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Somalia Drought Response Enhanced through UN Migration Agency, UNDP, Government Partnership

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 10:45

Mogadishu – In the wake of a severe drought in Somalia that has displaced more than 800,000 people, the Government of Somalia has joined forces with IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) to enhance its drought response capacity.

The three partners organized four-day training from 1–4 August to build displacement management capacity, focusing on Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), improved humanitarian coordination and information management, and early recovery. Over 30 participants took part from a cross-section of Government ministries, international non-governmental organizations and the UN. It aimed to help streamline approaches to emergency response, as well as support the government’s efforts to better manage disasters and plan for early recovery.

“This training came at the right moment; we were in need,” said Dahir Mohamed Noor, Director General of Durable Solutions at the Federal Government of Somalia’s Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, at the beginning of the training. “The objective is to train our counterparts to strengthen their capacity to manage camps with dignity and according to international standards.”

This was the first ever CCCM training in Somalia, run by the CCCM Cluster. The Cluster was activated in May 2017 to respond to growing displacement in Somalia, under the co-leadership of IOM and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency.

“CCCM Cluster is new in Somalia and I am excited to work with the Government, and other partners working in displacement sites, so that we can improve living conditions and ensure access to services for displaced individuals,” said Kathryn Ziga, IOM Somalia’s CCCM Cluster Coordinator. “CCCM activities help ensure that communities have the space to voice their opinions, participate in service delivery and give feedback to humanitarian organizations.”

UNDP is engaged in building a resilient society in Somalia by minimizing human, economic and environmental losses from disasters and humanitarian crises, and by helping the sustainable recovery of people affected by crisis, including those displaced. This requires mitigating hazards wherever possible (both natural and human-induced), reducing the exposure and vulnerability of at-risk communities, and building the capacity of government and other stakeholders including those from civil society, media, academia, private sector and communities.

The training started with the introduction of key CCCM concepts, the roles and responsibilities of various actors, and community participation and engagement. Participants were trained on engagement with informal settlement managers, communication with communities, plus early recovery and disaster management approaches.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) also gave a presentation on humanitarian coordination and information management. The final session of the training ensured that the skills and knowledge gained will be passed down through training for future facilitators.

For more information please contact Yuko Tomita in IOM Somalia, Tel: + 254 715 990 600, Email: or Abdul Qadir in UNDP Somalia, Tel: +254714056483, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, August 4, 2017 - 16:28Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) enhance the drought response capacity in Somalia. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 

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UN Migration Agency Co-hosts Free Movement of Persons Workshops in Gambia, Nigeria

Fri, 08/04/2017 - 10:44

Abuja – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is co-hosting workshops and training sessions for member states of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) consortium. The events are being held this week in Nigeria and the Gambia.

The ECOWAS Annual Heads of Immigration meeting is an institutionalised meeting of member state representatives meant to support and facilitate regional coordination among national immigration agencies dedicated to Border and Migration Management. The meeting is essential for facilitating and monitoring effective implementation of the 1979 Protocol on Free Movement, and to removing all obstacles that suppress free movement of ECOWAS citizens within the sub-region.

“The primary objective of the Heads of Immigration meeting is to provide a forum for those in charge of immigration in their respective countries to speak with one voice on the region’s pressing migration issues,” explained IOM regional spokesperson Tijs Magagi Hoornaert.

During the 2017 annual meeting, Heads of Immigration under the leadership of ECOWAS built further on achievements from previous meetings such as improving relations between relevant national officials; creating effective migration management networks within member states; building support for joint border patrols; strengthening capacities of national immigration officers and equipping them expertise.

Of special concern are topics such as the evolution of migration in Niger and Nigeria; the situation of migrants in Libya; innovative systems to improve border management and the modalities and requirements for putting in place a regional platform for information sharing.

One key meeting, taking place in Nigeria’s capital, Abuja, will be attended by representatives from the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and ECOWAS Heads of Immigration. That meeting continues through today (4 August) and is supported by the Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa (FMM West Africa) project.

The 2017 Heads of Immigration Meeting was preceded by the Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA) thematic working group on Border Management. Fifteen migration experts from the different member states convened for that event, which was crucial for preparing of the Heads of Immigration meeting.

The FMM West Africa project is funded by the European Union (EU), and has a EUR 26 million budget and a five-year timeline. The project is driven by the ECOWAS Commission and implemented jointly by IOM, the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and the International Labour Organization (ILO). More information is available on the project website:

A three-day event, which started on 2 August in the Gambia, was designed to strengthen national actors’ capacity to follow the ECOWAS Regional Guidelines on migration data collection and management.

The Gambia training brought together 40 delegates and experts from Gambia’s Bureau of Statistics, National Population Commission Secretariat, Ministry of Labour, Immigration, Justice, Foreign Affairs, Local Government, Health, Youth, Gambia Refugee Commission and the National Youth Council.

These participants support the gathering of regionally comparable migration data to be analysed for policy at both local and regional levels. Through the ECOWAS Guidelines, experts from the Gambia and the surrounding region will eventually contribute to the production of migration policies based on good and reliable data.

“Good data is the premise for good policy,” said Professor Aderantie Adepoju, a coordinator of the Network of Migration Research in Africa (NOMRA). “This cascade training is an excellent opportunity to coordinate national level migration data collection and management efforts to complement the broad regional framework of ECOWAS.”

The ECOWAS Regional Guidelines were developed following the recommendation of experts at the Regional Workshop on Migration Data Collection and Management organized by FMM West Africa in March 2016 in Lomé, Togo.

Cascade training is part of a major push to strengthen national capacities using the tools presented in the guidelines to address migration data challenges at the national level. During the training, regionally appropriate definitions of migration terms and concepts will be discussed in order to ensure common understanding at the national level. The training will be a good opportunity to strengthen networks both nationally and among ECOWAS members to ensure effective exchanges towards improved migration data.

 “Collecting, analysing and understanding migration data means there is a need to collect more than just border control data,” noted Ann Singleton, Senior Advisor to Global Migration and Dada Analysis Centre (GMDAC). “Using the ECOWAS Guidelines as a starting point, National Statistical Offices and Ministries will be able to better understand, and report to their policy makers at the national and regional levels, to help build an evidence base for effective migration policies.”

Future cascade trainings will be held in all remaining ECOWAS member states. The activity is implemented by the EU-funded FMM West Africa programme, Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa and the Population, Refugee and Migration Programme of the United States of America Protecting Vulnerable Migrants in West and Central Africa.

The FMM West Africa project is funded by the European Union (EU), and has a EUR 26 million budget and a five-year timeline. The project is driven by the ECOWAS Commission and implemented jointly by IOM, ICMPD and ILO. More information is available on the project website:

For more information, please contact Tijs Magagi Hoornaert, IOM Dakar, Tel: + 00221785891456 Email:  Or  Franz Celestin, IOM Nigeria: Tel: +234 8141375873; Email: or Nnamdi Iwuora, IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +234 9 8766856-7; Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, August 4, 2017 - 16:27Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Annual Heads of Immigration meeting. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Annual Heads of Immigration meeting. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

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IOM East Africa Specialist: Global Compact for Migration Can Promote More Holistic Understanding of Migration

Thu, 08/03/2017 - 07:56

Nairobi - IOM, the UN Migration Agency, emphasized the great potential of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) at the East African Consultative Meeting held on 24-25 July in Kenya’s capital. The event was organized by the African Union Commission (AUC), the UN Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as part of the continent-wide consultations that will result in the Common African Perspectives on the GCM.

In his opening statement, Jo Rispoli, Senior Regional Specialist on Labour Mobility and Human Development called for a more holistic approach to migration and highlighted its multifaceted nature.

“We should not focus efforts on trying to ‘stop’ migration, but rather on creating conditions in which migration is a choice and not a necessity, it takes place through regular channels, and it acts as a catalyst for development,” stressed Rispoli.

He presented three concrete suggestions for turning the GCM into an instrument for the implementation of all migration-related Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The first suggestion is to focus on a whole of government approach and between different ministries. Second, the GCM should develop a strong follow-up and review mechanism that does not duplicate, but rather complements the SDGs systems already in place. And the third suggestion is to strengthen cooperation between all stakeholders and foster greater partnerships on the progressive implementation of the SDGs.

Rispoli also highlighted some of the contributions by IOM to the GCM process including the series of thematic papers on topics such as labour mobility, integration and social cohesion, and diaspora engagement. He drew attention to the recently-launched iDiaspora forum, a worldwide online platform whereby diaspora members can provide recommendations that will feed into the content of the GCM negotiations next year. 

Regional consultations such as the one held in Nairobi are part of the GCM process. They are hosted by the regional economic communities (RECs) and their sub-regional bodies, in collaboration with relevant UN entities and with IOM in particular. In parallel, global thematic consultations have been held on four main themes, the last of which focused on contributions of migrants and diasporas. The next regional consultation will be held in August in Santiago, Chile for the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC).

The global compact is a major intergovernmental process, to which IOM is extending technical and policy expertise as requested by Member States until its culmination in September 2018. It presents an historical opportunity for achieving a world in which migrants move as a matter of choice rather than necessity, through safe, orderly and regular channels, and in which migration is well governed and able to act as a positive force for individuals, societies and States.

For further information, please contact:

Jo Rispoli at IOM’s Regional Office for East and the Horn of Africa, Tel: +254204444167, Email: or Jorge Galindo at IOM HQ, Tel: +417179205, Email:

Language English Posted: Thursday, August 3, 2017 - 13:46Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: Global CompactGlobal Compact on MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Panel members deliver opening remarks at the East Africa Consultative Meeting in Nairobi. Photo: Zachary Mbugua 2017

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“We’ve seen the suffering of the people”: IOM DG Swing Visits Northeast Nigeria, Devastated by Boko Haram

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 09:27

Borno – Nearly two million people fled their homes to escape Boko Haram in northeast Nigeria; more than half of the displaced are children and 133,000 are infants. IOM Director General William Lacy Swing spent three days meeting with some of the internally displaced at camps and in communities in the hardest hit areas of Borno state, the epicentre of the conflict, now in its eighth year.

Ambassador Swing travelled to Nigeria’s northeast on 28 July, following meetings with the Nigerian government in the capital city, Abuja. He joined some of IOM Nigeria’s staff in the conflict zone, where IOM, the UN Migration Agency has a team of about 530 people working across the six states most affected by the conflict.

IOM’s emergency response is based in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno and the birthplace of Boko Haram.

“We’ve seen the suffering of the people. We’ve seen their resilience. We’ve seen their courage. We’ve seen their patience,” said DG Swing, who was able to visit, outside of Maiduguri, some of the main cities that have been devastated by the whole Boko Haram conflict, and the first camp for the internally displaced in the region.

“I’m very grateful to have had this opportunity to see first-hand one of the biggest humanitarian emergencies of our time,” he added.

Although Nigeria hosts most of the conflict’s internally displaced people, and has been the centre of Boko Haram’s violence with countless abductions, rapes and forced recruitment, the conflict has also spilled into the neighbouring countries of Niger, Chad and Cameroon, pushing more than 440,000 others out of their homes, IOM reported in December 2016.

“This crisis is competing with about eight others, including that of Syria, Yemen and South Sudan, for the world’s attention,” DG Swing lamented.

And it’s far from solved.

It’s been three years since Yagana Hamed, her husband and their five children, including three-year-old twin boys, left late one night from their home in Monguno, 140km north of Maiduguri, to escape Boko Haram.

“Boko Haram was nearby so we had to run,” she explained from the small plot of land where she and other displaced people are squatting in straw shelters in Maiduguri. “Our twins were newborns. We couldn’t carry anything, not even clothing, when we left.”

It’s the rainy season in northeast Nigeria. Torrential rain, strong wind and sandstorms descend on the region regularly. Hand-woven shelters made of sticks or straw are no match. Yagana and her family lost their shelter – about six square feet – two days ago. They’ve been sleeping outside under an awning built by humanitarian workers.

“My daughter’s eyes have turned pink. I’m not sure what is wrong with her,” the mother said of the sick nine-year-old. Her children attend Koranic school in the afternoon, but have not studied anywhere else since they fled their home in 2014.

Many makeshift shelters that aren’t flattened by storms are flooded. Bamala Mustafa, whose family of five lives in a stick shelter nearby, holds a bowl of water to show what fell during the last rain, forcing his neighbours out of their spaces.

IOM has built tarpaulin shelters for nearly 11,000 families, about 102,000 people in Borno state. A few hundred other households were given shelter kits to expand or repair their spaces in Adamawa, the other state devastated by the conflict.

Still, 8.5 million people need life-saving assistance in northeast Nigeria this year, according to the United Nations.

In Bama, eastern Borno, Ambassador Swing met some of the people in desperate need of shelter. The militarized displacement camp in Borno’s second largest city, reduced to a ghost town because of continuous insecurity, hosts about 13,000 people; roughly one-third of them received shelters from IOM, the others from various humanitarian partners.

About 1,500 Nigerian refugees who had sought safety in Cameroon returned to Bama recently. Most of them are children and nearly all are still waiting for shelter from humanitarian actors in an under-funded crisis; USD 672 million (more than two-thirds of the required support) is not secured for the humanitarian response this year, according to UN OCHA.

For now, they sleep outside, unprotected from heavy rain, floods and malaria.

Nigerians remain resilient and entrepreneurial, DG Swing observed. “There’s a long way to go, but I’m mostly impressed by the courage and the resilience, and the patience of these hardworking people. They want to go back to work.”

Ambassador Swing saw many displaced adults sewing and making pasta as part of IOM’s mental health and psychosocial support programme, which brings people together to work, talk and heal. The programme gathers displaced people who have had similar experiences, such as young women who escaped Boko Haram’s captivity, widows or men who witnessed killings. Many women lost their husbands to the armed group and do not have time for counselling so IOM staff bring support to them while they work.

Falamata, 24, is one of many displaced people who have joined IOM as a way of supporting their communities. She has been trained to provide counselling and group support as part of the programme that has helped more than 300,000 people since starting in Chibok, Nigeria, in 2014. She uses her salary to buy beads for other displaced women so they can start small businesses, selling jewelry in the camp.

Teaching basic English and life skills is another way IOM helps promote positive self-esteem among the displaced.

“I didn’t even know any English before,” said Musa Mohammed at one of IOM’s camp community centres in Maiduguri, where the Director General visited on 30 July. “Now I can read all these sentences. I’ve really learned a lot,” he shared, smiling towards the whiteboard riddled with grammar lessons. His family of seven has lived in an IOM tarpaulin shelter for the last three years. Musa hopes his new skills will help him get better work, maybe even in teaching, if he is able to return home to Kukawa, near Lake Chad in northern Nigeria, once security improves.

“They want to go back home and I think with our support, we will realize that objective,” Ambassador Swing said. The director general met with the deputy governor of Borno state to discuss IOM’s plans to continue the emergency response by providing more critical shelter and household items, like mattresses, blankets, kitchen utensils and water purification tablets to displaced families. IOM also helps manage camps and tracks displacement with the organization’s flagship Displacement Tracking Matrix, to guide the wider humanitarian community.

They also discussed IOM’s increasing focus on livelihood interventions for displaced Nigerians, such as sewing, knitting and barbershop work.

The lack of work opportunities has been devastating to Nigerians in the south, too, as the West African country suffers an economic recession.

Nigerians are the most common nationality arriving in Italy by the Mediterranean Sea. Although trafficking and smuggling is rampant in the region, most travel to find work in Europe. About 37,000 Nigerians arrived in Italy by sea last year and more than 9,000 so far this year, IOM reports. More than 2,000 migrants have died on the precarious Central Mediterranean route they follow from Libya to Italy, in 2017.

DG Swing met with Nigeria’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Geoffrey Onyeama, in Abuja on 28 July to discuss ways to prevent such risky irregular migration.

“Irregular migration is a global challenge, but it’s also a national challenge,” the minister noted. “I want to thank IOM for helping repatriate so many of our migrants from Libya.”

“The idea is not to stop migrants. It’s about trying to save lives by counselling them about the risks of putting their lives in the hands of a smuggler,” DG Swing said, explaining that IOM opened a migrant information office in Agadez, Niger, last year to try to engage migrants heading north from Nigeria, and around the region, to Libya and the Mediterranean Sea on the dangers many face.

IOM has helped more than 1,800 Nigerians return home safely from Libya this year through the organization’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme. DG Swing will be in Libya in early August to continue advocacy around the issues migrants, particularly Nigerians, face in the North African country.

For more information please contact Julia Burpee, IOM Nigeria, Tel. +234 (0) 907 373 1170, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing listens to a focus group discussion at a displacement camp in Gwoza town in Borno state in Nigeria. Photo: Julia Burpee / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

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IOM Director General William Lacy Swing talks with IOM Head of Sub Office in Maiduguri Emma Khakula. Photo: Julia Burpee / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

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IOM market rehabilitation project in Nigeria. Photo: Julia Burpee / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

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Internally displaced at camps in Gwoza town in Borno State, Nigeria say their goodbyes to visiting IOM staff. Photo: Julia Burpee / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

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IOM Deputy Director General Meets with Senior Egyptian Officials in Cairo

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 09:26

Cairo – IOM’s Deputy Director General Laura Thompson held several bilateral meetings with senior officials of the Government of Egypt during her visit to Cairo (24-27 July) where she opened the Extraordinary Meeting for the Arab Regional Consultative Process on Migration (ARCP).

Ambassador Thompson met bilaterally with Mohamed Saafan, Minister of Manpower; Nabila Abdel Shahid, Minister of State for Emigration and Egyptian Expatriates’ Affairs; Hisham Badr, Assistant Foreign Minister for Multilateral and International Security Affairs and Naela Gabr, Chairperson of the National Coordinating Committee on Preventing Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons. In these meetings, Ambassador Thompson reiterated IOM’s support to the Government of Egypt to enhance migration governance, address irregular migration and promote mobility of Egyptian citizens.

During the meeting with Nadia Abdu, the Governor of Behaira, Ambassador Thompson stressed the need to strengthen the cooperation with government authorities at the local level in order to address irregular migration while protecting and assisting vulnerable migrants.

Initiatives to create tailored response mechanisms for vulnerable migrants and to establish vocational training centres to build the capacity of job seekers through internationally accredited curricula were discussed during the meeting.

To this end, Ambassador Thompson also referred to the Action Plan on Institutional Strengthening in the Area of Labour Migration endorsed by the Ministry of Manpower. In line with this action plan, IOM developed a regional project that will contribute to the development and implementation of labour migration policies focusing on ethical recruitment in Egypt, Jordan, Morocco and Yemen.

The importance of migration governance for Egypt and the region was also highlighted during Ambassador Thompson’s opening speech at the Extraordinary Meeting for the ARCP. With more than 26 million Arab migrants living outside their country of origin, including within the Arab region, “migration is not only a livelihood strategy for many, but also a potentially powerful driver of development and economic growth through remittance flows and skills transfer,” she said.

For more information, please contact Amr Taha, at IOM Egypt, Tel: +202 27365140, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 15:14Image: Region-Country: EgyptThemes: Capacity BuildingInternational and Regional CooperationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM’s Deputy Director General Laura Thompson (second from right) met with with senior officials of the Government of Egypt during her visit to Cairo last 24-27 July. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 114,287 in 2017; 2,385 Deaths

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 09:26

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 114,287 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 30 July, with almost 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 256,828 arrivals across the region through 30 July 2016.

IOM Rome reports 10,781 sea arrivals to Italy this month through 30 July. That figure trails the full July totals for each of the past two summers by nearly 13,000 (see chart below), highlighting a trend that IOM has observed of slower traffic to Italy during mid-summer, and fewer deaths (approximately half of those recorded in July 2015 and 2016). Nonetheless, for the year to date, 94,802 arrivals to Italy remain slightly ahead of either 2015 or 2016 totals.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday (31 July) that 13 people were rescued off the Spanish coast; 39 on 30 July and 158 on 29 July. She said among those rescued on 29 July suffered burns and were dehydrated. These latest arrivals bring the total number of men, women and children coming by sea to Spain in 2017 to 8,157.

IOM Libya reports that on 30 July, 48 migrants were rescued off Azzawya by the Libyan Coast Guard. So far in 2017, 11,451 migrants have been rescued in Libyan waters.

IOM Athens reported Thursday that 497 migrants and refugees arrived at various Greek locations (Samos, Lesvos, Chios, Rhodes, Megisti) between 27 and 30 July. The total number of arrivals by sea to Greece as of 30 July is 11,280. This compares with 160,233 at this time last year.

The latest fatality in the region was reported on Thursday (27 July), after a boat capsized off the coast of Izmir, Turkey, killing seven (two women and five children), the first fatalities recorded in the Eastern Mediterranean since 24 April.

These deaths bring the total of fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2017 to 2,385. Although this figure trails the number of deaths (3,047) recorded at this time last year, it nonetheless marks the fourth consecutive year migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea have exceeded 2,350.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 3,382 fatalities in 2017 through 30 July with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – almost three quarters of the global total. (See chart below.)

Among the newly confirmed fatalities from MMP are: the drowings off Izmir, one drowning along the US-Mexico border and eight deaths at the Syrian-Turkish border.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic:
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus; Tel: + 22 77 22 70, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 15:13Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 
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Thai Immigration Bureau Receives Advanced Equipment from UN Migration Agency to Enhance Passport Inspection Capabilities

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 09:25

Bangkok – The Thai Immigration Bureau (TIB) on Monday (31/7) received five new Verifier Travel Document and Bearer (TD&B) workstations from IOM to strengthen Thailand’s border control and detect passport and identity fraud.

The donation is part of the efforts by IOM, the UN Migration Agency and TIB to curb irregular migration and combat transnational organized crime as part of a project: Strengthening Border Management and Intelligence Capacity of Thai Government Officials, funded by the Government of Canada.

Developed by IOM, the Verifier TD&B is an automated, standalone system designed to help border control officers to conduct secondary inspections quickly and efficiently. A suspect traveller’s passport can be verified within 10 seconds.

Since the system was first installed in 2014 at Suvarnabhumi International Airport, Don Mueang International Airport and TIB headquarters, 114 cases of fraudulent passports and 41 cases of imposters have been identified. Thailand is one of 15 countries in the Asia Pacific region where the system operates.

The five new Verifier TD&B workstations extend the system’s coverage to four additional key Thai airports and land checkpoints nationwide – Chiang Mai International Airport, Phuket International Airport, Sadao Checkpoint and Aranyaprathet Checkpoint.

Speaking at the handover ceremony in Bangkok, TIB Deputy Commissioner Police Major General Pornchai Kuntee reaffirmed the Bureau’s commitment to tackle passport fraud. “Forgers are developing increasingly sophisticated methods to circumvent enhanced security elements embedded within passports.  The Verifier TD&B will enable us to manage our operations in accordance with international standards,” he said.

Ambassador of Canada to Thailand Donica Pottie highlighted Canada’s commitment to tackle irregular migration globally. “Fraudulent identity and travel documents represent a threat to the integrity of our border control systems and potentially to our national interests and security. To respond to this challenge, Canada has been working closely with IOM and the Government of Thailand on a wide range of security initiatives, including those related to anti-migrant smuggling and counter-terrorism,” she said. 

IOM Thailand Chief of Mission Dana Graber Ladek added: “States need to address the challenge of ensuring the right balance between open, but at the same time secured and controlled borders. The monitoring and identification of passport fraud plays a crucial role in the suppression of transnational crime.”

Effective border management remains a priority issue for Thailand, which welcomed a record 32.59 million visitors in 2016. Several passport forgery rings linked to the global trade in illicit drug trafficking, trafficking in persons and migrant smuggling have been smashed by the Thai authorities in recent years.

For more information, please contact IOM Thailand. Joshua Hart, Tel: +66 2 343 9341, Email: or Reuben Lim, Tel: +66 2 343 9370, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 15:12Image: Region-Country: ThailandThemes: Capacity BuildingIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

TIB Deputy Commissioner Pornchai Kuntee (right), Canadian Ambassador Donica Pottie (middle) and IOM Thailand Chief of Mission Dana Graber Ladek (left) cut a ribbon to mark the handover. Photo: Reuben Lim / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017 


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IOM Chile Holds Training of Trainers on Migrants in Countries in Crisis

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 09:25

Santiago – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in its role as secretariat of the Migrants in Countries in Crisis Initiative (MICIC), carried out a training of trainers on the integration of migrants in the emergency preparedness, response and recovery systems in host countries.

The workshop, held last week (26-28/7) in Santiago, Chile provided training to representatives from the governments of Chile and Ecuador and different national institutions including humanitarian partners and civil society.

The training, divided into three theoretical and practical sessions, was designed to strengthen the national capacities for the implementation of the guidelines developed by MICIC related to the integration of migrants in the preparation, response and recovery of crisis/emergency management plans and programmes in the countries.

The course included aspects of how to develop national capacities that sensitize national authorities and interlocutors for the implementation of the guidelines developed by MICIC.

IOM Chile’s Humanitarian Emergency Officer Jorge Sagastume, IOM’s Regional Advisor for Emergencies and Post Crisis in the Americas Luz Tantaruna and IOM Guatemala’s Capacity Building Officer Alejandro Martínez facilitated the training.

Participants included representatives from the Municipalities of Maipú, Valparaiso, Peñalolén, Santiago, Antofagasta in Chile as well as from the North Metropolitan Health Service, UNICEF Humanitarian Team, Caritas Chile, World Vision, Migrant Networks, Haitian Migrants Platform and an Ecuadorian delegation composed of experts on human mobility and risk management.

Jessica Rosas, a representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Ecuador’s Vice Ministry of Human Mobility, stated: “This training of trainers will contribute to the Ecuadorian policy of mainstreaming human mobility in public policies and will strengthen personal and institutional capacities in relation to caring for migrants in crisis situations.”

“This workshop will not only benefit our municipality and migrants but it will also strengthen the whole network,” said Liliana Castaño, Manager of the Migrant’s Office of the Municipality of Santiago and a participant at the event. She added: “We face many challenges, and the training will allow us to be much better prepared as a community, municipality, region and country.”

Norberto Girón, IOM Chile Chief of Mission said that IOM will continue to support these types of activities that promote the integration of migrants and the efforts of South–South cooperation that are being developed in Chile and Ecuador, especially to sensitize the national authorities and partners for the implementation of MICIC.

The MICIC Initiative is a government-led effort co-chaired by the United States and the Philippines, which aims to improve the protection of migrants when the countries in which they live, work, study, transit, or travel experience a conflict or natural disaster.

For more information, please contact Carolina Pérez at IOM Chile, Tel. + 56 2 296 33 726, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 15:12Image: Region-Country: ChileThemes: Capacity BuildingHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the participants at training of trainers workshop on the integration of migrants in the emergency preparedness, response and recovery systems in host countries. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

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Colombia, UN Migration Agency in Joint Effort to Fight against Human Trafficking

Tue, 08/01/2017 - 09:25

Bogota – As part of the World Day against Trafficking in Persons, IOM, the UN Migration Agency and Colombia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs yesterday (31/7) presented the results of Ante la trata no se haga (In the Face of Trafficking, Don’t Pretend), the fifth phase of a prevention campaign against the crime of human trafficking.

The initiative was made up of a series of play-based, educational activities that target people ages 15 to 35 from four municipalities on the Colombian border (San Miguel in Putumayo state, Maicao in La Guajira state, Leticia in Amazonas state, and Tumaco in Nariño state). These municipalities run the risk of trafficking because of their geographic location.

Ante la trata no se haga seeks to increase awareness and provide collective support and prevention tools to communities. The activities carried out explained to communities how trafficking works, how it affects people’s lives, and how it can be avoided. At the end of the sessions, participants wrote their personal commitment to not be indifferent to human trafficking on a piece of tape. Then, all of the pieces of tape were put together to make a huge red banner against human trafficking.

According to statistics from the Government of Colombia, between 2014 and 2017, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs attended to 258 cases of human trafficking at its consulates abroad. Of the total number of people attended, 81 per cent of victims were women (208 cases) and 19 percent were men (50 cases). It is important to note that the most frequent type of exploitation in the last five years was sexual exploitation with 160 cases (63 per cent), followed by labor exploitation with 73 cases (29 per cent), and servile marriage with 20 cases (8 per cent).

Additionally, it was found that in the last several years, the main destination countries of Colombian trafficking victims abroad have been: China, with 19.4 per cent of cases; Argentina, 15.9 per cent; Mexico, 9.7 per cent; Ecuador, 7.0 per cent; Peru, 5.8 per cent and the Dominican Republic, 4.6 per cent. In recent years, the main Colombian departments of origin for trafficking victims attended have been: Valle del Cauca, Antioquia, Risaralda, Cundinamarca, and Caldas.

María Ángela Holguín, Colombia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, said that the Ministry is directly confronting the scourge that is human trafficking. She said: “We want to work in the souls and the hearts of the people…Every one of us can act to stop the third most lucrative crime in the world after drug trafficking and arms trafficking.”

Alejandro Guidi, IOM Colombia Chief of Mission, said: “We have all come together to show that in Colombia it is possible to continue weaving a network against human trafficking, gathering the messages from these pieces of tape and actions by hundreds of Colombians who have added their own commitment against this crime.” He added: “This crime does not differentiate by race, gender, age, or socioeconomic level.”

Since 2014, IOM and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs have carried out an annual campaign inside and outside of the country to fight against human trafficking and ensure that every day fewer Colombians are victims of this crime. This is how, through the initiative’s five phases, Colombia has been able to raise citizens’ awareness of this crime and ability to recognize risk factors.

If you know about a case of human trafficking, you can report it at any Colombian consulate, by video call or chat at the website, by writing to the email address, or at free national attention hotlines 18000979899 and 01800093800.

For further information, please contact Karen Mora at IOM Colombia, Tel. + (57) 1 639 7777, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, August 1, 2017 - 15:11Image: Region-Country: ColombiaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants of the Ante la trata no se haga activities wrote their personal commitment to not be indifferent to human trafficking on a piece of tape. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Categories: PBN

138 Ghanaians Return Home from Libya with UN Migration Agency Support

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 11:40
Language English

Accra – A charter flight from Libya carrying 138 Ghanaians (135 men and 3 women) who wished to return home voluntarily landed at 4pm on Thursday, 27 July 2017.  These migrants, who opted for a humanitarian voluntary return to Ghana, are among the many Ghanaians living in irregular situations in Libya, often in very difficult conditions. Many of them had spent months and even years in detention centers there.

In what is now quite a regular procedure, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, conducted pre-departure interviews and medical examinations and facilitated the acquisition of travel documents and issuance of exit visas for all passengers in Libya. Upon arrival in Kotoka International Airport, the migrants were received by IOM, the Government of Ghana and airport authorities. IOM provided all returnees with food and water, support for onward transportation and immediate needs, and information regarding the processing of their reintegration. Most returnees, while happy to have been assisted to return home safely, were concerned about returning to their families empty handed and were appreciative of the fact that they will receive in-kind reintegration support.

An important registration process took place at the airport. The data collected will enable IOM to start the reintegration process for these migrants. Within the next months, and as part of the IOM-EU initiative on  Strengthening Governance of Migration and Supporting the Sustainable Reintegration of Migrants in the Republic of Ghana, IOM will be assessing the returnees’ situations on a case by case basis in order to support their sustainable reintegration in Ghana. IOM will also strive to provide continuous psychosocial support to vulnerable migrants and, where necessary any additional support to address their special needs.

This year, IOM Libya has assisted more than 5,000 stranded migrants including women return to their countries of origin.

The project, Strengthening the Governance of Migration and Supporting the Reintegration of Migrants in the Republic of Ghana, is a joint initiative between IOM and the European Union Trust Fund. Launched in May 2017, it will be implemented over a period of three years.

For further information, please contact Anita J. Wadud at IOM Ghana: Tel. +233 302 742 930 ext. 2400, Email:  

Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 - 15:00Image: Region-Country: GhanaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationMigrant AssistanceDefault: 
Categories: PBN

It’s World Day Against Trafficking in Persons. What do we need to do now?

Mon, 07/31/2017 - 05:04
Language English

Switzerland - It is believed that millions are currently victims of trafficking in persons around the world. It is almost impossible to think about each one of those numbers as individual human beings and it can feel like an insurmountable problem. But it isn’t. And on this World Day Against Trafficking in Persons we must believe that not only can we make a dent but that we can make significant inroads into eliminating it.

At the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN’s Migration Agency I head, we deal with trafficking in persons on a daily basis. We know that trafficking involves more than kidnapping and selling of persons, people forced into jobs against their will, and victims forced to give away a kidney or other vital organs. Trafficking in persons can occur ever so subtly as in cases of employment pathways, where workers are charged for recruitment and placement fees, have their wages withheld, or cannot leave their employers and thus are put into vulnerable situations where they are further exploited and become trafficked. Migrants travelling on regular or irregular migration routes around the globe are highly vulnerable to these kinds of abuses. Many who start their journeys by willingly placing themselves in the hands of smugglers can also become victims of trafficking along the way.

In addition to our and our partners’ hands-on work in providing protection and assistance to already some 90,000 victims of trafficking over the years, we are working tirelessly to collect and analyze global data on trafficking so that we can collectively improve and implement the best practices and inform policies and programmes to better address trafficking in persons.

For instance, since 2015, IOM has surveyed over 22,000 migrants on the journey on the Eastern and Central Mediterranean routes. This is the largest-scale survey yet to explore migrants’ vulnerability to trafficking and exploitation on the Mediterranean routes to Europe. Around 39% of individuals interviewed had a personal experience that indicates the presence of trafficking in persons or other exploitative practices along the route with many reporting direct experiences of abuse, exploitation and practices which can amount to trafficking in persons. Looking at just the Central route, a shocking 73% of those interviewed indicated this. With this research IOM is currently exploring which factors predict migrants’ vulnerability to human trafficking and exploitation on their journey.

It is also our goal to facilitate cross-border, trans-agency analysis and provide the counter-trafficking community with the information we need to develop a more comprehensive understanding of this complex issue. To this end, we will soon be launching the Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative. Drawing on IOM’s and partners’ victim case data, this will be the first ever open access data platform for human trafficking data.

As we develop new knowledge and tools, it is critical that we share our findings and communicate with other global leaders. This September, in an effort to develop the “Global Compact on Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration,” governments will come together to discuss smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons and contemporary forms of slavery, including appropriate identification, protection and assistance to migrants and trafficking victims. This will be our chance to share our expertise learned from decades of research and practice in this field and to learn from others.

We are learning more, and understanding how to better respond to trafficking in persons, yet there are still many unanswered questions. What makes migrants susceptible to trafficking? What do we know about those being trafficked now? And how do we best stop it from occurring in the future?

We may not have all the answers yet, but we do know that we must now accumulate the data and knowledge we have and make it transferrable so that we can all benefit from it. We do not know everyone who could be at risk but we do know we need to make migration safer, more orderly, and more regular to make migrants less vulnerable. We do not know the exact number of victims of trafficking, but we do know it’s far too many.

The fight against trafficking in persons requires us to strive for answers to our many questions. It requires us to better respond, with shared data, knowledge, and tools, and it requires us to respond together.


William Lacy Swing is the Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Migration Agency


Posted: Monday, July 31, 2017 - 11:02Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency: Over 830,000 Remain Displaced Outside Mosul

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:54

Mosul – IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, released data this week from its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) estimating some 839,118 individuals (139,853 families) remain displaced in the aftermath of heavy fighting to retake the northern Iraqi city of Mosul.

According to reports and scenes witnessed by IOM staff working in the zone this month, thousands of people remain buried under the rubble, their untold stories interred amongst the broken bricks and stones of what was once a bustling city of over 1.4 million, whose history dates back to at least 401 BC.

Three survivors who spoke to IOM this week from their hospital beds gave testimony to the carnage they had witnessed. All three lost family members. (For more, see below.)


Amira (10)
“ISIL lobbed a mortar on our house. My father was trying to escape with my sisters and younger brother, while mother and I were still behind…Smoke engulfed the house. I could not see anything. Mama was dead lying on the floor. I thought she was alive…”

Sarah (25)
She lay in the ward, her father standing by her side. Both still were trying to make sense of what they had just gone through, and what they had lost. With her mother, a sister and her two children, and three other families with children, they had been trapped inside a house, with ISIL, which was using them as human shields.

The Iraqi army was closing in on the old city with the last few blocks remaining to be taken.

As the women and children huddled indoors, a female ISIL foreign jihadist walked in. She was holding the detonator of the suicide vest she wore.

“’You are all infidels waiting for the infidel army to come and save you,” the ISIL fighter shouted at the terrified women and children before detonating her vest amongst them.

Niqaa (45-year-old mother)
“I wish I had died with them,” she said unable to mention family members’ names as her sister, from East Mosul, stood by her side listening in tears.

It was 19:15 and Niqaa was in the kitchen preparing dinner for her family with what little ingredients she still had. Her youngest son was standing close by chatting away to her. Telling her how he couldn’t wait for the army to arrive so he would be able to leave and go to East Mosul.

“‘I will buy you water there’, ‘I will buy candies and chocolates for me’,” her son was telling her excitedly. “So I gave him some money to keep him happy.”

“‘Mama, I can’t wait for the army to arrive to go out and shout to them that we are civilians, we are a family and I’ll wave the white flag’,” she recounted him telling her, in a gush of excitement at the news that the Iraqi army was nearby and freedom from ISIL reign close.

At that moment, the house rocked as a bomb hit it.

“I kept on calling out for my mother, shouting for her to help me, but she never answered me. I too had fallen to the ground, my legs were injured. I could not move.”

“I stayed for three days alone in the house calling for my mother, calling to my father, but no one came. I had no food or water… all three days and nights I was alone shouting to anyone, but no one heard me. Mama… I kept on calling, but no answer… I didn’t know she was dead until they rescued me.”

The room collapsed, and Sarah suddenly found herself under the rubble. She felt someone pull her towards a crack in the rubble, where she could breathe. For hours Sarah, with grave injuries to both legs, had lay buried.

“At first I could hear the voices of women shouting from under the rubble… I could hear children crying…” she recalled.


“The house collapsed above us. They were all killed. My entire family killed in a split second. My husband and six children gone,” she sobbed.

“No one could bury them, there was too much bombing around. Some civilians in the area dragged me outside to a safe place. They tied my bleeding foot and took me to a safer place. It was five days before the military entered our neighbourhood and rescued us.”

At a field hospital in Hammam al-Alil, a surgeon tried desperately to save her foot. It had to be amputated.

“My children and husband are all dead… they are all dead, there is not one of them left alive,” she sobbed.

“At first there were survivors. I could hear the children crying at first, the adults calling out… Then their voices slowly faded one by one as they suffocated and died,” she said.

She was the only one pulled out alive.

“Three days alone in the house, day and night hearing the bombs outside falling from the skies … all I wanted was for someone to come and get me… It was three days until the army reached our house.”

The interviews with Amira, Niqaa and Sarah can be found here:

The United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) supports the IOM field hospital. The hospital continues to provide life-saving assistance to both victims of war and patients.

Since opening in April 2017, IOM surgeons have performed 476 trauma operations (vascular, general, orthopaedic procedures) and 22 non-trauma emergency cases. The hospital has also treated more than 6,200 outpatient and post-operation follow-up cases.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said, “Harrowing tales from civilians who were caught in West Mosul and the suffering they endured are a reminder that more humanitarian assistance is vital if we are to help them on the route to recovery. Thanks to DFID and our health partners, IOM’s field hospital is able to continue to provide life-saving medical care to the vulnerable.”

Since the beginning of the Mosul operations in October 2016, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) whose locations of displacement and/or return have been identified by the IOM Emergency Tracking for Mosul Operations (Displacement Tracking Matrix, or DTM) reached 178,952 families, corresponding to 1,073,712 individuals.

Some 234,594 IDPs (39,099 families) have now returned, with an estimated 80 per cent going back to their districts of origin in East Mosul.

The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul operations are available at:

For more information, please contact IOM Iraq:
Hala Jaber, Tel: +964 751 740 1654, Email:
Sandra Black, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 - 16:26Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Fatima, 45, walked out of her house in West Mosul in search of water for her children, when a bomb fell nearby, killing her 19-year-old daughter and severely injuring Fatima’s legs. Her youngest boy, 10-year-old Adam, lies by her side, still in shock. Photo: Raber Y. Aziz / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

See and download more photos here: "A Littany of Horrors from West Mosul"


Categories: PBN

South Korea Welcomes 30 Myanmar Refugees from Thailand

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:54

Seoul – A group of 23 Myanmar refugees from refugee camps in Thailand arrived this week at Incheon International Airport in the Republic of Korea (ROK). Another family of seven, who had been scheduled to travel with these refugees, were delayed for health reasons and will arrive in Korea next week.  

The 23 were welcomed by Korea Immigration Service (KIS) Commissioner Woo-hyun Kim and officials of partner refugee resettlement agencies including IOM, the UN Migration Agency, represented by IOM Seoul Head of Office, Miah Park. The Commissioner reaffirmed the Government’s support for the ROK’s pilot refugee resettlement programme.

Since 2015, the ROK, in partnership with IOM and UNHCR, has accepted 86 refugees for resettlement as part of a pilot project mandated by the country’s July 2013 Refugee Law – the first of its kind in Asia.

Under the initiative, IOM in Thailand provides health screening, pre-departure orientation and arranges travel for the refugees. After arriving in Korea, they stay at a government Immigration Reception Centre for six months and receive Korean language and cultural orientation training. 

“We – the Government and our partners – have all learned a lot over the past three years and I hope that this experience will help us to improve and expand the programme,” said Park. “It has also given us all a much better understanding of the protection and other needs of asylum seekers and refugees in Korea.”

Korea’s Ministry of Justice will evaluate the pilot refugee resettlement programme and decide whether to extend it to the end of 2017.

For more information, please contact IOM Seoul. Miah Park, Tel: +82 70 4820 2781, Email:, or Jumi Kim, Tel: +82 70 4820 0292, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaThemes: Immigration and IntegrationRefugee and Asylum IssuesResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Korean officials welcome Myanmar refugees at Incheon airport, 25 July 2017. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 113,433 in 2017; 2,377 Deaths

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:53

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 113,433 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 26 July, with almost 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 251,172 arrivals across the region through 26 July 2016.

IOM Rome reports 10,424 sea arrivals to Italy this month through 26 July, or about 1,000 new arrivals since IOM’s last report on 23 July. That figure trails the full July totals for each of the past two summers by about 13,000 (see chart below), highlighting a trend that IOM has observed of slower traffic to Italy during mid-summer, and fewer deaths (approximately half of those recorded in July 2015 and 2016.) Nonetheless, for the year to date, arrivals to Italy remain slightly ahead of either 2015 or 2016 totals at 94,445.


IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Wednesday (26 July) that 50 people were rescued off the Spanish coast and were brought to land at Almeria and Barbate. She said there were two minors among those rescued. These arrivals bring the total number of men, women and children coming by sea to Spain in 2017 to 7,847.

IOM Athens reported Thursday that 264 migrants and refugees arrived at three Greek locations (Samos, Lesvos, Megisti) between 24 and 26 July. The total number of arrivals by sea to Greece as of 26 July is 10,783. This compares with 159,991 at this time last year.

The latest fatality in the region was reported on Wednesday (26 July), when 13 bodies were found in a rubber boat off the coast of Libya by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms – the remains included those of two pregnant women and a mother of four. This brings the total of fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2017 to 2,377. Although this figure trails the number of deaths (3,047) recorded at this time last year, it nonetheless marks the fourth consecutive year migrant deaths in the Mediterranean Sea have exceeded 2,350.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 3,365 fatalities in 2017 through 26 July (see chart below) with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – almost three quarters of the global total.

Among the newly confirmed fatalities from MMP are: six drownings in Rio Bravo (four between Ciudad Juárez and El Paso, one in Reynosa, and one in Piedras Negras); 13 bodies found in a rubber boat off the coast of Libya by Spanish NGO Proactiva Open Arms (including two pregnant women and a mother of four); one train accident in Chiapas; and a  number of bodies found in Brooks County and Webb County, Texas, as well as in Pima County, Arizona.

MMP researcher Julia Black noted this week that even though fewer migrants seem to be crossing into the United States in 2017, more people are dying on this route. The US Border Patrol has apprehended 140,024 migrants between January and June 2017, just over half the number (267,746) recorded in the first six months of 2016.  

Despite this overall decrease in apprehensions, migrant fatalities recorded in 2017 are higher than in the same period of 2016. MMP has recorded 231 migrant fatalities in 2017, an increase of 18 per cent compared with the 195 recorded between 1 January and 28 July 2016. This past week has been particularly deadly. In addition to the fatalities from migrants suffocating in a truck container in San Antonio, Texas, last weekend, MMP has reported six drownings along stretches of the Río Bravo separating Mexico from Texas. MMP reports there have been 11 drownings just in July – the second month this year (13 drownings in January) to produce drownings in double-digits.

Migrant apprehensions and fatalities recorded on the US-Mexico border, 2016-2017
Source: US Customs and Border Patrol, 2017; IOM Missing Migrants Project, 2017

So far this year, 56 people have drowned in the border river, which marks a 51 per cent increase over the 37 recorded between 1 January and 28 July 2016.

Added MMP’s Julia Black: “Migrant deaths in the Río Bravo seem to be on the rise in recent years, with 43 such deaths recorded in 2015, and 63 in 2016. However, in the case of migration over any body of water, it is difficult to determine the true number of migrant fatalities.” As of Thursday night, media reports out of the border metroplex of Ciudad Juarez-El Paso indicate, that in addition to four Guatemalans reported drowned in the river earlier this week, another three migrants have gone missing. Authorities do not know if they have drowned, returned to Mexico or crossed into the US and are continuing north.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic:
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:
For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus; Tel: + 22 77 22 70, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 - 16:24Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Strengthens Coordination for Assistance and Protection of Vulnerable Migrants in Libya

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:53
Language English

Tunis – IOM, the UN Migration Agency is stepping up its protection response to the most vulnerable migrants, including women and children, in Libya.

This new protection intervention focuses on expanding the protection space for migrants in vulnerable situations in Libya. More specifically it includes: strengthened identification and care of migrants at risk of trafficking and exploitation; piloting alternatives to detention for women, children, the sick and wounded; prioritizing the most at risk cases for voluntary humanitarian return if so desired; strengthening humanitarian assistance and vulnerability triage is key as soon as migrants are rescued from the sea.

IOM continues, in close cooperation with the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM), to advocate for the release from detention of the most vulnerable, such as children and women, and to place them in suitable alternatives such as “safe spaces” and/or increasingly migrant-friendly community housing.

“IOM is committed to bring a positive change for those migrants in vulnerable situations in Libya in full cooperation with both the Libyan authorities and key partners, including UNICEF and UNHCR,” said Laura Lungarotti, IOM Senior Protection Officer.

As part of its response plan, IOM has initiated a one-day joint meeting with UNHCR and UNICEF to present the findings of an IOM-led mapping of existing assistance and protection services in Libya, and to develop joint standard operating procedures to leverage on respective mandates and render the protection response more efficient across UN actors.

According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), 91 per cent of the 393,652 migrants identified in Libya are adults, whilst the remaining 9 per cent are children. IOM’s detention centre mapping tool suggests that 13 of the 29 government-led detention centres are hosting 140 unaccompanied children. IOM has already assisted 120 children to return home in line with their best interests with family tracing and reintegration support given once they are back home in their countries of origin.

“Detention is not a place for children,” emphasized Karolina Edsbacker, IOM Protection Officer, stressing the need to find alternatives. Women, especially pregnant and lactating women, should also increasingly be offered alternatives to detention, such as placement in migrant-friendly houses and/or hospitals and safe spaces.

Recognizing the vast need, IOM is also expanding its presence in Libya in order to be able to identify and assist more vulnerable cases.

For more information, please contact at IOM Libya, Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600 389, Email: or Karolina Edsbacker, Tel: +216 29 202 896, Email:


Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 - 16:23Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementMigrants RightsDefault: 
Categories: PBN

200 Anti-Trafficking Advocates Vow to Intensify Fight against Human Trafficking in Philippines, Southeast Asia

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:52

Manila – Two hundred anti-trafficking advocates from different agencies of government, non-government organizations, private businesses, academic institutions, and faith-based groups, some from the Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM) gathered Thursday (27 July) in Manila, to discuss the fight against human trafficking in the Philippines and Southeast Asia.

The event, the National Conference on Trafficking in Persons and the Philippine Commitments to the ACTIP and APA, was organized by the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT) with support from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), in observance of the 2017 World Day Against Trafficking.

APA is the ASEAN Plan of Action Against Trafficking in Persons and ACTIP, the ASEAN Convention on Trafficking in Persons.

Observed on 30 July each year, the World Day Against Trafficking is a United Nations sanctioned day meant to raise awareness on the plight of human trafficking survivors and advocate for the promotion and protection of their rights.

The Philippines, having met the minimum standards to address trafficking in persons according to the US Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000, achieved Tier 1 ranking in the 2017 US Trafficking in Persons report for the second year. The conference is a celebration of this key milestone proving the Philippines as a regional leader in combating trafficking, being the first and only Southeast Asian country so far to have attained this ranking.

Atty. Darlene Pajarito, Executive Director of the IACAT, acknowledged the collaborative efforts of advocates to fight trafficking in persons and presented the achievements of the Philippine government in the prevention, protection and prosecution pillars of the response to trafficking in persons.

The conversations at the conference focused on the Philippine commitments enshrined in the APA, on the strength of the ACTIP, which came into force after the Philippines ratified and subsequently submitted its instruments of ratification at the ASEAN Headquarters in Indonesia on 8 March this year. Dr. Apiradee Thienthong shared the key points on the ACTIP and how the advocates in the Philippines could contribute to the APA.

At the end of the conference, the participants identified how their organizations will contribute to achieving the country’s commitments, and how to intensify initiatives to combat trafficking.

Through a commitment signing ceremony, all 200 anti-trafficking advocates re-affirmed their shared responsibility in continuing the fight to end human trafficking in Southeast Asia. IOM Philippines Chief of Mission, Marco Boasso, congratulated the Philippines for its efforts in remaining in Tier 1 status and reaffirmed IOM’s commitment to assist the Philippines in their fight to eliminate trafficking in persons.

For more information, please contact Maria Christina Marfil at IOM Philippines at Tel: +63 2 230 1999, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 - 16:22Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Philippines Chief of Mission Marco Boasso congratulates the Philippines for continued efforts to end human trafficking. Photo: Ray Leyesa / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Participants of the National Conference on Trafficking in Persons and the Philippine Commitments to the ACTIP and APA in Manila. Photo: Ray Leyesa / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Supports COMESA to Host Regional Consultative Process for Member States

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:52
Language English

Lusaka – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat this week jointly organized the first Regional Consultative Process (RCP) meeting for COMESA Member States, Migration Dialogue COMESA (MIDCOM).

In an era of unprecedented human mobility, there is global recognition of the need for migration governance as reflected within the framework of the UN General Assembly and the proposed Global Compact on Migration.

COMESA recognizes the great importance of migration in the context of free trade, noting that for regional integration to be fully realized, citizens of its member states must be allowed to move freely to provide and enhance services, tourism, labour and cultural activities, among other aspects of the COMESA integration agenda.

The meeting – Enhancing Regional Cooperation and Mobility through Effective Governance Mechanisms, Data and Dialogue – represents an important step to join other regions with established RCPs in Africa, such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA), the Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which were established to provide a platform for dialogue on migration governance in a comprehensive and effective manner.

The MIDCOM dialogue serves to facilitate information exchange, cooperation among states and ultimately establish a regional and holistic approach for addressing migration. The MIDCOM also provides a forum for Member States to engage in non-binding dialogue.

Speaking at the same event, COMESA Assistant Secretary General Ambassador Dr. Kipyego Cheluget emphasized that there is urgent need to encourage more cooperation and less border controls to facilitate free movement of bona fide persons within the COMESA regions. He appealed to COMESA member states to ensure that the RCP is an annual event and called upon the member states to promote the speedy signature and ratification of the Free Movement Protocol. 

"Migration is part and parcel of  human development and COMESA will not achieve regional integration without free movement of people. We must therefore generate information to allay fears on migration and promote the positive contribution of migrants so that our people can appreciate that co-existing  in our countries is fundamental in what we want to achieve in terms of sustainable development," said Zambia’s Minister of Home Affair, Hon. Stephen Kampyongo (MP).

"IOM supports over 15 of such RCPs globally including all Regional Dialogues and RCPs in Africa, and COMESA will not be a exception," added Charles Kwenin, IOM’s Regional Director for Southern Africa. Kwenin further stated that IOM has provided support to 11 COMESA member states to develop Migration Profiles, which serve to provide a comprehensive overview of migratory dynamic and realities and can provide the necessary information to inform evidence based policing. 

The MIDCOM meeting in July 2017 was preceded by the 10th Meeting of the COMESA Chief of Immigration Officers. During the latter meeting, progress was made towards ratification of COMESA’s Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, Labour, Services, Right of Establishment and Residence (otherwise known as the Free Movement Protocol).

During this event, a flagship training and awareness-raising programme was held for COMESA member states. It was funded by the IOM Development Fund, for the Governments of Zambia and Zimbabwe. The launch of the training, held on 27 July, included provision of awareness-raising materials on COMESA Protocol, and training tools on Free Movement of Persons in the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa.

For more information, please contact IOM Zambia. Bertha Kalyocha Nguvulu, Tel: +260 211 254 055, Mobile: +260 975 766 486; Email:

Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 - 16:21Image: Region-Country: ZambiaThemes: Capacity BuildingGlobal Compact on MigrationInternational and Regional CooperationDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM Chief of Staff Sarmad Opens Delta Coalition Conference in Dhaka

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:51
Language English

Dhaka – The Delta Coalition met this week (28–29 July) for the Second Ministerial Conference and Working Group Meeting in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The Conference was convened by 12 States belonging to four continents under the chairmanship of Bangladesh. It was composed of three thematic sessions that aim to explore ways to sustain, secure and improve the life and livelihood of the people in the Deltaic regions through initiating adaptive, preventive and resilience measures in the context of the impacts of climate change.

Representing IOM, the UN Migration Agency, Chief of Staff Ovais Sarmad gave the opening remarks and chaired the first thematic session on coastal delta management challenges and opportunities in the face of rapid climate change and urbanization, and mobility management.

He noted that deltas are recognized globally as economic and environmental hotspots but are equally very fragile environments due to sensitivity to climate change and the high density of populations they support.

“Delta regions are some of the most biodiverse areas on the planet, and are also the most urbanized, containing significant areas of industrial development in the world,” Sarmad said.

He added, “The challenges are perfectly exemplified in Bangladesh, with the largest delta in the world, which is severely affected by salinity intrusion, cyclones, and storm surges, causing people to move. In the northern part of the country, drought and declining fresh water availability also lead people to move. The poorest often migrate internally – flocking to cities to find more opportunities and better services. The unmanaged mobility has led to increased urban poverty, inequity and pressure on the already stretched urban infrastructure in Dhaka.”

He mentioned the UN Habitat report published in 2015 ranking Dhaka as the world’s most crowded city in the world with an estimated population density of 44,500 persons per square km and an urbanization rate of 3.7 per cent.

Sarmad took the opportunity to highlight IOM’s central objectives in managing mobility due to the impact of climate change: prevention as far as possible of displacement resulting from environmental factors; provision of humanitarian assistance and protection of affected people when displacement occurs; and facilitation of migration as an adaptation strategy to climate change.

He concluded, “Despite mounting challenges, there are strong indications of the international community’s desire and commitment to address the impact of rapid climate change with renewed purposefulness and determination.”

The Delta Coalition was officially launched at a ministerial conference in Rotterdam, Netherlands in 2016. It is the world’s first international coalition composed of 12 deltaic countries that aims to increase the resilience of at least a quarter of a billion people living in deltas. Its members are the Governments of the Netherlands, France, Egypt, Mozambique, Colombia, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Myanmar, Philippines, Viet Nam, Japan, and the Republic of Korea.

(Ovais Sarmad was recently appointed by the United Nations Secretary-General, António Guterres, as Deputy Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). He is expected to take up his new position in August this year.)

For further information, please contact Sarat Dash, IOM Dhaka, Email:


Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 - 16:20Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration and Climate ChangeMigration and EnvironmentDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM Responds to Sudden Displacement Caused by Severe Flooding in Yemen’s Shabwa Governorate

Fri, 07/28/2017 - 10:51
Language English

Shabwa – On 20 July 2017, IOM, the UN Migration Agency team in Shabwa, a governorate in the south of Yemen, reported a displacement of 130 families (780 individuals) who had to abandon their houses, losing all their belongings, caused by the severe floods in the area.

Due to its prepositioning strategy, IOM was able to initiate an immediate coordination process with local authorities in the affected areas and assessed the needs and locations of the displaced population. This meant that in a single day, IOM organized the distribution of non-food items and temporary shelters to the affected families.

“It is a relief to see these families who have lost everything in one day, receiving basic support from the humanitarian community, especially when we know how much they have already suffered from the war and now from the cholera outbreak,” said Laurent de Boeck, the Chief of Mission of IOM in Yemen.

Each family received several mattresses, blankets, sleeping mats, kitchen sets, jerry cans, water buckets, pickaxes, saws, sisal ropes, hammers and plastic sheets. The items were distributed to the affected populations in close coordination with the local authorities in the governorate.

On 27 July, the IOM team in Al Jawf governorate reported similar flood-caused displacement. IOM is currently coordinating a response with the cluster partners and local authorities in the governorate.

Meanwhile, IOM shelter and non-food items (NFI) support has been extended to 191,860 conflict and disaster displaced population since the start of the conflict in 26 March 2015. This support has been provided across the entire country, namely the governorates of Aden, Abyan, Lahj, Hadhramaut, Shabwa, Al Dhale’e, Sa’ada, Hajja, Al Jawf, Taizz, Al Hodiedah, Al Maharah and Socotra.

IOM Yemen Flood Emergency Response is funded by the Humanitarian Pooled Fund (HPF). IOM is seeking additional funding to expand its operations to respond to the needs of the most vulnerable affected populations in Yemen.

For further information, please contact Saba Malme, IOM Sana’a, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: Or Ammar Alfakih, Tel: +967 739 633 930, Email:


Posted: Friday, July 28, 2017 - 16:19Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsMigration and Climate ChangeMigration and EnvironmentDefault: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency: With Mosul Retaken, Donor Support Now Paramount for Thousands of IDPs

Tue, 07/25/2017 - 10:53

Mosul – With the battle for West Mosul all but over last week, evidence of a humanitarian calamity that is now just beginning to unravel paints the picture of a crisis that may go well beyond previous expectations, reports IOM Iraq’s Hala Jaber.

Crossing one of the floating bridges over the Tigris River that splits Mosul into twin eastern and western sectors, stark differences emerge quickly as changes in scenery appear unexpectedly.

In this tale of two cities, all indications show East Mosul to be recovering at a rapid pace, with much of its life returning to normal and a significant portion of services restored; West Mosul’s rise from the ashes is expected to take much longer. 

From the hustle and bustle of life in the eastern sector, a team from IOM, the UN Migration Agency, crossed the bridge into the eerie, even deadly quiet of West Mosul, in stark contrast to the atmosphere of its twin on the other side of the Tigris, where life is recovering swiftly.

Here, life appears to have stopped.

Rows of houses and neighbourhoods lie in total ruins as far as the eye can see. The carcasses of cars, reduced to smithereens and still parked in front of the shells of what used to be homes, are testament to the ferocious fighting that took place in this part of the city.

Roads that once were jammed with vehicles are deserted and mostly disfigured by mammoth craters. Pavements where children used to play now lie under heaps of rubble. Even stray cats and dogs, which recently used to scurry about these streets and neighbourhoods, have mostly left.

The battle to retake Mosul from ISIL came at a high cost. Entire neighbourhoods of a city tracing its history back to 401 BC now lie in ruin. The Old City is almost a ghost town.

According to the UN, of the 54 residential districts in West Mosul, 15 are “flattened,” with nearly 32,000 houses destroyed in those areas. A further 23 districts are moderately damaged, with nearly half their buildings destroyed. In the 16 neighbourhoods considered “lightly” damaged, there are a combined 16,000 homes destroyed.

In the Old City alone, over 5,500 buildings have been damaged, according to a satellite imagery assessment undertaken by Habitat. Some 490 homes were destroyed in the final weeks of the offensive.

All five bridges straddling the Tigris River have been mangled; many schools and utility grids are in total ruins. Roads and highways struck by heavy shelling are strewn with gigantic craters. Mosul’s airport has been wrecked, as has the city’s historic railway and at least one university.

Officials estimate that nearly 80 per cent of Mosul’s Medical City is now a burnt shell. The Medical City was the largest health facility in the Ninewa governorate, housing several hospitals, a nearby medical school, laboratories and other medical facilities. Explosive devices still litter its floors. Several cars containing undetonated bombs detected by an IOM colleague remain parked inside.

The UN Humanitarian Response Plan for Iraq, issued in February, warned: “The operation in Mosul has the potential to be the single largest humanitarian operation in the world in 2017,” and requested USD 985 million for the year, including the estimated costs of supporting civilians impacted by fighting in Mosul. 

By early July, less than half of that amount – USD 440 million – had been received.

IOM continues to provide humanitarian assistance to the tens of thousands of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in its constructed emergency sites at Qayara Air Strip and Haji Ali, as well as to families that remain in host communities outside the camps. 

However, with only 33 per cent of IOM’s USD 28.83 million appeal for the Mosul Crisis received – and 34 per cent of USD 47.46 million 2017 appeal for other areas of Iraq – the funding gap may significantly impact future humanitarian operations.

In response to the Mosul crisis, IOM has provided 287,977 medical consultations and treatments since June 2016, and provided life-saving medical devices to health centres serving large numbers of IDPs. Mobile Medical Teams continue to deliver immediate health services in the areas of greatest need.

IOM has also provided psychological services to 49,100 people, and distributed 61,600 non-food item kits to IDPs. The Organization has distributed a further 38,400 kerosene assistance kits and 9,000 boxes of clothes during the past 13 months as well.

IOM is already contributing to the rehabilitation of infrastructure in three retaken towns affected by the Mosul crisis, including: repairs to water networks, agricultural irrigation canals, a health-care centre, and electricity networks as well as school rehabilitation. It is also working to expand its work to additional retaken areas as and when the security situation allows.

To improve shelter conditions, 17,500 tents and 31 rub halls were installed by IOM and 14,415 emergency shelter kits were distributed. Shelter damage assessments have been conducted in villages south of Mosul, as far as Hamam al-Alil, and planned shelter interventions include critical shelter upgrades and rehabilitation of damaged homes.

Nonetheless, tens of thousands of families have been left without homes. Since the beginning of the Mosul operations in October 2016, the cumulative number of IDPs whose locations of displacement and/or return have been identified by IOM’s Emergency Tracking for Mosul Operations (Displacement Tracking Matrix, or DTM) reached 178,695 families, corresponding to 1,072,170 individuals.

Of these IDPs, more than 846,252 individuals (141,042 families) are still displaced. Another 225,918 IDPs have now returned, with an estimated 80 per cent going back to their districts of origin in East Mosul.

Of all the IDPs currently displaced by the Mosul operations, over 360,100 (or 42 per cent) live in camps and emergency sites around Mosul. IOM’s emergency sites host nearly 22 per cent of these individuals.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said, “The scale of destruction in West Mosul is enormous and the challenge of reconstruction is no small feat in ensuring the return of hundreds of thousands of displaced Iraqis to their communities and livelihoods. IOM has been on the ground since the start, providing humanitarian assistance, shelter and livelihood support, and is committed to continue with the help of the necessary funding from its donor partners.”

The DTM is collaborating closely with local authorities to extend the tracking system in West Mosul. DTM will focus particularly on setting up a returnee tracking system where levels of displacement affecting West Mosul are greater compared with those on the eastern bank of the Tigris.

The DTM will soon release its report, Mosul Military Operations: Population Movement Analysis (October 2016 to June 2017). The report provides a chronological examination of displacement and return movements that took place during the military operations which started on 17 October 2016.

IOM’s DTM actively monitors displacement across Iraq. 

DTM products and information about DTM methodology can be found on the DTM portal:

The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul are available at:

For more information, please contact IOM Iraq: Hala Jaber, Tel: +964 751 740 1654, Email:; Sandra Black, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email:



Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 16:46Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Displaced Iraqis arrive in Hammam Al-Alil transition zone, south east of Mosul. Photo: Raber Aziz / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

A damaged neighborhood in West Mosul. Photo: Raber Aziz / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Categories: PBN