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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IOM to Provide Reintegration Assistance for 32 Ethiopian Migrants from Egypt

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migrant Arrivals in Europe Significantly Down Despite Aquarius Controversy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants' deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

For more information, please contact:  

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

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

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

Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int

Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448 Email: chpetre@iom.int

Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int

 

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please contact:  

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please contact:

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Conditions Deteriorate in Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugee Camps as Torrential Rain Continues

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:48

Cox’s Bazar – Conditions in the Rohingya refugee camps of southern Bangladesh are further deteriorating as torrential rains that began on Saturday (09/06) continue to trigger landslides and flooding. Humanitarian agencies reported some 29 incidents in the camps yesterday (11/06), bringing the total number to 88 in just three days.

Aid agencies now report that over 21,500 people have been affected since 11 May when the monsoon season started. This number is expected to increase as the rains continue. The incidents are being mapped and shared on an interagency communal incident overview platform.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is assessing the damage and responding to the situation, battling ongoing strong winds and rain. “It’s been pouring continuously since last night. The roads are becoming very muddy and inaccessible. We will only be able to assess the full damage when the rain stops,” said Zanagir Alam, IOM site management engineer this morning (12/06.)

As of this morning, IOM’s shelter team has conducted joint damage verification in six camps and identified 99 damaged and 130 destroyed shelters. Depending on weather conditions, IOM and partner agencies plan to distribute emergency shelter to the affected families today. In total, aid agencies have reported over 2,350 shelters damaged or destroyed.

IOM’s site management team is also working to repair infrastructure damaged by the storm. This includes unblocking drainage culverts, positioning sandbags to stop further erosion, clearing landslides from access roads, digging temporary drainage channels to release rain water, and diverting traffic.

A total of 85 latrines have also been reported damaged by the storm over the past two days in Ukhiya and Teknaf sub-districts, where IOM coordinates water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) aid. Most have been blocked by silt carried by the floods and IOM’s site development team and WASH partner agencies are working to repair them.  In total, 189 latrines and 11 water points have been reported as damaged by the downpour.

“WASH agencies have the capacity to cope with the damage. But continuous rainfall and limited road access are affecting our response capacity,” said Alessandro Petrone, IOM WASH programme manager.

“The situation in the camps is deteriorating as the rain continues. We are on high alert today for possible evacuations to higher ground as conditions may significantly worsen tomorrow,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM's Emergency Coordinator in Cox's Bazar.

“Saving lives is our priority. We must make sure people are safe. Our other concern is funding. IOM and our partners urgently need financial support to meet the needs on the ground, and to maintain and expand key humanitarian services and operations during this critical time,” he added.

There are close to one million Rohingya refugees currently living on the barren hills of Cox’s Bazar. Without new funding, IOM’s operations, which are currently only 22 percent funded, will run out of money by the end of this month, according to Pereira.

For more information, please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar:

Manuel Pereira, Tel: +8801885946996, Email: mpereira@iom.int

Shirin Akhter, Tel: +88034152195 or +8801711187499, Email: sakhter@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:47Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Monsoon rains in Bangladesh cause dangerous flooding and landslides in Rohingya refugee camps. Photo: IOM/2018

Monsoon rains in Bangladesh cause dangerous flooding and landslides in Rohingya refugee camps. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency: “Remittance Flows Can Be an Economic and Social Lifeline for Migrant Families”

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:46

Geneva – International Day of Family Remittances will be celebrated this Saturday (16/06). To mark the occasion, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, wishes to highlight the development potential of financial and social links that tie migrants to their loved ones back at home.

A financial remittance is a private transfer of funds by a foreigner to an individual in their country of origin. Financial remittances have been recognized as playing a key role in reducing poverty and improving the lives of both migrants and their families. In numerical terms, there are more international migrants around the world than at any other period in history, and most of them are migrant workers.

The World Bank estimates indicate that in 2017, USD 466 billion was transferred in financial remittances to low- and middle-income countries –and this trend is likely to continue upwards. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) estimates one in every seven people is directly supported by remittances. This is why the International Day of Family Remittances is celebrated each year.

William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, has recognized remittance flows as “economic lifelines” for migrant families, highlighting their ability to reduce poverty, provide better health care and access to nutrition, increase education opportunities for children, improve housing and sanitation conditions, promote entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, and reduce inequality. While the International Day of Family Remittances has traditionally focused on financial flows, migrants also generate ‘social remittances’ – which is the flow of skills, knowledge, ideas and values they transmit back home. Unlike financial remittances, social remittances extend to the wider community, for a larger development impact.

Taken together, financial and social remittances have an important role to play in the achievement of individual family goals, and more broadly the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. There is however still more to be done before the development potential of remittances can be fully realised. Migrants, governments and the private sector are essential actors in this process.

“Governments can harness the skills and creativity of their diaspora and encourage them to invest back home through coordinated policies,” said Marina Manke, Head of IOM`s Labour Mobility and Human Development Division. “Efforts should be directed towards improving financial literacy amongst the home population and migrants, so that they can make informed decisions about how to send money back and how to invest remittances. Finally, there is a need to fully recognize and appreciate migrants as agents of change — for both their social and financial capital,” she added.

In recent years, IOM has been scaling up its support to governments and migrants to help them reap the development benefits of migration. More than 150 diaspora mappings have been conducted, shedding light on the characteristics of diaspora communities, their location and potential to engage with their communities of origin. Currently, IOM is engaged in several remittance-related projects globally, notably through an initiative to reduce remittance costs in Burundi, and the development of MigApp — a mobile application that enables migrants to compare cost-effective money transfers options offered by service providers.

For more information, please contact Vanessa Okoth-Obbo at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 9366, Email: vokoth@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:45Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM carries out cash assistance programmes in Gambella, Ethiopia, to help boost local marketplace economies. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

171 Nigerian Migrants Return Home on First International Flight from Zintan, Libya: IOM

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:45

Zintan – Last Tuesday (05/06), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, helped 171 stranded Nigerian migrants return home via the Organization’s first charter flight departing from the Libyan city of Zintan (136 kilometers southwest of Tripoli). Among the migrants were 75 women, seven of whom were in their early stage of pregnancy. 

The flight, funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, was the first international flight to depart from Zintan airport and was closely coordinated with the Libyan Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, the Nigerian embassy in Tripoli and the Libyan Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM) and the Office of the Deputy Minister for Migration.

“Following a number of visits and close cooperation with the local authorities, we are glad that the Nigerian migrants stranded in Zintan were able to go home in what was the first international flight from the airport,” explained Ashraf Hassan, IOM Libya Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) Programme Manager.

The migrants were detained in Zintan detention centre and before that in Zwara detention centre. They requested to return home voluntarily with IOM.

“In Nigeria, I studied to become a banker but I decided to travel to Libya with my family to build a better life for my children,” a young Nigerian mother with two children told IOM. “I have come to learn a lot during this journey and my time in Libya, passing across many cities of Sabha, Sabratha and Tripoli. Although we had to sell all our property before coming to Libya, it doesn’t feel like we are going back empty-handed. Rather, we are very grateful to go back to Nigeria to start a new life.”

So far in 2018, IOM has provided voluntary humanitarian return assistance to some 1,665 Nigerian migrants. Among those assisted were eleven children and eight medical cases, all escorted by IOM medical personnel. In total this year, IOM Libya has assisted a total of 8,046 stranded migrants to return to their countries of origin. All migrants returned will also be benefiting from reintegration assistance.

“In the beginning of last year we were only operating from Tripoli and Benghazi, with the expansion of assistance to Zwara and Misratah, and now with Zintan, we are able to assist more stranded migrants wishing to return home across Libya,” explained Hassan further.

As part of IOM Libya's VHR Programme, standard pre-departure assistance was provided to the returnees, as well as vulnerability assessment interviews, consular support, fit to travel medical check-ups and exit visa facilitation. IOM also provides protection assistance including psychological support. IOM identified one unaccompanied migrant child among those screened for the first charter from Zintan, who then did not travel. IOM’s protection team in Libya is working on tracing their family and determining what is in the best interest of the child.

Prior to departure the migrants also received further assistance such as distributions of non-food items (NFI) consisting of clothes, footwear and hygiene kits.

Upon arrival, IOM Nigeria provided the returnees with post-arrival assistance, including food, water, medical support and an onward transportation allowance. As part of efforts to facilitate the reintegration process, all migrants received phones and SIM cards to ensure easy communication with IOM offices throughout Nigeria. The migrants were also eligible for further reintegration grants.

This return assistance is part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative, backed by the EU Trust Fund, covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries.

For more information, please contact:

IOM Libya: Chalank Yahya, Tel: +21658601055, Email: CYAHYA@iom.int or Safa Msehli, Tel: +21622241842, Email: smsehli@iom.int

IOM Nigeria: Jorge Galindo, Tel: +2349038891136, Email: jgalindo@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:44Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

A migrant mother and child get ready to board IOM's first VHR charter from Zintan, Libya. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Launches Report on Indigenous Venezuelans Migration to Brazil

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:44

Brasilia - How do migration law and indigenous rights interplay? What rights do indigenous migrants have when reaching a foreign land? These are some of the questions addressed in the report Legal Aspects of the Assistance to Indigenous Migrants from Venezuela to Brazil, launched by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, last week (08/06).

The study focused on indigenous Venezuelans migrating to Brazil; a team of researchers from IOM Brazil worked in coordination with indigenous leaders and public authorities over six months.

With the research IOM aims to contribute to the emerging study field of international indigenous migration and to improve Brazil’s capacity to address the flow of Venezuelans arriving at its northern border.

In early 2016, the Warao people of Venezuela started coming to the northern Brazilian State of Roraima in great numbers, creating increased demand for public services and raising questions regarding their legal status in Brazil. IOM research examined how their indigenous cultural identity impacts their rights and the State’s duties under domestic and international law.

Through the report, IOM took the main concerns of indigenous leaders as well as federal and local authorities into account, itemized the applicable legislation, and came to 35 recommendations. The study points out that indigenous migrants in Brazil are protected by three different sets of legislation: the universal principles of human rights law; domestic law and international agreements for the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights; and Brazilian migration law – specifically the new protective tools that are available since the adoption of the new national migration law (November 2017).

This triple protection allows a rights-based approach to public policy planning and indicates that long-term solutions need to be developed in consultation with the indigenous communities. Topics such as access to education, health and shelter have a bigger impact on indigenous collective rights, including on their right to cultural identity, and thus need to be addressed accordingly.

Stephane Rostiaux, IOM Brazil Chief of Mission, explained that Brazilian transit cities for Venezuelan migrants were not used to dealing with big volume of migrants. “Indigenous migrants pose an additional challenge to those public authorities managing the new flow,” he said.

Research leader Erika Yamada, who is also an independent expert member of the UN Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said: “The invisibility of indigenous peoples’ cultural identity in the context of migration is a global challenge for the protection of their human rights.”

“In Brazil, the specificities of the Warao migration from Venezuela has shown that adequate public policies should consider the characteristics of a continuing indigenous movement across boarders that differ from more traditional migration flows. Other countries dealing with indigenous migrants can learn from the Brazilian experience,” she added.

A preliminary research report was presented at the National School of Public Administration (ENAP), in March 2018, in a workshop with academics, governmental officials and civil society representatives.

Download the report here.

For more information, please contact Marcelo Torelly at IOM Brazil, Tel: +55 61 3038 9014, Email: mtorelly@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:41Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Migration ResearchDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Launches Report on Indigenous Venezuelans in Brazil

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Anti-Trafficking Campaigners bring Traffic to a Standstill in Moldovan Capital

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:41

Chisinau — In the first three months of 2018, Moldovan authorities registered 44 cases of trafficking in persons, which involved 108 victims including 22 children.

To tackle this and to highlight the government’s message of zero tolerance for human trafficking, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the Moldovan Ministry of Interior Affairs, and the United States Embassy in Moldova organized an awareness-raising 5 km run on Sunday (10/06).

The run brought the capital Chisinau to a standstill to draw people’s attention to the risks and the ways in which Moldovan citizens are tricked and exploited in their own country and abroad. In 2017 alone, 87 per cent of identified and assisted victims were exploited within the country, in jobs such as farming and manual labour.

“Together with my colleagues, we want to say today that IOM Moldova will continue to work with and support the Moldovan Government in fighting human trafficking,” said Antonio Polosa, IOM Moldova Chief of Mission, as he crossed the finishing line. “I want to emphasize that it is important to do everything that is needed for the successful reintegration of victims.”

The Ministry of Interior Affairs showcased its technical equipment being used to better identify traffickers at the Moldovan border. IOM and Moldovan NGOs that work in the field of counter trafficking presented information on the free services they provide to victims and potential victims of trafficking in persons.

For more pictures, please click here.

For more information, please contact Iulia Tvigun, Tel: +373 69 123 905, Email: itvigun@iom.int.

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:39Image: Region-Country: Republic of MoldovaThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Moldovans campaigner again trafficking take part in 5 km awareness raising run. Photo: IOM/2018

Moldovans campaigner again trafficking take part in 5 km awareness raising run. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Present at Global Forum for Responsible Recruitment and Employment

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:39

Singapore – The Global Forum for Responsible Recruitment and Employment started yesterday (11/06) in Singapore. The two-day event, which ends today (12/06), brought together global brands, governments, NGOs and more to discuss challenges related to recruiting migrant workers and protecting them from modern slavery.

William Lacy Swing, Director General of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, delivered the keynote address on Monday. In his remarks, he noted that “forced labour today cannot be understood or effectively addressed without tackling migration, unethical recruitment practices and the conditions that are faced by migrant workers the world over.”

This morning, during a High Level Panel entitled Joining Forces to Combat Forced Labour, Ambassador Swing reinforced his message by highlighting the problems facing migrant workers today. According to 2017 estimates produced by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation in partnership with IOM, over 40 million people are trapped in conditions of modern slavery.

Other notable panellists at the forum included Andrew Forrest, Chairman and Founder of Fortescue Metals Group; Ian Cook, CEO of Colgate-Palmolive; Grant Reid, CEO of Mars Inc.; and Isabel Hilton, CEO of China Dialogue.

Almost 25 million of these individuals are victims of forced labour, working in private economy sectors such as construction, agriculture and domestic work, and 58 per cent of the victims are women and girls.

Researchers, civil society actors, the media and many other stakeholders around the world have been working together to understand the scope of the problem; more is known about forced labour and human trafficking than a decade ago, and innovative strategies are being put in place to tackle such exploitation.

As highlighted by the Forum, private sector entities are crucial in this fight. Companies in various industries around the world are coming together to address the risks of forced labour and trafficking as concerns the supply chain, often in partnership with organisations like IOM.

“We are at a pivotal moment in our collective efforts to tackle unethical recruitment practices in supply chains,” said Marina Manke, Head of IOM’s Labour Mobility and Human Development Division. “The success of this Forum depends on our ability to come together in genuine partnership to enhance protections for migrant workers. At IOM, we are committed to playing our part in driving this agenda forward, working in partnership with the public and private sectors and civil society to ensure that ethical recruitment becomes the norm in the global economy.”

In 2017, the Global Forum for Responsible Recruitment and Employment was the first ever forum devoted specifically to the human rights risks involved with recruiting migrant workers. The Forum’s second edition was an occasion to revisit this key topic, and discuss ways to ensure sustainable and efficient business through a global, cross-sectoral approach.

Ambassador Swing issued a strong call to action, urging all stakeholders to turn their commitments and intentions “into practical, measurable improvements in the lives of migrant workers.” He outlined three practical approaches, namely reinforcing the systems designed to help migrants receive justice when they have been wronged; increasing insight into the complex web of labour supply chains that see migrant jobseekers move from their countries of origin to their destination workplaces; and finding better ways to engage migrants in these discussions.

The Global Forum on Responsible Recruitment was hosted by the Institute for Human Rights and Business, The Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment and the Consumer Goods Forum, supported by Humanity United.

For more information, please contact IOM HQ: Philip Hunter, Tel: +41 79 582 22 83, Email: phunter@iom.int or Vanessa Okoth-Obbo, Tel: +41 22 717 9366, Email: vokoth@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:37Image: Region-Country: SingaporeThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General Speaking Global Forum for Responsible Recruitment and Employment in Singapore. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Philippines, Canada Start New Partnership on Ethical Labour Recruitment

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:37

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate the ethical recruitment of Filipino workers between the Philippines and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The agreement will involve pilot testing the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS).

The agreement was signed last Friday (8/6) by IOM, the Ministry of Service of Alberta, the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety of Saskatchewan and the Department of Labor and Employment of the Republic of the Philippines.

Currently, there are about 150 million migrant workers globally. The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) estimates that there are over 700,000 permanent and temporary Filipinos currently living in Canada.

“While most migrant workers have positive migration experiences, we recognize that more can be done to make international recruitment fairer for all involved,”   said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “This includes shifting the cost of recruitment from the worker to the employer, promoting better job matching and ensuring greater transparency within the recruitment process. IOM is very pleased to be working with the governments of the Philippines, Alberta and Saskatchewan on this important initiative.”

“Saskatchewan is pleased to be part of this ground-breaking initiative in ethical foreign worker recruitment,” said Don Morgan, Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety in Saskatchewan. “Our hope is that the introduction of IRIS sets a new international standard for the fair treatment of foreign workers.”

IRIS is a social compliance scheme that is designed to promote ethical international recruitment. IRIS defines and sets a benchmark for ethical recruitment (the ‘IRIS Standard’) and establishes a voluntary certification process for international labour recruiters that demonstrate good practice. IRIS has been developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders from government, the private sector and civil society. It is designed to help jobseekers and employers identify, and benefit from, the services of ethical labour recruiters. 

For more information, please contact

IOM HQ, Vanessa Okoth-Obbo, Tel: +41227179366, Email: vokoth@iom.int

Government of Saskatchewan, Jen Toews, Tel: 306-787-1331, Email: Jennifer.Veri@gov.sk.ca

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:36Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

A group of medical technologists pose for the camera. Filipino health professionals are one of the most sought after migrant workers in the world. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Two Days of Heavy Rain Hit Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugee Camps – Over 31,000 at High Risk from Flooding, Landslides

PBN News Germany - Mon, 06/11/2018 - 10:25

Cox's Bazar - Heavy monsoon rains that began on Saturday (9/6) have caused severe structural damage to Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar Rohingya refugee camps. Over 31,000 of the camps’ one million refugees, who fled Myanmar, are still living in areas considered to be at high risk of deadly flooding and landslides.  

Within 24 hours of the rains starting, humanitarian agencies reported some 59 incidents, including landslides, water logging, extreme wind and lightning strikes. The incidents are being mapped and shared on an interagency communal incident overview platform. Over the same period aid agencies reported that over 9,000 people were affected and that this number will increase as the rains continue. 

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is working against the clock to secure infrastructure, including road access and drainage, and to improve preparedness. Working with partners, it is ensuring that refugees continue to receive lifesaving assistance, including water, sanitation and hygiene, health, protection and shelter support during the monsoon.

The risks remains huge, given the vast size and nature of the congested, makeshift camps. The hilly terrain is now largely bare of vegetation and the rains have made the soil extremely unstable, increasing the risk of large scale flooding and landslides.

IOM and its partners have responded by relocating thousands of vulnerable households to safer ground ahead of the rains. Since January, 5,196 households (about 25,000 individuals) vulnerable to landslides and floods or in areas of communal infrastructure construction have been moved to safer areas. Before the end of June, IOM and its partners plan to move another 1,602 vulnerable households  (7,248 individuals) to safer ground.

In Unchiprang, a camp in Teknaf sub-district, IOM moved 787 households ahead of the heavy rains. But another 65 households remain at risk of landslides and floods.  “Yesterday 19 households were identified as at risk of landslides and moved to learning centers and child friendly spaces of the camp. They’ll be relocated to a new land once the rain stops. Relocation of these families is not possible as their shelters can’t be properly constructed amid continuous heavy rains,” said IOM site manager Mohammed Manun.

"The situation in the camps is growing more desperate with every drop of rain that falls," said Manuel Pereira, IOM's Emergency Coordinator in Cox's Bazar. "You have close to one million people living on hilly, muddy terrain with no trees or shrubs left to hold the ground in place. People and their makeshift shelters are being washed away in the rains. We are racing to save lives, but we urgently need more funding to maintain and expand key humanitarian support during these rains. Without this, our operations, which are currently only 22 percent funded, will run out of money by the end of this month," he added.

IOM, WFP and UNHCR have also strategically positioned heavy machinery in key camp locations for disaster response operations in a joint project called the Site Maintenance Engineering Project (SMEP.) Teams are also continuously working to increase available land for relocations. IOM has already prepared 186.8 acres of new land to relocate at least 7,000 people.

Existing refugee shelters have also been upgraded to better withstand heavy rain and high winds, and refugees have been advised on measures they can take to reduce their vulnerability to any upcoming disaster.

Key shelter and non-food items have been stockpiled to ensure sufficient provision during times of high demand. Mobile medical teams will also ensure that displaced and hard to reach populations have uninterrupted access to healthcare.

Access to clean water also poses a huge challenge during the monsoon and IOM and its partners have worked to improve water and hygiene infrastructure, as well as pre-positioning acute watery diarrhea kits and aquatabs in remote areas to meet basic needs.

For more information, please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar:

Manuel Pereira, Tel: +8801885946996, Email: mpereira@iom.int

Shirin Akhter, Tel: +88034152195 or +8801711187499, Email: sakhter@iom.int

Language English Posted: Monday, June 11, 2018 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Flash flooding has damaged key infrastructure including this bridge in Balukhali camp. Photo: IOM 2018

Heavily rain is already affecting access to remote parts of the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps. Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Holds Special Global Migration Film Festival Participatory Video Screenings in Brazil

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 10:09

Boa Vista – More than 300 indigenous people of Warao and Eñepas ethnic groups from Venezuela, local authorities and NGO representatives gathered last week (31/05), at Pintolandia Shelter, in Boa Vista, Brazil, for a special edition of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF).

The event was organized by IOM, local partners and authorities to present two videos created by 20 shelter members trained in participatory video making by IOM GMFF facilitators over four days. These indigenous people were affected by the situation in Venezuela and left the country in search of basic needs such as food and medicine.

The State of Roraima has registered the highest number of Venezuelans who have entered Brazil recently. According to the Brazilian Government, until April over 40,000 Venezuelans have applied for the regularization of their migration status in the country.

Through games and exercises, the Waraos and Eñepas learned how to use the video equipment and choose the themes and stories they wanted to record in their films. Through a participatory editing process, they edited their videos which were screened to the community living in Pintolândia, a shelter specifically set up for indigenous migrants, currently hosting over 700 people.

This initiative aims to empower and amplify the affected community’s voices and foster social cohesion between the different ethnic groups and communities living in the shelter.

According to Madga Azevedo, a Representative from Labour and Social Welfare Secretary’s office – the governmental entity which manages Pintolândia shelter – the method is collaborating to strengthen the integration of the two indigenous groups living in the same space. “I felt emotional with their reactions watching their own videos. It was about empowerment and self-recognition,” she says.

Immediately after the screening, members of the participatory video making process spoke about how they felt after watching themselves on the big screen along with fellow community members. “I enjoyed that we looked at two themes: the Waraos and the Eñepas. This was excellent because we have never looked at ourselves like this, through a video camera. It was like a big meeting between the two ethnicities living here. It was wonderful to see that happening,” explained Baudilio Centeno, a Warao participant.

Karina Lopez, an Eñepas participant, said she was delighted after the screening: “I liked watching both videos and also enjoyed that they were made by us.”

Almost 80, Pillar Paredes was the eldest participant amongst the two groups and had never made a video before. She filmed a segment presenting a typical Warao dance. During the video screening, she was sitting by her grand-daughter who laughed when Pillar appeared on the big screen singing and dancing. Her reaction after watching their video?  “I have decided that I will teach the children here our traditional dances.”

The two facilitators leading the process, Amanda Nero, IOM Communication Officer and Fernanda Baumhardt, a participatory video expert from the Norwegian Refugee Council's NORCAP, both noted that the process was challenging as the two ethnic groups have very different ways of expressing themselves and communicating. “It was important to have two different processes for each group to respect their own pace and style,” explained Nero. Baumhardt observed that despite coming from different indigenous background, they are similar in many ways. “They also have similar stories, needs and concerns,” Baumhardt explained.

IOM has recently carried out a study about the rights and legal status of indigenous migrants in Brazil, especially the Warao. Through the study, IOM emphasizes the legal tools available to grant equal treatment to Brazilian and Venezuelan indigenous groups and focus on the Warao demands to reshape public policies to their specific needs, safeguarding their indigenous identity. More information about this research can be found here.

IOM’s GMFF Participatory Video Project is an initiative to amplify voices, empower and foster social cohesion in migrants’ affected communities. The workshop tour kicked off in Amman, Jordan, in October 2017. In November, IOM went to Malakal, South Sudan, to work with communities that have fled war and violence and in December last year, the workshop was done with a group of migrants living in Geneva, Switzerland.

The initiative is funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF) and supported by NORCAP.

Watchhow the videos were produced.

For more information, please contact Amanda Nero at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 227 179 482, Email: anero@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:29Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants at the GMFF participatory video workshop in Boa Vista, Brazil. Photo: IOM/A. Nero

Participants watch the videos the produced. Photo: IOM/A. Nero

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 33,400 in 2018; Deaths Reach 785

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 10:07

Geneva  IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 33,400 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea as of 6 June 2018. So far this month, 1,190 arrivals to Italy, Greece and Spain have been recorded, the majority of which arrived in Spain (47% of total European arrivals).

The 33,400 arrivals since 1 January this year compares with 73,078 arrivals across the region through the same period last year. The number is also significantly lower compared to 6 June last year, with a 55 per cent decrease.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo noted that the 13,808 migrants who are registered as having arrived by sea to Italy this year is 77.44 per cent lower than that reported last year in the same period, when 61,201 irregular migrants and refugees arrived in Italy and an 80 per cent decline from the 70,222 arriving to this point in 2016.

Arrivals to Italy through May are just over one-sixth of last year’s May volume, and one-fifth of that of May 2016 (see chart below).

Di Giacomo also noted that the main nationality of sea arrivals to Italy from 1 January to 30 April this year is Tunisian (1,910) followed by Eritrean (1,810). In the same period in 2017, the largest number of arrivals registered were of Nigerian origin (5,253) followed by Guinean (4,184).


IOM’s Kelly Namia reported that as of Tuesday, 5 June, 11,236 migrants had entered Greece by sea, an increase of 51 per cent compared to the same period last year.

In Spain, IOM’s Ana Dodevska reported that as of 6 June, 8,309 migrants have been recorded to enter the country via the West Mediterranean route in 2018, with 240 deaths. Only in the first week of June, IOM has recorded 561 sea arrivals.

With a higher number of June arrivals by sea than in 2015 (414) but lower than in 2016 (715) and 2017 (2,352), the number of sea arrivals to Spain per year has been growing steadily since 2015 (see below).

 

Intensified movement through the Western Balkans continued throughout May reaching a monthly total of 2,838 registered migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania – the highest figure reported since the beginning of the year.

Between January and May 2018, authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania reported the arrival of 7,402 new migrants and refugees. More than half the migrants and refugees were registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina – a total of 4,841. There were estimated 520 new migrants and refugees arriving in the country every week. Almost half of all individuals registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina this year were from Pakistan (22%) and Syrian Arab Republic (22%) followed by those who declared Afghan (14%), Iranian (10%) and Iraqi (8%) nationality.

Since the start of the year, authorities in Montenegro have registered 1,362 migrants and refugees, mainly from Syrian Arab Republic (46%), Pakistan (13%) and Algeria (12%).

In Albania, there were 1,199 migrants and refugees registered this year. Among the three countries, only authorities in Albania reported a decrease in arrivals this month – from 293 reported in April to 147 reported in May. However, DTM flow monitoring activities in the north of the country indicate an increase in movements towards Montenegro. In May, authorities registered 139 migrants and refugees on exit from the country (Shkodra region), a 200 per cent increase compared to only 40 reported in April and 10 per cent increase compared to 126 identified in March.

Migrant Arrivals in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro Jan-May 2018

On 6 June, 17 migrants were returned to Libyan shore by the Coast Guard in Sabratha. Seeking a better life and work opportunities, nine men, seven women and one boy embarked on a wooden boat in Zuwara. The migrants originated from Ghana, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Sudan.

Upon disembarkation, the migrants received basic medical assistance. There were no reports of casualties. So far in 2018, 6,852 migrants have been returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard. Following disembarkation, the migrants were transferred by the Libyan authorities to a detention centre in Zintan. Whilst IOM advocates for alternatives to detention, IOM continues emergency assistance to migrants inside detention centres including health and psychosocial support, as well as Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 1,401 people who died or went missing while migrating in 2018. In the Mediterranean alone, 785 people have lost their lives at sea since the beginning of 2018. Last Saturday, a boat carrying approximately 180 people capsized off the coast of Kerkennah island, in Sfax, Tunisia. As of Thursday, 7 June, Tunisian authorities had recovered 73 bodies, 53 of them Tunisian nationals. An estimated 39 people remain missing.

In the Gulf of Aden, at least 62 migrants died or went missing when the boat in which they were travelling from Somalia to Yemen capsized on 6 June. The remains of 46 migrants (37 men and 9 women) were recovered, while an estimated 16 remain missing and are presumed dead. IOM staff on the ground provided assistance to the 39 survivors who managed to reach the shore.

There were several other additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since last Monday’s update. In Mexico’s state of Coahuila, a young man died after falling from a freight train near the town of Ramos Arizpe on 6 June. On the US-Mexico border, a 40-year-old man drowned trying to swim around the Tijuana border fence towards California. His body was recovered on 3 June by Mexican civil protection authorities.

Additionally, the Missing Migrants Project team received data from the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner regarding remains of migrants found in Southern Arizona in March and April 2018. In the past two months, the remains of 24 people who died while trying to cross the Sonoran Desert into the United States were brought to the Pima County medical examiner’s office in Tucson, Arizona.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

Download the Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here. 
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe 
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int 

For more information, please contact: 
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int 
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int 
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int 
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: knamia@iom.int 
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional DTM, Austria, Tel: + +43 1 5812222, Email: izakoska@iom.int 
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int 
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448 Email: chpetre@iom.int 
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email: adodevska@iom.int  
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Tel: +216 71 860 312 (Ext. 109), Email: mchabbi@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:27Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Environmental Migration, Focus of Regional Policy Forum in Southern Africa

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 10:06

Pretoria IOM, the UN Migration Agency, facilitated this week (05/06) the first Regional Policy Forum on Migration, Environment, and Climate Change (MECC) for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) Member States in Pretoria, South Africa.

The two-day event which gathered 40 participants, including officials from entities in charge of environment, migration and disaster management from 14 countries of the region, the IOC Secretariat, United Nations (UN) agencies, and international non-governmental organizations, is the first event of its kind in the region. It aimed to bring together stakeholders to discuss findings of selected country assessments, as well as to debate and develop a regional policy-guiding document that will establish priorities, and stimulate cooperation and cross fertilization amongst Member States on MECC.

Migration, climate change and the environment are closely interrelated. Just as environmental degradation and disasters can cause migration, movement of people can also entail significant effects on surrounding ecosystems.

Every year, millions of people worldwide are forced to leave their homes because of floods, windstorms, earthquakes, droughts and other disasters. Environmental factors have long had an impact on global migration flows, as people have historically left places with harsh or deteriorating conditions. However, the scale of such flows, both internal and cross-border, is expected to rise as a result of accelerated climate change, with unprecedented impacts on lives and livelihoods.

This is particularly true in Southern Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean. Climate change models developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa, project a robust pattern of drastic temperature rise for southern Africa, with increases of up to 7° Celsius over some parts of the region by the end of the century.

In his opening remarks, Charles Kwenin, IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, noted that “our changing climate is fundamentally redrawing the map of where – and how – people can live”, and added that “the complex nature of events and realities we witness in the region makes very clear that no one country can address the issue alone, making regional and sub-regional dialogue and cooperation indispensable.”

IOM has been at the forefront of operational, research, policy and advocacy efforts on MECC, seeking to bring environmental migration to the heart of international, regional and national concerns, in collaboration with its Member States, observers and partners, which reflects Member States’ priorities to advance in this area.

The Regional Policy Forum is part of the wider IOM Development Fund (IDF) supported project Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, which seeks to increase knowledge and awareness about the relationship between migration and environmental change, to inform the formulation of related national and regional policy and operational planning.

For more information please contact Daniel Silva y Poveda, IOM Madagascar, Tel: +26132 56 54 954, Email: dsilva@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:24Image: Region-Country: South AfricaThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration PolicyDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants at the first Regional Policy Forum on MECC for SADC and Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) Member States in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Brazil Public Defender’s Office Train Attorneys on Migration Law

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 09:59

Brasilia IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and Brazil’s Federal Public Defender’s Office (DPU, in Portuguese) held a training of trainers on migration law for 31 DPU attorneys from ten Brazilian states.

The training, which took place in Brasilia this week (6-8/06), addressed some of the most pressing issues on the Brazilian migration agenda, including the challenges of implementing the new migration law which entered into force in November 2017. It also addressed topics such as regional migration flows in South America, and the rights of vulnerable migrants such as LGBTI, homeless and indigenous individuals among others.

A module on counter-trafficking, supported by the European Union-sponsored Global Action Against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GloACT) was also included in the training.

According to the 1988 Brazilian constitution, the DPU is responsible for providing legal assistance to vulnerable populations. In the last decade, the number of vulnerable migrants reaching Brazil and requesting assistance from DPU attorneys has significantly increased. In 2015, the DPU assisted 4,887 vulnerable migrants; two years later, this number was 49 per cent higher (7,311 migrants assisted).

During the opening ceremony of the training, Diego Beltrand, the IOM Regional Director for South America, emphasized the role played by the DPU attorneys in migrant protection: “Access to an attorney is fundamental for migrants who need legal help but can’t afford to pay a lawyer, to ensure the protection of their rights and access to safe, orderly and regular migration paths.”

DPU’s Attorney General Carlos Paz said: “Migration flows are often connected with human rights violations that need to be addressed. The Federal Public Defender’s Office is the legitimate instrument to promote that protection.”

IOM Brazil Chief of Mission Stephane Rostiaux highlighted that the DPU is one of the most important public institutions promoting the rights of vulnerable migrants. “The new Brazilian migration law aligns Brazil with the best available international standards, but the law implementation remains a challenge,” he explained. “The DPU is a key player in turning the new law’s protective tools into real life changes for migrants.”

During the training, IOM presented a handbook that schematizes the 26 most recurrent cases of legal assistance provided by the DPU. The handbook outlines the procedures carried out by DPU’s biggest office specializing in migration, located in São Paulo, and provides a set of basic tools for public attorneys in other parts of Brazil.

The handbook also includes practical information on applications for resident permits; family reunification procedures; the process of requesting Brazilian citizenship; procedures for appealing fines or nullifying wrongfully initiated deportations; and other daily legal problems faced by vulnerable migrants in Brazil.

With the trainings and the handbook, IOM hopes to support the process of expansion and improvement of the services that DPU provides to migrants nationwide, by helping attorneys learn the multiple legal tools available to assist migrants, update their knowledge on domestic and international law, and standardizing procedures for the benefit of the thousands of migrants assisted by DPU yearly.

The training is the first activity of the project Improving Legal Assistance to Migrants in Brazil and Promoting their Access to Labour Markets, funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF). By the end of the year, IOM and DPU will have trained more than 200 government officials and civil society workers through face-to-face and online courses.

For more information, please contact Marcelo Torelly at IOM Brazil, Tel: +55 61 3038 9014, Email: mtorelly@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:23Image: Region-Country: BrazilDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Regional Director for South America, Diego Beltrand inaugurated the Training of Trainers implemented by IOM Brazil and the Federal Public Defender’s Office. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Champions Data for Policy Planning, at Workshop in Mongolia

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 09:54

Ulaanbaatar – Earlier this week (5-7 June) IOM, the UN Migration Agency, facilitated a training workshop on the Use of Migration Data for Policy Planning. It was attended by 33 senior government officials; representatives of relevant line ministries; civil society partners; and other governmental and non-governmental agencies. This is the first of series of workshops to be conducted this year aimed at increasing understanding of internal migration in Mongolia, improving the management of internal migration, and addressing migrants’ vulnerabilities.

Over the past decade, internal migration, (especially rural-to-urban) has grown exponentially. Mongolia has a rich cultural history steeped in a nomadic way of life. However, rural poverty triggered by a combination of unemployment, low incomes, lack of quality health services and education, desertification and natural disasters, has led many to leave their traditional way of life for urban centres. Almost half (47 per cent) of the Mongolian population is currently living in Ulaanbaatar, and the share of the urban population has increased to 67 per cent of the total population.

Most internal migrants in Mongolia settle in Ger (districts) on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar which make up about 60 per cent of the city’s population but, despite their size, these districts have not been adequately integrated into the city’s development planning. New migrants form almost one third of the population living in these areas, and of all the migrants to Ulaanbaatar, 39 per cent are people in greatest need.

Limited data on migration trends (including root causes) and key demographics; the absence of evidence based policies and programmes; and a lack of government capacity to support migrants in informal settlements with basic services are key challenges inhibiting migration management in Mongolia.

“Lack of opportunities in rural locations, whether that be in terms of employment, lifestyle, access to quality education and health care, climate change, or connectivity to the wider world will likely feed further rural-urban migration in Mongolia,” stated Etienne Micallef, IOM Officer in Charge for China and Mongolia. “This means that we must work more and more together to build new responses and solutions to new situations and challenges.”
This training workshop was part of the “Understanding and Managing Internal Migration in Mongolia” project funded by the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency. It built on the results of internal migration and urban migrant vulnerabilities assessments conducted by the National University of Mongolia (NUM) and Ger Community Mapping Centre (GCMC), IOM’s implementing partners. By the end of this year, an evidence-based policy dialogue, reflecting on the information from both assessments, will be carried out in view of establishing an action plan.

Agencies represented at the training workshop included the National Development Agency, Ulaanbaatar Municipality, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, National Statistics Office, State Registration Department, National University of Mongolia, Ger Community Mapping Centre, representatives of Bayanzurkh and Songino Khairkhan districts, Ministry of  Construction and Urban Planning, Ministry of Food Agriculture and Light Industry, Mongolian Red Cross Society, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Finance, Intellectual Property and State Registration Office.

For more information on the SDC project please go to: https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/country/docs/mongolia/iom-mongolia-sdc-project-factsheet-2017-2018.pdf.

For more information please contact Zuzana Jankechova at IOM Mongolia, Tel: +976 70143100, Email: zjankechova@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:21Image: Region-Country: MongoliaThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration PolicyDefault: Multimedia: 

Opening of the “Use of Migration Data for Policy Planning” training workshop, Mongolia. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Supports RCM Countries in Strengthening Protection of Migrants Displaced by Disasters

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/08/2018 - 09:54

Mexico City Thirty-two officers from 10 countries that are part of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM), met this week (6-7 June) to improve their capacities and exchange experiences on migrant protection in countries affected by natural disasters.

The Workshop on Prevention and Assistance to Migrants and Persons Displaced Across Borders in the Context of Natural Disasters was organized by RCM with support from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD). Representatives from Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic discussed the inclusion of migrants in the different stages of comprehensive risk management.

This training workshop was held just three days after the eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala, which resulted in the evacuation of 12,000 persons and 83 confirmed victims.

In 2017, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) registered 18.8 million new displacements due to natural disasters in 135 countries. In Latin America, the number goes up to 4.5 million displaced persons.

According to the study Migrant Populations in the Reduction of Risk and Attention of Emergencies in Central America elaborated by IOM, 17 million migrants come from Latin America, more than 2 million migrants choose the region as their destination, and several tourists go there annually, making it one of the largest and most diverse territorial corridors of migrants worldwide. The study was presented to the participants, who agreed on the need to include migrant populations in natural disaster risk reduction, in the elaboration of both regional and national level policies.

In 2016, RCM Member States adopted a practical guide for the protection of displaced persons in the context of natural disasters. In 2017, RCM carried out the first training workshop in which the creation of emergency units in the consular network was agreed on, along with the implementation of an IOM e-learning programme to train consular officers in cases of emergency, among other measures.

Representatives of the General Direction for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico (SRE); Panama in its quality of RMC’s president; IOM Mexico; PDD; RCM Secretariat; Unit of Immigration Policy (SEGOB) and the National Disaster Prevention Centre (CENAPRED) were present at the opening ceremony.

Christopher Gascon, IOM Mexico Chief of Mission, affirmed that “countries in the region are committed to reducing the vulnerability of migrant populations exposed to environmental risk factors. IOM offers technical advice so that these measures save lives, and governments can successfully face the challenge of migration for environmental reasons.”

The event was made possible thanks to the support of the Swiss government and the US State Department through its Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

For more information, please contact Cesia Chavarria at IOM Mexico, Email: cchavarria@iom.int, Tel: +55 5536 3922

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: MexicoDefault: Multimedia: 

Representatives from 10 countries discussed the inclusion of migrants in the different stages of comprehensive risk management. Photo: IOM

Representatives from 10 countries discussed the inclusion of migrants in the different stages of comprehensive risk management. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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