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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 9,826 in 2019; Deaths Reach 230

PBN News Germany - Tue, 03/12/2019 - 07:24

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 9,826 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 10 March, a 15 per cent decrease from the 11,636 arriving during the same period last year.

Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost ten weeks of the new year are at 230 individuals – or under half the 464 deaths that occurred during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).

See contacts here.


Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 12, 2019 - 14:21Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Director-General Extends Condolences after Plane Crash Claims IOM and UN Staff

PBN News Germany - Sun, 03/10/2019 - 19:28

Geneva – The following statement was issued today by the Spokesman for IOM’s Director-General António Vitorino:

The Director-General is deeply saddened to learn of today's tragic Ethiopian Airlines accident which claimed the lives of all 157 aboard, including a young IOM staff member Anne-Katrin Feigl.

Ms Feigl, a German national, was en route to a training course in Nairobi as part of her role as a Junior Professional Officer.

Numerous other staff members from at least five UN and affiliated organizations  are understood to have also perished on the Ethiopian Airlines flight ET302 from the capital city Addis Ababa to Kenya’s capital Nairobi. There were some 32 nationalities on the doomed flight.

Early indications are that 19 staff members of UN affiliated organizations perished.

Alongside IOM, these include the World Food Program (WFP), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), the UN Environment Program (UNEP), the World Bank and others also lost colleagues in the tragedy.

The Director-General extends his heartfelt condolences and deepest sympathy to the bereaved families of all the victims of this tragic crash. 

The tragedy has deeply affected the entire UN family he said, extending his deepest sympathies to the family and friends of Anne Feigl, those of other UN organizations as well as other passengers and crew.

Catherine Northing, Chief of Mission of IOM Sudan where Anne Feigl worked, said: 
« She was an extremely valued colleague and popular staff member, committed and professional.

« The staff are in a state of shock. One colleague said today ´she was always bringing happiness to us’.  

Her tragic passing has left a big hole and we will all miss her greatly. »

As a mark of respect IOM will fly its flag at half-mast at its offices tomorrow, as will the UN and its agencies.

Language English Posted: Sunday, March 10, 2019 - 19:25Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: OthersDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Empowers Women to Safely Rebuild Homes in Earthquake-Affected Communities in Papua New Guinea

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/08/2019 - 08:32

Port Moresby – A year ago, Papua New Guinea was struck by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake that damaged many homes and displaced local communities. IOM used its Displacement Tracking Matrix to map out locations hosting the displaced, identifying their needs, including shelter, to inform the humanitarian response.    

In partnership with the government at national and provincial levels and supported by the United Nations country team, between August–October 2018 IOM targeted 51 women from Southern Highlands and Hela provinces with a ‘Training of Trainers’ to ‘Build Back Safer.’ Following the training it distributed shelter construction tool kits to them and other disaster-affected families.    

The tool kits included a claw hammer, hand saw, nails and tie wire and the women gathered local bush materials to rebuild their houses. The safer building techniques that they had learnt will help the buildings to survive future storms and other disasters.  

Diane Joel, who took part in the training and received a shelter toolkit rebuilt her three-bedroom house in Humbra community. She noted that the training raised community awareness on building safer, more resilient shelters better able to withstand extreme weather conditions. "IOM taught us how to build safer homes and this is the house which I have built. It is safe for me to live in and when a natural disaster strikes, we will be safe,” she said.   

The ‘Build Back Safer’ training has also helped to address the cultural perceptions which previously limited women’s participation in constructing. “The task of building homes used to be for men, but after the training I can say we are able to direct our men to build homes,” she added.    

“Build Back Safer” graduates are sharing their new skills with their families and other community members, several of whom have also rebuilt their houses to make them safer and more resilient.    

For more information please contact IOM Port Moresby, Lance Bonneau, Tel. +675 3213655, Email: or Peter Murorera, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 - 15:27Image: Region-Country: Papua New GuineaThemes: Capacity BuildingMigrant AssistanceShelterDefault: Multimedia: 

Diane Joel at her new house in Humbra. Photo: IOM/Christine Conway

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Adidas, IOM Partner to Promote Responsible Recruitment, Fair Treatment of Migrant Workers in Garment and Footwear Industry

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/08/2019 - 08:27

Ho Chi Minh City – Global sportswear company adidas and IOM have launched a new project to eliminate unethical recruitment and exploitative labour practices. The newly launched partnership project aims to ensure that the human and labour rights of migrant workers are upheld in adidas’ supply chain, especially in high risk migrant corridors.   

The exploitation of migrant workers in global supply chains often begins in their home country, where they are subject to excessive fees to secure employment. Such situations create heavy indebtedness that makes it often impossible for migrants to walk away from exploitative working conditions. Looking to tackle one of the most complex human rights challenges in the global economy, IOM and adidas have joined forces to improve recruitment management systems and address related risks of modern slavery and human trafficking.   

The collaboration will consist of specialized trainings and due diligence measures. At the core of the project stands the importance of implementing the employer-pays-principle and improving access to remedy in cases where migrant workers’ rights are breached, particularly with regard to recruitment fees. The main goal is to ensure migrant workers in adidas’ labour supply chains are aware of their rights and know how to exercise them.   

“We are looking forward to working with IOM in upholding migrant workers’ basic rights and embedding the employer-pays-principle along our supply chain. At adidas we are committed to fair labour practices, including the elimination of recruitment fees and other costs incurred by migrant workers employed in our supply chain. Our commitment is reflected in our Policy on Responsible Recruitment and in our active engagement in several leading public-private sector initiatives, including the current IOM partnership,” said William Anderson, Vice President for Social and Environmental Affairs at adidas. 

Anderson added, “Since 2011 we have supported the Dhaka Principles for Migration with Dignity and, more recently, we have pledged our support for the 2018 joint American Apparel & Footwear Association (AAFA) and FLA Commitment to Responsible Recruitment.”    

As international labour mobility continues to rise, migrants are becoming an important part of the workforce in global supply chains. The apparel and footwear sector is particularly reliant on migrant workers and factories often use unverified recruitment or employment agencies that render them vulnerable to risks of excessive recruitment fees and debt bondage. Many of these migrants active in the sector are women, often low-skilled workers from rural areas, vulnerable to coercive recruitment practices and exploitation. 

“IOM is part of a growing and multi-stakeholder alliance of like-minded actors seeking to promote the role of businesses acting as catalysts for change. The private sector has a significant and valuable role to play in realizing the positive benefits of migration and in minimizing its costs. At the heart of this collaboration is a shared commitment to improve the lives of millions of migrant workers in the garment and footwear supply chain that are moving within this region to work. Our partnership with adidas will promote human rights standards, ethical recruitment practices and fair employment conditions for these migrants,” said IOM project manager Max Pottler.   

The project is part of IOM’s direct engagement and partnership building with business towards addressing migrant worker vulnerabilities and develop sustainable solutions, notably through its flagship private sector engagement initiatives: the CREST (Corporate Responsibility for Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking) and the IRIS (International Recruitment Integrity System) projects. Recognizing that genuine progress towards these goals can only be made through collective industry efforts, IOM is committed to providing thought leadership on findings, best practices, and insights on how to implement ethical recruitment of migrant workers in extended labour supply chains, as well as strengthen and inspire action from peers.   

In 2017 and 2018, adidas and IOM cooperated in the region on a modern slavery training programme. Close to one hundred adidas Tier 2 suppliers from Viet Nam, Indonesia, Republic of Korea and China received guidance on how to identify and remedy unscrupulous employment practices, as well as reduce risks of modern slavery in operations and across the broader supply chain.   

The relevance of such partnerships between international organizations and business is indisputable in today’s context, with migration management increasingly becoming a responsibility which must be shared by private and public sector actors. By implementing gender-sensitive due diligence processes, ethical recruitment and responsible supply chain management, companies can mitigate risks for men and women migrant workers. The IOM-adidas partnership is an example of how such action can materialize.    

For more information please contact Nguyen Thi Minh Hien at IOM Ho Chi Minh City. Email:, Tel:  +84 964 753 936. 


Language English Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 - 15:17Image: Region-Country: Viet NamThemes: IOMLabour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM is working with adidas to protect the rights of migrant workers. Photo: adidas

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Senegalese Mothers and Artists Use Art to Stop Their Children from Leaving

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/08/2019 - 08:16

Dakar – “Leaving for success, for the honour of our mothers…This is only our mothers’ fault.”   

Marie Mané sings this refrain, repeated in unison by a chorus of 40 women gathered at the Monument de la Renaissance in Dakar.   

This refrain is more than a song for these mothers, daughters and sisters. It is their anthem for the fight against irregular migration.  

Marie Mané is one of the elders in this group. A widowed mother of two children, she is originally from Casamance, in Southern Senegal. She joined a dance troupe when she arrived in Dakar some years ago.  

By singing this refrain, Marie knows what lies behind these words. After her father’s death, her nephew received a small part of the inheritance to reach Europe with the complicity of his mother, who asked him to keep this travel secret.  

“You see that your fellow’s son has left, and he is sending money to his mother every month, and you say to yourself, I have to support my son to leave, so that he too will send me money at the end of each month,” says Marie. “But… there is nowhere you can be that is not where you are meant to be. You do not know what the fellow’s son is doing to be able to send money. We have to talk to our children, tell them that they can make it here, and above all that they must always preserve their dignity,” adds Marie. Once he arrived in Mauritania, driven by his instinct, her nephew returned home and chose to build a life in his country.  

As members of the traditional dance troupe of women from the Lebou community of Dakar, the collective Slam au Féminin, and the dance troupe Fatou Cissé, bonded over a shared objective: raise awareness among young people on the risks of irregular migration.   

And doing so through what they know best: writing, singing and dancing. As a result, they will deliver a performance during an itinerant parade along the streets of the Senegalese capital on International Women’s Day, today (08/03).   

“I am an artist. I can contribute to raising awareness. I can be a voice for the voiceless. I am the woman, the mother, the sister, who can support brothers, sisters and children to survive, not to sacrifice themselves for ‘success’,” says Aby Diagne, a member of the traditional dance troupe of women from the Lebou community which she has joined to encourage women to raise their voice in a society where their words are less valued than those of men.   

“I lost a brother, a friend. He was encouraged by his mother to leave. He finally took the ‘Route’ and today we have no news from him. He might have died in the sea. I feel like supporting them when I am sensitizing them, explaining them that this is our fault. We wanted the best for him but in the end, he had the worst,” says Sister Selbé, a member of Slam au féminin.  

In Senegal, mothers support their children’s migration; they even help finance their journeys. While Selbé recognizes the mothers’ responsibility for the departure of young people, she also recognizes her obligation to fight preconceived notions among many that migration is the ultimate means of survival.  

But she cannot make it alone. She must work with those who have lost sons, fathers, brothers, or those who are aware that leaving is not inevitable. “No fight can be won without them,” she says.   

“Women are involved in all issues that affect this country: social, education, politics. It is up to us to take responsibility because we are the cornerstone of the society. It’s up to us to say STOP, that’s enough, it must not continue,” said Selbé.  

It is in this context that, when the International Organization for Migration (IOM) called on to celebrate International Women’s Day, these women immediately accepted. Throughout a week of preparatory workshops, grandmothers, mothers, and young women gathered to brainstorm on messages in the form of poems, songs and choreography. As the result of these preparatory workshops, a performance will be delivered.  

“We had to join together [poetry] slammers and mothers. The brainstorming on messages was not easy as we have different backgrounds, we do not have the same style or experience to share. But we have learned from each other, listened to each other, helped each other and supported each other,” says Selbé.  

In a society where the death of the one who “left” is taboo, art is a most appropriate form to convey the very harsh messages.  

“This association of Lebou women is a legacy of our grandmothers and has been passed down through generations. It enables us to perpetuate and share the traditions of our ancestors. Through this association we make ourselves understood and heard.”  

For these women, the itinerant parade is an opportunity to reaffirm and renew their commitment to the protection of their community and to send an ultimate message to young people: Be satisfied with what God gives you. Be patient, sooner or later you will get what you deserve.  

Since 2017, IOM, in partnership with African States, has supported the voluntary return of more than 55,000 West Africans who were stranded along migration routes.  

Providing timely access to accurate information on migration, including the dangers along the migration routes by road and by sea, can save the lives of the thousands of young Africans willing to risk their lives to reach Europe.   

This activity implemented by IOM was made possible thanks to funding from the Italian Government under the Aware Migrants project. It is part of IOM’s efforts to raise awareness on irregular migration in West and Central Africa. Close to 10,000 awareness-raising events were organized across the region since the launch of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in 2017.  

For more details, watch this video

For more information, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221786206213, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 - 15:13Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the performers go through their paces during rehearsals. IOM/Marilena Crosato

A Young Senegalese woman is preparing a slam on irregular migration. IOM/Aissatou Sy

Artists Work Together on a Show to Sensitize the Youth and other Women

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

The Dream Bakery that Supports Returned Women Migrants in Tajikistan

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/08/2019 - 08:13

Gorno Badakshan – Khursheda Ilchibekova has dreamed of having her own bakery since she was ten years old.  

She grew up in the beautiful but troubled Gorno-Badakhshan Autonomous Region in eastern Tajikistan, which was stricken by civil war and extreme poverty. 

Life was especially hard for families with many small children, as was the case of Khursheda’s family of eight. The income from the little business which Khursheda’s parents operated was too small to put enough food on the table. 

Seeing how difficult it was for her parents to make ends meet, the enterprising girl started her own business selling sunflower seed snacks after school. 

She started learning about the market and began thinking of new products and services. She was able to help her parents with the family business by selling homemade pastries and this activity supported her through university. After graduation, she continued working on her business. 

“With a growing number of happy customers, I decided to open the bakery I had always dreamed of. However, this was the point when I realized I needed to work more on my business skills, so I enrolled in management training at the University of Central Asia,” said Khursheda. 

The next step for her was when she heard of the IOM programme providing grants for small and medium enterprises. She applied right away, and her proposal was successful. She now has five employees including female migrants who returned to Tajikistan with little access to employment. Khursheda is planning to recruit and train more women to further develop her business. 

Large numbers of people migrate out of Gorno-Badakshan every year, weakening in this unique mountain community. Supporting local businesses is key to IOM’s work in the country, allowing people to stay close to their homes and families.  

“Life in Eastern Tajikistan is a daily struggle and earning an income is difficult, particularly for returning migrants,” noted Cristina Gheorghe, IOM's Chief of Mission in Tajikistan. IOM is investing in the skills and knowledge of people like Khursheda, to build a stronger economy, where anyone, including migrants – men and women – can find dignified work.” 

For more information please contact Cristina Gheorghe Tranca, IOM Tajikistan, at +992-900-44-7777 / Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 - 15:11Image: Region-Country: TajikistanThemes: Capacity BuildingGender and MigrationMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Khursheda Ilchibekova (right) with her staff of returned migrants in her bakery in Gorno Badakshan, Tajikistan. Photo: IOM

Khursheda with some of her cakes. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Commits to Enhanced Gender Sensitivity at Sudan’s Second Migrant Resource Centre

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/08/2019 - 08:10

Gedarif – A newly opened drop-in centre for migrants in Sudan will pay special attention to the needs of vulnerable women and ensure they receive gender-sensitive protection and assistance.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) runs several migrant resource centres (MRCs) in the Horn of Africa, with the newest being inaugurated this week. The MRC in eastern Sudan becomes the second such facility in the country.  

Sudan presents a complex and diverse migration profile as a source, transit and destination country at the centre of multiple migration routes and is host to several migrant populations.   

Gedarif state, located on the country’s eastern border with Ethiopia, is one of the main transit points for migrants from the Horn of Africa towards North Africa and onwards to Europe and the Arab Gulf states.  

Migrants in transit lack access to basic services such as medical, psychosocial and legal assistance and are often vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by migrant smugglers, trafficking or forced labour.   

The new MRC is aiming to serve vulnerable migrants in or transiting through Sudan including victims of trafficking, seasonal migrant workers, potential migrants as well as host and migrant communities and local institutions.   

In Sudan, female migrants are particularly susceptible to sexual exploitation and domestic abuse. The Gedarif MRC will pay special attention to their needs. For example, when reaching out to migrants in administrative detention IOM Sudan has committed to providing gender-sensitive kits and facilitating female interpreters and doctors through local partners.  

IOM Sudan will also address the needs of seasonal workers, among whom women often carry the burden of taking care of children as well as engaging in agricultural activities.  

The new MRC in Gedarif was commissioned on Tuesday (5 March), by IOM at a ceremony attended by representatives from the different tiers of government, including the Ministries of Health and Social Development, and of the Interior, as well as migrant and host communities, local civil society actors as well as UN and international agencies.   

Also, in attendance were representatives of the embassies of France, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Japan, and the United States.   

The establishment of the MRC is part of the efforts by IOM Sudan to expand its migrant protection and assistance and community engagement activities across the country. It is the second centre of this kind, complementing a similar facility that IOM Sudan has been operating in Khartoum since 2015. 

The opening of the new MRC was closely coordinated with the State Ministry of Health and Social Development, IOM’s main governmental counterpart in Gedarif.   

As part of its migrant protection and assistance programme the MRC in Gedarif will enable IOM to address migrants’ immediate needs for protection and assistance as well as access to information in close coordination with local governmental and non-governmental counterparts and will also promote self-reliance among migrant communities. In turn this will contribute to IOM’s objective of strengthening the humane management of mixed migration flows in Sudan.  

Speaking at the opening ceremony, IOM’s Chief of Mission Catherine Northing said: “We’re happy to work closely with the state government towards improving the protection of vulnerable migrants and access to assistance and services of both host and migrant communities.”  

The opening of the MRC was also welcomed by the State Minister of Health and Social Development, Huda Ibrahim Elamir, who emphasized the importance of close coordination with IOM Sudan to improve access to services by both host and migrant communities.   

For more information please contact Anne-Katrin Feigl at IOM Sudan, Mobile: +249 922 406650, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 - 15:08Image: Region-Country: South SudanThemes: Gender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

The set-up and operationalization of the MRC in Gedarif is a joint effort between IOM and the Ministry of Health and Social Development.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

‘Think Equal, Build Smart and Innovate Change’, IOM Nigeria Urges on International Women’s Day

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/08/2019 - 08:08


Lagos – On 8 March, International Women’s Day (IWD), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Nigeria organized a one-day workshop and sensitization event in Ikeja, Lagos for 25 women, including seven female migrant returnees from Libya. The event was conducted in collaboration with the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation, with support from the Women’s Technology Empowerment Center (WTEC).

The aim of the event was to leverage technology-related skills to enhance the economic, social and psychosocial reintegration of migrant and potential migrant women, as well as to use those skills to raise more awareness on the dangers of irregular migration and human trafficking and promote safe migration practices. The workshop focused on website design and basic digital literacy as well as provided a platform for women returnees to share their irregular migration experiences. 

 “With women being underrepresented in numerous fields, it is vital to equip them with the necessary skills so that they have equal opportunities for employment, leadership positions and decision making at all levels,” said Alex Cole, IOM Nigeria Programme Support Officer at the event. “It is therefore important to teach young female returnees and potential migrants, digital and tech related skills to help bridge the digital gender divide,” she added. 

“It is important that a woman is self-reliant and learn a vocation of her choice. I encourage migrant and vulnerable women to key into services provided by the ministry,” said Adesola Onipede, representing the Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation. 

IOM has recorded that women make up 49 per cent of the 12,429 migrants returned predominantly from Libya since April 2017 under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. Many of these women travelled at the behest of traffickers and smugglers and have suffered exploitation, violence and other forms of abuse. Through this project, IOM provides psychosocial support, family tracing and reunification, business skills training and other types of assistance to start their own businesses and achieve sustainable reintegration.   

In today’s ever-increasing digital world, technology is a useful tool to ensure that the voices of women are heard. Additionally, effective and strategic use can significantly improve productivity and outcome of businesses for women entrepreneurs. 

“I graduated from computer science before I migrated to Libya but I could only do theoretical things. Now I can design a website by myself for my fashion business and also build for my friends,” said Oriola Abiola Azee, who learned how to build a website at the event. 

This testimony was echoed by another participant, Emenike Chiamaka, who designed a website to help victims of human trafficking during the training.

The Joint Initiative is implemented by IOM to support the voluntary return and sustainable reintegration of vulnerable Nigerian migrants stranded across the Mediterranean migration routes.

To contribute to the prevention of irregular migration and human trafficking, IOM is currently implementing several awareness raising projects in Nigeria including the Aware Migrants project, funded by the Government of Italy, which is designed to promote behavioural change among potential migrants and their families and friends by helping potential migrants make safe and informed decisions about their migratory journey.

Worldwide, IOM is celebrating International Women’s Day as an opportunity to highlight the importance of migration data to better assist women on the move.

For more information, please contact: Jorge Galindo, IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 815 5263 827, Email: or Ikechukwu Attah, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 - 15:06Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Potential migrants and returnees learning the ropes of web design. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 9,779 in 2019; Deaths Reach 229

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/08/2019 - 08:06

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 9,779 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 6 March, a 13 per cent decrease from the 10,715 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost seven weeks of the new year are at 229 individuals – or about one half the 464 deaths that occurred during the same period in 2018 (see chart below). 

IOM Italy 

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Thursday reported a total of 335 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy in 2019, according to official Ministry of Interior figures. Just 60 migrants or refugees arrived in Italy in the month of February, the lowest one-month total in six years. Since 1 January, 855 migrants have been returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard, according to IOM staff there.  

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that through 6 March, 5,156 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants since the start of this year – an average of about 80 per day. Through this period, irregular migrant arrivals by sea to Spain are about 53 per cent of all Mediterranean arrivals of this type; moreover, that total through just over nine weeks of 2019 is around 500 more arrivals than Spain saw through the all of the first four months of 2018, a period during which IOM reported 4,627 irregular migrant arrivals to Spain by sea, or just under 40 per day.   

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece reported on Thursday (07/03) that from Tuesday (05/03) up to date, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least three incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Samos and Farmakonisi. The HCG rescued a total of 69 migrants and transferred them to those locations.  

Those arrivals were among some 271 IOM recorded in the three days between 4-6 March arriving at the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Farmakonisi bringing to 4,020 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart below). 

Missing Migrants Project  

2019 is the fifth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project (MMP). Since the beginning of 2014, the Project has recorded the deaths of 30,602 people, and yet due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and what happened to them, the true number of deaths during migration is likely much higher.    

So far in 2019, the Missing Migrants Project has recorded the deaths of 419 people, 229 of those on one of three Mediterranean Sea routes (see chart below). 

Most recently, three people drowned in the Aegean Sea: on the night of 6 March, two twin brothers and their father were lost at sea attempting to reach the Greek island of Samos, travelling in a boat with nine other people, including the wife and mother of the two boys. Nine survivors – including four women, four men and one child, all of Afghan nationality – were transferred to the hospital of Samos.   

In the first two months of 2019, at least four children have lost their lives in the Eastern Mediterranean, a tragic marker of the toll of unsafe migration. In the Western Mediterranean, the remains of a man were recovered on 3 March from waters near Ceuta, a Spanish enclave in North Africa. Details regarding his identity, country of origin, or whether he was travelling alone or with others are not known.   

The MMP team also learned that earlier in February, the remains of a 3-year-old child washed ashore on El Djebel beach, on Algeria’s eastern coast, where migrants often depart on a route to Sardinia. The identity of the child or the circumstances of his death are not known.  

On the Syria-Turkey border, remains of three Syrian women were found on 21 February on the banks of the Afrin river, in Turkey’s southern province of Hatay. It is believed they were swept away by the currents of the river when crossing.   

In Mexico, two Guatemalan men were killed, when gunmen opened fire on three trucks carrying migrants towards the US border. Seven people were also injured in the shooting, which took place on 3 March on the Pujultic–Venustiano Carranza Highway in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas. In Brazil, an 11-month-old baby of Venezuelan nationality died of pneumonia in a hospital in Belém on 5 March. According to media reports, the baby and his parents had recently arrived in the city of Belém and were on their journey south, after crossing the border into Brazil’s Roraima state over a month ago. This is the second death of a Venezuelan child reported in the city of Belém since the beginning of the year: a similar case was recorded on 24 February, when a 3-year-old child died of malnutrition shortly after arriving in the city with his parents.   

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrant deaths and disappearances are collected, click here

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, click here. Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 - 14:59Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Marshall Islands Welcomes Customized MIDAS Border Management System

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/08/2019 - 07:59

Majuro – IOM Micronesia has handed over Phase I of a Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS) to the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands (RMI).    

For the past 10 months IOM has been working closely with the RMI’s Ministry of Justice, Immigration and Labour, through the Division of Immigration, to introduce and integrate the new system to existing border crossing operations and manual processes in use for the past five years.   

The project involved extensive training of RMI immigration officers. This included Immigration and Border Management (IBM) and Passport Examination Procedure courses, and MIDAS Administrator, Installation and User Training workshops, including data management, capturing biometrics, purpose of travel, visas and alert lists.   

MIDAS is now in full operation at Amata Kabua International Airport and Majuro Seaport (Delap and Uliga Docks.) A second phase will include the installation of MIDAS at Kwajalein Atoll (Kwaj Airport – US Military base and Ebeye Seaport), as well as permanent workstations at Uliga Dock for issuing and monitoring shore passes.   

With the capability to collect, process, store, and analyze traveller information in real time and across an entire border network, MIDAS will enable the RMI Government to more effectively monitor those entering and exiting their territory, while providing a sound statistical basis for migration policy-related planning.    

The MIDAS handover was held at Amata Kabua International Airport yesterday (7/3) and included an official demonstration of MIDAS and ribbon cutting.   

“IOM’s relationship with the RMI Government goes back ten years. We are committed to supporting RMI’s objective to strengthen border management, including counter trafficking efforts and migrant services,” said IOM Majuro Head of Office Angela Saunders.   

Funded by the RMI Government, the Republic of the Marshall Islands is the first country in the Pacific region to install the MIDAS border management system customized to its country-specific needs.     

For more information, please contact Laura Freeman at IOM Republic of the Marshall Islands, Tel: +692 625 4707, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 8, 2019 - 14:50Image: Region-Country: Marshall IslandsThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Micronesia hands over the MIDAS key to the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands. Photo: IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Condemns Recent Violence in Libyan Detention Centre

PBN News Germany - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 17:07

Tripoli - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) today spoke out against violence unleashed on migrants at the Trig Al Sikka detention centre in Tripoli, Libya.

“We condemn the use of violence in detention, and ask for urgent access to individuals who have been removed from that detention centre,” said IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies, Mohammed Abikder.
According to reports, migrants detained—many for months—launched a protest last Tuesday (26 February) and were punished severely. Those actions resulted in a confrontation with guards and escalating violence. The incident left several injured among the migrants as well as some guards. IOM’s medical team—one doctor and one nurse—provided on site medical support and treatment to the injured.
“IOM continues to call for alternatives to detention. Placing migrants in detention for irregular entry adds to their many vulnerabilities. The situation is particularly difficult for women and children,” IOM’s Abdiker explained. “No matter the circumstances that led to this particular incident, violence against migrants cannot be justified.”
The UN does not have access to the migrants who were moved from the Trig Al Sikka facility, but IOM continues to offer basic, lifesaving services within official detention centres.
IOM works with UN partners to assist migrants to return to their countries of origin and enhance referrals for alternative solutions, including resettlement for those in need of international protection.
The Organization, along with the United Nations Country Team, has been promoting alternatives to detention through advocacy and the establishment of safe spaces to address the needs of the most vulnerable.
Moreover, starting about 48 months ago, in March 2015, IOM has been facilitating the voluntary humanitarian return of tens of thousands of vulnerable migrants residing in detention centres run by Libyan authorities to their countries of origin. In these past four years IOM has brought home a total of more than 40,000 men, women and children from these centres—and other locations across Libya—to more than thirty countries.
For more information please contact Safa Msehli, IOM Libya Communications Officer. Tel: +216 22 241 842; Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 17:05Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Garden Plots Amid Community Violence Grow Produce, and Perhaps Peace

PBN News Germany - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 11:27

Bambari – If you want to grow a dream, plant a seed.

Former combatants and young people at risk of being sucked into community violence in this small city in the Central African Republic (CAR) have few opportunities to start their lives anew.  Violence and ethnic conflict have been endemic here for the past five years.

Now they’re part of this community’s first market gardening cooperative, through a project called “Reducing Community Violence.” The agro-pastoral centre is built on the bank of the Ouaka River in Bambari by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on three hectares of former cotton fields made available by CAR’s Ministry of Agriculture.

The project opens new avenues for socio-economic reintegration for 125 beneficiaries, some of whom formerly belonged to armed groups. Seventy of those participants are young people at risk of turning to violence or joining armed groups due to a lack of economic opportunity.

Participants are granted their own plot of land at 90 square metres. They pool available resources, including equipment, knowledge and infrastructure, including three tanks, two motor pumps and several market-gardening tools.  The agro-pastoral centre is surrounded by new fences and includes storage and training buildings as well as an irrigation system.

The Central Agency for Agricultural Development (ACDA) in the Central African Republic forecasts that each five-month growing cycle could yield harvests sufficient to return some 1.5 million CFA, or about USD 3,000 per farmer.

“This initiative is a unique opportunity for these youth to rebuild their lives and have a brighter future. They are provided with tools, a job and most importantly with hope,” says Jean-François Aguilera, IOM Chief of Mission in CAR.

In partnership with ACDA, the beneficiaries of the project were equipped and trained in timing harvests to market demand. Their first crop: onion.

Since 2013, the Central African Republic has been wracked with instability due to enmity between two groups from the North East of the country: the Seleka, a Muslim-majority group, and the Anti-Balaka, a Christian and animist group.

What started as a political conflict later escalated into widespread violence along ethnic and religious lines. Rival groups now are fighting for control of territory, particularly in areas rich with mines.

According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, the Central African Republic currently has more than 640,000 people internally displaced. The UN Refugee Agency reports that an additional 570,000 refugees seek protection in neighbouring countries. Across CAR nearly three million people are in dire need of humanitarian assistance.

The agro-pastoral centre was funded by the Peace Building Fund (PBF) and the UN Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in CAR (MINUSCA). The 18-month project is targeting 2,000 beneficiaries in the Bambari region as part of an IOM global programme to reduce community violence in the Central African Republic.

For more information, please contact: Christian Noirard at IOM Central African Republic, Tel: +236 72 796 042, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 11:24Image: Region-Country: Central African RepublicThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

A new agro-pastoral centre for socio-economic reintegration for former combatants and young people at risk of joining armed groups. Photo: IOM

A new agro-pastoral centre for socio-economic reintegration for former combatants and young people at risk of joining armed groups. Photo: IOM

A new agro-pastoral centre for socio-economic reintegration for former combatants and young people at risk of joining armed groups. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Job Fair in Niger Brings Together Over 6,000 Visitors, Entrepreneurs and Returnees

PBN News Germany - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 11:15

Tahoua – An initiative launched in early 2018 – “Initiatives pour le Development de l’Entreprise”, known by the acronym IDEE – is designed to curb irregular migration by encouraging Nigerien youth to believe in themselves as self-employed business men and women – who can create employment for others.

That’s the “idée” – French for “idea” – and so far, 86 young entrepreneurs have chosen to start their own business at home with support from this three-year project of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

One of those start-ups belongs to Soumana, 25, offering website development, multimedia editing and graphic design.

Soumana is one of the young Nigerien entrepreneurs who participated in the job fair which took place last weekend between March 2 and 3 at the University in Tahoua, Niger, with support from the Minister for Employment, Labour and Social Protection in Niger.

Organized by IOM together with local incubator CIPMEN and financed by the European Union, the “Foire de l’Emploi Tahoua” reunited more than 6,000 visitors and 133 local businesses during its two-day run.  It was the first event of its kind in Niger, organizers said.

Among the participants were local and national authorities, EU representatives, media partners, owners of national and international start-ups, diaspora representatives, students, and migrant returnees.

With Tahoua, Zinder and Niamey as its three cities of intervention, the IDEE project aims to support youth entrepreneurship through the creation of local work opportunities as alternatives to irregular migration for young people lacking economic opportunities at home.

Financed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation of Italy, the IDEE project is implemented through the support of its partners: CIPMEN, Terre Solidali, Capital Finance and the Ministry for Youth Entrepreneurship in Niger.

To boost youth engagement prior to the fair, a caravan visited local schools, universities and associations, through which close to 1,500 people were reached and informed about the event.

“It’s a great and much-needed initiative for Tahoua. Hopefully, this represents only the beginning for the future of our city,” says Seni, 22, a law student at the University in Tahoua.

Niger has the lowest socio-economic and development indicators (188/188 UNDP United Nations Development Programme’s Human Development Indicators 2016), with an estimated 40 per cent of the population living below the poverty line, which drives people to seek better work opportunities abroad, usually in either Libya or Algeria.

The Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism (MRRM), funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, was launched in 2015 to contribute to the promotion of a dignified and secure migration for all, as well as to support government efforts in developing an effective approach to migration flows.

Tahoua is a significant point of departure for Nigeriens migrating to Libya, mostly as seasonal workers. In 2018, some 2,663 Nigeriens received assistance for voluntary return and reintegration from IOM’s team in Niger, out of which a staggering 53 per cent were originally from Tahoua.

“I cannot imagine a better blend of actors working together towards creating opportunities for returnees and young people from Tahoua, a region with a long history of labour migration to Libya. This Job Fair is really walking the talk on addressing the so-called ‘root causes’ of involuntary migration,” stated Martin Wyss, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger, during the launch.

Upon their return to Tahoua, IOM assists migrants with their reintegration in order to enable the returnees to reach levels of economic self-sufficiency and social stability within their communities.

Although Niger’s economy is largely dependent on subsistence agriculture, by promoting higher education and vocational trainings, projects like IDEE encourage young graduates to develop start-ups and to have a different approach to employment.

During the job fair, the returnees had the chance to engage with local business owners, IDEE beneficiaries and the Nigerien diaspora residing in France, Belgium, Italy, Spain and Germany.

Throughout the two-day event, different participants took the stage to raise awareness about the potential that lies in entrepreneurship for Niger’s economic development. During the eight workshops, various local actors answered questions related to enterprise incubation and business opportunities.

The job fair succeeded in creating a space for youth to exchange and access work opportunities while also boosting the visibility of brand-new local businesses.

A network hub will soon be created in order to provide the diaspora, private actors, government authorities and young entrepreneurs a platform with the relevant information needed to further support youth entrepreneurship.

“Niger has the potential to prosper in terms of entrepreneurship because, as long as there are needs, there will be opportunities for new businesses to grow,” explained Soumana, one of the young entrepreneurs. “Why leave Niger to be an employee when you can become an employer in your own country?”

For more information, please contact Valeria Falaschi at IOM Niger at Tel: +227 8007 0127, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 11:10Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Soumana, a young Nigerien business woman, was one of 86 young entrepreneurs participating in IOM’s job fair.  Photo: Monica Chiriac/IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Measures to Decongest Camps Provide New Homes for Nigerians Displaced by Conflict

PBN News Germany - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 11:05

Maiduguri – Following an attack on her village in late December, Hajja arrived on foot in Maiduguri, Borno State in North-east Nigeria where she found shelter with her family in Teachers Village camp.

In October 2018, this camp housed 8,600 individuals. Six months later, it is 300 per cent over capacity with more than 30,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) crowded in the congested camp meant to house 10,000.

On Saturday morning (02/03), buses drove Hajja and hundreds of other IDPs to a new camp in Mohammed Goni International Stadium. Over the coming two weeks, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is leading relocating efforts – moving and securing new shelters for more than 10,000 IDPs to the safer, less congested site.

“A recent upsurge in displacement has prompted IOM to scale up its shelter and camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) activities – providing shelter to newly-arrived IDPs in Maiduguri and ensuring their protection and dignity,” said Robert Odhiambo, Coordinator for CCCM, Shelter and NFI Sector.

Activities began on Friday (01/03) when IOM staff conducted registration of IDPs. The Organization is working with the Borno State government and partners to relocate 200 households every two days for eight days.

“This type of support is but a speck in the overall response to the crisis. There’s over 1.8 million people still displaced and the situation remains dire,” Odhiambo added.

This multi-agency relocation effort focuses on people who recently fled hostilities in Kukawa and Monguno Local Government Areas. Beneficiaries have been selected by partners in coordination with the benefitting communities as well as the state emergency management agency (SEMA).

Teachers Village camp was set up in January 2014 in the capital of Borno State and was originally intended as accommodation for state teachers, hence the name. Yet this camp was never used for its original purpose and became home to thousands fleeing conflict the following year.

Today, more than 80 per cent of the population in the camp are women and children. All are in dire need of humanitarian assistance including food, shelter and protection services.

The new site was identified as an alternative location to decongest Teachers Village. By 18 February, 750 shelters and 26 blocks of latrines had been constructed.

On their way to their new homes on Saturday, IDPs cheered as they boarded the buses. Upon arrival, the new residents attended a welcome address and briefing before being screened by IOM staff who referred those with specific vulnerabilities to the appropriate agency for services.

IOM co-leads the Shelter/Non-Food item and CCCM-Displacement Management Systems sectors for the humanitarian response in North-east Nigeria. Now in its tenth year, the ongoing conflict in the region continues to force thousands into displacement, overstretching existing resources in camps such as Teachers Village.

IOM Nigeria is requesting USD 66 million to provide multi-sectoral assistance to 2.9 million crisis-affected individuals in acute need of protection and life-saving assistance across the North-east.

For more information, please contact: Jorge Galindo, IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 815 5263 827, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 10:59Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Families relocating to the new site at Mohammed Goni International Stadium originate from Kukawa and Monguno Local Government Areas. Photo: IOM 

Frantz Celestin, IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission, assists families upon arrival at the Mohammed Goni International Stadium camp. Photo: IOM

IOM staff discussing relocation logistics with community leaders known as Bulamas. Photo: IOM

Families relocating to the new site at Mohammed Goni International Stadium originate from Kukawa and Monguno Local Government Areas. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 9,286 in 2019; Deaths Reach 226

PBN News Germany - Tue, 03/05/2019 - 10:59

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 9,286 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 62 days of 2019, about a 10 per cent decrease from the 10,330 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through over eight weeks of the year are at 226 individuals, or just under half the 464 deaths occurring during the same period in 2018 (see chart below)

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 5, 2019 - 10:55Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

When Returning Home is a Deadly Journey, “Shame is the Returnee’s Worst Enemy”

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 10:46

Dakar – The six-day journey to Spain’s Canary Islands from Dakar, Senegal’s capital, on an agitated sea did not break Moustapha. Nor did hearing what happened to the other five boats departing with his: none of them made it, nor did the hundreds of people they carried. 

“I was lucky enough to succeed, despite all the difficulties: the wind, the cold, the 20-meter waves, all of it,” he says in his home in the fishing town of Thiaroye-sur-Mer, on the outskirts of the Senegalese capital. 

But if the journey didn’t break Moustapha, something else almost did: returning home empty-handed. Back in Thiaroye in 2006, Moustapha faced the contempt of his neighbors. Family members refused to put him up. He was a “failure.” 

“Here in Senegal, it is not in our culture to accept someone who tried to migrate and failed,” the young man explains. He was discouraged, alone and ashamed at having failed his family, to whom he had promised a better future. “If at the time, I could have killed myself, I would have." 

In Senegal, many returnees come home after traumatic journeys, only to find themselves excluded from their families and communities. With little to no social or psychological support, some end up taking their lives. Researchers and local returnee support groups point to a handful such cases in recent years. For each migrant who took their life, dozens more suffer in silence, like Moustapha did. 

Mental health services are few in Senegal – which has around 30 psychiatrists for 14 million people—a Ministry of Health official says. “Returning ‘home’ can be mistakenly seen as an easy and unproblematic process as migrants reintegrate and resettle in their hometown and within their communities and families. This assumption does not consider the emotional, social and cultural complexity and the readjustment challenges the returnees might face,” says Gaia Quaranta, a psychologist for the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office for West and Central Africa, based in Dakar.  

“Upon their return, some migrants can face negative psychological reactions like shame and guilt, self-perception to be a failure, hopelessness, low self-esteem, frustration or anger. It is important to make them understand that those reactions are normal in highly challenging situations such as Libya. Psychosocial support is therefore fundamental and aims at enhancing migrant’s psychosocial well-being and foster their resilience,” she adds.  

“For those migrants with pre-existing mental disorders or psychosocial vulnerabilities, whose mental health conditions may have been exacerbated during the migration journey, a referral to specialized psychiatric care and psychological support might be needed,” said Quaranta. 

Sometimes, the best thing one can do to help returnees is to talk to them. To avoid others slipping into the kind of despair he experienced, Moustapha created a support group in Thiaroye for migrant returnees.  

“If someone has ‘failed’, we have to take a step in their direction, talk to them, and tell them: ‘This is not the end of the world’,” he explains. “We can stay here, make money here, feed our families here." 

On most days, Thiaroye’s young men gather around him at the local carpenter shop, kept in the shade by freshly painted doors set outside to dry. Over a few small glasses of attaya, the local tea, those who came back talk to others who still dream of going. Challenges, failures and fears are all discussed, and the debates sometimes become heated. But the men are no longer alone in dealing with the suffering and the shame.  

Statistics on the suicide of returnees are hard to come by. In a country whose religious observers are 95 per cent Muslim, suicide is a taboo, and many such deaths go unreported by families or undetected by authorities.  

Nor are there official statistics on suicide in Senegal, generally. “In Dakar, deaths by suicide are uncommon, and their number is probably under-estimated because of socio-cultural, religious, economic obstacles and the failures of the legal system,” university professor Mohamed Maniboliot Soubah concluded in a 2013 study

"In these cases of suicide, these are people who were having a hard time dealing with the return,” says Aly Tandian, the president of the Saint Louis–based Study and Research Group on Gender, Environment, Religion and Migration. Through his research on migration, he has documented suicides of Senegalese migrants in the country’s east as well as in Niger.  

Often, social support, or the lack thereof, is a major factor in the suffering. “If they had left a bedroom, that room is occupied by others. They are made to understand they are not wanted. This leads to terrible distress, isolation, people who stop eating. These people are heavily impacted,” he says. 

Shame is the returnee’s worst enemy. “The family is often overly involved in the migration because the departure is equated to success,” says Papa Lamine Faye, a senior psychiatry professor at Fann Hospital. “The family has often contributed, it has sold cattle, it has made sacrifices to make the project possible. The migrant, who has all these hopes placed on him, comes back, and he is ashamed because he feels the rejection of the family,” he says. 

When a migrant comes back, “he needs moral support,” Djibril Dioum, who migrated and returned on three different occasions, says. After his boat capsized in the Atlantic in 2006, he says having family and friends around, and being able to talk about his experience is what helped him deal with the trauma. 

As vice-president of Migration and Development Yaraax, an NGO returnee support group located in  another fishing town on the outskirts of the capital known for its high rates of departures, Dioum now tries to replicate the support when others come home to the town of Yaraax-Hann.  

“An individual in this state, when he comes back, you have to know how to welcome him, how to handle him, how to help him get through this tough time. Otherwise he can become withdrawn, get negative thoughts leading to suicide or alcohol,” the group’s president, Magath Diop, says. 

In Yaraax-Hann, training sessions with psychologists, returnees and members of civil society teach migrants and their families how to best help and the group visits prospective migrants and returnees in their homes when necessary. 

For some, migration itself is a suicide attempt. “The one who kills himself will go straight to hell. It’s prohibited,” says an imam in north Dakar who asked not to be identified. “We know the journey out of here will be dangerous, and potentially deadly. Anything a Muslim does which can bring death is prohibited." 

Since 2017, IOM provided psychosocial support to over 6,000 returnees in West and Central Africa in the framework of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Assistance funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and implemented by IOM in 26 African countries. 

"We must work at family and community levels to decrease the risks of social marginalization and exclusion – which constitute risk factors to their psychosocial wellbeing. At the same time, given the difficulty to access psychosocial support, we must facilitate the reactivation of social support mechanisms, such as peer support groups,” IOM’s Gaia Quaranta concludes.  

In order to better address the multiple psychosocial needs of returnees, IOM seeks synergies with different governmental and non-governmental actors to protect and promote their psychosocial well-being. In Senegal, IOM provides mental health and psychosocial support to returnees in the main regions of high returns, particularly Tambacounda, Kolda, Seidhou and Ziguinchor.  

IOM psychosocial support is provided through different activities: Psychological First Aid, individual counselling sessions, identification and referrals to specialized mental health care, family mediation,  psychosocial support groups, integration of psychosocial support in livelihood activities and during business-skills trainings, capacity-building activities aiming at strengthening  the technical capacity of identified governmental, non-governmental and civil society partners to respond to the psychosocial needs of returnees and their families. 

This article was written by Anna Pujol-Mazzini and edited by the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa.  

For more information, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa: Tel: +221786206213, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, March 1, 2019 - 17:41Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Imam reading the Quran in Dakar - by Anna Pujol-Mazzini for IOM

Moustapha and a group of young Senegalese - by Anna Pujol-Mazzini for IOM  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

“Injiin” Humanitarian Platform Aims to Build Capacity of Korean Aid Workers

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 10:41

Seoul – As interest in the Republic of Korea (ROK) grows in how to respond to international humanitarian emergencies, increasing numbers of Korean aid workers are being deployed abroad. Building their capacity to work effectively in emergency settings is a major challenge. 

IOM ROK and the Korea NGO Council for Overseas Development Cooperation (KCOC) this week co-hosted a humanitarian forum, “Towards more effective and accountable humanitarian action: strengthening capacities and partnership of Korean aid workers,” in Seoul. 

Bringing together more than 70 participants from government agencies, NGOs and academia, this week’s event introduced a newly created online humanitarian platform: “Humanitarian Assistance Insight.” Or Injiin in Korean.  

Developed by IOM and the KCOC, Injiin provides online access to relevant training materials, manuals, global standards and other up-to-date information.  

It is available (in Korean) here: 

“Along with the Government of Korea’s strong commitment to humanitarian assistance, more aid workers from government agencies and NGOs have been dispatched to respond to overseas emergencies,” said IOM ROK Head of Office Mihyung Park.  

“Timely and effective humanitarian responses require systematic information-sharing and better access to essential data. Injiin can serve as a central knowledge-sharing repository by promoting knowledge sharing among Korean humanitarians,” she added.  

“In field operations, I often refer to manuals and principles to find appropriate ways of intervention. Since language and accessibility are major challenges among Korean aid workers, Injiin will be a useful tool for humanitarians in ROK and abroad by providing essential information on time,” said a Korean NGO manager who attended the launch.  

Speakers at the forum included Gyeong-a Lee, Deputy Director General of the Development Cooperation Bureau, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), who provided an overview of ROK’s humanitarian framework, presenting its current strategy, key achievements, limitations and ways forward.  

Dae-sik Cho, Secretary General of the KCOC, also spoke. He highlighted the importance of strengthening capacities of ROK NGOs to align with international standards and encouraged the participants’ active engagement on the Injiin platform. 

IOM ROK, with funding from the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), has provided a wide range of trainings and workshops for Korean aid workers. Recent events include a Gender-Based Violence Workshop and Data Analysis and Management Training.  

For more information please contact IOM ROK. Mihyung Park, Tel: +82 70 4820 2781, Email: or Jumi Kim, Tel: +82 (0)70 4820 0292, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 1, 2019 - 17:36Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM ROK Head of Office Mihyung Park and KCOC Secretary General Dae-sik Cho agree to promote “Injiin” – a central knowledge-sharing platform for Korean aid workers. Photo: IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Enhancing Screening Systems for Trafficking Victims in Mali

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 10:36

Bamako  –  Recent reports have revealed an alarming number of victims of trafficking among migrants present in Mali, mainly from West and Central Africa, particularly Nigerian women who are often sexually exploited in gold mining areas. 

To better assist the most vulnerable, and effectively identify these trafficking victims as well as traffickers in Mali, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the Government of Mali organized from 25 to 28 February 2019 a four-day training session in Bamako for more than two dozen future trainers. 

Funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), the workshop involved training law enforcement officers (border police, vice squad and national gendarmerie) operating at stations, airports and border posts and registering migrants.  

Law enforcement officials are often the front-line officers that victims encounter when entering a country and it is essential to build their capacities to identify these people as early as possible and refer them to appropriate care facilities where necessary.  

“Under this project, one of IOM’s priorities is to provide appropriate assistance to migrants in transit and particularly those in vulnerable situations stranded along the Central Mediterranean route,” said David Coomber, IOM’s Acting Chief of Mission in Mali. 

The assistance provided is multifaceted and follows a referral mechanism involving the Malian Government and protection stakeholders who provide shelter assistance, hygiene kits (including clothing, shoes, mosquito nets, etc.), food assistance, and medical and psychosocial support.  

Given its strategic position in West Africa, Mali is a transit country for thousands of migrants from the sub-region who wish to travel to North Africa or Europe. Data collected at the Flow Monitoring Points (FMP), from 1 July 2016 to 31 January 2019, revealed that more than 160,000 migrants (including 110,000 outbound migrants) were observed in Mali.  

“This training has increased our knowledge of the legal framework for combating trafficking in persons, and has enhanced the screening of victims of trafficking, to provide them with the protection and assistance necessary to restore their human dignity,” said Tidiane Mallé, Chief of the Diboli Judicial Police. “We have also been able to learn how to identify the perpetrators of these crimes and are now endowed with greater capacities to prosecute them,” he added.  

Participants with the best grades in the training’s final exams will provide advanced training on this topic to their colleagues in their respective regions (Kayes in the West, Gao in the North and Bamako district in the South of the country). 

To ensure that protection and assistance is provided to migrants in transit who are more at risk of trafficking along the Central Mediterranean route, DFID, together with IOM and the Government of Mali, launched the two-year “Safety, Support, and Solution” programme in Mali and in several countries in West and Central Africa.   

The latest DTM Report in Mali available here

For more information, please contact Seydou Tangara, Tel: +223 76 42 63 59, Email:  or Hamed Diallo, Tel: + 223 75 63 53 24, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 1, 2019 - 17:32Image: Region-Country: MaliThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Law enforcement officers attended a training to strengthen identification systems of victims of trafficking in Mali. Photo: IOM/Seydou Tangara

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Community Conversations with a Message: To Change Lives

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 10:32

Addis Ababa – It’s about 10am on a Saturday morning (February 23) and community members in Golcho Boye, a farming area about 220km from Addis Ababa, are starting to gather at the district’s administrative centre.  

It’s mainly men, with a few women and even fewer youth. The local chief is also present, and so are local politicians. 

In no time – with about 30 people in attendance – the community conversation facilitator, guided by the government-approved community conversation manual, announces the topic for the day: identifying assets – such as land – to establish livelihood opportunities for potential migrants and returnees. 

Welcome to Ethiopia’s ‘community conversation’ programme, established 10 years ago as a partnership between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the federal government of Ethiopia.  

 With a population of over 100 million, Ethiopia is the largest migration-sending country in the Horn of Africa. Many of its citizens are also at risk of human trafficking and smuggling as they seek opportunities abroad.  

In the country’s far flung rural areas – such as Golcho Boye – where many residents do not even have access to radio or TV, the community conversation programme is going a long way in mitigating the risks of irregular migration. 

The initiative has been so meaningful that it has expanded to many more of the country’s districts.  To date it has reached more than 2,000 kebeles (or local districts) out of around 15,000 kebeles across Ethiopia. An estimated 2 million community members reside in those target communities.  

Further endorsement of the programme came in February 2019 when IOM Ethiopia launched another phase of the initiative, funded by the government of the Netherlands, to scale-up the community conversations to an additional 800 districts.  

The enhanced programme could not have come at a better time. Ethiopia has just lifted a ban on labour migration to four countries in the Middle East following a series of bilateral discussions and agreements to make it safe for migrants. 

Speaking at the launch of the enhanced programme, the Netherlands’ ambassador in Ethiopia Bengt van Loosdrecht said: “One of the lessons (learnt) is the need to improve access to protection systems and viable livelihood alternatives to irregular migration. It is not the information as such that makes a difference, it is the way the community takes up the matter, taking into account all relevant factors and looking for solutions, such as livelihoods.” 

Through the collaboration between IOM and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MOLSA), citizens in irregular migration-prone districts have been sensitized and assisted in exploring alternative livelihood options. Such districts are found across the country in Amhara, Oromia, Tigray, Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) as well as in the country’s Somali Regional States. 

Sessions are guided through the Community Conversation Manual, endorsed by the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs in 2014, the same year that the programme started.  

The manual dwells on the risks of irregular migration, human trafficking including associated consequences of exploitation, as well as identifying feasible livelihood options, support with return and reintegration and other migration issues. 

Last Saturday’s meeting in Golcho Boye was the second in the area this month. Discussion revolved around facilitating employment opportunities for unemployed youth and on the rehabilitation needs of returnees.    

The head of the Directorate for Overseas Labour Migration at the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, Mr. Birhanu Aberra, said: “The community conversation initiative is one example which demonstrates that joint resource mobilization has the potential to overcome the challenges through home-grown solutions. We need to continue encouraging collective responsibility through strengthened community mobilization.” 

Also speaking at the occasion, Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia’s Chief of Mission and Representative to the AU, ECA and IGAD, said: “Community Conversations is not only about making vulnerable communities aware of the risks of irregular migration, but also aims to empower its members to take ownership in identifying solutions to the problem, such as taking protection measures and the identification of local resources to offer employment opportunities to the youth.” 

Achieng emphasized: “While one cannot pretend to be stopping irregular migration, there is room for improvement in ensuring that people make informed migration decisions and consider the full extent of their options at home.”  

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

Language English Posted: Friday, March 1, 2019 - 17:29Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Ambassador of the Netherlands in Ethiopia, Mr. Bengt van Loosdrecht. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 8,956 in 2019; Deaths Reach 224

PBN News Germany - Fri, 03/01/2019 - 10:27

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Migration Agency, reports that 8,956 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 27 February, a 12 per cent decrease from the 10,243 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost seven weeks of the new year are at 224 individuals – or about one half the 439 deaths that occurred during the same period in 2018 (see chart below). 

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the fifth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project (MMP).  Since the beginning of 2014, the Project has recorded the deaths of 31,340 people, including 407 in 2019 (see chart). 

On the irregular migration route across the Mediterranean to Europe, on 21 February, a man was found dead on a small inflatable boat in Punta del Guadalmesi, off the coast of Cádiz, Spain.  It is unknown if other people were travelling with this victim.  On 22 February, the remains of two female migrants were found on the coast of Béni Bouifrour, Nador, Morocco. They are believed to have drowned, although no information has surfaced about a vessel they may have been on.   

On Sunday and Monday (24, 25 February), the Libyan Red Crescent recovered the remains of two people on the beach near Azzawya, Libya.  No identification has been made available for these victims, and the specific circumstances of their deaths remain unknown. 

On 24 February, a group of Pakistani and Syrians travelling through Croatia tried to cross the Mreznica River.  After failing to locate a bridge, members of the group tried swimming across; two men were caught by the current.  Others alerted the authorities, who recovered the remains of the two men on Sunday and Monday.  In 2018, 41 of 116 migrant deaths recorded by MMP in Europe died in the Western Balkans, more than recorded in any other year by MMP on this route. So far this year at least four migrants have died there. 

On the US-Mexico border, two men died when they tried to cross into California on 19 and 20 February. A young man drowned in the All-American Canal and another died shortly after crossing the border in Otay Mesa, San Diego County, when the car in which he was travelling crashed into a truck.  In Texas, two men drowned this week in the Río Bravo, near Eagle Pass. There have been 16 migrant deaths recorded along this border crossing so far in 2019, compared to 14 in the same period in 2018, 23 in 2017 and 6 in 2016.  

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) 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

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, March 1, 2019 - 17:13Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN