• English
  • Deutsch
Subscribe to PBN News Germany feed
Updated: 1 hour 33 min ago

UN Migration Agency Supports Voluntary Humanitarian Return of 135 Burkinabe Migrants from Libya

Mon, 11/20/2017 - 14:02

Ouagadougou - IOM, the UN Migration Agency this week (9/11 and 14/11) assisted 135 Burkinabe migrants to return home from Libya under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa.

The two flights chartered by IOM touched down on November 9, and November 14, 2017 at the International Airport of Ouagadougou. Onboard, most of the returnees were young men, completely exhausted by their journey but also relieved to return home.

Their return was organized by the Burkina Faso Ministry of Women, National Solidarity and Family in collaboration with IOM and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Many returnees told IOM staff that they had expectations to reach Europe from Libya, a transit point to cross the Mediterranean.

“I wanted to reach Europe and hoped to earn something to lift my family out of poverty. I travelled via Agadez in Niger and crossed the desert to enter Libya. I spent eight months in Libya, including seven months in detention. It was a real nightmare. Now I am grateful for the support to start-up my life again in Burkina Faso. I came back without luggage and lost a lot of money”, said Dembélé Moustapha, one of the young migrants who returned from Libya.

Upon their arrival in Ouagadougou the migrants were welcomed by Fati Ouedraogo, the Secretary General of Ministry of Women, National Solidarity and IOM team with its partners.

“We saw them [the returnees] arriving in terrible conditions. Some are very sick and all very weak. As a mother, I am completely shocked to know that young men, the future of our country, have put themselves in such difficulty by travelling through the desert and crossing the sea in dangerous conditions” said Ouedraogo.

“We appreciate and encourage IOM to strongly support us with the assistance to vulnerable returnees. For those who are tempted by such an irregular travel to Europe, I can only say to you that they will earn more by working here in Burkina Faso than by this type of attempts to reach a non-existing El Dorado,” she concluded.

Returning migrants were given immediate support by IOM and partners, including temporary accommodation in a transit center where they could rest and eat. They received a kit containing toiletries and support to travel the day after to their final destinations. A team composed of Red Cross volunteers, representatives from civil society and a CONASUR (Conseil National de Secours d'Urgence et de Réhabilitation) representative offered counseling, urgent medical care and psychosocial assistance. Four returnee in a particularly vulnerable situation were transferred to a hospital for close medical follow-up. All migrants were registered and profiled to get a deeper insight in the dynamics behind their irregular migration.

Through the EU-IOM Joint initiative for Migration Protection and Reintegration in Africa, returnees will be provided with reintegration assistance based on their needs. IOM and partners will support returnees with orientation towards innovative income-generating activities which have a socio-economic impact on their community of origin.

IOM monitors the reintegration activities closely and will open very soon an office in the Center-East region of the country, an area where many of the returnees go back to.

This year, IOM has supported 669 Burkinabe migrants to return from Libya.

*The names of the migrants have been changed to protect their privacy.


For more information please contact Andreas De Boer, OIM Burkina Faso, Tel. (+226) 74 93 81 28, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 20:00Image: Region-Country: Burkina FasoDefault: Multimedia: 

Registration of migrants. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Solar Power Brings 24-Hour Healthcare to Rohingya Refugees, Local Communities in Bangladesh

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 10:10

Cox’s Bazar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is harnessing solar energy to power its remote health posts in Cox’s Bazar’s giant Kutupalong and Balukali makeshift settlements, which are now home to an estimated 440,000 Rohingya refugees from Myanmar. 

Violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State has forced over 620,000 refugees to flee to Bangladesh since August 25th, bringing the total number of people seeking safety in the Cox’s Bazar settlements to over 833,000.  

Many of the new arrivals and those already living in the settlements, as well as local communities, are desperately in need of healthcare. 

Prior to the latest influx of refugees, IOM coordinated the work of agencies working in the health sector, in close collaboration with the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Bangladeshi Ministry of Health and Family Welfare. 

As people have flooded into the settlements over the past three months, pressure on the health sector has steadily risen. Since August 25th, IOM has carried out over 75,000 health consultations for both Rohingya refugees and the local community in Teknaf and Ukhiya sub-districts (upazilas). In October alone, over 3,865 women received pregnancy-related care, including 3,030 antenatal care, 525 postnatal care and 310 deliveries. 

Prior to the introduction of solar power, IOM's healthcare teams were confined to working during daylight hours, because the lack of lighting made it impossible to provide patient care from dusk to dawn. A plan for a 24-hour care system is now being developed.

The new energy supply also powers wells and water purifications systems, ensuring clean water is available at the health posts. It also means that the health posts are not affected by power cuts and that patients can charge their phones while they wait.

The introduction of solar energy was made possible through the support of Solevolt, a solar energy company, Kopernik, a non-profit organization that distributes low-cost technologies to recipients in less-developed countries, and BPO Data Exchange, a Bangladeshi Social Enterprise.  

“As the demand for our healthcare services increases, solar-powered lighting means we can provide round the clock emergency consultations and medicine distributions," explained Mariam Abdelkerim-Spijkerman, the IOM Emergency Health Officer in Cox's Bazar. "The health needs of the refugees are immense - providing 24-hour lighting helps save lives,” she added. 

IOM's health clinic in Leda, a village where Rohingya refugees have been settling south of the main settlements, also uses solar power as a back-up source of electricity, ensuring that the clinic never has power outages. 

With increasing needs, IOM is focused on scaling up health services provision to meet immediate needs in the existing settlements, and the needs of those settling further away from existing services. The main challenge in the new settlements remains the lack of road access.

IOM currently supports 13 health facilities, seven mobile medical teams (six in Ukhiya and one in Teknaf) and ten ambulances for transporting urgent and emergency cases. In collaboration with partners, it also works with over 350 community health workers throughout Cox's Bazar.

The humanitarian community is now responding to the needs of over 833,000 Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh, including new arrivals and people who had fled following previous outbreaks of violence. IOM has appealed for USD 120 million to meet the needs of the most vulnerable refugees and the Bangladeshi communities hosting them through February 2018. This includes USD 9 million for health. You can find out more about the appeal here

IOM's health response in Cox’s Bazar is currently funded by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida), and the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID).

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +8801733335221, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 17:07Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

A Rohingya refugee waits in IOM's Kutupalong health post with her young child. Photo: Olivia Headon/UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Global Conference on Cities and Migration Underway in Belgium

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:57

Mechelen – The Global Conference on Cities and Migration is currently being held in Mechelen, Belgium (16-17/11). Hosted by the Belgian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation and the City of Mechelen, the conference is co-organized by partners UN-Habitat; IOM, the UN Migration Agency; and United Cities and Local Governments (UCLG).

The conference seeks to help promote a more positive narrative on migration from the perspective of local and regional authorities, recognizing that people migrate mainly to cities and to reinforce the need to recognize local authorities as key actors in migration management and policy making, as reflected and embedded in the process of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

Cities and Migration gathers more than 150 representatives from Local Authorities and Associations and Networks of Local Authorities, representatives from UN agencies, foundations and the private sector. Over 50 cities from Europe, North, Central and South America, Asia and Africa are represented.

The conference serves as an opportunity to consolidate local governments’ contribution to developing a Global Compact on Migration and to review progress in the implementation of the migration-related commitments of Habitat III, ahead of meetings in Mexico next month as well as the 9th World Urban Forum scheduled for Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia in February 2018.

“While national and international discussions on migration and refugees often get too quickly polarized, local communities take a different approach. They know best what the needs are of their citizens – migrants and non-migrants – and are champions in finding creative solutions that make sense. That is why it is so important that the voice of local authorities is heard in the Global Compact on Migration,” said Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Development Cooperation of Belgium.

“[Mechelen was chosen as the host city] because of its excellent track record on migrants' inclusion. The city has chosen not only to accept its super diversity, with 138 nationalities for a total of 86,000 people, but also to embrace it as the new normal,” said Bart Somers, Mayor of Mechelen.

“The universality of the 2030 Agenda should help us change policies on migration around co-creation and right to the city and recognise that Local Government networks have a responsibility to foster this change with the support of the national governments and the international community,” added Emilia Saiz, Deputy Secretary General of UCLG.

The main outcome of the conference is the Mechelen Declaration, which is expected to capture the voice on Cities and Migration by Mayors and Governors of Regional and Local Governments. The document will be submitted to the Special Representative of the Secretary General for International Migration (SRSG), Louise Arbour, and co-facilitators.

“We hope that the findings and conclusions of this conference will contribute usefully to the HABITAT III follow up process and to the Global Compact on Migration, through the Declaration that this Conference will endorse,” said William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General.

For more information, please contact Géraldine d’Hoop, IOM Belgium and Luxembourg, Email:, Tel: + 32 2 287 74 12, +32 473 281 846 or visit the website of the conference: 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 16:06Image: Region-Country: BelgiumDefault: Multimedia: 

William Lacy Swing (IOM DG), Bart Somers (Mayor City of Mechelen), Emilia Saiz (Deputy Secretary General UCLG), Filiep Decorte (Director a.i. UN-Habitat New York Liaison Office) at the Global Conference on Cities and Migration, 16 November 2017. Photo: Dries Deschuttere / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 158,935 in 2017; Deaths Reach 2,982

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:56

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 158,935 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 15 November, with about 75 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 343,158 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome reported Thursday (16/11) with new information concerning twin shipwrecks off the Libyan coast on 3 November, when IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo’s reports yielded a total of 90 victims, including several dozen African women – most known to be Nigerian – whose deaths initially were being investigated as homicide. 
“It is unusual for so many bodies to be recovered and for all of them to be women and girls. In total, the bodies of 26 girls were recovered,” said IOM’s Federico Soda in Rome.  “At first, what struck our attention was the news of the bodies of 26 girls brought to land by rescuers, including 23 young Nigerians.”
Soda added: “At first the cause of their death was not clear, but the autopsy has since confirmed that they drowned and that no signs of recent physical or sexual violence were found on their bodies. It is important that we have additional information and estimates about how many people are missing and presumed drowned. These are human beings whose life and death cannot go unnoticed and who most probably spent their last moments in terror, fighting for their lives.”
Survivors' stories revealed other details. Initially it had been estimated that one of the incidents resulted in the confirmed deaths of 23 people with another 53 considered missing. Di Giacomo explained it has since emerged that the second incident caused, besides the death of three women whose remains were recovered, the drowning of another 11 victims, whose bodies remain missing at sea.
“That’s 64 people now gone missing and 26 bodies recovered,” Di Giacomo concluded. “This is the tragic outcome.” He said a funeral service for the 26 girls will take place Friday in Salerno. With this update, IOM reports these deaths bring the total of fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2017 to 2,982.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday total sea arrivals reached 17,687 through 14 November, nearly 10,600 more than had arrived through this date in 2016, when a total of 7,080 men, women and children reached Spanish shores. Spain’s Ministry of the Interior counted 975 individual migrant vessels making these voyages in 2017, compared to just 377 in 2016, an increase of nearly 600 boats. That increase was much greater than irregular migration arrivals to Spanish enclaves in North Africa.  Those land arrivals thus far in 2017 are 5,473, or about 15 per cent of 2016’s totals in mid-November, when a total of 4,758 migrants had arrived. 
IOM Spain noted the 17,687 total includes arrivals to Spain’s Canarias islands in the Atlantic, once a very busy destination for sea-borne migrants leaving Northern Africa. While irregular migration continues to Las Canarias, this year Spanish authorities have reported just 291 such arrivals, which is a sharp decline from 2016 when 566 arrived on this route.
IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported Thursday (16 November) of two incidents off the island of Lesvos since Tuesday requiring search and rescue operations. The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 58 migrants and transferred them to safety. IOM reported the arrival of only two migrants on 12 November (both to the island of Kos), none on 13 November, and then 209, to Lesvos and Samos, on 14 November.
A total of 14,209 men, women and children have entered Greece by sea from the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean since 1 August, or more migrants than entered during all of 2017’s first seven months. Namia further reported that more than 1,700 migrants or refugees entered Greece by sea through November’s first two weeks, bringing migrant sea arrivals to Greek territory to 25,614 for the year so far (See chart below). 

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded the deaths of 5,052 people migrating in 2017. That compares to a worldwide figure of 6,977 at this time last year – a decline of over 1,900 fatalities. Deaths on the Mediterranean continue to comprise a majority of all migrant deaths, as has been the case for the past three years.
This year’s total of 2,982 fatalities in the Mediterranean compares to 4,572 at this time in 2016, a drop of about 1,600 men, women and children. In other words, almost the entire decline in worldwide fatalities can be attributed to fewer deaths on the Mediterranean. Meanwhile, most data from the rest of the world continue to track historic trends (See chart below).

Beyond the Mediterranean, MMP continues to monitor lethal migrant routes, where reports of death by drowning, highway and railroad accidents and the occasional homicide surface daily.

In Central America, the deaths of six migrants were recorded in different incidents over the past few days. On 14 November, a child and his father, both from Honduras, were shot when they were travelling on a rural road near Huimanguillo in Tabasco, Mexico. One day before (13/11), the remains of two Honduran migrants who had allegedly been murdered were found in a vacant lot in Palenque, Chiapas. On that same day, a Salvadoran migrant died after falling from a freight train in Mazatlán, Sinaloa.
On 14 November, remains were recovered of a migrant killed in a vehicle accident on a motorway near Cuauhtémoc Stadium in Puebla, Mexico. In Díaz Ordaz, Tamaulipas, on 11 November, one migrant drowned in the Río Bravo while attempting to cross to the US.
 In South Asia, the remains of 15 Pakistani migrants were found on Wednesday (15/11) in a mountainous region of Buleda, in Balochistan province, Pakistan. Initial reports indicate that they were shot when they were planning to cross the border into Iran.
Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.
Latest Mediterranean Update infographic:

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 Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel:  +216 28 78 78 05, Mobile: +216 71 860 312 ext. 109, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 16:05Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Undertakes Survey to Improve Prevention and Response to Gender-Based Violence in South Sudan

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:56
Language English

Juba – Gender-Based Violence (GBV) is endemic in South Sudan, where years of crisis have increased the vulnerability of women and girls. The scale of violence against women and girls in conflict and humanitarian settings is increasingly recognized as one of the most concerning human rights violations.

To better understand knowledge of gender-based violence and improve prevention and response in South Sudan, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in coordination with partners, undertook a large-scale study of knowledge, attitudes and practices (KAP) related to GBV.

This represents gathering of the first comprehensive data on GBV among internally displaced persons (IDPs), host communities and key populations in South Sudan to become widely available. The KAP survey collected baseline information about current knowledge, attitudes and practices regarding GBV and sexual health, gender norms, knowledge of and access to services.

The study, which interviewed over 3,200 people, used quantitative and qualitative research, focusing on the experiences of women, girls and men, with a particular focus on populations of humanitarian concern and areas of high HIV prevalence in Central Equatoria, Eastern Equatoria, Unity, Upper Nile, Western Bahr el Ghazal and Western Equatoria states.

The findings: IOM’s survey results indicate a generally high level of awareness about the term GBV among the population. Sadly, this may be due to a high occurrence of such activity. According to the survey, 48 per cent of female respondents reported a woman or girl in their household experiencing some form of GBV, just in the past 12 months.

“The findings of this survey offer us a major step forward in informing GBV prevention and response activities in South Sudan,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission, William Barriga, at the validation workshop of the survey on 16 November. “Equipped with this, often disheartening information, stakeholders dedicated to GBV prevention and response efforts will be able to accelerate awareness activities and mobilize resources to help protect this country’s most vulnerable.”

GBV can have devastating impacts. It can result in long-term physical, psychological and social traumas that affect individuals and their families and communities for decades.  In South Sudan, the effects are further compounded by lack of access to appropriate health care and psychological support.

The large-scale survey was supported by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria through the UN Development Programme, and through coordination with the GBV Sub-Cluster, the South Sudan AIDS Commission and the South Sudan ministries of Health and Gender, Child and Social Affairs.

For more information, please contact Salma Taher at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 123 185, Email:, or Ashley McLaughlin, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email:

Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 16:04Image: Region-Country: South SudanDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Deputy Director General Commends South America’s Contribution to the Global Compact for Migration

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:55

Montevideo – Representatives of 10 South American governments met this week in Montevideo, Uruguay, at the 17th South American Conference on Migration (SACM), which was opened this week (14/11) by IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson and the Acting Minister of Foreign Affairs of Uruguay Ambassador Ariel Bergamino.

The Conference, which ended Thursday (16/11), brought delegations from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela. This year’s theme: “The inclusion and integration of migrants beyond territorial borders”.

The SACM is the main regional forum for consultation and non-binding governmental dialogue on migration in South America and one of the 18 Regional Consultative Processes (RCPs) in the world.

Referring to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration at the opening of the event, Ambassador Thompson emphasized that the SACM has made a very important contribution to the process and affirmed the importance of the Lima Declaration, recently approved during the 12th meeting inter-sessional of the SACM that took place in Peru.

“The Lima Declaration is consistent with the principles and history of the SACM and highlights with absolute clarity the need for the Global Compact to have a focus on the Human Rights of migrants,” Ambassador Thompson said.

Ambassador Thompson also commended the practices of the South American region such as the Resident Agreement of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR), through which more than two million temporary and permanent residences have been granted to South American citizens since 2009; as well as the instruments of free transit issued by the Andean Community of Nations and, more recently, agreements on free mobility adopted by the Pacific Alliance.

Ambassador Bergamino said: “It is our obligation to work to guarantee the rights of our nationals, regardless of the time and place of residence. The inclusion and integration of migrants beyond territorial borders should be a commitment of all the countries of the continent.”

The SACM focused on thematic areas that included the Human Rights of migrants, migration and South American integration, the strengthening of migration governance and the international projection of the South American region.

IOM, as the Technical Secretariat of the Conference, presented its report to the government delegations, which included information on the Secretariat's contributions to the SACM in the administrative, programmatic and technical cooperation areas, during the past year.

Also participating in the SACM were the Deputy Minister of Salvadorans Abroad, Liduvina Magarín (current Presidency of the Regional Conference on Migration), representatives of the Red Cross and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, several observer and civil society organizations.

At the closure of the SACM, the member countries adopted the ‘Declaration of Montevideo’, a document that includes the conclusions and commitments undertaken related to migration in the region.

For further information, please contact Juliana Quintero at the IOM Regional Office in Buenos Aires, Tel. + (54) 11 32488134, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 16:03Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaDefault: Multimedia: 

Government Officials meeting at the XVII South American Conference on Migration in Montevideo, Uruguay. Photo: Uruguayan Ministry of Foreign Affairs 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, African Development Bank Support Drought-Affected in Somalia

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:54

Mogadishu – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is partnering with the Government of Somalia and the African Development Bank (AfDB) to provide emergency humanitarian relief assistance in the form of food and water to an estimated 25,800 drought-affected people in the south-western state of Baidoa and the Jubaland state of Dollow. Internally displaced people will be among the beneficiaries.

Somalia’s Gu (April–June) rainy season was significantly below average, creating severe drought across all regions. Baidoa town, which is one of the most affected areas currently holds the highest numbers of internally displaced people (IDPs) in Somalia. According to IOM's Displacement Tracking Matrix, over 243,000 people migrated to the area between November 2016 and September 2017.

The influx to Baidoa and Dollow occasioned by the drought have severely strained available basic services increasing the demand for emergency life-saving assistance. The living conditions in the IDP settlements and host communities remain dire.

“Drought and conflict in the South West State has resulted in a high influx of displaced families in Baidoa town. This project has come at a time when the community is in critical need of support,” said Mohamed Hassan Faqi, Somalia’s Minister for Agriculture and Irrigation.

“Providing displaced families and their host communities clean and safe water is one of the priorities established by Somalia’s Federal Government, and regional state authorities, and humanitarian actors, as it contributes towards emergency response, early recovery and community stabilization in the region. The drought still exists and the South West State authorities appeal to the international humanitarian organizations to continue assist drought affected people to avert famine,” added Faqi.

“Access to Food and safe clean Water is a major challenge not only for the displaced persons but also for the whole community living in Baidoa, Dollow and surrounding areas,” said Omar Khayre, IOM Water Sanitation and Hygiene Programme Manager. The project’s objectives are aligned to the Federal Government’s priorities, the Humanitarian Response Plan and priorities set by the WASH and Food Security clusters to prevent famine.

 “As the people in Baidoa and Dollow towns have increased drastically by 40 to 50 per cent, the current basic services provided by humanitarian agencies cannot meet the needs of vulnerable persons. The project will contribute towards covering the critical immediate needs for relief assistance especially the pressing need for water and food,” said Khayre.

Since January 2017, IOM has provided conditional and unconditional food and water to the drought affected persons in Somalia. Over 200 million litres of clean and safe water to approximately 570,000 people across its target regions through a water voucher mechanism. IOM is also conducting intensive hygiene and sanitation promotion activities among at-risk communities, having reached an estimated 563,000 people with behavioral change messages between January and October 2017.

For more information please contact Yuko Tomita, IOM Somalia, Tel: + 254 715 990 600, Email: 


Language English Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 16:02Image: Region-Country: SomaliaDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff assess the needs of the community as they queue for food vouchers. Photo: Abdi A. Salah/UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Officials from IOM, AfDB and the government engage in discussions at the launch of the emergency response project. Photo: Hared Hassan/UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Communities queuing for food vouchers. Photo: Abdi A. Salah/UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM to Assist 1,600 Families Affected by Hurricane Irma in Cuba

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:52

Cuba – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, will assist approximately 1,600 families in the hardest hit municipalities by Hurricane Irma in the Villa Clara province, Cuba, delivering mattress and bed sheet sets.

The containers with the donated materials arrived on 23 October at Mariel port, in western Cuba and were transported to Villa Clara by train. It is expected that support will reach the beneficiaries in the coming days.

“The Cuban government provided precise information on the damages for each municipality in the country, which facilitates the task of determining both the amount and the destination of the materials. This IOM donation complements the recovery response from the national authorities to the housing needs,” said Sonia Karakadze, IOM Liaison Officer in Cuba.

Karakadze also explained that together with local authorities, she could verify the proper management of the containers, check the security seals, participate in the reception-storage-distribution process and receive accurate information about the destination of the donation. In addition, citizens collaborated in discharging and storing the humanitarian relief shipping.

Additionally, a container with 250-litre water tanks also arrived at Mariel port, which will be distributed in the province of Guantanamo, hit by Hurricane Matthew back in 2016.

Before, during and after the hurricanes, IOM has continued its close coordination with the Ministry of Trade and Foreign Investment (MINCEX) and the United Nations system to provide assistance to the most affected provinces and municipalities without duplicating efforts. 

Due to the severe damage caused by Hurricane Irma, Ambassador William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, approved a donation of USD 100,000 of IOM funds to collaborate with the Government of Cuba in the process of emergency response and early recovery.

At the same time, IOM Cuba and IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean are now working in the mobilization of new resources aiming to improve the quality of life of the population who saw their homes severely damaged or destroyed.

According to data of the National Defense Council, 158,000 of the houses have been affected to some degree; 14,657 have sustained severe damage and 16,646 partial damage; 23,560 lost their roofs, while more than 103,000 saw their façade damaged. 

For more information, please contact Sonia Karakadze at IOM Cuba, Email:, Tel: +53 724 1512


Language English Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 16:01Image: Region-Country: CubaDefault: Multimedia: 

The containers with the donated materials arrived on October 23 at Mariel port located in western Cuba and they were transported to Villa Clara by train.  Photo: UN Migration Agency 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

West African Countries Raise Awareness on Risks of Irregular Migration among Children, Youth

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:51
Language English

Kolda, Mamou – The UN Migration Agency, in collaboration with UNICEF and local actors and with support of the Swedish government, is organizing sensitization activities on the risks associated to child migration in several countries.

In Senegal and Guinea, a team of animators and volunteers visited schools in key regions of origin and transit: Kolda and Mamou respectively. The sensitization campaign was done through local community workshops, radio spots, poems, football, returnees’ testimonies, theatre and music; and the distribution of schoolbooks, posters, informative flyers and leaflets.

West and Central African regions are characterized by a long history of intra and extra regional migration. Youth and child migration is rooted in the culture and linked to traditional practices like the confiage (the practice of handing over one’s child to a relative) and Koranic education.

Children move for different reasons, but when unaccompanied or separated, they are particularly vulnerable and often lack adequate protection. Countries like Senegal and Guinea see a lot of their children and youth leaving in search of better opportunities abroad.

IOM, with the support of the Swedish Government, is organizing a series of sensitization activities in important cities of origin and transit. The main objective is to inform migrant children and youth about the risks they may face along migration routes, to prevent cases of abuse and exploitation and to inform on the services available in countries of origin, transit and destination.

Local authorities in Mamou, Guinea joined IOM in the diffusion of radio spots and the organisation of participative focus groups, poems, movie screening and school visits. When asked if she knew what the desert is, Khadiatou, a 10-year-old student at Ecole Centrale de Mamou, said: “In the desert, there are people who do not like us.”

Key partners were also invited to take part in a radio show, recorded on the local radio. They all emphasized the importance of awareness raising and had the opportunity to inform the public about services available in their community. Thierno Ousmane Sow, representative of the African Movement of Working Children and Youth (AMWCY) in Mamou, said returnees are key messengers. “The ones who went can better raise awareness than the ones who did not,” Sow concluded.

The Comité Departemental de Protection de l’Enfance (CDPE) in Kolda, Senegal and the orphanage ‘La joie des orphelins’ organized six school visits to inform the children on the risks of irregular migration. Through theatre, music and a questionnaire, children were invited to express their experiences with migration and their dreams. Twenty-nine volunteers distributed flyers, posters, t-shirts and hats, and responded to their questions.

Samba Di Samria Diao, director of the orphanage in Kolda is positive: “As I am an orphan myself, I see it as a moral duty to inform the youth about the importance of education and the risks of irregular migration. If you have the chance to study, you should take it with both hands.” Diao added, “There is so much potential here in the region of Kolda. Raising awareness is the first step. Developing their capacities and making them benefit from it is the next step.”

Kadiatou Diallo, a 15-year-old from the region of Kolda realises she needs education to fulfil her dream: “I want to be a journalist but for that I need to speak more languages. Once I have finished high school I want to go to France and try to learn new languages.”

The activities are part of the project Protecting Migrant Children in West and Central Africa, funded by the Government of Sweden and implemented by IOM in close cooperation with UNICEF.

The project also includes a series of 13 trainings to reinforce members of the Government and Civil Society’s capacities to provide direct assistance to migrant children and to ensure their rights are respected.

Trainings are taking place in eight countries (Cabo Verde, Mauritania, Ghana, Senegal, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, the Gambia and Mali) over six months, ending in December.

For more information please contact: Tijs Magagi Hoornaert on or +221 784 600 619

Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: SenegalDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Somalia Facilitates Community Dialogue on Trafficking and Smuggling

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:50

Hargeisa/Mogadishu – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, conducted a training session for 34 members of the Human Trafficking Development Agency (HAKAD), the Ministry of Information, internally displaced persons (IDP) committees and local councilors on community dialogue. The sessions were conducted in Hargeisa and Mogadishu with support from the Government of Japan.

The participants were trained on basic concepts of trafficking and smuggling and facilitation of community dialogue and conversation. The youth were among those selected for the training to encourage peer-to-peer dialogue within their respective locations. Government officials in charge of conducting the community dialogue were also selected for the training. Dialogue on trafficking and smuggling enables humane and orderly migration by creating awareness on the possible outcomes and realities of irregular migration.

IOM is committed to the principle that migrants require adequate information to make informed decisions on migration. For this reason, the community dialogue focuses on grassroots and village-based interventions.

The training utilized tools and methodologies that encouraged participants to freely explain their experiences in relation to human trafficking and irregular migration. Participants utilized focus group discussions, brainstorming sessions, presentations and videos depicting possible consequences and outcomes of irregular migration.

By using these tools, the participants explored and listed down specific reasons for the push and pull factors of irregular migration in their areas of origin. Participants discussed these factors, as well as government policies and strategies to address irregular migration.

The final outcome of the training was the establishment of community conversation groups who will coordinate activities with the local government.

“We are delighted to engage with IOM on activities that matter to the community most, this training will help volunteers to inform and raise awareness on human trafficking and smuggling, hence reducing irregular movement,” said Nuur Said Tahlil from the Ministry of Information.

 For more information, please contact Solomon Tagel, IOM Somalia, Tel: 00 254 712 835 079, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 15:59Image: Region-Country: SomaliaDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the participants who were trained on basic concepts of trafficking and smuggling and facilitation of community dialogue and conversation.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Central American Officials Debate Regional Migration Policies, Migrant Smuggling

Fri, 11/17/2017 - 09:50

Guatemala – To analyze progress and challenges of human mobility in the region, specifically in the areas of migrants smuggling and migration policies, government authorities of nine countries this week (15-16/11), gathered in the city of Guatemala for the 45th meeting of the Central American Commission of Migration Directors (OCAM). IOM, the UN Migration Agency, as technical secretariat for OCAM, facilitated the organization of the meeting.

The assembly was an opportunity to discuss the updating of a Comprehensive Regional Migration Policy. Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, stated the upgrade included guidelines on protection and assistance to respond to migration crisis.

Pisani added, “It complements the existing guidelines which will become a road map for the countries of the region. We hope this Regional Migration Policy to be approved during the Summit of Presidents at the end of the year.”

Jorge Peraza, IOM Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, who also represents the OCAM Technical Secretariat, said, “One of the main topics during this meeting was the incorporation of a new axis to the Comprehensive Regional Migration Policy, to coordinate both national and regional response in situations of crisis and to strengthen humanitarian assistance.”

The OCAM was created in San José, Costa Rica, in 1990 per request of Central American Presidents through the Central American Plan of Economic Action (PAECA). OCAM responds to the need for a regional mechanism for coordination, consultation and concertation to address the migration phenomenon; this resulted from the Central American Integration System (SICA).  

The meeting was officially inaugurated by the Vice-President of Guatemala, Jafeth Cabrera; the event was also attended by the OCAM Pro Tempore President and General Director of Migration of Guatemala, Carlos Morales, and the Secretary General of the Economic Integration Secretariat of Central America (SIECA), Melvin Redondo. General directors of migration, assistant directors and technical delegates from Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, the Dominican Republic and Panama also attended the meeting. Mexico participated as an observer country together with delegates from the United States as special guests.

IOM serves as the technical secretariat for OCAM since 1999 and provides advice as well as technical cooperation to Member States for the improvement of migration management in the region.

For more information, please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 2212-5300, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 17, 2017 - 15:58Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaDefault: Multimedia: 

The First Lady of Guatemala, Patricia Morales, closed the 45th meeting of the OCAM. Photo: Melissa Vega / IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Deputy Director General Attends Conference on Sustainable Eradication of Child Labour

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 06:22

Buenos Aires – IOM Deputy Director General, Ambassador Laura Thompson yesterday (15/11) participated in the 4th Global Conference on the Sustainable Eradication of Child Labour in Buenos Aires, where she spoke on the High-Level Panel From Work Without a Future to a Future of Decent Work – SDG 8.7 and Beyond.

The conference – which seeks to help strengthen global efforts to eradicate all forms of child labour by the year 2025, as required by the Target 8.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) – is focussed on the sustained eradication of child labour and the elimination of forced labour, modern slavery and human trafficking, amongst others.

Ambassador Thompson was joined on the panel by Guy Ryder, Director General of the ILO; Kailash Satyarth, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate; Linda Kromjong, Secretary General of the International Organization of Employers (IOE); Franciso Martinez, ADECCO Group CEO in Argentina; Christy Hoffman, Deputy General Secretary of UNI Global Union and Khouloud Mannai, a young Tunisian activist.

“A world without child labour and without forced labour is where we have to start from,” said Ambassador Thompson.

She added, “We are looking for a world where people can move around and skills drive markets, not administrative measures. Circulation of human beings continues to be a problem and if we don’t really create a world where people can move around and get to use the best of their skills, we will continue having a restrictive world that doesn’t fit with today’s realities.”

“We need inclusive societies which give women the possibility to access what men can access today. We don’t need to empower women, women are powerful, we just need to give them access to opportunities,” said Ambassador Thompson.  [Watch video].

In Buenos Aires, Ambassador Thompson met Guillermo Daniel Raimondi, Argentina’s Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs to discuss the country’s steps towards the adoption of the Global Compact on Migration (GCM). She also held meetings also with Claudio Avruj, National Secretary of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism, and Horacio García, National Director for Migration.

The conference, which ends today (16/11), is organized by Argentina’s Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security, in collaboration with the International Labour Organization (ILO). Delegates from the United Nations Member States and organizations of employers and workers from 193 countries also attended the event.

In parallel, IOM is participating in two side events at the conference, where IOM Specialists Mathieu Luciano from IOM HQ and Agueda Marín from IOM South America will talk about the importance of reliable data on victims, as well as the role of the GCM in tackling child labour.

For more information, please contact Débora Taicz, Email:, Tel: + 54 11 4815 1035.


Language English Posted: Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 13:20Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson (centre) with other panelists at the Conference on Sustainable Eradication of Child Labour in Buenos Aires, yesterday (15/11). Photo: UN Migration Agency

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Director General Attends UN Climate Change Conference

Thu, 11/16/2017 - 06:17

Bonn – UN Migration Director General William Lacy Swing yesterday (15/11) participated in the high-level segment of the UN Climate Change Conference in Bonn, Germany, alongside Heads of State and other dignitaries.

Speaking at the event UN Coherence: Low-Emission and Climate Resilient Development at National Level, organized by the COP Presidency, DG Swing said, “Contemporary migration policy and practice can no longer be shaped as ten or even five years ago – this is because we cannot afford to ignore the impacts of climate change and environmental degradation on migration.”

He added, “I do believe that the global compact for safe, regular and orderly migration, that will be negotiated next year in New York, is our historical opportunity to ensure that climate change drivers of migration are considered in the global governance of migration.”

In Bonn, DG Swing also met with Environment Ministers from Gambia, Ghana, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Chad to discuss migrant reintegration and land rehabilitation. The meeting was convened by Monique Barbut, Executive Secretary of the UN Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), and co- chaired by Batio Bassiere, Minister of Environment of Burkina Faso.

Also discussed was the concept of ‘green returns’, a new approach toward assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programmes that proposes job opportunities for returnees linked to climate adaptation. IOM launched and actively promotes green returns and will develop related Guidelines and Standard Operating Procedures through a project funded by France, and in collaboration with UNCCD.

Two years after the Paris Agreement was signed, this year’s conference gathers leaders of national governments, cities, states, business, investors, NGOs and civil society to speed up climate action to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Change Agreement. The COP is organized by the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).

The Conference also provides as an opportunity for IOM to assert its objectives regarding the relationship between the environment, climate change and migration. It is also an opportunity to share examples of how policy work comes into action at the national level, namely:

Successful national climate mitigation and adaptation measures allow people to remain in their homes;
Humanitarian responses protect people displaced by the adverse impacts of climate change;
Migrants can reintegrate back home with sustainable green jobs, while diaspora communities transfer technology and skills into climate projects in their countries of origin.
Countries can adopt migration policies that offer regular and dignified migration options, in response to the adverse impacts of climate change.

For more information, please contact IOM HQ:

Dina Ionesco, IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 859 19 17, Email:

Mariam Traore Chazalnoel, IOM NY, Tel: +1 929 343 6001, Email:

Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179205, Email:




Language English Posted: Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 13:11Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

An elderly man poses on one of the atolls of the Carteret islands where IOM has assessed how locals’ lives are being affected by climate change and how well they are adapting to the changing landscape.  Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM)/Muse Mohammed 2016

IOM Director General attends meeting with African Ministers of Environment in Bonn. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Warns of Trafficking, Labour Exploitation, Sexual Abuse of Rohingya Refugees

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:45

Cox’s Bazar – Human trafficking and exploitation are rife among Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar to seek safety in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, according to interviews and community focus groups conducted in the district’s makeshift settlements by IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

Over 617,000 Rohingya refugees have settled in Cox’s Bazar since 25 August, but exploitation of the Rohingya population in the district has been occurring since well before this most recent influx of people.


IOM has identified cases reported by Rohingya refugees who have lived in Bangladesh for years, by those who arrived within the past few years, and by those who have arrived since August. Some people had only been in the country for a few weeks before they were targeted.

Desperate men, women and children are being recruited with false offers of paid work in various industries including fishing, small commerce, begging and, in the case of girls, domestic work.

With almost no alternative source of income, the refugees are willing to take whatever opportunities they are presented with, even ones that are risky, dangerous and that involve their children.

Once they start the job, they usually find that they are not paid what was promised. They are often deprived of sleep, made to work more hours than was agreed, not allowed to leave their work premises and not allowed to contact their family. Women and girls are often physically or sexually abused.

Some report being forced into jobs which they never agreed to do. In one case, a number of adolescent girls, who were promised work as domestic helpers in Cox’s Bazar and Chittagong, were forced into prostitution. Others reported being brought to locations different from the agreed destination.

In one case, a woman reportedly went to work for a family and was brought back to the settlements dead. The family of the victim received a settlement from the employers.

Many of the recruiters are Bangladeshi, while some are Rohingya, and many were established in the area prior to the most recent influx. The number of criminals and trafficking rings operating in the district has expanded with the population.

The abuse mainly occurs in neighbourhoods surrounding the settlements, but recruiters are also taking people to places as far away as Cox’s Bazar city, Chittagong and Dhaka.

IOM is also aware of cases where Rohingya have been trafficked to outside Bangladesh, and is assisting the victims. Most of the trafficking is taking place inside the country, which follows the pattern of trafficking globally.

Forced and early marriages are also taking place among the Rohingya population. For many families, it is a coping mechanism that offers protection and economic advancement for young Rohingya women and girls.

“Understanding the scope of human trafficking is difficult in most settings due to the hidden nature of the crime,” said Kateryna Ardanyan, an IOM counter-trafficking expert currently deployed in Cox's Bazar.

“In the chaos of a crisis like this, trafficking is usually invisible at first, as there are so many other urgent needs like food and shelter. But agencies responding to this crisis should not wait until the number of identified victims increases. Rohingya refugees need preventative and proactive action now to mitigate risks of human trafficking, and the survivors need help, before this spirals out of control,” she added.

 For more information please contact Olivia Headon at IOM Cox’s Bazar. Tel: +8801733335221, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 15:23Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

Nearly half a million Rohingya refugees sheltering in Kutupalong makeshift settlement are at risk from exploitation and human trafficking. Photo: Muse Mohammed / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Iraq Provides Medical Assistance to Earthquake-Affected Families

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:43

Sulaymaniyah – On Monday, 13 November an IOM Iraq Mobile Medical Team arrived in Kani Bardina village, Warmawa district, to provide medical assistance to families, following an earthquake of 7.3 on the Richter scale the previous evening, which struck 32 kilometres from the city of Halabja in the governorate of Sulaymaniyah, Iraq.

Approximately half of the 40 homes in Kani Bardina village were damaged or destroyed in the earthquake.

The IOM Mobile Medical Team is providing assistance in response to a request from the Joint Crisis Coordination Centre of the Kurdistan Regional Government of Iraq, for medical support in the area to assist those who were injured in the earthquake. The team is receiving guidance from local health authorities.

In Kani Bardina, the Team provided primary health consultations for adults and children, and tests, treatment and medication for chronic diseases such as diabetes and asthma. The few cases needing further treatment were referred to Sulaymaniyah hospital and to Halabja hospital – which was also damaged in the earthquake.

The IOM Mobile Medical Team visited Halabja Hospital, which during the earthquake sustained damage to the ceiling, floor, and walls, with blocks falling onto empty hospital beds. The hospital’s director Dr. Ranj Zangana explained that throughout yesterday they continued to provide services for visiting patients, but those who needed longer-term care were transferred or referred to Sulaymaniyah hospital.

In Kani Bardina village following the earthquake, many residents focused on cleaning up their homes and yards, and improving their temporary shelters.

The IOM Mobile Medical Team spoke with and provided medical support to Jamil, 58 years old, and his family. He said: “All my family was sleeping when the earthquake hit. We did not get out of our house fast enough and then we could not open the doors, which were damaged in the earthquake, so my wife and I helped our five children to climb out the window, and then we climbed out ourselves.

“Our house has many cracks in the walls, it is not safe to stay inside. The shelter we had for our animals collapsed – we have lost seven of our sheep and a few of the other sheep have serious injuries. We are now living in a tent in our garden, which we used for planting vegetables. We need to stay close to our house because we cannot leave the remaining animals alone; we depend on them for income."

Jamil added, “Today we received medical check-ups from IOM. My wife received treatment for her blood pressure; it was too high because of the earthquake. We hope to receive help to repair our house before the winter season begins.”

For more information please contact IOM Iraq: Sandra Black, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 15:22Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

Families in Kani Bardina village, Sulaymaniyah governorate, receive health check-ups and assistance from IOM Iraq Mobile Medical team, following an earthquake on the evening 12 November. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Families in Kani Bardina village, Sulaymaniyah governorate, receive health check-ups and assistance from IOM Iraq Mobile Medical team, following an earthquake on the evening 12 November. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 157,020 in 2017; Deaths Reach 2,966

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:41

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 157,020 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 12 November, with about 75 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 341,215 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome reported Monday (13 November) Italy’s Ministry of Interior has registered 114,606 migrants arriving by sea so far, this year, which is down from 164,872 at this time in 2016. That is a 30.5 per cent drop-off over last year’s totals at this time.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday (13/11) total sea arrivals had topped 16,000, including 418 registered during the past weekend:  276 on Saturday and 142 on Sunday. She said the main ports of arrivals were Almeria, Tarifa, Malaga, Motril, Barbate and Algeciras.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported Monday (13/11) of at least three incidents this weekend off the island of Lesvos that required search and rescue operations. The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 148 migrants and transferred them to safety.

Almost 14,000 (13,932) men, women and children have entered Greece by sea from the waters of the Eastern Mediterranean since 1 August, or more migrants than entered during all of 2017’s first seven months. Namia further reported that more than 1,500 migrants or refugees entered Greece by sea through November’s first 11 days, bringing migrant sea arrivals to Greek territory to 25,337 for the year so far (See chart below). 


IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported Monday (13 November) the remains of two bodies were discovered by locals onshore at Al Maya, west of Tripoli, on 12 November. These latest fatalities are not part of the 2,966-figure cited above.
IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reported the remains of three children were recovered over the last few days in the same area near Mantamados, on the north-eastern coast of Lesvos, Greece. In the Western Mediterranean, the remains of two young men were recovered from a beach on 9 November near Tangiers, Morocco. These deaths bring the total of fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2017 to 2,966, a figure that compares with 4,329 at this same point last year.

IOM Cyprus’ Dimitrios Tsagalas reported new details of a boat arrival on 3 November with 176 migrants on board. The boat was spotted off Pyrgos in the Tylliria area in Paphos and was towed to Latchi harbour.

Initial media reports talked about 100 migrants; however, as IOM Cyprus confirmed with authorities, there were 176 people aboard: 175 Syrians and one Ethiopian. More specifically, there were 63 females (34 adults and 29 minors) and 113 men (83 adults and 30 minors), who travelled from Turkey to Cyprus. All migrants were transferred to Purnara Reception Centre.

With this incident, the total number of migrants who have arrived irregularly by boat in Cyprus is 1,028 people, or roughly three times 2016’s total of 345 migrants (through nine months).

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded the deaths of 5,014 people migrating in 2017 – or a daily average of 16 men, women and children per day this year.

In addition to five new deaths reported in the Mediterranean, MMP recorded the deaths of two young men on the US/Mexico border: on 5 November, one man drowned while attempting to cross the Río Bravo near Nuevo Laredo in Mexico. Another drowning in the Río Bravo was recorded near Reynosa on 9 November. In Central America, two South Asian migrants died in a vehicle accident near Malpaisillo in Nicaragua, near the border with Honduras.  Both were from India.

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

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic:
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 Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel:  +216 28 78 78 05, Mobile: +216 71 860 312 ext. 109, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 15:21Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

2017 PLURAL+ Award Winners Announced at UN HQ

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:30

New York – On Thursday (09/11) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) celebrated young filmmakers from around the world at the 2017 PLURAL+ International Youth Video Festival and Awards at the United Nations Headquarters in New York.

Ambassador William Lacy Swing, the Director General of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, described the PLURAL+ winners, in his opening remarks, as “powerful agents with great potential to address toxic migrants’ narrative in which migrants are seen often in a negative light.” He further elaborated that “[…] through PLURAL+, UNAOC and IOM sought to help to empower youth to deal with the challenges and the opportunities relative to migration through embracing diversity and social inclusion.”

The ceremony began with the screening of the PLURAL+2017 International Jury Awards Ceremony. The three videos focused on combatting hate speech (Eliminate Hate, Eliminate Borders, Mexico), the need to respect human rights regardless of gender (Aibek, Kazakhstan), and the importance of diversity (Child of All Nations, Indonesia).

This year, IOM and UNAOC presented for the first time, the Prevention of Xenophobia Award to The True Impact (Nepal) which provided an insight on the negative impacts of violence on humanity. These four videos were chosen for the top PLURAL+ prize from 320 videos from 67 countries worldwide.

PLURAL+ aims to foster dialogue, partnership and action on critical issues and opportunities faced by youth worldwide. The festival recognizes youth as powerful agents of social change, and supports cooperative efforts to reduce tension in a world too often characterized by conflict and division. The winning videos focus on migration, diversity, social inclusion and prevention of xenophobia. Since its launch in 2009, PLURAL+ has received nearly 1,500 video submissions from around the world.

This year, the awards ceremony was hosted by Ahmed Badr, a young writer, poet, social entrepreneur and former refugee from Iraq.

PLURAL+ partners including the “I am a migrant” campaign, TOGETHER initiative, and UN Video contributed to the success of the festival. Alison Smale, the Under Secretary-General for Global Communication presented the recipients of the TOGETHER initiative and UN Video awards.

Commending the PLURAL+ videos, Smale stated that “Movies, more than words and speeches, are capable of shaking people’s consciousness.” Addressing the young media makers, she mentioned that “No generation than your generation would seem better placed to tell stories through films” given the rise of technology literacy in the world of today, and as young people “are more aware of how videos can successfully engage audience.”

Now that the winners have been announced, the videos will be distributed. You can watch all the 2017 winning videos on the PLURAL+ website:

Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser, the UNAOC High Representative, closed the ceremony by encouraging young media makers to continue addressing issues on the UN agenda related to migration, diversity and prevention of xenophobia in their films.

On Friday (10 November), three panel discussions with PLURAL+ winners, all under the age of 25, in partnership with UNICEF/Voices of Youth and the Ghetto Film School were convened at the Paley Center for Media in New York. Young media makers from countries such as Mexico, Indonesia and Nepal discussed migration, diversity, and social inclusion.

You can watch the winning videos here:

Please direct further media requests and questions to the PLURAL+ team, Email:, Tel. +1 212 681 7000

For more information, please contact Rahma Gamil Soliman, IOM New York, Tel: +1 (212) 681 7000, Email:, and Jordi Torrent, UNAOC, Tel: +1 (929) 274 6217, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 15:20Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Migration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

 IOM, UNAOC, PLURAL+ winners and partners. Photo: Caroline Biazotto 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Contributes to Municipal Development in El Salvador

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:27

Usulután – Representatives from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, USAID, El Salvador’s Presidency and municipal Mayors of San Miguel, Usulután and Zacatecoluca today (14/11) launched the regeneration of public areas that will directly benefit 9,000 Salvadoran families, among them returned migrants.

The official events were attended by the Ambassador of the United States to El Salvador, Jean Manes; USAID’s Director, Peter Natiello; the Salvadoran Undersecretary of Governance, Antonio Morales; IOM Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Jorge Peraza-Breedy; the Municipal Mayor of Zacatecoluca, Francisco Hirezi; the Municipal Mayor of San Miguel, Miguel Pereira and the Acting Municipal Mayor of Usulután, Salvador Lovo.

The infrastructure works will promote community coexistence, provide leisure and recreation spaces, enhance social cohesion and community strengthening, with expectation that this will help prevent irregular migration and social violence.

“We are convinced that the challenges we tackle in the face of the discrimination suffered by returnees must be addressed from different angles. The generation of dignified environments in these communities, where returned and migrant populations can establish links that help them reintegrate, is one of those angles for which it becomes a priority for us. Therefore, we contribute to the creation of open, recreational and sports areas,” said Peraza-Breedy.

“We recognize that the community has many capacities to advocate, fight and work to make their projects a reality; and this place can help bring their ideas and initiatives to life, giving them a space to dialogue, to organize and to discuss the possibilities that are before you all,” said Ambassador Manes.

Some of the facilities being worked on include the municipal gymnasium and Juanita Guerrero Park in Usulután; the communal house of Colonia Santa Inés in San Miguel; community house of Colonia Buena Vista and soccer field at Hato Hasbún Sports Complex in Zacatecoluca.

In parallel, IOM is working closely with municipal governments and communities to ensure that infrastructure works respond to local development needs with a reintegration approach. For this reason, focus groups are being organized with women, relatives of migrants and returnees, adolescents and young people to define the processes to be applied for reincorporation. Based on these findings, training will be provided to strengthen knowledge of migration and reintegration.

With construction in these three departments, a total of 85 communities will benefit directly with an investment of almost USD 500,000 under the framework of the Return and Reintegration in the Northern Triangle of Central America project, implemented by IOM with USAID funds and contributions from municipal governments.

IOM works closely with municipalities and communities that have high rates of returnees and have been identified as priorities by the government through the El Salvador Seguro Plan.

According to data from the General Directorate of Immigration and Foreign Affairs (DGME), between January and September of 2017, San Miguel received 1,058 returnees, making it the municipality with the highest number of returns nationwide so far, this year. Meanwhile, Usulután received 558, which positioned it in fourth place, and Zacatecoluca welcomed 274 returning migrants.

For more information, please contact IOM El Salvador: José Miguel Gómez, Tel: +50325210500, Email:  or Alba Miriam Amaya, Tel: +50325210500, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 15:19Image: Region-Country: El SalvadorThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationCommunity StabilizationDefault: Multimedia: 

Representatives from IOM inaugurated this week a series of public areas destined to the generation of reintegration and local development. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Opens Recreational and Counselling Centre for Refugees, Host Communities in Lebanon

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:23

Beirut – IOM, the UN Migration Agency last week (07/11) opened Al Multaqa – Meeting Space, a centre for community building and psychosocial support in Baysariyah, Lebanon, in cooperation with the Lebanese Ministry of Social Affairs and the municipality of Baysariyah. The centre is funded by the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation and addresses the psychosocial needs of both Syrian refugees and Lebanese host communities.

Al-Multaqa provides a range of recreational and psychosocial support activities, including dialogues and discussions, awareness raising sessions, cultural, educational and livelihood initiatives, and psychological counselling with an aim to improve integration and resilience building. Activities target different groups of beneficiaries including children, youth, women and elderly.

“Al-Multaqa is an important milestone in IOM’s activities in Lebanon supporting both Syrian and host communities,” says Fawzi Al-Zioud, IOM Lebanon Head of Office. “It aims to target 20,000 beneficiaries over the next 12 months,” he added.

“The centre is a space of togetherness,” said Guglielmo Schinina, IOM Head of Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication. “Migrants, refugees and host communities are all people with a same core of fears, needs, and personal and emotional resources. More than five years after the crisis started, it is important not to consider this an emergency any more but to create spaces where all parts of these new communities can meet and relate, and overcome their problems based on their shared resources.”

Today, the village of Baysariyah hosts 18,000 inhabitants, of which 5,000 are citizens of the village; 5,000 are Lebanese citizens internally displaced, and around 8,000 are Syrian refugees. In the last decade, the exponential growth of the village’s population – the number of inhabitants had tripled – caused tensions to rise, and the host community to struggle in assimilating the new arrivals.

“We are confident that Al-Multaqa Center can become a landmark for Baysariyah’s community,” says Antonio Bottone, programme officer of the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation.

Hiam Abd Alnabi, representative of the director general of the Ministry of Social Affairs confirmed that the space is for everyone. “It will help build the capacity and resilience of different groups, namely children, women and the elderly and will indeed strengthen social cohesion between Syrians and Lebanese.”

Al-Multaqa’s opening event was attended by representatives from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, IOM, the Ministry of Social Affairs, UN agencies, NGOs and a cheerful crowd of Lebanese and Syrian women and children, who attended performances organized by IOM staff, Clown Me In – a theatre company, and the children involved in the activities of the centres.

For more information, please contact Narsis Armani, IOM Lebanon, Tel: +961 1 841 701, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 15:18Image: Region-Country: LebanonThemes: Migration HealthRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Al-Multaqa’s opening event was attended by representatives from the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation, IOM, the Ministry of Social Affairs, and UN agencies. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

The “Al Multaqa - Meeting Space” inauguration was attended by a cheerful crowd of Lebanese and Syrian women and children.  Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Trains Frontline Immigration Officials in Somalia

Tue, 11/14/2017 - 08:23

Mogadishu – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in partnership with the Immigration and Naturalization Directorate of Somalia (IND), recently (02/11) launched on-the-job training in Basic English Language and Customer Care targeting frontline immigration officers stationed at all the Points of Entry in Somalia. The training will run for six months and will target 70 officers.

“Front office staff at the IND are like a mirror of the nation to local and international visitors. The first impression is the last impression. My expectation of staff attending this course is enhanced professional discharge of their respective duties to match world standards,” said Col. Mohammed Adam Jimcale (Kofi), Director General of IND.

“To achieve effectiveness in service delivery, it is important to equip employees with the right knowledge, attitude and skills especially in communication and customer service,” said Abdi Canshur, Minister for Posts, Communications and Technology, speaking at the launch.

This intervention will help bolster stronger, well-organized and effective service delivery for better response to the needs of migrants.

More than 40,000 mixed migrants arrive in, depart and transit through Somalia daily, and will greatly benefit from improved service delivery at the more than 18 points of entry across the country.

IOM supports institutional development through staff capacity building by addressing both human and operational capacity gaps. In Somalia, this includes training, provision of uniforms and creation of a streamlined human resources policy. IOM has also been upgrading the infrastructure of border offices across Somalia.

For more information please contact IOM Somalia, Nyssa Rubinsztajn, Tel: +254 795 752 621, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 - 15:17Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Capacity BuildingIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Col. Mohammed Adam Jimcale (Kofi), the Director General of the Immigration and Naturalization Directorate of Somalia. Photo: Somali National News Agency 2017

Somalia Government immigration staff at the launch of IOM’s Basic English and Customer Care training. Photo: Somali National News Agency 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN