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Updated: 35 min 34 sec ago

IOM and UNHCR Condemn the Return of Migrants and Refugees to Libya

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 16:11

Joint Statement IOM-UNHCR

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, can confirm that over 270 migrants and refugees were handed over to the Libyan Coast Guard by the ship “Vos Triton”, sailing under the flag of Gibraltar.

“Vos Triton” had rescued the group in international waters during their attempt to reach Europe on 14 June. On 15 June, the Libyan Coast Guard returned them to the main port of Tripoli, from where they were taken into detention by the Libyan authorities.

The two organizations reiterate that no one should be returned to Libya after being rescued at sea. Under international maritime law, rescued individuals should be disembarked at a place of safety.

IOM and UNHCR staff are in Libya, providing life-saving humanitarian assistance. However, the agencies reiterate that the basic preconditions to ensure the safety and protection of rescued migrants and refugees post disembarkation are lacking; therefore, Libya cannot be considered a safe place.

In the absence of predictable disembarkation mechanisms, maritime actors should not be obliged to return refugees and migrants to unsafe places. IOM and UNHCR call on States to coordinate so that merchant vessels rescuing people in distress are granted swift permission for disembarkation in a place of safety, to avoid lives being placed at risk.

The Libyan Coast Guard has returned more than 13,000 people to Libya this year, already surpassing the number of people intercepted or rescued and disembarked in all of 2020. Hundreds of others have perished at sea.

The continuing departures from Libya highlight the need for a predictable rescue and disembarkation mechanism along the Central Mediterranean route, with immediate effect and in full compliance with international human rights principles and standards.

Migrants and refugees disembarked in Libya often end up in appalling conditions where they may be exposed to abuse and extortion. Others go missing and are unaccounted for, raising fears that some may have been channeled into human trafficking networks.

IOM and UNHCR call for an end to arbitrary detention in Libya, through the establishment of a judicial review process, and advocate for alternatives to detention starting with the immediate release of the most vulnerable.


For more information please contact: 


Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 403 5526. Email: 

Ryan Schroeder at IOM Brussels ,Tel: + 32 492 25 02 34. Email: 

Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Rome, Tel: +39.347.089.89.96 E-mail: 



Aikaterini Kitidi at UNHCR Geneva, Tel: +41 79 580 8334. Email:


Tarik Argaz at UNHCR Libya, Tel: +216 29 961295. Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 22:05Image: Region-Country: LibyaDefault: Multimedia: 

Over 270 migrants and refugees handed over to the Libyan Coast Guard by the ship “Vos Triton” disembark in Tripoli. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants RightsMissing Migrants
Categories: PBN

IOM, UNHCR, Aid Partners Call for Urgent Support to Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela and Their Hosts

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 14:41

Joint press release IOM–UNHCR

Geneva – Ahead of the International Donors’ Conference on 17 June, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, call for renewed international support to address the urgent needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and to assist their host countries.

“As the exodus of Venezuelans is prolonged over time, it risks becoming a forgotten crisis,” said the Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, Eduardo Stein.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the region, and the future of millions of refugees and migrants and their hosts is at stake. Solidarity and commitment are needed more than ever to ensure the continued delivery of assistance.”

Prolonged lockdowns, loss of livelihoods and increased poverty are forcing many Venezuelan refugees and migrants to depend on emergency humanitarian assistance to survive. The needs are dire in the areas of health, food security, water and basic sanitation, as well as access to education and opportunities to earn an income. The pandemic has also resulted in rising rates of evictions and homelessness, as well as a dramatic increase in reported cases of gender-based violence and mental health needs.

The continued departure of refugees and migrants from Venezuela is one of the largest external displacement crises in the world. To date, over 5.6 million people have left their country. In this context, the 2021 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) brings together 159 organizations to respond to their urgent needs and to establish longer-term resilience and integration solutions targeting close to 3.3 million Venezuelans and host community members. Yet, the USD 1.44 billion plan remains critically underfunded.

Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean host 80 per cent of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. They have continued to show their solidarity during the global health emergency, notably through the establishment of large-scale regularization programmes. However, national capacities have been dangerously strained by the pandemic.

“The burden should not fall on countries in the region alone. The international community has the responsibility to support these efforts favouring regional stability,” said Stein. “A shortfall in funding would leave hundreds of thousands unprotected, with few options to rebuild a life in dignity.”

Canada will host the next International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants on 17 June 2021, in collaboration with IOM and UNHCR, who are co-leading the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V). The event will bring together host and donor governments and key actors involved in the response, including the private sector, development banks and civil society.

The International Donors’ Conference is scheduled to run from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. CEST Geneva (9:00 a.m to 12:30 p.m. in Canada; 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. GMT+5 in Panama) on 17 June. The event will be live streamed here.


Note to editors:

Media representatives who wish to participate in the closing press conference must register in advance here.
More information on the R4V Platform the 2021 response plan is available on:
Last year, the RMRP appealed for USD 1.41 billion to meet the needs of the Venezuelan refugees and migrants and their host communities in 17 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. At the end of 2020, this appeal was just 47.1 per cent funded.
The commitments made by donors during the 2020 International Donors Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean, convened by the European Union (EU) and Spain, amounted to USD 2.79 billion, including USD 653 million in grants.

For more information, please contact:

In Panama

Daniela Rovina, IOM,

Bryan Brennan, IOM,

William Spindler, UNHCR,

Olga Sarrado, UNHCR,


In Canada

Melanie Gallant, UNHCR,


In Geneva

Angela Wells, IOM,

Aikaterini Kitidi, UNHCR,

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 20:28Image: Region-Country: Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

Prolonged lockdowns, loss of livelihoods and increased poverty are forcing many Venezuelan refugees and migrants to depend on emergency humanitarian assistance to survive. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

Making Migration Data Accessible for All

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 11:09

Berlin – Timely and comprehensive migration statistics are essential for developing policies that benefit migrants, as well as their communities of origin and destination. The Global Migration Data Portal is unveiling today (15/06) its new dashboard featuring a series of tools to help policy makers, national statistics officers, journalists and the general public gain access to the latest data on migration. 

Launched in December 2017, the Portal promotes collaboration between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and other agencies to provide reliable and accessible data, as well as analysis on migrant statistics. The Portal is managed by IOM´s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in Berlin. 

“We’re excited to launch these new features, which were developed based on the feedback received by its users, people from around the world looking for reliable and timely migration data,” said Frank Laczko, IOM GMDAC Director.  

“For over three years, the Portal has gathered relevant data on migration in one place and now it will be easier for its users to access it.” 

Since its inception, the Portal has collected feedback from users to optimize its features. As part of the upgrades, the Portal’s iconic world map is being expanded with a new dashboard with three interactive sections that will help users analyze and visualize data more easily.    

One of the new sections allows users to visualize and compare international migration data from different countries, regions and sub-regions. Another section enables users to compare different indicators ranging from migration stocks to remittances, and from children on the move to victims of trafficking. For example, users can quickly see that, according to UN DESA, an estimated 2.5 million and 15.8 million migrants were resident in Switzerland and Germany respectively as of mid-year 2020, but the share of migrants in the total population was higher in Switzerland than in Germany. 

In addition, the new national data pilot section aims to bring together national data from different sources visualized in one place. This pilot features national migration data from government sources in Switzerland, South Africa, New Zealand and Germany as well as WorldPop estimates on subnational migration between countries, a pilot project funded by Switzerland. The Portal team aims to expand the pilot national data section to include other countries from different regions over the coming years. 

“We are proud to have contributed to an innovative piece of work that combines traditional with new data sources to arrive at a better understanding of migration patterns between countries of the global south,” said Nina Hälg from the Peace and Human Rights Division at the Government of Switzerland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

“We therefore support IOM in its efforts to provide a one-stop access to reliable data on migration,” she added.   

With an average of more than 175,000 page views per month in the past year and more than 2.3 million page views since May 2020, the Portal aims to facilitate unhindered access to authoritative, up-to-date migration data and analysis to increase evidence-based migration governance and public debate. 

To explore the new dashboard, visit 

The Portal is supported financially by IOM Member States, including the Government of Germany represented by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the Government of Switzerland, as well as unearmarked funding granted to IOM and internally allocated through the Migration Allocation Resource Committee (MIRAC). 

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +491601791536, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 17:06Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

The Portal’s new dashboard allows users to visualize and compare international migration data from different countries, regions and sub-regions.

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: GMDACInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

IOM Ramps Up Health Response as Second Wave of COVID-19 Strikes Cox’s Bazar

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 04:36

Cox’s Bazar – As a second wave of COVID-19 is ravaging South Asia, including Bangladesh, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is working closely with the Government and the humanitarian community to ramp up the delivery of a wide range of support services for Rohingya refugees and host communities.

“It is imperative to strengthen our assistance and not let the situation deteriorate any further before it becomes impossible for the existing healthcare services to cope,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, IOM Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh.

Following an upsurge in COVID-19 cases in May, local authorities imposed a strict lockdown in five Rohingya refugee camps in the Teknaf and Ukhiya sub-districts in Cox’s Bazar. Preparations for the vaccination campaign for the over 900,000 Rohingya refugees living in the camps are ongoing, but a launch date has yet to be confirmed. 

To enhance surveillance and early detection, since early 2020, IOM has been running two severe acute respiratory infections treatment centres inside the refugee camps. Following the Government and Health Sector’s recommendations this May, IOM quickly scaled up their capacity from 120 beds to 173.

The two health centres, along with 10 other health facilities, collect samples from suspected COVID-19 patients and provide counselling on prevention and treatment. Samples are transported for testing to Cox’s Bazar’s official laboratory within the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research(IEDCR),with the results expected within 48 hours.

In May alone, 2,293 samples were collected from these facilities and transported for analysis, 133 patients whose tests were positive were subsequently admitted and 73 contacts were quarantined. Since the beginning of the response, these facilities have admitted close to 900 patients.

To improve early diagnosis and surveillance, IOM has recently opened six additional COVID-19 sentinel sample collection sites, in collaboration with the World Health Organization. To this end, 15 health care workers, including six medical officers, seven medical assistants, one midwife and one nurse were extensively trained on COVID-19 sample collection, transportation and biosafety.

IOM is part of the Rapid Investigation and Response Team set up by the Health Sector to follow up on the identification of COVID-19 cases and contact tracing in the camps. Since the beginning of the pandemic, these teams have been implementing the awareness campaign “No Mask, No Entry” mobilizing all service providers to ensure COVID-19 prevention measures are respected at humanitarian service points.

As part of its infection prevention and control measures, IOM also operates three ambulance decontamination facilities to minimize the risk of transmission among staff and beneficiaries. Additionally, teams regularly distribute personal protection equipment to IOM-supported health facilities.

A quarantine facility with 93 shelters for contacts of COVID-19 cases has also recently been established within the camps. This facility, which offers food, health check-ups, and referrals to other support services, has so far quarantined 114 contacts.

As part of IOM’s risk communication and community engagement activities, 350 community health workers regularly conduct health promotion sessions through household visits and courtyard sessions. Additionally, a dedicated dispatch and referral unit is responsible for transporting COVID-19 suspected and confirmed cases, the deceased and discharged individuals.

To further alleviate the patients’ distress and concerns, IOM mental health and psychosocial support teams based in health facilities assist all COVID-19 patients with individual counselling focusing on the impact of the pandemic, psychosocial well-being and coping strategies.

Dedicated support for IOM’s COVID-19 response in Cox’s Bazar is provided by the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and the World Bank.

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac, Tel: +880 1880 094 048, Email:, or Tarek Mahmud, Tel: + 880 1752 380 240, Email:, at IOM Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 10:27Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

To improve early diagnosis and surveillance, IOM has opened six additional COVID-19 sentinel sample collection sites. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

To improve early diagnosis and surveillance, IOM has opened six additional COVID-19 sentinel sample collection sites. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Emergency Relief and ProtectionHealthInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

Launch of Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Strengthens Migration Data in The Gambia

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 04:33

Banjul – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in The Gambia, in collaboration with the Gambia Bureau of Statistics (GBoS), to facilitate evidence-based decision making on migration governance and response to the needs of vulnerable migrants.

DTM is IOM’s information system which tracks and monitors population mobility – capturing, processing, and disseminating information to provide a better understanding of the movements and evolving needs of people on the move in places of origin, transit and destination. Since 2008, DTM has been deployed in over 80 countries worldwide. 

In recent years, Gambians have emigrated at a higher rate per capita than every other nation in Africa. Between 2015 and 2020, over 33,000 Gambians arrived in Europe irregularly, while over 6,000 have voluntarily returned home since 2017 with support from IOM. 

Despite this, there are significant migration data gaps in a country of 2.4 million people. Migration data has traditionally been collected inconsistently and seasonally. As a result, the full extent of migration remains uncertain, given the country’s highly porous borders. 

“Given the significance of migration to The Gambia’s social fabric, gaining a more comprehensive picture of mobility is critical, especially to enhance preparedness and response to the needs of migrants,” underscores Stephen Matete, IOM’s Immigration and Border Management Programme Manager in The Gambia. “Only when we understand who is migrating where and for what reasons can we design appropriate policies and interventions to better govern migration and promote migrants’ rights.” 

The tool was piloted in The Gambia from 10 to 11 June, after 15 enumerators were trained on data collection. Four locations –Barra, Basse, Brikama and Farafenni – were identified as Flow Monitoring Points (FMPs), which will calculate quantitative estimates of migrant movements. The locations were selected for being areas of high transit, following a participatory mapping by stakeholders during a national consultation forum in November 2020 and a series of regional consultations in January 2021 with local stakeholders. 

The surveys will collect information on migrant demographics, social and economic profiles; journey history and routes; migration motivations and intentions; and the impact of COVID-19 on mobility. In turn, the DTM data will be useful to government, humanitarian and development actors to inform policymaking, as well as identifying and responding to the needs of vulnerable migrants. 

For The Gambia, this tool comes at a crucial time, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to impact mobility trends and there is a resurgence of boat departures from West Africa to the Canary Islands. 

“The pandemic creates another layer of vulnerability for migrants. The surveys will thus help us understand how COVID-19 has shaped migration decisions and the nature of the journeys themselves,” adds Dr. Simeonette De Asis, IOM’s Migration Health Officer in The Gambia. “Furthermore, quality, trustworthy data contributes to a better understanding of migrants’ needs and vulnerabilities, which can help address sources of potential tension and conflict.” 

Data collection commenced on 14 June and will continue for an initial period of nine months. 

This initiative forms part of Strengthening the Sustainable and Holistic Reintegration of Returnees, a project funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and implemented by IOM in collaboration with the International Trade Centre and the UN Population Fund. 

For more information, please contact Miko Alazas, Media and Communications Officer, IOM The Gambia, Tel: +220 330 3168, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 10:26Image: Region-Country: GambiaDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM launched the Displacement Tracking Matrix in The Gambia to better understand mobility trends. Photo: IOM 2021

The data collected will help inform policymaking and address the needs of vulnerable migrants. Photo: IOM 2021

Data collection was launched in four areas, including Barra, from where boats are alleged to have departed with the aim of reaching the Canary Islands. 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: DTMEmergency Relief and ProtectionHealthInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

IOM Republic of Korea Hosts Security Awareness in Hostile Environments Online Training

Mon, 06/14/2021 - 10:55

Seoul, Republic of Korea – Threats to civilians in emergencies around the world are steadily growing, and humanitarian aid workers are no exception. Unabated attacks on aid workers on the humanitarian frontlines continue to not only compromise their personal security and integrity but also hamper humanitarian responses.

The IOM Republic of Korea (ROK) Mission, with support from the Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), hosted the ‘Security Awareness Induction Online Training’ on 8 to 9 June 2021. The training was organized to strengthen the ability of ROK humanitarian workers to prevent and respond to possible risk situations during their field missions. Due to the current pandemic situation, the event was delivered fully online with live lectures and group discussions.

The training was led by three UN-certified security experts from IOM Office of Staff Security (OSS) Bangkok and Headquarters - Maricar Purugganan Adkins, Security Policy and Training Coordination Officer; Hakan ‘’Hokki’’ Salo, Regional Security Officer; and Thitiwan Vijitsopha, Regional Security Support Officer.

“IOM is one of the leaders in delivering security trainings. This training will greatly help the ROK NGO participants to build knowledge of personal security and safety in field environments, which is an important baseline for successful delivery of humanitarian assistance on the ground.” said Dr. Nenette Motus, IOM Regional Director for the Asia and the Pacific in her opening remarks.

William Wairoa-Harrison, IOM Director of the Office of Staff Security added, “Security awareness is one of the most important programs delivered in the UN system. I am glad that we can roll out this program online amid the pandemic for ROK humanitarian professionals, and I am confident that this will be undoubtfully beneficial for all the participants at both personal and organizational levels.”

The first day was aimed at building the knowledge of the participants on the security risks in hostile field environments and how to enhance their personal security awareness. The trainer explained the potential security risks when working in the field and the basic principles of personal security awareness and security risk management. The lecture was followed by a group work, plenary discussion and closed with Q&As.

On day two, the course focused on enhancing the awareness and knowledge about the preventive and mitigating measures for hostage incidents. Lectures covered the probability of hostage incidents in a field mission and the measures to decrease its likelihood, to enable the participants to effectively prevent and cope with the aggression. Attendees were encouraged to actively interact with the trainers through live polls and online group communication platform.

The course was also supplemented by pre-assignments such as a scenario-based individual exercise and completion of BSAFE by the United Nations Department for Safety and Security (UN DSS).

A total of 20 Korean NGO workers, especially who are scheduled to be dispatched or to travel to the field attended the training and 19 completed.

Since 2015, IOM ROK has been providing capacity-building support for ROK humanitarian actors with financial support from USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA). The training was organized as part of this capacity-building support program.

For more information, please contact Eunice Jieun KIM, IOM Republic of Korea Mission, Tel.: +82 70 4820 0291, Email:

Language English Posted: Monday, June 14, 2021 - 16:47Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and Partnerships
Categories: PBN

IOM Mourns Death of Former Director-General William Lacy Swing

Sat, 06/12/2021 - 14:34

Geneva – William Lacy Swing, former Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and longtime US diplomat, has died in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. He was 86 years old.

"It is with a heavy heart that I learned of my predecessor's passing today," IOM Director General António Vitorino said on Saturday. "His was a life of service to his country and humanity, and a source of inspiration to us all."

Swing was born in Lexington, North Carolina in the United States in 1934. He entered the Foreign Service after graduating from Yale University (1956) and completing postgraduate studies in Germany (1960).

Over four decades, his diplomatic career included six US Ambassadorial postings, in the Republic of the Congo, Liberia, South Africa, Nigeria, Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Congo before retiring from the US Foreign Service in 2001 and embarking on a second career with the United Nations.

Swing often told the story of arriving in Port Elizabeth, South Africa, as a junior foreign service officer in 1963 as Nelson Mandela was being transferred to Robben Prison. He returned 26 years later as Ambassador to witness Mandela's release and subsequent presidency over post-Apartheid South Africa and cited that transformation as an example of the seismic changes that can occur over the course of a single lifetime.

Prior to joining IOM Swing served as United Nations Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General in Western Sahara (2001-2003) and the DRC (2003-2008). He was elected Director General of IOM in 2008, steering the Organization for the next decade through its greatest period of expansion since the organization’s foundation in 1951.

Under Mr. Swing’s stewardship, IOM grew into an agency with an annual operating budget of an estimated USD1.5 billion and more than 10,000 staff working in over 150 countries worldwide. IOM currently has 174 Member States.

Swing felt strongly that IOM's future lay in formalizing the well-established working relationship between the Organization and the United Nations system. In September 2016, then-DG Swing and Secretary-General Ban-Ki Moon signed the agreement that established IOM – UN Migration – as a related organization of the UN.

As UN Migration, IOM became the point of reference in the global debate on the social, economic and political implications of migration in the 21st century.

Shortly before to his retirement in 2018, Swing heralded the completion of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration as an important milestone to improve international cooperation on migration. 

“This is not the end of the undertaking but the beginning of a new historic effort to shape the global agenda on migration for decades to come,” he said at the time.

IOM staff around the world are deeply saddened by the news of Mr. Swing’s passing and extend their deepest condolences to his family.

He has a son, Brian, and a daughter, Gabrielle, and has lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia with his wife Yuen Cheong since his retirement.

Language English Posted: Saturday, June 12, 2021 - 20:26Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

A tireless advocate on behalf of migrants and refugees, DG Swing was interviewed by the BBC in Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh, in Oct 2017, as hundreds of thousands of Rohingya were fleeing across the border from Myanmar. Photo: IOM/ Muse Mohammed

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: International Cooperation and Partnerships
Categories: PBN

IOM Calls for Greater Support for Families of Migrants Missing en Route to Spain

Fri, 06/11/2021 - 11:09

Berlin – More than 9,100 people are known to have died on irregular migration routes to Spain since 1988, according to records collected by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project and the Andalusian Association for Human Rights (APDHA). The vast majority disappeared at sea, and their remains were never recovered. Others have been buried, unidentified, in unnamed graves.

Their families are left with no news, struggling to find answers that may never come.

Research published today by the International Organization of Migration (IOM)’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) and the Missing Migrants Project found that families of migrants missing on irregular migration routes to Spain face multiple obstacles in their efforts to trace their missing relatives. Most families are left to deal with the challenges themselves, as there are no specific programmes to support them.

“The disappearance of people on migration journeys has a devastating impact on their relatives and loved ones which can last a lifetime – particularly if the fate and whereabouts of those missing are never established,” said Frank Laczko, IOM GMDAC Director in Berlin.

The research, carried out in collaboration with Gabriella Sanchez (research coordinator of the IOM project) and Carlos Arce at the University of Córdoba, found that families of missing migrants in Spain were unable to report their relatives’ disappearances due to the lack of a centralized body or entity in the country to address missing-migrant cases.

Some families living in Spain were reluctant to report the disappearance of their loved ones given their immigration status and the precariousness associated with it. Others had contacted a range of authorities but obtained no answers. A few families reported having been victims of scams and fraud intended to extract money from them in exchange for information. Others in countries of origin stated that they were unable to travel to Spain for the purpose of a search given the complex visa requirements.

“You know, as time goes by, there [is] no news. We just want to know if he is alive or dead. We just want to know something,” said Mohammed, a Moroccan man living in Spain who is searching for his missing older brother. “He was my favourite brother. I always looked up to him. I am still searching for him.”

The ongoing humanitarian crisis of deaths and disappearances on migration routes to Spain and Europe broadly highlights the need to improve mechanisms to search and identify missing and deceased migrants, and provide answers to their families. While the priority has been to provide humanitarian and emergency assistance to those who arrive irregularly in Spain, the search for missing persons and the identification of the deceased are humanitarian duties too.

The report recognizes Spain’s longstanding efforts and commitment to saving lives at sea and suggests ways in which these efforts could be complemented by additional actions to help the families of those who go missing on their journeys to find answers. The findings of the research are intended to contribute to the implementation of Objective 8 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which calls on States to save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants, identify those who have died or gone missing, and to facilitate communication with affected families. IOM calls on States to honour their commitments under the Global Compact for Migration and take urgent action to establish mechanisms allowing families of missing migrants to receive answers about the fate of their loved ones.


Find the new report “Families of missing migrants: Their search for answers, the impacts of loss and recommendations for improved support” here.

“Living without them – Stories of families left behind” is a 4-part podcast series produced by IOM about the research project with families of missing migrants. Listen to the fourth episode about the stories of families of missing migrants in Spain here.


For more information, please contact:

In Berlin: Jorge Galindo, Email:, Tel: +49 160 179 1536

In Madrid: Oussama Elbaroudi, Email:, Tel: +34 915 943 670

In Brussels: Ryan Schroeder, Email:, Tel: +32 (0) 492 25 02 34

In Geneva: Safa Msehli, Email:, Tel: +41 79 403 5526

Language English Posted: Friday, June 11, 2021 - 17:02Image: Region-Country: SpainGlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

A young man tells the research team about his missing older brother, who disappeared on his migration journey to Spain years ago. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Migrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants RightsMigration ManagementMissing MigrantsReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

IOM Addresses Child Labour for Undocumented Returnee Families in Afghanistan

Fri, 06/11/2021 - 10:10

Kabul – More than half of children aged 5-7 in Afghanistan are engaged in work of some kind. The COVID-19 pandemic has further worsened the situation as the loss of livelihoods, coupled with school closures, is likely to have precipitated increased reliance on child labour for families struggling to make ends meet.

Over 18.4 million Afghans – almost half the population – are now in need of humanitarian support according to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), yet the humanitarian response for 2021 remains just 13 per cent funded nearly halfway through the year.

This poverty, coupled with the upsurge in violence since intra-Afghan peace talks began last September, has seen unprecedented numbers of undocumented Afghan migrants returning from neighbouring Iran and Pakistan. Between January-May 2021 alone, more than 490,000 undocumented Afghans returned – an increase of 42 per cent on the same period in 2020, of which more than half are deportees.

IOM’s Protection Monitoring data shows undocumented returnees increasingly turned to child labour to support themselves during the course of the last year (from 19% reported in May-July 2020 to 35% in January 2021).

“Undocumented returnees often return worse off than before they left because they have sold property or borrowed money in order to pay for their passage,” noted Floriane Echegut, IOM Afghanistan’s Protection Programme Manager.

“The drivers of outward migration are largely due to insecurity and lack of income, but when people are forced to return, these issues are compounded by the deteriorating situation here.  Sending school-age children out to work is often essential to the survival of these families, but it places children at significant risk.”

Children in Afghanistan endure some of the worst forms of child labour from being recruited into the armed conflict, to brick production, in agriculture and mines, and most visibly on the streets as beggars and porters.

Noorullah* (40) was deported from Iran as the COVID-19 pandemic hit. A father of six, he had been working as a casual labourer picking fruit and sending remittances home to support his family. Once home, he was unable to get by on the scant work available in the winter months, and reluctantly took three of his children out of school to work and help support the family. His teenage son went to work as a live-in servant and his two younger sons were forced to beg on the streets, collecting plastic and wood for cooking and heating the home.

Following a comprehensive case assessment by IOM’s Protection caseworker, Noorullah and his wife Bahar* received cash assistance to help meet their family’s immediate needs and pay off some of the debts accrued. They had enough to start a small bakery in their home, which meant regular income for the household. This enabled Noorullah and his wife to send their children back to school – the two youngest boys stopped begging, and Noorullah brought his eldest son back to live with the family.

Noorulah and Bahar are relieved that they can support their children’s education and provide them with a better life thanks to the income of their cottage bakery: “I was exhausted, really sick and tired of doing daily wage jobs,” said Noorullah. “Now I’m self-employed, running a business which was a dream which has turned into a reality, thanks to IOM.”


* Not their real names

Notes to editors:

IOM’s Protection programme is operational at border points and in 11 provinces of high return across Afghanistan to support safe and dignified return and reintegration for undocumented returnees and their families facing protection risks through provision of information, referral to specialist services, and provision of cash for protection. For IOM’s COVID-19 Protection Monitoring reports, visit:

For more information, please contact at IOM Afghanistan: Floriane Echegut, Email: or Victoria Goodban, Tel: +93791730363, Email: , or Itayi Viriri at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Tel: +66659390934, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 11, 2021 - 15:39Image: Region-Country: AfghanistanDefault: Multimedia: 

A child takes a rest from carrying the wood he collected in a refugee settlement. Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: ChildrenMigration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

Empowering Migrants is Key to COVID-19 Recovery

Thu, 06/10/2021 - 13:48

Joint press release UNDP–IOM

Geneva – A joint research by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) conducted in nine countries shows that the pandemic has increased poverty and unemployment for many migrants and their families. Data collected in Bangladesh, Belarus, El Salvador, Guinea, Indonesia, Kyrgyz Republic, Lesotho, the Republic of Moldova and Peru showed that travel restrictions have left a significant number of migrants stranded, with others forced to return to their home countries where they face hardship.

The heads of the two UN agencies emphasized migration’s prospective role in COVID-19 recovery at an online event held today to discuss how the pandemic has impacted migrant communities – and how the slowdown in migration due to travel restrictions has hurt economies and people. They further reiterated the need for migrants and migration to be part of COVID-19 recovery plans as countries rebuild their economies and societies after this crisis.

“Migration is interconnected with sustainable development at many levels, and it is clear that, without incorporating migrants and migration in all planning and programming, we cannot recover from COVID-19 and achieve the 2030 Agenda,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.

“Critical to this is the inclusion of people on the move into global vaccination efforts. ... This is not only critical to ensure public health and reduce inequality, but to empower migrant contributions to the pandemic response.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a development crisis and exacerbated vulnerabilities in fragile, crisis-affected settings,” said the Administrator of the UN Development Programme, Achim Steiner,  echoing IOM. “Global efforts to eradicate poverty and hunger, improve health and education, and promote gender equality will simply not succeed if development plans and sectoral policies do not incorporate migrants.”

The study further shows that:

  • As many as 180,000 Indonesian migrant workers returned home in 2020, with 75 percent facing unemployment and some households seeing a 60 percent drop in income.
  • More than 150,000 of the Kyrgyz Republic’s 1 million migrants returned from working abroad in a context marked by the already-high unemployment and 10 percent contraction in the economy brought about by COVID-19, placing pressure on public services.
  • Increased discrimination and stigma among women in Kyrgyz Republic with 80 percent restricted from managing their own money by their families.
  • In La Unión in El Salvador, where much of the population works overseas and has since returned, one in three households had a family member who lost their job.

At the same time, migrants have played a key role in responding to the pandemic, especially in key sectors such as health care and agriculture as essential workers. Some of the worst-hit countries – including the United States, France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Chile and Belgium – depend heavily on migrants for the provision of healthcare (OECD). In the UK, a third of doctors and a fifth of nurses are foreign-born (ONS). Other hard-hit countries also depend on migrants in service, sales, agriculture, forestry and fisheries sectors.

Remittances – the money earned by migrants and sent home to their families – contribute enormously to economies and societies by paying for education, groceries and businesses and proved invaluable for saving lives during this pandemic. When investment and direct aid to low- and middle-income countries dried up, remittances did not.

It is therefore essential, say both IOM and UNDP, for national and local authorities to include people on the move within their policies and plans for economic and social recovery. This must include plans to combat xenophobia and discrimination, as this also can damage economies and societies.

Both IOM and UNDP are working together to achieve this in several communities. Among some of the joint efforts discussed at the online event were projects that mitigate the hardships caused by the pandemic and enable migrants to contribute to their communities in meaningful ways.

To learn more about the UNDP-IOM seed funding initiative to fast-track joint response to the socioeconomic impact of COVID-19, please visit Migration for Development website. 


For further information, please contact:

Manuel Hoff, IOM HQ, Migration and Sustainable Development Unit, Email:

David Khoudour, UNDP HQ, Crisis Bureau - Recovery Solutions and Human Mobility Team, Email:


Language English Posted: Thursday, June 10, 2021 - 19:38Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

Venezuelan and Peruvian artists painted murals in Lima, Peru to debunk discriminatory and xenophobic discourse during COVID-19. Photo: UNDP Peru 2021/Giulianna Camarena

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Migration ManagementMigration and the 2030 AgendaReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

More than 90 Malians Return Home Safely in Charter Flight from Chad

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 14:58

N’Djamena – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) assisted 95 Malians including 72 women and children to return home from Chad, in coordination with the Governments of Chad and Mali. The migrants boarded a special flight on 01 June chartered as part of IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme.  

Among those who benefitted from the AVR assistance were people who had left Mali hoping to reach to Europe but ended up stranded in Chad, and others whose livelihoods have been pushed into socioeconomic precarity as a result of COVID-19. 

Chad is an important hub for African migration attracting hundreds of thousands of people from across the continent. In the North particularly, thousands of migrants travel to work in artisanal gold mines or cross the borders, either into Libya with the hope of going to Europe, or to return from Libya to escape traumatic experiences. 

recent report by IOM shows that, between August 2019 and September 2020, over 9,700 migrants crossing to Libya from Chad were observed at Flow Monitoring Points (FMPs) in the North. During the same period, some 11,700 others were observed going from Libya into Chad. 

“These migration journeys can be very risky as the routes are not always safe and migrants are vulnerable to abuse, including labour and sexual exploitation,” says Jean-Claude Bashirahishize, Programme Manager for Migrant Assistance and Protection with IOM Chad.  

Sékou Coulibaly, a 22-years old Malian, never thought his journey would take him to Chad.  

“I was a mine worker back home in one of the artisanal gold mines in the Kangaba Circle [Southwestern Mali]. One day, a big company came and took over our mine, so we had to move out”, Sekou remembers. 

Faced with a dwindling income and limited prospects, Sekou decided to sell his equipment and leave Mali in the hope of reaching Europe. 

“I have friends who had done the journey and told me how to go about it. I travelled from Mali to Niger to Algeria and finally reached Libya,” he recounts. 

“In Libya, I paid 300 euros to a coxeur [smuggler] who got me on an inflatable boat. But the boat got punctured at sea and the coastguard brought us back. I escaped to Benghazi where I worked for a couple of months to earn a bit of money. Then I travelled to to Kufra, then to Faya [Northern Chad] and finally N’Djamena by road. By the time I reached N’Djamena, I had nothing left.” 

Sekou was referred to IOM for assistance by the Embassy of Mali in Chad. IOM has been working closely with the Chadian Government and Diplomatic Missions in Chad since 2019 to develop a referral mechanism through which vulnerable migrants can be promptly referred to appropriate protection mechanisms. 

“IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance activities, including assisted voluntary return, ensure that stranded and vulnerable migrants have access to safe and dignified ways to return home, should they wish to, and reunite with their families”, Mr. Bashirahishize continues.   

The charter flight was made possible through the Regional Development and Protection Programme in North Africa (RDPP-NA), a flagship programme implemented in North Africa to enhance the protection of vulnerable migrants, and provide immediate as well as direct assistance such as voluntary return and reintegration. 

Since its launch in 2019, the programme has helped more than 300 migrants stranded in Chad safely return home to over nine countries including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, The Democratic Republic of the Congo, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.  

Upon their return, eligible migrants can receive reintegration assistance which can include psychosocial counselling, skills training, referral, or in-kind assistance to set-up individual, collective or community-based socio-economic projects. 


For more information, please contact François-Xavier Ada, Tel: +221 77 345 7454, Email: 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - 14:51Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Sékou Coulibaly, a Malian migrant who received AVR assistance. Photo: IOM

95 migrants including 50 women return home safely through IOM’s voluntary return assistance. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Migrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants Rights
Categories: PBN

IOM Provides Food, Water to Latest Group of Rohingya Rescued in East Aceh, Indonesia

Tue, 06/08/2021 - 11:59

Jakarta/East Aceh – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is continuing to provide food, drinking water and medical support as part of coordinated efforts to help 81 Rohingya, mostly women and children, rescued by local fishermen in East Aceh on Friday (04/06) after a perilous journey. 

A spokesperson from the group told IOM that they set off from Kutupalong and Falong Khali camps in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh in the first week of February 2021, headed for Malaysia.  

Three days after they set sail, the boat’s engine broke down and they were left floating at sea. Four days later, they were located and rescued by the Indian Navy in the Andaman Islands.  

"Nine people died due to sickness before being rescued by the Indian Navy," said the spokesperson.  

“We did not have enough drinking water supply, so we had to drink the seawater. Unfortunately, some of us got sick after drinking it.” 

The group – consisting of 45 women, 17 men and 19 children – remained on one of the Andaman Islands for almost four months before continuing their journey in mid-May following the first cyclone of the season.  

They experienced engine problems again near East Aceh last week. Local fishermen discovered their vessel and brought them to safety on Friday. Upon disembarkation, the local government of Aceh immediately conducted rapid COVID-19 tests and COVID-19 vaccinations for all arrivals.   

“Thanks are due again to local community members and authorities in Indonesia for assisting the disembarkation, which – in a humanitarian spirit – has clearly been a life-saving intervention,” said Louis Hoffmann, IOM Chief of Mission in Indonesia. 

"We are pleased to be working with partners including the Government of Indonesia, the Geutanyoe Foundation and our donors to ensure a coordinated response to the health and safety of this group at their initial landing site in East Aceh.” 

Hoffmann added that important next steps are now underway to help assess and stabilize this group in a more sustainable location in close coordination with UNHCR – the UN Refugee Agency –, and other partners. 

This latest rescue comes almost exactly 12 months after 99 Rohingya, mostly women and children, were rescued by local Acehnese fishermen after being stranded at sea for more than 120 days.  

"With the experience of last year’s arrivals, we have been able to move quickly to assess initial health and nutritional needs, and – with the leadership of the Government – put in place pandemic health protocols to ensure the protection of this group and local community members,” Hoffman said.  

Roughly 1,400 Rohingya found themselves stranded at sea during the 2020 sailing season, which typically ends with the arrival of the monsoon in early June. At least 130 are reported to have died

“Once again, as the monsoon season gets underway, the dangers facing any vessel at sea increase by the day and we therefore reiterate that a coordinated response to this situation, inclusive of search and rescue operations and safe disembarkation, is urgently needed,” said Dr Nenette Motus, IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. 

“Even as we continue to grapple with the COVID-19 pandemic, particularly in this region, we must work collectively to avoid a repeat of the 2015 crisis when thousands of men, women and children faced tremendous challenges in accessing life-saving care and support and many lost their lives at sea.” 

IOM’s emergency response to assist the Rohingya disembarkation in Aceh is funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC). 

For further information, please contact Ariani Hasanah Soejoeti at IOM Indonesia, email: , tel: +628122726308 or Itayi Viriri at IOM´s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Tel: +63 917 890 8785, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 8, 2021 - 17:28Image: Region-Country: IndonesiaDefault: Multimedia: 

Indonesian authorities conducted COVID-19 screenings and provided vaccines to all 81 people rescued by Acehnese fishermen on Friday after their vessel, which left Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, bound for Malaysia in February, encountered engine trouble. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Emergency Relief and ProtectionHealthInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

IOM Strengthens Preparedness Efforts ahead of Cyclone and Monsoon Season in Cox’s Bazar

Fri, 06/04/2021 - 10:04

Cox’s Bazar – Cox’s Bazar, home to 900,000 Rohingya refugees, narrowly avoided Cyclone Yaas last week – the Bay of Bengal’s second major storm of the cyclone season that went on to do over USD 2 billion damage elsewhere in Bangladesh and India. 

As it has in the past, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is helping communities in Bangladesh prepare for and respond to the cyclones that are a feature of the monsoon by strengthening infrastructure, preparing for possible medical emergencies and providing cyclone preparedness training to dozens of new volunteers. 

“When the rains hit, an emergency situation will be inevitable,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, IOM Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh.  

“It is crucial we work together now to mitigate the risks before the disaster occurs. We need to be able to respond swiftly and effectively during such crises.” 

Cox’s Bazar is one of the most disaster-prone districts in the country, subject to cyclones, monsoons, strong winds, floods, landslides and other natural hazards. These disasters can cause mass casualties, disrupt humanitarian access, and severely damage shelters and other critical facilities.  

Special attention has been given to refugees currently hosted in the three camps gutted by a devastating fire in March. Close to 50,000 refugees displaced by the fire live in tarpaulin shelters on unstable slopes, which will quickly turn to mud when the rains arrive.  

More than 4.4 million people were displaced by storms and floods in Bangladesh in 2020, many of whom were pre-emptively evacuated and are unable to return home. These are the highest displacement figures recorded for Bangladesh since data became available in 2008. 

This year, IOM is assessing the risk of landslides, strengthening drainage networks, installing slope protection measures and upgrading key pathways. 

Landslides and mud could cause road closures and blockages of major drains and waterways so IOM teams and machines are on standby to help humanitarian and government agencies clear the debris to keep vital access routes open.  

They are also engaged in tie-down activities, preparing the stock of emergency shelter kits and supporting actors with site planning and shelter improvements. Protection staff stand ready to assist extremely vulnerable individuals, including women and children, who need tailored assistance or relocation support. 

Such catastrophes can result in acute medical emergencies requiring immediate first aid and resuscitation, trauma management, referrals and psychosocial support. Four primary health-care centres and six health posts have been supplied with mass casualty incident kits. 

IOM and its implementing partners have also trained and equipped 10 mobile medical teams and 350 community health workers to act as first responders, while 11 ambulances are ready to respond. 

In close collaboration with local authorities, IOM supports early warning systems for host communities. A total of 1,655 volunteers have been trained to respond to cyclones and 20 multi-purpose shelters have been made accessible for emergency evacuation.  

Thousands of refugees and host community members have received search and rescue and first aid training, with support from the Bangladesh Fire Service and Civil Defence Department. They will act as community focal points in emergency situations, spreading early warning messages and helping the frontline response.  

IOM and its partners have trained an additional 100 volunteers in each camp on cyclone preparedness and the flag warning system. The volunteers are now disseminating awareness-raising messages to community members and responding to community requests. 

“It is vital to inform and support our fellow community members, so they are ready to respond and protect themselves and others when the weather conditions worsen,” said Abdul, one of the volunteers. 

Additionally, masks and hand sanitizer are readily available, and personal protective gear – including search and rescue kits, first aid kits and life vests – has been provided to all volunteers in fire-affected camps. 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac, Tel: +880 1880 094 048, Email:, or Tarek Mahmud, Tel: + 880 1752 380 240, Email:, at IOM Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar. 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 4, 2021 - 14:10Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM teams are working with host and refugee community members in Cox’s Bazar, one of Bangladesh’s most disaster-prone districts, to prepare for the upcoming monsoon and cyclone season. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

IOM teams work with host and refugee community members in Cox’s Bazar, one of Bangladesh’s most disaster-prone districts, to prepare for the upcoming monsoon and cyclone season. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

IOM teams work with host and refugee community members in Cox’s Bazar, one of Bangladesh’s most disaster-prone districts, to prepare for the upcoming monsoon and cyclone season. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

IOM teams work with host and refugee community members in Cox’s Bazar, one of Bangladesh’s most disaster-prone districts, to prepare for the upcoming monsoon and cyclone season. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionEnvironment and Climate ChangeInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

IOM, The Remedy Project Launch Operational Guidelines for Businesses on Remediation of Migrant Worker Grievances

Thu, 06/03/2021 - 12:33

Bangkok – Today (3 June) at the 2021 United Nations Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched the Operational Guidelines for Businesses on Remediation of Migrant Worker Grievances (hereafter, ‘the Guidelines’) which provide support to the private sector to develop voluntary remediation programmes that effectively redress grievances of migrant workers in their supply chains.

The Guidelines were produced in partnership with The Remedy Project – a social enterprise that promotes the rights of migrant workers in accessing remedies – and in consultation with industry groups, technical experts, UN agencies and civil society,

The guidelines provide companies with a clear 7-step framework to develop and implement a voluntary remediation program to address workers’ grievances. In particular, the 7-steps highlight the importance of building trust with workers by actively involving them and/or their representatives in the design and development of the remediation programme. The Guidelines also underline how learning and constantly incorporating feedback are as crucial as the implementation of redress.  

“In recent years, IOM has established positive and productive partnerships with private sector actors spanning from large multinationals to small and medium-sized enterprises to promote the human and labour rights of migrant workers in their supply chains and operations, primarily through our Asia-regional CREST initiative. These Guidelines are IOM’s direct response to the needs raised to us by business partners about how to address migrant workers’ grievances in supply chains,” said Dr. Nenette Motus, IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific.

The Guidelines, which are grounded in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, international labour standards and industry good practices, provide key practices, case study examples, additional options and guidance under each step for users to easily follow and adopt.

“A worker-centric remediation program requires companies to actively engage with workers or workers-based community throughout the process, it is not only enhancing trust and effectiveness of the program, but the feedback generated during the process can also contribute to the continuous learning and on-going human rights due diligence of the company,” said Archana Kotecha, CEO and founder of The Remedy Project.

For IOM, the development of the Guidelines has been important for articulating the organization’s vision for how grievance and remediation mechanisms should be designed, implemented and monitored inclusive of migrant workers. 

IOM will continue to engage with diverse partners to realize this vision and to mobilize true transformation.

The Guidelines can be found at:

For more information, please contact at CREST, Maximilian Pottler, at Tel: +842838222057, Email: or Itayi Viriri at IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Tel: +66659390934, Email: 

Language English Posted: Thursday, June 3, 2021 - 17:33Image: Region-Country: ThailandDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: International Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

Goma Volcano Eruption Displaces 415,700 People as IOM Prepares Response

Tue, 06/01/2021 - 11:40

Goma – The eruption of Mount Nyiragongo volcano has forced more than 415,000 people, nearly half of whom are children, to leave Goma, according to thousands of individual assessments carried out by the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix. 

An estimated 86 per cent of the internally displaced, 114,000 people, have moved to Masisi; a further 77,000 have travelled to Rutshuru. Roughly 52,000 people have crossed the border into Rwanda. 

IOM’s data collectors have spoken to 6,000 people around the affected area. They report that an estimated 47 per cent of those on the move are under the age of 18, and approximately 58 per cent are female. 

IOM classifies at least 28 per cent of the displaced coming from vulnerable groups. This includes children under five, breastfeeding women, the chronically ill, pregnant women, unaccompanied children, elderly people and those with mental health issues and physical disabilities.  

Displaced persons have fled mainly on foot but also by boat, vehicles, motorcycles, buses and trucks. 

“People are still mobile, with some leaving and a small number returning to the city,” said Fabien Sambussy, IOM Chief of Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

“Should the displacement last, it is essential that we consider how we are going to prevent the spread of epidemics, facilitate humanitarian assistance and send children back to school.” 

IOM is particularly concerned by the health hazards linked to the eruption itself, the displacement to areas with pre-existing outbreaks, the lack of access to clean water and the increased burden placed on health facilities.  

To address the risk of outbreaks – in particular cholera – and mental health and psychosocial needs, IOM is boosting disease surveillance efforts among displaced and host communities, looking for ways to scale up services, and supporting health facilities through donations, trainings and more. 

For more information, please contact Abibo Ngandu,,  or Paul Dillon at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 636 98 74, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoDefault: Multimedia: 

People displaced from the eruption of Mount Nyiragongo volcano arrive at the Kituku Port in Goma after fleeing from Kalehe district. Photo: IOM/Anshobozize Gubanja Anatole

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: DTMEmergency Relief and ProtectionInternal DisplacementInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

IOM Joins UN Regional Leaders in Call for Concrete Steps to Integrate Human Rights Standards into Business Practice

Tue, 06/01/2021 - 11:04

Bangkok – A leading regional forum has urged a renewed commitment from business and governments to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Regional Heads from eight United Nations (UN) organizations released a joint video statement calling for the “principled collaboration of business and the international community,” to address growing gaps in social justice, public health and environmental progress.  

The UN leaders urged delegates at this year’s Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum (1-4 June) to take “tangible, meaningful steps” on responsible business practices, women’s empowerment, protection of migrants’ rights, climate action, human rights due diligence and the use of data in the monitoring of international standards on labour and the environment.   

“Let us commit to action for an economic development that is inclusive and safeguards our environment,” the statement said.  

In her recorded message, Dr Nenette Motus, the International Organization for Migration´s (IOM) Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, emphasized the important role migrant workers have played during the pandemic. “During the pandemic, frontline workers, many of them migrants, have played critical roles in all types of businesses, which have benefitted indirectly through, for example, their staff’s reliance on migrant care workers for necessary healthcare, childcare, housework and more. We must recognize the countless benefits and development impact that come with migration when it is managed in a safe, regular and orderly manner. A successful recovery will only be possible if it is fully inclusive of migrants,” said Dr Motus.  

The Forum takes place on the eve of the 10th anniversary of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights – considered a foundational guide to global human rights standards for business.   

Over 46 scheduled panel sessions featuring more than 200 experts, it will assess progress and responses to business and human rights challenges including eradicating the worst forms of child labour, eliminating violence and harassment in supply chains and ensuring women’s empowerment to create more inclusive value chains, among others.   

The event comes as many nations in the Asia Pacific region are grappling with the serious public health and economic consequences of a damaging phase in the pandemic. Discussions will also reflect on the impact of COVID-19 on progress towards the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.   

While the pandemic has highlighted pre-existing protection gaps, the Forum will also examine a wider context of issues relating to responsible business, including climate change and environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, rising inequality, shrinking civic space and lack of accountability, among others. The need for structural and systemic change to realize sustainable development for all has become increasingly urgent.  

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, the Forum is virtual this year, gathering participants on a dedicated internet platform. More than 2,000 delegates from governments, business, civil society organizations and workers’ groups have signed up for this year’s event.  

Hosts of the UN Responsible Business and Human Right Forum include the International Labour Organization (ILO), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (UNWG). 

The event is sponsored by the European Union (EU) and The Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).  


For more information or to follow discussions live, go to 

Media Contact: Itayi Viriri at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Tel: +66 65 939 0934, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: ThailandDefault: Multimedia: 

A leading regional forum has urged a renewed commitment from business and governments to accelerate progress towards the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. Photo: Husain Akbar

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementMigration and the 2030 AgendaReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

IOM Announces Appointment of New Deputy Directors General

Mon, 05/31/2021 - 13:47

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) today announced the selection by Director General António Vitorino of two new Deputy Directors General during a special session of the IOM Member State Council in Geneva.

Amy E. Pope will assume the position of Deputy Director General for Management and Reform.

A national of the United States, Ms Pope currently serves as Senior Advisor on Migration at the White House. Ms Pope previously served the United States government as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Homeland Security Advisor from 2015 to 2017, and as Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director on Transborder Security from 2013 to 2015.  She was trained as a lawyer and has held various functions with the US Justice Department and academic positions in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Ugochi Florence Daniels will assume the position of Deputy Director General for Operations.

A Nigerian national, Ms Daniels joins IOM from the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), where she currently serves as Chief of Staff to the Commissioner General. Prior to her assignment at UNRWA, Ms Daniels served as UN Resident Coordinator in Iran. In her previous career with the UN Population Fund, UNFPA, Ms Daniels held a variety of roles, including field assignments in Nepal and the Philippines, as well as the Agency’s headquarters in New York. She also worked for USAID and the private sector in Nigeria.

Their candidacies were presented by the United States and Nigeria, respectively. They were part of a pool of 25 candidates for the posts and were selected by the Director General following a rigorous process. Ms Daniels and Ms Pope bring to their respective positions a combination of strong skills and qualifications, diverse experiences and a strong commitment to IOM’s values and priorities.

“I have every confidence that they will help maintain the strong leadership, values and performance demonstrated by outgoing Deputy Director General Laura Thompson over the past decade,” DG Vitorino said.

They will assume their posts in September.


For more information, please contact Paul Dillon at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 636 9874, Email:

Language English Posted: Monday, May 31, 2021 - 19:39Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

Ugochi Florence Daniels will assume the position of Deputy Director General for Operations. 

Amy E. Pope will assume the position of Deputy Director General for Management and Reform.

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

IOM Statement on Recent Arrivals in Ceuta, Spain

Thu, 05/27/2021 - 11:09

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has followed with concern the unprecedented arrival of an estimated 9,000 migrants in Spain’s Ceuta enclave between Monday and Wednesday (17-19 May).

At least 1,500 children between the ages of seven and fifteen were among those who crossed into Ceuta in the span of 48 hours. While many have already been returned through family reunification and tracing assistance, some 800 remain accommodated in a warehouse in Ceuta.

The Organization encourages the ongoing efforts to provide assistance to minors and maintains that best interest of the child and protection safeguards must be the guiding principles in identifying solutions for them. IOM stands ready to support Spanish authorities in providing children with the needed tailored assistance, in coordination with partners on the ground.

“Our response has to prioritize the safety of people and guarantee access to protection and other forms of assistance regardless of the reasons that forced or prompted them to move,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.

“For migration management and the response to the needs of people on the move to be effective, collaboration and dialogue between host, transit and origin countries should be maintained.”

IOM recognizes the longstanding cooperation between Spain and Morocco and their mutual efforts to improve migration governance and encourages further efforts in this regard.

Some 26,400 people have arrived in the European Union via Mediterranean Sea routes since the beginning of 2021. While the numbers have increased compared to the same period last year, IOM believes the arrivals are manageable through better migration governance, including increased pathways for safe and dignified migration, and improved solidarity mechanisms amongst EU Member States as outlined in the currently discussed European Pact on Asylum and Migration.

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

Language English Posted: Thursday, May 27, 2021 - 17:03Image: Region-Country: SpainDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionMigration Management
Categories: PBN

New Cultural Memory Centre Ensures Continuity of Rohingya Heritage

Wed, 05/26/2021 - 10:10

Cox’s Bazar – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Rohingya community have jointly launched the Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre (RCMC), a multidisciplinary initiative which provides an online community space, interactive gallery, digital archive, and web-based exhibition, and one of the first significant attempts to comprehensively document and preserve the heritage of the Rohingya people. 

There are currently nearly 1 million Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar camps, inhabiting challenging settlements with limited avenues for expression. The RCMC offers psychosocial support through art therapy, protection and skills development activities led by IOM practitioners and mental health officers.

In 2019, IOM researchers in Cox’s Bazar started collecting and documenting cultural practices and objects shared amongst the Rohingya community from the Rakhine State in Myanmar. The centre tells the story of the Rohingya people through a comprehensive collection of cultural artefacts and artworks researched and produced by Rohingya refugee artists living in the camps. These efforts produced a thorough ethnographic map, detailing activities central to the Rohingya identity.

By providing the Rohingya community with the tools and platform to tell their story, the RCMC addresses the “identity crisis” named by three-quarters of the refugees as a key factor in their loss of well-being. The RCMC strives to function as a vehicle that preserves and enhances their rich culture, contributing towards strengthening the collective identity of the Rohingya population.

“The centre provides us with a platform to maintain our Rohingya culture and traditions,” said Shahida Win, a Rohingya poet and researcher with RCMC. “It gives us an opportunity to express our creativity, aspirations, memories and feelings through our arts.”

The collection is a portrait of a culture reflecting on its past, present and future, exploring the tensions between tradition and innovation, imagination and memory, displacement and belonging. It combines objects of tangible and intangible heritage, ranging from traditional architectural models to embroidery, pottery, basketry, woodwork, visual arts, music, storytelling, poetry, and more.

“The RCMC website offers a platform for the Rohingya people to share and build their stories with a global audience and to connect with the diaspora,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, IOM’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh. “By showcasing the beauty and complexity of the Rohingya heritage and people, the centre aims to empower the community and ensure the continuity of its cultural heritage for future generations,” he added.

The RCMC collection is only accessible online for the time being, but IOM is looking into finalizing the construction of an integrated multi-service hall. The structure will include the exhibition and workshop spaces and will be fully managed by the Rohingya community.

The Rohingya “walk-through” experience, an interactive exhibit spanning different areas of the Rohingya life, will be accessible once the culture hall is built in the camps. A key component of the project, the cultural hall will act as a learning centre on culture and tradition for the new and old generations of Rohingya.

All the artisans and researchers involved in RCMC activities receive proper acknowledgment and authorship for their work. Additionally, the centre’s artists-in-residence programme allows them to explore new processes and materials, innovating their crafts and creating new skills development opportunities. A dedicated Rohingya team is being trained to operate and manage the RCMC and its educational programmes.

The RCMC project was developed thanks to IOM’s ongoing collaboration with the Government of Bangladesh, and the support of the Swedish International Cooperation Agency (SIDA), Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development (DFATD), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Read more here

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac, Tel: +880 1880 094 048, Email:, or Tarek Mahmud, Tel: + 880 1752 380 240, Email:, at IOM Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar.  Language English Posted: Wednesday, May 26, 2021 - 15:51Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

The centre is one of the most significant attempts to comprehensively document and preserve the heritage of the Rohingya people. Photo: IOM 

Skilled artisans like Solimullah know how to make traditional Rohingya stone grinders used to mash spices and alliums into a paste for cooking.  Photo: IOM

For the project “Rohingya Memories of Home”, female artists embroidered their homes in Myanmar. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionHealthInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

COVID-19 Behind Unprecedented Changes in the Number of Migrants Moving Across East and Horn of Africa: IOM Report

Tue, 05/25/2021 - 10:32

Nairobi – At least 300,000 migrants across the East and Horn of Africa have been affected by COVID-19 in 2020, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s annual flagship report on migration trends and population movements in the region, released this week. 

The report, A Region on the Move, highlights the dire consequences of the pandemic for vulnerable migrants, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), refugees, asylum-seekers, unaccompanied minors, and returning and stranded migrants. The widespread air, land, and sea border closures, and other movement restrictions put in place to curb the spread of COVID-19, have severely impacted more than 300,000 people who largely depend on informal employment and the ability to move across borders for work and their survival. 

Thousands of migrants, mostly Ethiopian, are stranded in Djibouti, Somalia and Yemen, unable to continue their journey to reach Saudi Arabia via Yemen. According to the report, the number of crossings to Yemen from the Horn of Africa has dropped by an unprecedented 73 per cent compared to 2019, approximately 37,000 from 138,000.  

The extremely harsh conditions faced by migrants, exacerbated by the pandemic, also resulted in high numbers of people returning spontaneously from Yemen to Djibouti and Somalia. IOM estimates at least 32,000 migrants remain stranded in Yemen. 

Hundreds of thousands more across the East and Horn of Africa lack access to food, water, security and medical care. Personal Protective Equipment to guard against COVID-19 are in short supply, and currently there is no access to the COVID-19 vaccine.  

The region continues to be home to many of the world’s protracted displacement contexts, economic crises, conflicts and climate shocks, including the worst desert locust infestation in decades and a new crisis in Ethiopia’s Tigray region. Combined with the impact of COVID-19, these factors contributed to a rise in the number of IDPs in the East and Horn of Africa, reaching 6.5 million in December 2020 compared to 6.3 million in 2019. 

The IOM report concludes that while causes of migration in the East and Horn of Africa – namely poverty, conflict and environmental events – persist, the economic drivers have been further exacerbated by the pandemic. This is supported by a  recent study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) which finds that the long-term socio-economic impact of COVID-19 will widen the poverty gap between countries as an estimated 41 million people in low and medium development countries could be pushed into poverty by 2030, with the worst affected living in Africa. 

At the same time, migration has become even riskier as smugglers try to circumvent COVID-19 movement restrictions and maximize profits over migrants that undertake various journeys in the region. Unpredictable and prolonged movement restrictions may push more migrants towards irregular channels of migration and increasingly risky smuggling routes, according to the new findings.  

“Moving forward, we need to advance real alternatives to irregular migration and promote sustainable reintegration for migrants returning home,” said Mohammed Abdiker, Regional Director, IOM Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa. “We also need to see improved efforts to curb transnational organized crime regionally and internationally, that is responsible for so much of the smuggling of migrants and trafficking of persons in the region. Without this, the efforts of Member States to control migration will continue to be undermined and migrants will continue to suffer.”  

The report was published by the Regional Data Hub (RDH) for the East and Horn of Africa, which aims to support evidence-based, strategic and policy-level discussion on migration through a combination of initiatives. Recent publications from the RDH can be accessed here.

For more information, please contact the IOM Regional Office in Nairobi: Chiara Lucchini Gilerat, Tel: +254 715903354, Email: or Yvonne Ndege, Tel: +254 797735977, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 25, 2021 - 15:35Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaDefault: Multimedia: 

Migrants walking in the desert from Alat Ela to Fantahero in Djibouti. Photo: IOM 2020/Alexander BEE 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternal DisplacementMigration Management
Categories: PBN