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Updated: 28 min 48 sec ago

Joint Statement on Data Protection and Privacy in the COVID-19 Response

Thu, 11/19/2020 - 15:34

Geneva– A Joint Statement on Data Protection and Privacy in the COVID-19 response was issued today after endorsement by the undersigned UN System Organizations. Developed by the UN Privacy Policy Group, an inter-agency group on data privacy and data protection, the statement supports the privacy protective use of data and technology by the UN in fighting the current pandemic.

The joint statement is based on the UN Personal Data Protection and Privacy Principles as well as the recommendations in the Secretary-General’s Data Strategy on data protection, privacy, and human rights.

“We can only defeat Covid-19 with trust, science and solidarity. With the Joint Statement, the UN reinforces its commitment to using data and new technologies in ways that respect the right to privacy and other human rights and promote sustainable economic and social development. As we continue our work to implement the Secretary-General’s Data Strategy, this statement clarifies how the UN Principles on Data Protection and Privacy can be applied in the context of Covid-19.” said Robert Kirkpatrick, Director of UN Global Pulse and a co-chair of the UN Privacy Policy Group.

“During public health emergencies, data collection, processing, and use must protect the rights of all people. WHO has issued guidance on the use of digital tools for contact tracing and ethical considerations to inform digital proximity tracking and continues to update its work on data governance and sharing. This Joint Statement should serve as a reference for data protection and privacy in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond. WHO is proud to join with other UN System Organizations and looks forward to continue creating a data governance ecosystem that protects the rights to privacy” said Dr. Samira Asma, Assistant Director -General, Division of Data Analytics and Delivery, World Health Organization.

“This statement raises awareness regarding both the benefits and the challenges that data and technology practices may entail during an emergency response. It is meant as guidance to ensure that fundamental human rights and freedoms are preserved, both during and once this pandemic has passed.” noted Mr. Patrick Carey, Acting Assistant Secretary-General, Office of Information and Communications Technology and a co-chair of the UN Privacy Policy Group and the UN System’s Digital and Technology Network.

Language English Posted: Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 22:26Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Civilians Continue to Flee Insecurity in Cabo Delgado Mozambique

Tue, 11/17/2020 - 10:28

Pemba – Tens of thousands of people are continuing to flee insecurity in Cabo Delgado, northern Mozambique, challenging the ability of the government and its humanitarian partners to respond with adequate shelter, food and other assistance.

The International Organization for Migration’s latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) data released today shows more than 33,000 people have moved south in the last week, including many forced to flee the latest security incidents. There has been a four-fold increase of displaced people in the area to more than 355,000 from some 88,000 earlier this year. 

“Reports from northern Mozambique of violence against civilians are deeply disturbing,” said IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission, Laura Tomm-Bonde.

“IOM staff are assisting thousands of families, including many with young children, to survive their ordeal of displacement. In cooperation with the Government of Mozambique, IOM, as part of the UN, is providing immediate humanitarian assistance. But the resources available do not cover the extensive humanitarian needs of families who arrive with nothing following their displacement.” 

Security concerns have prevented the Organization from reaching several northern and coastal districts. Nonetheless, IOM’s over 100 staff remain committed to delivering assistance to those who have been displaced in the eight districts where IOM is able to work.

From 16 October to 11 November, over 14,400 internally displaced people arrived at Pemba’s Paquitequete beach by boat. Boat arrivals to the provincial capital peaked with 29 in a single day in late October. No new vessels have arrived since last Wednesday, an indication IOM staff say of less instability in areas close to the coast. 

“When the attack happened and our community in Macomia was set on fire, we were in our planting area,” said Salimo Nvita, whose family of seven adults and 11 children is receiving assistance from IOM. “We fled with only the clothes that we were wearing. We lost everything.” 

Shelter is one of the most pressing needs, especially with the imminent rainy season. Hundreds of displaced families continue to take shelter with host families in Pemba, which is currently hosting 100,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), many in precarious conditions. The resources of host communities are stretched, and host families do not have enough and adequate space for all arriving IDPs.

Other urgent needs include emergency health, protection and psychological support, access to sanitation and water and food. IOM has responded with distributions of non-food items, emergency shelter, mental health and psycho-social assistance, and is working with local authorities to prepare relocation sites and support temporary resettlement sites.

For more information, please contact: Sascha Nlabu, IOM Mozambique Head of Programs and Operations; email: or Sandra Black, Media and Communications Officer; Tel: +258 84 494 4359, email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 17:24Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Internal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Mozambique staff in Montepuez, Mozambique, interview some of the 33,000 displaced people in the past week, who due to insecurity in northern districts of Cabo Delgado are moving to south to safety. Photo: IOM

IOM Mozambique staff in Montepuez, Mozambique, interview some of the 33,000 people displaced in the past week, who due to insecurity in northern districts of Cabo Delgado are moving to south to safety. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches a Guide on Counter-Trafficking Information Management in Humanitarian Settings 

Tue, 11/17/2020 - 08:40

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched the “Counter-Trafficking in Emergencies: Information Management Guide” to provide guidance on how to reinforce counter-trafficking-specific data collection and its analysis in humanitarian responses.

Collecting data on the extent to which humanitarian crisis settings exacerbate trafficking in persons (TiP) faces the dual challenge of managing information in complicated operating environments and quantifying a hidden crime that is often under-reported and blurred with other human rights violations.

“Evidence exists that these crises amplify existing trafficking trends and patterns or create conditions for new forms of exploitation,” said Monica Goracci, Director of IOM’s Department of Migration Management.
“The launch of this guide draws on IOM’s decades of experience in counter-trafficking and migrant protection efforts in these complex humanitarian situations, so we are all better placed to assist the most vulnerable populations.” 

The publication promotes an evidence-based decision-making approach that will support the development of new interventions where needed, or the adaption of existing measures to more systematically integrate counter-trafficking prevention and response in humanitarian settings.

This guide is the product of extensive engagement with external partners and stakeholders, particularly with members of the Inter-Agency Coordination Group Against Trafficking in Persons (ICAT) and of the Global Protection Cluster Anti-Trafficking Task Team (GPC ATTT).

The publication is currently available in English, while the French and Spanish versions will be available in early 2021. 

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 17, 2020 - 15:23Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandGlobalThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM and UNHCR Carry out Joint Visit to the Canary Islands Amid Increasing Arrivals

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 16:11

Madrid - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) today began a joint visit to the Canary Islands amid an ongoing increase in migrant and refugee arrivals to the archipelago by sea. The objective of the mission is to gather information and assess the situation, as well as to discuss with relevant actors areas of collaboration, response and institutional support. 

Between 16 and 18 November, the IOM Chief of Mission, María Jesús Herrera, and the UNHCR Representative, Sophie Muller, plan on visiting different reception facilities while also meeting with authorities and civil society organizations.  

The agencies’ visit will focus on a wide range of common interests, such as reception, profiles and needs of those arriving, the identification of people with international or other protection needs, the need to fight smuggling and trafficking in persons as well as issues related to the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all people regardless of their migratory status.  

This year, the number of sea arrivals to the Canary Islands has substantially increased compared to last year. Most are arriving from West African countries –many are fleeing persecution and violence in the Sahel region or the Ivory Coast, while others are leaving due to extreme poverty. Consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, food insecurity and climate change are among other factors driving this movement.

To date, more than 16,000 people have arrived in the Canary Islands after long and dangerous journeys across the Atlantic, a seaborne route that has claimed the lives of hundreds of men, women and children this year. While these figures depict an increase, compared to arrivals during the same period of 2019, the situation remains manageable through solidarity and a human rights-centred policy.

COVID-19, however, imposes additional challenges given the profiles and vulnerability of some of those arriving, including women, unaccompanied children, victims of trafficking, or people in need of international protection.  

UNHCR and IOM believe that it is critical to provide adequate responses to current needs, counting on political will and a coordinated response between relevant entities and administrations.  

IOM and UNHCR reiterate their solidarity and full support from the complementarity of their work in order to help find swift and dignified solutions to the current challenges in the Canary archipelago.  


For additional information, please contact:   

Oussama Elbaroudi, Email:, Tel:  +34 915 943 670
Ryan Schroeder, Email:, Tel: + 32 492 25 02 34  


María Jesús Vega, Email:, Tel: + 34 670661263
Rosa Otero, Email:, Tel: +34 673 469 103 

Language English Posted: Monday, November 16, 2020 - 16:09Image: Region-Country: SpainThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

iDiaspora: Accelerating Diaspora’s Global Engagement in the Post-Pandemic Era

Mon, 11/16/2020 - 13:14

Geneva – The iDiaspora Platform was officially launched on 8 October 2018 during the International Dialogue on Migration in Geneva. In the past two years, iDiaspora has successfully positioned itself as a digital platform where global diasporas exchange key information and good practices to mainstream migration through development.

Two years after its launch, iDiaspora is pleased to organise the iDiaspora – two years after: Accelerating diaspora’s global engagement in the post-pandemic era event. Deputy Director of the International Organization for Migration, Ambassador Laura Thompson, will be welcoming participants in order to: take stock of developments over the last two years with a special focus on COVID-19, present the new functionalities of the revamped iDiaspora platform, and showcase the collaboration potential between diasporas and key partners in the virtual space.

The iDiaspora team has collected feedback and inputs from the users and partners on how the platform can improve and respond to emerging needs of the communities it serves. While incremental changes and upgrades have been made continuously to the functionality and collaboration modalities of the platform, this year, the iDiaspora team has been able to incorporate a majority of the suggestions and inputs received in a new revamped version of the platform.

So far, iDiaspora brings 510 actors from 109 countries who have been able to share their best practices and stories on how to better integrate diaspora’s initiatives to enhance development in both their home and host communities.

The International Organization of Migration recognises the role of global migrant communities as key actors for development. Their knowledge and their ability to navigate different contexts highlight their ability to foster development initiatives that mainstream development at the global, national, and local levels. Diasporas are agents with the necessary social capital and relevant resources to develop transnational initiatives to support their own communities scattered globally. Indeed, diaspora leaders have the potential to maximize migration’s benefits by creating spaces of dialogue and exchange.

The iDiaspora platform has been at the forefront to witness the potential of diasporas to react to crisis and to provide protection to their communities in order to alleviate the impact of such emergencies. In an effort to contribute to the alleviation of the Covid-19 crisis, the International Organisation of Migration with the support of IDF, organised three global exchanges, one in English, one in French and one in Spanish to summon diasporas from around the world to share their best practices responding to the sanitary crisis and to enhance the cooperation between policymakers, practitioners and stakeholders involved in mainstreaming of migrant communities into the coronavirus crisis. During these insightful exchanges, the iDiaspora team was able to identify 50 different examples of the strategies developed by diaspora communities to respond to the Covid-19 crisis that will be soon published in a report.

The event will commemorate the two-year anniversary of the official launch of iDiaspora. The event will include a discussion of the progress of the initiative as well as the following steps and the presentation of the new upgraded version of the platform. Finally, the event will welcome three global diaspora leaders from the Global Diaspora Confederation, ADEPT, and Red Global MX Ireland to keep creating synergies with key actors creating opportunities and initiatives for their communities in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin-America.

Registration and agenda of the event here

For more information, please contact Larisa LARA at IOM HQ, email:

Language English Posted: Monday, November 16, 2020 - 20:09Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Relief Efforts Stretched as Latest Tropical Storm Causes Extensive Flooding in Manila

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 10:48

Manila – An unprecedented five tropical storms have made landfall in the Philippines in a short period of three weeks, beginning 25 October with Typhoon Molave (local name: Quinta) and continuing this week with severe tropical storm Vamco (Ulysses). Moreover, Vamco is the 21st tropical cyclone to hit the Philippines this year, arriving just two weeks after Typhoon Goni. It is being recorded as the strongest typhoon of 2020, so far. 

After making landfall on Wednesday (11/11) night, Vamco caused extensive flooding in parts of Metro Manila, particularly Marikina City, where stranded and desperate motorists waited out the flooding as water levels rose to a stage three alarm (22m), surpassing levels from 2009’s Typhoon Ketsana (locally known as Ondoy). In some places, residents and pets had to be rescued from rooftops as flood waters rose.  

Government rescue operations utilized boats and, in some cases, makeshift floating devices to reach affected communities stranded in homes with floodwater reaching up to the second stories of homes in some low-lying areas.   

As of last night (12/11), many areas in Marikina City were flooded with many roads remaining still impassable. Vamco has caused continuous heavy rain as the storm made its way through the sprawling National Capital Region, which has a population of nearly 13 million. 

According to preliminary data from the Department of Social Welfare and Development’s Disaster Response Operations Monitoring and Information Center, Vamco affected more than 5.6 million persons. Vamco has resulted in the deaths of at least 14 people across the affected regions, as of the morning of 13 November, according to the Department of Interior and Local Government. 
Meanwhile, IOM’s response to the devastation wreaked by the previous tropical storms continue with IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) rapid needs assessment continuing in affected areas in Catanduanes and Albay, despite many municipalities proving impassable due to landslides blocking access. 
Priority needs remain shelter, food, mental health and psychosocial support, and health assistance. 
Currently, 950 emergency shelter-grade tarps and ropes from USAID Philippines are being distributed to affected families in Tiwi, Albay, beginning prior to landfall of Typhoon Vamco. These tarps will be used to provide quick shelter repair for families affected by the successive barrage of typhoons. 
Another 750 tarps and ropes are bound to arrive in Camarines Sur and 1,600 in Catanduanes over the weekend. 
Solar lamps from USAID Philippines are also being distributed in Albay (125 lamps), Camarines Sur (125 lamps) and Catanduanes (250 lamps). 
IOM teams also reinforce government protocols on COVID-19 in the evacuation sites across Albay and Catanduanes, as they distribute personal protective equipment (PPE), modular tents and shelter-grade tarps from USAID Philippines and the Germany Embassy in Manila. 
“We had the strongest typhoon last week since Haiyan in 2013 and now the biggest floods in Manila since Ondoy in 2009 – all in a very short period of time,” said Kristin Dadey, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission, after visiting some of the worst affected parts of Manila.  
Dadey added, “The Philippines is one of the least contributors to the cause of climate change and yet is one of the most impacted by it.” According to the Climate Risk Index (CRI) 2020, the Philippines is ranked the second country most affected by weather-related loss events, with recurrent exposure to tropical cyclones causing the greatest losses.  
Studies show that annually about 20 tropical cyclones enter the Philippines, averaging nine each year making landfall. Climate change is leading to stronger, longer-lasting typhoons. Rising sea levels are also a grave concern, with water level rising at triple the global average.  
Consisting of more than 7,000 islands and with a population of over 100 million, it is projected that, within the next three decades, areas in the Philippines currently home to at least 8.6 million people will be likely directly impacted and submerged by sea-level rise and inundation. According to Climate Central, these areas include parts of Manila, Malabon, Bulacan, Pasay City, Iloilo cities, Cotabato, and many more.  
“Evidence in the Philippines suggests that recurrent climatic events like tropical storms are forcing people to migrate permanently from their residence,” said Dadey.   

To raise climate awareness and action, IOM Philippines this past August launched the Climate Change Adaptation and Community Resilience in the Philippines Project (CARP), funded by the IOM Development Fund. Partnering with national and local government—including the Climate Change Commission (CCC), academic and research institutes—and the private sector, the programme aims to enhance understanding of climate change and its impacts on human mobility among general public, media and local governments. 
For more information, please contact Kristin Dadey at IOM Philippines, Tel: +63 917 803 5009, Email: , or Itayi Viriri, at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok) at Tel: +66 65 939 0934, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 13, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Government rescue operations utilized boats to reach affected communities stranded in homes with floodwater reaching up to the second story of homes in low lying areas. Photo: IOM

Many areas in Marikina City, Metro Manila, remain flooded with roads still impassable as Typhoon Vamco poured continuous heavy rain while it made its way through the capital. Photo: IOM

Stranded motorists wait out the floods as water levels in Marikina City were raised up to the 3rd and highest alarm, rising up to 22m and surpassing levels from Typhoon Ketsana (locally Ondoy) in 2009. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Young innovators tackling migration challenges in Djibouti join Africa Innovation Week

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 06:10

Djibouti— Espace Créatif, a digital training centre that provides entrepreneurial skills to young people affected by migration, has been selected to represent Djibouti this week (9-13 November) at Africa Innovation Week 2020, an annual event with hundreds of participants. The all-Africa event brings innovators from 54 countries to pitch ideas and win the chance to represent the continent in the U.S. at the world’s largest start-up competition–and compete for USD 1 million in start-up funds. 

“We are so proud to be chosen to represent young people in Djibouti for Africa Innovation Week 2020. It is a pivotal moment and a key opportunity to grow our community, to nurture digital youth leadership in our country, particularly for young people who face specific challenges relating to migration,” said Byleh Daher, Manager of Espace Créatif. 

Espace Créatif was set up as digital fabrication space, commonly known as a ‘fab lab’ with a humanitarian focus. Opening in December this year in the University of Djibouti, the centre offers digital skills training and access to computer-assisted equipment for young people aged 14 to 26, specifically unaccompanied minors, migrant returnees and youth at risk of unsafe migration.  This year’s focus has been heavy on tackling challenges created by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

When the pandemic struck Djibouti and the centre closed its doors like all other public places, the team joined the COVID-19 response, putting 3D printing equipment to use to supply hundreds of plastic face shields to medical staff. At the height of the outbreak, there was a global shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) and many fab labs reportedly stepped in to meet demand.  
"Our growing innovation community is delighted with this centre for reflection, for sharing tools and advanced machines to stimulate everyone's creativity. There is no doubt that this centre will trigger a change of attitude and practice in favour of the digital revolution in our country," said Dr Abdou Idriss Omar, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering at the University of Djibouti. 

Dayer, the manager of the digital centre had been selected by the organizers to represent Djibouti alongside Raysso Ismael from Djibouti Business Solutions. Together they will represent innovation talent and promote initiatives led by young people affected by migration in Djibouti. They hope to be among the finalists selected to represent Africa nest May (2021) at the Start-up World Cup, a global competition held yearly in Silicon Valley. 

Espace Créatif provides courses ranging from 3-D printing, business development to ICT literacy for dozens of young people with different goals, varying needs and specific migration experiences. Partnerships with local organizations have enabled young people with limited exposure to digital technologies to access courses and equipment and increase their learning and job opportunities. “I fundamentally believe those who experience societal challenges are best suited to solve those problems. It is well known women and girls face gender inequalities, but they know well the gaps and how and where to build bridges. Start-up ecosystems benefit from the leadership of women and girls. This is what we are doing here, championing this leadership,” said Raysso Ismael of Djibouti Business Solutions.   

Espace Créatif was established as a joint initiative between the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Swiss non-governmental organization Terres des hommes and the University of Djibouti, funded by the IOM Development Fund. Africa Innovation Week was established in 2019 to showcase entrepreneurial talent, accelerate inclusive development and promote the continent’s talent at global conferences like the World Start-up Cup.

For more information, please contact Hannah Murphy, IOM Geneva. Tel: +447951538946. Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 13, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiThemes: COVID-19Migration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

Espace Creatif Project, Djibouti. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Fifteen Asylum Seekers Relocated from Italy to Spain

Fri, 11/13/2020 - 06:05

Rome/Madrid – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week (12/11) assisted 15 asylum seekers to relocate safely from Italy to Spain. The relocation – carried out by IOM in cooperation and with the support of the Italian Ministry of Interior, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and the Spanish Government, and with coordination from the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission – was the first from Italy to Spain since the outbreak of the pandemic.   

“We are happy to continue to support voluntary relocation. This departure – which was carried out in such a difficult context – was another important and concrete demonstration of European Union (EU) solidarity and cooperation,” said Laurence Hart, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean. 

The relocation operations, which are funded by the EU via the emergency assistance strand of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), was one of several movements carried out in the last two months. Since September, 184 asylum seekers have been relocated from Italy to other EU Member States since September 2020, including to France (59), Germany (109), Portugal (12) and Finland (4).   

The asylum seekers had been hosted in a single reception centre in the Italian region of Lazio, close to Rome. They departed from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport Thursday morning and arrived in Madrid. The group was then transferred to new accommodations in Madrid.  

Before departing, Geraddine, an asylum seeker from Cameroon, told IOM in Rome that he was looking forward to starting a new life in Spain. 
“I am grateful for the support I received while in Italy, and I hope I will be able to quickly learn Spanish so that I can support migrants who are going through the same path there,” he said before boarding the flight to Spain.  

IOM is responsible for ensuring that relocation beneficiaries travel in a safe or orderly manner. Prior to their departure, IOM provides those being relocated with information and awareness about what lies ahead for them in the country of relocation. Special attention is paid to asylum seekers’ health needs and conditions, as well as necessary precautions concerning COVID-19.  

The voluntary relocation programme aims to ensure the safe relocation of asylum seekers from Italy to the other EU Member States as a concrete demonstration of EU solidarity. 
IOM and its partners will continue to do their utmost to support the implementation of the programme and to ensure that the human rights and dignity of migrants are upheld throughout the process.


For more information, please contact Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 89 96, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 13, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: ItalySpainThemes: IOMRefugee and Asylum IssuesRelocationDefault: Multimedia: 

Asylum seekers at Fiumicino airport before relocation to Spain. Photo: Sirio Morrone/IOM 

Asylum seekers at Fiumicino airport before relocation to Spain. Photo: Simona Sperati/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Devastating Shipwreck Off Libya Claims More than 70 Lives: IOM

Thu, 11/12/2020 - 14:26

Geneva- Staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that a devastating shipwreck has claimed the lives of at least 74 migrants today (12/11) off the coast of Khums, Libya, the latest in a series of tragedies involving at least eight other shipwrecks in the Central Mediterranean since 1 October. 

The boat was reported to be carrying over 120 people, among them women and children. Forty-seven survivors have been brought to shore by the coast guard and fishermen and 31 bodies have been retrieved while the search for victims continues. 

In the past two days at least 19 people, including two children, drowned after two boats capsized in the Central Mediterranean, while the vessel Open Arms – the only NGO ship currently operating on this route – rescued more than 200 people in three operations.  

“The mounting loss of life in the Mediterranean is a manifestation of the inability of States to take decisive action to redeploy much needed, dedicated Search and Rescue capacity in the deadliest sea-crossing in the world,” said Federico Soda, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. 

“We have long called for a change in the evidently unworkable approach to Libya and the Mediterranean, including ending returns to the country and establishing a clear disembarkation mechanism followed by solidarity from other states. Thousands of vulnerable people continue to pay the price for inaction both at sea and on land.” 

So far this year, at least 900 people have drowned in the Mediterranean trying to reach European shores, some due to delays in rescue. More than 11,000 others have been returned to Libya, putting them at risk of facing human rights violations, detention, abuse, trafficking and exploitation, as documented by the United Nations.  

IOM has recorded a recent upsurge in departures from the country with some 1,900 being intercepted and returned and over 780 arrivals in Italy from Libya since the beginning of October alone.  

Worsening humanitarian conditions of migrants detained in overcrowded centres, widespread arbitrary arrests and imprisonment, and the extortion and abuse are alarming. In the absence of any safeguards for migrants returned to the country, the Libyan Search and Rescue zone must be redefined to allow for international actors to conduct life-saving operations. 

IOM maintains that Libya is not a safe port for return and reiterates its call on the international community and the European Union to take urgent and concrete action to end the cycle of return and exploitation.  

Continuous restrictions on the work of NGOs conducting crucial rescue operations work must be lifted immediately and their crucial interventions recognized in line with the humanitarian imperative of saving lives. 


For more information please contact:   

Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva, +41 79 403 5526,   

Ryan Schroeder at IOM Brussels,32 492 25 02 34,   

Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Rome, +39.347.089.89.96,   



Language English Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 14:24Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

The boat was reported to be carrying over 120 people, among them women and children. Forty-seven survivors have been brought to shore by the coast guard and fishermen. Photo: IOM / Hussein Ben Mosa

IOM staff assisting survivors from a shipwreck that claimed over 70 lives Photo: IOM / Hussein Ben Mosa

The boat was reported to be carrying over 120 people, among them women and children. Forty-seven survivors have been brought to shore by the coast guard and fishermen. Photo: IOM / Hussein Ben Mosa

The boat was reported to be carrying over 120 people, among them women and children. Forty-seven survivors have been brought to shore by the coast guard and fishermen. Photo: IOM / Hussein Ben Mosa

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Responds to Eta's Aftermath in Central America: 2.5 Million People Affected

Thu, 11/12/2020 - 08:53

San José (Costa Rica) – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has joined the efforts of the United Nations System and other humanitarian and governmental actors to respond to Hurricane Eta, an emergency impacting 2.5 million people across Central America as authorities monitor a new storm emerging in the Caribbean.

IOM personnel in Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Belize have traveled to the most affected areas –since Eta made landfall on 3 November, to distribute thousands of emergency kits, including kitchen sets, mattresses, sheets and hygiene products. 

In Honduras, where 1.8 million people have been impacted by the Category 4 storm, IOM has already delivered more than 39,000 personal protection items in an effort to mitigate the impact of COVID-19, as well as hygiene kits, blankets, clothes and water bags.

In Nicaragua, IOM in coordination with local NGOs and civil society organizations present in affected areas will assist the delivery of food kits and hygiene items. In Mexico, IOM will distribute humanitarian aid to seven shelters in the south of the country while evaluating the extent to which shelters in Chiapas have been affected.

The deployment of Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) teams has also begun. DTM will collect critical information on the population displacements caused by Hurricane Eta, facilitating decision-making that can save lives in the coming weeks and aid the recovery of the affected areas. 

As the leader of the humanitarian cluster focused on shelter management (Camp Coordination and Camp Management), IOM coordinates UN efforts with the governments of Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador, and Nicaragua to ensure the provision of services and avoid overlap of efforts and reduce gaps in humanitarian care. According to OCHA, in the three countries of northern Central America, at least 358,000 people are temporarily housed in schools and other buildings. "The most immediate needs are food, protection and shelter for the affected people, as well as other basic items that help guarantee their dignity," said Jorge Peraza, IOM Chief of Mission in Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala.

"Hurricane Eta has exacerbated social and economic conditions that were already present in some sectors of the countries of northern Central America, adding to the vulnerabilities the people there already face." 
IOM’s Regional Director for Central America, North America, and the Caribbean is particularly worried about the destruction of crops and the impact on local economies in some parts of Nicaragua, Honduras, and Guatemala.
"The damage there can worsen the conditions of economic instability and food insecurity that have forced thousands of Central Americans to migrate in search of better living conditions," said Michele Klein-Solomon. "What Hurricane Eta has left behind is not only a huge humanitarian calamity that requires immediate attention, but also the seed of future migration crises that we must try to prevent," explained Klein-Solomon.

The US National Hurricane Center warns that a tropical wave slowly moving westward through the Caribbean has an 80 per cent chance of becoming another major storm in the next 48 hours, possibly impacting the same areas as Hurricane Eta.


For further information, please contact Jorge Gallo at IOM’s Regional Office for Central America, North America, and the Caribbean, Email:, Tel: +506 72036536


Language English Posted: Thursday, November 12, 2020 - 15:49Image: Region-Country: BelizeCosta RicaEl SalvadorGuatemalaHondurasMexicoNicaraguaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

In San Pedro Carchá, in the Guatemalan department of Alta Verapaz, the community doubled as first responders. Photo: Emiliano Tux

In Honduras, IOM has delivered 39,000 personal protection items such as masks and gel for COVID-19 prevention, 6,500 articles of clothing, 2,100 hygiene kits, 1,000 blankets, and 5,000 water bags. Photo: IOM/Ismael Cruceta

The Cahabon River, as it passes through San Pedro Carchá in Guatemala, overflowed, driving dozens of families from their homes. It is feared that the total number of people affected by Hurricane Eta in Central America is around 2.5 million. Photo: Emiliano Tux 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

First Multi-Stakeholder Consultation on Regional Reviews of Global Compact for Safe, Regular, and Orderly Migration

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 12:41

Geneva – The first informal multi-stakeholder consultation was held Monday (9/11) in preparation for the regional review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration (GCM), which will take place on 12-13 November.

The consultation focused on the progress made in the implementation of the GCM within the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) region and was structured around two roundtables: i) Progress and challenges in the implementation of the GCM in the UNECE region; and ii) Best practices for stakeholder engagement in the GCM implementation.

“This event builds on the Compact’s explicit recognition that non-governmental partners are vital contributors to a collective commitment to achieving well-managed migration founded on cooperation and full respect for human rights,” said Michele LeVoy, Director of the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM) and rapporteur for the event.  “This consultation is an opportunity for civil society and other stakeholders to share realities on the ground, but also their concerns for the wellbeing of migrants in the region and how these can be effectively addressed,” she concluded.

The UNECE region covers over 50 countries, located in Europe, North America, the Caucasus, Central Asia and Western Asia. Its geographic, cultural and economic breadth makes migration contexts and dynamics across the region extremely diverse. To give voice to this, over one hundred groups and individuals from across the region, including trade unions, civil society organizations, local authorities, youth organizations and National Human Rights Institutes, private sector, the Red Cross and others participated in the virtual consultation.

The different speakers expressed their concerns on various topics including the impacts of the COVID 19 pandemic on migrants and their communities, migrant workers’ rights; children on the move with a particular focus on family reunification; access to services; alternatives to immigration detention; and border management and forced returns. Several recommendations were made during the consultation which will feed into the formal deliberations later in the week.

“Active and sustained stakeholder engagement is vital to the health and longevity of the Global Compact,” said Jonathan Prentice, the head of secretariat for the United Nations Network on Migration. “These meetings are not a static process; they must be part of a dynamic engagement with all partners and at all levels to further the implementation of the Compact,” he added.

See the agenda of the event and list of speakers here. All reports from stakeholders are accessible here.

For more information, please contact at the UN Network on Migration secretariat Monami Maulik, Tel.: +41 79 363 1498. Email: ; or Florence Kim, Tel.: +41 79 748 0395. Email: 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 13:45Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Global Compact on MigrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Aids COVID-impacted communities on Haiti-Dominican Border and Worldwide

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 09:53

Pedernales – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is distributing more than 12,000 food kits to migrant and Dominican families in several provinces affected by the economic consequences of border closures due to COVID-19, part of a worldwide IOM effort to aid communities stranded or impoverished in border zones due to sharp declines in commerce and other cross-border activities.

Besides the vigorous work ongoing on the frontier between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, IOM is implementing similar programs across Latin America. In Argentina, over the past two months, IOM has delivered 42 tons of food items to community kitchens in the locality of San Martin which daily assists 1,210 people in vulnerable conditions, both migrants and Argentine nationals. Food kits also have been distributed with the Argentine Red Cross to 1,200 refugees and migrants living in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, and three other provinces. Funding was provided by the European Union.

IOM Argentina also prepared 27,600 meals at a Caritas-managed centre in the Metropolitan Area of Buenos Aires, while food items were provided as well for 2,800 migrants assisted by four parish kitchens.

In Peru, nearly 4,000 food kits have been delivered since June this year to vulnerable refugees and migrants and host communities in Lima, the country’s capital, as well as in the border cities of Tumbes (on the frontier with Ecuador) and Tacna (Chile). In just the past week, IOM delivered 587 basic food baskets with its partner Adra, in coordination with the National Institute of Civil Defense, benefitting 2,300 persons in Tumbes.

Border restrictions have been in place here since March to control COVID-19’s spread between the Dominican Republic and Haiti. The closure of the four official border crossings along the Haitian-Dominican frontier over these past seven months has affected the nearby populations. According to information from the Ministry of Economic, Planning, and Development of the Dominican Republic (MEPYD), around 90 per cent of formal trade with Haiti flows through these customs posts, which average 227,000 entries each year.

During September and October, some 20,000 people benefited from the first 4,000 food kits delivered in the border provinces.

Conditions in the Dominican city of Pedernales illuminate the COVID-related setbacks now impacting millions of people in the Americas, many of them migrants. "The COVID emergency has really affected our community because both transportation and food production has decreased,” explained Rafael Pérez Jean, an evangelical pastor and director of The Casa de Luz Foundation in Pedernales. “The way we live in the border area also has changed. As the border is practically closed, products are not allowed to transit through the frontier as before, nor are visas available." 

The Casa de Luz Foundation is one of the civil organizations collaborating with IOM to distribute food in the five border provinces of the Dominican Republic: Pedernales, Independencia, Elías Piña, Dajabón, and Montecristi. 

Pastor Pérez Jean has served as a bridge between IOM and the communities that benefited from these food kits. He recalled moments of uncertainty experienced in his town during the pandemic, explaining "People do not have access to food in sufficient quantities, and thanks to the aid that IOM has been providing these days, many people have received food at home. That helps them to have a livelihood." 

Cristian Nuevo Poché agreed that COVID-19 changed lives in Elías Piña province, where he has been a community leader and schoolteacher for over 20 years. He explained that the pandemic exacerbated an already difficult economic situation in his area.  "Many of these families depended on the informal market trade. Now the market activities are almost nil, so many have had to migrate to work for private households in Santo Domingo," Mr. Nuevo Poché said. "Food rations helped alleviate prevailing needs in the Pinzón community."

Miguel Román, coordinator of IOM in the border region, explained that in November 8,000 kits will be distributed nationwide, of which 3,500 are already being delivered in the border provinces of Pedernales, Barahona, Bahoruco, Independencia (Jimaní), Elías Piña, Dajabón and Montecristi.  

Another 5,500 kits will be distributed in Santiago, María Trinidad Sánchez, Santo Domingo Province, National District, San Pedro and La Altagracia. 
Mr. Román emphasized that the kits being distributed are headed to those considered among the most vulnerable in the population, such as Haitian and Venezuelan migrants, as well as Dominican families with limited economic resources. The new distributions will include hand soap donated by the Colgate-Palmolive corporation to UNDP in the Dominican Republic, masks made by an IOM-supported migrant venture, and information about preventing COVID-19. 

This distribution is carried out in two ways: through the IOM border teams and with partners and allied NGOs: ASCALA, FUNCAR / Centro Puente, FEI, MUDHA, CEDESO, Casa Del Caribe, CODHA, Venezuelan Diaspora, and La Merced Foundation. Likewise, the Venezuelan Association in Santiago (AVES), the Venezuelan Emigrants Foundation (FEV), FUNCOVERD, Duendes, and Ángeles Vinotinto, the Venezuelan Association in San Cristóbal and the Churún Merú Association in Bávaro. 

Assistance to the families most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic in the Dominican Republic is possible thanks to the contributions of the European Union and the US State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. 

In Argentina, partners included the Human Rights Secretary´s Office of Argentina and provincial Human Rights Offices, as well as the Argentine Red Cross. Besides EU aid, funding was also provided by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the U.S. State Department (PRM). 

In Egypt, IOM has distributed thousands of food and non-food items and financial assistance to 2,675 persons in Alexandria, Cairo, Hurghada and Al-Fayoum. IOM estimates that there are 600,000 vulnerable migrants in Egypt who encounter a wide range of challenges, including inadequate access to food, health, and education services in addition to limited access to socio-economic opportunities.

For more information please contact Zinnia Martínez at IOM Dominican Republic, Tel:   +1 809 688 81 74. Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 00:56Image: Region-Country: Dominican RepublicHaitiThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Hand soap and COVID-19 prevention information have been distributed along with food kits in the border provinces of the Dominican Republic. Photo: IOM/Lenny Mendez 

Delivery of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable migrant women in the province of Dajabón, Dominican Republic. Photo: IOM/Ildefonso Cruz 

Farm worker receiving a food kit from IOM on Elias Piña province, Dominican Republic. Photo: IOM/Edwin Medina

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Latest Tropical Storm Heads for Philippines as Relief Efforts Continue; USD 45 Million Appeal Launched

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 08:11

Manila – As tropical depression Ulysses developed into a tropical storm by Monday evening (09/11), the International Organization for Migration (IOM)–with government and other partners—continued to provide urgent humanitarian aid across the region.  

The storm is headed towards the Bicol region, which is still reeling from the devastation wrought by Super Typhoon Goni and Typhoon Molave in recent weeks
On Monday (09/11), the United Nations and humanitarian partners in the Philippines launched an appeal for USD 45.5 million to bring life-saving assistance and protection to hundreds of thousands of people affected by the recent typhoons. Launching the appeal, Gustavo Gonzalez, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in the Philippines, said the humanitarian community is ready to translate “solidarity into concrete support” through a coordinated response, combining emergency relief and early recovery, with support from donors.

According to Philippines state weather bureau PAGASA, Ulysses is projected to make landfall over the Bicol region and Quezon province by Wednesday (11/11). The 21st tropical storm in the Philippines this year, Ulysses comes as much of southern Luzon is recovering from two other storms—Super Typhoon Goni (Rolly) and Typhoon Molave (Quinta)–which left dozens dead and caused extensive destruction across the region. Typhoon Goni struck as the Philippines faced multifaceted challenges, affecting a total of 1.9 million individuals, over 950,000 just within the Bicol region. Currently, some 128,200 individuals remain displaced with 72,500 staying in 744 evacuation sites. 

The Philippines has one of the highest levels of COVID-19 transmission in the Asia Pacific region. More than 398,000 cases have been confirmed, of which 29,018 are active. As of 10 November, some 7,674 have died, according to the Department of Health (DOH). Although relatively less affected, Albay reports 990 confirmed and 75 active cases, while Catanduanes has 133 confirmed and 9 active cases.
IOM continues to conduct rapid needs assessments in the most affected provinces of Catanduanes, Albay, and Camarines Sur, Bicol Region, with the support of USAID funding. In addition, assistance from the German Embassy in Manila arrived in Virac, Catanduanes, via the Philippine Coast Guard vessel Gabriela Silang on 7 November. 

A total of 244,200 assorted personal protective equipment (PPE) and 500 modular tents have been delivered to help enforce proper COVID-19 protocols in evacuation sites. 
“We only see them on television. Now we have ours,” said Jean Triumfante of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO) of Virac in Catanduanes, referring to the modular tents that were handed over and distributed at evacuation centres in the municipality. 

USAID Philippines handed over 300 shelter-grade tarps to the Department of Social Welfare and Development Region V to be distributed to most affected displaced communities in the provinces of Albay and Catanduanes.

“We really need to support these communities in rebuilding their homes, building back better, and also getting some livelihood support to them. Cash assistance would be important and, of course, all other kinds of Water, Sanitation and Hygiene support . Psychosocial assistance is going to be very much needed as well. We stand with the government and support you fully,” said Kristin Dadey, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission.

“Our house is gone, but we’re all alive, so I’m still thankful,” said Maria, a resident of Baras, Catanduanes, who lost her home to landslides brought about by heavy rains from Goni. She and her family are currently staying in a day care centre near their now-levelled house. The modular tents will help families like Maria’s to socially distance themselves while living in displacement sites.
“This was the first time we experienced a storm this strong. We evacuated and stayed with a neighbour a day before the storm, but, when we returned, our house and everything else was gone,” said Grace, a beneficiary in Barangay Sugod, Tiwi, Albay. She and other families have set up their temporary shelters with the tarps they have received.

Psychosocial First Aid sessions are also being conducted by IOM doctors during their assessments in the most affected areas. Priority needs for the province of Catanduanes are shelter (tarps, Shelter Repair Kits (SRK), typhoon-proof core permanent shelters), food, non-food items (clothes, kitchen utensils), hygiene kits, generator sets, cash for work, alternative livelihoods (other than farming), medicines, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, and school supplies.

On Sunday (08/11), UN Resident Coordinator in the Philippines, Gustavo Gonzalez, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson, Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas Sánchez, and IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Kristin Dadey, together with Albay Province Governor Al Francis Bichara, visited ground zero in the municipality of Tiwi where nearly 100 per cent of homes were damaged or destroyed by Goni. 

“Seeing the devastating effects of the Typhoon, we express our deep concern for the thousands of families affected by this disaster,” said UN Resident Coordinator Gonzalez.

For more information, please contact Kristin Dadey at IOM Philippines, Tel: +63 917 803 5009, Email: , or Itayi Viriri, at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok) at Tel: +66 65 939 0934, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesIOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Scenes from ground zero in Tiwi, Albay, where nearly 100 per cent of homes have been damaged or destroyed by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Goni. Photo: IOM 

IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Kristin Dadey visits ground zero in the municipality of Tiwi, Albay province where nearly 100 per cent of homes have been damaged or destroyed by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Goni.

Pre-emptive evacuations made by the government spared the town with zero casualties, but much work remains to be done for affected communities. Photo: IOM

Nearly 100 per cent of homes and livelihoods have been destroyed in the municipality of Tiwi, Albay Province in the Bicol Region. Support is most needed in rebuilding better homes and providing livelihood assistance to affected communities. Photo: IOM

Shelter grade tarps from USAID Philippines have been distributed to residents at ground zero Tiwi, Albay, as temporary shelter solutions while the province begins to recover from the devastating effects of Super Typhoon Goni. Photo: IOM

(From left) UN Philippines Resident Coordinator Gustavo Gonzales, Australian Ambassador to the Philippines Steven Robinson, Spanish Ambassador to the Philippines Jorge Moragas Sánchez, and IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Kristin Dadey joined Governor Al Francis Bichara of Albay Province to visit ground zero in the municipality of Tiwi where nearly 100 per cent of homes have been damaged or destroyed by the onslaught of Super Typhoon Goni. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Booklets for Rohingya Parents and Children Raise Awareness of Protection Risks

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 07:02

Cox’s Bazar – Since August 2017, nearly a million Rohingya refugees have been hosted in the world’s largest refugee camp in Cox’s Bazar, where protection issues remain a significant challenge. Fearing for their children’s safety, many Rohingya parents are apprehensive about leaving their children home alone while working or collecting relief items. 
Recognizing the issue, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Cox’s Bazar has published two booklets with the purpose of helping children and parents engage in challenging conversations on the topic of child protection. 
One booklet is called “Heart-to-Heart with My Child.” Published for Rohingya adults and children, it conveys key child protection messages in accessible terms in both Rohingya and in English. The messages are illustrated with embroideries made by Rohingya female artists, engaged with IOM’s Rohingya Cultural Memory Centre (RCMC). 
During focus group discussions and one-on-one interviews with IOM’s protection team, refugees often share stories of harassment and physical abuse. The team encountered several protection risks in the camps, which the staff has been gradually mitigating. 
“Going through so much hardship in life, leaving one’s own home and loved ones behind, and carrying terrifying memories, is already enough of a burden for these children and parents,” explained IOM Bangladesh’s Child Protection Officer Bernadett Fekete. “We hope these booklets will help alleviate some of the pressure and encourage constructive discussions at the family and community levels.”  
Rohingya parents want to ensure their children’s safety, but admit that discussing the topic with their children is not a simple task. During their own childhoods—when child protection risks were considered a taboo topic—this information was not easily accessible. To this day, many parents believe that marrying their children at a young age ensures children’s safety. 
“During our discussions with Rohingya mothers, some are reluctant to talk about child protection issues, but others are beginning to open up. For these women, this is a safe place where they can talk about their problems and get the mental and emotional support they need,” explained Child Protection caseworker Shahnaz Akter. 
The second booklet, “Be Safe, Be Happy”, is a coloring book for smaller children, given out with crayons. The images and narrative focus on the positive relationship between parents and children, highlighting the fact that family should be a child’s safest and most important environment. 
Due to uncertainty, lack of security, education and livelihood, many families are under extreme pressure. This pressure can often be exacerbated by protection issues connected to family tensions, domestic violence, or even child abuse, with ripple effects on the community.  
“Since I started coming to the Women and Girls Safe Space, I have learned about ways of dealing with my children when I am stressed or worried,” said a Rohingya mother who participated in one of the sessions. “I cannot read, but I can understand the messages conveyed through the images. I hope I can attend other sessions to learn more about the topic,” she added. 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac, Email:, or Tarek Mahmud. Tel: + 880 1752 380240, Email:, at IOM Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar. 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: ChildrenRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

The booklet “Heart-to-Heart with My Child” tackles topics like childhood, adulthood and parenting. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

The booklet “Heart-to-Heart with My Child” tackles topics like childhood, adulthood and parenting. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Urgent Assistance Needed for an Estimated 11,500 Persons Newly Displaced by Chad Floods

Tue, 11/10/2020 - 04:55

N’Djamena – An estimated 11,500 people have been forced to leave their homes since late October as a result of flash floods in N’Djamena, Chad’s capital city. The floods, which caused catastrophic damage, are the result of rising water levels which led to the overflow of the Chari River and an embankment break in N’Djamena’s 9th district.

IOM, in coordination with Chadian authorities and the humanitarian community, is providing leading support to site management and site development including shelters, water supply, solar lights and non-food items. The organization is also collecting data through the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) to evaluate the needs of the displaced persons. These floods add a layer of vulnerability to a population that had already been impacted by severe floods last August.  More than 100 households were supported then by IOM. Today, more funding is urgently needed as water levels continue to rise. 

“It is now urgent that we scale up efforts to quickly provide suitable shelter and emergency response support to the disaster victims as there is concern for COVID spread in tight living spaces as well as risk of water-borne diseases that are endemic in the region,” said Anne Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission. 

In the displacement site, IOM built temporary shelters and organized sensitization sessions on fire safety and protection from related hazards. IOM says much more needs to be done to support the people most in need, including with food, sanitation and education in times of crisis. 

The Chari and the Logone rivers, which flow through the Central African Republic, Cameroon and Chad, are among Lake Chad’s main sources of water. But there is an irregular flow, with low flow between February and July, and exceptionally high flow between August and November, particularly when fed by rain waters during the rainy summer months. 

Embankments and dikes were built around the river to avert potential catastrophes, but when the rains are heavy the river overflows into surrounding areas, causing considerable human and material damage.
“A comprehensive response is needed to profile the people most affected and vulnerable to flooding, and to strengthen emergency preparedness and disaster risk reduction and management in flood-prone areas including support to Government authorities in planning, early warning and rapid response to floods and other catastrophes,” says IOM’s Schaefer.

The extreme rainy season of 2020, which continues in the south of the country, is leading to an increase in water levels. Upstream, risk also is rising in the Lac Province, where more than 393,000 people are currently displaced as a direct consequence of climate change and insecurity from actions of Boko Haram and other non-state armed group actions. 

For more information, please contact François-Xavier Ada-Affana at IOM’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

A makeshift displacement site in the 9th district of N'Djamena. Photo: IOM/Daniele Febei

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Coronavirus Could Push More People to Move out of Necessity as Hunger Surges among Migrant and Displaced Communities Says New UN Report

Mon, 11/09/2020 - 18:00

Geneva/Rome – A new report has found global hunger and population displacement  – both already at record levels when COVID-19 struck – could surge as people on the move and those reliant on a dwindling flow of remittances desperately seek work to support their families. 

The report – the first of its kind – was released today by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations World Food Programme (WFP), and shows how the pandemic has driven up food insecurity and increased vulnerability among migrants, families reliant on remittances and communities forced from their homes by conflict, violence and disasters. 

The two UN agencies warn the social and economic toll of the pandemic could be devastating and call on the world to prevent it by stepping up support in response to immediate and rising humanitarian needs, addressing the socioeconomic impacts of the crisis and ensuring that the most vulnerable are not forgotten. 

"The impact of the COVID-19 crisis on health and human mobility threatens to roll back global commitments, including within the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and hinder ongoing efforts to support those in need of assistance. It is our collective responsibility to safeguard the rights of people on the move and ensure their protection from further harm,” said IOM’s Director-General, António Vitorino.   

“The socio-economic impact of the pandemic is more devastating than the disease itself. Many people in low- and middle-income countries, who a few months ago were poor but just about getting by, now find their livelihoods have been destroyed. Remittances sent from workers abroad to their families at home have also dried up, causing immense hardship. As a result, hunger rates are sky-rocketing around the world,” said WFP Executive Director, David Beasley. 

The impact the pandemic has had on the ways people move is unprecedented. Measures and restrictions put in place in over 220 countries, territories or areas to contain the spread of the disease have limited human mobility, opportunities to work and earn an income, straining the ability of migrants and displaced people to afford food and other basic needs.  

Food insecurity and displacement are closely intertwined. Hunger – especially when combined with conflict – is a critical push factor driving people to move. Nine out of ten of the world’s worst food crises are in countries with the largest number of internally displaced persons. Meanwhile, the majority of displaced people are located in countries affected by acute food insecurity and malnutrition.  

The world’s 164 million migrant workers, especially those working in the informal sector, are some of the worst hit by the pandemic. They often work on temporary or seasonal bases for low wages without access to social protection systems. During economic crises, these populations are often the first to lose their jobs. At the same time, disruptions to seasonal agricultural work could have ramifications on the production, processing and distribution of food, which could affect food availability and affordability at local and regional levels. 

Without sustained income, the report warns that many migrants will not only be pushed to return home but will also cause at least a temporary drop in remittances which provide an essential lifeline for around 800 million – or one in nine – people in the world.  

The pandemic has made livelihood opportunities for migrants increasingly scarce, and the World Bank expects a 14 percent drop in remittances to low- and middle-income countries by 2021. The consequences for food security could be devastating. WFP projects that by end of 2021 at least 33 million additional people could be driven into hunger due to the expected drop in remittances alone.    

The two agencies call on the international community to ensure that every effort is made to limit the immediate impact on the most vulnerable, while ensuring longer term investments that ensure a pathway to recovery. 

The International Organization for Migration is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants and other mobile populations. IOM promotes international cooperation on migration issues to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration challenges and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, be they refugees, displaced persons or other uprooted people as well as their host communities.. 

The United Nations World Food Programme is the 2020 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate.  We are the world’s largest humanitarian organization, saving lives in emergencies and using food assistance to build a pathway to peace, stability and prosperity for people recovering from conflict, disasters and the impact of climate change. 

Follow us on Twitter @wfp_media and @unmigration  

For more information, please contact: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2020 - 00:50Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: COVID-19Global Compact on MigrationInternal DisplacementMigrants in Vulnerable SituationsMigration and DevelopmentUNDefault: Multimedia: 

Internally displaced persons arrive to a camp in Doloow, Somalia, where droughts in recent years have led to increased displacement and food shortages.  Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Growing Humanitarian Needs Among Migrants Rescued off Mauritanian Coast

Fri, 11/06/2020 - 06:45

Nouakchott, Mauritania – Around 400 migrants have been intercepted or rescued off the coast of Mauritania since mid-October. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has recorded an increase in attempted crossings on the West Africa route and is appealing for more support to ensure rapid and adequate assistance to migrants.

IOM, in coordination with the Government of Mauritania, the French Red Cross and the Mauritanian Red Crescent, has been providing migrants, among them survivors of several shipwrecks, with urgent medical assistance, food assistance and core relief items including blankets, clothes and hygiene products. It is unclear how many lives were lost after a series of tragic shipwrecks in the West Africa route. 

The migrants were on board seven boats, some of which capsized, others were intercepted, off the coast of Nouadhibou, northern Mauritania, after departing from other West African coastal countries.
Migrants onboard were mainly from Senegal, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire, Mauritanian and the Gambia. Among them, there were four unaccompanied children. 

Many of the migrants showed symptoms of acute dehydration, infected wounds, and other serious illnesses, after having spent between four days and two weeks at sea. Those most affected were referred to hospitals in Nouakchott and Nouadhibou. IOM continues to monitor the serious cases, some in intensive care. 

This assistance was provided in line with new health protocols and sanitary measures imposed by COVID-19. "Joint efforts with the Government of Mauritania and partners have enabled efficient referral of cases to the nearest health care centres and hospitals, but our overall capacity to respond to these growing needs remains limited, " says Laura Lungarotti, IOM Chief of Mission in Mauritania.

Due to increased attempted crossings and incidents on this route, and lack of resources to ensure a comprehensive and timely response, authorities and humanitarian actors are developing standard operating procedures to guarantee a more coordinated and human rights-based response to these emergencies.  

An estimated 200 boats have arrived in the Canaries since the end of September, carrying at least 5,000 migrants, a tenfold increase compared to the same period of last year. Between 1 and 12 October, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project recorded over 414 disappearances on the West Africa route to the Canary Islands. 

Despite this increase compared to last year, arrivals remain far less than those recorded in 2006 and 2007 (which saw the arrival of 32,000 migrants to the Canaries).
For more information, please contact Nicholas Hochart at IOM Mauritania, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, November 6, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: MauritaniaThemes: COVID-19Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM and its partner, the French Red Cross, at the port of Nouadhibou providing migrants with urgent medical aid.  Photo: IOM / Fatime Djamila Harine. 

IOM and its partner, the French Red Cross, at the port of Nouadhibou providing migrants with urgent medical aid.  Photo: IOM / Fatime Djamila Harine. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

COVID-19 Restrictions Impacting Trafficking Referrals in the UK

Fri, 11/06/2020 - 06:42

London – There have been fewer potential cases of modern slavery identified since the UK began responding to COVID-19, and providing support survivors need has become more challenging, an Anti-Slavery Week panel discussion hosted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) was told. In 2019, 10,627 potential victims of trafficking (VoTs) were identified in the UK and referred for support, a 52 per cent increase over 2018.

The decision to close non-essential businesses and other lockdown measures appears to have had an immediate and measurable impact on reporting. Between April and June, 23 per cent fewer potential VoTs were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) than the first quarter of 2020, five per cent fewer than the same period last year.

A closer look at recent referrals since the COVID-19 response also shows changes in the types of exploitation being reported. “The number of referrals of potential victims of labour exploitation had fallen dramatically, a trend that can be regarded as a consequence of the types of workplaces which potential victims of labour exploitation might work in –like restaurants, nail-bars, construction sites and carwashes, that were shut due to the national restrictions,” said IOM UK Senior Project Officer Patrick Burland. 

“Meanwhile, the proportion of referrals to the UK National Referral Mechanism (NRM) for criminal exploitation has increased significantly, with 70 per cent of children and 45 per cent of adults referred from April to June 2020, being reported as a potential victim of criminal exploitation.” 

During a panel discussion hosted by IOM UK last week to mark this year’s Anti-Slavery Day, practitioners warned that there is likely a substantial gap between the true scale of the crime of human trafficking and modern slavery and the numbers of potential victims currently being referred to the NRM. While migrants constitute the majority of referrals, the number of British nationals referred to the NRM has increased to 44 per cent of all cases.  

This data shows that anyone can become a victim of modern slavery, and that raising awareness among the general public on how to spot signs of exploitation and abuse is crucial.  

In addition to IOM’s Burland, the panelists included Alex Balch (Professor of Politics at the University of Liverpool), Tatiana Gren-Jardan (Head of Modern Slavery Unit, Justice & Care), Pam Bowen CBE (Senior Legal Adviser, Crown Prosecution Service), and Rebecca Helme (Modern Slavery Response Team Manager, Hestia).  

“It is more important than ever that stakeholders working to fight modern slavery across the UK share information and practices on how they are adapting to this constantly changing scenario, to be able to shape future responses and improve the ability to continue the work in support of survivors, despite the COVID-19 restrictions that are likely to be in place for some time,” said IOM UK Chief of Mission Dipti Pardeshi. 

The effects of COVID-19 have been particularly acute for the mental health of survivors.   

“As we all know being forced to stay pretty much indoors at home at all times has been a struggle,” said Hestia’s Helme. “But, for survivors of modern slavery, this experience has been a reminder of past trauma.” 

Overall, the impact of COVID-19 has meant increased inequalities for survivors of trafficking and inaccessibility to support and assistance. Service providers have also responded creatively to ensure more regular contact with survivors by relying on technology.  

Finally, to help survivors rebuild their lives, IOM UK has just launched a skills development programme for people who are trafficking survivors, and this will be initially delivered online.  

The programme has been adapted to practically address the current needs and challenges due to COVID-19. Such support is particularly important as the current circumstances may mean survivors are more vulnerable to re-trafficking. 

For more information please contact Abir Soleiman at IOM UK, Tel: +44 (0)7470195306, Email: 


Language English Posted: Friday, November 6, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: COVID-19Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

The closure of non-essential businesses and other lockdown measures appears to have had an immediate and measurable impact on reporting; 23 per cent fewer potential victims of trafficking were referred to the National Referral Mechanism (NRM) than the first quarter of 2020, five per cent fewer than the same period last year. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Partnerships Prove Vital in Getting Stranded Migrants Home in Central Asia

Fri, 11/06/2020 - 06:05

Tashkent – Uzbekistan, a landlocked Central Asian country, has been a global crossroads since ancient times. It continues to be, often along routes forged by silk and spice merchants plying their trade via camel caravan. 

Today, it has emerged as one of the world’s most active transit points for migrants stranded by the global COVID-19 pandemic. 

Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, IOM and its many partners helped over 3,000 people – mainly Tajik nationals – to move through Uzbekistan from neighbouring Kazakhstan as well as from the Russian Federation and points even farther afield. 

In recent days, IOM staff at the Zhybek-Zholy border crossing between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan addressed a sudden demand from the Uzbek government for negative COVID-19 tests for a group of 102 stranded migrants. 

“Many of these people had been travelling for days with little food, no clean clothes, and certainly no resources to pay for COVID-19 tests,” explained IOM’s head of office in Tashkent, Sanjar Toshbaev. “They had lost their jobs and were on their way home to an uncertain future.” Temperatures along the border remain quite hot during the day but very cold at night-time, noted Toshbaev.

“The last thing these migrants needed was to have their arduous journeys made even longer by a requirement that had not been communicated to us,” added Toshbaev. “In fact, neither the staff on the Kazakh side of the border nor consular representatives from Tajikistan had been informed of the rapidly-introduced new situation.”

IOM’s team in Tashkent started making urgent phone calls, beginning with trying to raise funds for the COVID-19 tests, and to find some way of getting them carried out on the border. At the same time, IOM staff in Tajikistan and Kazakhstan contacted responsible officials in both countries and eventually helped find a solution. “We managed to work out a ‘non-contact corridor’ for the group and, a day or so later than expected, the migrants crossed into Tajikistan after the four-hour transit through Uzbekistan,” said Toshbaev. 

“We all breathed a huge sigh of relief – in Kazakhstan, in Uzbekistan and in Tajikistan – as the situation had been getting quite tense. It just shows the value of partnerships and good relations with our host governments. It is something we are always grateful for. Investing in partnerships pays a huge dividend in mini-crises like these.”

He continued: “It’s sometimes tempting to think of these busloads of migrants as just numbers passing by behind darkened windows. But we have to remember that they have lost their jobs, homes and sense of purpose. They face greater risks of being abused, exploited and trafficked due to their increased vulnerability. In the long-term, migrants are also among the most vulnerable to job cuts, limited access to social and medical services and stigmatization both in the countries of destination and origin. We are committed to continue facilitating the voluntary return of those in need and helping them escape from the socio-economic and legal limbo they ended up in due to the pandemic.”

Assistance to the migrants on the border and throughout their journey to Tajikistan was made possible by the joint efforts of the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Embassies and Migration Service departments in Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan and was supported by the IOM COVID-19 Task Force and a regional IOM initiative funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

For more information, please contact Sanjar Toshbaev at IOM Uzbekistan, Email:, Tel: +998 90998 3326  

Language English Posted: Friday, November 6, 2020 - 13:50Image: Region-Country: UzbekistanThemes: COVID-19Migrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

The group of stranded migrants at the Zhybek-Zholy border crossing between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Photo: IOM

The group of stranded migrants at the Zhybek-Zholy border crossing between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan. Photo: IOM 

Looking into Uzbekistan from Kazakhstan where migrants were stranded due to new COVID-19 restrictions. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Welcomes the Launch of Labour Reforms in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Thu, 11/05/2020 - 17:59

Riyadh- The International Organization for Migration (IOM), welcomes the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Labour Reform which aims at granting foreign workers more freedom in job mobility and lessening restrictions on exit and re-entry into the Kingdom. These reforms will directly reduce the vulnerability of foreign workers to exploitation and abuse as well as enhance their living and working conditions in Saudi Arabia.  

IOM considers that these reforms could have a tangible impact on the prevention of exploitation and abuse of vulnerable foreign workers in Saudi Arabia.    

“The labour reforms announced in Saudi Arabia are a step in the right direction for the Gulf region that could positively affect millions of foreign workers,” said IOM Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa, Carmela Godeau   

The reforms are a positive signal of Saudi Arabia’s commitment to improving its labour rights regime. Other recent steps include the implementation of the Wages Protection System that ensures equal pay for equal work among men and women, a portal for the digital documentation and authentication of work contracts to ensure transparency, and the launch of the “Wedy” Program for settling labour disputes.   

This reform is in line with fair and ethical recruitment and safeguards that ensure decent work, contributing to Objectives 5 and 6 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. Once implemented, it holds potential to ultimately maximize the socioeconomic contributions of migrants in both their countries of origin and destination, by strengthening labour migration and fair and ethical recruitment processes and promoting greater opportunities for decent work and respect for international human rights and labour law.  

”This initiative is particularly welcomed at the time of the unfolding global pandemic, which once again acutely demonstrated the challenging situation faced by people on the move. This important step towards enhancing migration governance in Saudi Arabia is a demonstration that labour migration does not stop and improvements can be made during lockdowns and amidst uncertainty, said Monica Goracci, Director of the Department for Migration Management in IOM Geneva.   

The Labour Reform Initiative was launched by the Government of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development on Wednesday 4 November and will enter into force on 14 March 2021. The initiative will be applied to all foreign workers in the private sector in the kingdom.  

For more information please contact: Ghazi Mabrouk at the IOM Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa, Email:, Tel: +201011478084 

Language English Posted: Thursday, November 5, 2020 - 17:57Image: Region-Country: Saudi ArabiaThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN