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Updated: 2 hours 25 min ago

After ISIL, Agricultural Production Struggles to Recover in Parts of Iraq

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 07:06

Erbil — The Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) occupied large swathes of Iraqi territory between 2014 and 2017. The consequences of this occupation are still being felt in many rural areas where agricultural production was used as both a source of political propaganda and income, or destroyed as the group was forced out, a new IOM report says. 

It is estimated that the group’s brutal three-year occupation reduced Iraq’s agricultural capacity by 40 per cent. 

“It is necessary to prioritize the recovery and development of rural areas as part of our reconstruction and stabilization efforts,” said Siobhan Simojoki, Head of IOM Iraq’s Community Stabilization Unit. 

“Agriculture should be considered as an essential facet of the stabilization process and focus on this area can help balance out longstanding rural-urban economic inequalities.” 

The report, Rural Areas in Ninewa: Legacies of Conflict on Rural Economies and Communities in Sinjar and Ninewa Plains, published on 28 November focuses on agricultural output in Iraq’s third-largest governorate. Ninewa, in north-western Iraq, is also one of the country’s most fertile areas and has historically been the source of much of its grain and produce. 

ISIL benefitted from the 2014 harvest completed in the months before taking over Ninewa; the group then profited from sales of the harvest and rain-fed crops, while forcing workers to continue operating agricultural infrastructure. Finally, as ISIL was being pushed out, fighting, abuse, and revenge destruction caused severe lasting damage to the agricultural sector in the governorate. 

ISIL purposely targeted rural areas for strategic purposes, i.e., access to their own steady food supply and the option to sell off agricultural produce for financial gain, but their overuse and, in some cases, deliberate destruction of agricultural land has had long-term consequences on many rural areas. Almost two years after the military defeat of ISIL in Iraq, livestock are still missing in Ninewa, agricultural lands remain contaminated with explosives, and necessary machinery is lost or destroyed. 

To date, many stabilization and post-crisis development efforts have targeted urban areas. Ninewa’s role in Iraq’s agricultural industry suggests that rebuilding agricultural livelihoods is an essential component to achieving successful stabilization in Iraq.  

The presence of historically marginalized minorities in Ninewa’s rural areas is also of great importance, given the sensitivities of ethno-religious tensions related to land ownership; Ninewa Governorate is one of the most diverse in Iraq in terms of the number and prevalence of minorities. The new also report considers tensions in rural areas that have been worsened or ignited due to land and water policies, and agricultural decline under ISIL.  

The studies conducted for this report were funded by USAID, within the framework of the project Supporting the Return of Displaced Populations in the Ninewa Plains and Western Ninewa. 

For more information please contact IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit, Tel: +964 751 402 2811, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, November 29, 2019 - 13:55Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Migration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

It is estimated that agricultural capacity in Iraq was reduced by 40 per cent because of the ISIL crisis. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Flies Bangladeshi Migrants Home from Libya 

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 07:03

Dhaka – More than 150 Bangladeshi migrants including conflict wounded, survivors of failed sea crossings to Europe and former detainees returned home from Libya Thursday morning with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme.

The flight with 152 men aboard left Misrata on Wednesday bound for Dhaka’s Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport where they were met by IOM Bangladesh staff. The Organization worked closely with the Government of Bangladesh and the Libyan authorities to facilitate their safe return.

Mohammed Akmal, 38, who suffered shrapnel wounds during an airstrike on the factory where he worked earlier this month, told IOM staff that he wanted to thank his former employer for paying his hospital bills and IOM for getting him home.

“When I woke up in the hospital, I could not believe I was still alive. I could only think about my wife and children in Bangladesh,” he said.

The IOM team in Dhaka provided food, health screenings, psychosocial support, information and cash assistance for onward travel from the airport.

Supported by the European Union Trust Fund, returnees will also receive reintegration assistance to help them restart their lives. Since 2015, over 1,400 Bangladeshi migrants have returned home through the VHR programme.

Mohammed Rahman, a former student who quit his studies in Bangladesh to find work in Libya, said friends persuaded him to try and reach Europe. After surviving freezing temperatures and the terrors of the open sea, their vessel was returned to Libya by the coast guard where he and others were sent to a detention centre.

“I had no money, so I decided to return home,” he said. “I am happy that I am still alive and excited to return. I will complete my studies, graduate within a year and then start working.”

IOM Bangladesh Chief of Mission Giorgi Gigauri described voluntary humanitarian return and reintegration as “one of the most important services provided globally by IOM” adding that the stories told by the two men were not exceptional.

“These migrants found themselves in perilous conditions in Libya and desperate to get back home. We supported their return, ensuring their safety and dignity. We will also extend our support to help them achieve sustainable reintegration.”

For further information please contact Md. Sariful Islam at IOM Bangladesh, Tel. +880.1915631608, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, November 29, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationEUTFDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM in close coordination with the Government of Bangladesh has organized the voluntary return home of 152 Bangladeshi migrants from Libya. Photo: IOM 

IOM in close coordination with the Government of Bangladesh has organized the voluntary return home of 152 Bangladeshi migrants from Libya. Photo: IOM 

IOM in close coordination with the Government of Bangladesh has organized the voluntary return home of 152 Bangladeshi migrants from Libya. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ecuador, IOM, EU Pilot Scheme to Improve Sustainable Development through Migration

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 07:00

Quito – Ecuador has a rich migration experience as a country of origin, destination and transit for migrants in the Americas and other regions. It is recognized as a global pioneer in adopting a human rights-based approach to human mobility owing to its recognition of the importance of including migration and migrants into efforts to contribute to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.   

This week the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU) launched a pilot initiative with Ecuadorian partners to capitalize on the momentum behind the country’s efforts to work migration into development policies, plans and programmes with a special focus on employment and urban development.   

Ecuadorian Vice Minister for Human Mobility, Ambassador Carlos Velástegui, from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility said that one of the main reasons to include migration considerations in government policy is to generate employment opportunities.  

“This is fundamental to achieving success in integrating migrant groups,” he said in Quito this week at an IOM and EU-organized workshop that officially launched the project in Ecuador.  

The pilot aims to test the practical guidelines and training materials developed to better integrate migration into key development sectors. A programme of assessments, trainings, technical assistance and exchanges of practice with development partners will also be carried out.   

EU Ambassador to Ecuador, Marianne Van Steen, stressed the importance of the programme’s focus on inclusiveness, linking migrants and the larger community in a dynamic of mutually beneficial development.  

“The integration of migration into development programmes not only supports migrants but also improves cooperation interventions for inclusive development,” she said.  

“These dynamics are important to consider because the relationship between migration and sustainable development is a two-way street,” says IOM Chief of Mission in Ecuador, José Iván Dávalos. “Mainstreaming migration can improve sustainable development outcomes when opportunities are capitalized on, challenges are addressed or mitigated, and the rights of migrants and their families are protected,” he continued. 

The pilot is part of a larger EU-supported IOM programme called Mainstreaming Migration into Cooperation and Development (MMICD) project to integrate migration into and across key development sector plans, programmes, and policies in a bid to improve policy coherence and achieve effective, more sustainable development results.   

Language English Posted: Friday, November 29, 2019 - 13:45Image: Region-Country: EcuadorThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

MMICD pilot workshop in Quito, Ecuador on November 26 and November 27, 2019. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mobile Cinema Initiative Starts Tour in West Africa

Fri, 11/29/2019 - 07:00

Dakar – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week launched its mobile cinema caravan CinemArena which will tour across West Africa for five months highlighting the risks of irregular migration. 

The caravan started its regional tour in Tambacounda, Southern Senegal, one of the main source regions for irregular migration. It aims to inform Senegalese youth about the risks of irregular migration by bringing outdoor cinema events to more than 25 villages, reaching at least 8,000 people through 22 December. 

The activities include screenings of awareness-raising films on irregular migration, followed by workshops, Q&A sessions, theatre performances and other activities. 

“Returned migrants, local partners and artists have been working closely with IOM for a month to bring people together around cinema,” said Laurence Hart, Director of the IOM coordination office for the Mediterranean. 

“Some of the migrants who arrived in Italy told us they left without being fully aware of the difficulties of the journey and the violence they would be subjected to.” 

While Senegal is a key transit country for many West Africans traveling to Europe, it is also a sending country. In the past years, almost 20,000 Senegalese migrants reached Italy by sea (over 10,000 in 2016 and 6,000 in 2017) in search of better economic opportunities. 

In 2018, the route from West Africa to Spain became the most frequently used route into Europe: Senegal was ranked fifth in the total number of West African arrivals after Guinea, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and The Gambia. 

“I saved 500,000 FCFA (USD 1,000) to leave but after tonight, I’m so scared that I am going to tell everyone in my family what is happening outside of Senegal,” said Khady, after the debate organized the first evening. 

Getting clear, reliable information out to remote areas is a challenge, said Mia Barrett, Head of IOM’s Awareness Raising Unit at IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa. 

“Some of the key migration-prone areas in West Africa are so remote that information on the risks of irregular migration don’t reach those that need it most,” Barrett said. 

“Through movies, people can emotionally connect to the experiences of others – whether it be happiness or sadness. Community screenings are an effective way to bring important messages to rural areas.” 

After its stops in Senegal, CinemArena will travel onwards across Côte d’Ivoire and Guinea. 

The campaign is creating synergies with IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival and with other grassroots awareness-raising initiatives implemented in West Africa. Last year, the caravan visited five countries, reaching over 75,000 participants during 135 events. 

This caravan is organized in the framework of the CinemArena project – the mobile cinema initiative launched in 2002 by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (MAECI) and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and funded by the MAECI’s Africa Fund. It is implemented in partnership with Italy’s Ministry of Interior and IOM. 

For more information, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221 786206213, Email:; or Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996,  Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, November 29, 2019 - 13:37Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the CinemArena participants in 2018. IOM/Laura Di Castro 

Some of the CinemArena participants in 2018. IOM/Laura Di Castro 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Samsung Electronics, IOM Expand Efforts to Eradicate Forced Labour

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 04:00

Budapest – Samsung Electronics and IOM have hosted a workshop for Samsung’s Hungarian business partners on “Modern Slavery and Ethical Recruitment.” Samsung is the world's largest manufacturer of consumer electronics and semiconductors by revenue.

The workshop, on 26th November 2019, was attended by 35 participants from Samsung Hungary, local suppliers and other business partners, and was designed to raise awareness of how to reduce the business risks associated with modern slavery.

Globally, around 40 million people are the victims of modern slavery. According to IOM, Walk Free Foundation and the International Labour Organization (ILO), of these an estimated 25 million are victims of forced labor - often hidden in plain sight, yet working across all kinds of industries and geographies.

In Eastern Europe and Central Asia, which have the highest rates of modern slavery, there are an estimated 3.6 million victims. Some 91 percent are believed to be victims of forced labour.

The Budapest workshop is the second workshop held by Samsung Electronics and IOM as part of an ongoing effort to address modern slavery in the electronics industry. It follows an earlier workshop held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, in June 2019.

Both workshops aimed to raise awareness within the company and its business partners of the labour rights of migrant workers in its supply chains. Samsung’s commitment to prevent, identify and mitigate unethical recruitment practices is laid out in its Migrant Worker Guidelines.

The workshop included presentations by Samsung on its Migrant Worker Guidelines and basic workers’ rights, and by IOM on the characteristics, industry specific risks of modern slavery and Hungary’s legal frameworks to prevent forced labour. Business cases for taking action to counter modern slavery and strategies for ethical recruitment were also discussed.

Mitigating the risks of modern slavery in supply chains varies in different contexts. IOM’s global presence allows it to partner with the private sector to promote ethical recruitment for effective human rights management. Samsung Electronics will continue its efforts to tackle modern slavery and promote workers’ rights in its global supply chain with IOM support.

For more information please contact Youlan No at IOM ROK. Email:

Language English Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2019 - 10:57Image: Region-Country: HungaryThemes: Private Sector PartnershipsDefault: Multimedia: 

Samsung Electronics staff and partners work with IOM to promote ethical recruitment in Hungary. Photo: IOM

Samsung Electronics and IOM hosted a workshop on Modern Slavery and Ethical Recruitment. Photo: Samsung Electronics

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Focus on Social Cohesion at IOM Co-Hosted Global Municipal Forum in Turkey

Thu, 11/28/2019 - 02:22

Gaziantep – Leaders from four continents gathered in Gaziantep, Turkey, this week (26-27/11) to share local solutions for achieving social and economic inclusion of migrants and refugees.

The Municipal Forum on Local Solutions to Migration and Displacement builds on the principles outlined in the Marrakesh Mayors Declaration and the Global Compact on Migration (GCM) adopted by the UN General Assembly last year.

Turkey’s place as the largest refugee-hosting country in the world for five consecutive years puts it at the centre of the migration debate. The southern city of Gaziantep, a fitting location for the Forum, hosts half a million Syrian refugees and has been recognized as a model city for its success at actively integrating refugees and migrants.

The Forum was opened by Fuat Oktay, Vice President of the Republic of Turkey, and Fatma Sahin, Mayor of Gaziantep. They emphasized Turkey’s commitment to refugees, with the Vice President noting “we have always walked next to refugees and the international community should walk with us”.

The 300 participants included mayors from 25 cities, municipal officials, civil society and NGO leaders, local governance associations and members of the UN community.

IOM, co-host of the Municipal Forum and the largest UN agency in Turkey, has actively supported municipalities across the country to run programmes that enhance social and economic inclusion of migrants.

Jill Helke, IOM’s Director of International Cooperation and Partnerships stressed that mayors “have a key role to play as leaders in their communities, in defending social cohesion, and pushing back against negative narratives around migrants and migration.”

Participants such as Dusanka Golubovi, the Mayor of Sombor, Serbia, and Dr. Rouba Mhaissen, a  Syrian-Lebanese economist and community mobilizer, shared examples of what works in their cities. Dr. Mhaissen reflected on her work to create space for more dialogue and debate on migration issues as a way to work towards changing attitudes and perceptions. Both commented on the power of local networks at the community level to foster greater acceptance of migrants.

IOM Turkey’s Chief of Mission Lado Gvilava closed the Forum by commending the role local communities play as first responders in providing assistance to the displaced. “Their work is crucial in developing inclusive, safe, and resilient cities around the world. Let’s focus on replicating local solutions that bring us closer together and make life better for everyone.”

The Forum concluded with the signing of the Gaziantep Declaration which consolidates global good practices from a Mayor’s perspective in responding to migration and displacement. It will inform the upcoming Global Refugee Forum to be co-hosted by Turkey in Geneva during 17-18 December 2019.

For more information please contact Lanna Walsh, IOM Turkey Public Information Officer, at Tel +90 533 698 7285, Email:  

Language English Posted: Thursday, November 28, 2019 - 09:02Image: Region-Country: TurkeyThemes: Diversity and IntegrationIntegrationInternational and Regional CooperationDefault: Multimedia: 

Closing session of the Municipal Forum in Gaziantep, Turkey. Photo: IOM

Jill Helke, IOM's Director of International Cooperation and Partnerships speaks at the Municipal Forum in Gaziantep, Turkey. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

 World Migration Report 2020 Launched

Wed, 11/27/2019 - 09:26

Geneva – In a global media environment highly interested in the issue of migration, the need for verified, evidence-based analysis on this defining issue of our time has never been more urgent. As the UN-related agency responsible for migration, it has long been IOM’s imperative to promote a balanced understanding of migration across the world.

Launched today at the 2019 IOM Council meeting by IOM’s Director General, António Vitorino, the latest edition of its flagship publication, the World Migration Report 2020 (WMR 2020), continues the organization’s commitment to providing information on migration that is well-researched, rigorous and accessible.

Download Report

"IOM has an obligation to demystify the complexity and diversity of human mobility,” Director General Vitorino told representatives of IOM's member states.

"As this report shows, we have a continuously growing and improving body of data and information that can help us ‘make better sense’ of the basic features of migration in increasingly uncertain times,” he said.

First published twenty years ago, this tenth edition in the World Migration Report series provides the latest data and information on migration as well as analysis of complex and emerging migration issues. WMR 2018 was downloaded over 400,000 times.

Topics covered in the report include human mobility and environmental change, migrants’ contributions in an era of disinformation, children and unsafe migration, migration and health (among others), which are not only timely, but are also highly relevant for both specialist and general audiences.

Ambassador Doreen Debrum, Permanent Representative to the United Nations in Geneva of the Republic of the Marshall Islands, who also spoke at the launch, welcomed the report, stressing that “the Republic of the Marshall Islands is now at the brink. Each scientific report brings home a more profound and serious expose of the imminent risks, threats and dangers posed by climate change; this would put the entire Marshallese population at risk, and most likely result in the forced relocation of our people, and the loss of our homeland.”

German Ambassador Michael von Ungern-Sternberg pointed out that migration has become an intensely debated issue in societies around the globe.

“This is a good development. However, we have to face the risk of undue politization and misrepresentation of facts," he said. "The World Migration Report will contribute to a constructive discussion of this highly sensitive issue and lay the ground for much needed international cooperation”.
The report builds on the critical success of WMR 2018, with various chapters written in collaboration between IOM experts, migration practitioners and some of the leading migration researchers in the world.

Marie McAuliffe, co-editor of the WMR 2020, stressed the significance of partnerships.

“To capture the latest evidence on migration, the thematic chapters are authored by some of the leading researchers in the field, and the report was co-edited with the istinguished scholar, Professor Binod Khadria, of Jawaharlal Nehru University in India," she said.

"To ensure WMR 2020 provides a high-quality contribution as a major reference report on migration, the draft report was peer-reviewed by leading migration academics and IOM thematic specialists prior to finalization."

The WMR 2020 is the first to be published in a digital-only format, a measure taken in recognition of the need for environmentally sustainable material in both process and content. Readers from around the world, including policymakers, academics, migration practitioners, journalists, students and the general public, will be able to download the publication for free in English and Spanish, while work on other translations continues.

If the positive critical reception of prior editions is any indication, the publication of the WMR 2020 will mark another step forward in the global understanding of migration. In academic literature, researchers have cited the WMR 2018 in more than 550 peer-reviewed publications, theses or dissertations. Blogs have utilized the WMR as the primary document to fact-check unfounded claims about migration, while the figures and infographics help users across various areas of work to quickly digest the data and information in the report.

As just one example of the WMR in action, Jacqueline Bhabha, Professor at the University of Harvard, said, “several chapters of the report are perfect for introducing my students to new topics. The report is very well-written and nicely researched.”

As migration continues to be an issue of heightened interest, the WMR 2020 is key to meeting the growing demand for evidence-based, high-quality research on this issue, while also helping to debunk the ‘fake news’ and misinformation designed to influence public and political discourse.

For more information, please contact Marie McAuliffe at IOM Geneva: Tel:+41796599940; Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, November 27, 2019 - 09:23Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: World Migration ReportDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Promoting Youth Employment in Kinshasa

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 12:24

Kinshasa – Millions of young people in the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) live in precarious situations, often forced to leave the country because of the lack of stable jobs. 

Brunelle Maluka was one of 40 recipients of small business funding from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in June after having been selected and trained as part of a project to promote youth employment. 

Brunelle built a brick company, selling her product to construction projects. Her successful business has expanded to hire six laborers. 

"My business is evolving so well, that I could open a cement store, thanks to the profits I made,” said Brunelle, who dropped out of a university she could not afford. “It is a small business where I sell bags of cements and raw materials that are used for manufacturing bricks.” 

Seventy-five young people, including five returnees from Switzerland, also received financial support through the first phase of the same Swiss-funded project that targets disadvantaged youth in the capital. 

According to Kinshasa's Social Affairs Division chief, Franklin Kinsweme Bilenga, 70 per cent of Kinshasa’s 15 million inhabitants are under the age of 18. The lack of employment leads to increased criminality and irregular migration, the government says. 

It is in this context that the International Organization for Migration (IOM) offers financial support to young people like Brunelle from disadvantaged backgrounds to launch small businesses and create jobs.  

Since 2005, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been taking actions against irregular migration from the DRC by implementing, with the support of donors, prevention projects against irregular migration and its risks, by financing hundreds of income-generating activities, mainly in the city of Kinshasa.  

During his address on the occasion of the presentation of the activities carried out as part of the implementation of this second phase, on Friday 8 November in Kinshasa, Ambassador of Switzerland to the DRC Mr Roger Denser congratulated the beneficiaries and called on the city to support this project "by exempting for one year or more the 40 beneficiaries the levies and taxes imposed on small businesses operating in the city.” 

 “I was very touched by the testimonies I heard. I hope that this project will multiply with the efforts of all the actors involved in this project,” he said.  

For more information, please contact Daco Tambilika at IOM DRC, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 12:20Image: Region-Country: Republic of the CongoThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Brunelle Maluka is one of 40 recipients of IOM funding last June for the creation of small businesses. Her brick company now employs six people.   Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Undoing Decades of Environmental Harm in Azerbaijan

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 10:07

Baku – A part of the Soviet Union until 1991, Azerbaijan has since independence experienced rapid economic growth. The new wealth has come with an environmental cost, adding to decades of pollution from petrochemical industries and poor agricultural practices of Soviet times. 

Now the government has made environmental protection an issue, and has begun incorporatingsustainable development principles into state policies. 

“Azerbaijan is already experiencing the negative impacts of climate change as witnessed by the increased number of natural phenomena which, as IOM has seen around the world, can trigger the displacementpeople,” noted IOM Chief of Mission Vladimir Gjorgjiev.  

In a major environmental campaign, the Organization is renovating rural water supply systems known askahrizes, benefitting internally displaced communities, supported by the Korea International Cooperation Agency.  

To call attention to deforestation and environmental degradation, a tree-planting campaign was held in the capital Baku last week.  

Several hundred olive trees were planted, preempting the new National Forestry Programme 2020-2030.  

“It is time to offer trees to Mother Nature, to contribute positively to the problems of the environment and climate change, and to be aware of the consequences that these changes can bring,” Gjorgjiev told attendees. 

The trees were planted by representatives and staff of IOM Azerbaijan, the State Migration Service and the Ministry of Environment and Natural Resources of Azerbaijan. Its aim was to raise awareness of and enhance public attention to migration, environment and climate change issues as well to contribution tocontribute to the government’s green and environmental efforts in initiatives that are actively supported by President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and First Lady Mehriban Aliyeva. 

For more information, please contact Ilqar Khudiyev at IOM Azerbaijan, Tel: +994 50 319 66 80, 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: AzerbaijanThemes: Migration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM and local community volunteers planted hundreds of olive trees in the Azeri capital Baku last week to call attention to deforestation and environmental degradation. Photo: IOM/Ilgar Khudiyev 

IOM and local community volunteers planted hundreds of olive trees in the Azeri capital Baku last week to call attention to deforestation and environmental degradation. Photo: IOM/Ilgar Khudiyev 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

International Organization for Migration to Open 110th Council Session Tuesday

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 10:06

Geneva – IOM Director General António Vitorino this week (26-29/11) will address a gathering of the Organization’s 173 member states while presiding over a range of panels and programmes at the annual IOM Council Session beginning in Geneva this week. A 174th member, Lebanon, has its application for membership pending.  

“It is a privilege to lead this Organization into its next phase of consolidation, development and success at a time when our work is ever more important and central to our collective endeavour to ensure that migration is safe, well-managed and for the benefit of all,” DG Vitorino said. “I count on your support for this.” 

The three-day Council Session will include panels on three topics, including Wednesday's launch of IOM’s World Migration Report 2020, a discussion on Building Peace and Creating Conditions for Development: Internal Displacement Stabilization and Reintegration of Migrants, and another, Mobility Dynamics in the Sahel. 

110th IOM Council Playlist - IOM YouTube channel 

For more information, please contact Leonard Doyle at IOM Headquarters in Geneva, Tel: +41 79 285 7123, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 16:50Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMIOM Governing BodiesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General António Vitorino, 110th IOM Council.  Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Deaths Rise on Central Mediterranean with Latest Lampedusa Tragedy

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 10:06

Rome – Twenty-one people lost their lives in a shipwreck off the coast of Lampedusa, Italy, on Saturday (23/11) when a boat, carrying 170 Europe-bound migrants, capsized 1.6km from the island as it was being escorted by the coast guard. 

Five bodies have so far been recovered, and at least 16 others remain missing. The process of victim identification has begun. Recovery efforts have been hampered by poor weather, IOM officials said today.  

Among the 149 survivors are 26 minors, some of whom lost their parents in Saturday’s tragedy. They spoke to IOM staff about the dire conditions and abuse they experienced in Libya.  

This tragedy comes during an apparent spike in departures from Libya. In the past week, at least 12 boats were either intercepted or rescued in the central Mediterranean. IOM Missing Migrants Project recorded 45 deaths in the central Mediterranean route on 22 and 23 November.   

IOM provided assistance to the survivors, as well as 213 other people rescued by the NGO vessel Ocean Viking and brought to Messina, Sicily.  

"Events of the past few days prove once more that crossing the Mediterranean is still extremely dangerous,” said Laurence Hart, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean. 

“On the other hand, migrants' testimonies confirm that the situation in Libya is critical and that many are victims of abuse and violence. Saving lives at sea must still be the number one priority, and now more than ever, it is important to bring rescued migrants to a safe port."  

The latest tragedy brings the total number of deaths recorded in the Mediterranean in 2019 to 1,136, including 740 in the central Mediterranean route alone, which remains the planet’s deadliest sea crossing.  

According to official figures provided by the Ministry of the Interior, 610 migrants arrived by sea to Italy in four days, between Thursday 21 to Sunday 24 November. The total number of arrivals by sea registered so far is 10,566. 

For more information, please contact Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva: Tel: +41794035526, Email: or Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Rome, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:   


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Burundi Broaden Cooperation on Negotiating Bilateral Labour Migration Agreements

Tue, 11/26/2019 - 10:06

Bujumbura – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Burundi is strengthening the capacity of Burundian authorities as they prepare to negotiate bilateral labour migration agreements with Gulf States and other destination countries that receive Burundian migrant workers. 

The signing of these agreements will help to strengthen the protection of migrant workers in destination countries and combat human trafficking: Burundian migrant workers, especially women, are often discriminated against and vulnerable to exploitation. Since 2018, IOM and partners have identified nearly 400 cases of women recruited for domestic work in the Gulf countries who suffered physical, psychological and sexual abuse, and often lacked the means to return home. 

A two-day training last week in Gitega funded by the IOM Development Fund allowed national authorities to become familiar with the concepts, terminology and tools needed to negotiate bilateral labour migration agreements. The project targets national partners in key ministries, trade unions, employers' associations, private recruitment agencies and civil society organizations.   

“These agreements would work well for both the migrants and the employers; it would regulate the period before, during and after employment,” Benjamin Nkeshimana, Director General of Labour and Employment within the Ministry of Public Service, Labour and Employment told attendees. 

“Work conditions should be decent during the period of activity, but also in retirement. By this, I mean the provision of social security and its transferability to their country of origin so that they can continue their well-being when they return to Burundi and during retirement.”  

IOM has been working with the Government of Burundi since 2007 to support effective, efficient and responsible migration governance, as well as the safe, orderly and dignified migration and mobility of people. 

“At IOM, we aim to contribute to the development of comprehensive guidance for safe, orderly and dignified labour migration through bilateral labour migration agreements, among others,” said IOM Burundi Chief of Mission AJ Morgen.  

“This is a tangible step towards the effective implementation of the GCM and targets 8.8 and 10.7 of the Sustainable Development Goals.”  

This project will enable the Government of Burundi to implement one of the recommendations of the comparative study validated in March 2019 on the free movement of workers in the East African Community (EAC). The study, covering Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania, recommends that all partner countries develop and adopt open and transparent labour migration policies and laws, based on the best practices of the African Union framework, and recommendations from ILO and the United Nations.  

“If we can offer [the youth] possibilities to find paid employment in a well-structured environment abroad, it would be great,” said Chantal Ntima, Director of the Entrepreneurship Department at ADISCO, a local non-governmental organization which helps Burundian youth to enter the job market.  

“It would be a new opportunity that I could offer to young people, if the legal framework exists and has been well negotiated and validated by the Government of Burundi,” she added.  

For more information, please contact Odette Bolly, IOM Burundi, Tel: +257 75400221, Email: 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 26, 2019 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: BurundiThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants at the two-day training held in Gitega from 21-22 November. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Presents Guide on Safe Management of Transhumance Flows in Chad

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 09:34

N’Djamena — ‘Transhumance movements’ is a modern term for a very old tradition: the foraging of scarce pasturage by traditional herders. In the region between Southern Chad and the Central African Republic, such activities are considered in the modern age among the largest on the planet in the world, according to the International Crisis Group.  

Herders are moving cyclically along traditional transhumance corridors, both within the country's boundaries and across borders, in search of fodder for their livestock. These movements have been a source of clashes between the agro-pastoral communities, particularly in Moyen Chari, a province in Southern Chad. 

Across the region, herders and farmers communities are greatly affected by a mismanagement of pastures and transhumant cross-border movements which is causing significant disputes, with regular casualties, mainly due to a mutual misunderstanding. In addition, climate change and ongoing intercommunal conflicts disrupt the traditional patterns of agro-pastoral communities, prompting new challenges for nomadic herders and host communities. 

As part of its efforts to support the Government of Chad to improve border management and resolve conflicts linked to transhumance, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Chad presented on 19 November its new guide for practitioners on the safe and orderly management of transhumance flows and cross-border information exchange. 

Designed together with an international human rights expert and in conjunction with the Government of Chad, the guide covers topics including the identification, referral and protection of vulnerable pastoralists; the best methods to combat trafficking in persons; management of tension linked to cross-border movements and profiling techniques. 

Commending the project, said Benguela Guidjinga, the deputy Director of the National Police General Directorate, “Border management has improved and the dialogue around transhumance between the two countries, Chad and the Central African Republic has helped addressing difficulties created by weak institutional and political dialogue on transhumance issues.” 

The project Restoration of Peace and Dialogue between Communities Affected by Transboundary Transhumance aims to strengthen dialogue and peace through data collection of pastoral mobility.  This cross-border project, funded by the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), implemented by IOM and FAO  in Chad and the Central African Republic, and aims to strengthen dialogue and peace at the community level for the prevention and management of conflicts between agro-pastoral communities.  

The 19 November event gathered representatives of the Government, UN agencies, local NGOs, members of the transhumance community and traditional authorities who shared their feedback and inputs. The finalized guide is expected to be made available in the beginning of 2020.  

For more information, please contact Alassane Dembele, Peacebuilding Program Officer at Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, November 22, 2019 - 16:05Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Hanagamba Nomadic People have fled the conflict in Central African Republic and are now settled in Kobiteye returnees site in Chad. IOM/Amanda Nero 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Film Caravan Sets Off for Month-long Tour Around Niger for Fourth Consecutive Year

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 09:34

Niamey – In what has become a popular annual event in Niger, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched this past Monday (18/11) its fourth month-long film caravan, starting with the screening of the feature Issalam Taret: Any News from the Road? in the Talladjé neighbourhood in the capital, Niamey. 

This and at least 10 more screenings are being conducted under IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF), a tradition launched in Geneva in 2016. For the GMFF’s fourth year, a film caravan will travel throughout the country for one month, coursing over nearly to 3,000 kilometres, to screen films in cities and migrant transit centres, in multiple locations, including Tahoua, Maradi, Zinder, Séguédine, Bilma, Dirkou and Arlit. The caravan’s last stop will be in Agadez, on December 18, International Migrants Day. 

All the screenings are free to the public and will be followed by concerts and other activities, including a public debate animated by IOM’s community mobilizers or ‘MobComs.’ In addition, Q&A sessions aimed at further exploring the films’ subject matter and testing the newly acquired knowledge will be organized. 

The vastness of the country, the difficult roads and unstable security situation have often presented challenges for the caravan. However, the GMFF team has largely succeeded in reaching even Niger’s most remote communities, including Assamaka, on the border with Algeria. 

Often deceived by smugglers and traffickers, close to 70 per cent of migrants on this route said in a recent survey they felt misinformed about the dangers that lie ahead on migratory routes. Many of them do not have access to reliable sources of information prior to their departure and are misled by the information found on social media. This misinformation leaves them vulnerable to different types of abuse during their migratory journey, from theft or confiscation of documents, to torture, rape or slavery. 

“The film we watched tonight made me question my future. People don’t talk enough about how hard this journey actually is, and information sometimes makes the difference between life and death,” said Ali a 32-year-old Malian migrant hoping to reach Algeria. Ali was one of the more than 200 people who attended the caravan’s first screening in Niamey. 

IOM partnered with local record label Art-Disc Records earlier this year for the awareness-raising caravan called In da na sa’ni (“If only I had known” in Hausa) which travelled for a month across Niger and sensitized more than 15,000 migrants and community members on the risks of irregular migration and its alternatives. 

“This is the second time we are on the road organizing a caravan for IOM. We have met many migrants along the way and have heard many stories. The situations they find themselves in are hard to ignore.  

People are drawn to stories so we hope we can make a difference though the various screenings and events we have planned,” explained Abderahmane Harouna Koudou, coordinator for Art-Disc Records. 

“I learned a lot tonight about the pains and difficulties of my different African brothers and sisters,” said Ibrahim, 32, from Niger. “Migrants are often portrayed as thieves or beggars, but in the end, we have a lot in common. I could have easily made some of the same choices, the same mistakes and find myself where they are now. It's important to never forget that.” 

As part of IOM’s awareness-raising strategy in Niger, regular outreach activities — such as film screenings and debates — have proven to be effective ways to help disseminate messages on the dangers of irregular migration while also raising awareness about the alternatives and ways of accessing regular migration channels. 

“The Global Migration Film Festival has become a pillar of our awareness-raising activities in Niger over the course of the last few years,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “Regardless of socio-economic background, films provide an accessible platform for information for everyone. We hope that through the over 30 projections we have scheduled this month, we can further strengthen the social cohesion between host communities and migrants,” she concluded. 

The activities organized for the GMFF in 2018 and 2019 are supported by the European Union, within the framework of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism.  

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger at Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email:  

For more information about the GMFF in West and Central Africa, please contact Florence Kim at IOM Regional Office in Dakar at Tel: +221 78 6206213; Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, November 22, 2019 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia: 

More than 500 migrants in transit and community members have already attended the screenings in Niamey this week. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

More than 500 migrants in transit and community members have already attended the screenings in Niamey this week. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Paraguay Sign Agreement to Improve Migration Management in the Country

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 09:32

Asunción – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the General Directorate of Migration (DGM by its Spanish acronym) and the Ministry of Interior (MDI by its Spanish acronym) of Paraguay signed an agreement for the implementation of a project that seeks to improve the production, management and use of information to improve migration management through information and communication technologies (ICT).  

With the signing of this agreement, there will be continuity in joint projects that have been carried out since 2015, when Paraguay put in place the IOM Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS). This migration management biometric system is currently used in nine border control posts in the country, reaching 80 per cent of the country's migratory flow. 

This new project will allow the installation of MIDAS in three additional border control posts, located in the cities of Carmelo Peralta, Itá Enramada and Alberdi. 

The implementation of MIDAS in Paraguay has contributed to strengthening the capacity of the DGM in migration management, and increase the capacity for migratory registration through the generation of reports on movements, as well as the incorporation of biometric information, online supervision, access to national and INTERPOL alert lists, and the obtention of the travel history of those entering and leaving the country. 

“IOM recognizes and values the commitment of the Republic of Paraguay in the process of updating migration management processes in the country, in accordance with the highest standards of security and management of migratory information at the national level,” said Richard Velázquez, IOM Paraguay Head of Office. 

In the last years, and in addition to the signing of this agreement, the Government of Paraguay has invested around USD 2.1 million in MIDAS System, which has been managed by IOM Paraguay, and complemented with funding from the IOM Development Fund (IDF). 

The new project also aims to modernize the migrant assistance area at DGM, in order to improve the capacity and quality of the response to the documentation processing needs. 

In May 2018, IOM and the DGM of Paraguay signed a cooperation agreement for the expansion of the Personal Information and Registration System (PIRS) and MIDAS in the country, which allows to have more detailed and complete information on passengers that cross the borders.  

The inclusion of peripheral computer equipment, such as passport readers, fingerprint readers and webcams, has allowed to gather useful data to manage adequate migration policies, based on complete information.  

For more information, please contact Chiara Masi, at IOM Paraguay. E-mail:; tel.: +595 985 43 03 46 


Language English Posted: Friday, November 22, 2019 - 15:55Image: Region-Country: ParaguayThemes: Migration GovernanceDefault: Multimedia: 

The IOM MIDAS System is currently used in nine border control posts in Paraguay. Photo: Nicolás Sosa/DGM 

The IOM MIDAS System is currently used in nine border control posts in Paraguay. Photo: Nicolás Sosa/DGM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 95,600 in 2019; Deaths Reach 1,091

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 09:31

Geneva – IOM reports that 95,600 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 20 November, roughly an 8 per cent decrease from the 104,535 arriving during the same period last year.  

Arrivals this year to Greece and Spain are at 53,163and 22,544, respectively, (75,707 combined) accounting for about 79 per cent of the regional total, with the balance arriving in much smaller numbers to Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Arrivals to Greece are running approximately 84 per cent ahead of 2018’s totals from this time. Arrivals to Spain are more than 55 per cent lower.  

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 20 November stand at 1,091 individuals—or about 51 per cent of the 2,137 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018. (see chart below).  

IOM Italy 

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo cited official Ministry of Interior figures of 10,030 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea this year through 20 November, compared to 22,5412 at this same time in 2018. IOM Libya has reported that through 15 November 8.309 migrants have been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in 2019. 

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported on Thursday (21/11) the arrival of nearly 3,000 (12,792) irregular migrants through the Aegean between the days 13-19 November, an average of nearly 400 per day.  

Through all of November daily arrivals have run to just over 280 individuals, making this the year’s third busiest month behind September (345/day) and October (297/day).  Through the first half of 2019, daily arrivals topped 125 only once, in June (126/day), and remained relatively low through the months of July and August.  (see chart below). 

IOM Greece further reported that from Friday (15/11) up to date, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least 39 incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Kos, Chios, Samothrace and the port of Alexandroupoli. The HCG rescued a total of 1,374 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports during these dates. 

Those arrivals, plus another 1,418 since 13 November, bring to 53,163, the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year.  (see chart below).  

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project. Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 34,028 people, including 2,866 in 2019 (see chart further below).  

Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography. 

South Asia has within the past few days recorded a high number of deaths linked to migration and mobility in the region. On Thursday 14 November, 33 people of Afghan nationality reportedly died in a vehicle accident—a collision of two vans—on a highway near the town of Khash, in Sistan and Baluchistan, Iran. Six people were reported to have survived this tragic incident with injuries. The remains of the 33 people from this fatal incident were repatriated to Afghanistan via the Nimroz border crossing point.   

Within Europe, fatalities linked to border crossings are estimated at 113 in 2019. The remains of an unidentified man believed to be from the Middle East/Southeast Asia, were found along train tracks in the Evros region, northern Greece on 16 November. The individual was reportedly hit by a train near to the town of Soufli. Investigations regarding the specific circumstances of this tragic incident were launched.  

Migrant deaths in the Americas continue during what may be the deadliest year MMP has recorded in the past six years. In total, at least 644 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with the 528 that were recorded through this point in 2018.  

As always, the US-México border continues to witness fatalities, several in recent days. 

The remains of a man reportedly of Mexican origin were recovered on 10 November on a ranch in eastern Brooks County, Texas, about 80 miles north of the US-Mexican border. A few days later (12 November), the body of a 29-year-old man was found by Border Patrol agents in a bush along the road in Maverick County, Texas on 12 November. That individual is believed to have died from dehydration while crossing the border into the United States from México.  

This is the second reported death linked to a border crossing in Texas that has occurred in a less than a week. The remains of an unidentified male adult person, believed to be from Latin America, were recovered besides Inspiration Road in Hidalgo County, Texas on 14 November. These tragic incidents bring the total number of fatalities on the US-Mexican border to 348 and reflects how unsafe migration continues to be across this international crossing point. 

Further south, on 19 November, the remains of a man believed to be from Latin America, were recovered along train tracks in San Juan de la Vega, Celaya, Guanajuato, México. He is believed to have fallen from a train. 

This week marked the 15th anniversary of the Central American mothers’ annual search caravan. A group of about 50 mothers and other family members from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua arrived in the city of San Cristóbal de Las Casas, México on Tuesday in search of information about their missing children and relatives.  

From its inception 15 years ago, over 310 previously reported missing individuals have been successfully located by the caravans and reunited with their families. The Caravan will proceed through the Mexican cities of Tabasco, Veracruz, Puebla and Oaxaca, México City in their search for missing family members. 

In the Caribbean, three persons reportedly from the Dominican Republic remain missing since 18 November and are feared to have drowned in an unspecified location in the Mona Passage, off Desecheo Island, Puerto Rico. A group of thirteen persons rescued by a fishing vessel operator reported that the three men reported missing jumped into the water and attempted to swim to the shore upon seeing land a few days prior to their arrival on land.  

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre 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. The report Fatal Journey Volume 4, published 28 June, includes an overview of five years of Missing Migrants Project data (2014-2018) and an update on what is known about deaths during migration in 2019.  


For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, click here. Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project.  

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, November 22, 2019 - 15:47Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Voluntary Return Programme for Migrants Stranded in Guatemala

Fri, 11/22/2019 - 09:24

Guatemala – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a new programme of humanitarian assistance and Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) in Guatemala that will benefit migrants who voluntarily request to return to their country but do not have the means to do so. The initiative is part of IOM’s response to humanitarian needs of migrants in the region.  

“We are opening this opportunity so that migrants can access a voluntary, safe and dignified return based on an informed decision,” said Jorge Peraza, IOM Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. “The programme will also provide humanitarian assistance during their return to their countries of origin.”  

“The initiative ensures the realization of the human right every person has the right to return to his/her country in dignity. The programme operates in strict accordance with the principle of voluntary consent, since the validity of the right to make a free and informed decision of each migrant person is essential for IOM,” Peraza added.  

The AVR programme is based on international human rights standards and the fundamental principles of IOM which include: ensuring the migrant’s informed decision is voluntary; responses centred on migrants’ needs; maintaining confidentiality; promoting intergovernmental and intersectoral alliances and dialogue and the creation of evidence to strengthen decision making.  

IOM will maintain close collaboration with the United Nations Agency for Refugees (UNHCR) and its implementing partners for the referral and counter-referral of cases of asylum seekers, as well as people who are presumed to have international protection needs. In addition, it will provide humanitarian assistance, including accommodation, food and medical care among others, to the beneficiaries of the AVR programme, with a focus on respect for fundamental rights.  

IOM will also coordinate closely with governments and partners in the countries of origin to ensure a dignified and adequate reception, which includes post-arrival humanitarian assistance and referral to reintegration services. Likewise, it will periodically monitor the cases after return in order to be aware of any possible assistance needs that may arise.  

The initiative will contribute to the wider response to the humanitarian needs of hundreds of migrants who have mobilized in the region in mixed flows since October 2018. It will be implemented in Guatemala and Belize until October 2020 and has a funding of USD 10.3 million, granted by the Government of the United States of America.  

The AVR programme is part of the IOM's overall objective of upholding and maintiaining the human right of every person to a humane, safe and dignified return to their country of origin. The programme also promotes orderly and regular migration, while also complementing the efforts of different sectors and governments in the areas of return, reintegration, prevention of irregular migration, combating trafficking in persons, illegal trafficking of migrants, and the prevention and elimination of discrimination and xenophobia. 

For more information, please contact Melissa Vega, at IOM Guatemala, Email:, Tel: +502 2414 7410 


Language English Posted: Friday, November 22, 2019 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: GuatemalaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

This initiative will contribute to the wider response to the humanitarian needs of hundreds of migrants who have mobilized in the region in mixed flows since October 2018. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM: Urgent Shift Needed in Approach to the Situation in Libya

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 18:27

TRIPOLI - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is alarmed by the latest developments in Libya where, in the span of 48 hours, at least nine boats carrying more than 600 migrants have been discovered on the central Mediterranean route. A tenth boat arrived today in Lampedusa, Italy. 
This apparent spike in departures from Libya comes at a time when the capital, Tripoli, and surrounding areas are witnessing some of the heaviest shelling since the conflict erupted in April.
“IOM is deeply concerned about the safety of migrants who are vulnerable to clashes, human trafficking and abuse as the security situation further deteriorates,” said Federico Soda, IOM Libya Chief of Mission.

“Libya is not a safe port; there is a need for a predictable and safe disembarkation mechanism for migrants fleeing violence and abuse.”
IOM renews its call to the European Union and the African Union, for an urgent shift in approach to the situation in Libya. Immediate action must be taken to dismantle the detention system and find alternative solutions to safeguard lives.

Between Tuesday (29/11) and Thursday (21/11), operators of the Ocean Viking and Open Arms NGO vessels reported rescuing 287 migrants. IOM Libya confirms that the Libyan Coast Guard returned 289 others to shore including 14 children and 33 women; they were transferred to a detention centre. IOM staff who provided emergency assistance at the disembarkation point described the migrants as “vulnerable and scared”.

Forty-three others were picked up by the Tunisian authorities off the coast of Djerba on Thursday morning. A further 74 migrants also arrived at Lampedusa today. According to IOM Staff in both locations, the boats departed from Zwara, Libya.

IOM Libya is unable to verify reports Wednesday night that another vessel sank with a significant loss of life.
Since the beginning of the year, more than 8,600 migrants have been returned to often overcrowded Libyan detention centres where the United Nations has documented unacceptable conditions, violations of human rights and disappearances.

The Latest

• Early Thursday morning Tunisia authorities discovered 43 people in a boat off the coast of Djerba.
• The NGO rescue vessel Open Arms rescued 73 people and, Ocean Viking a further 90.
• IOM staff in Lampedusa reported the arrival of a wooden boat carrying 74 migrants.
• On Wednesday, Ocean Viking rescued a further 30 people and the Libyan Coast Guard returned 289 people from four boats.
• On Tuesday, Ocean Viking NGO vessel rescued 94 people.

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

Language English Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 18:24Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Migrants RightsMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

France Welcomes Final Yazidi Families From Iraq Through Humanitarian Admissions Programme

Thu, 11/21/2019 - 16:50

Paris, Erbil – One hundred members of Iraq’s Yazidi community arrived safely in Paris, France, on Wednesday, the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) final operation in support of French President Emmanuel Macron’s 2018 commitment to receive 100 families from the ethno-religious minority group.

“These families have been through unimaginable trials and IOM Iraq has been proud to assist the French authorities with this important initiative,” said Giovanni Cassani, IOM Iraq’s Head of Programmes and Head of the Erbil Office.
“Many more families across Iraq remain in displacement. We will continue to support these populations, as well as host communities and returnees, during the recovery and stabilization process.”
Yazidis are found primarily in northern Iraq. In August 2014 the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) swept through Sinjar, the stronghold of Iraq’s Yazidi community; hundreds of civilians are believed to have died as a consequence. One of the enduring images of that period was the plight of tens of thousands of Yazidis who were forced to flee to Mount Sinjar. Many have yet to return home.

The Humanitarian Admissions Programme (HAP) was launched at the request of the French President in October 2018, with the support of 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad, who has advocated for vulnerable Yazidi women worldwide.
“Less than a year after the first families were welcomed in France, the arrival of 27 Yazidi women and their children in Paris yesterday is a testament to the implementation of the commitment made by President Emmanuel Macron to Nadia Murad,” said Ambassador Eric Chevallier, Director of the French Crisis and Support Centre.
“In France these families receive protection, security and education, as well as medical and social support. Their integration into the host communities is facilitated by local non-governmental organizations, a process that is quite successful so far. Along with the emergency humanitarian assistance and stabilization efforts in Iraq that contribute to preserve the cultural diversity of the country, this programme is part of France’s action to help the victims of ethnic and religious persecution by ISIL in the Middle East.”
Prior to their departure for France, IOM assisted the families with transportation to Erbil, short-term accommodation, and medical check-ups. Along the journey from Duhok Governate to Erbil, the families stopped at Lalish, a Yazidi temple and pilgrimage site.
IOM teams also organized cultural orientation sessions, facilitated their travel to France and were on hand at Charles de Gaulle Airport when they arrived. French NGOs provide the families with housing and provisions for long-term social support to support their path to integration into their host communities and French society.
“Today’s safe arrival of the families is proof that the Humanitarian Admissions Programme is a flexible and responsive tool that offers a safe and legal avenue for people in need,” said Sara Abbas, head of IOM’s office in France. “The programme is designed to complement resettlement in solidarity with them and share responsibility with countries hosting the majority of forcibly displaced persons.”
For more information please contact:
Sara Abbas, IOM France Head of Office, Tel: +33 (0) 1 40 44 06 91, Email: 
IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit, Tel: +964 751 402 2811, Email:

Language English Posted: Thursday, November 21, 2019 - 16:44Image: Region-Country: FranceThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

“Today’s safe arrival of the families is proof that the Humanitarian Admissions Programme is a flexible and responsive tool that offers a safe and legal avenue for people in need,” said Sara Abbas, head of IOM’s office in France.  Photo: IOM

In France these families receive protection, security and education, as well as medical and social support.  Photo: IOM

“Less than a year after the first families were welcomed in France, the arrival of 27 Yazidi women and their children in Paris yesterday is a testament to the implementation of the commitment made by President Emmanuel Macron to Nadia Murad,” said Ambassador Eric Chevallier, Director of the French Crisis and Support Centre.  Photo: IOM

The Humanitarian Admissions Programme (HAP) was launched at the request of the French President in October 2018, with the support of 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad, who has advocated for vulnerable Yazidi women worldwide.  Photo: IOM

"Aujourd'hui la France nous a ouvert les bras, nous ne pouvons qu'être reconnaissants" : vingt-sept femmes yazidies et leurs enfants, victimes en Irak du groupe État islamique (EI), sont arrivées à l'aéroport Charles-de Gaulle près de Paris pour commencer une nouvelle vie en France. Copyright: AFP

  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Citi Foundation Expand Partnership to Support the Integration of Venezuelans

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 09:46

Bogota – The number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela is expected to reach 6.5 million by the end of next year, according to the recently launched Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP). Facing that daunting challenge, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Citi Foundation launched a project yesterday (18/11) to enhance the livelihoods of Venezuelans and host communities in Colombia and Perú. 

The Citi Foundation works to promote economic progress and improve the lives of people in low-income communities around the world. 

The exodus of Venezuelan nationals is one of the largest external displacement crises in the world today. Around half of the 4.6 million people who have left Venezuela since 2015 - based on the latest figures of the Regional Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela - can be found in neighbouring Colombia and Perú.  

Figures are projected to reach 2.4 million in Colombia and 978,000 in Perú next year.  Many, in fact, are nationals of those two Andean countries, citizens of Colombia and Perú who spent years, even decades, living and working in neighbouring Venezuela. 

A significant number of Venezuelans arrive with qualifications and skills to contribute to the economy of the hosting countries, but access to formal employment can often prove difficult.  

“Citi is committed to being part of the solution to this humanitarian crisis,” said Alvaro Jaramillo of the Citi Foundation during the launch event. “We firmly believe—as an integrated partner in the communities where we live and work—that we have a shared responsibility to address the challenges we all face.” 

The partnership will provide vocational training and certifications to more than 400 Venezuelan youth. The project also includes an incubator for mixed entrepreneurial ventures comprised of Venezuelans, Colombian returnees and host community members. IOM’s non-profit partner, USA for IOM, will host educational events in the US to further raise awareness on the issue. 

“There needs to be much more attention on the magnitude of the crisis, as the outflow continues unabated and is growing by the day,” said Luca Dall’Oglio, CEO of USA for IOM. “This partnership offers a space for the private sector, humanitarian and development actors, civil society and international financial institutions to discuss support not only for emergency assistance but long-term needs like socioeconomic and cultural integration.” 

Since 2015, Citi Foundation has granted IOM nearly USD 1 million toward efforts to help vulnerable adolescents and youth develop the necessary skills and competencies to increase income generation opportunities in digital ecosystems and improve their livelihoods.   

The latest investment to support the economic integration of Venezuelans in Perú and Colombia doubles total contributions to almost USD2 million. 

“Our collaboration with the Citi Foundation has served as a catalyst to inspire more engagement from the private sector over the past few years,” said Ana Eugenia Durán Salvatierra, IOM Colombia Chief of Mission. “Multi-stakeholder commitment is ever so critical as we now face the biggest population movement in Latin America’s recent history,” she added. 

The Citi Foundation invests in efforts that increase financial inclusion, catalyse job opportunities for youth, and reimagine approaches to building economically vibrant cities. For more information, please see:

For more information, please contact Liz Lizama at IOM Washington, Tel.+1 202 716 8820, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 19, 2019 - 16:50Image: Region-Country: Papua New GuineaThemes: Disaster Risk ReductionDefault: Multimedia: 

Representatives of IOM, Office of the President of Colombia, Peru Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the US Agency for International Development participated in a panel discussion at the launch of a new project to support the socioeconomic integration of Venezuelans in Colombia and Peru. Photo: IOM/Liz Lizama 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN