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Updated: 23 min 41 sec ago

Emotional Scenes as First Resettled Refugees Arrive in Portugal from Turkey

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 10:53

Lisbon – Thirteen refugees arrived safely in Lisbon on Wednesday to an emotional welcome from waiting family members, after leaving Turkey as part of Portugal's 2018-2019 refugee resettlement programme, facilitated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR). 

Watch video here.

“We’re very pleased to see the first resettlement of refugees from Turkey to Portugal this week and the strong collaboration between IOM, the government of Portugal and UNHCR," said IOM Director General António Vitorino.  "We remain committed to ensuring the resettlement process is conducted in a safe and dignified manner and wish this latest group success building their new lives in Portugal.”  

The new arrivals, the first to be resettled through the programme, included three families from Syria and one individual from Iraq. One family is from Damascus and the others are from the countryside near Aleppo.  

In Istanbul, the refugees, including six children, told IOM that they were excited to join their families and start a new life where, as one couple said, “My child will live in a country where there are human rights, freedoms, democracy, law and a future.” 

“Here in Turkey, they call us ‘refugees’ and this identity follows us all the time wherever we go… I don’t want my son to be a refugee or to be called ‘refugee’,” said another prior to boarding the flight to Portugal. 

In Lisbon, IOM staff and joyous family members welcomed the refugees at the airport together with the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). IOM accompanied the new arrivals through immigration and arrival procedures that were conducted by the SEF and the High Commissioner for Migration (ACM). After leaving the airport, they were accompanied by their hosting institutions to accommodations in Braga and Lisbon. 

At the start of the process, IOM is responsible for the preparation and implementation of selection missions. It then conducts full health assessment and pre-embarkation medical screenings to assess fitness to travel before departure and carries out three-day pre-departure orientation sessions to help ease their entry into Portugal. This is followed by airport assistance at departure and arrival.  

At the same time, IOM conducts information sessions to help local actors prepare to receive refugees in the designated Portuguese municipalities. This is done by sharing the general profile of refugees, explaining the contexts in their countries of origin and first asylum, and by imparting knowledge on how to create empathy with people from diverse origins and with a refugee background. 

Between 2016 and 2017, IOM also supported the resettlement to Portugal of 142 refugees from Turkey and 40 from Egypt. 

For more information please contact IOM Portugal: Sónia Pereira, Email:, Tel: +351 21 324 29 40 or Bárbara Borrego, Email:, Tel: +351 21 324 29 40 

Language English Posted: Friday, April 5, 2019 - 16:51Image: Region-Country: PortugalTurkeyThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Syrian refugees with family at Lisbon’s Humberto Delgado Airport after their resettlement from Turkey. Photo: IOM 2019 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Awareness-Raising Caravan Sets Off for Month-long Trip Across Niger

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 10:51

Niamey – An awareness-raising caravan called In da na sa’ni (“If only I had known” in Hausa) left Niamey yesterday (04/04) for a monthlong trip to raise awareness of the risks of irregular migration and its alternatives. The caravan will stop during its 2,300-kilometer journey in areas with a high migrant population, such as Tahoua, Agadez and Arlit, hoping to reach 150,000 people. 

The caravan is part of a comprehensive awareness-raising strategy based on behaviour change communications and interpersonal communication which can ultimately contribute to social change. The concept was initiated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and falls under the framework of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism, supported by the European Union

“The aim of such initiatives is to create a meaningful dialogue instead of limiting ourselves to one-way communication,” said Stephanie Eeckman, Community Outreach Officer at IOM Niger.  

IOM has been providing migrants in transit and potential migrants with access to life-saving information since 2016 when its first orientation office opened in Agadez. This and other awareness-raising activities are implemented through IOM’s four orientation offices in Agadez, Arlit, Dirkou and Niamey, and their 50 community mobilizers (MobComs).  

Since the beginning of the year, IOM’s mission in Niger has been leading several innovative outreach activities that have reached close to 35,000 people, bringing the total of migrants and community members reached to 275,000 since 2016. 

“We all have a brother, sister, cousin, neighbour who has been through hell trying to cross the desert or the sea. If we do not take the responsibility to give them the correct information before they make their decision, then we have failed them,” said Harouna Koudou Abdourahmane, the agent representing the artists taking part in the caravan. 

Over 350 people participated in the In da na sa’ni inauguration event – which included a film screening, debates, quizzes, performances and a concert by Nigerien rap artist, Kamikaz Limane – organized at Niamey’s Hôtel des Postes. 

“Tonight, you made me reflect on my choices. I should have done it before I left, but it’s never too late, is it?” said Komi, a 23-year-old Togolese migrant who is currently transiting through Niger on his way to Europe. Nearly 200,000 migrants crossed Niger in 2018 and 70,000 in 2019. “I might not change my mind tonight, but I will think hard before I decide to continue the journey,” he added. 

The caravan will use a variety of tools and will work with local NGOs, community associations and artists for its various outreach activities along the route in order to engage both migrants and host community members.  

“I will never take that road. Watching the documentary and hearing that man talk about how he almost died on this journey makes me wonder, why take that risk? No dream is worth dying over,” said Salimat, a 19-year-old who has already pondered leaving his native Niger looking for better opportunities. 

IOM’s outreach activities are supported by the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA) and the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the framework of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism (MRRM), funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. 

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

Language English Posted: Friday, April 5, 2019 - 16:49Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

The ‘In da na sa’ni’ awareness-raising left Niamey on 4 April for a month-long journey around the country. Photo: IOM 2019/Daniel Kisito Kouawo

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Hosts Global Meeting of Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on Migration

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 10:48

Geneva – Inter-State consultation mechanisms on migration are ongoing information-sharing and policy dialogues among States interested in promoting cooperation in the field of migration. They include regional consultative processes, interregional forums, and global processes on migration. The concept emerged in the 1980s, as informal dialogues to fill in the gaps of formal regional and global forums on migration. Since then they have played a significant role in contributing to the migration policy debate and enhancing cooperation in migration management and governance. 

Currently there are 31 active inter-State consultation mechanisms on migration: over 200 countries and territories are engaged with at least one, while some countries participate in as many as 10 such policy dialogues. 

The Eighth Global Meeting of Chairs and Secretariats of Inter-State Consultation Mechanisms on Migration (GRCP 8) is taking place today (05/04) in Geneva, Switzerland. This year’s event will focus on the important and often pioneering role of these State-led policy dialogues in advancing a common understanding of migration governance.  

The meeting will bring together representatives of 28 inter-State consultation mechanisms on migration. Participants will consider the achievements of these consultations over the past few decades, and their renewed role in the modern era of migration governance.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) engages with various regional, interregional and global dialogues on migration around the world and since 2005 it has endeavoured to bring them together on a regular basis to encourage interactions among the various dialogues (previous meetings were held in Thailand, Peru, Botswana and Egypt). 

The outcome document of the meeting will acknowledge the policy impact, sustainable structures, and partnership models of these dialogues, and reinforce the continued relevance of these consultations.  

For more information please contact Kristina Galstyan at IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179419, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, April 5, 2019 - 16:48Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General António Vitorino delivers his remarks at the GRCP 8 meeting in Geneva, Switzerland. Photo: IOM 2019/Natalie Oren

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Tanzania, Ethiopia, Kenya Agree on Roadmap for Addressing Irregular Migration

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 10:47

Dar es Salaam – "Facilitating simplified consular assistance that in turn will enable easier access to irregular migrants in prisons": this is one of the recommendations agreed to at a high-level inter-governmental meeting between the United Republic of Tanzania, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia and the Republic of Kenya. 

Evidence shows that many irregular migrants from the East and the Horn of Africa continue to use the ‘Southern Route’, hoping to reach South Africa. Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya fall on this route as origin and transit countries. Migrants travelling in this way can fall foul of immigration authorities for crossing without the requisite documents.  

Officials from the Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya met from 2-4 April 2019 to deliberate on how to strike a balance between managing irregular migration flows to southern Africa while ensuring that the human rights of migrants are respected and protected. 

During the tripartite meeting, technical participants developed 27 key recommendations for addressing detention conditions and alternatives to detention, as well as preventing irregular and dangerous migration, and sustainable approaches to return and reintegration. 

The recommendations were adopted on the third day of the meeting and include the harmonization of anti-human trafficking and smuggling laws within the three countries, as well as the sensitization of the diaspora of the countries of origin on the risks of irregular migration. They are in line with the objectives of the Global Compact for Migration which calls for stronger cooperation and comprehensive responses to migration challenges. 

The meeting was a culmination of previous efforts aimed at addressing migration issues on the Southern Route. It brought together a high-level audience from the Governments of Tanzania, Ethiopia and Kenya, including the Tanzanian Minister of Home Affairs Kangi Lugola; the Ethiopian State Minister for Peace Zeynu Jemal; and Kenyan Ambassador Michael Oyugi of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Representatives for the EU Delegation, donor embassies and UN agencies in Dar es Salaam were also present. 

Trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in the region were discussed during the meeting; participants shared best practice advice and developed holistic approaches for addressing irregular migration on the Southern Route. They also explored better coordination mechanisms to protect vulnerable migrants, and strategies for improving existing voluntary return and reintegration processes and policies. 

Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister Kangi Lugola commended the decision by Ethiopia to open a Consulate Office in Dar es Salaam in October 2018. He said the move has enhanced cooperation between the two countries particularly on migration management.  

“Since its opening, a total of 301 Ethiopians who were in different prisons in Tanzania have been returned back home; the move signals the concerted efforts of both the Ethiopian Embassy and the Tanzania Immigration Department to address issues of irregular migrants," Lugola said. 

 Lugola added: "As we are forging ahead, we should cherish our cooperation on issues of mutual concern and interests on migration-related matters as agreed. At this juncture, l appeal to our governments to expedite the implementation of the agreements on areas of migration matters."  

The meeting was financed under the European Union (EU) – International Organization for Migration (IOM) Joint Initiative in the Horn of Africa. The programme is part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative, backed by the EU Trust Fund, covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries.   

The EU is committed to supporting an effective management of South-South mixed migration flows. 

For more information please contact Julia Hartlieb at IOM’s Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, April 5, 2019 - 16:46Image: Region-Country: United Republic of TanzaniaThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Migrants from the Horn of Africa who had taken the Southern Route prepare to return home from Zambia. Photo: IOM 2018 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, UNHCR Collaborate to Protect Migrant Populations in Mauritania

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 10:45

Nouakchott – Nouadhibou is a key port in Northern Mauritania where over an estimated 32,000 migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers are living. In October 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees established a joint bureau to support migrants, refugees, and asylum-seekers’ access to protection and assistance services following a referral mechanism between the two UN agencies. Both agencies also carried out joint trainings to build the capacities of law enforcement authorities and strengthen migrant, refugee and asylum-seeker protection. 

Last weekend, Stefano Manservisi, Head of the European Union Delegation and Director-General for the European Commission’s International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO) visited the IOM-UNHCR joint bureau.  

“Collaboration between IOM and UNHCR is the fundamental approach that we want to adopt in the management of mixed migratory flows,” said Stefano Manservisi during his visit.  

Services provided include shelter, medical assistance and referrals as well as durable solutions as part of the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programmes. 

The increasing number of migrants in Nouadhibou prompted IOM to launch its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in November 2018 to collect data and profile the migrant populations in the city in order to better understand and address their needs. Based on 544 interviews with migrants and key informants, the first DTM survey reveals that the main needs of migrants in Mauritania include better job opportunities and access to protection and health services.  

IOM is currently conducting a second round of data collection to identify gaps in protection assistance and is working with authorities on more inclusive public health policies. In December 2018, UNHCR also carried out a survey piloting a new tool for data collection and case management (SMMART) supported by a large number of protection interviews.  

Since February 2019, both UN agencies initiated a coordination panel on mixed migration to strengthen efforts, efficiency and effectiveness between all stakeholders with due regard to human rights and international conventions and agreements and continue their efforts to strengthen coordination with local authorities. 

For more information, please contact Alexandra Schmitz at IOM Mauritania, Email: or Jose Manuel Caceres at UNHCR Mauritania, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, April 5, 2019 - 16:44Image: Region-Country: MauritaniaThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM analyst surveys a migrant in the streets of Nouadhibou for the Displacement Tracking Matrix. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 12,174 in 2019; Deaths Reach 356

Fri, 04/05/2019 - 10:44

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 12,174 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 3 April. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes have reached 356 individuals (see table below). 

IOM Italy  

Yesterday (4/4) IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported that a total of 532 migrants have reached Italy by sea in 2019, according to the Ministry of Interior (see table below). IOM staff members are deployed at the main landing points in Sicily (including Lampedusa), Calabria and Apulia. 

Since the start of the year, 1,073 migrants have been returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard. (See chart

Di Giacomo reported that the NGO Sea-Eye’s ship (“Alan Kurdi”) rescued 64 migrants on Wednesday in the waters between Libya and Europe. It is still unclear where and when the boat will be allowed to land. For the moment no European State has granted authorization to dock. The rescue operation was carried out on the same day that clashes were reported south of Tripoli, Libya – a country that is not considered a safe haven for rescued migrants. 

While the number of migrants returned to Libya has reached 1,073, and 776 have reached Europe (532 in Italy and 244 in Malta), the death ratio in the central Mediterranean route in 2019 is now about 10 per cent which means 1 in 10 people who attempt the crossing is reported dead or missing. This represents a notable increase compared to the death ratios of 2.6 per cent and 3.5 per cent respectively registered in 2017 and 2018. 

In the last two weeks there have also been reports of two boats departing from Libyan shores, carrying 41 and 50 people on board. Neither vessel has been found by Libyan authorities or Italian, Maltese or NGO boats. There are growing concerns about the increasingly limited search and rescue capacity in the Central Mediterranean that needs to be further reinforced. 

IOM Spain  

IOM Spain reported that 5,600 men, women and children have arrived irregularly in Spain by sea since the start of this year (through to 31 March). 

IOM Greece  

IOM Greece reported on Thursday (3/4) that 5,621 migrants have reached Greece by sea this year. Most migrants accounted for in the data set come from Turkey. IOM staff is present in Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Leros, Kos and Crete Island.

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 (MMP). Since the beginning of 2014, the Project has recorded the deaths of 31,626 people, including 667 in 2019. Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of fatalities during migration is likely much higher. Therefore, MMP records should only be viewed as indicative, rather than representative across time or geography.   

In the Western Mediterranean, the remains of a man washed ashore near Aguadú, Melilla on 19 March. Just a few days later, on 22 March, the body of a woman was recovered nearby, in Playa de Horcas Coloradas, Melilla. The recovery of these remains is not linked to any known shipwreck in the area, as there have been no reports of a boat capsizing near this Spanish autonomous region in Northern Africa.  

On 1 April, 13 people were rescued from a sinking boat adrift in the Gibraltar Strait by Spanish rescue services. A young man showed signs of severe hypothermia. He tragically died upon disembarkation in the Port of Tarifa, Cádiz.  

A day later, on 2 April, the Moroccan Association for Human Rights reported that local fishermen from Nador found the remains of a man entangled in their fishing nets off the coast of Al-Hoceima. No information on the identities, age, or country of origin of the deceased is available. At least 136 people have died or gone missing in the waters between North Africa and Spain since the beginning of the year, including five children and 13 women.  

The waters between Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands became the site of a tragic loss of life when a ship carrying more than 30 Haitian migrants capsized off the coast of West Caicos on 31 March. The Royal Turks and Caicos Coast Guard rescued 14 survivors and recovered the remains of 17 people. It is believed two people remain missing. In early February, another shipwreck claimed the lives of 31 Haitian nationals off the coast of the Bahamas. In the first three months of 2019, the Missing Migrants Project has recorded the deaths of 50 Haitians who left their homes searching for a better future and did not survive.  

On the US-Mexico border, two Ecuadorian migrants died in a car accident shortly after crossing the border into Laredo, Texas on 24 March. Twenty-three-year-old Elsa Fanny Guamán Cajilema and her brother-in-law, 17-year-old Luis Fernando Bravo, were both from Alausí, in Ecuador’s province of Chimborazo. They were hoping to join Elsa’s husband and Luis’ brother in the US. Elsa leaves behind two children, who stayed with family members in their hometown. In Mexico, a 41-year-old man from El Salvador fell out of a moving vehicle while transiting through Villa de Cos, Zacatecas on 3 April. 

In Europe, two deaths were reported in late March. In the early hours of 31 March, a 27-year-old Bangladeshi man died, and 14 others were injured when the driver of the vehicle in which they were travelling forced them to jump out of the van in order to avoid a police control. The tragic incident happened along the regional road Udovo-Demir Kapija, near the Vodisirska river, in North Macedonia. Six of the 14 survivors, who originate from Pakistan and Bangladesh, suffered severe injuries and were transferred to hospitals in Gevgelija and Kavadarci.  

On the same day, a man of unknown nationality was found dead inside a mountain crevice by the Croatian mountain rescue service, in a forest area north of Javornik, Croatia. 

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

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, April 5, 2019 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

First resettled refugees arrive in Portugal from Turkey

Thu, 04/04/2019 - 11:50

Lisbon – Thirteen refugees from Syria and Iraq, including six children, arrived safely in Lisbon on Wednesday (03/04) after leaving Istanbul, Turkey, as part of a Portuguese refugee resettlement programme for 2018-2019, supported by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and IOM, the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The new arrivals are the first to be resettled to Portugal from Turkey, under the program, where they have previously been hosted after fleeing conflict in their home countries.
They include three families from Damascus and Aleppo in Syria and an individual from Iraq. The families will join extended family members that are already living in Portugal.
“Through IOM’s offices in Portugal and Turkey, we have been supporting the Government of Portugal towards its overall commitment to receive 1,010 refugees by October this year,” said IOM Portugal’s resettlement focal point Sónia Pereira. “Forty more refugees are expected to arrive from Turkey under the programme this month.”

“UNHCR has been supporting Portugal strengthen its resettlement scheme, deploying a resettlement expert to Lisbon and working with Portuguese authorities to identify and refer at-risk refugees in Egypt and Turkey as part of the program,” said UNHCR’s Regional Spokesperson for Southern Europe, Carlotta Sami.
One hundred and twenty seven refugees have now been resettled in Portugal from Egypt, as part of its most ambitious resettlement program, since December 2018.
Resettlement is available only to a fraction of the world’s refugees. Typically, less than one per cent of refugees worldwide are ever resettled.
With developing regions hosting 85 per cent of the world’s refugees, or 16.9 million people, ensuring a more timely, equitable and predictable sharing of responsibilities by increasing access for refugees to move to third countries is a key objective of the Global Compact on Refugees.
For this week’s new arrivals to Lisbon, IOM staff welcomed the refugees at the airport together with the Immigration and Borders Service (SEF). IOM assisted the new arrivals with luggage collection and accompanied them through immigration and arrival procedures that were conducted by the SEF and the High Commissioner for Migration (ACM). After leaving the airport, they were accompanied by their hosting institutions to their new accommodations.
Municipal authorities and NGOs throughout Portugal are supporting refugees arriving through this programme, who will be offered initial support with housing and basic needs while they learn the Portuguese language and pursue employment. The refugees will have access to healthcare and education, as well as professional and vocational training.
IOM Media Contact:
Marta Bronzin - IOM Portugal Head of Office +351 21 324 2940
UNHCR media contacts are:
In Rome, Federico Fossi, +39 349 084 3461
In Geneva, Shabia Mantoo, +41 79 337 7650

Language English Posted: Thursday, April 4, 2019 - 11:44Image: Region-Country: PortugalThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Renovated Police Base Opens on Haitian-Dominican Border

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 10:11

Port-au-Prince — Every week, more than 100,000 border Haitians travel to the Dominican Republic irregularly for petty trade activities. Every month, more than 10,000 Haitians are deported or repatriated from the Dominican Republic, several thousand of whom are in a vulnerable situation. In addition, according to the Haitian government, the country loses USD 200 million to USD 400 million a year due to contraband on the border. 

The cross-border dimension of migration requires an integrated response at the national, binational and international levels. In order to accompany and reinforce the initiatives of the Haitian Government at the border, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) — in coordination with its United Nations partners and the National Haitian Police (PNH) — organized an official inauguration ceremony for the newly-renovated Morne Casse base. 

The renovated base, formerly a UN peacekeeping compound, is a dormitory and operational space from which the border police can launch its mission to better secure the Haitian-Dominican border, protect migrants and refer vulnerable migrants to partners for assistance. In 2018, for example, more than 510 unaccompanied children were recovered and transferred to the IOM Border Resource Centre near Morne Casse by the Haitian Border Police (POLIFRONT). 

This inauguration ceremony is part of the Border Police strengthening project (POLIFRONT) in the Northeast Department of Haiti funded by Global Affairs Canada and the United States Embassy in Haiti.  

During the official ceremony in Morne Casse, the Director General of the PNH was accompanied by the Director of POLIFRONT, the Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations in Haiti, the Police Commissioner of MINUJUSTH, the IOM Chief of Mission, the Ambassador of the United States in Haiti, the Chief of Cooperation of the Embassy of Canada in Haiti and a Representative of the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in Haiti. 

For the United States, Ambassador Michele J. Sison said: “The United States works closely with Haiti to combat transnational crime.  Since it was first deployed in January 2018, POLIFRONT has strengthened Haiti’s effort to fight against the trafficking in persons, seized contraband, and reduced other forms of illicit trafficking.” 

"This structure, renovated after the departure of MINUSTAH troops in 2017 with the support of the United States and Canadian embassies, has enabled POLIFRONT officers to work under the best conditions to carry out their mission since January 2018,” added Helen La Lime, Special Representative of the UN Secretary General. 

Carlos Rojas-Arbulu, Head of Canadian Cooperation in Haiti, added: "Thanks to this project, smugglers have been arrested, minors have been referred to the Ouanaminthe CRF and several million US dollars in smuggled goods have been seized at the border. It is essential to support the officers of the Polifront and to continue to build their capacity so that they can help the most vulnerable migrants at the border. Canada is proud to support this initiative and congratulates all those involved in making the border a safe and secure place for all." 

IOM Haiti Chief of Mission, Giuseppe Loprete underscored the importance of this event: “The Polifront was created by the joint effort of MINUSTAH then MINUJUSTH and IOM. When the base was donated to the police, the U.S. and Canadian Governments joined us to rehabilitate it,” he said. “Now Morne Casse accommodates over 100 Polifront officers who are deployed daily to the North-East border for counter-trafficking and anti-smuggling activities, with excellent results so far.” 

SRSG La Lime emphasized, “It is important to accelerate the deployment of POLIFRONT women and men in areas close to the country's other major border crossings — Anse-à-Pitres, Belladère, and Malpasse — because the work of this HNP unit is essential to the development of Haiti and its economy.” 

For more information please contact Emily Bauman at IOM Haiti, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: HaitiThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

A high level visit and inauguration ceremony of Haiti’s first border police base included the DG of the Haitian National Police, Dir. POLIFRONT, Special Representative of the UNSG in Haiti, MINUJUSTH Police Commissioner, IOM Haiti Chief of Mission, the Ambassador of the United States, Chief of Cooperation of the Embassy of Canada, with mayors and local officials.  

100% of the Haitian Border Police recently deployed in Haiti’s north received specialized training and capacity building on migrants’ rights and counter-trafficking from IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Shelter Aid from IOM Helps 20,000 in Mozambique in First Weeks of Response to Cyclone Idai

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 08:21

Beira — A total of 37,720 Mozambicans have now received shelter aid—either tarpaulins to replace destroyed roofs, or full tents—in a concerted international response to devastation brought by Cyclone Idai, one of the worst natural disasters to strike this African nation in decades. 

More than half of those beneficiaries —at least 20,450 people— have been directly assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its international partners, including Oxfam, Save the Children, Red Cross, Care, World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse. Since the start of the humanitarian response, IOM has received in kind contributions of shelter material and non-food items from Italy, United Kingdom, the USA and Switzerland. On behalf of the shelter cluster, IOM is coordinating the distribution of those materials via its partners. 

Two and a half weeks after Cyclone Idai made landfall in Mozambique, its impact can be seen everywhere in this port city: downed power lines; forests uprooted and trees scattered across roads and farmland; thousands of families waiting for shelter in schools that were set to open this week for spring classes.  

To those obstacles here in Mozambique’s second-largest city, there are others to mention, even more dire. Reports of malaria are being added to an earlier-reported scourge, cholera.  

To respond, IOM has deployed more than 30 national and international staff. They have come not just to Beira, but also to Maputo and Tete. The latter is a rural zone in the country’s highland north, where rains before Cyclone Idai swept through settlements only recently established for some 12,000 Mozambicans who fled into Malawi during a surge of civil conflict in 2016 and have been putting their lives back together (although some have since returned home or moved to nearby communities).  

United Nations and government officials agree at least 1.85 million people have been affected by Cyclone Idai in Mozambique. IOM is appealing for USD 36.4 million for its emergency response for the next six months. The United Nations is urgently seeking an additional USD 282 million of relief aid over the next three months through to 30 June 2019.  

Parallel to shelter distribution, IOM is also actively supporting the government on camp set-up and camp coordination. IOM has identified over 105,000 needy Mozambicans in 115 temporary settlements in Sofala, the province whose largest city is Beira.   

On Friday (29 March) IOM worked in partnership with a fire brigade sent by the government of Portugal to remove fallen trees and other debris from farmland next to the Ifapa school compound near Beira’s airport. With chainsaws buzzing amid the sounds of tree branches crashing to the ground, sixteen fire-fighters cleared enough debris from a field of newly-harvested cassava plants to place at least 50 emergency tents donated to IOM by UK Aid. The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) has seconded two staffers, logistics expert Julian Rust and site planner Andreas Cippa.    

“The challenge here is to face the overwhelming need, and at the same time channel the huge amount of incoming cargo that has been donated and is still coming in,” said Julian Rust. “Working with so many organizations in our logistics cluster has been inspiring for me. These people really know what they’re doing. Everyone is working hard.”   

For more information please contact Katharina Schnoering at IOM Mozambique, Email: or Joel Millman, IOM Geneva (currently in Mozambique), Tel: +41 79 103 8720. Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 16:20Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Migrant AssistanceShelterDefault: Multimedia: 

Aid supplies arriving in Nhamatanda District. Photo: IOM/Patricia Ocaña

USAID donation arriving in Beira on Saturday, 20 March 2019. Photo: IOM 

USAID donation arriving in Beira on Saturday, 20 March 2019. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Statement: Protecting Migrants in Libya Must be our Primary Focus

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 08:19

Rome — With regard to its activities in Libya, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) would like to clarify that we follow the UN position indicating that Libya cannot yet be considered a safe port. 

IOM in Libya is present at the disembarkation points to deliver primary assistance to migrants that have been rescued at sea. However, following their disembarkation, migrants are transferred to detention centres under the responsibility of the Libyan Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM) over which the Organization has no authority or oversight. The detention of men, women and children is arbitrary. The unacceptable and inhumane conditions in these detention centres are well documented, and IOM continues to call for alternative solutions to this systematic detention. 

The number of migrants returned to Libyan shores has reached over 16,000 since January 2018, and concern remains for their safety and security in Libya, due to the conditions in the detention centres. 

IOM only has access to centres to provide direct humanitarian assistance in the form of non-food items, health and protection assistance, as well as Voluntary Humanitarian Return support for migrants wishing to return to their countries of origin. 

IOM’s access to detention centres in Libya is part of the Organization’s efforts to alleviate the suffering of migrants but cannot guarantee their safety and protection from serious reported violations. IOM advocates for alternatives to detention including open centres and safe spaces for women, children and other vulnerable migrants. A change of policy is needed urgently as migrants returned to Libya should not be facing arbitrary detention. 

The security and humanitarian situations in the country remain dangerous, and IOM reiterates that Libya cannot be considered a safe port or haven for migrants. 

For more information please contact Flavio di Giacomo at IOM Rome, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: or Safa Msehli at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 22 241 842, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: ItalyThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania Seek Solutions to Irregular Migration on Southern Route

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 08:16

Dar es Salaam – Irregular migration from the East and Horn of Africa to southern Africa, presents countries along this route with a new challenge: how to manage these flows while ensuring that the human rights of migrants are respected and protected.  

The ‘Southern Route’ – as this migration route is known – is used by scores of irregular migrants journeying southward in the hope of reaching South Africa.  

To better manage these irregular migration flows, the Governments of Ethiopia, Kenya and the United Republic of Tanzania have held several bilateral and trilateral technical meetings since 2014.  

The latest is taking place this week between the three countries in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the European Union (EU). Running from Tuesday to Thursday, (April 2-4, 2019), the high-level inter-governmental consultation is expected to deliver a final comprehensive roadmap to address the situation of stranded migrants on the Southern route.   

The meeting is taking place with the support of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa. The programme, backed by the Africa Trust Fund, covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries.  

Technical experts from the three countries, with the support of IOM, will develop a draft outcome document to be adopted by the states at senior political level on the third day.  

The proposed roadmap will address issues pertaining to the trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants in the region, as well as the sharing of good practices and developing holistic approaches with regard to addressing irregular migration on the Southern Route.  

The roadmap will also consider alternatives to detention practices and explore better coordination mechanisms to protect vulnerable migrants while improving existing voluntary return and reintegration processes and policies.  

“IOM appreciated the efforts of both the United Republic of Tanzania and Ethiopia to jointly assist migrants who are stranded in the country. Hopefully the donor community will continue to step forward to support efforts for the safe return and reintegration of vulnerable migrants,” emphasized Dr. Qasim Sufi, IOM Chief of Mission in Tanzania.  

A key priority of the Joint Initiative is to support partner countries in the region to develop capacities for safe, humane and dignified voluntary return as well as sustainable reintegration processes. 

For more information please contact Julia Hartlieb at IOM’s Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 16:10Image: Region-Country: United Republic of TanzaniaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

South Africa is the destination for many irregular migrants using the Southern Route. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

ACP, EU, IOM Focus on Visas, Mobility and Cooperation in the Pacific

Tue, 04/02/2019 - 08:14

Port Vila, Vanuatu – The Pacific region is facing an array of economic, security and environmental challenges, particularly with the depletion of natural resources and the stress on livelihoods that come with climate change. States in the region have therefore recognized that visas and mobility offer critical pathways that can help the region to not only cope but also thrive in this environment.   

“Labour migration from and within the Pacific region is an important avenue for addressing livelihood challenges induced by climate change, but its facilitation relies on well-administered and dignified visa policies and practices,” said Caroline Logan, Head of IOM’s office in Vanuatu, ahead of a three-day regional meeting kicking off tomorrow (3-4/04) to tackle these themes in Port Vila, Vanuatu.  “Here is where governments, international organizations and civil society in the Pacific can play vital roles.” 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in the framework of its ACP-EU Migration Action programme is holding the “regional thematic meeting” to discuss visas, regulated mobility and ways to strengthen national migration management policies in the Pacific region.  

IOM’s Logan explained that visas and related legislation and policies are vital to ensuring that facilitated, regulated mobility is beneficial to countries and migrants alike.   

“Comprehensive visa legislation and policies can have a substantial impact on the competitiveness of a country and are closely linked to increased business, tourism and trade,” she said.  

These elements are also important to humane border management and security according to Donato Colucci, IOM Senior Immigration and Border Management Specialist for Asia and the Pacific.    

“It may seem counterintuitive, but visas and regulated mobility are essential to effective, integrated border management and can also contribute to national security response. Smart visa policy improves the effectiveness of operations at our borders in several ways,” explained Colucci.  

“Notably, regulated entry makes border crossings smoother, safer and more orderly for everyone involved. For example, effective data and identity management allow for timely analysis to prevent and, if necessary, respond in time to security threats,” he continued. “Additionally, improving visa and border management by strengthening the capacities of border control authorities helps to identify human trafficking situations and protect victims.”  

The meeting is bringing together 40 participants from Pacific countries, the European Union, representatives of international and regional organizations and NGOs, as well as experts in the field of visas and mobility.

Notes for Editors: 

IOM, through the ACP-EU Migration Action, is working to build national capacities in the field of visas, migration and mobility. The Action, launched in June 2014, provides tailored technical support on migration to Africa, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) countries and regional organizations. To date it has received 74 technical assistance requests from 67 ACP governments and 7 regional organizations.     

The programme is financed by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) and supported by the ACP Secretariat and the EU.  

The ACP-EU Regional Thematic Meetings provide a platform for peer-to-peer discussions and exchange of good practices to generate thematic recommendations tailored to the region. 

For more information on the ACP-EU Migration Action, please visit: You can follow the Action on Twitter: @ACP_EU_Action and on Facebook:

For further information, please contact: ACP-EU Migration Action Tel: +32 2 287 78 10, Email: and Ryan Schroeder at the IOM Regional Office in Brussels, Email:, Tel: +32 0492 25 02 34, or Caroline Logan at IOM Vanuatu, Email:, Tel: +678 541 05 86

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 2, 2019 - 16:03Image: Region-Country: VanuatuThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

Visas and facilitated mobility are becoming increasingly important in the Pacific region. Photo: IOM 

Visas and facilitated mobility are becoming increasingly important in the Pacific region. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Continues Relief Efforts in Zimbabwe, Malawi after Cyclone Idai

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 15:58

Harare, Zimbabwe and Pretoria, South Africa — The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is addressing the humanitarian needs of populations affected by Cyclone Idai in Zimbabwe, Malawi, in addition to the ongoing response in Mozambique after an appeal was launched earlier this week.


The hardest hit province is Manicaland where Chimanimani and Chipinge districts remain inaccessible due to heavy rains, strong winds, earth sliding which has damaged roads and main access bridges; so far, 181 deaths have been reported since the hit Zimbabwe.

Plans are underway to provide technical support for improved Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM). IOM plans to support the government and CCCM activities by deploying officers across three camps in Chimanimani. This will ensure that humanitarian assistance is delivered timely, and that Sphere standards for humanitarian assistance are adhered to. 

IOM is rolling out mobility tracking in the four most affected districts (Chimanimani, Chipinge, Mutare, Buhera) in Manicaland province and will extend the scope of its action where necessary in Masvingo district. The Global Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) empowers responders to regularly monitor developments as movements and crises evolve, providing the most up-to-date information. The DTM component will provide information on all essential sector needs to UN Agencies, and I/NGOs to underpin an evidence-based response.

“IOM is working to support communities affected by Cyclone Idai through technical assistance in shelter, CCCM and Information Management through DTM,” said IOM Zimbabwe Chief of Mission Mario Lito Malanca. “Our DTM teams are now on the ground rolling out needs assessments through our mobility tracking tool in the four most affected districts in Manicaland province and will extend the scope of its action where necessary in Masvingo district. The tool will aim to collect sex age disaggregated data on the affected population, their locations as well as capturing the key needs in each district and ward to support a more well informed coordinated humanitarian response.”

IOM will strengthen its partnership with the Counselling Service Unit (CSU) to support the deployment of psychosocial support professionals. This will alleviate suffering of vulnerable populations through direct service provision of psychosocial support and establishment of psychosocial mobile support teams.


In Malawi, the floods have affected 868,900 people, and displaced over 87,000. IOM’s immediate response after cyclone landfall was through participation in the ongoing inter-agency assessments in the six districts of Balaka, Machinga, Mangochi, Zomba, Phalombe and Nsanje.

As explained by Mpilo Nkomo, IOM Malawi Head of Mission: “There is an urgent need for Shelter as most displaced people are accommodated in camps set up in schools, a situation that is disrupting learning activities in the schools. IOM is appealing for funding support to help provide the much-needed shelter as some families are leaving in the open exposing them to the harsh weather resulting from the flood.”

“IOM, as requested by the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (DoDMA), has employed the Displacement Tracking Matrix and Team is in the field to collect comprehensive data which will be used by service providers to advocate for resources as well as targeting groups with specific needs / vulnerable and improve site conditions. We are also in the process of procuring emergency shelter as this has been reported to be the urgent need. Trained camp managers will be deployed as soon as possible in the field to support in camp coordination and camp management.”

The DTM programme has been launched in the four most affected districts: Chikwawa, Nsanje, Phalombe, and Zomba. IOM Malawi’s DTM reports are designed to regularly capture, process, and disseminate information to provide a better understanding of the needs, numbers and movements of internally displaced persons (IDPs). The DTM was initially planned for three round assessments and these started early this week.

IOM plans to provide technical support for improved Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) through deployment of camp managers in the IDP sites as well as provision of technical support in improving existing site conditions. The Organization will also support the provision of emergency shelters to 1000 households.

For more information please contact:

Abibo Ngandu at IOM Southern Africa Regional Office, Tel: +27123422789 ext. 412, Email:

Varaidzo Mudombi at IOM Zimbabwe, Tel: +263242704285, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 - 22:56Image: Region-Country: MalawiZimbabweThemes: Disaster Risk ReductionHumanitarian EmergenciesIOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Photo:  Image NASA

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Zambia’s Central Statistical Office Prioritizes Paperless Collection of Migration Data

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 11:44

Lusaka — Improving migration management at the national level has been identified as a priority for the Government of Zambia; migration dynamics in the country, region and indeed globally, have become increasingly complex. They are influenced by instability and conflict, unemployment, as well as environmental and economic factors. This includes mixed migration flows, including regular and irregular migration within the Southern Africa region, as well as from the Horn of Africa and East Africa, and beyond. The Government of the Republic of Zambia (GRZ) has requested assistance from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to strengthen its capacity to collect, analyse and utilize migration data, and ultimately to prepare the country’s Migration Profile.  

Migration is one of three key determinants of population change, along with births and deaths; adequate data is necessary to ensure sound policy making, planning and migration governance. Historically, a lot of investment has been channelled into collecting data on births and deaths, while migration has not featured as prominently in most data sources. However, GRZ, with coordination efforts from the Central Statistical Office and the Department of Immigration, has significantly strengthened the collection and reporting of key migration data through periodic surveys, the national census and administrative data (e.g. through government entities responsible for immigration, national registration, labour, among others). Zambia is preparing a 2020 national census of population and housing. IOM has provided support to these processes.  

On Wednesday (27/03) IOM donated 25 tablets to the Central Statistical Office, which will be used to facilitate the collection of real-time data by analysts — including migration data indicators, which have been incorporated in the census and surveys. This is part of an IOM Development Fund initiative to support to help the GRZ strengthen its capacity to collect, analyse and utilize migration data.  

During the handover ceremony, Marianne Lane, IOM Zambia Chief of Mission, presented the tablets to Central Statistical Office Acting Director, Mr Goodson Sinyenga. 

“Migration is gaining prominence nationally and beyond, as well as in the public discourse. Sound, credible data is needed to ensure effective, evidence-based dialogue, as well as good governance of migration in Zambia,” Lane said. “This also contributes to the attainment of the targets set out in the 2030 agenda for sustainable development, leaving no one behind.” 

The Central Statistical Office expressed its gratitude to IOM. In his remarks, Mr Sinyenga stated: “Migration can only be reported and managed effectively when migration data capture is enhanced through modern technology. As an office we are very pleased to receive this equipment from IOM, which will go a long way in helping the Government of Zambia to deliver effectively.”  

For more information please contact Emmanuel Sinkala at IOM Zambia, Tel: +260 211 254055, Email; 


Language English Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 - 11:00Image: Region-Country: ZambiaThemes: Migration ResearchDefault: Multimedia: 

Central Statistical Acting Director Goodson Sinyenga holds up one of the tablets donated by the IOM, as IOM Chief of Mission Marianne Lane looks on. 

Central Statistical Office Acting Director Goodson Sinyenga and IOM Chief of Mission Marianne Lane sign the Deed of donation. 

Cutting of the ribbon during the handover ceremony of 25 data collection gadgets at the Central Statistical Office in Lusaka. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Government of Zimbabwe Develops National Migration Policy

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 11:10

Mutare – The Government of Zimbabwe (GoZ), through the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, is developing its National Migration Policy with support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  

Zimbabwe has a long history with cross border mobility and has also witnessed a significant brain drain in the past two decades. Highly-skilled and semi-skilled Zimbabweans emigrated to countries such as the United Kingdom, United States of America, Canada, South Africa and Botswana in search of greener pastures. The country has also witnessed increased internal and border migration resulting in an upsurge in irregular migration, human smuggling and mixed migration flows. This calls for a comprehensive migration policy to enable the GoZ to harness the development potential of migration, as it explores ways mitigate any negative impacts.  

The complex migration issues in Zimbabwe are handled by several ministries; limited coordination hampers migration and development issues. Two of the migration policies already in place, the National Diaspora Policy and the National Labour Policy, are not adequate for covering other critical migration issues such as security and climate-driven movements. 

A policy drafting workshop was held in Mutare from 25 to 28 March 2019 to come up with a comprehensive policy framework that deals with migration and development. 

“The national migration policy will be the overarching policy document which will address all the issues pertaining to migrants, be they Zimbabweans or nationals of other countries,” said Minister Cain Mathema, the Minister of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, in his key note remarks.  

Minister Mathema also highlighted the importance of the policy in unpacking the principles and guidelines set forth in the African Union Migration Policy Framework and Plan of Action. 

“This Migration Policy should assist us as government to address the challenges of irregular migration, border governance, human trafficking, migrant smuggling, data collection and internal displacement in line with AU policy framework,” he continued. 

The Permanent Secretary for the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Mr Melusi Matshiya, pointed to the importance of evidence-based policies, adding that they are critical for government decisions. 

“Better migration governance can be realized through the development of evidence-based policies that consider the whole of government approach that all stakeholders have since embraced,” Matshiya said.  

Minister Mathema told the stakeholders present at the workshop that the GoZ is grateful for IOM’s support, “which has enabled the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Migration to coordinate and identify key thematic areas for inclusion in the Migration context in Zimbabwe Situation Analysis which will guide us as we develop the National Migration Policy.” He explained that the IOM support would enable government and stakeholders to share information, experiences, knowledge, and best practices for migration management.  

The GoZ migration initiatives are being supported by IOM Development Fund and the “Promoting Migration Governance in Zimbabwe” project, under the 11th European Development Fund. 

For more information please contact Varaidzo Mudombi at IOM Zimbabwe, Tel: +263242704285, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 - 12:10Image: Region-Country: ZimbabweThemes: Migration PolicyDefault: Multimedia: 

Minister Mathema  speaking during the policy drafting workshop in Mutare, Zimbabwe. IOM 2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Funding Appeal to Address Most Urgent Humanitarian Needs in Areas of Displacement and Return in Iraq

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 05:12

Erbil – Five years after the onset of the ISIL crisis and the subsequent massive internal displacement, IOM Iraq is launching its funding appeal for emergency assistance in the amount of USD 41.4 million. 

Although the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) has gradually declined since 2015, there are still around 1,750,000 Iraqis living in displacement as of February 2019, due to significant obstacles to return such as damage to houses; lack of livelihoods and basic services; perceptions of insecurity in areas of origin; and mental and psychosocial distress. Around a third of the current population of IDPs, over 530,000 persons, is still living in camps, which require critical support. 

IOM’s funding appeal is aligned with the 2019 United Nations’ Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Iraq, which estimates that approximately 6.7 million people are in critical need of support. Nearly 65 per cent of those are concentrated in Ninewa, Anbar, and Salah al-Din, the governorates most severely affected by the recent conflict. 

IOM will focus its humanitarian support in Iraq on three groups of concern: IDPs who remain in displacement both within and outside camps, vulnerable host communities in areas of displacement and return – where services are overstretched – and IDPs who have returned to their areas of origin but whose basic humanitarian needs are not being met. 

In 2019, IOM plans to maintain its life-saving assistance to IDPs in camp settings through the provision of Shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI) support, providing primary health services, monitoring and addressing protection and psychosocial needs, supporting Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services, and supporting camp co-ordination and camp management (CCCM) of IDP camps and informal settlements. 

The appeal also includes a request for the continuation of IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) which provides real-time reliable quantitative and qualitative data on displacement and returns. 

“We highly appreciate IOM’s efforts to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to displaced families in and out of camps as well as support them upon return their communities of origin. We look forward to our continued cooperation in 2019,” said Naseer Abdel-Sattar, Executive Director of the Joint Coordination and Monitoring Centre (JCMC) of the Government of Iraq. 

“The protracted displacement crisis is one of the critical challenges that needs our focused attention, as many displaced people still depend entirely on the provision of humanitarian assistance. The local resources and capacities are already overstretched and pushed to the limit. IOM has been one of the key partners to provide life-saving assistance to the displaced people inside and outside the camps. We value the continued support and cooperation with IOM to support the most vulnerable people,” said Hoshang Mohamed, the Director General of Joint Crisis Coordination Centre (JCC) in Iraq’s Kurdistan Regional Government. 

“Funding for humanitarian assistance is crucial to uphold the basic needs and dignity of vulnerable Iraqis in displacement and areas of return. It will prevent a reversal of the gains made to stabilize areas that have been most severely affected by the conflict,” said Gerard Waite, IOM Iraq’s Chief of Mission. 

“Through partnership and collaboration with other humanitarian partners, the Government of Iraq, the Kurdistan Regional Government and local NGOs, we hope to address the most critical humanitarian needs while seeking durable solutions for those in protracted displacement,” he added. 

The appeal document is available here (Arabic version here

Click here to watch our video on the Crisis funding appeal. 

For more information please contact Sandra Black at IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 - 12:11Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mali: Strengthening Psychosocial Support for Sustainable Reintegration of Returned Migrants

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 05:11

Bamako – Since 2017, over 11,000 Malians have been assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Government of Mali to voluntarily return home. Many of these migrants were exposed to difficult travel or detention conditions, as well as other risks, along the Central Mediterranean Route. Upon return, they often need psychosocial support to ensure sustainable reintegration within their communities. 

“The protection of migrants, wherever they are, has always been a priority for IOM. This protection involves immediate humanitarian assistance for returning migrants along migration routes, but also post-arrival psychosocial support,” said IOM Chief of Mission in Mali Pascal Reyntjens. “But we must provide ‘psychological support’ to these individuals before we talk about their economic reintegration.” 

Meet Aissata, a social worker working in a transit centre for migrant women and girls in Bamako, Mali. 

On Wednesday (27/3), IOM, the Government of Mali, and the Swiss Confederation State Secretariat for Migration launched the project Support to the Sustainable Reintegration of Returnees in Mali Through Psychosocial Assistance, which is expected to reach more than 5,000 beneficiaries in the main regions of return including Bamako, Kita, and Kayes. 

The USD 280,000 project aims to support the sustainable reintegration of returned migrants in their families and communities of origin through the provision of care; training of social actors and medical workers in the country; the development of information and awareness-raising campaigns; as well as workshops on theatre, artistic creation and sport for psychosocial support.  

“In light of the significant returns of migrants in distress and vulnerable situations, this project comes at the very right time. It strengthens the Government’s actions for the Malian returnees’ protection and reintegration, the capacity building of civil society organizations, and a better understanding of migration dynamics and immigration trends in Mali in line with the National Migration Policy (PONAM),” said Tangara Nema Guindo, Secretary General of the Ministry of Malians Abroad and African Integration. 

Since May 2017, IOM and the Malian Government have implemented the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration which has supported 11,505 Malians stranded along the migratory routes to Algeria or Libya to voluntarily return home in decent conditions, and with respect for their fundamental rights.  

This one-year project will be implemented by IOM in partnership with the Government of Mali, the Italian NGO COOPI (Cooperazione Internazionale), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  

For more information please contact: Seydou Tangara at IOM Mali, Tel: +223 76 42 63 59, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 - 12:09Image: Region-Country: MaliThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

An IOM staff member leads a psychosocial support session with a woman in West Africa. IOM/Muse Mohammed.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 11,901 in 2019; Deaths Reach 311

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 05:08

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 11,901 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 27 March. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes have reached 311 individuals (see table below)

IOM Italy 

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Thursday (28/3) reported that a total of 506 migrants have reached Italy by sea in 2019, according to the Ministry of Interior. Since the start of the year, 1,073 migrants have been returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard. (see table below

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain reported that 5,537 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants since the start of this year (through to 24 March). 

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece reported on Thursday (28/03) that 5,482 migrants have reached Greece by sea this year. Most migrants accounted for in the data set come from Turkey, and the main landing points are the islands of Lesvos, Kos, Samos, Rhodes, Kalymnos, Megisti, Leros and Chios.   

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through the Missing Migrants Project (MMP). Since the beginning of 2014, the Project has recorded the deaths of 31,557 people, including 598 in 2019.  Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of fatalities during migration is likely much higher. Therefore, MMP records should only be viewed as indicative, rather than representative across time or geography.  

At least 16 women, men and children drowned in the Mediterranean in the past week. In the Eastern Mediterranean, a boat carrying 15 people, reported to be from Afghanistan, capsized off the coast of Ayvacık, in Turkey’s province of Çanakkale, on 26 March. Three young women and a one-year-old child tragically drowned at sea. Their remains were recovered by the Turkish Coast Guard, who also rescued 11 survivors. On Thursday (28/03) another tragic incident was recorded in the Aegean Sea, when a boat sank off the coast of Chios, Greece. The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 36 survivors who originated from Yemen, Syria and Iraq, including three women and three children. According to their testimonies, two men are thought to be missing at sea. During the first three months of 2019, the deaths of six children and seven women have been recorded in the Eastern Mediterranean. 

In the Central Mediterranean, a shipwreck was reported north of Sfax, Tunisia on Saturday (23 March). At least eight young people are known to have lost their lives during this tragic incident. The three women and five men who boarded the boat with the hopes of reaching Italy came from the coastal city of Mahdia, north of Sfax. The remains of four of these individuals were recovered in the days following the shipwreck, while four remain missing. 

In the Western Mediterranean, the remains of two people washed up on two different beaches south of Ceuta on Tuesday (26/3). One body was recovered by Spanish authorities in El Tarajal beach, while Moroccan authorities reportedly recovered the other body on a beach north of Tétouan. No information on the identities, sex, age, or country of origin of the deceased is available. At least 132 people have died or gone missing in the waters between North Africa and Spain since the beginning of the year, including five children and 12 women. 

Elsewhere in the world, MMP recorded the death of a Honduran man, who was hit by a train near Teacalco, in the state of Tlaxcala, Mexico, this past Monday, 25 March. In Thailand, ten migrant workers were killed when the van in which they were travelling overturned on a highway in Kanchanaburi province, 150km west of Bangkok near the border with Myanmar. The van was hit by a truck at an intersection and plunged into a roadside canal after the crash. The remains of eight people, five of them Vietnamese nationals, had been recovered at the time of writing (see chart below). 

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

See contacts here.

Language English Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 - 11:25Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Relocation, Integration Support for Venezuelans in Brazil

Fri, 03/29/2019 - 04:24

Dourados – Last Saturday (23/3) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized the second voluntary relocation charter flight to Dourados, a city in central Brazil, for 130 Venezuelan migrants and asylum-seekers. The group of Venezuelans left the state of Roraima, which shares a border with Venezuela, as part of the Relocation Strategy under the Brazilian government’s Operação Acolhida (Operation Welcome), supported by UN agencies and partner civil society organizations. 

This was the second time that IOM chartered a flight to Dourados, to relocate migrants and asylum-seekers who benefit from a progamme that matches labour profiles with job opportunities in the industrial sector and is managed the Brazilian Armed Forces. The first group of 100 migrants travelled to Dourados last month (2/2). 

For the Venezuelan beneficiaries, the relocation represents an opportunity for integration and entry into the labour market, and the chance at a new life. They can contribute to the development of their new host communities by filling a workforce gap in Dourados; the arrival of new Venezuelan workers also stimulates the local economy. 

Sixto (31), a mechanical engineer, travelled to Dourados on the first charter flight in February and although he arrived less than two months ago, he already feels settled in his new work. Despite the cultural differences, he gets along with his new colleagues. For the first time in months, he is once again able to afford personal expenses such as meals and rent. He found it difficult at first to search for job opportunities in Roraima due to a high number of Venezuelans already residing there and the current economic crisis. But he is optimistic, as is his colleague Octavio, who said: “We have been treated only with kindness… [We] want to make sure that the Brazilians have a positive view of us.” 

The Relocation Strategy has been implemented since April 2018 to address work relocation, family reunion, temporary shelters, and the support of civil society members who provide accommodation across Brazil. By the end of March, over 5,400 people had already been relocated from Roraima to 17 Brazilian states through this strategy; IOM supports all aspects of the project. 

“The IOM charter and commercial flights are an alternative that speeds up the process as well as allows for more people to benefit in a flexible manner from the relocation strategy. It helps reduce the migratory pressure in the state of Roraima and facilitates the socio-economic integration of the Venezuelans in Brazil,” said IOM Brazil Chief of Mission Stéphane Rostiaux. 

As part of this comprehensive approach to integration, IOM also organized the last of a series of six nationwide workshops for private sector companies this month in Rio de Janeiro (27/3). The workshops were designed to help private sector companies implement policies focusing on the recruitment and employment of migrants; address their concerns regarding hiring, legal procedures, and required documentation; and to highlight the cultural and economic benefits of having a multinational team. 

Both the preparation of private sector actors to employ Venezuelans and the relocation process can benefit the host communities and transform the life of Venezuelans in Brazil, providing them with a new vision of a future where they once again feel at home. 

For more information please contact Vitoria Souza at IOM Brasilia, Tel: +55 61 96943850, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 29, 2019 - 11:22Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Migrant AssistanceResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Passengers prepare to board an IOM charter flight relocating 130 Venezuelans in Brazil. Photo: IOM/Fábio Fonseca

The group of Venezuelans left the state of Roraima, as part of the Relocation strategy under Brazilian government’s ‘Operação Acolhida’ Photo: IOM/Fábio Fonseca

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM and the Fair Labor Association Sign Memorandum of Understanding to Promote Ethical Recruitment, Protect Migrant Workers

Tue, 03/26/2019 - 15:57

Geneva — Today (26 March 2019) the International Organization for Migration and the Fair Labor Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote cooperation and mutual assistance in relation to ethical recruitment and protection of migrant workers in global supply chains. 

The MOU was signed by IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson and the Fair Labor Association (FLA) President and CEO Sharon Waxman. IOM combats all forms of exploitation and abuse of migrant workers, including human trafficking, while the FLA is a non-profit multi-stakeholder organization that combines the efforts of industry, non-governmental organizations, colleges and universities to promote adherence to international standards and improve working conditions worldwide. 

There has never been a more urgent time to act on instances of recruitment malpractice; too many migrant workers around the world continue to face abuse at the hands of unscrupulous recruitment agencies, and to face significant risks of debt bondage related to the fees and costs they are charged for accessing employment. This MOU will foster an exchange of knowledge and expertise between IOM, the FLA and their partners to better protect migrant workers in supply chains.  

IOM Deputy Director Laura Thompson said: “The FLA has played a vital role in advancing ethical recruitment in recent years. These steps led to the adoption in October 2018 of a global industry commitment signed by more than 120 companies in the apparel and footwear sector. IOM welcomes these efforts and looks forward to continuing our strong collaboration with the FLA. Our organizations have a responsibility to work together to address the risks that migrants face every day in their search for employment and livelihoods.” 

FLA President and CEO Sharon Waxman said: “The IOM has been a valued partner in our effort to trace rubber supply chains in Vietnam, and we were delighted that IOM staff observed the pilot of our recently developed supplier training in Malaysia. Responsible recruitment and mitigating forced labour are integral to the FLA’s work. The FLA and our affiliates believe no worker should be unable to leave a job at will because of the burden of a heavy recruitment debt to an employer. No migrant worker should have to worry about being able to return home freely because an employer is withholding a passport, other important legal documents, or workers’ wages. And no worker should have to risk termination because they are unable to work involuntary overtime or choose not to.” 

IOM’s Labour Mobility and Human Development Division focuses on the protection of migrant workers and seeks to enhance the benefits of labour migration for all parties involved. The division operates the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) — a global initiative designed to promote ethical recruitment with the support of governments, civil society, the labour movement, private sector and ethical recruiters. 

The FLA’s mission is to protect workers’ rights and improve working conditions worldwide for the more than five million workers in the factories and farms of its affiliates. The FLA has three overarching objectives: to strengthen the voice of workers; to improve working conditions through transparency and effective remediation; and to demonstrate a positive impact on workers’ lives. 

For more information please contact Philip Hunter, Tel: +41 22 717 92 15, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - 15:55Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN