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Updated: 50 min 32 sec ago

Norway Supports Voluntary Return and Reintegration of Stranded Migrants in Morocco

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 08:58

Marrakech – Merethe Nergaard, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, and Ana Fonseca, Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Morocco signed an agreement to award a grant of NOK 4,000,000 (approx. EUR 400,000) to IOM as a contribution to the ‘RAISE’ programme (Voluntary Return and Reintegration for Stranded Migrants in Morocco). 

“We are pleased to continue our support to RAISE, contributing to IOM and Morocco's efforts to assist stranded migrants who wish to return to their home country,” said Marianne Hagen, State Secretary at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She headed the Norwegian delegation to the intergovernmental conference to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). Hagen, together with António Vitorino, Director General of IOM, attended the signing of the agreement. 

Morocco has over the years become a key location on the perilous journey of thousands of migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan countries, to Europe. Migrants fleeing poverty, lack of opportunities or increasing violence continue to arrive in Morocco, making the North African country both a destination and transit country. However, many of these migrants end up being stranded in Morocco, leaving them vulnerable to becoming victims to abuse and exploitation at the hands of smugglers and traffickers. 

Consequently, Morocco and IOM launched an Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme in 2005 to offer the possibility of a dignified return through provision of administrative, logistical, financial support – including reintegration assistance – to migrants unable or unwilling to remain in Morocco, and who decide to return to their country of origin. 

For more information, please contact: Myriam Massaia, IOM Morocco, Tel: +212 (0) 537 65 28 81, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: MoroccoThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Kenya Launches First Migration Studies Institute

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 08:56

Nairobi – The Kenya Institute of Migration Studies (KIMS) last week launched its flagship course, the Post-Graduate Diploma in Migration Studies, with the first intake expected in 2019. KIMS – the first of its kind in Kenya – will be hosted at the University of Nairobi’s Population Studies and Research Institute.

The East African region remains a major source, transit and destination for migrants. The aim of the course is to improve national and regional migration management to strengthen the capacity of institutions responsible for migration and border management in Kenya, as well as in neighbouring states. 

The development of the diploma course on migration was part was of the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme which aims to improve migration management in the Horn of Africa. BMM is funded through the EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 

KIMS’s journey started in 2016, with the assessment of gaps in migration management in Kenya. BMM implementing partners, IOM and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have been supporting the Department of Immigration Services with benchmarking and technical advice, as well as facilitating the National Coordination Mechanism on Migration (NCM). 

The post-graduate diploma will be open to mid-level managers from the Department of Immigration as well as other government officials from Kenya and other parts of Africa. 

“Kenya will open up the post-graduate course to other African countries because better migration management can be achieved through cross-border and inter-country cooperation,” said Dr. Fred Matiang’i, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination, speaking at the launch ceremony. “Everyone from Principal Immigration Officer upward must go through this course before they are promoted.” 

Dr. Matiang’i also requested the inclusion of a public relations course in the curriculum, saying this would help improve service delivery to Kenyans and other migrants at ports of entry and exit. 

The Chief of Mission for IOM Kenya, Michael Pillinger, said: “IOM is honoured to be a partner of the Government of Kenya and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government in addressing key migration management challenges.” 

He also expressed “a special thanks” to the Department of Immigration Services and the NCM for taking the step to launch KIMS, describing it as the first-ever post-graduate diploma course in Kenya focused on Migration Studies. “Kenya continues its tradition of being first in the region. Kenya was the first African nation to be an IOM Member State in 1985,” he said. 

KIMS’s launch follows nine study visits, three of which involved other countries – Ghana, Sudan, and South Sudan – whose governments sought to learn from Kenya and its NCM. 

Pillinger added: “It has been a privilege to support and learn with NCM on harnessing stakeholders’ varied expertise and views for the benefit of Kenya, and the inclusion of migrants and diaspora in these processes. Being a key partner from the conceptualization of the KIMS, and now seeing KIMS a reality, is like a parent seeing its child become a better person at a particular time.”

IOM is one of the main BMM implementing partners alongside UNODC, Expertise France, the Italian Department of Public Security, CIVIPOL, GIZ and the British Council. Apart from Kenya, BMM also covers Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. 

IOM Kenya will support KIMS in establishing a document examination laboratory which will help officers gain practical knowledge and skills in the appraisal of passports and other enabling documents to detect fraud, thus contributing to safe, orderly and regular migration in the region. This will also add to the efforts to prevent trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. 

The post-graduate diploma course will cover an introduction to migration studies; legal issues on migration; forced migration; irregular migration; diaspora; and diaspora engagement. Also, on the course will be security and border management; research methods on migration; the effects of migration in countries of origin and destination; data and information management; migration policy; and migration governance, together with leadership for migration practitioners. Students will also be required to embark on a research project. 

For more information please contact Etsuko Inoue at IOM Nairobi, Tel: +254204221000, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 15:10Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Dr. Fred Matiangi, Cabinet Secretary at the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, giving his keynote address. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Chile Organizes Highest Number of Screenings in IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 12:05

Chile Organizes Highest Number of Screenings in IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival 

Santiago – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Chile’s Ministry of Culture, Art and Heritage joined efforts to host the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) in different venues across the country.  

Out of over 100 participating countries, Chile has taken the top spot in terms of both the number of screenings and the number of cities where screenings will take place, reaching 43 and 10 respectively. These cinematic experiences have taken place across country in Valparaíso, Quillota, Santiago, Lo Barnechea, Paine, Rancagua, Curicó, Tomé, Hualpén y Talca. 

“The Ministry of Culture’s support, including 12 locations of its Network of Cultural Centres across the country, has been key in reaching the success of the GMFF in Chile,” said IOM Chile Chief of Mission Norberto Girón.  

Of the films to be shown in Chile, a selection of those available in Spanish or with Spanish subtitles was made; the shortlist includes Gurs, History and Memory, Sidney & Friends, Deal, Día de la Virgen, The Migrating Image, The Kitchen of Las Patronas and Together Apart.  

“Migrants make a cultural contribution to the community that receives them and for this reason we have joined the organization of the IOM GMFF in Chile,” said the Coordinator of the Ministry of Culture’s Interculturalism and Inclusion of Migrants Programme, Manuel Guerra. “This Festival also contributes to and enriches the migration experience through the artistic point of view of both producers and filmmakers globally,” he added.  

Many people are interested in attending the GMFF and it is considered a success at the national level, according to information provided by the Ministry of Culture. 

“I invited my exchange student friends and we saw the migrant representation, so I very much appreciate this free cultural opportunity that opened my eyes to see that the migration issues that I know from my country are also happening in other contexts,” said Nikita Kent, a student from New Zealand living in Santiago, who attended one of the GMFF events. 

Screenings of various productions will continue over the next few days in Chile. The Festival agenda is available at 

For more information please contact Carolina Fuentes at IOM Chile, Tel. + (56) 2 2963 3710, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 15:10Image: Region-Country: ChileThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Photo caption: Screening of Talca with support of Universidad de Talca and National Institute for Human Rights of Chile. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Emergency Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela Launched

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 10:47

Geneva, 14 December - Faced with the largest population outflow in Latin America of recent years, 95 organizations covering 16 countries have been working together to establish a comprehensive response to the urgent needs of millions of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, and host communities. This effort is coordinated by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration.

Launched today in Geneva, the regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) is the first of its kind in the Americas: an operational blueprint, coordination template and strategy for responding to the needs of Venezuelans on the move and securing their social and economic inclusion in the communities receiving them.

The RMRP, which is also an appeal for funding, focuses on four key areas: direct emergency assistance, protection, socio-economic and cultural integration and strengthening capacities in the receiving countries.

“This plan is a call to the donor community, including international financial institutions and development actors who can play a key role in this situation, to increase their support to refugees and migrants in the region and the host communities which have kindly opened their arms to them,” said Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

“Venezuelans I met during my visits spoke of hunger, lack of access to medical care, insecurity, threats, fear. They are families, women alone, children, young boys and girls, all in conditions of extreme vulnerability. All of them saw no other option than to leave their country – sometimes walking for days –   seeking to live in dignity and to build a future,” Stein said, adding that this critical situation is exacerbated by the lack of livelihoods, which exposes refugees and migrants to all forms of exploitation.  

Although Venezuelans have been leaving their country for several years, these movements increased in 2017 and further accelerated in 2018. According to available estimates, during 2018 an average of 5,500 people have been leaving the country every day.

“The solidarity of Latin American countries with Venezuelans has been humbling. It is now vital that we stabilize the dire humanitarian situation affecting the millions of Venezuelans seeking protection and shelter across the continent,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “The appeal launched today underscores the urgency of this complex and fast-evolving situation and the need to support the host communities.”

RMRP funding requirements in 2019 amount to USD 738 million. Interventions will target 2.7 million people in 16 countries, 2.2 million of them Venezuelans and 500,000 people in host communities.

“IOM is committed to expanding its support to governments across Latin America and the Caribbean who have extended assistance and solidarity to Venezuelan migrants over the past year,” IOM Director General António Vitorino said. “We call on the donor community to generously support this regional plan.”

Solidarity and responsibility-sharing from the international community are desperately needed, not only for Venezuelan nationals, but also for the governments and citizens of destination countries. They have been at the forefront of the response to the outflow, including through regional initiatives such as the Quito Process, and have demonstrated extraordinary generosity towards the refugees and migrants, in some cases for years. Their ability to cope and their infrastructure are being stretched beyond capacity.

“There are significant gaps and challenges, particularly regarding documentation, regularization, capacity of asylum systems, and access to basic services such as health and education, shelter and protection,” said Mr. Stein.

To date, most Venezuelan refugees and migrants have arrived initially in neighbouring Colombia. While some remain there, many have moved onwards, mainly to Ecuador, Peru, and to a lesser extent Chile and Argentina. Meanwhile Brazil has become another major destination. Mexico, Caribbean and Central American countries have so far witnessed a smaller number of arrivals, either directly or through secondary movements. These trends are likely to continue in 2019.


Download the RMRP document here

Download high resolution photos.

For more information contact:

Juliana Quintero, IOM ( +54 1132488134)

William Spindler, UNHCR ( +507 63827815)

For background information please consult the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform website

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 10:23Image: Region-Country: VenezuelaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Pacaraima, border of Brazil with Venezuela. Arrival of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. ©IOM/ Amanda Nero

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Boosts Protection and Economic Integration of Migrants in Costa Rica

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 10:09

San José – This week (12/12) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Development Banking System (SBD), agreed to create the Guarantee Fund for migrants in Costa Rica, which will adequately cover loan guarantees and other requirements requested by banking institutions. Migrants regularizing their situation generally face challenges when trying to access loans and banking products.   

The initiative is promoted by the private sector and their contributions will be multiplied by five thanks to the contribution of SBD. Around 25 credit operations for migrants will be granted initially. 

Additionally, IOM Costa Rica officially launched the Business, Migration and Prosperity Program (EMPRO, by its initials in Spanish), which will provide, facilitate and certify companies that offer ethical working conditions for their migrant workers, reducing the risk of labor exploitation in their operations and supply chains.  

EMPRO will focus on four lines of work: legal training for employers on the protection of migrants; orientation for labor migrants before and after their journeys; mapping of the supply chain; and the certification of an Integrity System for International Recruitment for human resources staff. 

“IOM promotes a safe, orderly and dignified migration for the benefit of all, which is reflected in this program by opening a space for young migrants with professional training and work experience, as well as entrepreneurs, to be candidates for the microloans," said Roeland de Wilde, IOM's Chief of Mission in Costa Rica. 

More than 70 persons from various sectors attended the launch of these programs, including Vencr, a civil association that ensures the insertion of migrants in Costa Rica, State ministers, private sector, and ambassadors, among many others. 

Both the Guarantee Fund and EMPRO have the support of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the General Directorate of Migration and Aliens (DGME for its acronym in Spanish), and various business chambers in Costa Rica. 

For more information, please contact Francisco Furlani at OIM Costa Rica, Tel: +506 2212 5300, Email   

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 14:45Image: Region-Country: Costa RicaThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Policy Framework for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:44

Geneva — Today (14/12), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is releasing A Framework for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) to guide policymakers and practitioners’ work in this important field.  

AVRR programmes help migrants who are unwilling or unable to stay in their host countries return to their countries of origin. IOM started implementing AVRR programmes in 1979 and has since then provided return and reintegration support to over 1.6 million people.  

Throughout the years, AVRR concepts and practices have undergone major changes. AVRR programmes have progressively expanded beyond Europe (where they have long been in place) to become embedded in national policies across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Western Balkans. The number of stakeholders involved in the organization of voluntary returns has grown, as has the interest among development players in supporting sustainable reintegration. Dangerous migration routes continue to place migrants in vulnerable situations, therefore strengthened protection standards are necessary in the context of return and reintegration.  

In recognizing this evolution, and based on IOM’s longstanding experience, the framework was designed to reaffirm the key tenets of assisted voluntary return and reintegration in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world; to guide decision-makers and practitioners in the design and implementation of AVRR-related policies and programmes; and to propose a roadmap to address voluntary return and reintegration holistically, based on complementary efforts between migration management and development actors at the international, national and local levels. 

“The framework is an important contribution to the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration, approved this week in Marrakech. It articulates a vision, and a set of principles and objectives to facilitate safe and dignified return, as well as sustainable reintegration in full respect for human rights and regardless of their status,” said Anh Nguyen, Head of IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance Division. “The framework intends to guide any actor involved in the design and implementation of AVRR interventions.”  

A Framework for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration marks an important milestone for the Organization and its partners with regards to AVRR engagement. 

The framework is available in full here

For more information please contact IOM HQ: 
Nicola Graviano, Tel: +41 22 717 9472, Email: 
Noëlle Darbellay, Tel: +41 22 717 9562, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 15:18Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

A Framework for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Libya: Essential Humanitarian Support Reaches Communities in Tawergha, Nearby Areas

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:42

Tripoli – This week (12/12), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in cooperation with Libya’s Ministry of State for Displaced Affairs and the Local Council of Tawergha delivered essential humanitarian assistance to communities in Tawergha, 200 kilometres southeast of Libya’s capital Tripoli, and in the surrounding village of al-Emarat.  

After over seven years of insecurity, and subsequent displacement, communities have begun to return to their homes in the surrounding areas. In recent months, and after the return of calm to the area, at least 100 families have permanently returned.  

As they begin to rebuild their lives, returnees struggle to access basic services. IOM’s recent humanitarian support reached more than 100 families in Tawergha and 88 in nearby al-Emarat. 

In its recent intervention, IOM supplied families with generators, winter blankets, mattresses and hygiene kits, as well as diapers for children.  

A combination of awareness raising and psychosocial support (PSS) activities on issues pertaining to the community are being conducted by the IOM’s mental health and psychosocial support team in both locations. Additionally, a distribution that took place on the same day included the delivery of handicrafts and knitting material to the community, and musical instruments that were provided to a local NGO which in turn handed over the items for the good benefit of a school. 

“The situation in Tawergha is difficult, my house is damaged with no windows and no doors,” said Salem*, a man in his early 70s. “Yet, I am happy to be back to my homeland and I will never leave it. I am living with my family in a tent, we know that this is a cloud and it shall pass. Tawergha will recover and will become better with time.” 

Since the eruption of clashes in and around Tripoli last August, IOM has coordinated humanitarian efforts with partners to reach affected communities, including internally displaced persons (IDPs) in and around the city, which also extended to reach host communities and displaced populations in remote areas such as in al-Fugha in the south of the country, more recently. Over the past few weeks IOM has conducted a needs assessment in the areas around Tawergha to identify, monitor and respond to the needs of returnees relocating in the city.  

Prolonged instability in the latter half of 2018 has led to a lack of access to essential public services, and damaged infrastructure, exacerbating the suffering of the people in the area and driving many to seek refuge in camps scattered in areas across the country in search of better living conditions. 

“Our support today is only an initial short-term response compared to the work that is yet to be done,” said Matt Huber, IOM Libya’s Deputy Chief of Mission. “We stand committed to working closely with the government to address any unmet needs and reiterate our support to the Libyan community.” 

IOM, through its Displacement Tracking Matrix, estimates that around 40,000 Tawerghans remain displaced across Libya whose needs require immediate humanitarian attention. The support provided yesterday is part of IOM Libya’s broader IDP Return and Reintegration nationwide strategy which attends to the needs of IDPs across the country. The Organization continues to follow a needs-based approach in supporting vulnerable people and communities across Libya from initial humanitarian assistance access to durable solutions. 

These interventions have been supported by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and the Government of Canada.      

For more information, please contact IOM Libya’s Maya Abu Ata, Tel: + 00216 58601336, Email: or Safa Msehli, Tel: +216 22 241 842 Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 15:25Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Photo: IOM/Eshaebi

Photo: IOM/Eshaebi

Photo: IOM/Eshaebi

Photo: IOM/Eshaebi

Photo: IOM/Eshaebi

Photo: IOM/Eshaebi

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Displaced Communities in Ukraine Put Down Roots, Integrate in Local Communities, Says IOM Survey

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:39

Kyiv – Natalia is not from Mariupol and would not be living in this industrial city in southern Ukraine were it not for the conflict that displaced her and her family from their home village of Shyrokyne in February 2015.  

But she treats the city as if it were her own, organizing fellow-displaced people as well as locals to clean up a messy public space next to a food kiosk she has opened with the help of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

“People stopped dumping here when they saw what we had done. My neighbours and clients support my initiatives and business development, and it helps me move further. I see that the positive emotions I give to the local community come back to me,” she says.  

Even though Shyrokyne is only a short drive from Mariupol, the road to stability has been long and hard.  

“We were hiding in our basement, when our house was destroyed by shelling. We had only two and a half minutes to escape while they were reloading. Thank God our car was not damaged. We drove, and shells were falling behind us,” recalls Natalia.  

After several months of further hardship, including an attempt to find a job abroad which ended with exploitation, Natalia managed to overcome depression and now runs two snack kiosks. She feels part of the local community and plays her part to integrate and give back. 

A new survey under IOM’s EU-funded National Monitoring System, shows that despite economic challenges, internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine tend to stay in their current places of residence and build relationships with host communities, just like Natalia has done. The survey results were jointly presented in Kyiv yesterday (13/12) by IOM, the Ministry of Temporary Occupied Territories and the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine.  

In several rounds of the survey, up to 80 per cent of displaced people affirmed that they have fully or partially integrated into local communities. Over a half (54 per cent) of the IDPs surveyed by IOM in the latest round stated that they trust local people in their current place of residence.  

Close to two-thirds (62 per cent) of the IDPs interviewed by IOM reported that they have been staying in their current place of residence for over three years. More than one-third (38 per cent) would not return to their places of origin even if the conflict ends. In some regions, such as Kyiv, Chernihiv, Volyn and Chernivtsi, this figure is 60 per cent or higher. The share of displaced persons who stated their intention to return home after the conflict ends decreased from 32 per cent in September 2017 to 24 per cent in September 2018.  

“While UN Migration continues regularly updating and analysing comprehensive data from the National Monitoring System Report, we also provide direct assistance to displaced and conflict-affected people in Ukraine,” said IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Mission, Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss. “Since 2014, with the support of our donors, we were able to assist close to 300,000 people through our humanitarian, economic empowerment and social cohesion programmes, and we are committed to continuing our work as the needs of conflict-affected people in Ukraine remain high,” he added.  

IOM has been conducting surveys on the situation of IDPs in Ukraine on a regular basis since March 2016. In the latest, 11th round, conducted in September 2018, a total of 2,405 respondents were interviewed face-to-face, and 4,025 by telephone. 

Report available here 

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

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 15:20Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Natalia, a Ukrainian displaced woman, at her food kiosk established with a grant from IOM. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Manila GMFF Showcases Filipino Films: Curiosity, Adventure and Love and Together Apart

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:37

Manila – Alliance Française was once again the venue for yesterday’s (13/12) Manila leg of the Global Migration Film Festival, which was well attended by senior government officials, diplomats, UN agency and private sector representatives, university students and the local community.   

This year’s event also celebrated the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration and International Migrants Day, which falls on 18 December.    

Manila GMFF screened two films: Curiosity, Adventure and Love and Together Apart.    

Curiosity, Adventure and Love is a captivating story of Jessie Lichaucho, the now 107-year-old matriarch who migrated to the Philippines at the very young age of 18 and whose life has intertwined with nearly a century of Philippines’s pre- and post-World War II history. Jessie’s grand-daughter, Sunshine Lichauco de Leon, the film’s director, attended the screening and shared her experience of directing and producing the film.   

Together Apart is a story of resilience, and importantly about the significant contribution that Overseas Filipinos workers make to the Philippines and even more so, to the countries and communities where they are working. One of the film’s protagonists Carren Pacuyan was present and discussed the film and her experiences as OFW in Cyprus, with the audience after the screening.   

Speaking after the screenings, Kristin Dadey, IOM Chief of Mission in the Philippines said, “Films about migrants are films about life; they allow us to see migrants as fellow human beings, and not as faceless threats or mere statistics.  Films counter toxic stereotypes about migrants – they show migrants as ordinary people – just like you and me.”    

Welcoming the adoption of the Global Compact for Migration, Dadey also lauded the contribution of the Government of the Philippines, which helped ensure that the final language captured a rights-based approach to the protection of migrant workers.    

In his remarks, Ernesto Corpuz Abella, Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research in the Department of Foreign Affairs quoted Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Teodoro Locsin Jr’s speech delivered in Marrakesh when he said, “No one state can address migration alone, nor should any state take the lead in saying what can be done for and about it. That, simply, is the message of the Global Compact for Migration.” 

IOM Philippines also used the occasion to showcase the Holding On exhibition and presented images and videos of the Organization’s work across the country. 

For more information please contact in Manila, Itayi Viriri at Tel. + (63) 2 230 1612, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 15:08Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Kristin Dadey, IOM Philippines Chief of Mission. Photo: IOM/Julie Batula 

Ernesto Corpuz Abella, Undersecretary for Strategic Communications and Research in the Department of Foreign Affairs. IOM/Julie Batula  

Sunshine Lichauco de Leon, the director of Curiosity, Adventure and Love. IOM/Julie Batula 

Some university student at the Holding On exhibition during the GMMF event. Photo: IOM/Julie Batula 

Together Apart ’s main protagonist Carren Pacuyan with IOM’s Ric Casco. Photo: IOM/Julie Batula 

Undersecretary Abella, with Kristin Dadey and Dr Predrag Bajcevic. Photo: IOM/Julie Batula 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 111,237 in 2018; Deaths Reach 2,216

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:36

Geneva – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, reports that 111,237 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 12 December. This year is the fifth straight during which the arrival of irregular migrants and refugees has topped the 100,000 threshold – although 2018’s total is low compared to those recorded at this time in 2017 (166,737) and 2016 (358,018) (See Table 1). 

IOM Italy 

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Thursday noted that all seaborne irregular arrivals in the Mediterranean region remain lower – by almost 7,000 people – than arrivals last year at this time to Italy alone. Through this date in 2017, Italy recorded 118,019 irregular arrivals of sea-borne migrants and refugees. Arrivals to Italy from North Africa this year are 23.122.   

Di Giacomo noted that official Ministry of Interior (Italy) figures for the first 11 months of the year show just two nationalities – Tunisian and Eritrean – counted as many as 2,000 arrivals to Italy via irregular routes from North Africa. He compared those arrivals with the much higher numbers recorded just a year ago, when all close to a dozen sender countries recorded arrivals of at least 5,000 migrants or refugees (see tables 20172018). 

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday 55,206 irregular migrants have reached Spain’s Mediterranean coasts through 12 December – a rate exceeding 1,000 per week through the year. Already this month more men, women and children have arrived via sea from North Africa than did in any of the year’s first four months (see chart below). Migrant sea arrivals to Spain have exceeded 150 per day since 1 November. For the first third of 2018 Spain’s average was under 40 arrivals per day (See table 5). 

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported Thursday the Mediterranean region continues to account for most deaths recorded globally, with 2,216 migrant deaths and disappearances recorded through 12 December 2018. However, MMP researchers insist any comparison between regions must take note of variations in data quality, and the caveat that data for some regions are highly incomplete.  

The Mediterranean itself may not have complete data. For the second time this month IOM’s MMP has learned that a boat disappeared without a trace in the Western Mediterranean after departing from Nador, Morocco, more than a month ago. The shipwreck is believed to have occurred between 26 and 27 October, when at least 54 people – including 11 women and three children – are now thought to have lost their lives. Soon after the boat’s departure, the NGO Alarm Phone, which runs a hotline for people crossing the Mediterranean, received a distress call from those onboard. No one on board has been heard from since.  

Spanish and Moroccan authorities confirmed that they, too, conducted search and rescue operations for this vessel but were unable to locate the boat or any survivors. In the weeks since the boat’s disappearance, dozens of family members have posted on social media channels searching for information about their loved ones. For its part the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras, which is in contact with families of those on board, also reported that the boat may have disappeared without a trace.  

It has now been over a month since the boat went missing. The fate of these 54 people remains a mystery and a source of agony to the many family members left behind. When a boat vanishes without a trace, it often goes unnoticed and unrecorded by the media or databases such as MMP. Access to information on disappearances during migration is difficult in a context in which authorities are largely unreceptive. The search for information often doesn’t move forward in a world in which migrant deaths have become normalized and tolerated as an “assumed risk” of irregular migration. For families, this has a profound impact: the uncertainty of not knowing what has happened to their relatives affects their lives forever. They are left to grapple with this ambiguous loss, between hope and despair, without conclusive evidence on what happened.  

Moreover, there are strong indications this year that many others have been lost without a trace in the Western Mediterranean. Earlier this year, the MMP team documented the disappearance of two boats in the Alboran Sea on 30 August and 3 September, in which at least 113 people were lost without a trace. Non-governmental organizations operating in Spain and Morocco have received many additional reports from family members of loved ones lost in shipwrecks which cannot be confirmed. This most recent disappearance gives further evidence to the fact that the 743 deaths recorded in the Western Mediterranean in 2018 – already more than triple the number recorded last year – do not represent the true scale of this humanitarian crisis. 

IOM Cyprus 

IOM Cyprus’ Dimitrios Tsagalas reported the arrivals this week of three groups of Syrians at the Ledra Palace UN Checkpoint. Twice on 11 December authorities registered groups of eight and six Syrian men. The next day a group of three, two men and one minor child were registered.  These latest arrivals bring to 1009 the number of irregular migrants arriving on the island from elsewhere in the Mediterranean. This is the second consecutive year such arrivals have surpassed 1,000 individuals (See chart below).  

Irregular migrants arriving in Cyprus 2014-2018 (Source: Asylum Service of the Republic of Cyprus) 

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece reported Thursday that from Tuesday, 11 December until yesterday afternoon the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) was involved in two incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos and Samos. The HCG rescued a total of 80 migrants and transferred them to those respective islands.  

Those 80 – plus 18 to Rhodes and 214 more to Lesvos and Samos – bring to 30,706 the total number of irregular migrant sea arrivals to Greece through 12 December this year. That surpasses the total (29,501) arriving by sea through all last year (see Table 8.b). Additionally, over 15,000 irregular migrants have arrived this year in Greece by land. 

Missing Migrants Project 

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 3,456 people who have died or gone missing on migratory routes across the globe in 2018 (See Table 3). 

Beyond the Mediterranean, the MMP team also recorded the deaths of three people in a vehicle accident in northern Greece. Nine people were travelling in a van when it crashed on the Egnatia Odos highway, near the city of Keramoti, around 6:30am on 13 December. Besides the deceased, three others were injured. No details regarding the country of origin, age or identities of the deceased have been made available. Since March, MMP has identified 30 migrants who have died on Greek highways after entering the country from Turkey. 

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.  

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

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 15:05Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Trains Canadian Recruiters on Ethical Recruitment

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:36

Calgary – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted two training sessions this week with labour recruiters in the Canadian provinces of Alberta and Saskatchewan. The trainings, which took place in Saskatoon on 10-11 December and in Calgary on 12-13 December, represent the next step in implementation of the IRIS pilot project currently taking place between the Philippines and Canada. 

The International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) is a global social compliance scheme designed to promote ethical international recruitment. It works by defining and setting a benchmark for ethical recruitment (the IRIS Standard) and by establishing a voluntary certification scheme for recruiters. IRIS is a multi-stakeholder initiative of IOM and was created in response to growing demand from the private sector and governments for ethical recruitment services. 

The pilot project between the Philippines and Canada will run for three years; it aims to connect and build the capacity of ethical recruiters on both sides of the migration corridor. IOM conducted similar training sessions for recruiters in the Philippines earlier in 2018. 

Currently, there are about 150 million migrant workers globally. The Commission on Filipinos Overseas estimates that there are over 700,000 permanent and temporary Filipinos currently living in Canada. 

For more information please contact Ida Steffensen at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 9498, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 15:00Image: Region-Country: CanadaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants in the IRIS Ethical Recruitment training in Canada. Photo IOM 

Participants in the IRIS Ethical Recruitment training in Canada. Photo IOM 

Participants in the IRIS Ethical Recruitment training in Canada. Photo IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Lauds Adoption of Global Compact for Migration

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:32

Marrakech – On 10 December, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) hailed the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, calling it an historic achievement by the international community.

“Migration is the great issue of our era,” said IOM’s Director General António Vitorino, and “the adoption of the Compact by an overwhelming majority of UN Member States should lead to a more balanced discourse, better policies and more widespread cooperation on migration.”

“Key components of the Compact are that states need well-managed migration and that no one state can achieve this on its own. Cooperation on migration at all levels is fundamental to addressing migration,” he added.

The road to the Global Compact began two years ago when the United Nations General Assembly addressed the issue of the large movements of refugees and migrants. This resulted in the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants launching an intensive process of inclusive consultations and government-led negotiations leading to today’s adoption of the Global Compact.

There are nearly 260 million international migrants in the world and the Compact sets out a range of principles, commitments and understandings among Member States. These include considerations of human rights, humanitarian, economic, social, development, climate change and security issues affecting migrants, their countries of origin and transit as well as the communities that host them. 

The voluntary agreement reinforces nation state sovereignty on migration, while underscoring the human rights of migrants as well as the importance of cooperation on migration at all levels, be it local, national, regional or global with all stakeholders. The Compact is now expected to become a useful roadmap for states to more effectively manage migration.

“Today’s adoption is a first step, and a vitally important one, in ensuring that migration becomes less politically charged, more effectively managed and that vulnerable migrants are better protected from exploitation,” DG Vitorino added.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: MoroccoThemes: Global Compact on MigrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Universal Health Coverage: IOM Committed to Ensuring Migrants are Included in Sustainable Development Goals Target

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:31

Geneva – On Universal Health Coverage Day (12/12) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and other global partners are promoting efforts to ensure Universal Health Coverage (UHC) indeed becomes a reality.

The theme of the day, ‘Unite for Universal Health Coverage: Now is the time for collective action,’ provides an opportunity for partners around the globe to engage in multi-sectoral dialogue and advocacy efforts each works towards achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs); the actions outlined in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM); and the Global Action Plan to Promote the Health of Refugees and Migrants.

Target 3.8 of the SDGs calls on the global community to “achieve universal health coverage (UHC), including financial risk protection, access to quality essential health care services, and access to safe, effective, quality, and affordable essential medicines and vaccines for all”; the GCM presents a significant opportunity to promote inter-sectoral partnerships and policies that enable migrants to be included in the global health discourse, in the spirit of leaving no one behind.

“Universal health coverage is receiving the necessary global attention, particularly during the United National General Assembly this past September, with Heads of State calling for action and firm commitments to achieve Target 3.8 of the Sustainable Development Goals,” said Jacqueline Weekers, IOM’s Director of Migration Health. “Universal Health Coverage will not be achieved if migrants are left out of the equation.”

IOM, in collaboration with member states, is promoting UHC through advocacy, research, policy and implementation of projects. Support was provided to the Government of Chile to develop the Public Health Policy for International Migrants in Chile; launched in October 2017, the policy is the first of its kind for Latin America and aims to respond to the health needs of international migrants in Chile in a comprehensive way, thus contributing to UHC. The policy ensures the right to health for all persons including citizens and foreign nationals; promotes a system that is migrant-sensitive; and addresses reduction in barriers to health service access.

Since May 2015, IOM has been implementing a regional project supporting the governments of Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Tunisia and Yemen in migration management by focusing on promoting health and well-being for migrants in the five countries. Between May 2015 and January 2018, the project supported national and regional round table dialogues and provided direct assistance to 55,828 migrants both within and outside of detention centres across the five countries, notably through direct service provision, community health workers and Assisted Voluntary Return & Reintegration programmes.

Through these types of projects, IOM is promoting evidence-based and inclusive policies and programmes to ensure UHC does not leave out migrants, and promotes “health for all”, in alignment with the World Health Assembly (WHA) Resolutions 61.17 on the health of migrants and 70.15 on promoting the health of refugees and migrants, as well as the WHO Framework of guiding principles and priorities to promote the health of refugees and migrants. A high reliance on out-of-pocket health payments often results in catastrophic health spending, and migrants without access to health insurance may be particularly at risk.

In advance of the High-Level Meeting on UHC at the United Nations General Assembly in 2019, IOM has been involved in global, regional and national discussions on UHC. In November 2017 IOM joined the UHC2030 partnership and continues to work with partners to ensure that the health of migrants is explicitly addressed in national and global development strategies.

IOM participated in the 2017 Tokyo Declaration on Universal Health Coverage, which recognized the need to prioritize the most vulnerable members of the world’s population including migrants, as well as the 2018 ministerial meeting in Oman — which produced the Salalah Declaration expanding the goal of UHC to non-nationals and emphasizing the close relationship between UHC and health security, especially relating to refugees, migrants and internally displaced people.

Most recently, IOM underlined the proven economic benefits of providing primary health care to migrants during the Kazakhstan Global Conference on Primary Health Care: Towards Health for All on the 40th Anniversary of the Declaration of Alma Ata.

The realization of universal health coverage for migrants will require innovative policies, and sustainable financial mechanisms. IOM will continue to work with partners to champion initiatives that promote access to high quality health services for migrants to make UHC a reality.

For more information please contact IOM HQ:
Eliana Barragan, Tel: +41227179506, Email:
Vanessa Okoth-Obbo, Tel: +41227179366, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 16:31Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM focus group discussion on health in Kok Pae migrant community. Mae Sot, Thailand. Photo: IOM 2017/Benjamin Suomela

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Fifth Border Management & Identity Conference Opens in Thailand

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:30

Bangkok – Following yesterday’s adoption of the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) by 164 countries, border management specialists from around the world are today (11/12) gathering in Bangkok, Thailand, for the 5th Border Management & Identity Conference (BMIC) on Technical Cooperation and Capacity Building.

The three-day biennial event – the biggest of its kind in Asia – is hosted by IOM and the Asia Pacific Smart Card Association (APSCA), under the auspices of the Royal Thai Government’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and facilitated by Thailand’s Immigration Bureau. Its 2018 theme is Alternative Approaches to Border and Identity Management.

The conference aims to bring together government agencies, international organizations and practitioners involved in border and migration management from around the world to share best practices. Participants include representatives of governments, UN agencies and private sector organizations working in the field of migration, border management, identity management and civil registration.

In a welcome message read to nearly 400 delegates by IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Dr. Nenette Motus, IOM Director General Antonio Vitorino noted that effective border and identity management will play a key role in implementing the GCM. But he emphasized the need for governments to place human rights “front and centre” in their efforts to achieve safe, orderly and regular migration.

“We need to establish consensus and international protocols to manage and protect by robust laws, procedures and systems, all personal data collected during the migration management process. Equally important, while technology can often serve as an enabler, it must be incorporated into a layered and rights-based system, that also considers the contribution of human judgment,” he said.

“Governments must therefore ensure continuous training and capacity building for border officials, not only on the latest technological advances, but also to ensure a rights-based and human-centric approach. The most effective response is one that addresses the complex drivers of irregular and forced migration, including political instability, under-development and climate change,” he added.

Greg Pote, Chairman of APSCA, told delegates that BMIC has emerged as a major event in border and identity management since its inauguration in 2010. “In the room today, we have 61 government identity authorities from around the world, and delegates from 72 countries in total. For identity solutions providers, this is one of the world’s best opportunities to engage with governments that are designing, implementing and operating border and identity management schemes for citizens, residents and travellers,” he said.

For more information please contact Donato Colucci at the IOM Regional Office Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok. Tel: +66 2 342 9403, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: ThailandThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Officials from APSCA, ICAO, IOM and Thailand's Ministry of Foreign Affairs open the 5th BMIC. Photo: Ray Leyesa / IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Germany Enhances Support for Community Policing in Iraq

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:30

Baghdad – This week the German Federal Foreign Office bolstered IOM’s Community Policing (CP) programme in Iraq by providing an additional 1.7 million Euros, raising Germany’s total contributions to this important effort to 5.7 million Euros.

IOM’s CP programme aims to contribute to enhanced security and stability in Iraq, by facilitating dialogue between communities and law enforcement actors, through Community Policing Forums (CPF) in communities affected by conflict and displacement.

In the last three years 101 Community Policing Forums (CPFs) have been established across Iraq with the support of IOM. CPFs aim to resolve a variety of security concerns at the community level, including those related to housing, land and property (HLP) disputes, access to water and electricity, civil unrest, documentation for internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnees, child protection, human trafficking, sexual harassment and domestic violence.

The German Ambassador to Iraq, Dr. Cyrill Nunn, said, “Community Policing is an important strategy to bring together socially fragmented communities in Iraq to peacefully resolve security related problems. Germany supports Community Policing to build and strengthen mutual trust between citizens and law enforcement agencies, contributing to safe and stable communities - the building blocks of a stable Iraq.”

CPFs are facilitated by a CP officer from the local police department and by elected community members. IOM guides CPFs in the development of community safety plans which identify the most critical security and safety issues that can be addressed and tackled by the community and the police. 

Gerard Waite, IOM Chief of Mission in Iraq commented, “Issues are resolved mainly through identifying the correct entity to refer to, either law enforcement, public institutions, civil society organizations, or the community themselves.”

“The success of these forums can be seen through a variety of indicators, such as a decrease in crime, an increase in the level of cooperation from the community in solving security problems, and less use of force by police towards members of the community,” Waite adds.

Brigadier Khalid Falah Kadhim, head of Iraq CP Directorate within the Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Interior, testifies to the positive impact the CP model has had on local police structures at the community level: “The logistical and technical support provided by IOM to rebuild infrastructure and strengthen the capacity of community policing has played a fundamental role in peace building in communities, and we are thankful to the Government of Germany for providing this support.”

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 16:29Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Community StabilizationDefault: Multimedia: 

A recent community policing forum in Dohuk, Iraq. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Challenges for Children on the Move Focus of Global Migration Film Festival Event in Belgium

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:29

Brussels – IOM’s Belgium and Luxembourg Office is organizing a film screening and debate in Brussels on International Migrants Day (IMD, 18/12). In line with the IMD 2018 theme “Migration with Dignity’, the focus of the event will be on children and migration.

The short film, Abu Adnan – Adnan’s Father, tells the story of Sayid, a refugee doctor from Syria who has just received his Danish residence permit. As he starts a new life in rural Denmark, with his son Adnan, Sayid faces the challenge of maintaining his son’s respect while trying to assimilate to a new country and learning a new language, while Adnan finds the process of adaptation significantly less challenging.

Laura Palatini, IOM Chief of Mission for Belgium and Luxembourg, underlined the importance of the Global Migration Film Festival: “This worldwide initiative allows using films as tools to challenge the negative portrayal and stereotypes about migrants, by bringing together a wide range of stakeholders to discuss key migration-related aspects such as fundamental rights, tolerance and inclusion.”

The debate that follows the film will discuss the human rights aspects of migration, focusing on the most vulnerable and marginalized people.

The film is very timely; this year marks the 70th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Human rights are not some abstract concept — each one of us has a role to play in defending the dignity and rights to which all persons are entitled, no matter who they are or where they come from. It’s small acts that breathe life into the Universal Declaration, explained Birgit Van Hout, Director of the UN Human Rights Regional Office for Europe whose office will moderate the debate.

Panel members will include: Irina Todorova – IOM Regional Office’s Regional Thematic Specialist for Migrant Assistance; Katja Fournier, Coordinator of the Plateforme Mineurs en Exil; and a migrant girl living in Belgium with a foster family.

The Nawaris Trio (led by Hussein Rassim, an Iraqi refugee now settled in Belgium) will close the debate. The participants will further discuss the issues over refreshments enriched by Syrian flavours, from Take Home Chef, a new catering company launched by Abdell Baset, a well-known Syrian refugee chef in Belgium.

The event is organized in partnership with Cinema Vendôme and the UN Human Rights Office, and with the support of Fédération Wallonie Bruxelles, Centre du cinema et de l’audiovisuel and Europa Cinemas. It is a continuation of the awareness-raising event IOM will organize on 12 December at the Children’s Museum in Brussels.

Click here to register for this Global Migration Film Festival event.

For more information please contact Géraldine d’Hoop at IOM Belgium and Luxembourg, Tel: +32 2 287 74 12, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 16:29Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia: 

Hussein Rassim, preparing for his concert at the Global Migration Film Festival, Brussels. Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Trains Federal Judges in Brazil

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:28

Brasilia – As a surge of Venezuelans continues to flow across international borders, this month the International Organization for Migration (IOM) sponsored a training session entitled Migration Law: Improving the Capacity of the Federal Justice in the Context of the Venezuelan Flow to 30 Brazilian federal judges.

The training took place last week (5-7/12) at the Council of the Federal Justice (CJF) in Brasilia, with participants from five Brazilian federal jurisdictions, prioritizing those working in border areas and cities receiving relocated Venezuelans.

According to the most recent report from the Brazilian Federal Police, almost 200,000 Venezuelans crossed the Brazilian northern border since 2017. Authorities estimate that half of those remain in Brazil, triggering the need to implement a voluntary relocation programme to transfer beneficiaries to cities in other parts of the country.

IOM and the Brazil’s National Association of Federal Judges (AJUFE by its Portuguese acronym) signed an agreement to implement a project to improve judges’ technical capacity and expand migrants’ access to rights, with special attention paid to women and vulnerable migrants.

“In partnership with federal authorities IOM has provided nearly 20,000 Venezuelans with access to information to apply for resident permits in Brazil and support the relocation of other 3,000 Venezuelan nationals from Roraima to cities in other states,” said IOM Brazil Chief of Mission Stéphane Rostiaux. “Now we aim to help the justice system to improve its capacity to deal with legal issues arising from this migration flow,” he added.

The IOM training is the second activity to take place under this memorandum of understanding, and it was preceded by an online training course on introduction to migration law, delivered to 20 federal judges.

 “Judges need to better understand the Venezuelan flow in order to improve its institutional performance, assuring Venezuelans and the community’s rights,” emphasized AJUFE’s President, Judge Fernando Mendes. He explained that AJUFE implements ‘Citizenship Expeditions’ to bring justice-related services to vulnerable communities and that will soon promote an edition of this project in partnership with IOM to support the response in the Brazilian Northern border.

During the training, judges had the opportunity to interact with representatives of the many federal authorities leading the humanitarian response, including the Representative of the Office of the President Chief of Staff, Janira Borges; the Head of the Ministry of Justice Migration Department, André Furquim and the Representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Migration Department, Rafael Pacheco.

Training modules included an introduction to international migration law, provided by IOM’s International Migration Law Officer, Anne Althaus, examining the main legal instruments available to Brazilian judges, and IOM’s Senior Regional Specialist on Migrants Assistance and Protection, Agueda Marín, addressing human trafficking and protections issues related to the Venezuelan flow.

Several discussion panels analyzed the challenges to the Justice System as seen by civil society organizations, the Office of the Federal Prosecutors, and the Office of the Federal Public Attorneys. The trainers list also included academics and a legislative analyst from the Senate House, providing participants with a broad view on the recent changes in the legal scenario introduced by the entering into force of Brazilian new migration law one year ago.

The training course is part of IOM’s Regional Action Plan, aiming to strengthen the regional response to flows from Venezuela, supporting the efforts that governments have initiated across the region. Also, the training is part of the IOM’s activities in line with the UN’s 2030 Agenda. The project is related to at least five of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Goal 1. No Poverty
  • Goal 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Goal 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • Goal 16. Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions
  • Goal 17. Partnerships for the Goals

The Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the United States’ State Department provided financial support to make this activity possible.

For more information please contact Marcelo Torelly at IOM Brazil, Tel: +55 61 3038 9065, Email: or Vitória Souza, Tel: +55 61 3038 9065, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 16:28Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Federal Judges are trained by IOM in Brazil. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

United Arab Emirates signs accord with IOM on orientation guidelines for migrant workers

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:28

Marrakesh – On 9 December, on the margin of the Side Events of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, the Government of the United Arab Emirates represented by H.E. Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli, UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation and the International Organization for Migration represented by Mr. António Vitorino, IOM Director General, signed an agreement to implement the Project “Comprehensive Information and Orientation Programme (CIOP) Phase II Plus”.

CIOP is an innovative project that aims to strengthen the labour market integration and protection of migrant workers in Abu Dhabi Dialogue (ADD) Member States. Over the 18-month project, IOM will provide technical support through the development of tools and mechanisms to operationalize a management system for tailored and coordinated orientation services that caters to the needs of migrant workers in all 18 Asian and Gulf countries. DG Vitorino strongly endorsed this partnership, stating that “CIOP directly contributes to GCM Objective 16 – Empower migrants and societies to realize full inclusion and social cohesion – and is a prime example of how Regional Consultative Processes can promote innovative approaches and foster multi-stakeholder partnerships around specific policy issues.” DG Vitorino applauded the UAE for kickstarting the implementation of the GCM objectives even before its adoption.

 Commenting on the agreement to collaborate with the International Organization for Migration, H.E. Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli, UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation, said: “This agreement underscores our commitment to working closely with IOM on issues of migration governance. IOM brings institutional knowledge and experience to the management of temporary labour migration, and they play a major role in facilitating international cooperation to improve governance standards."

His Excellency added, “The agreement to cooperate on the development of new orientation programming will feed directly in to the innovative work that we have done to establish Tawjeeh orientation centres, providing information to newly arrived workers in the UAE. It is also directly aligned with our endorsement of the Global Compact for Migration, and in particular, objective three, on the provision of accurate and timely information.”

IOM and UAE have a long-standing partnership in areas that focus on migration governance, skills harmonization, ethical recruitment, and now expanding to orientation services.

For more information please contact Mohamed El Zarkani at IOM Bahrain, Tel: +973 351 66 215, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 16:27Image: Region-Country: MoroccoThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Nasser bin Thani Juma Al Hamli, UAE Minister of Human Resources and Emiratisation (left), and António Vitorino, IOM Director General.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 110,833 in 2018; Deaths Reach 2,160

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:27

Geneva – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, reports that 110,833 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 9 December. This year is the fifth straight during which the arrival of irregular migrants and refugees has topped the 100,000 threshold – although 2018’s total is low compared to those recorded at this time in 2017 (165,536) and 2016 (354,395).

IOM Italy

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Monday noted that all seaborne irregular arrivals in the Mediterranean region remain lower – by almost 10,000 people – than arrivals last year at this time to Italy alone. In 2017 through this date, Italy recorded 117,394 irregular arrivals of sea-borne migrants and refugees (see chart below). 

Di Giacomo noted that official Ministry of Interior (Italy) figures indicate the 23,122 migrants and refugees arriving by sea to Italy this year represent a decline of 80.30 per cent from last year’s total in the same period. (Table 1)

IOM Rome also provided details this week of the top nationalities of migrants and refugees arriving by sea from North Africa through the end of November. Tunisians represent this year’s largest single arrival group, however at a volume significantly below 2017‘s total. Arrival numbers also are down for all the other large arrival groups, particularly those from West African countries.  One country, Nigeria, accounted for almost 80,000 irregular migrants traveling from Libya to Italy between the years of 2015 and 2017, an average of 26,000 per year. Nigerian arrivals this year to Italy on this route total just 1,250 through the end of November (See Table 4). 

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported Monday the Mediterranean region continues to account for most of deaths recorded globally, with 2,160 migrant deaths and disappearances recorded in 2018.

However, MMP researchers insist any comparison between regions must take note of variations in data quality, and the caveat that data for some regions are highly incomplete.

Most recently, MMP reported six people drowned in the Western Mediterranean off Algeria’s coastline. On the night of 3 December, 11 Algerian youths boarded a small boat in the village of Azzefoun, east of Tizi Ouzou, with the intent of reaching the southern coast of Spain. Tragically, the boat capsized shortly after they set out. Only five people survived. The Algerian Coast Guard recovered the remains of three young men, while another three remain missing. The families of two of the deceased have already identified their remains at the hospital of Azzefoun: Z.K., 24 years old, who was from the village of Dellys, and M.M., 29 years old, from the village of El-Kelaâ, the older of three brothers.

The Missing Migrants Project team also has learned about a shipwreck occurring in early November off the eastern coast of Algeria, where boats depart from Annaba intending to cover a 350km stretch of sea to the Italian island of Sardinia. On 8 November, four Algerian young men and one woman boarded a boat, hopeful finding a better life in Italy. Their boat capsized and disappeared without a trace. There were no survivors.

Also in the Central Mediterranean: 12 people died and three are considered missing in a shipwreck off Misrata, Libya, on 3 December. Ten rescued survivors reported being stranded at sea for more than ten days, and were suffering from trauma, severe malnutrition and fuel burns. Four survivors in need of emergency medical care were transferred to a hospital in Tripoli, while the remaining six were moved to detention centres by Libyan authorities.

No further details regarding the country of origin, sex or age of the deceased have been made available. This is the first shipwreck recorded by the Missing Migrants Project team off the coast of Libya since early September. However, with fewer dedicated search-and-rescue operations in the waters off Libya, it is very likely that many deaths have gone unrecorded, and boats carrying migrants may have gone missing without a trace.


IOM Greece

IOM Greece’s Antigoni Avgeropoulou reported Monday that from 7/10 December to date, the  Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least seven incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Symi, Samos and the port of Alexandroupolis. The HCG rescued a total of 238 migrants and transferred them to those spots.

Those 238 – plus 51 others arriving in Leros, Ikaria, and elsewhere – bring to 30,384 the total number of irregular migrant sea arrivals to Greece so far this year. That surpasses the total (29,501) arriving by sea through all last year (see chart below). Additionally, over 15,000 irregular migrants have arrived this year in Greece by land. (See Table 8.b)

Missing Migrants Project

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 3,395 people who have died or gone missing on migratory routes across the globe in 2018 (see chart below).

Beyond the Mediterranean, the MMP team also recorded the death of four people in Turkey’s north-western province of Edirne. The remains of three people, who apparently froze to death, were found separately in the villages of Serem, Akçadam and Adasarhanlı on 4 December. One day later, the remains of another man were found near Adasarhanlı.

In Southeast Asia, the deaths of two Myanmar nationals were recorded on 30 November, when the vehicle in which they were crossing into Thailand crashed near Prachuap Khiri Khan. Twelve others were injured in the accident.

In the Caribbean, the US Coast Guard rescued 21 migrants from a sinking boat off the island of Saona, Dominican Republic on 6 December. According to survivors’ testimonies, seven migrants remain missing.

Elsewhere in the Americas, several people who had left their homes to migrate north through Mexico lost their lives. On Saturday, 1 December US Border Patrol agents found the remains of a migrant on a ranch near Falfurrias, Texas. Those remains were transferred to the Webb County Office of the Medical Examiner to start an identification process.

Six people are known to have died trying to cross the Río Bravo in their efforts to reach Texas in December. On 2 December the body of a man was recovered near Brownsville. A day later (3 December), remains of two individuals were retrieved on both banks of the waterway: US Border Patrol agents recovered a body near Mission; on the Mexican side, civil protection authorities recovered the body of a young man near Reynosa, Tamaulipas.

US authorities also recovered one more body on 7 December near Laredo, while the remains of two other men were recovered by Mexican civil protection authorities on 8 December near Guerrero, Coahuila and Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. On 5 December, a man drowned while crossing the All-American Canal near Calexico, California.

Additionally, a Guatemalan woman was shot by masked gunmen on 8 December, as she was travelling with a group of migrants towards the US in a truck used for transporting livestock. The shooting took place near the town of Juan Rodríguez Clara, in Mexico’s southern state of Veracruz.

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. (See Table 3)

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 16:27Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

‘Somos lo Mismo’ Solidarity Campaign for Refugees, Migrants Launched in Panama

Tue, 12/11/2018 - 09:26

Panama City – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) last week presented the #SomosLoMismo (We are the same) campaign, aiming to promote respect, solidarity, and empathy between Panamanians and foreigners.

Faced with the growing climate of tension in the public opinion at the regional and national level by the arrival of people from other countries, mainly from Venezuela, manifestations of intolerance, rejection, and stigmatization have been generated. For this reason, UNHCR and IOM in Panama presented the campaign last Saturday (8/12).

The campaign is composed of a series of videos and graphics that highlight how mobility humanizes us and is a growth opportunity for all the people involved in this process. The videos will be distributed through social networks with the hashtag #SomosLoMismo, and with the support of digital influencers who have joined the campaign.

"This is not my land, but here I made myself. Here I trained and trained my children,” said Carmen, a Colombian mother who is grateful to Panama and who shared her story at #SomosLoMismo.

"Panama has been and continues to be a place that welcomes refugees, migrants, and displaced persons. For many years, we have seen unparalleled solidarity and empathic actions by the Panamanian society," said Renee Cuijpers, Deputy Regional Representative of UNHCR in Panama.

 "We want to make a call to recognize that everyone, regardless of their nationality, wants to contribute to this country that has continuously opened the doors to those who need it the most," said Cuijpers.

"Panama has historically been a host country for those who seek to rebuild their lives. With this campaign we seek to reach the essence of what has characterized this great country that is known as the Bridge of the World, Heart of the Universe, "said Santiago Paz, IOM's Chief of Mission in Panama.

In Panama there are more than 10,000 refugees and applicants for refugee status. For the most part, refugees are from the Latin American continent, mainly from Colombia, although recently there has been an increase in applicants from Venezuelan, Salvadoran and Nicaraguan nationalities. According to numbers from the National Institute of Statistics and Census of Panama, there are approximately 422,000 migrants mostly from Colombia, Venezuela, and Nicaragua.

IOM's contribution to the campaign was possible thanks to funds provided by the US State Department Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).

For more information please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 2212-5352, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 11, 2018 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: PanamaThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN