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Updated: 1 hour 16 min ago

IOM Responds to Humanitarian Needs of Migrant Caravan in Guatemala

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:35

Guatemala City – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has provided food, medical care, housing, and transportation and facilitated the return of more than 140 migrants who voluntarily decided to go back to their countries of origin after arriving in Guatemala from Honduras, in the latest migrant caravan. 

The caravan, which departed from San Pedro Sula, Honduras on 14 January, was widely reported to have quickly grown to more than 4,000 people by the time it reached the Mexico-Guatemala border.  

Laura*, one of the migrants who requested IOM's support to return to Honduras, said had learned about the caravan from a television broadcast and decided to join the trek north towards Mexico. She explained why she  she was choosing to return voluntarily.  

“I used to work in an office, but salaries for women are very low there. That, and sexual harassment at work is what motivated me to leave the country,” she said. “I have decided to go back to Honduras because of my son. I'm traveling with him, and I can't put him in danger.” 

As part of its support to the Government of Guatemala, IOM has deployed a team to Ayutla, at the Tecun Umán border crossing, to provide technical assistance to authorities to help identify migrants who may require aid in returning to their communities of origin in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. According to IOM's Assisted Voluntary Return Programme (AVR) protocol, individuals must voluntarily express their desire to return and be assisted by the Organization during this process.  

Under this programme, IOM delivers and coordinates services such as meals, hygiene items, medical consultation shelter, and transportation for people who are stranded, contributing to the efforts of Guatemalan authorities and social organizations.  

IOM's AVR Programme was created to provide humanitarian aid to all migrants stranded worldwide. In Guatemala, this includes members of the caravan, as well as those who have arrived in the country under the Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) signed between the governments of Guatemala and the United States.  

"The ACA deals with the specific matter of asylum and while it does not include or mention IOM, in compliance with our mandate we are on the ground to provide a humanitarian response to those people who have arrived under this agreement," said Jorge Peraza, IOM Head of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. 

"IOM makes sure that those who want to return to their country are not in imminent danger or face risks to their life, integrity, and dignity upon return," Peraza added.  

As part of the protocol used to manage these cases, IOM conducts psychosocial interviews with the beneficiaries, which has allowed for the identification of persons who require re-evaluation, more advice, information, and, where appropriate, assistance and protection. 

"IOM reiterates its commitment to continue providing humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, as well as to provide support to its Member States to improve their governance of migration to achieve a safe, orderly and regular migration," concluded Peraza. 

*Name has been changed for the protection of the migrant.  

For more information, please contact Melissa Vega, at IOM Guatemala, Email:, Tel: +502 2414 7410 

Language English Posted: Friday, January 24, 2020 - 17:32Image: Region-Country: GuatemalaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the 140 migrants who marched with the caravan have requested and received IOM’s support to return to Honduras. Photo: IOM/Alejandro Martínez 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

New Cooperation Agreement Among East, Horn of Africa States Address Overseas Worker Exploitation

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 09:29

Nairobi – The rescue last week of roughly 100 children and young Ugandan women here as they prepared to fly to United Arab Emirates to labour as domestic workers, reinforces the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) recent assessment that human trafficking has become a menace in East Africa over the past decade. 

The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) staff in Kenya are all too familiar with these sorts of cases. Last May 19 Ugandan girls were rescued and in Sept 2018, nearly 60 others were rescued as they prepared to board a flight to Oman. 

“Sadly, there are similar stories from countries across the region,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa.  

“It is important to ensure countries have policies and legislation in place to address the violations of migrant workers’ rights, smuggling and trafficking in persons as well as combatting organized crime.”  

A two-day forum of Labour and Social Protection Ministers and high-level government officials from the East and Horn of Africa this week signed a regional cooperation agreement that is an important step in that direction, making it harder for human traffickers to exploit young people looking for work in Gulf states. 

The agreement, finalized signed Tuesday at a forum hosted by the Kenyan government, with support from IOM and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), aims to harmonize labour migration policies in the region to make labour migration, safe, orderly and humane by establishing a common platform for engagement with the Gulf states and other countries that are major employers of African migrants. 

Attendees from Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.  

The lack of harmonized labour migration policies means migrants risk exploitation and abuse through unfair practices including excessive working hours, passport confiscation, confinement and denial of salary. 

Representatives also agreed to form a Regional Ministerial Labour and Social Protection Forum, with a rotational chairmanship. 

“This committee, with additional membership from development partners, will take the lead in driving the implementation of key agreements from the Forum,” said Kenya’s cabinet secretary for Labour and Social Protection Simon Chelugui. 

“It will also advise and provide progress reports to the ministers in charge of Labour Migration in the region on the Agenda of this and subsequent forums.” 

The ministers agreed to cooperate on the provision of diplomatic and consular assistance for migrant workers, especially in countries where some states did not have diplomatic representation, and committed themselves to expanding bilateral labour migration agreements beyond the level of unskilled workers, such as domestic workers, to incorporate other professionals. 

IOM recorded at least 140,000 people migrating on the Eastern route from the Horn of Africa to Yemen risking their lives in dangerous water crossings. These journeys usually start in Ethiopia’s rural communities of Oromia, Amhara, and Tigray regions, passing through Obock on Djibouti’s coast, or from Somalia’s Puntland region.

Yemen, however, is not their destination. Almost 90 percent of migrants arriving in Yemen last year were bound for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose long-established Ethiopian community comprises a considerable portion of some estimated five million undocumented migrants living in the kingdom.

IOM Regional Director Mohammed Abdiker, explained that the countries of the region face a challenging employment picture, and need to grow by at least 6 percent annually for the next two decades just to absorb a young, rapidly-growing work force.

“However, economic growth alone is not sufficient; it needs to be accompanied by structural transformation in the infrastructure and service sectors for true job creation,” Abdiker said.

“The lack of economic opportunity and the expectation to find better livelihoods elsewhere, continue to constitute two of the major push and pull factors for migration.”

For more information contact: Yvonne Ndege, Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Tel:  +2547 977 35977, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, January 24, 2020 - 11:54Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: International and Regional CooperationLabour MigrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

As Ukraine’s Veterans Return Home, IOM Survey Finds Bias and Unfair Treatment

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 06:03

Kyiv— Some 370,000 military veterans currently are attempting to reintegrate into civilian life in Ukraine. Researchers from the International Organization for Migration surveyed over two thousand veterans and their family members last year between the months of July and October. Many reported facing unfair treatment.

Almost half of the veterans of the six-year conflict in eastern Ukraine suffer bias and mistreatment in their daily lives, with one third feeling excluded from society, according to a new study based on IOM’s survey which the which the International Organization for Migration released here Thursday (23 January) in Ukraine’s capital.

The survey—supported by European Union and the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine—revealed that bias to those questioned is most common when accessing medical or social services, or on public transport.

Additionally, three of four veterans believe that their experience can be understood only by those who have a military background.

One third of the male and almost half of the female veterans who had jobs before military service, returned home to find their jobs gone.

While many (67%) eventually found paid work, started businesses of their own or registered as private entrepreneurs, others cited a need for re-training and support in finding new income opportunities.

“The EU is very pleased to have funded this survey,” said Ambassador Matti Maasikas, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. “The results help authorities to understand better and to address the challenges that veterans face after they return from the battlefield.”

European Union funding has allowed IOM to support almost 800 veterans like Andrii (see sidebar, below) with training and equipment to develop their own small businesses.

“IOM is committed to supporting the reintegration of veterans and the well-being of their communities through socioeconomic recovery and psychosocial support that contributes to the restoration of trust, social cohesion and stability,” explained Anh Nguyen, Chief of Mission at IOM Ukraine.

IOM has implemented this EU-funded project, launched a year ago, in three pilot regions: Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Lviv. In addition to livelihood training and grants, the project supports social cohesion activities, such as sporting events and roundtables with local authorities.

Qualified psychological assistance is provided by professionals, who were specifically trained in psychosocial support for veterans and their families.

The Secret Gardener 

Andrii is a radio engineer by profession, who did a year-long stint as a navy seal in the east of Ukraine. Upon returning home, he wanted to earn a living again, but his health was severely affected: “During my time at the front I had to settle in for the night in all sorts of conditions, from deep snow to impenetrable swamps. We had to spend up to ten days in the field with a 50 kg backpack.” Andrii decided to do follow his secret passion. As a veteran, he got a plot of land near his parents’ house, and within a few weeks, with the help of his father, it was cleared of shrubs Now the former Ukrainian navy seal has two greenhouses with a total area of 500 square metres where he cultivates flowers, lettuce and cucumbers. Together with his partners Andrii is also engaged in landscaping, pruning gardens, and lawn care. As part of an EU-funded grant from IOM, Andrii received a lawn mower, pruning shears and other gardening equipment. “When a person is non-stop stressed for a year and a half, they need a little peace and quiet. They say that plants help reduce stress. You go to your garden, you sit a little on the swing, and you feel relieved,” he says.

“Guided by the principle ‘nothing for the veterans without veterans’, we deeply value studies such as these as they allow us to implement data-based programmes and policies,” said Oksana Koliada, Ukraine’s Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Later this winter, IOM and EU will launch a public campaign to tackle the stereotypes affecting Ukrainian society’s perception of veterans.

For more information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15, +38 067 447 97 92, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, January 24, 2020 - 12:53Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Andrii, a Ukrainian navy seal turned gardener, is one of 800 veterans supported by IOM with funds from EU to find new income opportunities. Photo: IOM / Volodymyr Shuvayev

Andrii, a Ukrainian navy seal turned gardener, is one of 800 veterans supported by IOM with funds from EU to find new income opportunities. Photo: IOM / Volodymyr Shuvayev

Ambassador Matti Maasikas, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine and Anh Nguyen, IOM Chief of Mission in Ukraine

Iryna Loktieva, National Monitoring System Project Specialist at IOM Ukraine and Therese Rosenfeld, Programme Officer at IOM Ukraine.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over One Million Ethiopians Received Humanitarian Aid from IOM in 2019

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 06:00

Addis Ababa – Shitaye Assefa, a 65-year-old mother in Ethiopia’s Oromia Regional State, knows what it means to live without a reliable supply of water.

“Our daughters faced many hardships and attacks on the way to the water pond, which was often dirty and not healthy enough to drink but we had no other option,” she said.

Before the International Organization for Migration (IOM) rehabilitated water wells in her home district, Shitaye had to walk long distances in search of water. Today, she is one of approximately one million Ethiopians who received humanitarian assistance from IOM last year.

“Now we can access clean water nearby and our children can go to school without worrying about getting water to the family,” said Shitaye.

Of the one million beneficiaries, more than 620,000 people received water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. These included newly constructed latrines, hygiene kits inclusive of menstrual hygiene management items, and safe access to water through the construction and rehabilitation of water wells, springs and water schemes.

In addition to WASH services, IOM provided shelter construction and other emergency items to vulnerable populations, primarily in Somali and Oromia Regional States.

The Organization also worked with communities and local institutions to promote safe hygiene practices and construct new WASH facilities in schools and health facilities.

An estimated 360,000 people were provided with non-food items (NFI) including emergency shelter and cooking materials. Nearly 73,000 beneficiaries received shelter support through communal structures and transitional shelters. These efforts mostly benefited formerly displaced populations in Oromia and Somali regions who are now returning home.

“This health post was demolished when conflict broke out a couple of years ago; as you can see now it has been rehabilitated into an even better structure than it was before,” said Hirba Hituke, Kercha District Health Post Manager.

IOM is also finalizing the construction of a reservoir that will provide clean water to the community in this area.

“Safe and well-constructed water facilities are crucial to effectively prevent waterborne diseases for affected populations throughout Ethiopia,” said Fioretto Tabata, IOM Ethiopia WASH & Shelter/NFI Program Manager.

The Organization hopes to continue this effort over 2020 and address the needs of the most vulnerable.

IOM provided this assistance in 2019 with the financial support from European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations , UN Central Emergnency Relief Fund, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Government of Germany, the Government of Japan, the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, and Shelter Box.

For further information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 6611117 (Ext. 455), Mobile: +251 91 163 9082, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, January 24, 2020 - 12:52Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

A beneficiary receives hygiene kits in Southern Nations and Nationalities and People’s Region in Ethiopia. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Weekend Attack on Humanitarian Hub to Instill Fear, Intimidate, IOM Says

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 11:10

Ngala - On 18 January, non-state armed groups stormed a humanitarian facility in Ngala town, some 124 kilometers from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Although all United Nations humanitarians in the facility – including three IOM staff – were reported safe, an entire section of the facility was burned down as well as one of the few vehicles used by humanitarians to deliver aid.

“The intended effect of this is to instill fear in the local population and intimidate the humanitarian actors working in north-east Nigeria,” said IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Franz Celestin.

The targeted facility is one of nine humanitarian hubs in Borno managed by IOM. Humanitarian hubs provide operating environments for aid workers in deep field locations, including accommodation, office and connectivity services. These spaces are critical for a sustained and effective humanitarian response in Nigeria.

 “These (humanitarian) hubs are the ultimate enablers to allow the humanitarian workers to improve the quality of the response by allowing them enough time on the ground to do what they're supposed to do. Prior to the hubs, humanitarian workers could only go on day trips, so they'd go one day at a time to deliver services.”

The attack comes just 11 days after members of a non-state armed group (NSAG) infiltrated Monguno town. Two children, an adult male and one adult female were killed in the attack on a camp for internally displaced people. In addition, several injured people are currently receiving medical attention at a nearby clinic run by ALIMA, an international non-governmental organization.

That deadly attack left 2,728 people homeless. According to an IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report, more than 300 shelters and properties belonging to the affected individuals were destroyed.

The ongoing conflict in north-east Nigeria continues to claim the lives of innocent people, and increasingly, of humanitarian workers. In 2019, twelve aid workers lost their lives, twice the number of deaths in the previous year.

DTM provides detailed and up-to-date information on characteristics and needs of crisis-affected populations registration and profiling of displaced populations in camp and camp-like settings, flow monitoring exercises and reports, as well as the provision of detailed infrastructural information on areas of return through village assessment surveys. DTM reports and tools can be found here

Read statement of Edward Kallon, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria here

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo, IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 906 273 9168, Email:

Bereavement Support Crucial Following Deadly Attack in North-East Nigeria

Maiduguri – Aid workers from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week are continuing to provide assistance to the survivors of a 7 January attack on a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Monguno town in north-east Nigeria that killed two adults and two children. The assistance, which has been provided to 130 people so far, includes counselling, psychological first aid and referrals to other services such as food and health within the Government Senior Science Secondary School (GSSSS) camp.

The attack on the camp left over 2,700 people homeless.

“Bereavement support is provided to people who are experiencing a loss, be it the loss of someone dear to them or loss of property,” explained Gladys Cheruto Kios, IOM Nigeria Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Programme Coordinator.

“This emotional support is not a one-time event, but a process offered during the grieving session to come to terms with a tragic event.”

Mental health and psychosocial support are key components of humanitarian interventions in north-east Nigeria, a region that has been ravaged by conflict for over a decade. IOM first applied MHPSS services in Monguno over two years ago, in August 2017.

The humanitarian crisis in north-east Nigeria has claimed the lives of over 36,000 people, including 12 aid workers in 2019 alone. Over seven million people remain in need of urgent lifesaving assistance in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

Monguno town is home to 159,542 IDPs including 52,784 children. IOM provides shelter solutions, non-food items, water, sanitation and hygiene, mental health and psychosocial support and camp coordination and camp management to displaced populations living in the area. In 2019 alone, Monguno suffered a total of nine attacks by non-state armed groups.


Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 18:02Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Residents from an IDP camp at Monguno attend a focus-group discussion. Photo: Mshelia Yakubu/IOM

More than 300 shelters and properties belonging to the affected individuals in an IDP camp at Monguno, were destroyed. Photo: Ibrahim Muazu/IOM 

More than 300 shelters and properties belonging to the affected individuals in an IDP camp at Monguno, were destroyed. Photo: Ibrahim Muazu/IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Second International Forum on Migration Statistics calls for more evidence-based dialogue

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 14:49

Cairo – “I have put migration data at the centre of my vision for IOM, and have committed to strengthening the Organization’s engagement in this area over the next years,” IOM Director General António Vitorino told the second International Forum on Migration Statistics (IFMS) during opening ceremonies here this past weekend.  

Organized jointly by the International Organization for Migration, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) brought over 700 delegates from more than 90 countries to its unique space for dialogue, information-sharing and networking for a broad range of actors hosted by the Egyptian Government, which currently chairs the African Union (AU).  

Added DG Vitorino: “We as experts, practitioners and decision-makers have a collective responsibility to ensure that reliable facts and robust evidence are not only produced but also used appropriately and intelligently to steer policy and programmes and to combat an often-pervasive misinformation about migration.”  

Delegates representing national and regional authorities, NGOs, international agencies and the private sector have gathered in Cairo with the aim of building and strengthening migration data capacities around the world. The three-day event at the InterContinental Citystars Hotel in Cairo concludes Tuesday (21/01).  

Mr. Sameh Shoukry, Egyptian Foreign Minister, stated: "Owning and relying on data in policy making is a key guarantee of proper international cooperation in the management and governance of human migration, and to enhance the contribution of migrants to development on a basis that respects their rights, legal frameworks and meets the needs of the international labour market, in addition to supporting the efforts of the international community to address some of the root causes of migration such as conflict, economic and social crises and environmental change.”  

The Forum is organized around six thematic areas including measuring progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other global commitments as well as data innovation. Several sessions will explore the potential of using “big data” to compliment the analysis of human mobility and migration flows as well as ways to address internal displacement through innovative monitoring tools.   

"This conference comes at an important and significant time,” noted Egyptian General Khairat Barakat, Head of the Central Authority for Public Mobilization and Statistics. “Migration data constitutes a key segment of human resources, manpower information and cross-border groups. It also establishes controls for coordination between migration data producers to enable them to make the most of the data.”   

IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) Director Frank Laczko, will speak at the closing plenary session on the next steps after the Forum. Other IOM representatives speaking at the Forum include Michele Klein Solomon, IOM Director of the Policy Hub and Marina Manke, IOM Head of Labour Mobility and Human Development Division.  

The inaugural IFMS took place in January 2018 at the OECD Headquarters in Paris. IFMS aims to  foster continuous discussion on global processes and enhance exchange between producers and users of migration data. The event is supported by partner organizations including ILO, UNHCR, UNODC, European Commission, UNFPA, and UNECE.  

For more information, please contact Stylia Kampani at IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), Tel: +491601791536, Email: or Omar Awwad at IOM Egypt, Tel: +20 1032 049 144 , Email:   

Language English Posted: Monday, January 20, 2020 - 14:42Image: Region-Country: EgyptThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General António Vitorino told the second International Forum on Migration Statistics (IFMS) during opening ceremonies.  Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migrant Returnees Turn to Mobile Money in Sudan

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 08:13

Khartoum – To get around the shortage of cash in Sudan, Africa’s largest mobile operator MTN has partnered with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to enable returning migrants to use its mobile money service MoMo to re-establish their livelihoods in the country.  

An IOM pilot project will allow up to 2,000 returnees starting small businesses to select their own suppliers paid through MoMo.  

“Economic reintegration is one of the key elements to sustainable return, and MoMo is an innovative way of delivering it,” said Andrew Gray, head of migration management and development at IOM Sudan.   

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.  

With IOM’s support, the country is also facilitating the return and reintegration of its nationals, many of whom were stranded in Libya.  

In addition to psycho-social support, qualifying Sudanese migrant returnees are offered economic assistance to acquire vocational skills in preparation for their re-entry into the job market. They may also be offered small grants, paid in kind, to start small businesses.  

Among those who have received reintegration support through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative is Mohamed Ahmed who returned to Sudan from Libya in 2018 with the IOM’s assistance.  

He was able to open a shop in Omdurman market, Khartoum State, and now has a sustainable income. “Business is going well now, and I also got married and life has been getting better,” he says.  

An agreement was reached between MTN, the Secretariat for Sudanese Working Abroad (SSWA) and IOM, through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa (the EU-IOM Joint Initiative). 

“It is an honour for MTN to be a part of this pilot; it goes further to the core of what we believe, to serve those who are unbanked, marginalized, to drive financial inclusion to those who do not have access to bank accounts and benefits of normal financial activity,” said MTN Sudan CEO Malik Melamu. “We hope that we can expand this partnership, to reach further.” 

Amel Ibrahim of the SSWA said, “We are here to help the Sudanese people and this pilot could not be done without the collaboration of everyone. We hope for continued support to successfully reintegrate returning migrants to Sudan.” 

About the EU-IOM Joint Initiative 

Backed by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the programme was set up in 2016 in close cooperation with 26 African countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa and North Africa regions. 

It facilitates safer, more informed and better governed migration for both migrants and their communities through the development of rights-based and development-focused procedures and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. 

In the Horn of Africa, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative – running from March 2017 to March 2021 – is mainly focused on four identified priority countries: Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan. 

For more information please contact Julia Hartlieb at IOM Regional Office in Nairobi: Tel: +254 734 988 846, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, January 17, 2020 - 15:07Image: Region-Country: SudanThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Partners Relocate Hundreds of South Sudanese Refugees in Ethiopia

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 03:30

Gambella – The International Organization for Migration, IOM, has assisted 700 South Sudanese refugees with onward transportation to the Gore-Shembola and Tsore refugee camps in Assosa situated in Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, some 800 kilometers from Pamdong reception centre in Gambella where they had been holed up.

With severe food insecurity and renewed armed conflict worsening the already dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan, a significant number of refugees continue to arrive in Gambella, which sits at the border between South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Whilst Gambella continues to host most South Sudanese refugees, the Gambella regional government has officially communicated that they will no longer accommodate more refugees, implying all relocations will be to the Gure-Shambolla Refugee Camp, established in April 2017.

In 2019, IOM relocated a total of 5,603 South Sudanese refugees. However, road transportation was hampered by insecurity in the volatile region.

There has been an upsurge of arrivals with over 4,000 refugees, including unaccompanied or separated minors, arriving at Gambella’s Pagag border for assistance since November 2019.

To help ease the pressure, IOM, in collaboration with the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), will continue relocating willing refugees by air to the safety of in-land camps in Assosa.

“Last year (2019), we airlifted 719 South Sudanese from Gambella to Assosa’s Gure-Shembola and Tsore camps, collaborating with UNHCR and ARRA, and this week we are planning to airlift 300 more using Ethiopian Airlines charter flights,” said Betelhem Berhane, IOM Officer in charge of the operation.

“Since 2018 we have been working together with ARRA and UNHCR, providing transportation assistance to decongest refugee overcrowding in Gambella and to ensure their timely, safe, and dignified relocation to alternative sites in Assosa,” she added.

Prior to relocation, IOM provides pre-departure medical screenings (PDMS) to ensure refugees are fit for travel, referring those with medical needs to local health facilities. IOM also provides operational and medical escorts in line with its global standards, as well as high energy biscuits and water during the journey.

Emergency transportation assistance to refugees enables access to immediate life-saving services including food, shelter or health care in Gambella, Benishangul-Gumuz, Somali and Tigray Regions, and reducing their vulnerability to multiple protection risks. 

Relocation to the camps where provision of services is more sustainable and accessible for refugees is vital to prevent loss of life and the deterioration of the status of the refugees. Movement from Gambella will continue for the next few weeks as a maximum of 300 people can be airlifted to Assosa each day.

In 2019, IOM, with funding from US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and UNHCR, provided transportation and travel health assistance to 74,788 refugees from Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and other nationalities.

For more information, please contact Eric Mazango at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 6611117 (Ext. 456), Email:

Language English Posted: Monday, January 13, 2020 - 10:24Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaSouth SudanThemes: IOMRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

South Sudanese refugees being relocated from Gambella to Assosa, Ethiopia. Photo: IOM Ethiopia

South Sudanese refugees being relocated from Gambella to Assosa, Ethiopia. Photo: IOM Ethiopia

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Calls on EU Council Presidency to Support a Comprehensive, Long-Term Vision on Migration

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 08:01

Brussels – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) encouraged Croatia to use its six-month tenure at the helm of the Council of the European Union (EU) to promote a more comprehensive approach and a long-term EU budget that facilitates orderly, safe and regular migration.

In recommendations released today (15/01), IOM also called on the Croatian Presidency to ensure that migration considerations are reflected and integrated in the upcoming European Green Deal.

Croatia assumed the rotating six-month Presidency on 1 January 2020 and will hold this role through key EU discussions on a new pact on migration and asylum, a new EU-Africa strategy, a new Multiannual Financial Framework and a European Green Deal. The Presidency also coincides with the kickoff of the “decade of action” to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the target date of 2030.

“The Croatian Presidency will have the opportunity at the start of this new ‘decade of action’ to drive forward Council discussions on strategic, comprehensive, and coherent migration policies that can benefit the EU both internally and externally in partnership with third country partners,” said Ola Henrikson, IOM’s Regional Director for the EU, European Economic Area and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

“We think that any discussion on migration policy must recognize the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development, including within the EU,” he added.

In promoting a comprehensive approach to migration governance, the Croatian Presidency should encourage Member States to prioritize flexible and accessible legal pathways for the admission of migrant workers to the EU. This should go alongside sound return and reintegration schemes that are developed and implemented in close partnership with origin, transit and host countries.

Equally important, advancing discussion on reforms for a functioning Common European Asylum System and an agreement on the Regulation for a Union Resettlement and Humanitarian Admission Framework are needed. Additionally, IOM is encouraging the Croatian Presidency to support investment in the collection, analysis and dissemination of improved migration data that can support evidence-based policies. 

Looking ahead, IOM recommends that the EU budget for 2021-2027, the Multiannual Financial Framework, be endowed with the appropriate resources and procedures to implement a strategic and long-term vision.

“To achieve orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration, the EU’s future budget must respond to the needs and commitments of both the EU and its partners and adhere to a rights-based and holistic approach,” said Henrikson.

Croatia is taking over the Council Presidency as the EU is set to move forward with the proposed roadmap of the European Green Deal, which outlines ambitious measures towards a sustainable green transition. IOM is convinced that any forward-looking green policy must address the relationship between migration, displaced people and climate change.

“Given the critical role migration plays in the context of environment and climate change, the Croatian Presidency should factor migration into the measures that will be taken in the framework of the European Green Deal,” said Henrikson.

IOM's recommendations can be downloaded here.

For more information please contact Melissa Julian at IOM Brussels, Tel: +32 287 7133, Email: 


Language English Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 14:16Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

On 1 January 2020, Croatia assumed the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). Photo: European Union

IOM calls on European Union (EU) Council Presidency Croatia to support a comprehensive, long-term vision on migration. Photo: IOM

IOM calls on European Union (EU) Council Presidency Croatia to support a comprehensive, long-term vision on migration. Photo: IOM

IOM calls on European Union (EU) Council Presidency Croatia to support a comprehensive, long-term vision on migration. Photo: IOM

IOM calls on European Union (EU) Council Presidency Croatia to support a comprehensive, long-term vision on migration. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Heartbreak as Women and Children Perish in Migrant Shipwreck

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 07:40

Çeşme, Western Turkey – “I saw some light of hope in people’s eyes hoping that their children or wives were alive but I had to give them the terrible news that some of their family members had died. Then I saw the deepest level of helplessness and desperation in their eyes. I had to inform a recently wed man that his wife and baby had died. I cannot find words to express how he hugged his deceased wife and child as a last farewell.’’

The words of Mehmet Emin Ayhan, a member of the IOM Turkey Mediterranean Response Team describing the scenes as survivors and the dead came ashore in Çeşme, Western Turkey at the weekend.

Eleven people including eight children lost their lives in the shipwreck on Saturday (11/01) when their small boat carrying 19 migrants capsized 250 metres after launching, on the short journey to the nearby Greek islands.

The eleven deceased - all Syrian nationals - were recovered by the Turkish coast guard at around 20:30 Turkish time. Among the eight survivors are four men, three women and one child. IOM Turkey’s Mediterranean Response Team was called to the disembarkation point and provided assistance in the form of blankets, hot drinks, first aid and comfort to the shocked survivors.

This latest tragedy comes during an apparent spike in departures from the western coast of Turkey. In the past two weeks a boat carrying 15 migrants capsized and eight people died in the locality. A few days after that a vessel carrying 56 migrants capsized nearby leaving four migrants dead and one still missing. In a separate incident on Saturday 20 people were rescued and twelve died when their boat capsized on an unusual route in the Ionian Sea near the Greek island of Paxos.

The latest tragedy brings the total number of deaths recorded in the Mediterranean in the first ten days of 2020 to 35. According to figures provided by Turkish Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) 60,000 migrants and refugees were intercepted trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2019. In December alone more than 3,000 migrants were intercepted by the Turkish Coast Guard.

“More and more people are being driven by desperation to take these journeys of abject desperation”, said Lado Gvilava, IOM Chief of Mission in Turkey. “This latest tragedy breaks my heart, not only as we join the grief of the migrants and their families, but also as I hear, once again, that my staff have acted as heroes. Their hearts are forever marked with what they see every day, and I cannot praise them highly enough as they carry out their grim work with true dedication.”

For more information please contact Marshall Patsanza on Tel: +905343512702, Email:

Please also see

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 16:18Image: Region-Country: TurkeyThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

‘A father and son huddle to keep warm in a Turkish Coast Guard rescue boat waiting to reach land. IOM’s Mediterranean Response Team has provided humanitarian assistance to migrants rescued in the Aegean Sea since 2016. Küçükkuyu Harbour, İzmir. © IOM 2019 /Bekir ERDİNÇ’

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Nearly 1,000 Migrants Returned to Libya in the First Two Weeks of 2020: IOM

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 07:32

Geneva – At least 953 migrants, among them 136 women and 85 children, have been returned to Libyan shores in the first two weeks of 2020. Most were disembarked in Tripoli and all were taken to detention centres. NGO search and rescue vessels reported having rescued 237 others. These returned migrants are among the more than 1,000 who have left Libya by sea since 1 January, driven in part by the heaviest clashes Tripoli has seen since hostilities began nine months ago.   

Migrants who spoke to International Organization for Migration (IOM) staff at disembarkation points in Libya said that the escalation in hostilities in and around the capital, and the deteriorating humanitarian situation are the main reasons behind this increase in departures.    

During the same period last year, 23 bodies were recovered by the coast guard and no migrants were returned to Libya. The current sudden increase in departures is especially alarming given the very limited search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean.   

IOM has consistently called for the dismantling of the detention system, and the orderly release of migrants. Alternative solutions that safeguard lives must be found to alleviate the suffering of thousands of men, women, and children who are held in inhumane conditions.   

While IOM teams are present at disembarkation points to provide emergency assistance to migrants, including basic health assistance and screenings, the Organization reiterates that measures to protect lives and guarantee the safety of these people are not in place.   

Over 1,000 other migrants who have registered for IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme are still trapped in Libya due to the security situation. The challenging and unsafe environment in the country’s capital has disrupted aviation activities thus hindering an important lifeline for stranded migrants. 

"While our operations and programmes continue across the country, they have been largely affected, especially with regards to the safe movement of migrants to transit points and airports. A minimum degree of security is needed for us to be able to safely assist 500 people scheduled to return home in the coming days,” says IOM Libya Chief of Mission Federico Soda.   

For more information, please contact Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva: Tel: +41794035526, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 16:20Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Migrants returned to Libyan shore by the coast guard. Photo: IOM Libya 2020

Migrants returned to Libyan shore by the coast guard. Photo: IOM Libya 2020

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

10 Years After 'Goudou Goudou' IOM Assists Haitian Women Artists Raise Funds for the Vulnerable

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 07:36

Port-au-Prince – To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake and remember its victims, IOM Haiti, its Goodwill Ambassador Phyllisia Ross and a group of Haitian women artists have released the song 'Goudou Goudou' on video. Named for the popular way Haitians describe the earthquake which devastated their country, the video will help raise funds for the many displaced Haitians still living in camps who still need support. 

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti on 12 January 2010, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in coordination with the Government of Haiti, UN and other humanitarian agencies, has resettled 98 per cent of 1.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) who were relocated due to the natural disaster. 

After the earthquake, which caused the death of at least 220,000 people and injured tens of thousands more, IOM, the leading agency of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster, supported the collection and monitoring of data on IDPs through the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). From this data, the necessary action in disaster management, shelter and non-food items, protection and health could be determined. 

"After the earthquake struck, IOM staff responded within 24 hours," said Giuseppe Loprete, IOM Chief of Mission in Haiti. "We provided and coordinated the necessary services for survival, worked closely with the Government of Haiti and international humanitarian aid agencies to find lasting solutions to the crisis that left millions of people homeless and living in 1,500 camps," he added. 

IOM also supported the Government of Haiti in generating a national policy on short-term evacuation that covers preparation, pre-evacuation, evacuation and post-evacuation in the event of an emergency of this nature and magnitude. More than 20,000 people were trained in basic first aid and disaster risk management in communities or camps. IOM also supported the construction or rehabilitation of 39 buildings that can be used as a short-term evacuation centre. 

IOM Haiti, through the Shelter Cluster, distributed grants to support the costs of renting accommodation to over 19,000 households. In coordination with other organizations, IOM also distributed more than 2,550 shelters, 20,000 reinforcement kits and 500 repair kits for timber-framed houses. 

As of December 31, 2019, many of some 1,477 evacuation shelters need at least some remediation. IOM Haiti maintains that it is crucial to continue strengthening the capabilities of the National System for Disaster Risk Management in terms of evacuation shelter management and other responses to disasters. 

In addition to addressing building needs, IOM provided immediate responses in areas such as gender-based violence (GBV), child protection, assistance to more vulnerable populations and mediation support during forced evictions. As a result, more than 16,500 people at risk have been supported in the camps (972 of which were for GBV), and 3,333 people have received their identity documents. 

Health has also been a major issue since the earthquake. As part of the response to possible cholera outbreaks, IOM assisted 4,037,301 people in 532 camps and communities. In addition, IOM collaborated in the construction of four diarrheal disease treatment centres and installed 386 necessary medical structures. 

Despite all these efforts, many people affected by the earthquake continue to face challenges and to date, still lack access to basic services, electricity, water, food, health, education and livelihood opportunities, as do many others in Haiti. Migratory flows from Haiti to neighbouring countries as well as to North and South America are increasing as the most vulnerable population seeks new opportunities abroad.  

For more information please contact Anton Galan, IOM Haiti, Tel:+509 4612-0436. Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, January 10, 2020 - 11:54Image: Region-Country: HaitiThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesShelterDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Haiti's Goodwill Ambassador Phyllisia Ross and a group of Haitian women artists have released the song Goudou Goudou to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Photo: IOM Haiti

IOM Haiti's Goodwill Ambassador Phyllisia Ross. Photo: IOM Haiti

IOM Haiti's Goodwill Ambassador Phyllisia Ross and a group of Haitian women artists have released the song Goudou Goudou to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Photo: IOM Haiti

Message from Giuseppe Loprete, IOM Chief of Mission in Haiti, on the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Hits Milestone: 5,002 Gambians Supported with Assisted Return

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 09:01

Banjul – The Gambia is a small coastal West African country of just over two million people. Between 2014 and 2017, over 35,000 of its citizens arrived, “irregularly” on European shores, according to Frontex, the EU border agency, with even more whose journeys stopped in Libya or the Mediterranean Sea.  

And yet, over the past three years, a rather sizeable proportion of these “irregulars” have also returned home. As the year 2019 ended, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reached a milestone of assisting over 5,000 stranded Gambian migrants – more than three times the organization’s initial target set in 2017.   

The milestone caps three years of work to facilitate the Voluntary Humanitarian Return of 2,992 Gambians from Libya, another 1,392 from Niger and 618 more stranded along key migration routes in Africa and in Europe. The mechanism has been IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) program, which remains a vital protection measure for vulnerable migrants who wish to return to their homeland but lack the means to do so.  

“Facilitating over three times the number of voluntary returns we expected in 2017 is a significant moment for us and all our partners. Our next goal is to bridge the gap between the number of Gambians we’ve assisted to return, and those we’ve assisted with reintegration,” expressed Fumiko Nagano, IOM’s Chief of Mission in The Gambia. “We also hope to expand community-based projects, to ensure that communities benefit as well from the reintegration of its members.”   

Of some 5,002 Gambians who returned home with IOM’s support, two-thirds have received some form of reintegration assistance.   

The reintegration assistance offered aims to address economic, social and psychosocial needs. As such, returned migrants may receive support to set up or strengthen a small business, support to pursue education or vocational training, support for job insertion or referrals to other services, or other forms of support such as housing or psychosocial counseling.   

After receiving food, essential supplies, medical and psychosocial support, returned migrants take part in counseling sessions aimed at tailoring reintegration assistance to their specific needs, interests and skills based on the available opportunities in the country.  

Fatou is one of those who have benefited from such support, after she returned via charter from Libya last April. “My husband and I desperately wanted to return home permanently, but there was no way out of Libya,” Fatou recalled. “Through our reintegration assistance, we bought [sewing] machines and opened a tailoring shop.”  

Added Paul, another returnee, “I travelled through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Along the way, I encountered all sorts of challenges. In April 2017, I came back to The Gambia with IOM’s support. I trained and right after I got a job in one of The Gambia’s largest ICT companies.” 

IOM also offers returned migrants the option to venture into collective projects or projects involving community members. The first two community-based projects launched in 2019. In Brikama-Ba, Central River Region, an association of 46 members (including 16 returned migrants) came together for an agri-business initiative. Meanwhile, in Kundam, Upper River Region, an association of 11 members (including three returned migrants) launched a cereal processing project.  

 A majority (90 per cent) of the voluntary returns were supported through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. Launched in July 2017 with funding from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, The Gambia’s initial target of 1,500 was reached after only three months of the programme’s activities. The remaining voluntary returns were supported through bilateral return and reintegration programs, primarily through Germany, Switzerland and Austria.  

“The new Gambia’s most important resource is its people, especially its youth. The European Union, working in close partnership with the Government of The Gambia and the IOM, helps stranded returnees to not just survive, but to build a future and thrive in The Gambia,” said Attila Lajos, Ambassador of the European Union.  

Find out more about returnees to The Gambia here  

For more information, please contact Miko Alazas at IOM The Gambia; Tel: +220 330 3168, Email: or visit

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - 15:38Image: Region-Country: GambiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

“I travelled through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Along the way, I encountered all sorts of challenges. In April 2017, I came back to The Gambia with IOM’s support. I trained and right after I got a job in one of The Gambia’s largest IT companies.” Photo: IOM/ Miko Alazas 

After almost two decades working in Libya, Fatou found herself in a country torn by conflict. “We desperately wanted to return home permanently, but there was no more way out of Libya. Through our reintegration assistance, my husband I bought machines and opened a tailoring shop.” Photo: IOM/ Miko Alazas 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Child Taken During Armed Clash in South Sudan that Claimed Mother's Life Released, Reunited With Father

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 23:04

Juba - A four-year-old boy taken when fighting broke out between armed groups in Isebi, South Sudan on 27 October, has been released and was today reunited with his father in an emotional meeting in the capital Juba.

The child, whose name is being kept confidential, is the son of a female International Organization for Migration (IOM) volunteer who was killed along with a male colleague when they were caught in the exchange of gunfire. A third female IOM volunteer who disappeared along with the child died later of her injuries, IOM has learned.
“We are very grateful that the boy is safe and relieved that this ordeal that has been ongoing for almost ten weeks is finally over,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission, Jean-Philippe Chauzy.
“The boy has been reunited with his father and our primary focus now is to ensure that they both receive counselling.”
The UN Migration Agency thanked the International Committee of the Red Cross for the invaluable support and pivotal role it played in facilitating the safe return of the child as well as a UN agency that is providing counselling services to the boy and his father.
The child’s mother was working at the IOM Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Point of Entry screening site in Morobo.
“While we celebrate the safe return of the little boy, our hearts are heavy because we have learned that our volunteer who was taken at the same time has passed away,” said the IOM Chief, Jean-Philippe Chauzy.
Following the incident in October, IOM suspended EVD screening at five points of entry sites, namely Isebi, Bazi, Kirikwa, Lasu and Okaba. Operations in two sites, Bazi and Okaba were restored on 18 November 2019 while the three remain closed due to ongoing insecurity, particularly near Lasu.
For more information please contact Liatile Putsoa, IOM South Sudan, Tel.: +211 912 380 104 Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, January 3, 2020 - 06:03Image: Region-Country: South SudanThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Father and child were reunited Thursday afternoon in Juba, nine weeks after the boy went missing in an incident that claimed the lives of two IOM volunteers on Oct 27 in Isebi, South Sudan. IOM has learned that a third volunteer who disappeared at that time has also died. IOM Photo/Liatile Putsoa

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Global Migrant Deaths Decline, but Tragedies Continue Worldwide 

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Geneva – As 2019 draws to a close, the International Organization for Migration reports that there has been a sharp decline in the number of migrants dying while attempting to cross international borders.  

Migrant fatalities reached at least 3,170 by mid-December, compared to just over 4,800 this time last year, representing a 34 per cent fall. Despite this, the trends identified by IOM in 2019 remain stark for migrants and for refugees. 

The Mediterranean, the scene of countless tragedies at sea in recent years, recorded the lowest level of deaths and crossings since 2014. However, the death rate among migrants departing Libya’s shores increased as smugglers put them at ever great risk. 

The outflow of people from Venezuela has meanwhile left millions of people in severe hardship as they attempt to escape instability to seek protection and opportunities in neighbouring countries. 

The emerging trends highlighted by IOM in 2019 include: 

  • Global deaths of migrants crossing borders irregularly declined sharply 
  • Mediterranean sea crossings reached their lowest level since 2014P 
  • Horn of Africa crossings to Yemen now average over 10,000 persons per month 
  • 4.8 million Venezuelans are living abroad, mostly in Colombia, Perú, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil 
  • Mediterranean Sea crossings by irregular migrants from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia 

Irregular migration via departure points in Turkey, Libya and across North Africa topped 100,000 men, women and children for the sixth consecutive year. More than 13,000 migrants entered Europe via land routes along the Mediterranean, either by entering Greece near border crossings with Turkey, or entering Spain through the two Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, in North Africa.  

While 100,000 is significant, the volume of Mediterranean crossings in 2019 shows a steep decline over recent years (see chart above). In fact, barring a year-end surge, 2019 will see the lowest number of irregular migrants on the Mediterranean since IOM began compiling such statistics in 2014. 


While departures from Libya decreased in 2019, the journey remains as deadly as ever. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project recorded 44 fatal incidents off the Libyan coast this year claiming the lives of 743 migrants. This signals the needs for increased search and rescue capacity to minimize loss of life at sea, especially in the Central Mediterranean Route, which remains the world’s deadliest sea crossing.  


IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in 2019 recorded 126,360 irregular migrants through November crossing to Yemen from the Horn of Africa, the vast majority (92 per cent) leaving from Ethiopia with most of the balance from Somalia. DTM estimates this year’s total will surpass 137,000 migrants on this route, which remains one of the most dangerous in the world.  

The total is expected to represent a slight decline from the nearly 160,000 irregular migrants tallied on this route during 2018. Over the past two years, irregular migration between this corridor of Africa headed towards the Arabian Peninsula has averaged upwards of 12,000 per month. 


As of 15 December, DTM reports there were an estimated 211,071 migrants in official reception centres in the region.1 While there has been little change in the total number of migrants in the region when compared to the 206,108 migrants in the same countries at the end of 2018, the figures per country show different dynamics: The most significant changes have been in Italy and Greece. In Italy, the total has fallen throughout 2019 from 135,838 reported on December 2018 to 95,020 reported on 30 November. In Greece, the total has risen from 60,083 reported on 26 December 2018 to 99,142 on 30 November. 


As of 30 November 2019, there were over four million foreign nationals present in Turkish territory seeking international protection, compared to 3.9 million at the end of 2018. Most of them are Syrians (3,691,333 individuals) who are granted temporary protection status, followed by asylum-seekers and refugees from countries including Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Somalia. The Turkish Coast Guard reported 56,778 apprehensions of irregular migrants at sea between January and November.  


Irregular migration continues to be a lethal endeavor around the world, with the Mediterranean corridor still the deadliest. Through mid-December at least 1,250 men, women and children had died attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean, including eight new victims reported on 17 December by authorities in Morocco.  

This year marks the fifth straight of at least 1,000 deaths on the Mediterranean. IOM’s Missing Migrants project reports that, since 2014, more than 19,000 migrants and refugees have died on the Mediterranean Sea, more than two thirds of that total perishing on the central Mediterranean route linking Libya and Tunisia to Italy. 

Worldwide, migrant fatalities through 50 weeks of 2019 are slightly more than 3,170, compared to nearly 4,831 at this same time last year. Fatalities are down on the Mediterranean, in North Africa and the Middle East and Asia, and up slightly in Europe. 

By contrast, the number of migrant fatalities in the Western Hemisphere is up. Hundreds have died fleeing Venezuela, including in shipwrecks in the Caribbean. Through Mid-December at least 659 men, women and children have died crossing the Americas, which compares with 583 during the same period last year. 

IOM DTM Europe Flow Monitoring  

Missing Migrants Project 

The report Fatal Journey Volume 4, published 28 June : 

For more information, please contact: 

Leonard Doyle IOM spokesperson Tel +41 709 285 7123, Email: 

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

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:40Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

In 2019, the Mediterranean, a scene of countless tragedies at sea in recent years, recorded the lowest level of deaths and crossings since 2014. Photo: IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Government of Iraq and IOM Share Findings of First Ever Nationwide Migration Profile

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Baghdad – Iraq, in contrast to nearby Middle East states like Jordan and Lebanon, hosts the lowest number of immigrants in proportion to its population. Nonetheless, the country’s foreign population is growing, more than tripling between 1990 and 2017, largely due to the influx of refugees from Syria.  

Migration in northern Iraq is largely driven by conflict, while migration in southern Iraq is more often linked to livelihood factors such as the loss of arable land and water scarcity. 

These, and other findings, come from the first Migration Profile for Iraq, which was unveiled this week (19/12) during a press briefing at Baghdad’s Babylon Hotel. The project was assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

The Migration Profile presents facts and figures about migration; it is the first-ever statistical overview of migration in Iraq and will help establish an evidence base that will influence national migration policies and strategies including a National Migration Strategy.  

In October 2019, IOM also completed the Migration Governance Indicator (MGI) assessment that measures national capacities across 90 governance indicators in six thematic areas.  

“The Migration Profile is the result of the first-year meetings between Iraqi ministries and IOM. It will influence both near and far-reaching migration policies,” said Ahmed Rahim, Director of the Department of Foreign Immigration at the Government of Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration. 
The profile shows that patterns of out migration have shifted significantly since 2003. During the period between the Gulf War and 2003, the primary destination for Iraqis migrating abroad was Iran; after 2003, Jordan and Syria emerged as primary destinations. Europe became a major destination after 2014, with Sweden, Germany and the UK standing out as significant destination countries. 

In recent years, internal displacement has been a prime concern. Displacement driven by the war against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) presents a peculiar case, in that it has provoked more internal displacement than international migration – in part because previous countries of refuge were in crisis themselves (Syria) or inaccessible (Jordan). Emigration as a result of ISIL’s presence has reached Turkey, Europe and Western countries, rather than former asylum countries (Iran, Jordan, Syria). 
Other findings of the profile relate to the Iraqi diaspora; trends of irregular migration; Iraqi students studying abroad; and more. IOM has carried out similar studies in over 80 countries around the world using a standard approach to the research. The profile uses existing knowledge and literature; interviews with government and international organizations; publicly available quantitative data; and non-public data shared both by Iraqi authorities and international organizations. 

“The Migration Profile demonstrates the Government of Iraq’s commitment to harnessing evidence-based and whole-of-Government approaches towards strong migration governance,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “The migration data it contains can be leveraged in years to come to mainstream migration into policies and strategies.” 

The Migration Profile was developed through a capacity-building process overseen by a Technical Working Group established by the Government of Iraq's Ministries of Migration and Displacement; Interior; Foreign Affairs; Justice; Labour and Social Affairs; and Planning; as well as the Central Statistics Office alongside IOM.  

For more information please contact IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit, Tel: +964 751 402 2811, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:30Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Migration ResearchDefault: Multimedia: 

Government of Iraq and IOM share findings of first ever nationwide migration profile. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Returnees and Community Members Engage in Rehabilitation of Health Centre in Maputo

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Maputo – Yesterday (19/12), the District Government of Matola, in cooperation with the National Institute for Mozambican Communities Abroad (INACE) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with the support of the European Union, launched the rehabilitation of the Ndlavela Health Centre in Maputo Province to provide the community with improved access to health services.  

“This health centre is a lifeline for the community. We receive hundreds of patients every day, who require basic to more complex services,” said Saide Momade, Director of the Health Centre. “It needs an upgrade in order to provide improved services for our patients. We are thrilled that this renovation will take place and pleased that it will involve the community.” 

The renovation of the Ndlavela Health Centre is supported by a European Union funded Pilot Action on Voluntary Return and Sustainable, Community-Based Reintegration in Southern Africa. The renovation will be implemented through a cash for work scheme, whereby 20 community members, as well as 20 male and female returnees from South Africa – and originally from Matola – will access short-term employment. They will also receive valuable training in building construction.  

The renovation effort will cover several spaces, including treatment rooms, the maternity ward, and bathrooms. It will continue through February 2020. The health centre serves the surrounding community of more than 17,000 people, including returnees. 

The need for the rehabilitation of Ndlavela Health Centre came up during a community dialogue held in Matola in March 2019, where community members voiced concerns and expressed community priorities. The participants identified activities that would address the causes of migration, especially to South Africa, and also benefit the communities who welcome returnees back home.  

Guillome Cossa, who recently returned to his home in Ndlavela after 13 years in South Africa, said: “The services of this health centre are central for our community. I am also a resident; my wife gave birth to our son here. I have experience in construction, so I made myself available for this effort. I am glad for the employment opportunity, and to work together with my neighbours.” 

EU Delegation Programme Manager, Abel Piqueras Candela, added: “The European Union is pleased to support both community members and returnees’ joint effort to improve health services in Matola for the benefit of the residents of this area.” 

The EU funded Pilot Action on Voluntary Return and Sustainable, Community-Based Reintegration in Southern Africa benefits several countries, including South Africa, as a country of destination, and Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique as countries of origin. It has so far assisted 264 Mozambican nationals to voluntarily return from South Africa to their communities. The project also supported a total of 138 Mozambicans who were assisted to return from South Africa after the xenophobic attacks occurred there last September. 

IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa Charles Kwenin said, “Assisted Voluntary Return is an important tool to manage migration in the Southern African region. It is a privilege for IOM to pilot this initiative in Southern Africa, and it is encouraging to see a concrete community intervention of this type materialize.” 

Watch video here

For more information, please contact Faira Alibhai at IOM Mozambique, Tel: +258 852 162 278, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:25Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

The local community members and returnees will benefit from the EU-funded renovation of Ndlavela Health Centre in Maputo Province. Photo: IOM/ Faira Alibhai 

A returnee works on the EU-funded renovation of Ndlavela Health Centre in Maputo Province. IOM/ Sandra Black 

Members of the local community cheer some of the returnees working on the EU-funded renovation of Ndlavela Health Centre in Maputo Province. IOM/ Sandra Black 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Nepal Migration Profile Calls for Upskilling of Workers to Compete in Global Job Market

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Kathmandu – A new Nepal Migration Profile launched to coincide with International Migrants Day 2019 has called for skills development for Nepali workers to help them to compete in global job markets. The Profile was supported by the IOM Development Fund. 

“This Migration Profile was developed at the time when migration has been identified in the international agenda as an issue of importance that needs to be addressed in a comprehensive and planned way,” said UN Resident Coordinator for Nepal Valerie Julliand, speaking at the launch. “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the growing impact of migration on development and the UN in Nepal sees it as a priority,” she added.  

The Profile characterizes Nepal’s migration situation as one of out-migration for employment. Some 500,000 young Nepalis leave the country every year for work and currently Nepalis are working in over 100 different countries around the world. Their remittances represent over 25 per cent of Nepal’s GDP.  Nearly 75 per cent are unskilled or low skilled and the Profile calls for more skills development for young people to enable them to find better employment opportunities both abroad and at home.  

Other recommendations in the Profile include: establishing a national coordination mechanism to address all government, non-government and private sector migration-related issues; ensuring full implementation and monitoring of current laws designed to protect migrant workers; expanding bilateral agreements with additional countries of destination which specify minimum working conditions; and continuing to monitor the operation and impact of restrictions on women migrating to certain countries. 

IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Lorena Lando highlighted the need for Nepali migration to be properly measured and understood, to ensure that positive impacts are harnessed and negative impacts are minimized. “We stand ready to support the Government in its efforts to address this complex relationship between migration and sustainable development in more coherent and holistic manner,” she said. 

Nepal’s Minister for Labour, Employment, Social Security Rameshwar Ray Yadav also welcomed the Profile. “It provides a comprehensive evidence-based account of the country’s migration experience in a single concise document to serve as a planning tool for policymakers and practitioners; and present available statistics on migration stocks and flows in a concise and internationally comparable way. I believe the recommendations and the information analyzed will be helpful to manage migration and its overall impact on development,” he said. 

The Profile is the result of several months of consultations and research led by an inter-Ministerial forum co-chaired by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security and IOM. The National Planning Commission and the Central Bureau of Statistics were also closely involved in the work of the forum. 

IOM Migration Profiles provide an overview of trends, patterns, impact and governance of migration of a country. They offer a comprehensive evidence-based account of the country’s migration experience in a single concise document to serve as a planning tool for policymakers and practitioners; and present available statistics on migration stocks and flows in a concise and internationally comparable way. 

Following the launch, which was attended by officials from government agencies, civil society, academia, UN, development partners, and media, IOM organized a high-level dialogue on migration governance and sustainable development. Participants included representatives from Nepal’s National Planning Commission, the Central Bank, leading civil society organizations working in the field of migrant protection, together with IOM officials. 

For more information please contact Lorena Lando at IOM Nepal, Tel: +97714426250 (Ext. 194), Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:20Image: Region-Country: NepalThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM, UN and Nepali government representatives launch the Nepal Migration Profile in Kathmandu. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Launch of Migration, Information and Data Analysis System at Zambia-Malawi Border

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Lusaka – Southern Africa has a long history of intra-regional human mobility, with migration as a significant factor inextricably linking the sub-continent’s economies for centuries.  

Today, cross-border trade is a major feature of the region’s economic and social landscape. The African Development Bank estimates such activity to contribute to the incomes of some 43 per cent of the African population, even though such trade is largely informal. Lengthy and cumbersome immigration processes, often done manually, increase the cost of trade. 

To change this state of affairs, the Common Market for Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat is collaborating with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support a multi-year project called the COMESA Cross Border Trade Initiative: Facilitating Small Scale Trade Across the Borders (SSCBTI).  

The Small-Scale Cross Border Trade Initiative is funded by the European Union. Its overall objective is to increase formal small-scale cross-border trade flows in the COMESA/tripartite region, leading to higher revenue collection for governments as well as increased security and higher incomes for small-scale cross-border traders. 

As part of the implementation, IOM is supporting the deployment at Mchinji border post in Malawi of a Border Management Information System (BMIS), known as the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS).  With the capability to collect, process, store and analyse traveller information in real time, MIDAS enables States to effectively monitor those entering and exiting their territories while providing a sound statistical basis for migration policy planning. 

“I urge for the full deployment of the MIDAS for the benefit of the governments of Zambia and Malawi, as well as for the small scale cross border traders,” said Dave Haman, COMESA Assistant Secretary General for Finance and Administration, during the launch of MIDAS which took place on the last week (13 December) at the Mwami-Mchinji border.  

Facilitating human mobility is of paramount importance for international trade in general, and for small scale cross border trade, as it contributes towards enhancing administrative efficiency and operational effectiveness at the border.  This in turn reduces costs and the time it takes for goods to get to market. 

Malawi’s Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi called for improvement of cross border trade between Zambia and Malawi, and in a speech read on his behalf by Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr Chilesha Mulenga, Home Affairs Minister Steven Kampyongo stated that the Government of Zambia is delighted that the Republic of Malawi has adopted MIDAS, adding “as a result the Zambian Government is confident that the systems will enable the two countries to manage their borders in a secure manner.” 

As part of the MIDAS deployment, IOM supported technical training for immigration officers from Mchinji border post, Lilongwe and Blantyre offices. IOM also handed over computer equipment and the MIDAS border management information system. 

IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa, Charles Kwenin stated that with the increasing mobility of persons and goods, “it is imperative for States to address the challenge of ensuring the right balance between open, but at the same time secure and controlled borders.” 

In addition, Malawi’s European Union (EU) delegation leader Jose Maria Navaro was hopeful that the success of MIDAS would quickly be rolled out to facilitate smooth cross border trade at other borders. 

As the Mchinji border post transitions into a One Stop Border Post, the MIDAS system will strengthen the capacity of immigration and border officials to process travellers, including small scale traders, more rapidly and professionally and thus making their border crossing experience safe and more humane.  

In addition, MIDAS will help the Government of Malawi to better understand the mobility patterns through the systematic collection, collation and analysis of immigration and emigration trends. Furthermore, MIDAS opens opportunities to analyse migration and trade data and subsequently inform evidenced based policy formulation and programmatic interventions. 

For more information, please contact Abibo Ngandu, IOM Regional Office for Southern Africa, Tel: +276 0779 7199, Email: or in Malawi, Mpilo Nkomo, IOM Head of Mission - or in Zambia, Nomagugu Ncube - IOM Officer in Charge -  

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: ZambiaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Malawi’s Minister for Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi and Zambia’s Ministry of Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr Chileshe Mulenga cut the ribbon to mark the official handover of the MIDAS in Mchinji, Malawi. Photo: IOM

A demonstration of how the MIDAS operates is conducted by the IOM and Malawian Immigration Officers at the official handover in Mchinji, as delegates look on. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Begins Relocating Venezuelans from Manaus to Other Cities in Brazil

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Manaus – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has started the process of relocation of Venezuelans currently living in the city of Manaus, Brazil, to other cities in the country. In total, 58 people are included in the first flights, which are taking place this week (17-20 December). 

After this first group, the goal of IOM is to support each month at least 100 refugees and migrants from Venezuela to seek new opportunities in all regions of the country. They are Venezuelans who are in shelters, on the street or even living in rented houses in neighbourhoods of Manaus. 

Those who have already found a job or have family or friends in other Brazilian municipalities but have no means to travel are eligible to be relocated. IOM participates in the process starting with registration and checks and provides Venezuelans with advice on how to access documents for travellers. IOM also provides vaccines, health assessment and air tickets for the new destination.  

Jhuberlin Carolina, Deibi Gonzalo and their three children were part of this first group to leave Manaus. The family's destination is Curitiba, where Jhuberlin's mother and brothers have been living for three years. The move was already in their plans, but with the small income of BRL 100 (USD 25, approximately) per week that Deibi receives as a technical assistant in Manaus, the family expected a long waiting period while they saved for airfare. 

“I didn't think we would be able to travel this fast. I am very grateful for the attention IOM has given us,” said Deibi.  

“It will be a moment of great joy,” Jhuberlin added, noting that her grandmother will finally meet her one-year-old granddaughter, Dana. 

This operation is part of the relocation strategy carried out by the Federal Government with the support of UN agencies and civil society. In the State of Amazonas, where Manaus is located, the main partners are the Amazonas Government and Manaus City Hall.  

The Amazonas Departments of Justice, Human Rights and Citizenship, and Social Welfare, as well as the Municipal Women Bureau, Social Welfare and Citizenship monitor the activities carried out and strengthen all public services to Venezuelans. The local Health Departments also perform the medical evaluation, mandatory step of the process of relocation. 

The IOM relocation activities in Manaus are implemented with the financial support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State. 

For more information, please contact Juliana Hack at IOM Brasilia, Tel: + 55 61 3771 3772, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Venezuelan family is relocated from Manaus to Curitiba, Brazil. Photo: IOM/ André Sena 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN