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Updated: 2 hours 56 min ago

Indonesia, IOM Launch Mentoring Programme to Boost Prosecution, Conviction of Human Traffickers

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 09:39

Jakarta – The Training Centre of Indonesia’s Attorney General’s Office (BADIKLAT) and IOM Indonesia, with support from Australia’s Department of Home Affairs, have launched an e-learning mentoring programme for prosecutors to improve their effectiveness in investigating and securing convictions against human traffickers.

According to the US State Department’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, despite efforts to combat human trafficking, Indonesia is still a source, transit and destination country for trafficking in persons. In 2018, there were 316 trafficking cases prosecuted and 279 convictions nationwide – slightly fewer than in 2017. 

“This mentoring programme is a major breakthrough for BADIKLAT and the Attorney General’s Office. We have high expectations that the e-learning platform will make the learning and teaching process more efficient and sustainable,” said Indonesian Attorney General Drs. H. M. Prasetyo.

Since 2015, IOM Indonesia has collaborated extensively with the Attorney General’s Office. It has completed a joint legal review on handling trafficking in persons cases and conducted training programmes for 161 prosecutors throughout the archipelago.

“Building on the previous successful collaboration between BADIKLAT and IOM, we plan to replicate e-learning-based mentoring across all learning modules in the BADIKLAT system,” said Head of BADIKLAT Setia Untung Arimuladi.

In the pilot phase of the TIP mentoring programme, 14 prosecutors will be selected as protégés and paired with six mentors from BADIKLAT, the Attorney General’s Office and the National Agency for the Protection of Victims and Witnesses (LPSK).

“We hope that the 14 protégés from the pilot will in turn become mentors for other prosecutors, more people will become engaged, and as a result we will see an increase in the number of prosecuted TIP cases across Indonesia,” said IOM Indonesia Chief of Mission Louis Hoffmann.

Since 2005, IOM Indonesia has identified and assisted over 9,100 victims of human trafficking.  The majority were Indonesian nationals exploited in Indonesia, Malaysia, the Middle East and other migrant destination countries.

For more information, please contact Among Pundhi Resi at IOM Jakarta. Tel: +62 21 57951275, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 15:25Image: Region-Country: IndonesiaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Indonesia Chief of Mission Louis Hoffmann addresses the launch of a mentoring programme to help Indonesian prosecutors convict human traffickers. Photo: IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 7,400 Deaths on Migration Routes Across Africa in Last Five Years, IOM Figures Show

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 09:39

Berlin – African migrants are perishing at a rate of about 25 persons per week – or about 1,300 annually – on the African continent, even before embarking on perilous sea journeys to Europe or the Arabian Peninsula. Since 2014 over 7,400 men, women and children have died in transit across Africa, new records published today by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) show.

These recently added records bring the total number of deaths documented on the African continent to 607 in 2019, and 7,435 in the last five years. Moreover, these figures fail to capture the true scale of the tragedy, as they represent only fatalities which have been reported.

The new records are based on hundreds of eyewitness accounts collected from migrants through surveys by the Mixed Migration Centre’s Monitoring Mechanism Initiative (4Mi). The interviews with migrants were conducted by 4Mi between December 2018 and April 2019 in West, North and East Africa and were analysed by the Missing Migrants Project team before being added to its MMP database.

However, 4Mi interviews covered only a small sample of the total number of migrants on the move in Africa – meaning that hundreds of additional deaths likely remain unreported and, of course, uncounted. 

Nonetheless, due to the absence of other sources of information, surveys such as those conducted by 4Mi reveal important information about migrants’ experiences, including the risks to life that people face during their journeys.

Records show that thousands of people lose their lives as they journey through North Africa, where 4,400 deaths have been reported since 2014. However, deaths in this region are not well documented, and the true number of lives lost during migration remains unknown.

Migration routes in Sub-Saharan Africa also are dangerous, as demonstrated by the 1,830 deaths recorded by the project since 2014. Many of these deaths were recorded in West Africa, where 240 people were reported dead in 2019.

Overland routes in the Horn of Africa and the perilous sea passage across the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea have claimed the lives of at least 1,171 people since 2014. Migrants reported having witnessed others die from starvation, dehydration, exposure to harsh weather conditions, vehicle accidents and violence at the hands of smugglers.

Unfortunately, survey data contain no information on the identities of those whom survey participants witnessed die. Beyond initiatives like 4Mi, little efforts have been made to collect more information on people who die on migration journeys in the African continent. Their remains may never be recovered, nor their deaths investigated. Their deaths may also not be known by their families, who are forced to navigate daily life with the pain of not knowing whether their loved one is alive or dead.

For the latest data on migrant deaths in Africa, visit the Missing Migrants Project website here. Anonymized Missing Migrants Project data can be downloaded from

For more information on the strengths and weaknesses of different data sources on deaths during migration, including survey data, please see Fatal Journeys Volume 3, Part 1.
For more information contact IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre:
Julia Black, Email:, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27
Marta Sánchez Dionis, Email:, Tel: +49 30 278 778 43

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 15:30Image: Region-Country: GermanyThemes: Migration ResearchMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

“After a week in the desert, I couldn’t go on anymore, so I told my group to leave me there...After they found 23 survivors, they also found me, further away between a pile of corpses. They thought I was dead and so did I.”  Patrick, originally from Nigeria, was interviewed in July 2017 at IOM’s transit centre in Dirkou, Niger. 

“After a week in the desert, I couldn’t go on anymore, so I told my group to leave me there...After they found 23 survivors, they also found me, further away between a pile of corpses. They thought I was dead and so did I.”  Patrick, originally from Nigeria, was interviewed in July 2017 at IOM’s transit centre in Dirkou, Niger. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Scientific Impact Evaluation Reveals Power of Peer-to-Peer Video Campaign in West Africa

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 09:39

Geneva – A new report by the International Organization for Migration’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in collaboration with the Organization’s Media and Communications Division (MCD) provides robust evidence on the positive impact of peer-to-peer awareness raising on the decision-making of potential migrants in West Africa.

The report Migrants as Messengers – The Impact of Peer-to-Peer Communication on Potential Migrants in Senegalreleased today (10/09) in Geneva reveals that 19 per cent of potential migrants  surveyed were better informed, 25 per cent more aware of the risks of irregular migration and one-in-five less likely to do so after participating in IOM awareness raising events in Dakar, Senegal, relative to a control group who did not.

“Measuring the impact of communications campaigns is notoriously difficult,” said Jasper Tjaden, Head of Impact Evaluation Unit, GMDAC. “Migrants as Messengers has been subjected to the kind of stress test rarely applied to campaign work that validates IOM’s approach of empowering trusted migrant voices to educate their peers.”

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports more than 14,000 people have died attempting to enter Europe irregularly since 2014, a figure that is likely greatly under-estimated. Years of field surveys consistently reveal that many migrants begin their journeys with little accurate information about the dangers they face along the way. Many fall victim to misinformation circulated by human smugglers, traffickers and, unwittingly, other migrants.

At its heart, Migrants as Messengers is a campaign undertaken by migrants for migrants. Using a participatory design approach, it builds on direct and authentic communication among peers of the same community who have been identified as trusted, influential voices, rather than the top-down messaging that is a feature of many traditional communications campaigns.

The awareness raising events evaluated for today’s report featured a film screening of personal testimonials of returning Senegalese migrants sharing their own journeys. These authentic testimonials were captured by trained returnees using IOM’s Community Response App, a smartphone-based digital storytelling toolkit.

The film was followed by a discussion about migration between returnees and community members.
The impact evaluation is IOM’s first randomized controlled trial, considered the most rigorous and scientific way of evaluating the effect of a programme or policy. The report is the first in a series of similar impact evaluations that will assess the effects of IOM information and awareness raising campaigns, and responds directly to a 2017 GMDAC study that identified clear evidence gaps in this field.

These studies will contribute to achieving Objective 3 of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which calls for more “evidence-based information campaigns” and aim to support a global culture of evidence-informed policymaking.

The report is co-funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the Netherlands’ Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

“Communications of one type or another is at the core of much of IOM’s work, but meaningful evaluations require time and resources: the days of measuring impact by the number of fliers distributed and radio PSAs broadcast are gone,” said Amy Rhoades, Community Engagement Programme Manager, IOM. 

“In this light, the Netherlands government, which funded the first phase of Migrants as Messengers being presented today, should be congratulated for their work identifying gaps in the assessments of past migrant-focused campaigns, issuing clear, insightful recommendations and a way forward that demand greater accountability for the projects they are funding.”

For more information regarding the Report, please contact Jasper Tjaden at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +4930 27877822, Email: 

Watch Migrants as Messengers Impact Evaluation Report (IOM)  English I French
Watch Migrants as Messengers Impact Evaluation Report (GMDAC)  English I French

For more information regarding IOM’s awareness raising campaigns, please contact Amy Rhoades at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41797011679, Email: 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 15:35Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMOthersDefault: Multimedia: 

Young Senegalese who returned home from Libya and Morocco interview one another about their migration experiences. Photo: IOM/Julia Burpee 

MaM report cover 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Steps Up Response in the Bahamas After Hurricane Dorian Devastation

Tue, 09/10/2019 - 09:39

Nassau – As search and rescue operations continue in Abaco and Grand Bahama, islands in the Bahamas devastated last week by Hurricane Dorian, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is moving quickly to mobilise resources to assist rehabilitation efforts. Yesterday (09/09), IOM started the distribution of 1,000 tarpaulin coats in Marsh Harbour – the largest urban centre in Abaco.  The tarps will be used as a temporary fix for roofs torn by the violent Category 5 storm.

In places like Marsh Harbour, the devastation is particularly startling. Communities such as The Mudd and Pigeon Pea, where 70 per cent of informal housing in Abaco existed, and where an overwhelming majority of Haitian migrants resided, has been decimated.

"The Mudd is gone," said IOM's Brian Kelly, who is now leading the UN Disaster Assessment and Coordination Team in the area. “They [the Haitian migrants] are in a very tough situation, just as many of the Bahamians. A lot of people are facing very difficult circumstances and we're going to help out as much as we can."

On Sunday (08/09) IOM participated in an assessment mission to Abaco, along with representatives from UNICEF, UNDP and Mission of Hope. The team visited most of the emergency shelters on the island.

"According to official reports, approximately 76,000 people were affected by Dorian. Thousands of people have been evacuated from the affected areas; about 860 people are being housed in emergency shelters in Nassau.  The rest of the people remain in the affected areas," said Vynliz Dailey, the IOM officer in the assessment mission. "No electricity or running water is available, and parts of the affected communities, particularly in Abaco, are destroyed and are uninhabitable."

Jan-Willem Wegdam, IOM's emergency response coordinator, has met with the office of the Prime Minister and other government officials responsible for mass evacuation and emergency shelter, to coordinate the response to the affected population. 

"We are committed to using all resources made available to us to support the Government and people of Bahamas during this difficult time," declared Wegdam. "We have specialists and experts on the ground and on the way to ensure that we deliver the best possible service to those who need it the most in the shortest possible time. Even during the emergency phase, we are focused on medium- and long-term strategies that will contribute to the development of the islands."

Wegdam stated that IOM is preparing to roll out its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) and support the coordination of emergency shelters and household repair solutions, among other responses. To this end, experts on Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Migrants in Countries in Crises (MICIC) and DTM will be deployed this week to strengthen the team on the ground and to begin project implementation.

For more information please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 7203 6536, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 10, 2019 - 15:40Image: Region-Country: BahamasThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

"The Mudd is gone," says IOM's Brian Kelly, referring to a community at Marsh Harbour where most of the inhabitants were Haitian migrants.  Photo: IOM / Vynliz Dailey 

IOM has distributed 1,000 tarpaulin coats in Marsh Harbour – the largest urban centre in Abaco.  The tarps will be used as a temporary fix for roofs torn by the violent Category 5 storm. Photo: IOM / Brian Kelly 

On Sunday (08/09) IOM participated in an assessment mission to Abaco, along with representatives from UNICEF, UNDP, and Mission of Hope. Photo: IOM / Vynliz Dailey 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

National Forum Addresses Forced Labour and Human Rights in Malaysia

Fri, 09/06/2019 - 09:46

Kuala Lumpur – The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (SUHAKAM) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have organized the country’s first National Forum on Forced Labour and Human Rights. 

The one-day event, on September 3rd, served as a platform for 140 policymakers, industry experts, government officials, and representatives of recruitment companies and civil society groups to discuss key challenges faced by businesses when implementing measures to tackle modern slavery and forced labour in supply chains. 

Labour law reforms and recommendations, strengthening migrant worker’s rights through coordinated action, and the business case for greater transparency in global supply chains were among the topics discussed. 

Over half of the world’s 25 million victims of human trafficking and slavery are found in the Asia-Pacific region. The majority are linked to the formal economy and global supply chains. While migrant workers are often in demand to fill critical labour shortages, they are frequently more vulnerable to exploitation and unfair labour practices than locally recruited labour. 

Minister of Human Resources M. Kula Segaran told delegates that Malaysia stands against forced labour practices in global supply chains and the recruitment process.  

“We are a transit and destination country for migrant workers mainly from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, the Philippines and Viet Nam. It is our responsibility to ensure we explore collaborative policies and initiatives to eliminate forced labour and reimagine business modalities,” he said. 

He noted that the government has undertaken several corrective measures to address modern-day challenges related to forced labour practices in the country. The Department of Labour conducted over 40,000 inspections between March 2018 and April 2019 and resolved 14,009 cases of labour disputes. In this period, labour courts ordered employers to provide workers with back wages of over RM34.4 million (USD 8.26 million.) 

“There has never been a more urgent time to address this problem, which is occurring right in our backyard. While it is a challenging issue to tackle, a collective, progressive and comprehensive answer to combating modern-day slavery must be put into action now,” said IOM Malaysia Head of Office Kendra Rinas. 

“IOM’s Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) initiative offers a regional partnership approach. It proactively addresses vulnerabilities faced by migrant workers and aims to realize the potential of ethical business by working with global and local brands, as well as their suppliers and business partners, in enhancing transparency in labour supply chains,” she added. 

Between 2010 and 2017 the number of documented foreign workers in Malaysia increased from 1.7 million to 2.2 million. By the end of 2018, there were also an estimated 2 to 4 million undocumented migrants working in the country. The majority are from Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar and Nepal. 

According to the US State Department’s 2019 Trafficking in Persons (TIP) report, some are subjected to practices that indicate forced labour. These include passport retention, contract violations, restricted movement, wage fraud, and imposition of significant debts by recruitment agents or employers, among other violations of their rights. They include domestic workers and migrants employed particularly in agricultural plantations, construction and the garment industry.  

Recruiters play a central role in the ethical recruitment of migrant workers and IOM’s International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) is designed to strengthen management practices and create a new kind of demand for responsible recruitment. It promotes the “Employer Pays Principle,” which calls on employers to pay the full costs of recruitment, while seeking greater overall transparency. 

Datuk Godfrey Gregory Joitol, Vice Chairman of SUHAKAM, told participants that while historically the protection of human rights has been considered a government responsibility, times have changed.  “While governments have the primary duty to protect, respect and fulfil human rights, business organizations have an important complementary role to play in addressing the challenges of forced labour practices,” he said. 

In June, the Malaysian government committed to develop a National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights to complement and build on various government- related initiatives and policies, and to create an enabling business environment for responsible investment in the country. 

For more information please contact Malarvili Meganathan at IOM Malaysia, Tel. +60392355476, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 - 15:02Image: Region-Country: MalaysiaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Delegates gather in Kuala Lumpur for Malaysia’s first National Forum on Forced Labour and Human Rights. Photo: IOM 

Delegates gather in Kuala Lumpur for Malaysia’s first National Forum on Forced Labour and Human Rights. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

South African Youths Visit Ethiopia to Better Understand Migration Dynamics

Fri, 09/06/2019 - 09:46

Addis Ababa – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission in South Africa this week is supporting an educational visit for students to the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia as part of the organization's efforts to increase awareness of migration as a key driver in the development agenda. This visit is a culmination of preparatory work dating back to the Mkhaya Migrant Award Essay Competition of 2016. 

The seven student winners of the essay competition – an initiative by South Africa’s Department of Home Affairs (DHA) in response to the xenophobic attacks of 2015 – represent the country’s provincial universities. They are in Addis Ababa to gain an insight on the dynamics that inform policy decision making processes on the continent, with a special focus on migration governance.  

The students have visited the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), Addis Ababa University’s Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) as well as IOM's Special Liaison Office in Ethiopia to gain insight on multilateralism." 

They are accompanied by officials from IOM, South Africa’s DHA and the Department of Social Development (DSD).   

Lily Sanya, IOM Chief of Mission in South Africa, who is accompanying the delegation said, “This is a strategic partnership that we hope will lay a foundation for youth engagement at the highest platform and also identify a possible youth ambassador to work with on future social cohesion programmes specifically as a tool towards realising an integrated continent guided by the aspirations of the African Union’s Agenda 2063.” 

Maureen Achieng, IOM Chief of Mission in Ethiopia welcomed the South African delegation saying, “Despite the bleak backdrop against which this visit is taking place, it was planned months ago and I come out of it heartened by the genuine interest I sense on the part of the Government of South Africa and the youth from that country to understand better the continental migration dynamics, and how the vexed phenomenon that is migration could be better managed for the benefit of host countries and of the migrants themselves in South Africa.” 

“This visit will go a long way in empowering these young people to influence change and perceptions, drive programmes that support integration and strengthen communication at all levels within the country,” noted Peter Netshipale, Deputy Director General, Community Development in DSD.  

The DHA representative, Nolwandle Qaba, added, “This as an opportunity for the future leaders of South Africa to gain a better understanding of continental integration and its benefits and on their return home, they can channel their learnings to fellow youth and contribute to breaking stereotypes about other countries and nationalities.” 

This visit further complements IOM’s global efforts on youth and migration issues. Earlier this year the first International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) of 2019 took place in New York and it provided a global, diverse and inclusive platform for discussions to engage the youth with not only decision makers on migration, but also with other key actors in migration and related-areas, at all levels.  

For more information, please contact Ntokozo Mahlangu at IOM South Africa, Tel: +27 12 342 2789 (Ext. 246), Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 - 15:05Image: Region-Country: South AfricaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

South African officials and students visiting the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa. The visit was organised by IOM. Photo: IOM

Maureen Achieng, IOM Chief of Mission in Ethiopia (left) and Lily Sanya, IOM Chief of Mission in South Africa (3rd from left) meet with South African officials in the IOM office in Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM 

 South African officials and students at Addis Ababa University’s Institute for Peace and Security Studies.  Photo: IOM

South African officials and students at the African Union Commission in Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Korean Aid Workers Train to Improve Personal Security

Fri, 09/06/2019 - 09:46

Seoul – Attacks on aid workers on humanitarian frontlines not only compromise their personal security, but also hamper humanitarian responses. According to a recently released Aid Worker Security Report, in 2018 some 405 aid workers worldwide fell victim to major attacks. Of these, 131 were killed, 144 were injured and 130 kidnapped. 

Over 900 Korean aid workers are now working abroad and in need of practical pre-departure security training. IOM in the Republic of Korea (ROK) is responding to a growing demand for this type of training and this week co-hosted a four-day Safe and Secure Approaches to Field Environments (SSAFE) programme.  

“Many Korean aid workers are dispatched abroad without formal security training,” said IOM Seoul Head of Office Mihyung Park. “To make this essential security training more accessible to Korean humanitarian actors, we have now been hosting the SSAFE for five consecutive years.”  

First introduced in 2007 by the UN Systems Staff College (UNSSC) and the UN Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS), SSAFE training has equipped UN and NGO workers around the world with the relevant knowledge and skills they need to respond to various security incidents and threats that they may encounter in the field.  

This year’s training in Incheon was facilitated by IOM’s Office of Staff Security (OSS) and jointly organized by the ROK International Peace Supporting Standby Force (IPSSF) – a unit of the ROK armed forces which provides training for peacekeeping missions. Some 22 participants from UN agencies, NGOs and ROK government departments took part. 

The training addressed a wide range of topics, ranging from first aid and basic lifesaving to incident management and hostage survival. It also offered scenario-based exercises where professional role players from the IPSSF simulated real-life security incidents. 

“The dynamic and multifaceted nature of security threats in the field necessitates a comprehensive range of instruction and practical approaches. Our scenario-based training offers hands-on learning experience by immersing trainees in real-life situations and providing them with constant feedback,” said IOM OSS Director William Wairoa-Harrison. 

IOM ROK implements various capacity building trainings and workshops for Korean humanitarian actors, including the SSAFE training. It receives funding from USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). 

For more information please contact Jieun Kim at IOM Seoul, Tel: +82 70 4820 0291, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 - 15:10Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

South Korean aid workers study first aid and basic lifesaving at a SSAFE training in Incheon. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Women Refugees Speak Up in Bangladesh’s Rohingya Camps

Fri, 09/06/2019 - 09:42

Cox’s Bazar – In the giant Kutupalong refugee camp, Nesaro received a second visit from an IOM enumerator at her small, makeshift shelter, where she lives with her three children. She was taken aback the first time the team asked about the camp and her concerns; Nesaro said she had never thought about such things. 

By the time the team returned, she had spoken to neighbours and family and was prepared to voice concerns about her household and neighbourhood.  

“One of the most important issues right now is security,” she told the enumerator. The community recently experienced threats of kidnapping and Nesaro said that more security was needed to protect young people. 

Nesaro explained that many shelters were damaged during the rainy season – now in its final weeks – and that several pathways had been blocked.   

The effort to learn the views of women like Nesaro is part of an IOM Needs and Population Monitoring (NPM) pilot project designed to expand information-gathering and ensure that women’s views are incorporated in feedback from the sprawling camps, which are home to nearly a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar.   

The NPM conducts regular surveys to determine humanitarian needs, priorities and demographic trends. It employs 120 enumerators split into 12 teams. 

Each enumerator is equipped with a personal tablet showing the camp’s blocks and structures through an app that uses a Global Information System (GIS). This provides live satellite mapping and positioning. 

The teams cover four blocks per day, asking refugee representatives a list of pre-arranged questions. Each set of interviews includes a male and a female respondent interviewed separately. 

A total of 4,000 interviews are completed for incorporation into a quarterly report that contributes to the statistical basis of the humanitarian response in the Cox’s Bazar camps. 

With the first pilot now complete, the response has been far better than initially expected. “It is common to ask women about their immediate home and family, but we wanted them to think more about their broader communities. It was a bit of a shift, especially with a survey of this magnitude,” said NPM Field Coordinator Adam James. 

The effort began in September 2018 when women started to participate in focus groups to discuss community concerns. This was expanded in May 2019 when enumerators began visiting women respondents in the camps to obtain their feedback.  

Out of interviews in almost 2,000 locations, the NPM team set a modest goal of achieving a 25 per cent response rate. They were astonished when it resulted in 100 per cent participation. 

The strong deliverables also challenge assumptions about rank in the camps. “The view was that you needed to have a formal position of authority in order to have a view on community issues. This clearly goes against that,” James added.  

Noor, who lives in a nearby shelter, told enumerators that for her, access to education is a major concern. “Children need better language skills and a classroom that’s close by so they can go there and back in a way that’s safe,” she said. She also raised other issues relating to access to food and shelter materials, noting that other members of her community share the same concerns. 

For enumerator Asma Ul Hosna – who has been interviewing refugees since the crisis began in mid-2017 – the responses have changed over time. “In the initial days after the refugees arrived, the main issues were the simple chaos of the situation. People couldn’t reach their homes because there were no paths. There was little or no reliable access to food or other aid. Now the concerns are more about security and services,” she said. 

Having women as part of the process has improved the quality and quantity of data that previously came exclusively from the male leadership. “We want the pilot to serve as an example so that women have more confidence expressing their views – not just about their family, but about the community as a whole,” she added. 

For more information please contact George McLeod at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +880 18 7071 8078, Email: 


Language English Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 - 15:20Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Enumerators from IOM’s Needs and Population Monitoring (NPM) team ensure that women’s voices are heard in the Rohingya refugee camps. Photo: IOM. 

Enumerators from IOM’s Needs and Population Monitoring (NPM) team ensure that women’s voices are heard in the Rohingya refugee camps. Photo: IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

FAO and IOM Support Cyclone-Affected Families in Mozambique Through Seed Distribution

Fri, 09/06/2019 - 09:36

Maputo – The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week began distributing seeds and farming tools to approximately 11,000 families affected by Cyclone Idai. 

“I lost my house and my farm in the floods. My two children and I were trapped by the water. A man came by with a canoe and he rescued us. We suffered a lot,” said Domingas, 23, who tills a small plot of land with a shovel and hoe to feed her children.  

 Cyclone Idai which swept through the region nearly six months ago displacing hundreds of thousands of people, deprived her of even that meagre livelihood and fuelled widespread food insecurity. She now lives at Ndeja resettlement centre in Sofala province along with her husband, brothers and children. 

 “I used to grow maize and lettuce to sell in the local market. We are still in need but now with these seeds and tools I will plant, grow my own food, and sell the surplus to support my family.”  

 In Mozambique, Cyclones Idai and Kenneth six weeks later and related floods, affected over 2.2 million people and left 1.65 million people severely food insecure, nearly double the food insecure population in 2018. Cyclone Idai alone damaged approximately 800,000 hectares of crops.  

The vulnerable small hold farming households that will receive assistance include all the families (over 50,000 individuals) in nearly 50 of the 68 resettlement sites established after Cyclone Idai, which made landfall in Mozambique on March 14. The distributions will be in the provinces of Manica and Sofala. 

The packages include seeds: tomato, onion, cabbage, okra and couve (kale), along with tools (two hoes, one machete and one watering can). These diversified crops will draw residual moisture from the soil in lowland areas, and their harvest will contribute to food security and nutrition for households and communities. With these early maturing vegetables, crops can be harvested beginning 90 days after planting. After distribution of vegetable seeds, FAO District Services of Economic Activities (SDAE) technicians will continue support with technical assistance to growers. 

“Cyclone Idai caused immense loss including homes, crops and arable land, which is devastating for families that depend on subsistence farming,” said FAO Representative in Mozambique Olman Serrano. “This distribution of seeds and farming tools will assist these affected families to jumpstart their agricultural activities in their effort to rebuild their livelihoods.” 

“Displaced families, many of whom have moved two or more times since the cyclone, are now in resettlement sites and are taking steps towards recovery,” said IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Katharina Schnöring. “This seed distribution will speed their recovery process. We commend the leadership of the Government of Mozambique and collaboration with FAO to assist families to move forward.” 

More than 83,000 people (over 16,700 households) who were displaced and could not return home are currently living in 68 different resettlement sites, established by the Government of Mozambique. According to the latest IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Multi-Sectoral Location Assessment, families at the majority of resettlement sites reported food as their greatest need, followed by water, education, shelter, and health services. 

For this seed and tools distribution, FAO and humanitarian partners are beginning distributions in areas where populations are more vulnerable, and in locations where the Government of Mozambique has already allocated plots of land for families displaced by Cyclone Idai, to be used for machambas, small holder planting. 

FAO’s overall programme of seed and tools distribution includes vegetable seed distribution in four provinces (Manica, Sofala, Zambezia and Tete) with a total of 76,000 household beneficiaries (382,500 individuals), including approximately 11,000 families in resettlement sites. The FAO emergency response programme is funded by the World Bank, the National Sustainable Development Fund (FNDS) of Mozambique, the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF). FAO has already distributed maize and bean seeds to more than 18,000 households in Manica and Sofala. In this second phase, FAO is distributing additional seeds and tools and reaching Tete and Zambezia provinces. 

Families who experienced crop damage and loss of food, seed reserves, and livestock are prioritized in the distributions, with additional priorities for woman-headed households, the elderly and other disadvantaged groups. Selection of beneficiaries is conducted in collaboration with local government, including the Provincial Directorates of Agriculture (DPASA), relief committees, community leaders and local NGOs. 


For more information please contact: 


IOM: Sandra Black, Tel: +258 852 162 278, Email: 

FAO: Telcínia dos Santos, Tel: +258 21498514, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Community StabilizationInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

The FAO, supported by IOM, is distributing seeds and farming tools to approximately 11,000 families affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. Photo: Telcínia dos Santos/FAO

The FAO, supported by IOM, is distributing seeds and farming tools to approximately 11,000 families affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. Photo: Telcínia dos Santos/FAO

The FAO, supported by IOM, is distributing seeds and farming tools to approximately 11,000 families affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. Photo: Telcínia dos Santos/FAO

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM to Provide Temporary Roofing Solutions for Houses Affected by Hurricane Dorian in the Bahamas

Fri, 09/06/2019 - 09:30

Nassau – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is providing 1,000 tarpaulins to replace roofs stripped from homes on the islands of Abaco and Grand Bahama by Hurricane Dorian this week. 

“Right now, the priority is the search and rescue operation, conducted by the Bahamas' National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Bahamas Defence Force,” said Jan-Willem Wegdam, IOM’s Emergency Response Team head who arrived in Nassau on Wednesday (09/04).  

“After everyone has been rescued from under the debris and the wounded safely evacuated, IOM's focus will be on providing temporary shelter for those who lost their homes. Tarpaulins are part of that task.” 

The government has confirmed the deaths of at least 30 people, and thousands of others are still missing. The United Nations believes at least 70,000 people are homeless on Abaco and Grand Bahama. 

Tarpaulin coats, also called tarps, are strong pieces of waterproof plastic sheeting used to temporarily cover or fix damaged buildings. In the case of a sudden need for shelter, tarpaulins are a quick and cost-effective solution for a large number of people in need. 

According to official sources, there are 449 people in nine emergency shelters in Abaco and 346 people in 17 shelters in Grand Bahama. Many are sheltering in clinics and therefore need to be relocated. Thousands more are prevented from reaching the shelters due to flooding and blocked roads.  

"Only minimal information is available, and more detailed assessments are needed. IOM will focus especially on the needs of displaced persons in terms of food, shelter, water, medical and psychosocial support etc. That's why IOM is planning to deploy its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM),” said Wegdam. 

"The Bahamas faces a long road to recovery. Building back the destroyed infrastructure, with increased resistance in the face of extreme weather, will be critical to increase the resilience of the communities.”  

Wegdam added that the recent experience in Dominica, where IOM repaired more than 630 homes and built 87 others damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Maria in 2017, showed that integrating disaster risk reduction measures into the restoration of physical infrastructure is paramount to the revitalization of livelihoods, economies and the environment. 

For more information please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 7203 6536, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, September 6, 2019 - 15:25Image: Region-Country: BahamasThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Hurricane Dorian has devastated the Bahamas, leaving at least 30 people dead and at least 70,000 homeless. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Begins Response to Hurricane Dorian Damage in the Bahamas

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 10:53

Geneva — The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Tuesday (03/09) began assessing damage from Hurricane Dorian, a Category 5 storm that has damaged more than 13,000 houses across several island groups, especially the Bahamas. Some 30,000 persons are believed affected on the two islands most heavily impacted.   

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas after midnight Sunday with winds reaching 280km/h. Dorian is the worst hurricane to strike the island since 1935, ripping roofs off buildings, flipped cars and forced thousands to seek shelter in churches and public buildings.   

IOM is deploying staff to the island and liaising with its government and donor partners.   

Jan-Willem Wegdam, IOM Dominica’s Head of Office is expected to arrive in Bahamas later today. Wegdam was a team leader in IOM’s disaster relief and reconstruction efforts after twin storms, Irma and Maria hit Dominica, two weeks apart in 2017.   

In the wake of Hurricane Maria, IOM helped to rebuild hundreds of homes, repaired emergency shelters, trained teams of residents to respond to different emergencies by building capacity as emergency radio operators and shelter managers among other skills.   

In the months that followed, IOM held disaster preparedness sessions in 16 communities and also worked in local schools to prepare students in response methods for future emergencies.   

Watch here and here.

For more information please contact Joel Millman, IOM Geneva, Tel. + 41 79 103 8720. Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - 16:51Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

Hurricane Dorian made landfall in the Bahamas with winds reaching 280km/h. Dorian is the worst hurricane to strike the island since 1935.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ukraine: A Child’s First Year of School, During a Sixth Year of Conflict

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 10:51

Popasna – Across much of the world this week, families are preparing for an annual event: the early September journey back to school. They’re asking themselves: Have we bought all the textbooks, notebooks and school uniforms? Got the lesson schedules? Is everybody ready?  

That’s the case, too, in the town of Popasna, where preparations are well underway despite its population’s proximity to the contact line in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine.  

As well as the challenges all parents face – new clothes, books, maybe a few tears – families in this part of the world also must prepare for other, more lethal, concerns: avoiding land mines on their children’s paths to school; being wary of artillery shelling during their class time.   

The conflict here is in its sixth year.   

Since the beginning of the conflict in 2014, over 750 education facilities have been damaged and many more experienced disruptions to education. The Ukraine Education Cluster estimates that over 700,000 children and teachers in more than 3,500 education facilities in eastern Ukraine are affected by the hostilities and in need of humanitarian assistance.  

More than 400,000 children experience the direct impact of the conflict as they live, play and go to school within the 20-km on both sides of the ‘contact line’, where shelling and extreme levels of mine contamination threaten their lives and well-being.  

Since the start of 2019, the United Nations Ukraine Education Cluster has received reports regarding 23 conflict-related incidents resulting in physical damages to school infrastructure, including at two education facilities that had to be temporarily closed. An additional five reports were received of military presence in close vicinity to an education facility and at least nine incidents resulting in threat of death or injuries to students, teachers and parents.  

The month of July 2019 saw the highest number of education related incidents since May of 2018, when six education facilities were damaged during a single month during an increase of hostilities.  

Nevertheless, it’s an exciting, special time for little Dima. He graduated from kindergarten and is going to start big school. His dad has repurposed an old table into a homework desk, and now it fits the boy’s size. Every day Dima practices with his handwriting manual and reads books at his new desk.   

A new backpack was bought in advance, last winter. Dima often gets it out of the closet and walks around the house like the real schoolboy he will be in a few days.   

His mother Yana has just received a cash transfer from IOM, part of a programme funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration. She immediately went shopping to buy a tracksuit, T-shirts, jeans and a shirt for Dima.   

There are three children in the family: Dima and two older sisters. “Kids’ stuff is so expensive now,” says Yana. “Jeans cost 200 hryvnias (USD 7.50). Maybe the clothes for adults are even more expensive, I have already forgotten.”  

On the other hand, the family is nearly finished with the refurbishment of their house, which was damaged by shelling. Yana points proudly to new wallpaper in her daughter’s room. “Just a few holes after the shelling left in the living room,” she notes confidently. “We will plaster them and try to forget about this horror.”  

Yana lost her job a year ago. When she’s not out job-hunting, or looking after the family, she’s in her garden. Neighbours who have left Popasna allowed her to cultivate their plots, and now the family is literally living off the land.   

Yana’s husband goes to work every day, but his factory has been idle for several months (the conflict caused the breakdown of many enterprises in eastern Ukraine), so he must earn cash however he can.   

Cobbling together their previous savings and cash assistance received from IOM, the family bought farm machinery with the hope of making money by ploughing people’s plots in the coming autumn. That way they may earn enough money to get them through the harsh winter.  

Within its humanitarian programmes, IOM has assisted over 100,000 conflict-affected and displaced children since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine in 2014.   

People living within five kilometres of the contact line are frequently the most in need of humanitarian assistance. According to UN OCHA, shelling and landmines have isolated about 70,000 people who live in some 60 communities in areas close to the contact line in government-controlled areas. Almost half of them are elderly, and some 35 per cent are people with disabilities and chronic diseases. Residents face challenges accessing social services, markets and health care. Many of these communities have been cut off from their typical service providers, while the presence of local authorities and humanitarian actors is compromised by insecurity.  

Overall 2,158 households and 3,687 vulnerable individuals residing in the government-controlled areas close to the contact line in Donetsk and Luhansk regions benefitted from the PRM-funded programme. The multipurpose cash assistance was delivered in three rounds during July 2018 – September 2019 with the total of USD 976.621 paid to beneficiaries. 

For the period of three months, each beneficiary was supported with UAH 2,580 (in average about USD 100, the rate fluctuated).  

This unconditional assistance allowed vulnerable individuals – elderly people, people with disabilities, single parents or parents with three and more children – to choose which goods or services they would like to purchase based on their own time-specific needs and household priorities.  

As reported by the beneficiaries during the post-distribution monitoring, the provided cash assistance was used mainly to address needs in health care (60%), food (56%), cover the cost of  winterization needs (32%), as well as to pay for rent and utilities (32%). Also, many beneficiaries decided to save a part of the money for winter needs, especially to buy coal or wood for heating fuel as well as any medical treatment. 

For more information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15, +38 067 447 97 92, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - 16:43Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Dima practices handwriting at his study corner.  Photo: IOM

New backpack, new jeans, new tracksuit and new school life – Dima is excited. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Private Agribusiness Agree to Promote Youth Employment in Sierra Leone

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 10:42

Tokyo – It’s been more than 15 years since the end of Sierra Leone’s civil war – and later a devastating Ebola outbreak – both of which combined to make an underperforming economy difficult to revive. 

Sierra Leone has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Africa, indeed in the entire world. Nearly two in three youths in the country are unemployed or underemployed. This reality pushes thousands each year to seek work abroad, often through irregular routes.  

To boost youth employment – and combat irregular migration – the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Sierra Tropical Limited (STL), one of Sierra Leone’s largest agribusiness companies signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) late last month (27/08) during the Seventh Tokyo International Conference on African Development (TICAD 7). 

The agreement stresses the need for Sierra Leonean youth to acquire the skills needed for the local labour market through Technical Vocational Education and Training (TVET), especially in agriculture and machine maintenance. TVET training materials will be developed by both parties.  

“When opportunity, especially to go abroad, is presented, most young people seize it because they presume, they do not have better alternatives at home,” explained Sanusi Savage, Head of the IOM Office in Sierra Leone.  

“Job creation for youth and capacity building are crucial for African countries, and this collaboration is fully in line with the objective of TICAD. We are pleased to collaborate with Sierra Tropical Limited and hope to expand our collaboration in other African countries,” added Abdel Moneim Mostafa Hassan, IOM Senior Regional Advisor for the Middle East and North Africa. 

Sierra Tropical Limited was established earlier this year by Japan’s Itochu corporation, which acquired holdings of Dole Foods, one of the world’s oldest commercial growers of tropical fruits, especially pineapple. Itochu has announced it will contribute to the development of the local community through the business. Itochu’s plan to begin commercial production of pineapples in the Republic of Sierra Leone follows similar holdings the company operates in Thailand and the Philippines.  

Itochu has already started test production of pineapples in Sierra Leone and aspires to commence full-scale commercial production as soon as it can. 

Earlier this summer Itochu signalled its plans for human resources development with IOM. Its Sierra Tropical unit plans to increase job opportunities through the business, starting in the Bo District in the Southern Province of Sierra Leone. 

In April this year, IOM launched the project Reducing the Risk of Irregular Migration through Promotion of Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone.  

The new project, which is funded by the Government of Japan, will contribute to youth and women’s empowerment through vocational and entrepreneurship skills training with private companies, mainly, Sierra Tropical Limited.  

In 2017 and 2018, IOM assisted 1,492 stranded Sierra Leoneans with voluntary return along the main African migration routes.    

For more information, please contact Alhaji Sanusi Tejan Savage at IOM Sierra Leone, Email:, and Kunikazu Akao, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - 16:39Image: Region-Country: Sierra LeoneThemes: Migration and DevelopmentMigration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM and Sierra Tropical Limited officials at the MoU signing on 27 August in Tokyo.  Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

In Ethiopia, Reintegration Support Eases the Return of Displaced Families

Tue, 09/03/2019 - 10:38

Addis Ababa – Since April 2019, conflict resolution moves led by the government have restored relative peace in parts of Ethiopia that have suffered unrest and enabled some internally displaced persons (IDPs) to return to their place of origin. 

Nonetheless, fulfilling basic needs remains a major challenge. This summer IOM has stepped up the distribution of non-food items (NFIs) to thousands of returnees in the Southern Nations, Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) and Oromia regions following conflict in Gedeo/Guji areas of Ethiopia that displaced 700,000 persons during 2018.  

As of August 2018, IOM has been providing shelter assistance to the displaced communities through the construction of 39 communal shelters and the rehabilitation of 13 existing structures in district (or ‘kebele’) compounds used as temporary settlements.  

IOM’s reintegration NFI kit includes a kitchen set, stove, sleeping mat, soap, jerrycans, wash basin, blankets and mosquito nets.  Some of the districts supported include Gurachu Jeldu Badia, Megala, Kercha Inshe, Dimba Dimbe, Haro Bareti, Bankidabatu, Hatumelema, Sorilewachu and Kilensomekonis. 

In addition, NFIs as well as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) support have been provided to 2,920 households. Last week NFIs were distributed to 500 households in Gedeo and West Guji Zones, Dimba Dimbe, Haro Bareti and Bankidabatu Kebeles while provision of shelter-construction materials to the displaced communities continues.  

“When the conflict erupted, we did not have the time to carry our belongings. We just ran for our lives. When we came back home three months ago, it was devastating to see that our house was burned down to the ground, crops rundown, and everything else destroyed or looted,” 28-year-old Aster Dukele says as she recalls the incident which left her family homeless.  

With return and reintegration efforts ongoing, this mother of eight is picking up the pieces. She and her family have started growing their enset (false banana) crop, which sustains their meagre livelihood. Without much money at hand, it has been very difficult for her to make the house a home again. But she’s trying.   

As IOM increases its support to the Gedeo and Guji Zones, the provision of NFIs is proving very vital for the reintegration of returnee families. “These families had no means to supply themselves with the necessary kits and the lack of these basic kits has made return very difficult,” explains John Bang, an IOM staffer in charge of Shelter and NFI distribution.  

In 2019 alone IOM in Ethiopia has provided 58,364 NFI kits accompanied by solar lanterns and cooking stoves, shelter repair kits for 4,674 households, along with Housing, Land and Property assistance, with 36,396 households benefitting from WASH support. 

“We didn’t have pots to cook our food, materials to wash clothes, containers to fetch water, or properly walled housing,” says Abebech Deiko, a widowed mother of seven, who describes the hardships she and other neighbours faced upon their return.  

Many returnees like Aster and Abebech need support to reintegrate themselves. Therefore, humanitarian partners continue to evaluate the conditions in locations of return as well as to verify the status of the returnees reported by the government.  

“Through financial support received from the Federal Government of Germany, European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid and the US Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance, IOM is providing shelter construction materials, NFIs, as well as WASH support. However, there is still a major funding gap to address the needs of all the vulnerable returnees,” says Ester Ruiz de Azua, IOM Ethiopia Emergency Response Coordinator.  

The Organization will continue the support in different districts in West Guji Zone over the coming months.   

For further information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 6611117 (Ext. 1455), Mobile: +251 91 163 9082, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 3, 2019 - 16:31Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

A beneficiary receiving IOM’s NFI distribution at Gedeb Town, DimbaDimbe district Ethiopia, August 2019. Photo: IOM

Upon return, the displaced community had no utensils to cook food or keep warm. The NFI kit includes vitally needed blankets and kitchen utensils. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

The Merciless Path Towards Europe: Mamadou’s Story

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 12:03

Mamadou, 18, left school and his village in Senegal’s Tambacounda when he was 12. “While I was in school, all I could think about was if I was going to eat when I got back home,” he explained. “Sometimes we would have breakfast and nothing else for the rest of the day. There were too many mouths to feed at home and I needed to do my part.”

As the eldest of the brood, Mamadou felt a duty to support his parents and provide for those younger.
During the next few years, he worked in Dakar, Mali, Burkina Faso and eventually Niger, getting closer – he believed – to his dream: reaching Europe.

But once he arrived in Niger, Mamadou quickly exhausted his funds. At the bus station in Niamey, he met Abdoulaye, a childhood friend, who offered to pay for their trip to Algeria.

“We were seven boys and five women in the car; a mix of Gambians, Malians and Nigerians,” he said.

Somewhere between Agadez and Algeria, the driver ordered his passengers out. Hours later, the driver returned. He told them they had been sold and would be traveling to Libya instead. “We were in the middle of nowhere, but there was nothing we could do,” Mamadou said.

He and Abdoulaye watched helplessly as their new “owners” tore clothes from the women in their group, then beat and raped them. “We felt helpless,” said Mamadou.

Those who could, fled. Mamadou realized he lost Abdoulaye, who had been recaptured. Once the bandits spotted Mamadou, he was caught, too. Later he witnessed his friend murdered.

“The bandits tried to force me to get into the car, but Abdoulaye was hurt and I couldn’t leave him. One threatened to shoot me. Then they shot Abdoulaye in the chest,” he explained.

Through tears, Mamadou said he begged to be allowed to bury his friend. “I took a plate and wrote his name and put it on top of his grave along with my shoes,” the young Senegalese remembered.

During the trip to Libya, some of the women who had been assaulted started feeling ill. Mamadou said one was abandoned. Another died on board, and also was abandoned. “In the desert, no one has time for a proper burial,” he added.

Yet he survived, one of more than 22,000 migrants who have been rescued in Niger’s Ténéré desert since 2016.  IOM’s humanitarian rescue operations are supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union.

Mamadou now has been at IOM’s transit centre in Agadez for two weeks, waiting for a return to Senegal under IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, funded through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

He hasn’t had contact with his family in over three years.

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


Language English Posted: Friday, August 30, 2019 - 15:31Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Mamadou stays in the transit centre in Agadez, Niger to recover from his ordeal. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

On International Day of the Disappeared: IOM Notes Plight of Families of Disappeared

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 10:09

Geneva – On International Day of the Disappeared, IOM pays tribute to the families and loved ones of each person included in the Missing Migrants Project records – a total that today approaches 33,000 men, women and children.

No matter the context of the disappearance, the agony of even one disappearance can have deep effects on those left behind. Families missing a loved one are relentless in their faith that they will return someday, and unless they have certainty of the fate of that person, their lives become defined by an ambiguous loss between hope and grief.

“My two children left and never came back,” said Maman Dior, from east Dakar, Senegal, a district where hundreds have left and later went missing. “It's been 13 years that day and night, I wonder if they are dead or in prison, or if they will come back one day. At one point, we simply have to resign ourselves to the fact that our children stop being part of our daily lives even if we have no proof of their death."

In the context of migration, disappearance can occur in many ways.
People may lose touch voluntarily when they move to a new place and in that sense, they “disappear.” Others fall out of touch involuntarily, without access to communication or contact information, especially if they find themselves in situations of detention or forced labour.

It is nonetheless possible that these people will regain contact with their families in the future.           

Then there are people who disappear during migration and will never be in contact again. 

Since 2014, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded worldwide over 32,700 people who have died or gone missing and are presumed to be dead. Historical records suggest that since 1996, this number is approximately 75,000, although this is just as likely to be an undercount of the true number of fatalities: as not all deaths and disappearances are reported.

It may be impossible at times to determine if someone died in the context of migration. People’s remains may never be found or identified. For instance, since the Project started documenting deaths during migration, the remains of over 12,000 people have yet to be recovered from the Mediterranean Sea. At the same time the majority of those found will never be formally identified. Or buried.

“The rights of migrants, including the right to life, must be protected in order to ensure that migration is safe, orderly, dignified and humane and so disappearances in the course of migration do not occur,” says Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, where the Missing Migrants Project is based. “In cases when people do go missing or die, they and their families have rights, regardless of nationality or legal status.”

In 2019 and 2020, IOM is carrying out a pilot research project with families searching for missing migrants along the Western and Central Mediterranean routes towards Europe. The hope is that the findings will result in recommendations for how IOM and other actors can better address their needs.

For the latest data on deaths and disappearances on migration routes worldwide, visit the Missing Migrants Project website here.

For more information. please contact Marta Sánchez Dionis, IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre. Tel: + 49 30 278 778 43,Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, August 30, 2019 - 15:45Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

On International Day of the Disappeared, IOM remembers those who have tragically lost their lives or gone missing on migration routes worldwide and those who they have left behind. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

First Database on Migrant Deaths and Disappearances in Sub-Saharan Africa Helps Families Heal

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 10:09

Dakar – To mark the International Day of the Disappeared (30/08), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Regional Office for West and Central Africa pays tribute to all those who lost their lives or their loved ones during their journeys across the region and beyond.

Those like the traveling companions of ‘Favour’, a Nigerian who witnessed several deaths attempting to cross North Africa.

“The journey to Libya was very tough as we drove past many dead bodies and a lot of people fell ill on the way,” said Favour, now returned to Nigeria. She added: “Whenever someone was too sick to continue the journey, the driver would just leave them in the desert and keep on driving.”

Since January 2019, it is estimated that 253 [1] migrants have died or gone missing along the migration routes in Sub-Saharan Africa. However, these statistics are incomplete and most likely to be underestimated in one of the main irregular migration-prone regions in the world.

In a bid to provide more comprehensive data on migrant deaths and disappearances, IOM for West and Central Africa set up the regional Missing Migrants Project (MMP) to collect and centralize data on migrant fatalities in West and Central Africa.

The project helps identify the most dangerous routes across the region, as well as the most vulnerable groups to these dangers, and helps assess the impact of immigration and border policies on migrants’ safety. Moreover, the project enables IOM to build on reliable data to raise awareness on the risks of irregular migration and advocate for policies that facilitate access to regular migration.

Through this project, IOM is also able to locate incidents and refer migrants’ families in search of their close relatives identified to inform them about their relatives’ fate [2].

In Niger, IOM conducts humanitarian search and rescue operations for migrants stranded in the country’s northern regions. Since April 2016, over 20,000 individuals stranded in the Sahara Desert have been rescued through these operations.

Watch the video of migrants rescued in the desert.

“This new IOM project is an important first step, but additional measures need to be taken to protect migrants in the region. The data collected shows the need to strengthen policies on mixed migration to protect every single person on the move in the region,” says Damien Jusselme, Regional Information Management Officer for IOM in West and Central Africa.

Another migrant, Ousmane, a Gambian in a transit centre in Niger, explained what happened to him. “They managed to call my uncle and he asked me how much he had to pay. I told him to forget about it, to take care of my mom, to buy medicine and not to pay. I never thought I would make it out alive. I was supposed to die there. Many people don’t even know I am alive,” he added.

The Missing Migrants Project, a joint initiative of the Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) and IOM's Media and Communications Department, is funded by GMDAC as part of the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) programme to set up data on “missing migrants” in West and Central Africa in a similar way as what is currently being implemented in Europe.

[1] This figure is from IOM's partner, Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism Initiative (4Mi). The Missing Migrants Project's aggregate data from previous years for the Sub-Saharan African region take into account this partner's data. However, for the 2019 exercise, 4Mi data have not yet been included in the IOM database as data sources are under review.

[2] Please refer to IOM’s Fatal Journeys Volume 3 Part 1 report for more information.

For more information, please contact Florence Kim at IOM’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221786206213, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, August 30, 2019 - 15:35Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

 ‘Favour’ witnessed several deaths while attempting to cross North Africa.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Despite Obstacles, Committees Give Rohingya Women Their First Say in Bangladesh Refugee Camps

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 10:09

Cox’s Bazar – Morium Khatun recalls the past when fear kept her friends silent about sensitive issues like childbirth, security and health – even when the challenges were life threatening.

“Women didn’t feel comfortable going to a male committee or local leader, and when they did – their concerns were often ignored,” she said. The lack of representation left illnesses untreated, violence unreported and confined many women to their homes.

So, when Khatun heard about an IOM-backed initiative to form women’s committees in her community, one of thousands in the teeming Rohingya refugee camps of south-eastern Bangladesh, she decided to take matters into her own hands by stepping up as a possible leader.

“I have always been active in trying to help friends and neighbours. But this was new. It gave us a formal group to meet and attract members,” she said.

The women’s committees were launched as a pilot project supported by IOM in September 2018 to provide a forum for Rohingya refugee women to voice their concerns, access information and obtain referrals for services.

The response from women was immediate and positive as community members came forward with a mixture of comments and complaints ranging from local issues of sanitation and lighting to cases of kidnapping and domestic abuse.

A total of 110 women are now active in the committees, including 10 with disabilities.

According to Megan Denise Smith, who leads IOM’s Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Unit in Cox’s Bazar, women pointed to four key barriers preventing them from being represented in community decision-making: access to information, participation in camp activities, safety and membership of institutions. 

“Many of the public spaces where decisions were being made – such as mosques – were closed to women,” she said.  Rather than attempting to gain entry into exclusively male-dominated structures, the women’s committees were formed from scratch as something new.

Designed to include women in local decision-making, each committee also designated focal points who became ‘specialists’ in a given area, such as health, GBV, water, sanitation or combatting human trafficking.

Specialists were trained in their given areas and liaised with humanitarian organizations. Slowly, word got out about the group and more women came forward as volunteers. 

Despite their growing traction with women, the reaction to the committees from men was mixed at first. According to Khatun, some male leaders and husbands were mistrustful or openly hostile to the groups. As the community benefits became clearer, men took to the idea and many now support the committees.

Rumpa Dey, an IOM GBV coordinator, pointed to a recent example as evidence. “A woman was recently having trouble in a conflict involving her husband and another male member of the community. She came to the women’s committee and asked them to intervene. That demonstrates a degree of acceptance that would have been unheard of a few months ago,” she noted.

In a conservative culture where women are expected to remain home, the women’s committees also offer a rare opportunity to leave the house. “Many Rohingya families are very traditional and some women basically never leave home. The women’s committees gave them a reason to become active in their community and become involved in issues other than those directly related to their household and family,” Dey added.

According to Khatun, security is also becoming an increasingly pressing issue for Rohingya women in a community wracked by unemployment. A local syndicate recently attempted to kidnap her son. The women’s committee is helping to institute patrols to improve security and prevent crime, she said. 

For more information please contact George McLeod at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +880 18 7071 8078, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, August 30, 2019 - 15:30Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Women’s committees are giving a voice to Rohingya women refugees – often for the first time. Photo: IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Nearly 17,000 Migrants Returned Voluntarily from Greece in Past 3 Years

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 10:09

Athens –The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported today (30/08) that 16,954 third country nationals chose to return voluntarily from Greece to their country of origin over a three-year period from June 2016 through 28 August 2019.

Migrants from Pakistan (4,292) topped the list of 83 nationalities returning voluntarily with IOM assistance, followed by those from Iraq (4,187), Georgia (1,972), Algeria (1,308) and Afghanistan (1,295) (see chart below).

There were 12,017 male voluntary returnees, 2,817 female, and 2,120 children. IOM assisted the voluntary return of 3,666 migrants who were residing on the North-Eastern Aegean islands.

Some 4,270 of the returning migrants also received assistance to support a more sustainable reintegration into their local communities. Priority for the reintegration assistance was given to candidates in situations of vulnerability, while other factors were taken into consideration like work experience, skills and willingness of the candidate to develop a sustainable reintegration plan.

“I returned to Georgia in 2018 after four years of emigration in Greece. In Greece I worked in the construction sector. This programme enabled me to do the same work at home. I purchased tools for reconstruction work, I have my own business and I have a stable income. I have an opportunity to do a job I am good at,” said Giorgi Ormotsadze from Georgia, who now works as a constructor in Georgia and has implemented his reintegration plan under the project The Implementation of Assisted Voluntary Returns, including Reintegration Measures (AVRR).

Prior to departure and with the assistance of cultural mediators and AVRR officers, beneficiaries received return counselling during which they were provided crucial information as well as administrative assistance for acquiring travel documents. IOM then provided flight tickets, assistance at the airport and financial support to cover immediate expenses.

Extensive reintegration counselling sessions were conducted by IOM officers for the 4,270 eligible beneficiaries and through cooperation with IOM offices in the countries of origin. Their reintegration plans were developed in the interest of safeguarding their wellbeing and helping to ensure that they reintegrate into the local community in a sustainable way.

The beneficiaries’ work experience, their skills and willingness to follow through were key considerations in tailoring their reintegration plans. Following these counselling sessions, 3,751 returnees received in-kind reintegration assistance for starting up small businesses.

“As I am getting older, I prefer to be with my people in my hometown. I approached IOM in Athens and received information for the in-kind reintegration assistance. One month after my arrival in my country, I managed to set up my own business. It is called ‘Sari-sari store’, a grocery store in the Philippines with local products,” said Juliana Villa Sarile from the Philippines.

Through the duration of the project, IOM provided also tailored assistance for 1,345 migrants in vulnerable situations such as those with health needs (913), unaccompanied migrant children (123), elderly people (190) and pregnant women (97). 

Specialized IOM staff arranged pre-departure and travel assistance appropriate to the nature of pre-existing health conditions, conducted health assessments and referred beneficiaries to adequate medical services, escorted beneficiaries when needed and ensured continuity of treatment and requirements for specific arrangements during the return journey.

An Open Centre for migrants registered for assisted voluntary return and reintegration (OCAVRR) is also established near the centre of Athens to provide shelter and pre-departure care to particularly vulnerable migrants in Greece who have registered for the AVRR programme and have no place to stay until their departure. The purpose of the Open Centre is to ensure that migrants in vulnerable situations are enabled to prepare their return in safe conditions.

From June 2016 to the present, the open centre has provided shelter to 4,434 migrants, 4,170 of whom have departed for their country of origin.

The AVRR project has been co-funded 75 per cent by EU funds and 25 per cent by Greek national funds.

For more information, please contact Christine Nikolaidou at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 2109919040 (Ext. 248), Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, August 30, 2019 - 15:25Image: Region-Country: GreeceThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Juliana returned to set up a ‘Sari-sari store’, a grocery store in the Philippines. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 46,521 in 2019; Deaths Reach 909

Fri, 08/30/2019 - 10:09

Geneva – IOM reports that 46,521migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 28 August, roughly a 32 per cent decrease from the 68,029 arriving during the same period last year.

Arrivals this year to Greece and Spain are at 23,193 and 14,969, respectively (38,162 combined), accounting for 82 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 23 per cent ahead of 2018’s totals from this time. Arrivals to Spain are almost 50 per cent lower.

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost eight months of 2019 are at 909 individuals – or about 58 per cent of the 1,562 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018. (see chart below).

The 909 deaths include several deaths recorded in the Central Mediterranean route this past week.

On 27 August, a boat carrying more than a hundred migrants capsized off the coast of Al-Khums, Libya. The Libyan Coast Guard intercepted those on board and brought to shore 64 survivors, who reported that several people had drowned before the rescue took place. The remains of 10 people later were recovered from the sea, including those of a Moroccan family (mother, father, and two children aged 4 and 12) and a Somali man. At least 30 people remain missing, according to the testimonies of survivors.

Just a day later, the ship Mare Jonio, from the NGO Mediterranea Saving Humans, rescued nearly 100 people from a deflating boat off the coast of Libya, including 22 children under the age of 10 and eight pregnant women. According to survivors interviewed by NGO staff, six people had drowned before they were rescued. Their bodies were not recovered.

In the Western Mediterranean, police authorities in Gibraltar recovered the remains of a young North African man off the coast of Punta Europa, in the Gibraltar Strait, on 28 August. He is believed to be one of the four people who went missing last week, when a boat carrying 11 migrants capsized off the coast of La Línea de la Concepción, Cádiz, Spain. Three others remain missing.

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 January 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 32,741 people, including 1,781 in 2019 through 28 August (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.

Most recently, several tragic deaths were recorded in the European continent linked to vehicle accidents. On 23 August, a Bangladeshi man died in a vehicle accident in North Macedonia on the Gevgelija-Skopje highway near Negotino. Authorities reported that a vehicle transporting migrants crashed into a truck on the highway. The driver of the vehicle managed to flee but many of the migrant passengers remained, some severely injured. Unfortunately, one died in an ambulance, while 13 others survived.

Just two days later, on 25 August, an Afghan woman died in the Kupa river in Croatia when a van in which she was travelling with 11 others fell into the river during a police chase. Authorities report that police officers tried to stop the van around 3:00 AM near Slatina Pokupska. Instead of stopping, the driver sped away.

According to police, the driver fled, leaving the van to sink into the river with 12 people inside. All but one survived, with one woman dying shortly after being rescued. She was reportedly part of a family of six traveling together – spouses and four children between the ages of three and nine. Authorities confirmed all are Afghan nationals who had been staying in a refugee camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina before continuing their journey.

On Tuesday, 27 August, six men were killed and 10 were injured in a car crash on a road near Loutra, a village close to Alexandroupoli, Greece. According to authorities, survivors are from Egypt and Pakistan. They crossed the Turkey-Greece border via the Evros river and were planning to reach the city of Thessaloniki.

The MMP team also received reports of a van accident that took place in Thailand in early August and claimed the lives of two migrants. On 6 August, a minivan with 9 migrants on board (eight men and one woman, all from Myanmar) was passing through Ko Kha district. The driver, a Thai, fell asleep. The vehicle ran off the road, hitting a tree. Tragically, two men lost their lives, while the other seven passengers and the driver were injured.

On the US-Mexico border, eight deaths were recorded since last week’s update.

In Brooks County, Texas, authorities reported recovering on 20 and 21 August the remains of three young men – two Hondurans, one Guatemalan – on ranch lands near the Falfurrias Border Patrol Checkpoint.

In a statement, the US Border Patrol (USBP) said that agents from the Rio Grande Valley Sector on 22 and 24 August recovered the remains of two people from the banks of the Río Bravo/Rio Grande in Hidalgo County, Texas.

Also, on 24 August, USBP agents found the remains of an unidentified person on a ranch in Texas’ Kenedy County. That same day, the Mexican Consulate in Eagle Pass reported an 18-year-old woman from Puebla died in Dimmit County from dehydration, shortly after crossing the border with her cousin, who alerted authorities. Most recently, on 28 August the remains of a 21-year-old Honduran man were found in the Río Bravo near Piedras Negras, in Mexico’s state of Coahuila. 

In total, at least 529 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 413 recorded through this point in 2018 – an increase of roughly 28 per cent.

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, August 30, 2019 - 15:18Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN