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Updated: 1 hour 15 min ago

Conditions Deteriorate in Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugee Camps as Torrential Rain Continues

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:48

Cox’s Bazar – Conditions in the Rohingya refugee camps of southern Bangladesh are further deteriorating as torrential rains that began on Saturday (09/06) continue to trigger landslides and flooding. Humanitarian agencies reported some 29 incidents in the camps yesterday (11/06), bringing the total number to 88 in just three days.

Aid agencies now report that over 21,500 people have been affected since 11 May when the monsoon season started. This number is expected to increase as the rains continue. The incidents are being mapped and shared on an interagency communal incident overview platform.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is assessing the damage and responding to the situation, battling ongoing strong winds and rain. “It’s been pouring continuously since last night. The roads are becoming very muddy and inaccessible. We will only be able to assess the full damage when the rain stops,” said Zanagir Alam, IOM site management engineer this morning (12/06.)

As of this morning, IOM’s shelter team has conducted joint damage verification in six camps and identified 99 damaged and 130 destroyed shelters. Depending on weather conditions, IOM and partner agencies plan to distribute emergency shelter to the affected families today. In total, aid agencies have reported over 2,350 shelters damaged or destroyed.

IOM’s site management team is also working to repair infrastructure damaged by the storm. This includes unblocking drainage culverts, positioning sandbags to stop further erosion, clearing landslides from access roads, digging temporary drainage channels to release rain water, and diverting traffic.

A total of 85 latrines have also been reported damaged by the storm over the past two days in Ukhiya and Teknaf sub-districts, where IOM coordinates water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) aid. Most have been blocked by silt carried by the floods and IOM’s site development team and WASH partner agencies are working to repair them.  In total, 189 latrines and 11 water points have been reported as damaged by the downpour.

“WASH agencies have the capacity to cope with the damage. But continuous rainfall and limited road access are affecting our response capacity,” said Alessandro Petrone, IOM WASH programme manager.

“The situation in the camps is deteriorating as the rain continues. We are on high alert today for possible evacuations to higher ground as conditions may significantly worsen tomorrow,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM's Emergency Coordinator in Cox's Bazar.

“Saving lives is our priority. We must make sure people are safe. Our other concern is funding. IOM and our partners urgently need financial support to meet the needs on the ground, and to maintain and expand key humanitarian services and operations during this critical time,” he added.

There are close to one million Rohingya refugees currently living on the barren hills of Cox’s Bazar. Without new funding, IOM’s operations, which are currently only 22 percent funded, will run out of money by the end of this month, according to Pereira.

For more information, please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar:

Manuel Pereira, Tel: +8801885946996, Email:

Shirin Akhter, Tel: +88034152195 or +8801711187499, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:47Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Monsoon rains in Bangladesh cause dangerous flooding and landslides in Rohingya refugee camps. Photo: IOM/2018

Monsoon rains in Bangladesh cause dangerous flooding and landslides in Rohingya refugee camps. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency: “Remittance Flows Can Be an Economic and Social Lifeline for Migrant Families”

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:46

Geneva – International Day of Family Remittances will be celebrated this Saturday (16/06). To mark the occasion, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, wishes to highlight the development potential of financial and social links that tie migrants to their loved ones back at home.

A financial remittance is a private transfer of funds by a foreigner to an individual in their country of origin. Financial remittances have been recognized as playing a key role in reducing poverty and improving the lives of both migrants and their families. In numerical terms, there are more international migrants around the world than at any other period in history, and most of them are migrant workers.

The World Bank estimates indicate that in 2017, USD 466 billion was transferred in financial remittances to low- and middle-income countries –and this trend is likely to continue upwards. The International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) estimates one in every seven people is directly supported by remittances. This is why the International Day of Family Remittances is celebrated each year.

William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, has recognized remittance flows as “economic lifelines” for migrant families, highlighting their ability to reduce poverty, provide better health care and access to nutrition, increase education opportunities for children, improve housing and sanitation conditions, promote entrepreneurship and financial inclusion, and reduce inequality. While the International Day of Family Remittances has traditionally focused on financial flows, migrants also generate ‘social remittances’ – which is the flow of skills, knowledge, ideas and values they transmit back home. Unlike financial remittances, social remittances extend to the wider community, for a larger development impact.

Taken together, financial and social remittances have an important role to play in the achievement of individual family goals, and more broadly the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. There is however still more to be done before the development potential of remittances can be fully realised. Migrants, governments and the private sector are essential actors in this process.

“Governments can harness the skills and creativity of their diaspora and encourage them to invest back home through coordinated policies,” said Marina Manke, Head of IOM`s Labour Mobility and Human Development Division. “Efforts should be directed towards improving financial literacy amongst the home population and migrants, so that they can make informed decisions about how to send money back and how to invest remittances. Finally, there is a need to fully recognize and appreciate migrants as agents of change — for both their social and financial capital,” she added.

In recent years, IOM has been scaling up its support to governments and migrants to help them reap the development benefits of migration. More than 150 diaspora mappings have been conducted, shedding light on the characteristics of diaspora communities, their location and potential to engage with their communities of origin. Currently, IOM is engaged in several remittance-related projects globally, notably through an initiative to reduce remittance costs in Burundi, and the development of MigApp — a mobile application that enables migrants to compare cost-effective money transfers options offered by service providers.

For more information, please contact Vanessa Okoth-Obbo at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 9366, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:45Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM carries out cash assistance programmes in Gambella, Ethiopia, to help boost local marketplace economies. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

171 Nigerian Migrants Return Home on First International Flight from Zintan, Libya: IOM

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:45

Zintan – Last Tuesday (05/06), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, helped 171 stranded Nigerian migrants return home via the Organization’s first charter flight departing from the Libyan city of Zintan (136 kilometers southwest of Tripoli). Among the migrants were 75 women, seven of whom were in their early stage of pregnancy. 

The flight, funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, was the first international flight to depart from Zintan airport and was closely coordinated with the Libyan Ministry of Transport and Civil Aviation, the Nigerian embassy in Tripoli and the Libyan Directorate for Combating Illegal Migration (DCIM) and the Office of the Deputy Minister for Migration.

“Following a number of visits and close cooperation with the local authorities, we are glad that the Nigerian migrants stranded in Zintan were able to go home in what was the first international flight from the airport,” explained Ashraf Hassan, IOM Libya Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) Programme Manager.

The migrants were detained in Zintan detention centre and before that in Zwara detention centre. They requested to return home voluntarily with IOM.

“In Nigeria, I studied to become a banker but I decided to travel to Libya with my family to build a better life for my children,” a young Nigerian mother with two children told IOM. “I have come to learn a lot during this journey and my time in Libya, passing across many cities of Sabha, Sabratha and Tripoli. Although we had to sell all our property before coming to Libya, it doesn’t feel like we are going back empty-handed. Rather, we are very grateful to go back to Nigeria to start a new life.”

So far in 2018, IOM has provided voluntary humanitarian return assistance to some 1,665 Nigerian migrants. Among those assisted were eleven children and eight medical cases, all escorted by IOM medical personnel. In total this year, IOM Libya has assisted a total of 8,046 stranded migrants to return to their countries of origin. All migrants returned will also be benefiting from reintegration assistance.

“In the beginning of last year we were only operating from Tripoli and Benghazi, with the expansion of assistance to Zwara and Misratah, and now with Zintan, we are able to assist more stranded migrants wishing to return home across Libya,” explained Hassan further.

As part of IOM Libya's VHR Programme, standard pre-departure assistance was provided to the returnees, as well as vulnerability assessment interviews, consular support, fit to travel medical check-ups and exit visa facilitation. IOM also provides protection assistance including psychological support. IOM identified one unaccompanied migrant child among those screened for the first charter from Zintan, who then did not travel. IOM’s protection team in Libya is working on tracing their family and determining what is in the best interest of the child.

Prior to departure the migrants also received further assistance such as distributions of non-food items (NFI) consisting of clothes, footwear and hygiene kits.

Upon arrival, IOM Nigeria provided the returnees with post-arrival assistance, including food, water, medical support and an onward transportation allowance. As part of efforts to facilitate the reintegration process, all migrants received phones and SIM cards to ensure easy communication with IOM offices throughout Nigeria. The migrants were also eligible for further reintegration grants.

This return assistance is part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative, backed by the EU Trust Fund, covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries.

For more information, please contact:

IOM Libya: Chalank Yahya, Tel: +21658601055, Email: or Safa Msehli, Tel: +21622241842, Email:

IOM Nigeria: Jorge Galindo, Tel: +2349038891136, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:44Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

A migrant mother and child get ready to board IOM's first VHR charter from Zintan, Libya. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Launches Report on Indigenous Venezuelans Migration to Brazil

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:44

Brasilia - How do migration law and indigenous rights interplay? What rights do indigenous migrants have when reaching a foreign land? These are some of the questions addressed in the report Legal Aspects of the Assistance to Indigenous Migrants from Venezuela to Brazil, launched by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, last week (08/06).

The study focused on indigenous Venezuelans migrating to Brazil; a team of researchers from IOM Brazil worked in coordination with indigenous leaders and public authorities over six months.

With the research IOM aims to contribute to the emerging study field of international indigenous migration and to improve Brazil’s capacity to address the flow of Venezuelans arriving at its northern border.

In early 2016, the Warao people of Venezuela started coming to the northern Brazilian State of Roraima in great numbers, creating increased demand for public services and raising questions regarding their legal status in Brazil. IOM research examined how their indigenous cultural identity impacts their rights and the State’s duties under domestic and international law.

Through the report, IOM took the main concerns of indigenous leaders as well as federal and local authorities into account, itemized the applicable legislation, and came to 35 recommendations. The study points out that indigenous migrants in Brazil are protected by three different sets of legislation: the universal principles of human rights law; domestic law and international agreements for the protection of indigenous peoples’ rights; and Brazilian migration law – specifically the new protective tools that are available since the adoption of the new national migration law (November 2017).

This triple protection allows a rights-based approach to public policy planning and indicates that long-term solutions need to be developed in consultation with the indigenous communities. Topics such as access to education, health and shelter have a bigger impact on indigenous collective rights, including on their right to cultural identity, and thus need to be addressed accordingly.

Stephane Rostiaux, IOM Brazil Chief of Mission, explained that Brazilian transit cities for Venezuelan migrants were not used to dealing with big volume of migrants. “Indigenous migrants pose an additional challenge to those public authorities managing the new flow,” he said.

Research leader Erika Yamada, who is also an independent expert member of the UN Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, said: “The invisibility of indigenous peoples’ cultural identity in the context of migration is a global challenge for the protection of their human rights.”

“In Brazil, the specificities of the Warao migration from Venezuela has shown that adequate public policies should consider the characteristics of a continuing indigenous movement across boarders that differ from more traditional migration flows. Other countries dealing with indigenous migrants can learn from the Brazilian experience,” she added.

A preliminary research report was presented at the National School of Public Administration (ENAP), in March 2018, in a workshop with academics, governmental officials and civil society representatives.

Download the report here.

For more information, please contact Marcelo Torelly at IOM Brazil, Tel: +55 61 3038 9014, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:41Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Migration ResearchDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Launches Report on Indigenous Venezuelans in Brazil

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Anti-Trafficking Campaigners bring Traffic to a Standstill in Moldovan Capital

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:41

Chisinau — In the first three months of 2018, Moldovan authorities registered 44 cases of trafficking in persons, which involved 108 victims including 22 children.

To tackle this and to highlight the government’s message of zero tolerance for human trafficking, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the Moldovan Ministry of Interior Affairs, and the United States Embassy in Moldova organized an awareness-raising 5 km run on Sunday (10/06).

The run brought the capital Chisinau to a standstill to draw people’s attention to the risks and the ways in which Moldovan citizens are tricked and exploited in their own country and abroad. In 2017 alone, 87 per cent of identified and assisted victims were exploited within the country, in jobs such as farming and manual labour.

“Together with my colleagues, we want to say today that IOM Moldova will continue to work with and support the Moldovan Government in fighting human trafficking,” said Antonio Polosa, IOM Moldova Chief of Mission, as he crossed the finishing line. “I want to emphasize that it is important to do everything that is needed for the successful reintegration of victims.”

The Ministry of Interior Affairs showcased its technical equipment being used to better identify traffickers at the Moldovan border. IOM and Moldovan NGOs that work in the field of counter trafficking presented information on the free services they provide to victims and potential victims of trafficking in persons.

For more pictures, please click here.

For more information, please contact Iulia Tvigun, Tel: +373 69 123 905, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:39Image: Region-Country: Republic of MoldovaThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Moldovans campaigner again trafficking take part in 5 km awareness raising run. Photo: IOM/2018

Moldovans campaigner again trafficking take part in 5 km awareness raising run. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Present at Global Forum for Responsible Recruitment and Employment

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:39

Singapore – The Global Forum for Responsible Recruitment and Employment started yesterday (11/06) in Singapore. The two-day event, which ends today (12/06), brought together global brands, governments, NGOs and more to discuss challenges related to recruiting migrant workers and protecting them from modern slavery.

William Lacy Swing, Director General of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, delivered the keynote address on Monday. In his remarks, he noted that “forced labour today cannot be understood or effectively addressed without tackling migration, unethical recruitment practices and the conditions that are faced by migrant workers the world over.”

This morning, during a High Level Panel entitled Joining Forces to Combat Forced Labour, Ambassador Swing reinforced his message by highlighting the problems facing migrant workers today. According to 2017 estimates produced by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation in partnership with IOM, over 40 million people are trapped in conditions of modern slavery.

Other notable panellists at the forum included Andrew Forrest, Chairman and Founder of Fortescue Metals Group; Ian Cook, CEO of Colgate-Palmolive; Grant Reid, CEO of Mars Inc.; and Isabel Hilton, CEO of China Dialogue.

Almost 25 million of these individuals are victims of forced labour, working in private economy sectors such as construction, agriculture and domestic work, and 58 per cent of the victims are women and girls.

Researchers, civil society actors, the media and many other stakeholders around the world have been working together to understand the scope of the problem; more is known about forced labour and human trafficking than a decade ago, and innovative strategies are being put in place to tackle such exploitation.

As highlighted by the Forum, private sector entities are crucial in this fight. Companies in various industries around the world are coming together to address the risks of forced labour and trafficking as concerns the supply chain, often in partnership with organisations like IOM.

“We are at a pivotal moment in our collective efforts to tackle unethical recruitment practices in supply chains,” said Marina Manke, Head of IOM’s Labour Mobility and Human Development Division. “The success of this Forum depends on our ability to come together in genuine partnership to enhance protections for migrant workers. At IOM, we are committed to playing our part in driving this agenda forward, working in partnership with the public and private sectors and civil society to ensure that ethical recruitment becomes the norm in the global economy.”

In 2017, the Global Forum for Responsible Recruitment and Employment was the first ever forum devoted specifically to the human rights risks involved with recruiting migrant workers. The Forum’s second edition was an occasion to revisit this key topic, and discuss ways to ensure sustainable and efficient business through a global, cross-sectoral approach.

Ambassador Swing issued a strong call to action, urging all stakeholders to turn their commitments and intentions “into practical, measurable improvements in the lives of migrant workers.” He outlined three practical approaches, namely reinforcing the systems designed to help migrants receive justice when they have been wronged; increasing insight into the complex web of labour supply chains that see migrant jobseekers move from their countries of origin to their destination workplaces; and finding better ways to engage migrants in these discussions.

The Global Forum on Responsible Recruitment was hosted by the Institute for Human Rights and Business, The Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment and the Consumer Goods Forum, supported by Humanity United.

For more information, please contact IOM HQ: Philip Hunter, Tel: +41 79 582 22 83, Email: or Vanessa Okoth-Obbo, Tel: +41 22 717 9366, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:37Image: Region-Country: SingaporeThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General Speaking Global Forum for Responsible Recruitment and Employment in Singapore. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Philippines, Canada Start New Partnership on Ethical Labour Recruitment

Tue, 06/12/2018 - 10:37

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to facilitate the ethical recruitment of Filipino workers between the Philippines and the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The agreement will involve pilot testing the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS).

The agreement was signed last Friday (8/6) by IOM, the Ministry of Service of Alberta, the Ministry of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety of Saskatchewan and the Department of Labor and Employment of the Republic of the Philippines.

Currently, there are about 150 million migrant workers globally. The Commission on Filipinos Overseas (CFO) estimates that there are over 700,000 permanent and temporary Filipinos currently living in Canada.

“While most migrant workers have positive migration experiences, we recognize that more can be done to make international recruitment fairer for all involved,”   said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “This includes shifting the cost of recruitment from the worker to the employer, promoting better job matching and ensuring greater transparency within the recruitment process. IOM is very pleased to be working with the governments of the Philippines, Alberta and Saskatchewan on this important initiative.”

“Saskatchewan is pleased to be part of this ground-breaking initiative in ethical foreign worker recruitment,” said Don Morgan, Minister of Labour Relations and Workplace Safety in Saskatchewan. “Our hope is that the introduction of IRIS sets a new international standard for the fair treatment of foreign workers.”

IRIS is a social compliance scheme that is designed to promote ethical international recruitment. IRIS defines and sets a benchmark for ethical recruitment (the ‘IRIS Standard’) and establishes a voluntary certification process for international labour recruiters that demonstrate good practice. IRIS has been developed in consultation with a wide range of stakeholders from government, the private sector and civil society. It is designed to help jobseekers and employers identify, and benefit from, the services of ethical labour recruiters. 

For more information, please contact

IOM HQ, Vanessa Okoth-Obbo, Tel: +41227179366, Email:

Government of Saskatchewan, Jen Toews, Tel: 306-787-1331, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 12, 2018 - 10:36Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

A group of medical technologists pose for the camera. Filipino health professionals are one of the most sought after migrant workers in the world. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Two Days of Heavy Rain Hit Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugee Camps – Over 31,000 at High Risk from Flooding, Landslides

Mon, 06/11/2018 - 10:25

Cox's Bazar - Heavy monsoon rains that began on Saturday (9/6) have caused severe structural damage to Bangladesh's Cox's Bazar Rohingya refugee camps. Over 31,000 of the camps’ one million refugees, who fled Myanmar, are still living in areas considered to be at high risk of deadly flooding and landslides.  

Within 24 hours of the rains starting, humanitarian agencies reported some 59 incidents, including landslides, water logging, extreme wind and lightning strikes. The incidents are being mapped and shared on an interagency communal incident overview platform. Over the same period aid agencies reported that over 9,000 people were affected and that this number will increase as the rains continue. 

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is working against the clock to secure infrastructure, including road access and drainage, and to improve preparedness. Working with partners, it is ensuring that refugees continue to receive lifesaving assistance, including water, sanitation and hygiene, health, protection and shelter support during the monsoon.

The risks remains huge, given the vast size and nature of the congested, makeshift camps. The hilly terrain is now largely bare of vegetation and the rains have made the soil extremely unstable, increasing the risk of large scale flooding and landslides.

IOM and its partners have responded by relocating thousands of vulnerable households to safer ground ahead of the rains. Since January, 5,196 households (about 25,000 individuals) vulnerable to landslides and floods or in areas of communal infrastructure construction have been moved to safer areas. Before the end of June, IOM and its partners plan to move another 1,602 vulnerable households  (7,248 individuals) to safer ground.

In Unchiprang, a camp in Teknaf sub-district, IOM moved 787 households ahead of the heavy rains. But another 65 households remain at risk of landslides and floods.  “Yesterday 19 households were identified as at risk of landslides and moved to learning centers and child friendly spaces of the camp. They’ll be relocated to a new land once the rain stops. Relocation of these families is not possible as their shelters can’t be properly constructed amid continuous heavy rains,” said IOM site manager Mohammed Manun.

"The situation in the camps is growing more desperate with every drop of rain that falls," said Manuel Pereira, IOM's Emergency Coordinator in Cox's Bazar. "You have close to one million people living on hilly, muddy terrain with no trees or shrubs left to hold the ground in place. People and their makeshift shelters are being washed away in the rains. We are racing to save lives, but we urgently need more funding to maintain and expand key humanitarian support during these rains. Without this, our operations, which are currently only 22 percent funded, will run out of money by the end of this month," he added.

IOM, WFP and UNHCR have also strategically positioned heavy machinery in key camp locations for disaster response operations in a joint project called the Site Maintenance Engineering Project (SMEP.) Teams are also continuously working to increase available land for relocations. IOM has already prepared 186.8 acres of new land to relocate at least 7,000 people.

Existing refugee shelters have also been upgraded to better withstand heavy rain and high winds, and refugees have been advised on measures they can take to reduce their vulnerability to any upcoming disaster.

Key shelter and non-food items have been stockpiled to ensure sufficient provision during times of high demand. Mobile medical teams will also ensure that displaced and hard to reach populations have uninterrupted access to healthcare.

Access to clean water also poses a huge challenge during the monsoon and IOM and its partners have worked to improve water and hygiene infrastructure, as well as pre-positioning acute watery diarrhea kits and aquatabs in remote areas to meet basic needs.

For more information, please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar:

Manuel Pereira, Tel: +8801885946996, Email:

Shirin Akhter, Tel: +88034152195 or +8801711187499, Email:

Language English Posted: Monday, June 11, 2018 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Flash flooding has damaged key infrastructure including this bridge in Balukhali camp. Photo: IOM 2018

Heavily rain is already affecting access to remote parts of the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps. Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Holds Special Global Migration Film Festival Participatory Video Screenings in Brazil

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 10:09

Boa Vista – More than 300 indigenous people of Warao and Eñepas ethnic groups from Venezuela, local authorities and NGO representatives gathered last week (31/05), at Pintolandia Shelter, in Boa Vista, Brazil, for a special edition of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF).

The event was organized by IOM, local partners and authorities to present two videos created by 20 shelter members trained in participatory video making by IOM GMFF facilitators over four days. These indigenous people were affected by the situation in Venezuela and left the country in search of basic needs such as food and medicine.

The State of Roraima has registered the highest number of Venezuelans who have entered Brazil recently. According to the Brazilian Government, until April over 40,000 Venezuelans have applied for the regularization of their migration status in the country.

Through games and exercises, the Waraos and Eñepas learned how to use the video equipment and choose the themes and stories they wanted to record in their films. Through a participatory editing process, they edited their videos which were screened to the community living in Pintolândia, a shelter specifically set up for indigenous migrants, currently hosting over 700 people.

This initiative aims to empower and amplify the affected community’s voices and foster social cohesion between the different ethnic groups and communities living in the shelter.

According to Madga Azevedo, a Representative from Labour and Social Welfare Secretary’s office – the governmental entity which manages Pintolândia shelter – the method is collaborating to strengthen the integration of the two indigenous groups living in the same space. “I felt emotional with their reactions watching their own videos. It was about empowerment and self-recognition,” she says.

Immediately after the screening, members of the participatory video making process spoke about how they felt after watching themselves on the big screen along with fellow community members. “I enjoyed that we looked at two themes: the Waraos and the Eñepas. This was excellent because we have never looked at ourselves like this, through a video camera. It was like a big meeting between the two ethnicities living here. It was wonderful to see that happening,” explained Baudilio Centeno, a Warao participant.

Karina Lopez, an Eñepas participant, said she was delighted after the screening: “I liked watching both videos and also enjoyed that they were made by us.”

Almost 80, Pillar Paredes was the eldest participant amongst the two groups and had never made a video before. She filmed a segment presenting a typical Warao dance. During the video screening, she was sitting by her grand-daughter who laughed when Pillar appeared on the big screen singing and dancing. Her reaction after watching their video?  “I have decided that I will teach the children here our traditional dances.”

The two facilitators leading the process, Amanda Nero, IOM Communication Officer and Fernanda Baumhardt, a participatory video expert from the Norwegian Refugee Council's NORCAP, both noted that the process was challenging as the two ethnic groups have very different ways of expressing themselves and communicating. “It was important to have two different processes for each group to respect their own pace and style,” explained Nero. Baumhardt observed that despite coming from different indigenous background, they are similar in many ways. “They also have similar stories, needs and concerns,” Baumhardt explained.

IOM has recently carried out a study about the rights and legal status of indigenous migrants in Brazil, especially the Warao. Through the study, IOM emphasizes the legal tools available to grant equal treatment to Brazilian and Venezuelan indigenous groups and focus on the Warao demands to reshape public policies to their specific needs, safeguarding their indigenous identity. More information about this research can be found here.

IOM’s GMFF Participatory Video Project is an initiative to amplify voices, empower and foster social cohesion in migrants’ affected communities. The workshop tour kicked off in Amman, Jordan, in October 2017. In November, IOM went to Malakal, South Sudan, to work with communities that have fled war and violence and in December last year, the workshop was done with a group of migrants living in Geneva, Switzerland.

The initiative is funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF) and supported by NORCAP.

Watchhow the videos were produced.

For more information, please contact Amanda Nero at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 227 179 482, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:29Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants at the GMFF participatory video workshop in Boa Vista, Brazil. Photo: IOM/A. Nero

Participants watch the videos the produced. Photo: IOM/A. Nero

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 33,400 in 2018; Deaths Reach 785

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 10:07

Geneva  IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 33,400 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea as of 6 June 2018. So far this month, 1,190 arrivals to Italy, Greece and Spain have been recorded, the majority of which arrived in Spain (47% of total European arrivals).

The 33,400 arrivals since 1 January this year compares with 73,078 arrivals across the region through the same period last year. The number is also significantly lower compared to 6 June last year, with a 55 per cent decrease.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo noted that the 13,808 migrants who are registered as having arrived by sea to Italy this year is 77.44 per cent lower than that reported last year in the same period, when 61,201 irregular migrants and refugees arrived in Italy and an 80 per cent decline from the 70,222 arriving to this point in 2016.

Arrivals to Italy through May are just over one-sixth of last year’s May volume, and one-fifth of that of May 2016 (see chart below).

Di Giacomo also noted that the main nationality of sea arrivals to Italy from 1 January to 30 April this year is Tunisian (1,910) followed by Eritrean (1,810). In the same period in 2017, the largest number of arrivals registered were of Nigerian origin (5,253) followed by Guinean (4,184).

IOM’s Kelly Namia reported that as of Tuesday, 5 June, 11,236 migrants had entered Greece by sea, an increase of 51 per cent compared to the same period last year.

In Spain, IOM’s Ana Dodevska reported that as of 6 June, 8,309 migrants have been recorded to enter the country via the West Mediterranean route in 2018, with 240 deaths. Only in the first week of June, IOM has recorded 561 sea arrivals.

With a higher number of June arrivals by sea than in 2015 (414) but lower than in 2016 (715) and 2017 (2,352), the number of sea arrivals to Spain per year has been growing steadily since 2015 (see below).


Intensified movement through the Western Balkans continued throughout May reaching a monthly total of 2,838 registered migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania – the highest figure reported since the beginning of the year.

Between January and May 2018, authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania reported the arrival of 7,402 new migrants and refugees. More than half the migrants and refugees were registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina – a total of 4,841. There were estimated 520 new migrants and refugees arriving in the country every week. Almost half of all individuals registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina this year were from Pakistan (22%) and Syrian Arab Republic (22%) followed by those who declared Afghan (14%), Iranian (10%) and Iraqi (8%) nationality.

Since the start of the year, authorities in Montenegro have registered 1,362 migrants and refugees, mainly from Syrian Arab Republic (46%), Pakistan (13%) and Algeria (12%).

In Albania, there were 1,199 migrants and refugees registered this year. Among the three countries, only authorities in Albania reported a decrease in arrivals this month – from 293 reported in April to 147 reported in May. However, DTM flow monitoring activities in the north of the country indicate an increase in movements towards Montenegro. In May, authorities registered 139 migrants and refugees on exit from the country (Shkodra region), a 200 per cent increase compared to only 40 reported in April and 10 per cent increase compared to 126 identified in March.

Migrant Arrivals in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro Jan-May 2018

On 6 June, 17 migrants were returned to Libyan shore by the Coast Guard in Sabratha. Seeking a better life and work opportunities, nine men, seven women and one boy embarked on a wooden boat in Zuwara. The migrants originated from Ghana, Niger, Mali, Nigeria, Côte d'Ivoire and Sudan.

Upon disembarkation, the migrants received basic medical assistance. There were no reports of casualties. So far in 2018, 6,852 migrants have been returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard. Following disembarkation, the migrants were transferred by the Libyan authorities to a detention centre in Zintan. Whilst IOM advocates for alternatives to detention, IOM continues emergency assistance to migrants inside detention centres including health and psychosocial support, as well as Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 1,401 people who died or went missing while migrating in 2018. In the Mediterranean alone, 785 people have lost their lives at sea since the beginning of 2018. Last Saturday, a boat carrying approximately 180 people capsized off the coast of Kerkennah island, in Sfax, Tunisia. As of Thursday, 7 June, Tunisian authorities had recovered 73 bodies, 53 of them Tunisian nationals. An estimated 39 people remain missing.

In the Gulf of Aden, at least 62 migrants died or went missing when the boat in which they were travelling from Somalia to Yemen capsized on 6 June. The remains of 46 migrants (37 men and 9 women) were recovered, while an estimated 16 remain missing and are presumed dead. IOM staff on the ground provided assistance to the 39 survivors who managed to reach the shore.

There were several other additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since last Monday’s update. In Mexico’s state of Coahuila, a young man died after falling from a freight train near the town of Ramos Arizpe on 6 June. On the US-Mexico border, a 40-year-old man drowned trying to swim around the Tijuana border fence towards California. His body was recovered on 3 June by Mexican civil protection authorities.

Additionally, the Missing Migrants Project team received data from the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner regarding remains of migrants found in Southern Arizona in March and April 2018. In the past two months, the remains of 24 people who died while trying to cross the Sonoran Desert into the United States were brought to the Pima County medical examiner’s office in Tucson, Arizona.

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 migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

Download the Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here. 
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: 
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: 

For more information, please contact: 
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: 
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: 
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: 
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: 
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional DTM, Austria, Tel: + +43 1 5812222, Email: 
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, 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, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Tel: +216 71 860 312 (Ext. 109), Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:27Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Environmental Migration, Focus of Regional Policy Forum in Southern Africa

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 10:06

Pretoria IOM, the UN Migration Agency, facilitated this week (05/06) the first Regional Policy Forum on Migration, Environment, and Climate Change (MECC) for the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) and the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) Member States in Pretoria, South Africa.

The two-day event which gathered 40 participants, including officials from entities in charge of environment, migration and disaster management from 14 countries of the region, the IOC Secretariat, United Nations (UN) agencies, and international non-governmental organizations, is the first event of its kind in the region. It aimed to bring together stakeholders to discuss findings of selected country assessments, as well as to debate and develop a regional policy-guiding document that will establish priorities, and stimulate cooperation and cross fertilization amongst Member States on MECC.

Migration, climate change and the environment are closely interrelated. Just as environmental degradation and disasters can cause migration, movement of people can also entail significant effects on surrounding ecosystems.

Every year, millions of people worldwide are forced to leave their homes because of floods, windstorms, earthquakes, droughts and other disasters. Environmental factors have long had an impact on global migration flows, as people have historically left places with harsh or deteriorating conditions. However, the scale of such flows, both internal and cross-border, is expected to rise as a result of accelerated climate change, with unprecedented impacts on lives and livelihoods.

This is particularly true in Southern Africa and in the Western Indian Ocean. Climate change models developed by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) in South Africa, project a robust pattern of drastic temperature rise for southern Africa, with increases of up to 7° Celsius over some parts of the region by the end of the century.

In his opening remarks, Charles Kwenin, IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, noted that “our changing climate is fundamentally redrawing the map of where – and how – people can live”, and added that “the complex nature of events and realities we witness in the region makes very clear that no one country can address the issue alone, making regional and sub-regional dialogue and cooperation indispensable.”

IOM has been at the forefront of operational, research, policy and advocacy efforts on MECC, seeking to bring environmental migration to the heart of international, regional and national concerns, in collaboration with its Member States, observers and partners, which reflects Member States’ priorities to advance in this area.

The Regional Policy Forum is part of the wider IOM Development Fund (IDF) supported project Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy in Southern Africa and the Indian Ocean, which seeks to increase knowledge and awareness about the relationship between migration and environmental change, to inform the formulation of related national and regional policy and operational planning.

For more information please contact Daniel Silva y Poveda, IOM Madagascar, Tel: +26132 56 54 954, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:24Image: Region-Country: South AfricaThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration PolicyDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants at the first Regional Policy Forum on MECC for SADC and Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) Member States in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Brazil Public Defender’s Office Train Attorneys on Migration Law

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 09:59

Brasilia IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and Brazil’s Federal Public Defender’s Office (DPU, in Portuguese) held a training of trainers on migration law for 31 DPU attorneys from ten Brazilian states.

The training, which took place in Brasilia this week (6-8/06), addressed some of the most pressing issues on the Brazilian migration agenda, including the challenges of implementing the new migration law which entered into force in November 2017. It also addressed topics such as regional migration flows in South America, and the rights of vulnerable migrants such as LGBTI, homeless and indigenous individuals among others.

A module on counter-trafficking, supported by the European Union-sponsored Global Action Against Trafficking in Persons and the Smuggling of Migrants (GloACT) was also included in the training.

According to the 1988 Brazilian constitution, the DPU is responsible for providing legal assistance to vulnerable populations. In the last decade, the number of vulnerable migrants reaching Brazil and requesting assistance from DPU attorneys has significantly increased. In 2015, the DPU assisted 4,887 vulnerable migrants; two years later, this number was 49 per cent higher (7,311 migrants assisted).

During the opening ceremony of the training, Diego Beltrand, the IOM Regional Director for South America, emphasized the role played by the DPU attorneys in migrant protection: “Access to an attorney is fundamental for migrants who need legal help but can’t afford to pay a lawyer, to ensure the protection of their rights and access to safe, orderly and regular migration paths.”

DPU’s Attorney General Carlos Paz said: “Migration flows are often connected with human rights violations that need to be addressed. The Federal Public Defender’s Office is the legitimate instrument to promote that protection.”

IOM Brazil Chief of Mission Stephane Rostiaux highlighted that the DPU is one of the most important public institutions promoting the rights of vulnerable migrants. “The new Brazilian migration law aligns Brazil with the best available international standards, but the law implementation remains a challenge,” he explained. “The DPU is a key player in turning the new law’s protective tools into real life changes for migrants.”

During the training, IOM presented a handbook that schematizes the 26 most recurrent cases of legal assistance provided by the DPU. The handbook outlines the procedures carried out by DPU’s biggest office specializing in migration, located in São Paulo, and provides a set of basic tools for public attorneys in other parts of Brazil.

The handbook also includes practical information on applications for resident permits; family reunification procedures; the process of requesting Brazilian citizenship; procedures for appealing fines or nullifying wrongfully initiated deportations; and other daily legal problems faced by vulnerable migrants in Brazil.

With the trainings and the handbook, IOM hopes to support the process of expansion and improvement of the services that DPU provides to migrants nationwide, by helping attorneys learn the multiple legal tools available to assist migrants, update their knowledge on domestic and international law, and standardizing procedures for the benefit of the thousands of migrants assisted by DPU yearly.

The training is the first activity of the project Improving Legal Assistance to Migrants in Brazil and Promoting their Access to Labour Markets, funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF). By the end of the year, IOM and DPU will have trained more than 200 government officials and civil society workers through face-to-face and online courses.

For more information, please contact Marcelo Torelly at IOM Brazil, Tel: +55 61 3038 9014, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:23Image: Region-Country: BrazilDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Regional Director for South America, Diego Beltrand inaugurated the Training of Trainers implemented by IOM Brazil and the Federal Public Defender’s Office. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Champions Data for Policy Planning, at Workshop in Mongolia

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 09:54

Ulaanbaatar – Earlier this week (5-7 June) IOM, the UN Migration Agency, facilitated a training workshop on the Use of Migration Data for Policy Planning. It was attended by 33 senior government officials; representatives of relevant line ministries; civil society partners; and other governmental and non-governmental agencies. This is the first of series of workshops to be conducted this year aimed at increasing understanding of internal migration in Mongolia, improving the management of internal migration, and addressing migrants’ vulnerabilities.

Over the past decade, internal migration, (especially rural-to-urban) has grown exponentially. Mongolia has a rich cultural history steeped in a nomadic way of life. However, rural poverty triggered by a combination of unemployment, low incomes, lack of quality health services and education, desertification and natural disasters, has led many to leave their traditional way of life for urban centres. Almost half (47 per cent) of the Mongolian population is currently living in Ulaanbaatar, and the share of the urban population has increased to 67 per cent of the total population.

Most internal migrants in Mongolia settle in Ger (districts) on the outskirts of Ulaanbaatar which make up about 60 per cent of the city’s population but, despite their size, these districts have not been adequately integrated into the city’s development planning. New migrants form almost one third of the population living in these areas, and of all the migrants to Ulaanbaatar, 39 per cent are people in greatest need.

Limited data on migration trends (including root causes) and key demographics; the absence of evidence based policies and programmes; and a lack of government capacity to support migrants in informal settlements with basic services are key challenges inhibiting migration management in Mongolia.

“Lack of opportunities in rural locations, whether that be in terms of employment, lifestyle, access to quality education and health care, climate change, or connectivity to the wider world will likely feed further rural-urban migration in Mongolia,” stated Etienne Micallef, IOM Officer in Charge for China and Mongolia. “This means that we must work more and more together to build new responses and solutions to new situations and challenges.”
This training workshop was part of the “Understanding and Managing Internal Migration in Mongolia” project funded by the Swiss Development and Cooperation Agency. It built on the results of internal migration and urban migrant vulnerabilities assessments conducted by the National University of Mongolia (NUM) and Ger Community Mapping Centre (GCMC), IOM’s implementing partners. By the end of this year, an evidence-based policy dialogue, reflecting on the information from both assessments, will be carried out in view of establishing an action plan.

Agencies represented at the training workshop included the National Development Agency, Ulaanbaatar Municipality, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, Ministry of Health, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, National Statistics Office, State Registration Department, National University of Mongolia, Ger Community Mapping Centre, representatives of Bayanzurkh and Songino Khairkhan districts, Ministry of  Construction and Urban Planning, Ministry of Food Agriculture and Light Industry, Mongolian Red Cross Society, Ministry of Environment and Tourism, Ministry of Finance, Intellectual Property and State Registration Office.

For more information on the SDC project please go to:

For more information please contact Zuzana Jankechova at IOM Mongolia, Tel: +976 70143100, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:21Image: Region-Country: MongoliaThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration PolicyDefault: Multimedia: 

Opening of the “Use of Migration Data for Policy Planning” training workshop, Mongolia. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Supports RCM Countries in Strengthening Protection of Migrants Displaced by Disasters

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 09:54

Mexico City Thirty-two officers from 10 countries that are part of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM), met this week (6-7 June) to improve their capacities and exchange experiences on migrant protection in countries affected by natural disasters.

The Workshop on Prevention and Assistance to Migrants and Persons Displaced Across Borders in the Context of Natural Disasters was organized by RCM with support from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD). Representatives from Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the Dominican Republic discussed the inclusion of migrants in the different stages of comprehensive risk management.

This training workshop was held just three days after the eruption of Volcán de Fuego in Guatemala, which resulted in the evacuation of 12,000 persons and 83 confirmed victims.

In 2017, the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) registered 18.8 million new displacements due to natural disasters in 135 countries. In Latin America, the number goes up to 4.5 million displaced persons.

According to the study Migrant Populations in the Reduction of Risk and Attention of Emergencies in Central America elaborated by IOM, 17 million migrants come from Latin America, more than 2 million migrants choose the region as their destination, and several tourists go there annually, making it one of the largest and most diverse territorial corridors of migrants worldwide. The study was presented to the participants, who agreed on the need to include migrant populations in natural disaster risk reduction, in the elaboration of both regional and national level policies.

In 2016, RCM Member States adopted a practical guide for the protection of displaced persons in the context of natural disasters. In 2017, RCM carried out the first training workshop in which the creation of emergency units in the consular network was agreed on, along with the implementation of an IOM e-learning programme to train consular officers in cases of emergency, among other measures.

Representatives of the General Direction for Latin America and the Caribbean of the Secretary of Foreign Affairs of Mexico (SRE); Panama in its quality of RMC’s president; IOM Mexico; PDD; RCM Secretariat; Unit of Immigration Policy (SEGOB) and the National Disaster Prevention Centre (CENAPRED) were present at the opening ceremony.

Christopher Gascon, IOM Mexico Chief of Mission, affirmed that “countries in the region are committed to reducing the vulnerability of migrant populations exposed to environmental risk factors. IOM offers technical advice so that these measures save lives, and governments can successfully face the challenge of migration for environmental reasons.”

The event was made possible thanks to the support of the Swiss government and the US State Department through its Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

For more information, please contact Cesia Chavarria at IOM Mexico, Email:, Tel: +55 5536 3922

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: MexicoDefault: Multimedia: 

Representatives from 10 countries discussed the inclusion of migrants in the different stages of comprehensive risk management. Photo: IOM

Representatives from 10 countries discussed the inclusion of migrants in the different stages of comprehensive risk management. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Supports ICAO Capacity-building on Traveller Identification Management in Brazil

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 09:52

Brasilia This week (5-7/06), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, participated in two International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) events in Brazil, contributing to the implementation of the ICAO Traveller Identification Programme (ICAO TRIP) Strategy.

One of the events was the ICAO TRIP Regional Seminar, hosted by the Government of Brazil, which focused on familiarizing participants, mainly from the Americas, with ICAO standards and recommended practices on identity management, travel documents and border management.

Expert speakers and national representatives addressed a broad range of traveller identification management matters, highlighting particular challenges of developing states that often require international assistance.

Topics discussed included machine-readable travel document (MRTD) standards, specifications and best practices; secure travel document issuance; robust evidence of identity processes; and information-sharing technologies.

IOM’s work on traveller identification management relies on a close partnership with ICAO and its TRIP Strategy. The vision of the ICAO TRIP Strategy is to ensure that Member States have the capacity to uniquely identify individuals. The Strategy provides a holistic framework that integrates identity management, travel documents and border management.

IOM’s engagement in TRIP Strategy implementation has been gaining momentum since the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between IOM and ICAO in November 2016. Aligned with the ICAO TRIP Implementation Roadmap, the IOM Action Plan for ICAO TRIP Implementation Assistance aims at providing support to IOM Member States in TRIP Strategy implementation as well as directing the assistance where it is needed the most.

Representing IOM Director General William Lacy Swing at the inauguration of the seminar, the IOM Regional Director for South America Diego Beltrand said, “The TRIP Strategy contributes to sustainable development, benefitting concerned migrants as well as Member States.” He added: “We stand ready to work with ICAO, donors and Member States on intensifying and expanding our TRIP implementation assistance to States especially also in the Americas.”

During the Seminar, IOM experts spoke on IOM’s intensified efforts in providing Immigration and Border Management (IBM) technical assistance to States for the implementation of the ICAO TRIP Strategy. Particular focus was on the capacity-building work at the African Capacity Building Centre in Moshi, Tanzania, and the use of Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS), IOM’s border management information system. The successful implementation of the MIDAS in Paraguay was highlighted at the event.

The other event where IOM participated was the Implementation and Capacity Building Working Group (ICBWG). This meeting explored future directions for IOM's IBM involvement in ICBWG's work on assisting States in strengthening border and travel document integrity world-wide. IOM leads an ICBWG sub-group on developing guidance materials for the responsible use of biometrics in travel document issuance.

IOM’s engagement in the ICAO ICBWG helps to attract top technical expertise to IOM identity management projects and provide feedback from the field to ICBWG to inform its future normative work – including the development of guidance materials on traveller identification management. 

ICAO, a United Nations specialized agency, develops international standards and specifications related to civil aviation, travel documents and border control formalities. A number of States face challenges in implementing such global standards because of the lack of technical expertise or funds or, often, both. IOM has been consolidating efforts in using its global project implementation capacity and donor liaison to expand its IBM activities to strengthen the implementation of the ICAO TRIP Strategy.
For more information, please contact Erik Slavenas, at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 766 8701, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:19Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration LawDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM participated in Capacity-building Events on Traveller Identification Management in Brazil. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ecuador Launches New Human Mobility National Plan

Fri, 06/08/2018 - 09:52

Manta – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador this week (04/06) presented the new Human Mobility National Plan. IOM, the UN Migration Agency, had supported the Government of Ecuador during the development of the Plan.

The Plan was developed within the framework of the National Foreign Policy Agenda’s 5th Objective, which focuses on "promoting the exercise of the rights of people in human mobility in all its dimensions". It is thereby also in line with the National Development Plan of the Government of Ecuador.

The Plan is based on four policies aimed at promoting universal citizenship and free mobility in the international sphere; generate conditions to promote an orderly and safe migration; strengthen the protection of the rights of this population; and defend its diversity, integration, and coexistence. Ecuador is the only country worldwide to have established the promotion of the concept of universal citizenship in its constitution, aiming to promote the universal recognition and protection of the human rights of migrants.

As guiding principles for the Plan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility established the aspects of policy coherence, intersectoral coordination, shared responsibility between all actors of public institutions, private sector and civil society, as well as progressive implementation and universal application of public policies.

IOM supported the Government of Ecuador with the organization of workshops and dialogues with migrant communities, as well as background research to identify the needs of returned migrants, Ecuadorians living abroad and immigrants residing in Ecuador. These activities were also supported through funding from the Swiss Development Cooperation (SDC).

“Ecuador continues to be at the forefront of progressive migration policy making. IOM is looking forward to continue supporting these efforts as defined by this multiannual national plan, including the related follow up for the Global Compact for Migration,” said Damien Thuriaux, IOM Ecuador Chief of Mission.

Jose Luis Jácome, Vice Minister of Human Mobility, explained: "We are happy to have promoted the joint construction of the National Human Mobility Plan together with civil society, academia, and the international cooperation. The plan will provide planning tools to create effective and efficient actions from the State in favour of people in human mobility."

During the presentation of the Plan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility signed two agreements with the Ministry of Economic and Social Inclusion (MIES) and the Artisan Workers Board respectively. These agreements are key to facilitate people in human mobility access to public products and services.

Read the New Human Mobility Plan here.
For more information, please contact Carolina Celi, IOM Ecuador, Tel: +593 2 393 4400 (Ext. 152), Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 8, 2018 - 15:17Image: Region-Country: EcuadorThemes: Migration PolicyDefault: Multimedia: 

Ecuador has launched a Human Mobility National Plan.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Saddened as 46 Migrants Drown on Yemen’s Shores, 16 Still Missing

Wed, 06/06/2018 - 19:58

Tragedy struck migrants trying to cross from the Horn of Africa to find employment in Yemen and the Gulf, when their vessel capsized in high waves as it approached its destination in the early hours of 6 June.

UN Migration Agency staff were on the scene providing assistance to the traumatized survivors. IOM staff reported that 46 migrants had drowned, 37 men and 9 women. A further 16 remain missing, presumed dead.

At least 100 migrants crammed onto a smuggler’s boat that left the port of Bossaso, Somalia on 5 June.  They were reportedly all Ethiopian, 83 men and 17 women. After travelling through the night across the short but treacherous Gulf of Aden, their boat approached the shore at 5 am on 6 June.

Survivors said the passengers who were without lifejackets in the smuggler’s boat started panicking as high waves struck close to the shore. As the boat took on water, they were pitched headlong into the rough seas where so many succumbed.

“The Gulf of Aden’s shameful migration tragedy is one that is hidden in plain sight,” said Mohammed Abdiker, Director of Department of Operations and Emergencies.

“Over 7,000 poor migrants take this perilous journey every month; some 100,000 took it just last year. They are treated appallingly and go through horrendous conditions. This has to end,” he added.

IOM staff went to the scene and were providing medical assistance, health, food and psychosocial support to the survivors. The ICRC and Yemen Red Crescent ensured the burial of the deceased.

This tragedy is the latest of many to have befallen migrants traveling to or from Yemen.

Earlier this week IOM helped some 101 Ethiopian migrants leave Yemen through Hudaydah Port as clashes grew closer to the area. The migrants were brought to Djibouti after hours of delays on the high seas and are now being cared for. IOM is providing transport assistance at all stages of the journey in cooperation with its Government partners.

That group included nearly 51 women and 33 children, who had become stranded in the country and are among the most vulnerable cases from a larger group of about 300 migrants stuck in detention.

Both while travelling to and in Yemen, migrants are routinely abused by smugglers and other criminals, including physical and sexual abuse, torture for ransom, arbitrary detention for long periods of time, forced labour and even death. Some migrants get caught up in the conflict, sustaining injuries or dying from shelling, and some are taken to detention centres, both official and unofficial. 

Through its Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme, IOM is providing transportation and return support from Yemen to the migrants’ final destinations in their home countries.

In 2017, IOM helped around 2,900 migrants and refugees return home from Yemen: 73 per cent of them were Somalis, 25 per cent Ethiopians and 2 per cent other nationalities. IOM has also helped 298 Ethiopian and 1,064 Somali migrants and refugees return home voluntarily to date (30/05) in 2018. Assisted spontaneous returns of Somali refugees are carried out in collaboration with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

In Yemen, IOM provides additional humanitarian assistance to migrants, including health care, shelter and aid items and psychosocial support, while also supporting displaced and conflict affected Yemenis. In Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti, IOM also provides emergency support to migrants starting out their journeys, while in transit and when returning.”

For more information, please contact Leonard Doyle IOM Head of Communications, Tel: + 41 79 2857123, Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, June 6, 2018 - 19:52Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Yemen staff assist a migrant who survived drowning.  Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Completes Movement of 233 Ethiopian Migrants Out of Yemen

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 10:20

Hudaydah – An IOM chartered sea vessel arrived early this morning (05/06) in Djibouti carrying 132 Ethiopian migrants bringing the total migrants evacuated since last week to 233.  The IOM vessel departed the port city of Hudaydah which has been experiencing violent clashes over the past week, making the logisitics of the movements extremely difficult. The IOM vessel was held for inspection by the parties controlling the sea movements for several hours.

IOM in Djibouti is currently receiving the migrants at the IOM reception centre and providing humanitarian assistance, medical support as well as looking at options for onward transportation to Ethiopia. IOM is working closely with both Ethiopian and Djibouti Governments to provide maximum support to the migrants.

The boat left with 132 passengers, 86 Ethiopian males, eight boys, 36 female and two girls. The majority of the migrants were held in a Sana’a holding facility, while some had been staying with host families supported by IOM.

Migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia attempt to travel through Yemen to reach the Gulf, in particular the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Both while travelling to and in Yemen, migrants are abused by smugglers and other criminals, including physical and sexual abuse, torture for ransom, arbitrary detention for long periods of time, forced labour and even death. Some migrants get caught up in the conflict, sustaining injuries or dying from shelling, and some are taken to detention centres, both official and unofficial. 

Through its Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme, IOM is providing transportation and return support from Yemen to the migrants’ final destinations in their home countries. In Yemen, IOM provides additional humanitarian assistance to migrants, including health care, shelter and aid items and psychosocial support, while also supporting displaced and conflict affected Yemenis. In Somalia, Ethiopia and Djibouti, IOM also provides emergency support to migrants starting out their journeys, while in transit and when returning.

This return movement from Yemen is funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the Government of Germany and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Fund.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 13:11Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM assisting some of the Ethiopian migrants prior to departure from Yemen last week. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

As IOM Marks 400,000 Medical Consultations During Rohingya Refugee Crisis, Funding Shortfall Brings New Threat to Lives

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 08:35

Cox’s Bazar – Medics with the UN Migration Agency (IOM) have now carried out more than 400,000 consultations in Cox’s Bazar Bangladesh since late August 2017 when hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees started fleeing into the area to escape violence in Myanmar.

Nine months after the influx of new arrivals began, bringing the total number of refugees in the area to almost one million, IOM is one of the largest medical care providers in Cox Bazar, supporting patients from the refugee and local communities with medical concerns ranging from pregnancy related complications to injuries from road traffic accidents. In the past four months alone, IOM has carried out over 4,300 consultations relating to accident and injury.

More than one in 10 consultations conducted in IOM clinics were with children under the age of five. In the past four months, IOM staff have conducted over 13,000 ante-natal consultations and assisted over 700 local and refugee women deliver their babies safely, including via caesarian section (C-section). In May alone, 10 newborns were successfully delivered by C-section at an IOM funded surgical facility.

Without urgent financial backing, these services will soon be brought to a halt. And with months of monsoon rains about to create even more health hazards for the refugee population, medical staff are ready to see an even bigger demand for their services. 

“Conducting 400,000 curative consultations in nine months is an immense achievement that shows the crucial role of IOM medical facilities for the refugee and local communities. But without urgent funding we won’t be able to carry on,” said IOM’s Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar Manuel Periera. 

“If that happens, hundreds of thousands of cases will likely be left untreated in the months ahead and we face the grim possibility of many avoidable deaths,” he added. 

And according to Dr. Mohammad Abdus Salam, Civil Surgeon of Cox’s Bazar district, “IOM is doing a massive work in addressing the health issues of refugees and host communities. We highly appreciate their contribution in assisting the government to address the health crisis that affected the district following the August influx.” 

“IOM has established hospitals and community clinics both for the refugee and host communities. They’ve strengthen the government health complexes as well. Without IOM’s support, we wouldn’t be so much successful in addressing the influx induced health crisis in Cox’s Bazar,” he added.

IOM’s Kutupalong Extension Primary Health Care Centre (PHCC) acts as a delivery centre for the Kutupalong Mega Settlement, in addition to seeing over 200 patients per day for general outpatient consultations. In May, an expectant mother experienced an extended labour in her home so was carried to the PHCC by some of IOM’s Health Promotors. 

Upon arriving at the PHCC, the medical officers determined she was suffering from obstructed labour and called IOM’s Emergency Hotline for ambulance referral. The ambulance arrived and delivered the expectant mother to an IOM funding surgical facility, where a C-section was performed. Both mother and baby returned to their home healthy and safe for being able to avail these life-saving services. 

IOM’s clinics and medical staff play a key role in Cox’s Bazar in overseeing referrals and ambulance transfers. The patients, whatever condition they present with, are taken to whichever clinic or hospital in the area is best suited to meet their particular needs. 

Patients with conditions including pre-eclampsia, severe malnutrition, serious pregnancy related complications, cardiovascular disease and severe fevers are among those who have been supported in this way by IOM. 

Dr Raisul Islam, who has worked at Kutupalong PHCC since before the influx, was one of the doctors involved in the referral of the expectant mother. “At the start of the influx many of the new arrivals came with injuries relating to violence such as gunshot wounds, burns, blasts, and gender based violence. These kinds of cases have decreased, but there’s been no reduction in the number of patients we’re seeing,” he said. 

“Now we are likely to have even more cases, because of the probable increase of acute watery diarrhea and even cholera during monsoon. However as long as we have enough funding IOM is prepared to combat such difficult situations as we did successfully during the diphtheria outbreak,” Dr. Islam added. 

Life in the over-crowded camps puts refugees at particular risk of communicable disease, including those relating to poor sanitation. 

IOM medics were central in helping tackle an outbreak of the deadly disease Diphtheria since November 2017, supporting direct patient treatment in isolation wards as well as contact tracing in the camps to allow those who had come close to infected patients to receive prophylaxis. This was crucial in helping restrict the spread of the disease. 

Ongoing vaccination, standby mobile medical teams, and health education outreach programmes conducted by IOM continue to play a vital role in preventing disease outbreaks. Any reduction or cessation of these services would have a devastating effect on the health system in the camps. 

“I am immensely proud of the hard work of all our IOM staff on the ground providing life-saving and day to day medical care day and night for months on end to a population in desperate need of support,” said Dr.  Andrew Mbala, IOM’s Health Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar. 

“But we are now facing the desperate situation that the good work we’ve been doing could soon be brought to a standstill because of finding shortages and our patients left to suffer conditions which if left untreated could led to avoidable deaths. This is a tragedy in the making which can be averted, but only if we receive urgent funding.” 

IOM, as a partner working under the coordination of Inter Sector Working Group led by the World Health Organization (WHO), continues to appreciate the cooperation and determination of other agencies and partners in the collective endeavor to support the humanitarian health response in Cox’s Bazar.


For more information please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar:

Manuel Pereira, IOM Bangladesh, Tel: +8801885946996, Email:

Shirin Akhter, Tel: +880 341 52195, +8801711187499, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 13:12Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration HealthRefugee and Asylum IssuesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Medical consultations at a mobile clinic in Kutupalong-Balukhai Refugee Camp in November 2017. Photo: Olivia Headon / IOM

Medical consultations in Kutupalong Community Clinic in November 2017. Photo: Olivia Headon / IOM

Medical consultations in Kutupalong Community Clinic in November 2017. Photo: Olivia Headon / IOM

Recent medical consultations (dated 05/06/2018) in IOM’s Leda Primary Healthcare Clinic. Photo: Niranta K. Das / IOM

Recent medical consultations (dated 05/06/2018) in IOM’s Leda Primary Healthcare Clinic. Photo: Niranta K. Das / IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

South American Consular Officers Trained on Human Trafficking

Tue, 06/05/2018 - 07:33

Buenos Aires – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Institute for Public Policies in Human Rights (IPPDH by its Spanish Acronym) of the Common Market of the South (MERCOSUR) launched a virtual course on human trafficking for 40 South American consular officers.

The course, which will last until 3 July 2018, seeks to train government officials in early detection tactics and assistance to victims of human trafficking, as well as develop cross-border coordination mechanisms to support their nationals who have been victims of this crime.

It counts on the participation of consular representatives from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay.

According to information collected by IOM in the South America region, human trafficking persists. Increased instances of trafficking for the purpose of labour exploitation in the textile industry and domestic employment have been reported.

Despite progress in legislation and the institutional framework for dealing with this crime, improving the mechanisms for detecting cases is still a challenge. Sometimes human trafficking is confused with other related crimes, such as the smuggling of migrants or crimes against the rights of workers. Consular officers’ role in identifying victims of trafficking by is key to addressing this challenge.

"A successful intervention in a case of human trafficking begins with proper attention from the consular protection staff, who provides support, knows who to refer to and, if necessary, coordinates the return to the country of origin in a dignified and prompt manner," explained Agueda Marín, Senior Regional Specialist in Assistance and Protection of Migrants for IOM in South America.

"Providing training in prevention, identification and assistance to victims of trafficking to consular officers is key for the interaction between countries," said Javier Palummo, Director of Research and Information Management of the IPPDH.

This training is the result of a request for cooperation between the IPPDH and IOM in the framework of the 23rd Meeting of the Working Group of Consular and Legal Matters of the Consultation and Political Coordination Forum of MERCOSUR and Associated States.

For more information, please contact Juliana Quintero at the IOM Regional Office in Buenos Aires, Tel. + 54 11 48133330, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 - 13:02Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN