email:

Peppi Siddiq in Dhaka, Tel: +8801755568894, Email:

Chris Lom in Bangkok, Tel. +66626028752, Email:

Olivia Headon in Geneva, Tel: +41794035365, Email:

Joel Millman in Geneva, Tel: +41791038720, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 29, 2017 - 02:07Image: Region-Country: BangladeshMyanmarThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Field Assistant Abdullah Al Mamun in the location where the incident took place talking with survivors. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migration Takes Centre Stage in Central Asia

PBN News Germany - Thu, 09/28/2017 - 05:32

Bishkek – Central Asia has been a region of transit and mobility throughout human history. It contains much of the Silk Road of old and was the theatre for the “Great Game” for power between the Russian and British Empires in the 19th century.

Nowadays Central Asia is both an origin and destination for migrants. This phenomenon came under the spotlight in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek this week, with meetings of the government-led regional cooperation platform known as the Almaty Process, and discussions on the upcoming Global Compact for Migration.

Ministers, United Nations representatives, community groups, and migrants gathered under the Chair of the Government of Kyrgyzstan, to discuss the migration dynamics and migratory movements in Central Asia and the wider region.

“There are 10 million people on the move in Central Asia,” noted Dejan Keserovic, IOM’s Sub-regional Coordinator for Central Asia. “But it’s not a crisis, it’s a process. What we are trying to do here is to help Central Asian governments to regulate migration for the benefit of the migrants themselves, but also for the benefit of the Almaty Process member states.”

Like the carpets that make the region famous, migration is rich, intricate, colourful and multi-layered. The challenge of moving people to where the jobs are, has been exacerbated in recent times by new controls in Russia – the largest destination country for Central Asian migrants – which has meant hundreds of thousands of Central Asians are barred from access to that labour market.

This has led to massive increases in migration to other countries and regions, principally Turkey, Europe and the Gulf States, but also in migration within the region as Kazakhstan has seen a boom in its construction and services industries.

Almazbek Zholchuevich Asanbaev is Deputy Head of Kyrgyzstan’s State Migration Services and chaired this week’s high-level summit, along with representatives from IOM and UNHCR. He acknowledged that mixed migration flows contain “not only labour migrants and immigrants, but also unwanted elements such as terrorists and extremists. We have been discussing the ways of information sharing and ways of solving problems that are faced by labour migrants and people susceptible to recruitment by extremists.”

Closing the high-level meeting of Ministers, Alan Meltzer, Charge d’Affaires at the US embassy in Bishkek stressed that as migration is a transnational issue is must be subject to a regional approach and frank dialogue.

“This can help shape policies that address the needs of the most vulnerable migrant populations, including refugees, asylum seekers and migrant victims of crime and trafficking,” he said. “Informed policy can also help fight xenophobia by demonstrating how migrants, in all their diversity, contribute to the growth of economies and the enrichment of society.”

During the three days of meetings, an exhibition of photographs about migration in the region conceived by IOM Central Asia, was on display at the American University of Central Asia (Tian Shan Policy Centre), which was also the venue for a lively day of discussions on the Global Compact for Migration.

Specialists from IOM and other organizations were joined by the real experts – migrants themselves and community organizations, including women’s groups, spiritual leaders, trade unionists, returned migrants, national and international experts to discuss the real and personal issues underpinning policy needs.

Tatiana Hadjiemmanuel, Head of IOM’s office in Almaty said that the days of migration-focused events in Bishkek helped to address migrant vulnerability by getting the causes and drivers out in the open. “During forums like this we can make huge progress into addressing protection gaps and get consensus on policy response to migrant vulnerabilities all through the migration process. This is the only government led process in Central Asia that gets inter-agency cooperation, and it is succeeding in sustainably resolving migrant vulnerabilities.”

The Almaty Process promotes sustained dialogue and exchange of information on migration issues and on refugee protection challenges such as, but not limited to irregular migration, human trafficking, migrant vulnerabilities, migrant integration, human mobility and the human rights of migrants.

Its member states are Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkey and Turkmenistan, with Iran and Pakistan as observers.

For further information please contact Joe Lowry at the IOM Regional Office in Vienna, Tel: +43660 3776404, Email:


Language English Posted: Thursday, September 28, 2017 - 11:26Image: Region-Country: KyrgyzstanThemes: International and Regional CooperationDefault: Multimedia: 

Tatiana Hadjiemmanuel, Head of IOM’s Kazakhstan Office with community and spiritual leaders at Global Compact for Migration discussions in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan yesterday. Photo: Elyor Nematov/IOM 2017

Attendees from government, community and migrant groups across central Asia at Global Compact for Migration discussions in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan yesterday. Photo: Elyor Nematov/IOM 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Director General Warns of Increasing Reports of Violent Sexual Assaults Against Rohingya

PBN News Germany - Wed, 09/27/2017 - 18:59
Language English

Cox’s Bazar - UN Migration Director General William Lacy Swing is seriously concerned about increasing reports by vulnerable Rohingya arriving from Myanmar into Bangladesh of sexual and gender based violence. IOM is providing urgent medical and psychological support to survivors.

“Sexual and gender-based violence is a severe, life-threatening public health and human rights abuse and I am deeply shocked and concerned by reports we are receiving from new arrivals in Cox’s Bazar,” said Director General Swing from the Organization’s Headquarters in Geneva, when discussing IOM’s response. “Particularly women and girls, but also men and boys, have been targeted for and are at risk of further exploitation, violence and abuse simply because of their gender, age and status in society.”

Since 25 August, when violence broke out in Rakhine State, Myanmar, an estimated 480,000 people have crossed into Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Prior to this most recent influx, Rohingya had been fleeing Rakhine State for years following various waves of insecurity, including approximately 74,000 people last October. Gender-based violence has been recorded in needs assessments, fact finding missions and through the provision of life-saving services. Rape, sexual assault, domestic violence and child marriage, among other forms of gender-based violence, have been identified and require immediate, holistic responses from humanitarian actors.

Although the known number most likely only represents a small portion of actual cases, IOM doctors have treated dozens of women since August, who have experienced violent sexual assault, and since October 2016, IOM has treated or received reports from hundreds of women and some men.

“IOM is supporting survivors but I cannot emphasize enough that attempting to understand the scale of gender-based violence through known case numbers alone is impossible. This type of egregious violence and abuse is under-reported even in the best resourced and most stable settings worldwide. In crises like this, where usual social systems and protections are no longer in place, so many barriers stand in the way of survivors seeking support. Our staff on the ground is working to break down these barriers and get to those most in need,” said Swing.

“IOM, as the agency coordinating the humanitarian response, has been taking action to urgently respond to gender-based violence and we are expanding our services to ensure that the right type of support reaches survivors. We also have to ensure that no further abuse is perpetrated in the settlements, due to overcrowded and difficult hosting conditions. Frontline responders have been trained on the identification and handling of most vulnerable cases we have been setting up safe spaces for people in need across all sites,” Swing added. 

As a core part of humanitarian response, preventing and responding to gender-based violence is life-saving. Survivors are at high risk of severe and long-lasting health, emotional, social, economic, and security problems. Through a survivor-centred approach, IOM strives to create a supportive environment in which the survivor’s rights and wishes are respected, their safety is ensured, and they are treated with dignity and respect. Given the barriers and risks mentioned, confidentiality about survivors’ cases is key to ensure that all of the persons affected trust our services and seek the support they deserve, without being stigmatized.

Response to gender-based violence is multi-sectorial in nature – immediate health and psychosocial support are key, together with safe environments and possibly legal support. In Bangladesh, IOM is not only providing health and psychosocial support but also working with partners on legal support and safety.

For more information, please contact:

Hala Jaber in Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +8801733335221, Email:

Peppi Siddiq in Dhaka, Tel: +8801755568894, Email:

Chris Lom in Bangkok, Tel. +66626028752, Email:

Olivia Headon in Geneva, Tel: +41794035365, Email:

Joel Millman in Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:


Posted: Wednesday, September 27, 2017 - 18:47Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 134,549 in 2017; Deaths Reach 2,654

PBN News Germany - Tue, 09/26/2017 - 10:17

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 134,549 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 24 September, with over 75 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 302,175 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome’s Flavio di Giacomo reported on Thursday, 21 September that, according to official figures of the Italian Ministry of Interior, 103,318 migrants arrived by sea to Italy this year, or some 21.5 per cent fewer than last year in the same period.

Di Giacomo reported a shipwreck that occurred off the Libyan coast last week – with at least 90 missing migrants – has been confirmed.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia on Monday (25 September) reported that according to the Hellenic Coast Guard, there were at least three incidents off the islands of Lesvos and Samos over the past weekend that required search and rescue operations. The Hellenic Coast Guard managed to rescue 20 migrants and transferred them to the respective islands.

Namia further reported that migrant arrivals to the Greek islands total 3,712 for the first 23 days of September, making this month 2017’s busiest on the Eastern Mediterranean Sea route. (See chart below.)

Thus far a total of 18,782 migrants this year have entered Greece by sea, which remains only about 10 per cent of last year’s total arrivals and just 2 per cent of 2015’s surge.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 4,147 migrant fatalities in 2017 as of 24 September. Since last week, MMP recorded three deaths in the Americas: two migrants drowned while crossing the Río Bravo on the US/Mexico border; one Mexican national died in a hospital in Eagle Pass, Texas, after he was found in a ranch with signs of dehydration. Two Honduran migrants died in a train accident in Querétaro, Mexico. In North Africa, two Burkinabe migrants died in the sewage system underneath the border fence between Melilla, Spain, and Beni Enzar, Morocco.

Additionally, MMP recorded 38 fatalities in the Black Sea in a shipwreck off the coast of Kocaeli, Turkey, on 22 September. Twenty-four migrants lost their lives and a rescue operation is underway to search for the 14 migrants that remain missing. In the Central Mediterranean, 7 migrants died and 90 are missing after a boat capsized on 20 September off the coast of Zuwara, Libya. These deaths and disappearances bring the total of fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2017 to 2,654. 


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, September 26, 2017 - 15:58Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Director General Calls for Smooth Continuation, Full Participation in EU Relocation Programme

PBN News Germany - Tue, 09/26/2017 - 10:09

Brussels – On its final registration day (26/09), IOM, the UN Migration Agency counts nearly 30,000 asylum seekers that the organization has assisted through the European Union’s emergency relocation scheme. Set up two years ago to relocate over 106,000 asylum seekers from the two frontline EU Member States – Greece and Italy – EU member and associated states will have until the end of December 2017 to carry out the remaining registered relocations.

Reflecting on the achievements and shortcomings of the programme, UN Migration Agency Director General William Lacy Swing praised the scheme and its potential to relieve pressure on frontline states, to help thousands of stranded asylum seekers, and to demonstrate the fundamental values that define the EU. He urged the EU and its Member States to continue the relocation programme in uninterrupted, improved form. 

Given the current departure numbers, and provided that states keep up their pledges and commitment to the scheme, IOM is ready to relocate another 5,000–7,500 people up to the end of December 2017. It will continue to implement pre-departure health assessment, orientation and travel assistance.  

To date, Germany (8,479), France (4,474), The Netherlands (2,442), Sweden (2,276) and Finland (1,975) have welcomed the highest number of relocated asylum seekers.  Malta along with Norway and Lichtenstein (the two non-EU countries which opted in to the programme) have fulfilled their commitments.  Finland and Ireland are close to reaching their commitments. Finland and Ireland are close to reaching their commitments. Hungary and Poland have not participated despite their legal obligation, while Austria and the Czech Republic have received less than 1 per cent of their quota.

“I am concerned that only 14 member states and associated countries have welcomed unaccompanied children. They are particularly vulnerable and should have been prioritized throughout the programme,” said Director General Swing. Finland (109) and the Netherlands (90) are leading the way in accepting the most unaccompanied children.

The top three relocated nationalities are Syrians, Eritreans and Iraqis. One third of relocated asylum seekers are children and over half (62 per cent) are male. 

“The EU must now move beyond this emergency measure towards a sustainable, mandatory future relocation system that unites EU Member States in solidarity and shows that the EU acts effectively together. The impressive acceleration of the scheme this year shows that the mechanism works, that we can rely on this, but improvements and adjustments are needed in the coming months and years and we cannot afford a gap,” said Director General Swing.   

“I am concerned that any gap between the current relocation programme and the fairness mechanism foreseen under Dublin IV would undermine beneficiaries’ trust in the programme and add further stress in Italy and Greece as migrant arrivals continue. IOM believes that the common rules agreed on in the current scheme should be maintained to avoid disruption and fragmentation.  After two years, substantial capacity, know-how and structures that were put in place have contributed to the current improved efficiency and coordination of the process among many stakeholders,” continued Director General Swing.       

Remarking on several practical and policy lessons that can be drawn and applied towards improving the system, Director General Swing stated, “First and foremost, the lack of full solidarity and responsibility sharing among EU states weakened the credibility and trust that beneficiaries and the public have had in the relocation system. Full participation would strengthen the scheme for everyone involved.”

Secondly, he continued, "more flexible eligibility criteria would have allowed other vulnerable categories to be included. Foremost are vulnerable Afghan asylum seekers, most of whom are children, unaccompanied children and families with children; many have been exploited during their journey."

Thirdly, Director General Swing noted that improved matching of beneficiaries with member states of relocation much earlier in the procedure would have reduced secondary movements, which weaken the scheme. Family networks should have been better maintained, especially for separated children who found themselves relocated to member states without family.  

“Finally, centralized systems would have enabled faster implementation, while more attention and resources for the crucial pre-departure orientation component would have helped to better manage expectations, improve early integration potential and thereby reduce secondary movements,” he said. 

Director General Swing concluded, “I am convinced that the number of arrivals we have been seeing over the past few years is manageable for a unified Europe acting in solidarity with front-line states. Swifter implementation of the EU relocation scheme and the realization of a balanced Common European Asylum System are key.”

For updated statistics on EU relocations, please see:

More information on relocations from Greece can be found here:

For more information, please contact:
Jo De Backer at the IOM Regional Office in Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 71 15, Email:
Ryan Schroeder at the IOM Regional Office in Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 71 16, Email:
Besim Ajeti at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 9919040 Ext. 121, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 15:59Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesResettlementAnalysis: 

Taha's story: Relocating from Greece to Finland

“I left Syria because of the war. I was alone, without my family, so I applied for a relocation, and Finland welcomed me to come."

Taha is a 16-year-old Syrian who was relocated by IOM from Greece to Finland through the EU Relocation scheme.  Because he was alone in Greece, he applied for the programme and became one of the 109 unaccompanied children who relocated to Finland. 

Taha’s education was interrupted several times due to the war and on leaving Turkey for Greece, so back in school in Finland, he is eager to complete his studies. He wants to become a building engineer like his father. 

“The Finnish people, when you first come here you think that they do not like refugees. But then when you talk to them, you see they are good people,” says Taha in this short video about his experience and reception in Finland. 

“The difficulty here is the rules because they have many rules,” he smiles. 

“You have to follow them because once you turn 18, you’ll be on your own and have to know what to do.”

Joude’s story: Relocating from Greece to France

“We didn’t choose to become asylum seekers. We are looking for peace. Now we can rebuild our lives.”

Joude Jassouma is a Syrian who was relocated by IOM with his wife and 7-month-old daughter from Greece to Rennes, France through the EU Relocation scheme.

“Before, I had a negative perception of … the reception in France. We had seen images of Calais during our stay in Athens in March 2015 and this worried us because of Islamophobic attacks,” says Joude in this short video.

“However, our arrivals in Martiné-Ferchaud was very heart-warming to me because the mayor said a sentence in Arabic. He said, ‘Welcome to Martiné-Ferchaud. I am the town Mayor.’

Hearing this touched me deeply.  I told my wife, ‘Now we can rebuild our lives.’”

After six months in Rennes, Joude wrote a book about his journey and relocation experience to help others like him with their integration process.  He is resuming his Ph.D studies to become a professor at the university. 

“I would like my daughter to live in peace, unlike us who experienced war and difficulty,” he says.   


Default: Multimedia: 

Roula’s family relocated from Greece to Portugal. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Mohammad and Maya’s family relocated from Greece to Norway. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Fatima’s family relocated from Greece to Finland. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

IOM staff escorts EU Relocation beneficiaries to Athens International Airport. File photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2016

(Former) European Parliament President, Martin Schultz, and Greek Prime Minister, Alexis Tsipras, with relocation beneficiaries at the inception of the first EU Relocation mission from Greece to Luxembourg in November 2015. File photo:  UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2015

Asylum seekers eligible for EU Relocation at a pre-departure orientation session at IOM in Athens. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Taha's story: Relocating from Greece to Finland. Watch here

Joude’s story: Relocating from Greece to France. Watch here

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UK Creative Art Workshop Explores Integration and Britishness

PBN News Germany - Tue, 09/26/2017 - 10:00

Birmingham – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) in the United Kingdom, this past weekend (23/09), partnered with renowned artist Salma Zulfiqar and Birmingham-based charity the Amira Foundation to host a creative art workshop at the Library of Birmingham, on empowering migrant women as part of the Birmingham Weekend Festival, the city’s largest annual community arts festival.

The event recognised that female migrants in the UK face specific challenges and vulnerabilities, and attempts to promote integration of female migrants into British society. The workshop focused on creating better understanding between women from different ethnic backgrounds by exploring perceptions on Britishness.

IOM UK’s participation in the event demonstrates an extension of IOM’s ongoing commitment to community integration of refugees and migrants in the UK. IOM UK works extensively with beneficiaries, local authorities and community groups to aid the successful integration of refugees and migrants into UK society, including through cultural orientation programmes, information sessions, and community engagement. 

According to 2015 statistics, women comprise approximately 5 per cent of the UK migrant population. Women face particular obstacles in community integration. IOM’s work in the UK has found that female migrants, including refugees, are less likely than their male counterparts to engage actively with employers, government and civil society actors.

Consequently, female migrants may suffer from additional marginalisation as a result of isolation from society, and reduced opportunities for language learning, education and employment. Events such as this art workshop devised by Salma Zulfiqar demonstrate a crucial step to aid positive experiences in exploring individual and British identity, to the benefit of both migrant women and British society as a whole.

“Integration is key in creating peaceful societies, in preventing hate crimes and ultimately prevents extremism,” Zulfiqar said.

Workshop participant Salaam Al Farrah, a refugee originating from Syria, reflected on her experiences in the UK. “I live in an area where there are Indians, Pakistanis and people originally from Jamaica and I love it! I know it’s important for me to integrate into society. I want to be part of this community and I want to learn more about the English culture so that I can support my family properly and so that we can enjoy our lives in the UK.”

The event is part of Salma Zulfiqar’s ongoing exhibition at the Library of Birmingham, ‘Building Peace through the Oceans’, which aims to promote migrant integration and illustrate the positive contributions that migrants have made.

For further information, please contact Jessica Williams at IOM UK, Tel: + 44 20 7811 6063, Email: or Christopher Gaul, Tel: + 4420 7811 6053, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 26, 2017 - 15:57Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: Gender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants of a creative art workshop on empowering migrant women at the Library of Birmingham hosted by IOM, artist Salma Zulfiqar and the Amira Foundation. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Participants of a creative art workshop on empowering migrant women at the Library of Birmingham hosted by IOM, artist Salma Zulfiqar and the Amira Foundation. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

National Awareness Raising Campaign on the Dangers of Irregular Migration Launched in Egypt

PBN News Germany - Mon, 09/25/2017 - 06:39
Language English

Cairo – On 19 September 2017, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the National Coordinating Committee on Combatting and Preventing Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons (NCCPIM&TIP) launched a national awareness raising campaign on irregular migration of Egyptian youth and children.

The campaign, titled Your Family, Your Dream, Your Life aims to sensitize Egyptian youth to the risks of irregular migration journeys, using a combination of digital and traditional media to maximize reach and impact.

Under the leadership of NCCPIM&TIP, IOM Egypt developed a video featuring Egyptian international footballer Hazem Emam, to inform children and youth and their families about the risks involved in attempting sea migration journeys. The video is complemented by a social media campaign which incorporates messages from IOM’s ‘Aware Migrants’ campaign, launched earlier this year by IOM Rome. In addition, outreach activities will be organized across Egypt to maximize its impact.

“The national media campaign under the slogan Your Family, Your Dream, Your Life sends an appeal through a TV advertisement featuring Hazem Emam, who sends a message to the youth and their families on the dangers of irregular immigration and that solutions exist and come from within us through hard work, perseverance and initiative,” said Ambassador Naela Gabr, the Chairperson of NCCPIM&TIP.

Amr Taha, IOM Egypt’s Head of Office, emphasized that “the Egyptian Government continues its role in raising the public awareness of vulnerable Egyptian youth and children on irregular migration to help minimize and eventually combat this growing phenomenon. Our joint efforts include tangible alternatives to this issue, which benefits countries of origin, countries of destination and ultimately the Egyptian youth.”

IOM Egypt provided technical expertise and assistance for the development and roll-out of the campaign, acknowledging the trend of Egyptian youth and children reaching Europe.
The awareness raising campaign was made possible thanks to the contributions of the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

This initiative supports the achievement of UN Sustainable Development Goals 10 Reduced Inequalities and 16 Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions. It is also in line with the objectives of Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS): Vision 2030, particularly its social justice pillar.

For more information, please contact Amr Taha Head of Office of IOM Egypt. Tel: ++201016255504; Email:

Posted: Monday, September 25, 2017 - 12:35Image: Region-Country: EgyptDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN