• English
  • Deutsch
Subscribe to PBN News Germany feed
Updated: 15 min 48 sec ago

UN launches 2018 appeal for Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshi host communities: Joint UNHCR/IOM Press Release

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 15:37

United Nations agencies and NGO partners today released the 2018 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis, a US$951 million appeal to meet the urgent needs of nearly 900,000 Rohingya refugees and more than 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in the communities hosting them.

Over the months since the outset of the Rohingya influx, this has been the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis, with tens of thousands fleeing by land and sea from Myanmar daily at the peak of the emergency. Some 671,000 Rohingya refugees have arrived in Bangladesh since 25th August 2017. The Bangladesh Government and Bangladeshi people have responded with extraordinary generosity and hospitality.

Almost seven months on, refugees from Myanmar continue to arrive. And the situation in Cox’s Bazar remains fluid. The Kutupalong-Balukhali site, where some 600,000 refugees are now living, is today the largest and most densely populated refugee settlement in the world. Precarious conditions for the refugees and the ongoing emergency response are about to be further challenged by the approaching monsoon season and rains. More than 150,000 Rohingya refugees are in places at risk of landslides and floods, in what could become a disaster on top of the current emergency.

The 2018 appeal for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis – launched today in Geneva by UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, IOM Director General William Swing and UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh Mia Seppo - aims to address these challenges, bringing together the critical efforts of more than 100 UN agencies and national and international NGOs. The international humanitarian response aims to ensure refugees and host communities receive the life-saving assistance, protection and support they desperately need, complementing the continuing efforts of the Bangladeshi authorities.

“We are talking about truly critical needs here both on the part of the Bangladeshi communities who have so generously opened their doors, and of a stateless and refugee population that even prior to this crisis was among the world’s most marginalised and at risk,” said High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “The solutions to this crisis lie inside Myanmar, and conditions must be established that will allow refugees to return home. But today we are appealing for help with the immediate needs, and these needs are vast.”

The appeal aims to meet the immediate humanitarian needs of refugees and host communities, and support environmentally sustainable solutions, confidence-building and resilience of affected populations until the end of 2018. It also includes contingency planning for 80,000 more Rohingya refugees in the coming months.

"The needs and vulnerabilities of the Rohingya refugee population in Bangladesh are immense,” said William Swing, IOM Director General. “Many Governments generously supported the last Rohingya crisis appeal. Given the large scale of the emergency and the amount of humanitarian services needed to ensure lives can be protected with dignity, continued and enhanced support is necessary."

The needs are urgent. The funding will help in meeting the life-saving and acute humanitarian needs both of refugees and of affected host communities. More than half the appeal (54 per cent) is to ensure food, water and sanitation, shelter and other basic aid. Food needs alone account for 25 per cent of the total.

Over 16 million litres of safe water are needed every day for the Rohingya refugee population. Some 12,200 metric tons of food are required every month. At least 180,000 refugee families need cooking fuel. Some 50,000 latrines need to be constructed and maintained, and at least 30 sewage management facilities are required.

Forty-three primary health centres and 144 health posts are needed. Another 5,000 classrooms for 614,000 children and youth must be made available for there to be proper access to education. Some 100 nutrition treatment centres and a range of protection programmes for the 144,000 single mothers and their families and the 22,000 children at risk are also an urgent priority. Around 400,000 children in refugee and host communities require trauma care and related support.

“Obviously there is great appreciation for the generosity with which the response has been funded. But let’s not forget one thing: the biggest donor to this crisis is Bangladesh,” said Mia Seppo, UN Resident Coordinator in Bangladesh.

“In terms of being the first responders, in terms of providing land, in terms of keeping its borders open, in terms of providing asylum, in terms of building roads, extending electricity networks, providing food, seconding civil servants, providing police and army to keep order in the camp. The biggest donor to this crisis continues to be the people and the government of Bangladesh.”

The humanitarian response in Bangladesh faces immense challenges. Conditions are congested, and hundreds of incidents of gender-based violence are reported weekly. Public health concerns are acute, including measles, diphtheria and diarrhoea.

The Rohingya refugee situation in Cox’s Bazar is an acute humanitarian crisis that needs urgent funding to save lives and provide essential aid. So far, the emergency response from September 2017 to February 2018 has received 74 per cent of the funding needed (US$321 million of the US$434 million required).

Your support is urgently needed to assist children, women and men fleeing contact in Bangladesh. Please give now.

For more information, please contact:

For IOM:
In Geneva, Olivia Headon, or +41 79 403 53 65
In Geneva, Andrej Mahecic,; +41 79 642 97 09
In Cox's Bazaar, Caroline Gluck,, +880 1872 699 849
In Cox's Bazaar, Firas Al-Khateeb,,+880 1885 934 309

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 22:24Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Women and children wait for aid in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, where 1 million Rohingya refugees are now living. Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Ghana Assists 106 Ghanaians to Return Home

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 13:03

Accra – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Ghana in partnership with the Government of Ghana and the Airport Authorities facilitated the arrival of 106 Ghanaians, including 9 women, 2 infants and one child, from Libya via charter at the Kotoka International Airport.

This is the third charter flight organized by IOM to support the dignified return of Ghanaians from Libya, since July 2017; bringing the total number of returns to 496 (457 men – 39 women).

All Ghanaians whose returns are facilitated by IOM have chosen to voluntarily come home. As a part of its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme, from Libya and other transit areas, IOM conducts pre-departure interviews and medical examinations for all returnees and facilitates the acquisition of travel documents and issuance of exit visas through the Ghanaian Mission in Malta. Between 5-10 February 2018, IOM facilitated an official visit to Libya of a delegation of 5 government officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, the Ministry of Interior and the Ghana Immigration Service. The visit, which focused on increasing outreach to the Ghanaian community in Libya and providing enhanced consular services, supported the organization of the charter flight that arrived on Tuesday, 13 March.

“Contrary to the first two charter flights we have previously organized where almost all the returnees were coming from detention centres, two-third of the arrivals on this flight were living in the city. It is important to acknowledge the diverse composition of the Ghanaian population in Libya as well as their diverse needs before and after repatriation. IOM continues to assist detained migrants but we are at the same time increasing efforts to reach stranded migrants outside of detention,” explained Sylvia Lopez Ekra, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission.

Upon their arrival, all returnees were screened by Port Health, registered by Ghana Immigration Service and were provided cash support by IOM for immediate needs. IOM also provided migrants with food and water, as well as buses to local transport hubs. These migrants will have the opportunity to benefit from reintegration assistance which can consist of counselling, referrals to services including psychosocial and medical, and other support as needed.

“Considering the scale of returns, one of the key challenges we will be facing is to provide adequate reintegration support to returnees. It is important to remember that meaningful and sustainable reintegration is complex and requires time but, if done right, has the potential to complement local development in areas with a large number of returning migrants” added Ms. Lopez-Ekra. 

The new, integrated approach to reintegration assistance rolled out by IOM in the West and Central African Region combines support for returning migrants and their home communities. It aims to mitigate possible tensions at home for returnees by involving local communities in the reintegration process and raising awareness to address potential stigma of return. For this reason, projects can be participatory and community-based projects, as well as collective and individual initiatives.

IOM Ghana return and reintegration support of stranded Ghanaian migrants stranded in Libya is part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration launched in December 2016, through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). Since June 2017, IOM Ghana has helped facilitate the return of 544 stranded Ghanaians migrants (502 men – 42 women), mainly from Libya and Niger. The main goal of IOM’s work in Africa under the Joint initiative is to strengthen mechanisms to protect and assist migrants along all migratory routes through advocacy and direct assistance.

As of 13 March 2018, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has assisted 10,171 migrants to return home safely from Libya with support from the European Union, African Union, and the Libyan Government since the scale up of Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) on 28 November 2017. Some 23,302 migrants have returned through IOM’s VHR programme since January 2017. 

Some 23,302 migrants have returned through IOM’s VHR programme since January 2017. You can read more here.

For further information, please contact Anita J. Wadud at IOM Ghana: Tel. +233 302 742 930 ext. 2400, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 20:01Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff providing cash and registration support to newly arrived Ghanaian returnees from Libya at the Kotoka International Airport.
Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Appeals for USD 182 Million to Help 900,000 Rohingya Refugees, Local Community in Bangladesh

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 10:57

Cox’s Bazar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is appealing for USD 182.1 million to assist 900,000 Rohingya refugees and local community members in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. IOM’s appeal is part of a broader USD 951 million UN Joint Response Plan for the Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis covering the same March – December 2018 period.

On 25 August 2017, a mass exodus of Rohingya refugees began from northern Rakhine State, Myanmar, to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Fleeing an upsurge of targeted violence, nearly one million Rohingya refugees are now sheltering in Cox’s Bazar, including thousands who arrived during previous influxes.

The local rural community, which has long been in need of support, has found itself in the middle of the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world. IOM is providing livelihood, environmental improvement and health support to both refugees and locals to mitigate the impact of soaring food prices and overloaded infrastructure.

“As the monsoon season approaches, we are at a vital point where we have to increase our support for people affected by the crisis – both Rohingya refugees and local Bangladeshis,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, reflecting on monsoon preparedness efforts underway in Cox’s Bazar.

IOM has relocated 236 families living in areas at risk of landslide and floods to safer areas. A further 9,675 families have been trained by IOM in how to strengthen their shelters against wind and rain, and reduce the dangers associated with living on unstable, muddy hillsides.

IOM is also working to reduce the environmental impact  of  the  refugee by providing alternative sources of fuel. The refugees are currently dependent on wood for cooking, which has led to massive deforestation in the area.

“I look after 80 families, who settled down on top of this hill,” said Abu Ahammad, one of the block leaders in the refugee settlements. “It’s sandy here and people didn’t get much land, so they’ve built their houses over the whole hillside with only bamboo and tarpaulins. The sandy soil will collapse when it rains and people will die as the houses fall down on top of each other. There are also latrines over there, which will be destroyed,” he added.

As those fleeing Myanmar arrived with little or nothing, providing them with basic shelter has been vital. Over the past six months, IOM has distributed 120,000 kits, which now house some 600,000 people.

Most refugees who lived in Cox’s Bazar before August 2017 live in very poor conditions. Some 40,000 of these people have benefitted from IOM help to upgrade their shelters. Others who have arrived since the crisis in August are now also in urgent need of shelter upgrades, which IOM will continue to provide.

IOM is leading site management and site improvement work in Cox’s Bazar, while also directly managing some of the settlement sites as well. Since August 2017, it has built over seven kilometres of road, 220 bamboo bridges, seven kilometres of pedestrian pathways, five and a half kilometres of pedestrian steps with handrails and five kilometres of drainage. Improving infrastructure is particularly important for people with disabilities, elderly people and single female-headed households to assess services in the settlements.

Since August 2017, IOM has trucked 1,992 cubic metres of clean drinking water into the settlements. It has also constructed 1,949 latrines, 110 deep tube wells and 116 wash rooms, with 28 more under construction. It has also distributed 220,000 bars of soap and 30,070 hygiene kits. Crowding and poor sanitation is a major concern and through 2018 IOM will continue to improve access to safe drinking water and better sanitation.

IOM has also supported the expansion of primary, reproductive and secondary health care services, as well as public health and outreach campaigns, for both Rohingya refugees and local Bangladeshis, since before the crisis. Over the past six months IOM medical staff have conducted over 242,000 consultations. Over 12,000 antenatal care sessions and some 1,400 deliveries were supported in IOM health facilities.

Through its Mental Health and Psychosocial Services (MHPSS), including  individual  counseling,  in-patient  care and patient referrals, which are currently being expanded, IOM has reached over 5,000 people since August.

IOM’s Needs and Population Monitoring Survey tracks new refugee arrivals to settlements and host communities, the number of people in each settlement and their needs. This information is shared with the entire humanitarian community to inform the humanitarian response.

Since August 2017,  IOM  has  also identified  and  assisted 15,257  extremely  vulnerable individuals (EVIs) and 37 victims of human trafficking. It has provided psychological first aid to 4,332 individuals and referred 1,887 people to specialized health facilities.

In addition, dignity kits have been distributed to 7,315 households and 20,276 solar lanterns have been distributed to vulnerable women.

IOM’s protection team carries out daily protection programming, including community outreach to EVIs and case management for survivors of Gender Based Violence (GBV) and human trafficking. It provides counseling, legal information and conducts group psychosocial support services, in close coordination with IOM’s Mental Health and Psychosocial Unit.

As the lead agency of the Communication with Communities (CwC) Working Group, IOM continues to advocate for the full integration of accountability to affected populations in all sectors of the response.

IOM also hosts the Inter-Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) Secretariat, which coordinates the humanitarian response in Cox’s Bazar. Funding to continue and enhance the ISCG as the coordination structure for the emergency response is also included in IOM’s appeal.

Read the appeal summary : ¨
For more information, please contact:
IOM HQ: Olivia Headon, Tel: +41794035365, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 18:01Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

A women queues for aid in Cox’s Bazar, which is now hosting close to one million Rohingya refugees. Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Improves Living Conditions for Internally Displaced Families in DR Congo’s Tanganyika Province

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 10:57

Kalemie – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in the south-eastern Congolese city of Kalemie, continues the urgent relocation of internally displaced families from congested and unhealthy urban collective centres to a displacement site recently established in nearby Kalunga. The majority of the collective centres are former schools.

More than 200 families were transferred by IOM from the EP La Gloire school to Kalunga on Wednesday (14/03), bringing the total number of families helped to relocate to 1,930.

“We hope to conclude the relocation of the last 240 remaining families sheltering at the school in the coming days,” said Amalia Torres, Head of IOM’s Sub-office in Kalemie. “The rains are worsening already poor living conditions at the school and the families are desperate to move to the Kalunga displacement site, where they will find decent living conditions,” said Torres.   

Some 11,800 displaced families are still living in extremely dangerous conditions in six collective centres in Kalemie – the EP La Gloire school being one of them.

“Many families are using simple mosquito nets as shelter. The complete absence of space between those squalid and flimsy dwellings exposes them to fire, diseases, insecurity and many other protection risks,” added Torres.

IOM aims to relocate to Kalunga and other pre-identified sites, a total of 6,000 displaced families from four schools in Kalemie with funding from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund – Rapid Response (CERF-RR). 

Prior to the transfer of displaced families, IOM carries out site planning activities such as plot demarcation, construction of transit hangars and defines sanitary corridors to ensure the basic Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) standards are met in the extensions of the site.

The Kalunga site currently hosts some 3,500 internally displaced families. IOM and partners provide them with shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. Displaced children also have access to educational facilities and families have resumed agricultural activities to help them complement their food and nutritional needs.                

IOM in Kalemie has also supported the safe and voluntary return of 390 people to Kasanga-Mtoa and Lukuangulo, located some 10 kilometers from Kalemie.

On the basis of the results of IOM’s return intention survey in the targeted sites, families that are not able to go back to their areas of origin due to the persistent insecurity, are transferred to displacement sites. There they receive an IOM emergency shelter kit and technical support to build their own shelter. For the most vulnerable, IOM and the site committee have mobilized and trained a group of young internally displaced people to build the shelters if they cannot do it on their own.

On 13 March, Mark Lowcock, Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and OCHA Emergency Relief Coordinator, and Sigrid Kaag, Dutch Minister of Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation, visited the displacement sites in Kalunga and nearby Katanika, where they met the site committees and internally displaced people. 

The delegation, which also included Kim Bolduc, Humanitarian Coordinator in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), and Julien Harneis, Deputy Humanitarian Coordinator, also met with Richard Ngoy Kitangala, Governor of the Province, Virginie Nkulu Nemba, Provincial Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, and other humanitarian actors in the Province. Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM DRC Chief of Mission accompanied the delegation. In the Kalunga site, IOM presented the delegation with ongoing relocation and emergency shelter activities that aim to improve the living conditions of families displaced in school premises in Kalemie through their transfer to transit sites.

Some 630,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Tanganyika province, bringing the total number of displaced to 4.5 million with some 13.1 million in urgent need of humanitarian assistance this year.

“IOM hopes that the 13 April 2018 pledging conference in Geneva co-hosted by the European Commission, the UN and the Dutch Government will help us address the huge humanitarian challenges in the DRC,” says IOM’s Chauzy. “The world simply cannot sit back and ignore the immense suffering of the Congolese people.”   

In December 2017, IOM launched an appeal for USD 75 million to urgently meet the growing needs of displaced people and the communities hosting them across the country. So far it has received USD 4.7 million as part of its appeal.   

You can read IOM’s full appeal here

For more information, please contact:
Olivia Headon in IOM HQ, Tel: +41794035365, Email:
Jean-Philippe Chauzy in IOM Kinshasa, Tel: +243 827 339 827, Email:   

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:39Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Displaced Congolese in the Kalunga site, Tanganyika province. © IOM

Internally displaced Congolese live in extremely harsh conditions in the Magloire collective centre, Tanganyika. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 12,318 in 2018; Deaths Reach 463

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 10:56

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 11,636 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 73 days of 2018, with about 48 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece (29%), Spain (22%) and Cyprus (less than 1%). This compares with 20,306 at this point in 2017.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Thursday the 5,945 men, women and children arriving as irregular migrants to Italy this year represents a decline of more than 62 per cent over last year’s irregular sea arrivals through this date.

Di Giacomo added that IOM Rome has learned of rescue operations occurring Thursday adding the NGO Open Arms rescued 218 migrants, while IOM also learned another 270 migrants were rescued by the Libyan Coast Guard.

IOM Libya's Christine Petré reported that late Wednesday night at around 23:00 local time, 122 migrants (97 men, 24 women, one child) were returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard after having boarded unseaworthy dinghies in their attempt to reach Europe. The migrants left from the Abu Sitta disembarkation point in Tripoli, where these migrants received water, food, primary health check-ups and protection screenings by IOM staff. Five of the women also received pregnancy care. Migrants were transferred to Tajoura detention centre.

On Thursday, she reported, 96 migrants (53 men, 40 women, three children) received emergency assistance from IOM after they were returned to Libyan shores by the Libyan Coast Guard. IOM staff provided hygiene kits, blankets, health and protection screenings. Three migrants with petrol burns were treated and family phone calls were provided. Migrants were transferred to Tajoura detention centre. IOM at this time is trying to learn if these rescued migrants were among the same ones IOM Rome reported on Friday morning, or from a separate attempt made to reach Europe.

No emergency cases were identified and no bodies were retrieved in either of the rescues reproted this week by IOM Libya.

So far this year, 3,279 migrants have been returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard, a 56 percent increase compared to the same period in 2017.

Through 15 March Italy arrivals are averaging just over 80 persons per day, well below the levels of the two previous years (see chart below). In both 2016 and 2017 March arrivals were low through the middle of the month, and then rose quickly as the weather warmed.

Di Giacomo also reported statistics from Italy’s Ministry of Interior concerning the leading nationalities among irregular migrants so far in 2018 (see chart below).

Eritrea was the leading sender through February, as was the case in January, followed by Tunisia, Nigeria, Pakistan, Libya and the Côte d’Ivoire. Given the small number of arrivals in February (1,058 migrants in 28 days – or less than 40 per day) the number of newcomers arriving in February from each of these nations was small: 124 from Nigeria, 31 from Côte d’Ivoire, 30 from Libya and 13 from Pakistan.
Nonetheless, the statistics demonstrate growing activity from Africa’s northern coast: a total of 1,583 arrivals have left for Italy this year from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya – or roughly one-third of all arrivals through the first two months of 2018.
IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia that over the three days (11-13 March) the Hellenic Coast Guard reported two incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Chios. The Coast Guard rescued 58 migrants and transferred them to that island.  Those rescued, plus another 130 migrants arriving in Kos, Rhodes, Megisti and Lesvos bring the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory through 13 March to 3,562 (see chart below) – an average for the year of just under 50 persons per day.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that total arrivals by sea in 2018 have reached 2,764 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 14 March.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported Thursday that deaths on the three Mediterranean routes – 463 as of March 14 – were down some 14 per cent below their total at this same time in 2017, when 536 migrants had been counted as drowned or missing in the waters between North Africa and Italy.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 740 migrant fatalities in 2018, compared with 1,046 through 14 March last year (see chart below).

Most recently, three people lost their lives in Mexico during their journey to the US border: on 12 March, the remains of a 22-year-old migrant from El Salvador were found near Federal Highway 200 in Tapachula, Chiapas, while on 13 March a young Honduran migrant was hit by a train in San Mateo Ixtacalco, Cuautitlán. On the US-Mexico border, a 20-year-old Mexican man drowned in the Río Bravo, near Reynosa Díaz, Tamaulipas.

The Missing Migrants Project also recorded one death on 12 March at the Greece-Turkey border, as the remains of one migrant were retrieved by Greek authorities in the Evros River, which flows along the country’s north-eastern border with Turkey.

On the same day, a 22-year-old Eritrean man died in Italy after being rescued from an overcrowded boat off the coast of Libya. He disembarked in Pozzallo, Sicily on 12 March from Proactiva Open Arms’ rescue ship and was immediately taken to the hospital. He died 12 hours later.

MMP data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:30Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

US, UN Back Efforts to Assess Impact of Papua New Guinea Earthquake, Deliver Aid to Survivors

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 10:56

Port Moresby – Almost three weeks after the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck Papua New Guinea’s remote provinces of Hela and Southern Highlands, IOM teams are working with the government and partners to assess the full impact of the disaster and deliver essential lifesaving aid to survivors, even as landslides and aftershocks continue to affect the region.

The government estimates that over 544,000 people across five provinces were affected by the quake, which left at least 145 people dead. Over 270,000 are in need of immediate aid, including food, water, medicines, tarpaulins, tents and blankets.

The government and its aid agency and private sector partners have targeted seven of the worst-hit Local Level Governments (LLGs) in Hela and Southern Highlands provinces. It has also set up two forward operating bases and two emergency operations centres close to the quake’s epicentre.

But while main roads have largely been cleared, aid workers warn that damage estimates may continue to rise as many affected communities remain cut off by landslides and are only accessible by air.

“Many among the affected populations live in remote communities that are a challenge to access at the best of times.  In the face of a natural disaster of this magnitude, they have become even more isolated.  Air support to reach these people is critical,” said IOM Papua New Guinea Chief of Mission Lance Bonneau.

IOM, which is leading the Shelter, Non-Food Item (NFI), and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) clusters in the emergency response, has deployed displacement tracking teams, assisted by oil and gas company ExxonMobil and other local partners on the ground, to assess the impact, needs, and assistance gaps for people affected by the quake.

The mapping generated by the displacement tracking matrix (DTM) will contribute to the PNG National Disaster Center’s coordination of the multi-partner relief effort to ensure that the right assistance gets to the populations who need it most.  

IOM, which this week received USD 100,000 from USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, has already delivered basic shelter and non-food relief items to over 400 displaced families. The US funding will allow it to provide basic shelter, water and sanitation to another 800 of the hardest hit families and will also support training for local authorities and NGOs managing Care Centre shelters for quake survivors.

Another USD 100,000 channeled to IOM last week by UNOCHA – the UN’s Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs – will be used to provide more lifesaving aid, including shelter materials and water containers, to another 2,500 families.

“We welcome the support provided thus far, but the needs remain significant.  The full impact of the earthquake is still coming to light, as landslides continue to affect unstable areas. Traditional water and food sources have been compromised and entire populations have been traumatized by the scale of this disaster. We need to continue to address the immediate needs of those most affected, but we also need to think about longer term recovery and reestablishment of community infrastructure.  Shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene are critical needs now and will continue to be into the foreseeable future,” said Bonneau.

For further information, please contact IOM Port Moresby. Wonesai Sithole, Tel: +675 4 3213655 Email:  or Lance Bonneau, Tel: +675 321 36 55, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 17:32Image: Region-Country: Papua New GuineaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Families in Hulia-Beleria displaced by the February 26, 2018, earthquake which struck Hela province, Papua New Guinea. Photo: David Helo / United Church in Hela

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

International Donors Visit UN Migration Agency Sites in Libya, Niger

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:56

Tripoli/Niamey – Yesterday (15/03), international donors completed a visit to witness activities carried out by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Libya and Niger. A total of 17 Government donors from European countries and the United States participated in the visit to these two important countries on the Central Mediterranean migration route.

In Libya, donors visited detention centres where IOM distributes humanitarian aid and provides support for the improvement of living conditions, while also providing protection assistance and offering voluntary humanitarian return support.

IOM advocates for alternatives to detention and for the reopening of IOM's shelter for vulnerable migrants, which closed in 2011. Donors also visited Tripoli’s main port where they met with the Libyan Coast Guard and saw efforts related to a rescue operation, including IOM-supported primary health check-ups and protection screenings.

The donor group also held consultations with the Mixed Migration Working Group, which is comprised of UN agencies and NGOs and is co-led by IOM and UNHCR, the Refugee Agency. It aims to ensure effective coordination of protection and assistance to migrants and refugees in Libya, including in detention centres, in urban areas, along the mixed migration routes from southern to northern Libya, and in rescue-at sea-situations.

In Niger, the donor group visited IOM’s migrant transit centres and participated in focus group discussions with migrants who recounted their ordeals while journeying to Libya or Algeria. The delegation also visited one of IOM’s reintegration projects, a kindergarten managed by a Nigerien returnee from Belgium, in Niger’s capital, Niamey.

The delegation met with Government officials, traditional authorities, the UN Country Team and agencies, and other diplomatic representatives during the three-day visit, throughout which an ongoing discussion took place about scaling up the reintegration of migrants.

IOM has six transit centres in Niger where migrants have access to various services, including basic assistance and support for obtaining identity documents. The centres are open and the accommodation is voluntary. All migrants arriving at the centres are registered, profiled and informed of their rights by IOM staff. Their stay in the centres is usually short (one to two weeks), enabling migrants to make their return plans, communicate with their families and secure travel documents and transport tickets to their community of origin.

More than 7,000 migrants last year voluntarily returned to their countries of origin with help from IOM’s mission in Niger. This February, IOM Niger assisted more than 1,300 migrants to return home.

Despite a drastic reduction in the number of irregular migrant arrivals in Italy – the per-day average dropped from 2,142 in 2015 to 163 in 2018 – over the past four years, the Mediterranean remains one of the deadliest migration corridors in the world. The dangers of this perilous journey start long before Libya.

In the first quarter of 2018, IOM has helped around 4,000 migrants – the same ones languishing in detention centres, typically survivors of harrowing voyages at sea – return home to more than two dozen countries. That is in addition to the 19,370 men, women and children IOM flew safely home from Libya last year.

IOM’s main priority in Libya and for the Central Mediterranean route is saving lives.

A recent statement from William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, called for six urgent and concrete actions to better protect migrants on the route: end the arbitrary detention of migrants; improve registration to help better determine the size of the vulnerable population and what their needs are; support Libyans, as migrants are not the only ones affected by the security situation in Libya; help the Libyan authorities develop their migration management structures; prosecute smugglers and traffickers; and, most importantly, create more safe and legal pathways for people to migrate safely to Europe. Read more here.

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon, IOM HQ at Tel: +41794035365, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:38Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

International donors meet with migrants in Niger. Photo: IOM

International donors meet with migrants in Niger. Photo: IOM

International donors meet with migrants in Niger. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Drought Response Coordination Improves in Four Federal Member States in Somalia

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:55

Mogadishu - Four Federal Member States of Galmudug, Jubaland, Hirshabelle, and South West State in Somalia have improved their drought and emergency response coordination as a result of support provided by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The ongoing drought affecting Somalia has led to the displacement of some one million people within the last 12 months, bringing the total number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Federal Member States to over two million.

The majority of IDPs live in collective sites or with host communities in urban areas, often facing harsh conditions with limited access to basic services, precarious physical security, and increased exposure to gender-based violence (GBV). A Drought Impact Needs Assessment—carried out by the Federal Government in 2017, with the support of the UN, World Bank and EU, found USD 1.7 billion in recovery needs across Somalia as a result of drought. Municipal support for displaced persons is one of the sectors with the highest level of needs.

Under a year-long project, IOM and UNDP provided technical support and expertise to regional government-led Drought Response Committees, district administrations and other disaster management institutions in the four Federal Member States, improving the information flow and enhancing cooperation between Federal Government and each State on drought and emergency response.
The support provided includes the appointment of eight Somali experts on drought coordination, early recovery and information management to each State, as well as data collection.

Ridwaan Abdi, Director of the National Humanitarian Coordination Center (NHCC) of the Federal Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, thanked IOM and UNDP for supporting greater coordination and information sharing among Federal Member States, and between the Member States and the Federal Government.

“Such local capacity investments are highly appreciated,” Abdi added. “Considering the current alarming humanitarian situation in the country and the need for good coordination and information, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs & Disaster Management (MoHADM) supports the continuation of this project and would also like to see teams of experts utilized more in Federal Member State Line Ministries.”  

Representatives attending the event from Galmadug, Jubaland, Hirshabelle and South West State also underscored the important achievement of bringing key stakeholders together in the same room, and reiterated the need for further collaboration to find long term solutions to drought response.

Jennifer Pro, IOM Somalia’s Drought Response Coordinator, explained: “This project has been instrumental in strengthening coordination gaps and identifying potential areas of support, as well as facilitating discussions on early recovery and longer-term resilience building. IOM is committed to supporting the Federal Government and Member States in better responding to the immediate and long term needs of drought and emergency affected populations.” 

Abdul Qadir, UNDP Somalia Climate Resilience Portfolio Manager, said climate change and drought response is a vital issue for Somalia, explaining “Different studies show that this particular region will be 3.2 centigrade hotter by 2080, and one of the best ways to adapt to climatic events is through joint initiatives like this one.”

“UNDP will continue to partner with our government counterparts and other UN agencies to strengthen disaster coordination and information management systems in Somalia at both Federal and State levels,” Qadir added.

IOM and UNDP work to support the Government of Somalia and the Member States in building long term resilience and response to cyclical drought and emergencies, through water infrastructure, climate adaption, disaster management, durable solutions and life-saving humanitarian response projects across the country.

For more information please contact Yuko Tomita, Programme Support Coordinator, IOM Somalia:  Email:, or Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, UNDP Somalia. Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:36Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Representatives from four Federal Member States of Galmudug, Jubaland, Hirshabelle, and South West State in Somalia attended the briefing session. Photo: Tomita Yuko / IOM 2017

Representatives from the Federal Government of Somalia thanked IOM and UNDP for supporting greater coordination and information sharing in Federal Member States, and between the Member States and the Federal Government. Photo: UNDP Somalia 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Japan Supports IOM Efforts to Prevent Gender-Based Violence in Somalia

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:52

Mogadishu – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, with support from the Government of Japan has completed the distribution of 150 solar lanterns to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Galkayo, a district in the north-central Mudug region of Somalia, and Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital city.

According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), there are over two million internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout Somalia. As a result of both protracted and acute displacement, women and girls may be more exposed to protection risks including gender-based violence (GBV), combined with a potential dearth of health and social support services.

With support from the Government of Japan, IOM is coordinating GBV prevention and response efforts, with a focus on raising awareness and providing survivors with comprehensive psychosocial support, medical referrals and legal aid, where feasible. Last September, IOM trained staff from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Mogadishu to build their capacity in GBV case management and GBV information management systems (GBVIMS).

In early February 2018, IOM Somalia hosted a Psychological First Aid (PFA) training of Trainers (ToT) and a GBV Mainstreaming ToT in Dolow, Gedo in collaboration with the GBV working group. Facilitated by a Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist (MHPSS), the training aimed to build a multi-sectoral capacity among implementing partners from the Health, DTM, WASH and CCCM sectors on concepts around GBV, risks, the role of humanitarian actors from various sectors in prevention and mitigation and to build the capacity of field workers in crisis situations.

PFA provides humane, supportive and practical assistance for people who are distressed, in ways that respect their dignity, culture and abilities.

This week in Galkayo, female-headed households and 18 GBV survivors in Sawade, Bulo and Afarta Tanngi IDP sites received 75 solar lanterns. In Mogadishu, GBV survivors, people with disabilities and newly displaced female-headed households in Dagahweyne IDP site received the remaining 75 lanterns.

Fadumo*, one of the recipients of a solar lantern at the Gadahweyne IDP settlement, said with a smile: “I am happy to have received the lights; it will go far to supporting my family and allow me to do my chores easily at night. With the solar lantern I will have more time to study at night and early in the morning after prayers; this has brightened our nights and we are hoping for more opportunities to brighten our lives.”

To date IOM has distributed over 7,508 solar lanterns to drought-affected communities across Somalia since 2013, prioritizing female- and child-headed households.

* Name changed to protect her identity

For more information please contact the Programme Support Unit at IOM Somalia, Tel: +254715990600, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Gender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

In Galkayo, female headed households and 18 GBV survivors in Sawade, Bulo and Afarta Tanngi IDP sites received 75 solar lanterns. Photo: Jama Hassen Abdille / IOM 

In Galkayo, female headed households and 18 GBV survivors in Sawade, Bulo and Afarta Tanngi IDP sites received 75 solar lanterns. Photo: Jama Hassen Abdille / IOM 

In Mogadishu, GBV survivors, people with disabilities and newly displaced female headed households in Dagahweyne IDP site received 75 lanterns. Photo: Ayan Mohamoud  / IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 1,000 Mexican Judicial Officers Trained to Improve Prosecution of Human Traffickers

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:52

Mexico City – This week (14/03), IOM Mexico concluded a training project which saw some 1,050 Mexican judicial officials trained, over a two-year period, on how to improve prosecution of human traffickers. In total, 35 capacity building sessions were held in 29 of the country’s 32 states.

Of the total participants, more than 50 per cent were high-level judicial officers – judges and magistrates – while the remainder were legal aides. Overall, there was a slightly higher attendance of women throughout the trainings.
When the project was initiated in 2015, Mexico’s conviction rate for trafficking in persons (TIP) cases was 13.16 per cent, with 204 convictions out of the 1,550 cases investigated from 2009 to 2014 (US Department of State’s 2015 TIP Report).

IOM Mexico carried out an in-depth assessment of jurisprudence to identify where the paradigmatic challenges rested and at what level of the prosecution process management obstacles in trafficking cases could be found. This report became the basis for the 35 training sessions delivered around the country over the last two years.

Trainings focused on basic aspects of TIP, international and national legal frameworks as well as the clear definitions of differences between TIP and other crimes. In this regard, the trainings centered on the correct identification of victims of trafficking while guaranteeing victims' protection throughout the investigation process.

A preliminary analysis of attained results shows that the training sessions were effective in terms of increasing knowledge among judicial authorities in Mexico. While pre-test approval rates reached 37 per cent, post-tests rose to 75 per cent. Furthermore, the large majority of attendees’ comments mentioned that the sessions were extremely useful.

These training sessions stand as a component of a larger project funded by the United States Department of State to monitor and combat trafficking in persons and involved the Commission of Higher Courts of Mexico (CONATRIB). The project is centered on strengthening the capacities of Mexican authorities to prevent, detect, identify, and prosecute cases of trafficking in persons guided by a human rights and gender perspective.

The Counter-Trafficking, Child Migration and Gender Unit of IOM Mexico continues to work with Mexican authorities, the private sector and civil society in order to strengthen detection, identification, and attention of victims of TIP in Mexico. As part of these efforts, IOM Mexico has promoted the development of Standard Operating Procedures in several states, as well as specific Trafficking in Persons Protocols for the Ministry of Labor and the National Institute for Migration.

For further information, please contact Rogelio Quintero at IOM Mexico, Email:, Tel: +52 1 55 55363922; or Cesia Chavarria, Email:, Tel: +55 5536 3922.

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: MexicoThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Mexican judicial officers attending a training session in Quintana Roo state. Photo: IOM Mexico. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Strathmore University Launch Solar Water Training

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:49

Nairobi – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has partnered with Strathmore University in Kenya to start a Solar Water Pumping course, launched on 13 March.

The course is part of the IOM-led Global Solar and Water Initiative (GLOSWI), supported by the European Union, and will be incorporated into the Strathmore Energy Research Center curriculum. Training courses will run several times each year. Other project partners include Oxfam and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The effort is aimed at building capacity among humanitarian engineers, government specialists, private sector actors and consultants working in the fields of water supply and clean energy.

“Our partnership with Strathmore University is unique in nature and will serve as a model for sharing solar water innovations with future engineering practitioners,” said IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa Jeffrey Labovitz. “We are now at a time where clean and affordable energy can increase access to water in places where in the past, access involved walking long distances.”

Across many rural communities and poor urban centers in East and Horn of Africa, millions of people suffer from a dearth of access to clean and safe water. They are often forced to trek miles to get water from streams for domestic and livestock consumption.

This initiative has already trained many water and energy specialists from various humanitarian agencies and UN bodies in East and Horn of Africa, in a bid to make the water supply more sustainable, ecological and cost-efficient in both humanitarian and development settings. Many of those trained are providing services to local communities and within settlements for refugees and internally displaced persons. 

The use of clean energy in water projects is growing exponentially in East Africa, with hundreds of millions of US dollars invested every year.

“East Africa offers huge untapped potential for providing affordable and clean water to communities who need it most,” said Jérôme Burlot, Water and Sanitation expert for EU Humanitarian Aid in East Africa. “By training more water experts, we can spread the knowledge and skills to exploit this potential.”

The course will help the trainees with hands-on training, while fostering further dialogue on best practices for effective solar water pumping in East Africa. Solar water pumping focuses on solar technology, fluid dynamics, pump mechanics, hydrology and irrigation.

Potential applications of this course include small-scale irrigation, potable water supply for institutions, community-scale water supply schemes and livestock water supply.

For more information please contact Kenneth Odiwuor, Tel: +254 722 560363, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: Capacity BuildingHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Stranded Migrants, Refugees Return Home from War-torn Yemen: IOM

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 05:56
Language English

Yemen – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, continues to help stranded migrants in Yemen return home, with the latest of its humanitarian return movements taking place this week (12/03) – one from Al Hudaydah for 41 Ethiopian migrants and a Croatian migrant and the other from Aden for 144 Somali refugees.

Since March 2015, the conflict in Yemen has greatly affected both Yemenis and migrants and the closure of most of Yemen’s ports is preventing migrants from returning home on their own. Through its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme, IOM is providing transportation and return support from Yemen to the migrants’ final destinations in their home countries.

The journey for 36 Ethiopian migrants stuck in Sana’a started last Saturday (10/03), when IOM transported them by bus to the port of Al Hudaydah. There they joined a further five Ethiopian migrants, who were staying at IOM’s Migrant Response Point (MRP).

IOM’s MRP provides shelter, food, medical assistance and other humanitarian support for stranded migrants. Following exit formalities, a total of 42 migrants (41 Ethiopians and one Croatian) boarded the ship and departed from Al Hudaydah Port for Obock, Djibouti. On arrival, they were met by IOM staff, who assisted with their onward travel to Ethiopia.

On the same day (12/03), IOM in coordination with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, helped 144 Somalis refugees depart Aden to return home. This group were assisted through the Assisted Spontaneous Return programme (ASR) for Somali refugees in Yemen, which is carried out in close collaboration with the Yemeni Authority, Somali National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (NCRI) and the Somali Consulate.

“Every month, around 10,000 migrants enter Yemen. Usually their hope is to reach the Gulf countries but they often become targets of the conflict, seldom making it to their destinations,” said Khan Aseel, Officer in Charge of IOM’s Hudaydah sub-office.

“After being misled by smugglers, they are left stranded and destitute in Yemen, while also at risk of further abuse by smugglers, as well as the effects of the ongoing conflict. Migrants face a variety of dangers, from death due to starvation and dehydration during the journey to exploitation and abuse like abduction, forced labour, sexual abuse, torture and threats once in country,” said Aseel.

“After facing desperate circumstances, it is extremely important that a safe route home is available to them.  Often migrants can be overlooked during such a crisis as Yemen, but IOM is committed to providing a way for them to get home,” added Aseel.

So far in 2018, IOM has helped nearly 660 stranded migrants return home from Yemen, while in 2017, 2,860 were assisted.

IOM’s 2018 return movements from Yemen are currently funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the German Government and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

For more information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email:

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 12:54Image: Region-Country: YemenDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Voluntary Humanitarian Returns from Libya Continue as Reintegration Efforts Step Up

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:04

Brussels, Geneva, Tripoli, Dakar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, announced today (13/03) that it has assisted 10,171 migrants to return home safely from Libya with support from the European Union, African Union, and the Libyan Government since the scale up of Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) from the country started on 28 November last year. Another 5,200 migrants have returned with the support of African Union member states in the same period. Some 23,302 migrants have returned through IOM’s VHR programme since January 2017. 

“We are continuing to assist migrants inside Libyan detention centres, while increasing efforts to reach stranded migrants outside of detention,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya Chief of Mission.

“Since the expansion of our VHR operation, the number of migrants in official detention centres have dropped from an estimated 20,000 people in October 2017 to 4,000 people today, a five-fold decrease. IOM in Libya is also working with the authorities to register migrants, provide lifesaving assistance in the form of health care and essential aid items, psychosocial support, improve consular services and projects promoting community stabilization,” said Belbeisi.

Nearly half of voluntary humanitarian returns carried out by IOM from Libya are part of a larger EU-IOM initiative to protect and assist migrants in need not only in Libya but in 26 countries along the Central Mediterranean Route. This includes crucial support for reintegration of returnees in countries of origin.

Launched in December 2016, with additional funding from Germany and Italy through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration is active in Libya and countries in North Africa, the Sahel and Lake Chad region, and the Horn of Africa. 

Together with its partners, IOM has been scaling up activities in countries of origin to meet the surge in returns from Libya and ensure that returning migrants receive appropriate assistance upon arrival as well as longer-term support to adjust to life and re-establish themselves in their communities.  Reintegration assistance is also available through the programme for those assisted to return from European Union member states.

IOM Regional Director for the EU, Eugenio Ambrosi, said that the huge protection needs and the scale of returns in the last few months under the VHR operation have overtaken initial planning and pose some additional challenges for countries of origin.  He cautioned that the reintegration process is complex and requires time. 

“We are embarking on a completely new approach to reintegration and we believe in it. It will take some time to build, and in cooperation with authorities in countries of origin and the local communities, we are already seeing promising developments,” said Ambrosi.  

“The Joint Initiative, in partnership with the governments of countries of origin and the African Union, aims to make sure that the migration process is safer, and that returning migrants can get back to their countries of origin safely and re-establish their lives without the feeling that they are a burden for their communities and families,” said IOM Regional Director for West Africa, Richard Danziger. 

He cautioned, however, that many returnees from Libya are traumatized after having suffered unspeakable abuses, and so their immediate medical and psychosocial needs have taken priority.

The new, integrated approach to reintegration combines support for returning migrants and their home communities. It aims to mitigate possible tensions at home for returnees by involving local communities in the reintegration process and raising awareness to address potential stigma of return. For this reason, capacity building, systems strengthening, social, psychosocial, and community-based aspects are being built into the programme.

Monitoring and evaluation of reintegration activities are also part of the programme’s approach to measure impact and identify good practices to build on.


Under Joint Initiative activities starting from May 2017, 23,500 migrants have received immediate post-arrival and reception assistance after voluntarily returning home from Libya and other countries.

Approximately 16,000 migrants have been assisted with general reintegration support such as referrals and counselling sessions, with options for trainings and job fairs in the pipeline.

Over 5,000 people have received additional reintegration support, including help for individuals to set up a small business with groups of returnees or in partnership with their community.  Their projects can be participatory and community-based projects, as well as collective and individual initiatives.


IOM believes that this innovative approach also has the potential to complement local development, particularly in how it is designed to respond to the socio-economic priorities identified by local authorities, migrants and their communities.

“The initiatives we are undertaking with the EU and our African partners represent a new chapter in migration cooperation. It is the first time that substantial funding has been invested to support the priorities and capacity of partner countries to manage return and reintegration and to make migration itself a safer and informed process,” said Ambrosi.


"I am not ashamed to be back home. People can talk and say what they want. I am now back in my country and have found a job,” said Gaspard, who had left Côte d’Ivoire in search of work.  After a terrible experience in Libya, he decided to return home with help from IOM through the Joint initiative programme.  See the stories of more returnees here.


Background Information

While the VHR programme is not new and IOM has been supporting migrants to return since 2006, the scale-up was launched on November 28th, 2017 when the African Union, European Union and the United Nations came together at the AU-EU Summit in Abidjan to respond to reports of slavery and migrant abuse in Libya.

A tripartite AU-EU-UN taskforce was established with the objective of saving and protecting lives of migrants and refugees along the routes and, in particular, inside Libya, as well as to accelerate the assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin and the resettlement of those in need of international protection for a period of six months (ending 30th May 2018).

The immediate focus of the Task Force was the voluntary repatriation, within six weeks, of at least 15,000 migrants identified in Government-controlled detention centers through the European Union Trust Fund. The joint work of the task force has been instrumental in addressing a number of challenges faced in the evacuation of migrants including: timely issuance of exit visas, granting landing rights to non-Libyan airlines and provision of documentation/consular services for migrants to enable their return. 

The EU Trust Fund is backing the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based, development-focused, and return and sustainable reintegration policies and processes.

For more information please contact Olivia Headon in Geneva, Tel:  +41 794 035 365, Email:; Ryan Schroeder in Brussels Tel: 32 2 287 7116, Email:; or Florence Kim in Dakar, Tel: +221 78 620 6213, Email:   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:56Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

Thousands of detained migrants have been returned home from Libya © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, FAO to Support Agricultural Livelihoods, Forestry on Bangladesh-Myanmar Border

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:03

Cox’s Bazar – When a poor, rural farming community finds itself in the middle of the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world – doubling its population in just a few months – it’s not just the new arrivals who need support as food prices soar and infrastructure is overloaded.

Now a farming initiative, backed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and IOM, the UN Migration Agency and funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), is bringing new opportunities and improving nutrition for families living on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

“I used to plough my land with a spade. This will make it much easier,” said Ayesha Begum, trying out the controls of a new mechanical power tiller. “I can grow more produce and sell some at market and use some myself. It will bring a little profit, but if people can buy things from me at a good price and live better, that will make me happy,” added the 35-year-old small-scale farmer.

Ayesha’s machine is one of dozens being given to 24 community agricultural associations in the Teknaf and Ukhiya sub-districts of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, as part of a USD 3 million programme to support agricultural livelihoods and forestry in the area.

As well as power tillers, farmers involved in the project are receiving seeds to produce high-nutrient vegetables, such as spinach and amaranth. They are also receiving high-efficiency water pumps and organic fertilizer to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. Through the programme, 500 local farming families will be supported to improve their livelihoods and provide nutritious food to the Rohingya refugee community, where people are largely reliant on food rations and malnutrition is rife.

In the past six months, almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar. Since the influx began, local residents in the Cox’s Bazar area have struggled with significant challenges from overstretched infrastructure to major hikes in food prices. In August last year, bitter gourds cost around 30 Bangladesh taka (BDT) or USD 0.36 per kilogram and are now around BDT 50 (USD 0.60), according to local residents.

Vast swathes of formerly protected forest have been cleared as Rohingya refugees sought land on which to put up shelters and cut firewood for cooking. What was once home to plants and wildlife, including endangered Asian elephants, is now a makeshift city built on barren slopes. Locals, who formerly relied on the forests for additional food and income sources, can no longer do so.

“Not just agriculture, but education, health, and community infrastructure… are under tremendous pressure because of the influx,” said Mohammad Abul Kalam, Commissioner of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission in Cox’s Bazar. “Thanks to IOM and FAO, this [project] is aimed at compensating some of the losses suffered by farmers in Ukhiya and Teknaf,” he added.

“The initiative has three main aims: to provide high quality, nutritious food; increase income for local farmers; and improve the quality of life for everyone in this area. This is part of a five-year project with the agriculture and forestry departments, which will also include regeneration of the local forest,” said to Peter Agnew, FAO’s Emergency Response Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

“The goal is to enable local farmers to produce enough nutritious fruit and vegetables to be able to allow the World Food Programme to reduce its reliance on bringing food in from outside the region to feed the refugees,” said Agnew.

“The host community here in Cox’s Bazar has extended a very generous welcome to the refugees in their time of need. However, there is no doubt that the sudden and rapid arrival of almost 700,000 people in the past six months have added further pressure on the local population and infrastructure,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

“Supporting host communities with projects such as this bring multiple benefits and forge positive interactions between them and the refugees. It allows local farmers to improve their livelihoods while developing sustainable ways to meet the vital nutritional needs of the refugee population,” he added.

Innovative local farmers such as Ayesha are already foreseeing additional benefits. She runs a small grocery store at her farm. “When people come to my store I think they will be interested in organic products. I will teach them about it,” said Ayesha.

She is also quick to dismiss gender stereotypes about women’s roles in agriculture: “No-one is born knowing things. We all just have to learn them when we’re growing up and it makes no difference if you’re male or female.”

For more information, please contact Manuel Pereira, IOM Bangladesh, Tel: +8801885946996, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:50Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

Farmer Ayesha Begum tries out a mechanical power tiller near Cox’s Bazar  ©IOM/Fiona MacGregor

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Receives USD 30.5 Million from Japan for Humanitarian Support

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:03
Language English

Tokyo – The Government of Japan has donated USD 30.5 million to support IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in its 2018 operations – assisting vulnerable migrants such as displaced persons, refugees, returnees and affected communities, in the midst of various conflicts and crises continuing around the world.  With this donation, Japan will also support increasing the capacity of various governments in their humanitarian border management efforts.

Almost half of the contribution (USD 14 million) has been allocated to support IOM programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa, including in Sudan, the Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Lesotho.

In Asia, the Japanese funding will be used to respond to the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh, and will be put towards the provision of shelter, health assistance, and alternative fuels so as to preserve the forestry surrounding refugee sites. It will also assist vulnerable Afghan returnees from Iran with life-saving post-arrival humanitarian assistance, and fund the returns of skilled nationals from Iran.

The Government of Japan has provided substantial funding for IOM activities in the Middle East and North Africa, specifically in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Specific portions of the funding were designated for the regional response to the Syrian crisis, assistance to internally displaced persons in Iraq and improved border management in Libya.

In Ukraine, the Japanese funding will support IOM’s efforts to enhance social cohesion amongst selected communities in the conflict affected Donbas region.

The Government of Japan remains a strong partner of IOM. Its generous support has helped strengthen the organization’s humanitarian, transition, recovery, and peace building programmes, including through the delivery of immediate lifesaving relief; community stabilization and early recovery activities; emergency return and reintegration assistance for migrants caught in crises.

For more information, please contact Yuko Goto at IOM Tokyo, Tel: + 81 3 3595 0108, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:49Image: Region-Country: JapanDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 11,636 in 2018; Deaths Reach 462

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:02
Language English

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 11,636 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first ten weeks of 2018, with just under 48 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece (29%) Spain (23%) and Cyprus (less than 1%). This compares with 20,151 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Monday that over the weekend Italian and international ships patrolling waters between Libya and Italy rescued 373 migrants in five separate operations. The majority of those rescued are Western African nationals.  On Monday they arrived in Italy: 93 taken to Pozzallo by the NGO OpenArms, while 274 reached Augusta on board the ship Aquarius (NGO SOS Mediterranée).

Among these survivors were a 14-year-old Libyan boy suffering from leukaemia. He arrived with an older brother and cousin, 23 and 31 years old, after the three embarked in the hopes of receiving treatment for his illness.

According to information IOM staff collected at the landing point, the three young men managed to leave Libya a few days ago using a small dinghy, loaded with petrol cans. After six hours at sea the ship of the NGO OpenArms sighted their vessel. When they approached the boat, rescuers found the child traveling with an IV attached to his arm.

The three were then transferred onto the Aquarius and, upon arriving at Augusta, they received immediate assistance.

Di Giacomo added that, according to Ministry of Interior figures, 5,566 irregular migrants have arrived by sea to Italy this year: or barely one third the figure at this time last year, when 15,843 migrant men, women and children were brought to Italy after being rescued in the waters north of Africa. Through 11 March Italy arrivals are averaging fewer than 80 persons per day (see chart below).

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported Monday that deaths on the Central Mediterranean route – 462 as of March 11 – were down some 14 per cent below their total at this same time in 2017, when 536 migrants had been counted as drowned or missing in the waters between North Africa and Italy.

Although authorities reported no new deaths at sea since an incident on 3 March, the Missing Migrants Project added 20 new victims to the Central Mediterranean route’s mortality lists after receiving information from Libya on Maritime Rescues and fatalities recorded through the end of February.

Over the course of last month, IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported a total of 34 bodies had been retrieved from Libya’s coastal beaches, while 375 migrants had been rescued or intercepted at sea during that time.

IOM Libya's Ms. Petré also reported Monday 21 migrants (all men) were returned to Libyan shores by the Libyan Coast Guard after having embarked from Sabratha on a small rubber boat. These migrants were returned to Abu Sitta, near Tripoli. The migrants received first aid plus medical consultations from IOM staff at the disembarkation point; first aid also was provided to five migrants suffering from mild petrol burns, mild skin infections, musculoskeletal pain and headaches.
As the sole humanitarian actor at the site, IOM also provided food before the migrants were transferred to Tajoura detention centre. One minor (a 16 year-old male) was identified among the group. IOM is following up on necessary protection measures. No emergency cases were reported; no bodies were retrieved.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia on Monday said that over four days ending 10 March, the Hellenic Coast Guard reported at least four incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Lesvos and Samos. The Coast Guard rescued 175 migrants and transferred them to those islands.

An additional 226 arrivals during those days to the islands of Kos, Samos, Rhodes and Lesvos brings the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory through 10 March to 3,374 (see chart below) – an average of around 48 persons per day.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that total arrivals by sea in 2018 have reached 2,659 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 11 March.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 733 migrant fatalities in 2018, compared with 1,044 through 11 March last year (see chart below).

Most recently, two people lost their lives on the US/Mexico border. On 11 March, one migrant drowned when crossing the Río Bravo from Coahuila to Texas. His body was retrieved by Mexican civil protection authorities near El Saucito. On the same day, US Border Patrol agents found the remains of a migrant in Sunland Park, near the Santa Teresa port of entry in New Mexico.

In the first ten weeks of 2018, at least 48 migrants have died while crossing the US/Mexico border, compared to 81 recorded at this same date last year. Border fatality statistics usually are not completed until the end of a calendar month, when forensics officials in US border counties in Texas and Arizona release their data. This year’s March total, then, is expected to rise.

MMP data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:48Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Joint Statement: Coercion of Children to Obtain Fingerprints and Facial Images is Never Acceptable

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:02
Language English

Brussels - IOM, together with other UN agencies and NGOs issued yesterday (12/03) a joint statement raising concerns ahead of the EU institutions' negotiations on 27 March on the EURODAC Regulation.

The statement warns that the proposed system would inappropriately allow the use of coercion to take the fingerprints and facial images of children.

Established in 2003, the EURODAC Regulation establishes an EU asylum fingerprint database. When someone applies for asylum, no matter where they are in the EU, their fingerprints are transmitted to the EURODAC central system. The proposed changes to the system aim to expand the current database of asylum applicants to better identify “irregularly staying third country nationals” using biometric data.

The joint statement stresses that coercion of children in any manner or form in the context of migration related procedures violates children’s rights, which EU Member States are committed to respect and uphold.

IOM and its partners urge the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the European Commission to exempt all children, no matter their age, from all forms of coercion in the EURODAC Regulation, in full compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Read the joint statement.

For more information please contact Melissa Julian, IOM RO Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 7133, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:46Image: Region-Country: BelgiumDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Central, North American Countries Work on Joint Strategy Against Migrant Smuggling with IOM, UNODC support

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:01
Language English

San Jose – Sixty representatives from the 11 Member States of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) will gather in San Jose, Costa Rica, Tuesday 13 March to promote medium and long-term joint strategic policies and actions to tackle the multi-billion illegal industry of migrant smuggling.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that two of the principal smuggling routes – leading from East, North and West Africa to Europe and from South America to North America – generate about USD 6.75 billion a year for migrant smugglers. These criminals get rich while subjecting migrants to dangers including robbery, sexual abuse, human trafficking, kidnapping, forced recruitment by drug cartels, and even death due to inhumane conditions along the smuggling route.

The regional workshop starts today and aims to develop, a counter-smuggling regional work plan for the first time, to strengthen regional coordination, set common regional goals regarding the fight against migrant smuggling – including protection of the most vulnerable migrants – and enable the development of standardized operating procedures.

In 2016 IOM, the UN Migration Agency, developed and submitted a set of recommendations for strengthening the regional strategy against the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons to the RCM. The establishment of a regional counter-smuggling action plan was one of the recommendations.

“While it is indisputable that each country in the region has made remarkable progress – regarding intelligence processes and promoting cooperation through the implementation of various regional efforts – common regional objectives and actions must be implemented in the medium term to be strengthened and framed within a regional strategy,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

The Costa Rican General Director of Migration, Gisela Yockchen, said that “only with a clear political commitment and a regional approach will we be able to find solutions that promote safe and regular migration. This work plan will strengthen a common approach from our governments to combat the networks linked to organized crime and the smuggling of migrants.”

The workshop will be attended by prosecutors working on crimes associated with migrant smuggling, as well as immigration and police officers, from Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the United States.

This meeting is organized by the RCM (also known as the Puebla Process), a multilateral mechanism for coordinating policies and actions relating to migration in the 11 member states. The event is supported by the IOM Mesoamerica Program, funded by the US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, as well as the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program of the Government of Canada.

For more information please contact Patricia Ugalde at IOM Costa Rica, Tel. +506 22125300, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:44Image: Region-Country: Costa RicaDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Debate on Climate Change and Migration at International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:01

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, will join a high-level panel on 14 March during the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva (FIFDH), Switzerland. The panel titled “Climate Refugees”: Drop the Quotation Marks! will focus on the impact of climate change on population movements around the world. The event is co-presented by the Philanthropia Foundation and the Platform on Disaster Displacement.

Jill Helke, IOM Director of International Cooperation and Partnerships, will speak at the panel. She will highlight the impact of sudden disasters on population movement, while also shedding light on the effects of drought and other slow-onset events and processes. According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), more than 475,000 people have been internally displaced in Ethiopia, over 1.2 million in Somalia and more than 14,000 in Madagascar between November 2016 and November 2017 due to drought, yet slow-onset events receive less media exposure than sudden disasters.

Joining Helke will be Robin Bronen, Executive Director, Alaska Institute for Justice; Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Fiji to the United Nations in Geneva; and Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, Chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) and former Military Advisor to the President of Bangladesh. The panel will be moderated by Xavier Colin, Founder of GEOPOLITIS on RTS and associate fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP).

The debate will follow the screening of the documentary The Age of Consequences, a film by Jared P. Scott. The movie examines the impact of climate change on the scarcity of resources and threats to human and state security, while bringing in the migration implications as well.

However, IOM experts stress that these phenomena do not automatically result in insecurity and violence.

“Where displacement and migration do occur, promoting development in both departure and destination areas, improving conditions in host communities and ensuring migrants are integrated can avoid tensions and ensure human security,” says Dina Ionesco, IOM Head of Migration, Environment and Climate Change ahead of the screening.

IOM has been addressing the links between migration, environment and climate change for more than 25 years on all fronts. Since 1998, IOM has implemented over 1,000 projects related to human mobility, disasters and climate change, and released in 2017 the first Atlas of Environmental Migration.

The FIFDH is the leading international event dedicated to film and human rights. For the past 15 years, the festival has taken place in the heart of Geneva, the human rights capital, parallel to the annual main session of the UN Human Rights Council in March.

Learn more at: and

For more information, please contact:
Dina Ionesco, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179481 Email:
Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179205, Email:
Chirine El Labbane, Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), Tel: +41 79 542 18 09, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:42Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

Somali child displaced by drought. ©

The FIFDH is the leading international event dedicated to film and human rights. ©

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ecuador Hosts Regional Seminar on Human Mobility in Latin America

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:01

Quito – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the Vice Ministry of Human Mobility of Ecuador, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences of Ecuador (FLACSO in Spanish) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (COSUDE in Spanish), last week (6-8/03) held a Regional Seminar on Human Mobility in Latin America in Quito, Ecuador.

The seminar aimed to discuss the challenges of current migration contexts and new migration policies in Ecuador and the region at large.

Thirty-six representatives from academia, governments, UN agencies, international organizations and civil society groups attended the event. The participants presented their perspectives on three topics: the regional view of migration flows and migration policies; human mobility and its plurality; and the challenge of diversity for migration policies.

Ecuador’s Vice Minister of Human Mobility, Ambassador José Luis Jácome, emphasized the importance of participating in the Global Compact for Migration and Refugees from an inclusion, equality and rights-based perspective. The Global Compact for Migration will be the first, intergovernmental negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

Jácome also urged attendees to reflect on the subject from a personal and human perspective. "We have all moved around the world, people in human mobility are [just like] us," said Jácome.

"This meeting is important to recognize the challenges faced by migrants and try to value all the positive contributions of migration," said IOM Regional Migration Analyst and Researcher Vanina Modolo.

The seminar served as a space to share experiences on circular mobility, trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling, and the challenges that migrants and refugees face in the region. In addition, it allowed for the exchange of topics related to the economic and cultural inclusion of migrants by laying the foundations for inclusive migration policies.

The seminar ended with a discussion about gender, ethnicity and youth in the migration process which, within the framework of the International Women's Day celebrations, showcased the work of migrant women in a context of abuse prevention and protection of rights.

For more information please contact Carolina Celi at IOM Ecuador, Tel: +593 23 934400, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: EcuadorDefault: Multimedia: 

Regional Seminar on Human Mobility in Latin America. ©

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN