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Updated: 1 hour 14 min ago

UN Migration Agency Publishes In-depth Investigation of Obstacles to IDP Returns in Iraq

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 10:36

Iraq – Three million Iraqis remain internally displaced across the country, despite numerous successes by military forces in dislodging and reclaiming much of the territory once occupied by ISIL.

 As chair of the United Nations Returns Working Group – established last year by the UN coordinator in Iraq – the UN Migration Agency (IOM) commissioned the report Obstacles to Return. Financed by European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the IOM study delves into the principal push and pull factors limiting the willingness of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) to return to their place of origin.

Nonetheless, the IOM report also highlights the fact that, through April 2017, an estimated 1.7 million Iraqis displaced across the country have returned to their homes.

According to the Government of Iraq's Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD), some 694,231 people have fled west Mosul since the start of the operations on 19 February. Cumulatively, over 870,000 people have been displaced since the start of the military operations to retake Mosul city.

From 18 October 2016 to 8 June 2017, IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has tracked and confirmed the location of more than 626,600 displaced individuals from Mosul. Of these, more than 432,700 individuals (or 72,121 families) are currently still displaced but nearly 194,000 IDPs have returned.

IOM’s DTM surveyed more than 1.7 million Iraqis who opted to return, raising questions as to the factors that motivate, or inhibit, Iraqis from returning to their areas of origin.

The qualitative and quantitative data collection was carried out in eight recently retaken sub-districts through interviews with IDPs. Data retrieved in these surveys show that security in the areas of origin topped all other factors in influencing IDPs’ decision to return or remain displaced.

Proximity to the frontline – and perceived instability in the place of origin – remains the most relevant obstacle for return.

Feelings of trust towards the security actors in control of the areas of origin promotes a higher number of returns, while fear of security actors in the place origin is a strong drawback and reinforces the perceived advantage of staying in displacement.

Fear of reprisal back home is a concern for over 30 per cent of all IDPs interviewed. However, this perception is much lower among interviewed returnees (10 per cent).

The data suggest that damage to housing does not constitute an obstacle to return, although the presence of actors whom IDPs hold responsible for the damage inflicted in a given location is.

Livelihood options and previous or current employment status also play an important role in influencing the decision to return. IDPs who have jobs in the location of displacement are less inclined to return home. By contrast, those who are unemployed appear to be more likely to return to seek new opportunities.

The study shows that almost a quarter of interviewed IDPs who decided to return were prevented from doing so, mostly by delays in processing their documentation, or by being stopped at checkpoints on the way back to their place of origin.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “IOM Iraq remains committed to supporting the delivery of durable solutions in safety and with dignity. This includes assistance to families returning voluntarily, who may face significant challenges in order to rebuild their homes and livelihoods and regain their standard of living. It also includes families who consider displacement a better alternative and continue to try to rebuild their lives away from their homes and communities while they wait for an opportunity to return. And it includes those who have decided to integrate locally.”

IOM’s DTM actively monitors displacement across Iraq. The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement across Iraq are available at:

The Obstacle of Return study is available at:

For further information, please contact IOM Iraq:
Hala Jaber, Tel: +964 751 740 1654, Email:
Raber Aziz, Tel: +964 750 465 9204 Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, June 23, 2017 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Over 870,000 people have been displaced since the start of the military operations to retake Mosul city. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

Australia Backs UN Migration Agency Assistance to Undocumented Afghans in Pakistan

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 10:30

Pakistan – The Government of Australia and the UN Migration Agency (IOM) have launched a two-year, AUD 4 million (USD 3 million) project to assist undocumented Afghans in their host communities in Pakistan, as well as those who wish to return to Afghanistan.

In 2016, an unprecedented number of Afghans returned to Afghanistan, mainly from Pakistan and Iran. They included over 250,000 undocumented returnees and over 380,000 registered refugees. This year, as of 20 June, over 100,000 Afghans have returned home, including almost 70,000 undocumented returnees from Pakistan. This is a 250 per cent increase over the number of returnees during the first six months of 2016.

Australia’s contribution will enable IOM and its partners to help the Government of Pakistan develop sustainable solutions for the estimated 500,000–600,000 Afghan nationals still living in Pakistan.

This new Australian funding will also help IOM and its partners monitor migration flows and conduct host community surveys. The resulting data will in turn aid the Pakistani and Afghan Governments, humanitarian stakeholders and returning communities to make better informed decisions relating to safe and humane migration.

IOM Pakistan will also use the funding to provide primary health care services and vocational business training for undocumented Afghans and host communities in Pakistan. This will enable them to start new livelihoods and reintegrate when they return to Afghanistan, as well as provide new economic opportunities for host communities.

The funding will also help IOM support the Government of Pakistan to implement its Repatriation and Management Policy for Afghan Refugees, which includes the registration of undocumented Afghans living in Pakistan.

“IOM is fully committed to support tailored solutions for undocumented Afghans in Pakistan,” said Davide Terzi, IOM Pakistan Chief of Mission. “Pakistan has been host to millions of Afghans for over 30 years, and it is imperative to devise comprehensive programmes that facilitate returns, create viable options for those who decide to stay, and support the Pakistani host communities.”

As part of the IOM Regional Response Strategy, IOM Pakistan is seeking USD 21 million to support the most vulnerable undocumented Afghans during 2017–2018.

For further information, please contact Ammarah Mubarak at IOM Pakistan, Tel: +92 51 230 7843-51, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, June 23, 2017 - 16:24Image: Region-Country: PakistanThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationHumanitarian EmergenciesIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

An Afghan family leave Pakistan aboard a truck loaded with their possessions. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 83,928 in 2017; 2,108 Deaths

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 10:24

Switzerland – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) reports that 83,928 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through June 21, with almost 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 215,997 arrivals across the region through 21 June 2016.


IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo reported that some 180 migrants were rescued yesterday on the open sea and are being brought to land in Italy. He added more than 2,500 migrants who had been rescued in the past few days (including last weekend) arrived safely and have been transferred to different locations in Italy.

The roughly 72,000 migrants recorded so far this year by Italy’s Ministry of the Interior compares with January-through-June figures of 70,222 men, women and children in 2016 and 70,329 in 2015 (See chart below).

IOM Italy also reported this week that the total number of Syrian migrants registered as having arrived by sea is 1,164 – making Syrians the fourteenth most common nationality. In 2016 1,200 Syrians landed by sea in Italy.

IOM Libya Christine Petré reported Thursday (22 June) that the remains of 18 migrants found in Garaboli were retrieved and buried by local citizens. Two migrants were reportedly found alive and were transferred to Trig al Seka detention centre in Tripoli. On the same day, the remains of five men were found in Tajoura, west of the Libyan capital Tripoli.

As of 22 June, 10,034 migrants were rescued in Libyan waters and the remains of 303 women, men and children have been found along the Libyan coast.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) notes total deaths on the Mediterranean this year now stand at 2,108. Although that total is more than 800 fewer than the number of deaths that were recorded at this time last year, it nonetheless marks the fourth consecutive year migrant deaths on the Mediterranean Sea have exceeded 2,000 and brings the total number of deaths on the Mediterranean since early 2013 to nearly 15,000 – or a daily average of 10 men, women and children since this current emergency began.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 2,848 fatalities through 21 June (see chart below) with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – over 70 per cent of the global total.

MMP regional figures for today reflect the following inclusions since Tuesday (20 June): two incidents on the US/Mexico border; a train accident in Central America; 110 missing off the coast of Zuwarah, Libya, as reported by survivors rescued by Libyan fishermen last Saturday; seven missing in the Central Mediterranean as reported by survivors taken to Messina, Italy; and five dead off the coast of Sabratha, Libya.  These data do not include the 23 victims newly reported in Libya on Thursday, nor reports of three bodies discovered this week near Falfurrias, Texas.

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:

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

For further information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Berlin, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, June 23, 2017 - 16:16Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Supports Korean Efforts to Help Prepare Migrants for Disasters

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 10:16

Republic of Korea – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Republic of Korea (ROK) Ministry of Public Safety and Security have organized a series of disaster preparedness trainings for migrants living in seven Korean cities. The trainings, which took place between 13 and 21 June, attracted over 230 participants.

“Today over two million migrants live in the Korean society,” said Miah Park, IOM ROK Head of Office. “Factors such as language and culture can impact their capacity to protect themselves and their families during emergencies. It is important for the government to recognize this and introduce measures to improve their preparedness,” she added.

The training introduced the basic concepts of emergency response management following natural disasters, information on the health risks associated with poor sanitation and details about evacuation zones. Local emergency management agencies also conducted cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) simulation training. 

“When thinking of my children, I am always concerned about their safety, especially during emergencies here in Korea,” said one Vietnamese mother of four who took part. “The training was a good opportunity to learn practical skills that I could apply for my family and myself,” she added.

Recognizing the importance of preparedness training, the ROK Ministry of Justice has decided to include the subject in their Korea Immigration and Integration Programme (KIIP). IOM and the Ministry of Public Safety and Security have also developed a Disaster Preparedness Handbook in five languages: Korean, English, Chinese, Vietnamese and Thai.

For further information, please contact IOM ROK:
Jumi Kim, Tel: +827048200292, Email:
Seonyoung Lee, Tel: +827048202751, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, June 23, 2017 - 16:10Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaThemes: Capacity BuildingDisaster Risk ReductionDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM project coordinator Seonyoung Lee demonstrates the use of a fire extinguisher during the disaster preparedness training for migrants living in Korea. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Trains Judges on Adjudication of Human Trafficking in Ghana

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 10:10

Ghana – The UN Migration Agency (IOM), in partnership with the United States Government and the Government of Ghana, hosted a three-day training for 14 Ghanaian judges on “Adjudication of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Cases”, especially those involving children.

For the second year in a row, Ghana has been ranked as Tier 2 on the watch list in the Trafficking in Persons Report, released annually by the United States Department of State Office to Combat TIP. That designation indicates that Ghana is not meeting the minimum standards for the elimination of TIP – especially when it comes to the number of prosecutions and convictions in TIP cases.

As such, Ghana risks an automatic downgrade to Tier 3 in 2017. Justice Elizabeth Ankumah commented: “This training is illuminating and all encompassing. I find the training very practical. The participants’ minds are drawn to the challenges faced by prosecutors and investigators, as well as to deeper insights into trauma and how it may affect the victim’s behaviour and testimony. A new addition, which the court may use in criminal trials, is the use of case management, after the trail investigation within the Ghanaian law. I think it should be extended to other judges and we are grateful to the organizers.”

The IOM training aims to ensure TIP cases are adjudicated with a greater understanding of trauma while also emphasizing victim safety during the judicial process. In addition, the training seeks to strengthen the integrity of a criminal justice system that will hold offenders accountable for the full extent of their criminal behaviour.

Topics include the dynamics of human trafficking, recognizing and minimizing trauma, recognition and prevention of victim intimidation, consideration of expert testimony and sentencing considerations.

As part of the Child Protection Compact (CPC) partnership between the governments of the United States and Ghana, IOM Ghana is training 14 judges from both the Circuit and High Courts of the Volta, Central, and Greater Accra regions. The CPC partnership focuses on internal trafficking of children, largely for the purpose of labour exploitation.

The workshop was inaugurated by the United States Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Robert P. Jackson.

“Human trafficking is not just about studying and applying the law, it is about human beings,” said H.E. Ambassador Jackson. “If we look at human trafficking cases as about real people who have suffered, it will make us more focused.

“Victims are all people with rights. As judges, you have been entrusted with administrating justice on behalf of all Ghanaians, including victims of trafficking. When victims are unable or afraid to participate in their court cases, the traffickers win,” he added.

High Court Justice Dennis Dominic Adjei, Director of the Judicial Training Institute, said to the trainees: “Human trafficking has become a canker which needs to be addressed. We are urging you to understand the laws, understand how evidence can be used, and come up with a good judgement.”

IOM-organized training is being led by AEquitas – a United States-based organization of former prosecutors who specialize in training related to the prosecution of human trafficking. Delivered in an interactive manner, the training engages participants in group exercises, brainstorming sessions, demonstrations and role playing.

IOM will monitor the impact of the trainings through regular data collection of prosecutions and convictions of human trafficking to inform future trainings.

For further information, please contact Alex Billings at IOM Ghana, Tel: +233 302 742 930, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, June 23, 2017 - 16:05Image: Region-Country: GhanaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM conducts a three-day training for Ghanaian judges on “Adjudication of Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Cases” especially those involving children. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Government Partners Discuss Good Migration Governance Practices

Fri, 06/23/2017 - 10:03

Switzerland - On 20 June 2017, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Governments of Australia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) co-hosted an event exploring good practices on migration governance at the United Nations Office in Geneva.

The discussions were held as a side event of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration’s thematic consultation, which centred on issues of international cooperation and governance of migration in all its dimensions, including at borders, on transit, entry, return, readmission, integration and reintegration. The Global Compact is an inter-governmental process that presents an historical opportunity for achieving a world in which migrants move as a matter of choice rather than necessity, through safe, orderly and regular channels, and in which migration is well governed and able to act as a positive force for individuals, societies and states.

“There are good practices pursued by national governments and inter-state consultation mechanisms that should be replicated at the global level,” said Jill Helke, the UN Migration Agency’s Director for International Cooperation and Partnerships. “This event illustrated examples of useful tools and good practices, which can inform governments’ and international organizations’ preparation of the process leading to the Global Compact.”

Presentations on migration governance at the national level were made at the event, as well as presentations of two examples of inter-regional governance of migration by inter-state consultation mechanisms on migration. 

The Governments of Australia, Mexico and Peru presented their respective migration governance policies highlighting the importance of adopting national whole-of-government approaches, highlighting tools that can assist governments in developing, adapting and assessing their migration policies, in particular IOM’s Migration Governance Framework and the Migration Governance Index (developed jointly by IOM and the Economist Intelligence Unit).

Inter-state consultation mechanisms on migration are state-led, regular information-sharing and policy dialogues on migration among several states and were organized to consider specific migration issues of common interest within a particular region or along a specific migration corridor. Throughout the past 35 years, they have contributed to the emergence of converging policy approaches, and regional and inter-regional governance of migration. 

Both the Intergovernmental Consultations on Migration, Asylum and Refugees (IGC) and the Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) presented good practices and achievements. They also explored the contribution each can make to the Global Compact.

For further information, please contact IOM HQ:
Nicoletta Giordano, Tel: +41 22 717 9416, Email:
Maurizio Busatti, Tel: 41227179581, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, June 23, 2017 - 15:55Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Governments of Australia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) co-hosted an event exploring good practices on migration governance at the United Nations Office in Geneva. Photo: IOM 2017

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Governments of Australia, Mexico, Norway, Peru, Sri Lanka and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) co-hosted an event exploring good practices on migration governance at the United Nations Office in Geneva. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

IOM Emergency Assistance Brings Physical and Psychological Relief to Earthquake Victims in Kagera Region

Thu, 06/22/2017 - 09:58

Case Study: “I’m still afraid when big trucks pass near my house.”

Tanzania – “I was on my way home from my duty the day I saw my house was half collapsed. When I approached it, I was shocked, as all my family members were in the house and neighbors were running for their lives in different directions.” Mr. Gerevaz remembers the day when the Kagera earthquake hit the area where he was living: 10 September 2016.

“I am still afraid when big trucks pass near my house, as the slight tremor of the ground reminds me of the earthquake that damaged my house,” he said, telling us about the trauma he and his family have had since the earthquake.

Mr. Gerevaz lives in Ibaraizibu village in Karabagaine ward of Bukoba rural district, which was among the areas hit hardest by the earthquake that affected over 100,000 persons in Kagera Region. He heads a family of five, including three children, and survives by farming near their home.

Since the earthquake struck, the family had been living in their partially damaged house –  which was very risky –  for nearly eight months, until IOM and the Tanzanian Red Cross (TRC) constructed temporary shelters for his family and others in similar situations.

“I am now feeling protected and safe. I will continue repairing my former house while peacefully staying in my temporary shelter,” he says, showing us the progress he has made in repairing his former house using locally produced bricks. “I would like to thank IOM and TRC for this vital support,” he adds.

With funding from the United Nations Central Emergency Relief Funding (UN CERF), IOM, in collaboration with the TRC, constructed temporary shelters for more than 1,250 vulnerable families and distributed Non Food Item (NFI) relief kits to over 2,500 beneficiaries in three districts of Kagera Region. The humanitarian assistance provided the affected individuals and families better protection and prevented both physical and psychological harm.

For additional information, please contact Dinka Hayleyesus at or Hashim Ally at

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 12:47Image: Region-Country: United Republic of TanzaniaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Mr. Gerevaz and his family, with IOM and the Tanzanian Red Cross team, stand outside the family’s temporary shelter; their former house is under repair.

Categories: PBN

One Third of Iraqis Displaced from Gwer Return as Mosul Displacement Continues

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 11:14

Iraq - As the battle officially began his week to retake the last few neighbourhoods of West Mosul’s old city from ISIL, about 50 kilometres away people have started returning to the increasingly bustling riverside town of Gwer.

About 11,200 of Gwer’s population of 65,000 initially fled after ISIL briefly took control of the town in 2014. Gwer was retaken by the Peshmerga forces a few days later, but the city remained a volatile frontline with ISIL. Only when the militant group was pushed back, in the lead up to Mosul’s liberation in July 2016, did displaced families feel safe enough to return. Nearly a third of those displaced have now returned.

Last week, the city of Gwer hosted a ceremony attended by the Governor of Erbil, dignitaries from Gwer and beneficiaries from the community to celebrate the opening of the primary health care centre which was rehabilitated and refurnished by IOM with financial support from Canada and the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

The care centre aims to provide primary and emergency health services for about 7,000 people inside Gwer and 50,000 individuals in 30 surrounding villages.

Much of Gwer’s infrastructure and its primary health care centre was damaged and looted when ISIL first took and entrenched itself there during the summer of 2014. Although the building itself was not massively damaged, doors and windows were broken, toilets, wash basins and generators destroyed, and electricity cables, health equipment and furniture stolen. 

In August 2016, IOM joined the Erbil Governorate’s Refugee Council for an initial assessment in Gwer, which identified the priority needs for rebuilding the city. After careful consultations with key community stakeholders, IOM decided to rehabilitate critical community infrastructure.

The rehabilitation of the health centre was started in February this year by a contractor, under IOM’s supervision, who used local labourers to complete the three-month work by May.

While the facility was damaged, IOM was providing primary health care to residents of Gwer by regularly sending mobile medical teams to the town. By the time the health centre was ready, IOM mobile medical teams had logged an average of 90 consultations a day and a total of 12,036 during the course of the previous six months.

With all the work completed and equipment installed, IOM handed the health centre back to Iraq’s Ministry of Health. The centre is now up and running and taking in between 100 and 150 cases a day.

Funding from the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) helped IOM rehabilitate four school buildings, two Arabic and two Kurdish, in Gwer. The two-month work, carried out by local Gwer labourers and contractors, was completed in April.

To support the livelihoods of people in Gwer, 99 beneficiaries were provided with 74 business support packages and 25 business enhancement packages by IOM, funded by Canada and PRM, which will benefit 594 returnees in total.

“Our house was still standing but it was empty. Our furniture was looted and some parts [of the building] were damaged. Although we were disappointed, we were determined to overcome the situation,” said Zubaida, who was displaced to Kirkuk in 2014 when ISIL overran Gwer, and a member of one of the hundreds of families who have since returned to the town. Zubaida received support from IOM to set up a hairdressing business. “It brought back hope. I have new and more advanced hairdressing tools now. Working is honourable and there should be no difference between men and women,” she said.

From the rehabilitation of community infrastructure, to community engagement and livelihoods, IOM’s involvement has played a major factor in encouraging many of Gwer’s displaced families to return.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “Schools, homes and businesses have been destroyed by ISIL over the last four years. Yet, there is nothing more that IDPs would like than to return to their homes and neighbourhoods. To do so, many need support to rebuild their properties and restart their lives. IOM is resolved, together with our humanitarian partners and the Government of Iraq, to provide what assistance it can to help and encourage Iraqis, displaced by war, embark on the next phase of rebuilding their homes and country.” 

Latest on Mosul Displacement

Both the UN and Iraqi government are working on the assumption that between 100,000 to 150,000 individuals remain entrapped in the western sector of the old city of Mosul.

IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Emergency Tracking shows a drop in the number of those fleeing western Mosul in the last week with only 15,000 individuals registered between 11 to 18 June. But the last few days saw an increase in the flow of injured civilians out of Mosul, many of them displaying wounds from gunshot, bombs and shelling.

According to the Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD), a total of 694,231 people have fled west Mosul since the start of the operations on 19 February. Cumulatively, 870,381 people have been displaced since the start of the military operations to retake Mosul city.

IOM’s DTM actively monitors displacement across Iraq, with the latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures available at

Cumulatively, from 18 October 2016 to 8 June 2017, IOM Iraq’s DTM has tracked and confirmed the location of more than 609,612 displaced individuals (101,602 families) from Mosul. Of these, more than 417,000 are currently displaced and more than 190,000 have returned.

For further information, please contact IOM Iraq: Hala Jaber, Tel: +964 751 740 1654, Email:, or Raber Aziz, Tel: +964 750 465 9204, Email: Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 17:05Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

An IOM rehabilitated and refurnished primary health center in Gwer which is equiped with a laboratory, medical test devices and staff to provide services to the town and surrounding villages. Photo: Raber Aziz / IOM 2017

IOM distributes business support packages to support the livelihood of Gwer returnees. Photo: Raber Aziz / IOM 2017

IOM distributes business support packages to support the livelihood of Gwer returnees. Photo: Raber Aziz / IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 81,292 in 2017; 1,985 Deaths

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 11:04

Switzerland - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) reports that 81,292 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 18 June, with 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided among Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 215,702 arrivals across the region through 18 June 2016.

IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo reported that at least 4,860 migrants have been rescued off the North African coast since Friday. Some of them were being brought to shore on Monday (19 June), and therefore have not been included in the table above.

Di Giacomo also reported that IOM staff in Palermo recorded the following testimony from survivors of this latest shipwreck on Monday: A dinghy carrying 130 migrants sailed from Libya on Thursday. After several hours at sea, the survivors say a group of Libyan smugglers (survivors called them “pirates,” Di Giacomo said) reached the dinghy and stole the craft’s engine. After drifting for a while, the boat capsized. Some Libyan fishermen were able to rescue only four survivors (two Sudanese nationals, two Nigerians) and put them on another dinghy bound for Italy which was in the same area.

This second dinghy then was rescued by European patrol ships and brought to Palermo by the Italian Coast Guard ship CP941, which brought a total of 1,096 migrants to shore. According to survivors, the overwhelming majority of missing migrants was made up of Sudanese nationals.

Late Monday, IOM Rome reported news that seven more migrants were feared missing and that the Italian coast guard was bringing survivors to Messina. Another landing of survivors in Reggio Calabria brought news that one boat with approximately 85 men, women and children on board was spotted by others who managed to tread water. It is believed some survived and were rescued by the Libyan coast guard. The victims are said to be families with children whose nationalities include Moroccan and Syrian.

With these latest reports, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) notes total deaths on the Mediterranean this year are now approaching 2,000, and will have passed that mark if reports from Libya confirm a second or third shipwreck. Although 2,000 is fewer than the number of deaths that were recorded at this time last year, it nonetheless marks the fourth consecutive year migrant deaths on the Mediterranean Sea have exceeded 2,000.

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported Monday that on 16 June, 775 migrants (678 men, 82 women and 15 children) were rescued by the Azzawya branch of the Libyan Coast Guard off Sabrath. The remains of eight men and women were retrieved in the Al Mutred area, west of Azzawya. One of the bodies was retrieved by citizens of the town and the rest by the Libyan Red Crescent.

On 17 June, 25 migrants (all men) were rescued off Zwara by local fishermen; 110 migrants are believed to be missing from that incident. On the same day, the remains of one man and one woman were retrieved in Sabratha by the locals. IOM currently is investigating whether these victims may be among the mainly Sudanese passengers who are missing from the incident reported by survivors arriving this week in Palermo (see above).

IOM Libya also reports that on 18 June, 123 migrants (including children) were rescued northwest of Azzawya’s shore by local fishermen and the remains of seven men and women were retrieved in the same area. Remains of a further nine men and women were retrieved in Tajoura east of Tripoli by the Libyan Red Crescent.

Considering the past days’ rescue missions, the total number of people rescued has exceeded 10,000, bringing the total to 10,034.

This year, 277 bodies have been retrieved from the Libyan shores while 10,034 migrants have been rescued in Libyan waters.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 2,718 fatalities through 18 June (see chart below) with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – over 70 per cent of the global total.

In the past few days MMP regional figures have added: one incident from May in which eight Ethiopians were found suffocated inside a truck in the Ruvuma region in Tanzania (they are believed to have been en route to South Africa); five bodies recovered in a boat off the coast of Murcia, Spain; one migrant who reportedly died after falling from a truck in Azzawya, Libya; 26 bodies recovered off the coast of Libya during this past weekend; and 126 missing in a shipwreck off the coast of Libya (as reported by survivors taken to Palermo). MMP also added drowning deaths in the river along the US-Mexico border, as well as several deaths within Mexican borders of US-bound migrants.

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For further information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:55Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Launches Detention Centre Mapping in Libya

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:54

Libya - In the latest expansion to its activities, Libya’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) launched a Detention Centre Profile component on 14 June 2017.

The first round of assessments profiled 13 detention centres across the East, West and South of Libya, and more centres will be added in future data collection rounds.

DTM’s newly launched Detention Centre Profiles collect information from across detention centres managed by Libya’s Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM).

Three of the 13 centres held over 500 migrants present at the day of assessment: Trig al Shook, Gharyan Al Hamra and Trig al Seka.

Seven had health services available and nearly all of them had referral services to hospital for ill migrants.

Using a standard set of indicators DTM provides baseline assessments into the facilities and infrastructure of certain detention centres, including the functionality of electricity, lighting, latrines, the ventilation system, and laundry facilities.

Simultaneously, DTM aims to provide all partners with a snapshot of the demographic characteristics and health conditions of migrants in detention centres on the day of assessment.

In nine centres, three had either no ventilation system or only ones working irregularly. In nine of 13 centres migrants enjoyed access to outdoor spaces less than half the day. Migrants also were reported to have irregular access to drinking water in three centres: Benghazi al Wafiah, Salah Aldin and Tobruk.

Other indicators focus on migrants’ level of access to various types of services, including legal, medical, health, psychosocial and family tracing services. They also gather information on migrants’ ability to access outdoor spaces, on the frequency of meal provision in the centre, and on the types of illnesses, if any, that migrants had been recently affected by.

“IOM’s DTM programme is a suite of tools that constantly seek new and innovative ways to share information for the benefit of all humanitarian actors,” explained DTM Programme Coordinator Daniel Salmon. “Libya’s latest initiative is drawn from similar exercises rolled out in countries such as South Sudan to provide better and more routine data on internally displaced person (IDP) sites. Libya’s Detention Centre Profiles is a new initiative that aims to deliver routine and reliable data on Libya’s DCIM detention centres.”   

The detention centre assessment will be conducted on a monthly basis, with more centres to be added in future rounds. The detention centre profiles are available on the Libya DTM website.

Composed of Mobility Tracking, Flow Monitoring, Event Tracker and Detention Centre modules, Libya’s Displacement Tracking Matrix collects data on mobile populations in Libya to facilitate evidence-based humanitarian and policy interventions. All reports, methodologies and datasets are available at:

Libya’s Detention Centre profiling assessments were funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID).

For further information, please contact Daniel Salmon at IOM Libya, Tel: +21629235097, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:49Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Photo of a detention center in Libya. IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) launched a Detention Centre Profile component on 14 June 2017. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

Australia Announces New Funding for Undocumented Afghan Returnees on World Refugee Day

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:49

Afghanistan - Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) today (20/06) announced AUD 4 million (USD 3 million) in funding to support IOM Afghanistan’s assistance to vulnerable undocumented Afghan returnees.

In 2016 Afghanistan experienced unprecedented inflows of returning refugees and undocumented migrants. Over 620,000 people returned from Pakistan and 440,000 from Iran. Another 670,000 people were internally displaced inside the country.

This year, as of 10 June, over 100,000 Afghans, including over 68,000 undocumented returnees, have returned from Pakistan.  This figures represents a 250 per cent increase over the first six months of 2016.

In 2017 IOM Afghanistan has already assisted over 63,000 Afghans returning from Pakistan and Iran. It expects to help nearly 293,000 undocumented Afghan returnees with immediate humanitarian assistance this year.

Australia’s contribution to IOM Afghanistan will include accommodation for families at IOM’s transit centres located at major border crossing points, provision of medical screening, hot meals, household and kitchen items, petty cash for transportation, food rations, and referral services for special needs cases including single women and unaccompanied migrant children.

“Australia’s humanitarian assistance focuses on supporting the most vulnerable, with a particular focus on women, children and people with a disability,” said Australia’s Ambassador to Afghanistan Richard Feakes, announcing the funding. “Australia’s support to IOM will help ensure those Afghans returning from Pakistan without documentation receive critical protection and health support to enable them to rebuild their lives in Afghanistan.”

Many returning families have lived outside Afghanistan for three decades and need support from the government and humanitarian actors both on arrival and as they seek to reintegrate into a country struggling with widespread conflict and displacement.

“Support to Afghan returnees is now more critical than ever,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission and Special Envoy Laurence Hart. “As numbers continue to increase with nearly one million people returning to Afghanistan since last year, this new funding from Australia highlights the pressing needs of Afghans returning home in difficult circumstances.”

Under the Humanitarian Response Plan for Afghanistan, IOM is appealing for USD 52.8 million to provide post-arrival assistance to the most vulnerable undocumented Afghan families returning from Pakistan and Iran in 2017.

For further information please contact Sarah Craggs at IOM Afghanistan, Tel. +93.729228556, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:47Image: Region-Country: AfghanistanAustraliaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Undocumented Afghan families returning from Pakistan arrive at IOM’s Spin Boldak transit center in November 2016. Photo: Matthew Graydon / IOM 2016

Categories: PBN

‘Prioritize Migrants Rights,’ UN Migration Agency Tells Government, Employers in Kazakhstan

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:31

Kazakhstan - The Central Asian country of Kazakhstan is seeing a rapid rise in inward migration, and interested parties have been urged to ensure respect for migrants’ rights at an early stage, rather than be faced with an expensive fix further down the line.

The spike in migration into Kazakhstan is largely due to a booming economy fuelled by construction projects, mainly in the oil sector. Unfortunately, migrants are particularly vulnerable to labour and human rights abuses when they arrive in a new country, desperate for work regardless of the conditions.

To help ensure that migrants’ rights are protected in Kazakhstan, the USAID Dignity and Rights Project, implemented by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, organized a workshop on human rights and ethical employment recruitment this week in the city of Almaty.  Employers, academics, government representatives, trade unions, NGOs and UN agencies gathered to discuss migrant rights against the backdrop of the recent increase in inward migration.

Tatiana Hadjiemmanuel, IOM Head of Office in Almaty, noted that there are currently more than 10 million migrant workers in Central Asia, regular and irregular, of which close to two million are registered for employment in Kazakhstan.

“The majority of the movements in Central Asia are for work purposes and are mostly irregular,” she said. “The economic slowdown in Russia, together with controls preventing migrants trying to re-enter the country, has made Kazakhstan more attractive, particularly for semi-skilled workers.”

Some 300,000 Uzbek, Tajik and Kyrgyz migrants arrived last year alone, and the numbers are predicted to increase.

“As Kazakhstan continues to grow as a destination country for migrant workers, we would encourage all stakeholders to develop policies and programmes that ensure not only that the economy and the labour market benefit from these flows, but also that the rights of these people are protected from the outset,” cautioned Michael Newson, IOM Regional Labour Migration and Development Specialist. “It becomes much more difficult and costly to correct mistakes in the future.”

Vassiliy Yuzhanin, IOM Regional Project Development Officer in Vienna, led a discussion on international law relating to human and labour rights of migrant workers and its application. States' regulatory frameworks were discussed, as well as the responsibility of employers to respect the rights of migrant workers.   

For further information, please contact Tatiana Hadjiemmanuel at IOM Almaty, Tel: +7 7272582240/2581031, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:28Image: Region-Country: KazakhstanThemes: Labour MigrationMigrants RightsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Labour Migration Specialist Michael Newsom speaking to Kazakh government civil society representatives in Almaty. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Trains Burundi Law Enforcement Officers on Combating Human Trafficking

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:28

Burundi - The UN Migration Agency (IOM), in partnership with the Government of Burundi, has conducted a series of training sessions for 100 law enforcement officers on understanding, investigating and preventing human trafficking and on identifying and supporting victims.

The three training sessions, in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, aimed to equip frontline police officers with essential counter-trafficking knowledge and skills. Led by the IOM African Capacity Building Centre (ACBC), the trainings covered trafficking and smuggling and how they differ, and provisions of international and national laws on human trafficking. They also focused on investigation techniques, including the detection of fraudulent documents, and victim identification, referral, protection and assistance.

Burundi is a source country for trafficked persons, including adults and children who are coerced into forced labour, domestic servitude, prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation throughout the region and elsewhere in the world. Internally, children and young adults have been forcibly recruited into armed groups.

“Poverty, unemployment, instability, severe climate events and displacement in Burundi and throughout the region, have contributed to opportunities for traffickers to exploit vulnerable people,” said Kristina Mejo, IOM Burundi Chief of Mission. 

The police officers at the training were briefed on an ongoing IOM awareness-raising campaign aimed at informing vulnerable populations about the risks of human trafficking and how to avoid being lured into exploitative situations. IOM trainers distributed communication materials to participants, including posters and flyers for use at 17 border posts, police stations and other law enforcement offices.

The recent training sessions for law enforcement officers in Burundi build on a first round of counter-trafficking training for government officials last year.

“IOM is pleased to continue working with the Government of Burundi and partners on the fight against human trafficking and helping to inform Burundians of the ills of irregular migration,” said Mejo.

The training sessions were carried out with funding from the Government of Belgium as part of a larger project to promote peace and community dialogue and prevent violent conflict and irregular migration.

For further information, please contact IOM Burundi, Niamh McEvoy, Tel: +257 7540 0339, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:26Image: Region-Country: BurundiThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Burundi law enforcement officers receive certificates of completion for the IOM human trafficking training sessions. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

500,000 Reached in Ethiopia by UN Migration Agency’s Awareness Raising on Irregular Migration

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:26

Ethiopia - From an original goal of 200 kebeles (districts) in Ethiopia, Community Conversation (CC) – a pilot community-based awareness-raising project – has now reached 519 kebeles, or 500,000 members, in Ethiopia over the past three years. The project aims to reach a wide range of areas known to be prone to for irregular migration from Ethiopia.

Launched in 2014 by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in Ethiopia and the Government of Ethiopia, the CC outreach programme is one of the different awareness-raising tools that IOM uses alongside forum theatres and peer education. These approaches are deemed effective, as they have the capacity to reach remote areas that would not have had access to information through normal media channels.

At a recent workshop in Adama, Ethiopia, government partners and Community Conversation facilitators affirmed that the CC programme has indeed been successful in reaching out to communities. They reported that the initiative is helping communities reflect deeply on the social norms that perpetuate irregular migration, in addition to challenging misinformation on the topic.

Among the participants were CC facilitators, staff from the Bureau of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs officials, as well as regional administrators. The participants explained the effectiveness of the programme and minor challenges they faced while implementing it. According to them, the pilot CC programme has been very effective in reaching out to more than 500 kebeles in a short period of time, in different remote areas in Ethiopia. The programme has also been branded as an all-inclusive approach by involving religious leaders, elderly figures and returnees.

In addition to bringing awareness and altering risk-taking behaviour among youth in the target communities, the initiative has significantly contributed to a decrease in school drop-out rates. It has also led to increased prosecution of human traffickers and smugglers, now that community members have started to see clearly the negative impact of human traffickers. Regional administrators from the Tigray, Amhara and Oromia regions stated that in the areas where CC was carried out they have seen a change in perception of irregular migration.

“We have seen a change in the community,” one administrator said. “We have a society that discourages irregular migration. Community Conversation has now become the norm for many kebeles.”

Despite these good experiences in the three regions, however, Getachew Mulgeta of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region stated that the number of irregular migrants has increased. “One of the challenges is that partners do not recognize irregular migration as a major problem, while another challenge is not being able to move as fast as the challenge,” a representative from the region explained.

The National Consultative Workshop on Community Conversation was held to assess the progress of the unique CC awareness-raising approach and to learn from previous experiences.

For further information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at the IOM Special Liaison Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Tel: +251 911 63 90 82, Email:



Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:22Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Capacity BuildingIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

A Community Conversation (CC) outreach programme at Butajira, Ethiopia. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

European, Chinese Officials Share Knowledge on Identification Techniques

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:22

China - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) Liaison Office to China this month organized a seminar on identification techniques relating to the return of irregular migrants.

The seminar in Hangzhou targeted 37 Chinese officials from the Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration (BEEA) of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and 20 provincial public security departments.

China, an increasingly important destination for international migrants, is faced with the challenge of a growing presence of irregular migrants within its borders. Ascertaining the identity of each migrant is an essential part of managing their return and reintegration.

IOM invited experts from Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain to share their practical knowledge on identification techniques. Chinese and IOM experts also facilitated discussions on practical issues related to returns of irregular migrants.

Identification techniques currently used by national authorities include biometrics, information and communications technology (ICT) systems and background checks, specialized interviews, language tests and scientific tests.

Opening remarks were made by Ministry of Public Security Deputy Director General Liu Shibin, EU Delegation to China and Mongolia Counsellor Marcin Grabiec, and IOM Liaison Office to China Head Pär Liljert.

The seminar was part of the EU-China Migration and Mobility Support Project funded by the European Union Partnership Instrument.

For further information, please contact Etienne Micallef at the IOM Liaison Office to China, Tel: 13811209875, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:16Image: Region-Country: ChinaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Chinese and European delegates discuss techniques used in the identification of irregular migrants. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency’s Senior Regional Advisor for Asia Receives Honor from Japanese Government

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:16

Switzerland - Akio Nakayama, the UN Migration Agency’s (IOM) Senior Regional Advisor for Asia received an award from the Japanese Government for his significant achievements in contributing to the mutual understanding, friendship and goodwill between Japan and IOM. Nakayama was presented the award by representatives of the Japanese Government at a specially organized dinner at the residence of Junichi Ihara, the Japanese Ambassador to Geneva, Switzerland, on 19 June.

When receiving the award, Nakayama noted that he “would like to give all credit to our hard-working field colleagues for any accomplishment we have made to date, particularly those working in the crisis situation in support of vulnerable people.”

“Having served as Senior Regional Adviser for Asia in the last six years, I have had great opportunities to participate in the development of institutional policy at global and regional levels. Policy must be implemented in the field and must be constantly reviewed based on feedback from the field. I am happy to switch the role from the one seeking feedback from the field to the one providing it to HQs now,” continued Nakayama.

“As we are striving for common goals under SDGs, and the development of Global Compact on Migration, we all should work harder than ever to uphold our coherence, and I am happy to make my contribution to this endeavor from the field,” said Nakayama.  

In two weeks, Nakayama will start a new assignment in IOM as Chief of Mission for IOM Myanmar. It will be his eighth assignment within IOM since 1996, including the Philippines, Serbia, Kosovo, Pakistan, Japan, and Headquarters.

“It is a great pleasure to be assigned to Myanmar at this critical juncture where IOM is running a wide range of migration and humanitarian projects in close partnership with the Government and people of Myanmar through 12 sub-offices with over 700 staff members,” said Nakayama on his new appointment.

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


Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:14Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

The UN Migration Agency’s (IOM) Senior Regional Advisor for Asia Akio Nakayama (left) receives an award from the Japanese Government for his significant achievements in contributing to the mutual understanding, friendship and goodwill between Japan and IOM. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

IOM Joins Major Global Brands Commit to Preventing Forced Labour in Supply Chains

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 08:15
Language English

Germany - The International Organization for Migration joins leading global brands, government officials, trade associations, recruiters and other expert organizations in Berlin to tackle forced labour in supply chains and encourage international companies to commit to the ethical recruitment of migrant workers.

Participants at the Annual Leadership Forum for Responsible Recruitment, including companies such as IKEA and Hewlett Packard, are sharing best practices on effective approaches to ensure that migrant workers in their supply chains are recruited ethically, including strategies to promote and implement the Employer Pays Principle.

“Finding work overseas can be a complicated process. Because jobseekers need job matching and migration assistance, they often end up paying extortionate fees and face other forms of exploitation when dealing with unlicensed or unvetted middle men” said Lara White, a senior labour migration specialist with the UN Migration Agency, a member of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment.

“Ethical recruitment and hiring practices, where employers pay recruitment fees rather than workers, is at the core of the Employer Pays Principle and is key to combatting forced labour and modern slavery,” she told the forum. “Ethical recruitment is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good for business.”

The conference in Berlin opened today with an announcement by the Institute for Human Rights and Business that four more international brands, General Electric, Mars Inc., Tesco and Vinci, joined seven other global companies in the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment.  In doing so, they join The Coca-Cola Company, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IKEA, M&S, Unilever and Walmart in committing to the Employer Pays Principle and working toward broader adoption of ethical recruitment practices in the business community.

“We welcome the growing momentum among major global companies and recruitment agencies to change the way that migrant workers are recruited, and to help eliminate exploitation and abuse in supply chains,” said White.

The conference is co-hosted by the Institute for Human Rights and Business, Humanity United, and the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment. 


Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 - 14:12Image: Region-Country: GermanyThemes: Global Compact on MigrationLabour MigrationDefault: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Briefs UN’s Libya Country Team on Migrants Held by Smugglers for Ransom

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 12:06

Libya - The UN Migration Agency (IOM), on Thursday with representatives of UNHCR briefed members of the UN’s Libya country team on the ongoing efforts to rescue what are believed to be up to 200 victims of kidnapping and torture in Libya.

The victims, whose plight came to IOM’s attention through contacts in Africa who had discovered video of the migrants in captivity via social media, are known to be Somali and Ethiopian nationals – both men and women – whose families in the Horn of Africa have received ransom demands based on short video clips depicting scenes of active torture. This tactic, which is not new, has been reported for several years across the northern Sahara region and even in parts of Latin America. IOM believes the video is authentic.  

“IOM is currently working closely with all partners in trying to locate the migrants. IOM supports the Libyan efforts in the fight against the smuggling networks and we are very concerned about the current situation,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Libya.

IOM will continue to use its staff in the region – in coordination with authorities in Libya – to assist in tracing and potentially aiding in the rescue of these victims, added Belbeisi. “IOM is currently working closely with all partners in trying to locate the migrants,” he said.

In a video posted on Facebook on 9 June, hundreds of emaciated and abused Somalis and Ethiopians are seen huddled fearfully in a concrete room. Other nationalities may also be present.

Speaking on video to a Somali journalist based in Turkey (who recorded the call he received from the criminal gang), the migrants and refugees, who are sitting on the floor in a crowded space, say they have been beaten and tortured. Some report that their teeth have been removed, their arms broken and that none had been given any food. They explain that women have been isolated in separate cells.

“I have been here one year. I am beaten every day. I swear I do not eat food. My body is bruised from beating,” said one of the captives in the video. “If you have seen the life here you wouldn’t stay in this world any more. I didn't eat the last four days but the biggest problem is beating here. They don’t want to release me.”

Throughout the video there are exchanges between the journalist and the person moderating on site in Libya. In one instance, he introduces the journalist to a young visibly starving man with a large concrete block weighing down on his back, as punishment for his family not paying his ransom.

“I was asked for 8,000 US dollars,” said the young man, when asked by journalist why the criminal gang were punishing him. “They broke my teeth. They broke my hand. I have being here 11 months… This stone has been put on me for the last three days. It’s really painful.”

“Seeing a Facebook video of innocent migrants and refugees who have been abused and tortured is deeply concerning,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies, after learning of the situation. “IOM condemns the way that criminal gangs use social media in their shocking abuse of people held against their will and to extort money from their families back home.”

Abdiker added: “This is a global problem where a smuggler or a criminal gang can easily use digital platforms to advertise their services, entice vulnerable people on the move and then exploit them and their families. It is high time that social media and tech companies recognize the extreme harm that is occurring because of their failure to monitor and react to situations of grave human rights abuses – leading ultimately to murder – that are being shared through their channels.”

Leonard Doyle, chief spokesperson for IOM in Geneva, said: “Social media, including Facebook, has a duty to better police content on its channels. It’s not a new argument and we are not accusing Facebook of complicity in murder. Rather we are saying that these channels are being abused by criminals.”

For further information, please contact:

Othman Belbeisi at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 600 389, Email:
Leonard Doyle at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 285 7123, Email:
Or Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 18:02Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigrant AssistanceMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

Images from the Facebook video depicting hundreds of Somali and Ethiopian migrants and refugees held against their will. Faces have been blurred to protect the people depicted. 

Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 77,004 in 2017; 1,828 Deaths

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 12:01

Swtizerland - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) reports that 77,004 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 14 June, with almost 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 214,427 arrivals across the region through 14 June 2016.

Mediterranean Developments

IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo reported that when IOM last released figures (13 June), over 3,000 migrants arrived in Italy after having been rescued since last weekend. He said new rescues took place on Thursday and were continuing Friday morning, although details of these operations were still not available to IOM teams on the ground.

IOM Rome this week also reported the breakdown of main arrivals to Italy by nationality through the end of May (see chart below). Nigerians (9,286 men, women and children) comprised the number one nationality – as they had a year ago – with Bangladeshis (7,106) in second place. The next eight countries were: Guinea (5,960), Cote d’Ivoire (5,657), the Gambia (4,011), Senegal (3,935), Morocco (3,327), Mali (3,150), Eritrea (2,344) and Sudan (2,327).

The arrivals from Eritrea, Sudan, and the Gambia are down from 2016 – despite the fact that overall arrivals to Italy by sea have risen – while those from Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Morocco, Mali and Guinea are all up. In the case of Bangladesh, the increase is from 20 recorded arrivals at this point in 2016 to over 7,000 this year. Through all of 2016, just over 8,000 Bangladeshis made this same journey to Italy from Africa – a level nearly reached this year after only five months.


Christine Petré, IOM Libya, reported on 13 June that the Libyan Red Crescent retrieved four bodies west of Azzawya while on the same day one body was recovered in Subratah.

So far this year, 251 bodies have been retrieved from the Libyan shores, not including three bodies IOM Libya has received information about on 15 June, which the Libyan Red Crescent were collecting from the area west of Tripoli known as Janzour. So far this year 9,111 migrants have been rescued in Libyan waters.  

IOM Guinea Conakry reported that on Tuesday (13 June), at 18:20 the special flight chartered by IOM Libya landed at the airport of Conakry-Gbessia, carrying 161 Guinean migrants – including four unaccompanied minors, five women and six infants. These migrants, who were seeking a humanitarian voluntary return to Guinea, are among the many Guineans living in irregular situations in Libya, often in very difficult conditions.

Some of these migrants were held in the Ghreian and Alsika detention centres.

Among the passengers was Alpha*, 15 years old. He recounted being a taxi driver in Abidjan before deciding to leave, taking the desert route towards Algeria, then Libya where he was arrested and detained for 11 months. Moussa*, another passenger, 17 years old, left Guinea with three high school friends. Sona*, a clothing saleswoman, left Guinea alone with her child without informing her husband. She found herself imprisoned in a detention centre for several months before IOM assisted her return home. (*The names of migrants have been changed to protect their privacy.)

IOM Guinea, SENAH (National Service of Humanitarian Affairs) and representatives of the Ministry of Guineans Abroad and the Ministry of Social Actions welcomed the returnees, who were fed before being registered and profiled in a survey. The questionnaires are designed to enable IOM to better understand the profile of returnees, and learn more about the reasons for their departure, their migratory path and their living conditions in Libya.

After this profiling step, IOM gave each migrant the equivalent of EUR 50 for secondary transport fares to reach their final destinations. Within the next three months, as part of the programme "Strengthening Governance of Migration and Supporting the Sustainable Reintegration of Migrants in the Republic of Guinea" arising from the initiative of the European Union Trust Fund, IOM will study their cases to help them find alternatives that ensure sustainable reintegration in Guinea. At the same time, IOM is providing psychosocial support to vulnerable migrants and, where necessary, additional support to address more immediate needs.

Since early 2017 (to 6 June), IOM Libya has assisted 4,443 stranded migrants to return to their countries of origin. Tuesday’s flight is the fourth one chartered by IOM to facilitate the return of Guinean migrants from Libya; the first three involved 298 voluntary returnees. This is in addition to other voluntary returns of Guinean nationals coming from Benin, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco and Niger, also stranded in their migratory path.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 2,545 fatalities through 14 June (see chart below) with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – over 70 per cent of the global total.

In the last two days, MMP has recorded one death reported by IOM Niger (after 92 migrants were rescued from the desert near Dirkou last Friday, one Nigerian migrant died shortly after) plus the incidents reported by IOM Libya of bodies retrieved on the Libyan coast (19 since Friday, 9 June).

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:

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

For further information, please contact:|
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Lucas Chandellier at IOM Guinea, Tel: +224 628 33 86 53, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:52Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

EUR 20 Million EU Project in Support of Turkish Coast Guard Seeks to Save More Migrant Lives

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:51

Turkey - On 15 June, the Turkish Coastguard (TUR CG) received in Antalya two search and rescue vessels. The vessels are part of a EUR 20 million agreement between the European Union and the UN Migration Agency (IOM).

The Turkish Government responded to the increase in irregular migration by rescuing, since the beginning of 2015, nearly 135,000 migrants and refugees as they tried to make their way to Greece. On land and at sea, Turkish law enforcement authorities have taken effective measures.

The vessels, specifically designed for search and rescue operations, will help maintain the coverage and frequency of coastguard patrols. The vessels are fast and can operate under harsh weather conditions, as they have the capability to right themselves when capsized. In addition, a hydraulic platform makes it easier for the TUR CG to rescue people from the water.

“The vessels provided today to the Turkish Coastguard are the first installment of six highly sophisticated search and rescue boats funded by the European Union that IOM will deliver by the end of 2017,” said Lado Gvilava, IOM Turkey Chief of Mission.

“While the Turkish Coastguard should be applauded for its efforts to rescue migrants and refugees, we must recognize that the underlying cause of what is driving people to make this risky journey continues to exist.  The international community must come together to root out the drivers of irregular migration. In this context, it is conflicts,” Gvilava added.

In addition to the six search and rescue vessels, the agreement with the IOM will support TUR CG staff carrying out search and rescue operations and dealing with tragic events.

The Head of the EU Delegation in Turkey, Ambassador Christian Berger, said: "The strenuous efforts by the Turkish Coastguards have been crucial in saving human lives in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean. The EU is proud to be able to contribute to the efforts of the Turkish Coast Guards through these first two state-of-the-art search and rescue vessels delivered today. Here, today, this project is a good example among many of what the EU and Turkey can achieve when we work together, and shows that we are stronger when we are together," Ambassador Berger added.

Commander of the Coastguard Command, Rear Admiral Bülent Olcay, said: "As the vessels of the Coastguard Command have far exceeded their annual average navigation time in the fight against irregular migration, their breakdown ratio and the frequency of planned maintenance intervals have increased. Therefore, the machine lifespans have begun to expire rapidly. The most evident example of such invisible costs incurred in the process of stemming irregular migration are the nine Coastguard vessels whose lifespans expired early due to overuse. These vessels had to be decommissioned at the end of 2016, two to three years earlier than expected. In brief, the new vessels supplied in the framework of EU-funded projects provide 'a partial compensation of losses' rather than 'a capacity increase'."

With this EUR 20 million project, the European Union further strengthens its co-operation with the Turkish Coastguard in the area of migration management. The project is being implemented by IOM and foresees the production and supply of six search and rescue vessels for the Turkish Coastguard.

The project also includes training on several topics such as international migration law, sensitive interview techniques, protection and assistance to vulnerable migrants, counter-migrant smuggling, and human trafficking. Furthermore, the project also offers support to TUR CG frontline officers to alleviate the psychological impact they face in their daily search and rescue operations at sea.

For further information, please contact Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:45Image: Region-Country: TurkeyThemes: Capacity BuildingHumanitarian EmergenciesMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Chief of Mission Lado Gvilava signs handover documents with Turkish Coast Guard Captain Ahmet Arslan. Photo: IOM 2017

A Turkish crew is saluting the flag during the national anthem as they board the vessel for first time. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN