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Updated: 2 hours 13 min ago

The UN Stands Ready to Support the Cox’s Bazar Boat Accident Survivors

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 12:48

Cox's Bazar – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) are closely liaising with Government of Bangladesh’s first responders to the tragic boat capsizing off the coast of St. Martins Island in the Bay of Bengal.   
 
The incident happened in the early hours of 11th February, with the authorities initially reporting 15 drowned, and at least 68 receiving first aid.   
 
UNHCR and IOM are saddened by this tragic loss of life and, together with our other UN and NGO partners, are standing by to offer assistance to the Government in responding to the needs of the survivors, be it food, shelter or medical aid. 
 
Irregular boat movements are not new to the Cox’s Bazar district, as both Rohingya refugees and Bangladeshis risk the unsafe journey to travel abroad due to compelling circumstances.   
 
Recognizing the dangers they face at sea, the UN has been working with Government authorities to raise awareness among refugees and local people on the risks they may face. The UN is also supporting the strengthening of law enforcement capacities to address smuggling and trafficking and to protect those most at risk.  Support is also available in the district to trafficking survivors. 
 
For more information contact: 
IOM Cox's Bazar: George McLeod at +8801870718078 and gmcleod@iom.int 
UNHCR Dhaka: Mostafa Mohammad Sazzad Hossain at +8801313046459 and hossaimo@unhcr.org 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 19:46Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesRohingya CrisisDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

As Boom Turns To Bust, Community Stabilization in Chad Helps Both Host Communities and Migrants

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 11:32

Faya – This was once a booming northern border town, supporting thousands of Chadians and Libyans who came to trade, barter or sell their wares. 

But with the closing of Chad’s border with Libya last March, boom turned to bust. Access to Libyan markets has practically disappeared for Chadians in Bourkou region, resulting in a scarcity of food and other essentials like fuel, and inflated prices leaving many local people struggling to meet their daily needs. 

And all the while, vulnerable migrants stranded in Libya, including survivors of human trafficking in urgent need of assistance, continue to arrive, exacerbating tensions with host communities struggling to make ends meet. 

To enhance food security in the region and reduce tensions between migrants and host communities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Governor of Bourkou last week launched the “Human Security and Community Stabilization in Chad” project in Faya, the capital of Bourkou. 

On one hand, the project, funded by the Government of Japan, supports the rehabilitation of a transit center for migrants located eight kilometers outside of Faya, where IOM will be able to provide urgent protection assistance and aid to migrants transiting in the region, including medical, psychosocial and voluntary return assistance. 

On the other hand, the project promotes community farming by rehabilitating four gardens that will benefit the community at large. In addition, as IOM noticed through its Flow Monitoring Points (FMP) a growing number of women (18 per cent in 2018 to 22 per cent in 2019) from Chad migrating within the country to find better economic opportunities 100 women will also be supported to engage in agricultural livelihood activities.  

“Before the Arab Spring I made my living easily in Libya without dreaming of going to Europe or arriving one day in Faya (Chad). After the fall of (Libyan leader Muammar) Gaddafi, chaos ruptured; life was not the same anymore,” recalls Seni, a Burkinabe migrant waiting for IOM’s assistance to return home. “I have experienced suffering of all kinds and death threats. My only ambition is to go back to see my family back home.” 

The project will also promote community farming by rehabilitating four gardens that will benefit the community at large and 100 women will receive targeted support to engage in agricultural livelihood activities. 

“Through our activities in Faya, IOM makes a difference in the lives of migrants and members of the host population in one of the most remote places of the Chad,” said Anne Kathrin Schaefer, IOM Chief of mission in Chad. 

Bourkou region, a desert zone near Libya border, had been declared priority area in OCHA’s 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan. Conflict and presence of armed group make it difficult for partners to operate, IOM is currently the only UN agency present in the region. Through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, and in order to monitor the movement of migrants through Chad, three FMPs were put in place along the main migration routes in Zouarke, Kalait and Faya where one-third of the movements were recorded by IOM’s Flow Monitoring Points in 2019 and where the Chadian authorities have repeatedly identified and referred victims of trafficking to IOM.  

For more information, please contact Anne Kathrin Schaefer at aschaefer@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 18:27Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Community StabilizationDefault: Multimedia: 

Seni is a migrant from Burkina Faso waiting for IOM’s assistance to return home from Chad. Photo: Oulatar Eden Thomas/IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Assists over 1,400 Migrants with Voluntary Return to Ghana

Tue, 02/11/2020 - 11:27

Accra – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week assisted 61 migrants who were stranded in Niger with voluntarily return to Ghana, bringing the total number of assisted Ghanaians to 1,400 since 2017. 

The migrants returned from Niger by road, where they were stranded on their way to Libya. Upon arrival in Accra, Ghana’s capital, IOM joined local authorities in providing assistance, including cash assistance—that is, pocket money—to meet their immediate needs, especially onward transportation to their final destinations. 

The returnees told IOM staff that smugglers presented them with “lucrative” deals to persuade them to set out for Libya, despite well-known risks. 

“The smuggler showed me pictures of Benghazi, a seemingly peaceful place where we would work,” explained one returnee, Koffi. “Once in Niger, the reality was different. Today, I am happy to be back. I would never advise anyone to embark on such a journey.” 

Following their return, migrants are eligible for reintegration assistance, which can include counselling, referral to existing programmes and medical and psychosocial assistance. Returnees also may become part of collective community-based projects where they work together with other community members and returnees.  

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration was launched in 2017 to assist migrants from Ghana and 25 other African countries stranded along the main migration routes to return home and reintegrate within their community. 

So far, over 300 migrants here have completed their reintegration process; 934 have participated in reintegration counselling, and 673 have received psycho-social support.  

IOM also works with its partners to raise awareness about the dangers of irregular migration and promotes campaigns for safe migration. Since 2017, 124 awareness raising sessions have taken place in communities and schools, while radio and TV broadcasts with similar messages have reached approximately 200,000 Ghanaians nationwide.  

“We continue to work with our various partners to ensure that laws and policies are in place to guarantee that people have access to rights and basic services here in Ghana, and to ensure no one is left behind,” said Sylvia Lopez-Ekra, IOM Chief of Mission in Ghana said of the returnees.  

“We need to encourage communities to embrace returnees and help them re-establish themselves. We need to engage with our youth – who are the future of the country and tend to risk their lives to find greener pastures elsewhere.” 

For more information, please contact Yves Hatungimana at IOM Ghana, Tel: +233 302742930, Email: yhatungimana@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 11, 2020 - 18:23Image: Region-Country: GhanaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationEUTFDefault: Multimedia: 

Last week, over 60 Ghanaians voluntarily returned home from Niger. Photo: Juliane Reissig/IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Donates Critical Health Care Supplies to Support Coronavirus Response in China

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 10:58

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is donating 40,000 surgical gloves, 4,800 high quality surgical masks and 2,375 isolation suits to protect frontline health personnel working tirelessly on the novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) response in China. 

The first batch of critical personal protective equipment (PPE) is due to land in Shanghai, China, on Sunday. A second batch of PPE will follow on the next available flights. 

“This donation is a small but meaningful contribution as it shows IOM’s appreciation for, solidarity with and confidence in the capable steps China continues to take to protect and support citizens, both nationals and foreign, within and beyond its borders,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino. 

The supplies will be directly donated to the Chinese government and then transported to health facilities in Wuhan and other locations which are currently experiencing PPE shortages due to unprecedented demand. 

Though figures are being updated rapidly, as of yesterday, virtually all 28,276 confirmed cases of coronavirus were in China. All but one of the 565 deaths attributed to it were within China.  

PPE ensures that those on the frontline have the tools they need to treat those affected and mitigate the further spread of the virus. 

Organizations including IOM have faced procurement challenges in part due to the problems freight forwarders face in prioritizing the shipment of emergency relief supplies amidst travel restrictions introduced by several countries.   

At the global level, IOM is discussing with the World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN agencies ways and means to address risks of potential market disruption and price inflation in the manufacturing and distribution of PPEs.   

At the country level, to ensure that IOM’s efforts support China’s national priorities and response strategies, IOM is liaising closely with the Chinese government, including the Department of International Trade and Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Commerce, and the United Nations System, on this task. 

Last week, IOM called on all parties to work together to prevent the undue stigmatization of international travelers, in line with international health principles, and in support of the WHO’s Emergency Committee cautioning against actions that promote stigma or discrimination 

“A responsible global approach to the battle to contain this novel coronavirus, one that is grounded in solidarity, humanitarian values, and knowledge rather than fear, is not one that is discriminatory, but one that unites nations and people to fight together to control this epidemic,” said IOM DG Vitorino.  

For more information please contact at IOM HQ, Leonard Doyle, Tel: +41 79 285 71 23, Email: ldoyle@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, February 7, 2020 - 17:56Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Monthly Report: Migrant Arrivals Reach 7,168 in 2019; Deaths Reach 77

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 06:59

Geneva – IOM reports that 7,168 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through five weeks of 2020, about a 3 per cent increase from the 6,932 arriving during the same period last year. Nearly half of all arrivals have been to Greece, last year’s busiest destination. 

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 2 February stand 77 men, women and children—with 63 of those deaths coming in the waters off Greece and Turkey. In 2019 during this same period a total of at 216 migrants or refugees had died attempting to cross the Mediterranean. Only two of those deaths were in the Eastern Mediterranean (see chart below).  

IOM Greece reported on Thursday (6/02) that since last Friday, the Hellenic Coast Guard participated in six incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Kos, Farmakonisi and the port of Alexandroupolis. The HCG rescued a total of 227 migrants, bringing to 3,352 the total number of sea arrivals by irregular migrants to Greece this year. 

Sea arrivals through five weeks of the new year are averaging around 96 men, women and children per day, and have already nearly matched the total (3,628) for 2019’s first two months.  

Missing Migrants Project 

2020 is the seventh year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project.  

Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 35,381 people, including 187 as of 6 February 2020. Due to the challenges of collecting information about people who die during migration and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost is likely much higher. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography. 

In the first month of 2020, 175 people lost their lives while migrating around the world. The deadliest region in the world continues to be Mediterranean Sea basin, where at least 75 people died or disappeared at sea in January, most of those in drownings off Greece. Very little is known about the identities of those who died, but the available data indicate that the majority came from Syria, Afghanistan and Iraq.  

On the Central Mediterranean route, at least 6 people lost their lives while attempting to leave Libya by sea. In the Western Mediterranean, the deaths of 6 people were recorded since the beginning of the year. Three deaths were documented on the dangerous Alborán sea crossing, while two deaths were recorded on the route from the western coast of Algeria to mainland Spain, and one in the Gibraltar Strait.  

Also en route to Spain were recorded the deaths of two people along the West African sea route to the Canary Islands. Those deaths included that of a newborn baby whose mother gave birth inside a boat off the coast of Lanzarote. The mother could not attend her child’s burial, which took place on 1 February on the same island where the boat had arrived. The mother had already been evacuated to another island some 200km away.  

Elsewhere in the world, several deaths were documented by the Missing Migrants Project team in the Americas, Europe and Southeast Asia.  

At least 30 people died during migration in South-East Asia in January. Just three days into the new year, a collision between a bus and a car on the Myanmar-Thailand border caused the death of 20 people and left more than 30 injured. The passengers on the bus were migrant workers from Myanmar travelling to work in Thailand. On 23 January, 10 people drowned when the boat with which they were trying to reach Malaysia capsized off the coast of Indonesia’s Riau province.  

The European continent continues to be dangerous for migrants, as the deaths of four people were documented in January. A man fell from a cliff while hiking on the Slovenia-Italy route. A Syrian man was hit by a train as he walked on the side of the train line connecting Thessaloniki with Eidomeni in Greece. Another man died in a vehicle accident also in northern Greece. A 14-year-old boy fell from the undercarriage of a plane as it landed on Paris-Charles de Gaulle airport. He came from Côte d’Ivoire. 

In the Americas 61 people reportedly lost their lives crossing deserts, rivers and remote terrain on different migration routes in the first month of 2020. In the Caribbean, a boat capsized off the Ragged Island chain in the Bahamas in mid-January, in which four people died and it is believed that 35 people went missing, all Haitian nationals.  

On the US-Mexico border, 11 people lost their lives during the month of January, while six people died while transiting through Mexico, including a 31-year-old Honduran man, who attempted to cross the Río Bravo separating the Mexican state of Coahuila and Texas, and drowned in front of his brother, with whom he had started his journey from Tegucigalpa.  

Two people lost their lives in South America in the context of the Venezuelan displacement, among them a 24-year-old Venezuelan man making his way to Chile where his wife, pregnant with their first baby, awaited him.  

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.  

The report Fatal Journey Volume 4, published on 28 June 2019, includes an overview of five years of Missing Migrants Project data (2014-2018) and an update on what is known about deaths during migration in 2019.  

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

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, February 7, 2020 - 13:40Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados and Guyana Lead Robust Migration Within the Caribbean, New IOM Study Finds

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 06:41

Georgetown – Throughout the world, ‘international’ migration mostly involves people travelling across borders within their region to access better employment, education opportunities, the chance to start a business or reunite with family members. 

In other words, most cross-border migration is regional, and that’s true even in regions whose countries don’t always share land borders. 

A study recently completed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) shows that although levels of extra-regional migration in the Caribbean remain high, citizens are increasingly moving within their region. They’re using the opportunities created by the passage of two free-movement agreements  in effect within the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) and the Organization for Eastern Caribbean States (OECS).  

Free Movement of Persons in Caribbean: Economic and Security Dimensions is believed to be the first study of its kind in the Caribbean, examining the economic and security impacts of regimes allowing Caribbean nationals to move freely under the terms of two treaties, the Revised Treaty of Chaguaramas and the Revised Treaty of Basseterre adopted, respectively, in 2001 and 2010.  

The report is based on a review of the existing documentation and administrative records related to free movement, which was complemented through in-depth interviews conducted in six Caribbean countries over the course of eight months in 2019. 

“This study sheds light on how people are moving throughout the Caribbean and provides data-driven findings and recommendations to support regional cooperation on migration,” said Briana Mawby, Lead Researcher in IOM’s Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean. 

The IOM study found that during a single year, 2017, over two million people relocated between countries of the region under the agreement. Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana were the two countries sending the greatest number of intraregional migrants. Simultaneously, Trinidad and Tobago also figured among the top two receivers (with Barbados) of CARICOM nationals.  

Under the CARICOM Single Market and Economy regime, individuals may apply for a skills certificate to allow them indefinite stays in another CARICOM country. In 2017, 71 per cent of skills certificates issued were for university graduates, followed by holders of associate degrees with almost 11 per cent.  

This innovative report addresses key issues, showing that the number of intraregional migrants and people utilizing Skills Certificates is increasing and that, despite uneven implementation, both regimes have made progress to ensure portability of things like social security benefits.  

“A clear understanding of how free movement provisions are implemented is critical for guiding economic and security policy,” added Estela Aragón, Research Officer in the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean. “By providing reliable information and filling data gaps, IOM seeks to support the development of evidence-based policies and practices to facilitate the movement of persons.”  

Nonetheless, challenges to fully harness the benefits of this orderly migration still exist. This is one of the main findings of a study.  

There are concerns, for example, about governments’ limited ability to track and vet individuals moving throughout the region. The report also highlights the critical need to improve data collection and to develop indicators to better understand the economic impacts of free movement of persons in the Caribbean. 

“The CARICOM and OECS free movement regimes expand the avenues that allow people to move, facilitating greater opportunity to travel, seek employment, access social services, and establish businesses,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean. “IOM seeks to support regional integration and collaboration in the region to ensure safe, regular and orderly migration.”  

This research was conducted within the framework of IOM’s Regional Program on Migration Mesoamerica – The Caribbean, financed by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the Department of State of the United States of America. 

Download the complete study here: http://bit.ly/3areeDv 

For more information please contact Estela Aragon, at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel +5062212 5300, Email earagon@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, February 7, 2020 - 13:50Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: IOMMigration ResearchDefault: Multimedia: 

The Regional program on Migration Mesoamerica – Caribbean recently launched a study regarding the impact of free movement agreements that cover Caribbean countries. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Non-Citizens Receive Right-to-Travel Documents from Azeri State Migration Services

Fri, 02/07/2020 - 06:18

Baku – The decision by Azerbaijan’s State Migration Services to begin providing travel documents to refugees has been warmly welcomed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  

Since the start of February, Azerbaijan has been issuing travel-related documents to non-citizens—including asylum seekers, refugees and stateless persons—in accordance with the 1951 UN Convention relating to the Status of Refugees*.   

“These documents will ensure individual development, equal rights and freedom of movement for refugees and stateless persons residing in Azerbaijan,” explained Vladimir Gjorgjiev, Chief of Mission, IOM Azerbaijan, affirming this is an important step towards refugee integration and social cohesion in the country.   

“Now they can travel outside Azerbaijan and return back to Azerbaijan for family, business, education, health. Or for any other other reason,” Gjorgjiev added.    

A first batch of 10 out of 83 refugees received the documents at a ceremony in the capital Baku last week.   

Azerbaijan’s State Migration Service is one of IOM’s prime partners in the south Caucasus country, and its Chief, Vusal Huseynov, said that travel-related document will give refugees and other qualifying non-citizens and their families the right to move beyond the borders of Azerbaijan. “The document is valid for five years. If during these five years a refugee has no problems, he or she can reapply for it,” Huseynov explained.   

Habiba Adelzadeh, a refugee from Afghanistan who received the document was overjoyed to be among the first ten to receive one. “Thanks to this document now I will be able to travel to visit my family and friends.” 

*Article 28 of the 1951 Refugee Convention provides that: 

“The Contracting States shall issue to refugees lawfully staying in their territory travel documents for the purpose of travel outside their territory unless compelling reasons of national security or public order otherwise require, and the provisions of the Schedule to this Convention shall apply with respect to such documents. The Contracting States may issue such a travel document to any other refugee in their territory; they shall in particular give sympathetic consideration to the issue of such a travel document to refugees in their territory who are unable to obtain a travel document from the country of their lawful residence.” 

For more information please contact Ilqar Xudiyev at +994 50 319 66 80. Email ixudiyev@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, February 7, 2020 - 13:45Image: Region-Country: AzerbaijanThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Two refugees inspect their newly received travel documents. Photo: State Migration Service of Azerbaijan 

Vusal Huseynov, Chief of the Azerbaijan State Migration Service gives a travel document to one of the 10 refugees and other non-residents to qualify under the new initiative. Photo: State Migration Service of Azerbaijan 

 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Humanitarians Rush to Aid People Displaced by Fighting in Yemen

Wed, 02/05/2020 - 08:51

Marib – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its partners are scaling up humanitarian assistance in Yemen where fighting has displaced over 14,000 people to Marib and Al Jawf governorates.

More than 3,000 people have received emergency kits, containing food rations, clothing and solar lights, from IOM and its partners through the inter-agency Rapid Response Mechanism. Each of the 500 families is also receiving a one-time emergency cash transfer from IOM.

IOM Reporter Video

At least 12,000 people of the total displaced have fled to Marib, a governorate hosting hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people, straining the capacity of the local government to respond. 

Families already living in displacement sites have been forced to move to new locations with fewer services. More than 1,250 displaced families are reported to have left Al-Khaniq camp alone. 

“We are suffering the bitterness of displacement for the second time,” says Milhah, a woman who lived in Al-Khaniq camp for four years before fleeing to Marib city with her entire family. “The situation here is awful. It is really difficult to find housing, it’s overcrowded everywhere.” 

Many people like Milhah’s family are sleeping in the open with no protection against winter conditions. Safe shelters, essential aid items, emergency health care, clean water and safe sanitation are among the other urgent and critical needs of the displaced community. 

The newly displaced families are dispersed across dozens of sites and temporary accommodation with host families. To help people shelter together and more easily receive critical and life-saving services, IOM is working with the local authorities to identify land for a new transit site while supporting the expansion and improvement of existing camps. The Organization is also supporting efforts to provide shelter materials, health care and access to clean water and safe sanitation. 

Last year, IOM established its office in Marib to support a community struggling with mass internal displacement. As the current escalation continues to affect vulnerable Yemeni communities, IOM will keep working with partners to meet the most critical needs.  
For more information, please contact Olivia Headon, IOM Yemen, Tel: +967730552233, Email: oheadon@iom.int 
 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - 15:41Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Milhah, one of over 14,000 people displaced to Marib and Al Jawf, Yemen, in the past two weeks speaks with IOM staff in the small displacement site in Marib city where her family has found shelter. Photo: IOM 2020

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Humanitarians Rush to Aid People Displaced by Fighting in Yemen

Mon, 02/03/2020 - 17:33

Marib – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its partners are scaling up humanitarian assistance in Yemen where fighting has displaced over 14,000 people to Marib and Al Jawf governorates.

More than 3,000 people have received emergency kits, containing food rations, clothing and solar lights, from IOM and its partners through the inter-agency Rapid Response Mechanism. Each of the 500 families is also receiving a one-time emergency cash transfer from IOM.

IOM Reporter Video

Download B-Roll, Interviews, Scripts

At least 12,000 people of the total displaced have fled to Marib, a governorate hosting hundreds of thousands of internally displaced people, straining the capacity of the local government to respond. 

Families already living in displacement sites have been forced to move to new locations with fewer services. More than 1,250 displaced families are reported to have left Al-Khaniq camp alone. 

“We are suffering the bitterness of displacement for the second time,” says Milhah, a woman who lived in Al-Khaniq camp for four years before fleeing to Marib city with her entire family. “The situation here is awful. It is really difficult to find housing, it’s overcrowded everywhere.” 

Many people like Milhah’s family are sleeping in the open with no protection against winter conditions. Safe shelters, essential aid items, emergency health care, clean water and safe sanitation are among the other urgent and critical needs of the displaced community. 

The newly displaced families are dispersed across dozens of sites and temporary accommodation with host families. To help people shelter together and more easily receive critical and life-saving services, IOM is working with the local authorities to identify land for a new transit site while supporting the expansion and improvement of existing camps. The Organization is also supporting efforts to provide shelter materials, health care and access to clean water and safe sanitation. 

Last year, IOM established its office in Marib to support a community struggling with mass internal displacement. As the current escalation continues to affect vulnerable Yemeni communities, IOM will keep working with partners to meet the most critical needs.  

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon, IOM Yemen, Tel: +967730552233, Email: oheadon@iom.int 
  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 4, 2020 - 00:30Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Milhah, one of over 14,000 people displaced to Marib and Al Jawf, Yemen, in the past two weeks speaks with IOM staff in the small displacement site in Marib city where her family has found shelter. Photo: IOM 2020
  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Prepared to Support on Mobility Aspects of Coronavirus Outbreak

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 13:00

Geneva – As concerns mount about the number of reported infections from a new coronavirus and its spread to at least 18 countries, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) stands ready to offer technical support to governments, in partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO), to enable people to travel in a healthy manner and help enact public health measures with minimum impact on society and the economy. 

The WHO today said there have been 9,692 identified cases of the respiratory tract infection and 213 fatalities. 

“As new cases continue to be reported daily, much remains to be understood about this virus, but what is certain is that human mobility is a reality, and we have to find ways within that reality to keep everyone safe and healthy, while limiting the social or economic disruption,” said Jacqueline Weekers, Director of IOM’s Migration Health Division. 

Global health officials gathered at the WHO in Geneva yesterday determined that the situation has now become a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC), highlighting the need for "a coordinated international response". The Committee did “not recommend any travel or trade restriction based on the current information available”. 

Based on international health regulations (IHR), although international travel restrictions may intuitively seem like the right thing to do, this is not something that is usually recommended given the social disruption that such restrictions tend to cause. IOM and WHO therefore recommend focusing more on preparedness and response measures. 

“IOM has expertise in helping governments implement the necessary preparedness and response measures, including cross-border coordination, migrant outreach and education, and engagement of communities on the move, to break chains of transmission,” Weekers noted. “IOM has developed community networks with migrants and mobile populations all over the world that can be leveraged for risk communication activities, a key step in helping families be informed and stay healthy.” 

Among various preparedness and response activities, IOM and partners have been supporting governments on questions of health and migration by providing trainings, developing guidance on best practices, improving the hygiene standards of certain facilities, and supporting the drafting of protocols at airports, border crossings and seaports. 

For example, earlier this month, IOM, in partnership with the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) supported the Senegalese Government in carrying out a simulation exercise to strengthen the notification and management systems of the Dakar airport in case of a major public health emergency. 

In addition to offering support and guidance, IOM reiterates the need for inclusive approaches and calls on countries to ensure that migrants and other non-nationals are taken into account in public health planning and messages.  

In line with international health principles, WHO’s Emergency Committee also cautioned against actions that promote stigma or discrimination.  

“Information is key, and this means continuing to share timely and accurate information, based on sound public health principles, is critical,” stressed Dr. Nenette Motus, IOM’s Regional Director for Asia-Pacific. “It is important that we work together to prevent the undue stigmatization of international travelers.”  

For more information please contact Yasmina Guerda at IOM Geneva Tel. +41 79 363 17 99 – Email. yguerda@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, January 31, 2020 - 12:59Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Coronavirus outbreak: IOM Ready To Support Countries On Questions of Mobility

Fri, 01/31/2020 - 11:27

Dakar – The number of internally displaced people in West and Central Africa has more than doubled in the past three years driven by climate and environmental change, fast-paced urbanization, population growth and conflict.  

In sub-Saharan Africa, a combination of conflict, floods, droughts and other natural hazards resulted in a doubling in the total number of new internal displacements over just three years (2015–2018), according to OCHA’s newly published Global Humanitarian Overview 2019.  

Similar data from the Internal Displacement Monitoring Center (IDMC) reveal that same trend. In 2019, over 800,000 people were displaced by disasters in West and Central Africa, up from 344,700 in 2017, which itself was more than double the total of its previous year, 2016, when 161,700 men, women and children were displaced.  

In 2019, alone, floods caused the displacement of at least 30,000 people in the Central African Republic, 41,000 people in Mauritania, 19,000 people in Far North Cameroon and another 15,000 people in North East Nigeria.  

By any standard, this now represents an emergency unfolding relentlessly across the world’s poorest continent.  

“West and Central Africa is marked by the recurrence and scale of human and material losses due to disasters caused by hazards such as floods, drought, armed conflicts, epidemics, explained Dr. Gouantoueu Robert Guei, Sub-Regional Coordinator for West Africa for the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), who added: “a regional partnership is of paramount importance to support the governments.”  

Therefore, to reduce disaster-induced mobility in the West and Central African region and strengthen the resilience of at-risk populations, this week the International Organization for Migration (IOM) joined the FAO to launch CADRI, the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI) partnership in the region. The two agencies co-hosted their first event in Dakar during the 28 and 29 of January to begin mobilizing regional actors.   

CADRI is a global partnership comprised of 20 organizations working towards realizing the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) by providing countries with capacity development services to help them reduce climate and disaster risk. CADRI also is designed to provide countries, as well, with a mechanism to mobilize and pool expertise on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation in support of meeting those SDGs.   

This partnership is particularly relevant in West and Central Africa where different types of risk are present, including slow and rapid-onset crises.  

“The aim behind bringing the coordination of the CADRI process to Dakar from Geneva is to be closer to those involved in the prevention of and response to natural disasters.  We hope to increase the interaction between government, civil society and UN partners so that they will be better able to serve the most at-risk communities in the region,” said Richard Danziger, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa.    

“NGOs participate in capacity diagnosis missions and their feedback helps us triangulate the opinions and positions expressed by government actors to ensure that the recommendations are neutral”, said Ioana Creitaru of the CADRI Partnership Secretariat in Geneva.  

In the most recent joint assessment by the CADRI network, a team of 31 experts conducted a capacity diagnosis exercise in Togo where floods, fires, drought, landslides and epidemics are common. It is expected that recommendations made by the team will contribute to strengthening preparedness and disaster risk reduction in Togo in the future. 

CADRI places a particular focus on risk-informed planning and programming within both development and humanitarian spheres, ensuring that no one is left behind and that gender equality and human rights-based approaches are pursued in the delivery of capacity development services. The CADRI Partnership has supported capacity building and policy reform for disaster risk reduction efforts in 30 countries around the world over the past decade.   

For more information, please contact Mafalda Marchioro at IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa: Email mmarchioro@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Friday, January 31, 2020 - 11:20Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

An IOM Medical Worker performs a check on a patient. Kirkuk, Iraq. October 2019. Photo: Raber Y. Aziz/IOM Iraq.  

Floods in the Central African Republic displaced over 30,000 people in 2019. Photo: Leo Torreton/IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

More Deaths Recorded in the Americas in 2019 than in Previous Years: IOM

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 07:32

Berlin – At least 810 people died crossing deserts, rivers and remote terrain on different migration routes across the Americas in 2019, making the year one of deadliest on record, according to data from the Missing Migrants Project (MMP) collected at IOM’s Data Analysis Centre in Berlin.   

The records, compiled from official government data as well as NGO and media reports, indicate that this is the highest number of deaths documented in this region since IOM began keeping records six years ago. More than 3,800 deaths have been recorded in the Americas since 2014. 

“These numbers are a sad reminder that the lack of options for safe and legal mobility pushes people onto more invisible and riskier paths, putting them at greater danger,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Data Analysis Centre.  

“The loss of lives should never be normalized nor tolerated as an assumed risk of irregular migration.” 

The United States–Mexico border region is one of the most visible sites of migrant deaths in the Americas. MMP has recorded a growing number of deaths on this border every year since 2014, documenting a total of 2,403 over six years, including 497 in 2019. Most deaths were recorded in the waters of the Río Bravo/Rio Grande, which runs between Texas and the Mexican states of Tamaulipas, Nuevo León and Coahuila, where 109 people lost their lives in 2019, a 26 per cent increase from the 86 deaths recorded in 2018.  

Many people also attempt the crossing through the remote rugged terrain of the vast Arizona deserts. At least 171 people lost their lives in this part of the border in 2019, a 29 per cent increase over the 133 deaths documented in this area in 2018. 

Sources: US Border Patrol’s Southwest Border Apprehensions, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project 

 

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here. The report Fatal Journey Volume 4, published on 28 June 2019, includes an overview of five years of Missing Migrants Project data (2014-2018) and an update on what is known about deaths during migration in 2019. 

For all the latest data on migrant deaths on the US-Mexico border, visit the Missing Migrants Project website here. Raw data can be downloaded from https://missingmigrants.iom.int/downloads. 

For more information, please contact:  

Joel Millman, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int  

Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 14:10Image: Region-Country: GermanySwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Central American migrant caravan passing by Chiapas, Mexico on their way to United States. Photo: IOM/Rafael Rodríguez 2018

Entire families, including women and children, must be helped up to the top of the railcars known as 'La Bestia' (The Beast), where they face exposure to the elements and extortion by criminal gangs lying in wait along the route north to the United States. Photo: IOM/ Keith Dannemiller 2014

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 4,432 in 2020; Deaths Reach 68. Focus on Greece

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 07:20

Geneva – IOM reports that 4,432 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea almost four weeks into the new year, down from the 5,266 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths, too are significantly down, at 68 men, women and children, compared with 216 at this point in January last year.  

Nonetheless, at least one telling statistic already has emerged: 63 of those 68 deaths have come on the Eastern Mediterranean route linking Greece and Turkey, which compares with 71 migrant deaths on the Aegean Sea route through the entire year 2019 (see chart below). 

IOM Greece 

Arrivals to Greece so far are continuing their rapid pace from a year ago. The 1,939 men, women and children arriving in Greece by sea through 22 January match the same total of arrivals for all of December 2019 and fall just 140 of the total for all of January 2019, and will certainly top both periods’ arrival numbers when the month ends later this week. Arrivals on this route in 2019 barely topped 2,000 per month through the year’s first four months and did not begin the current surge until mid-summer.  

If current trends hold, Greece may see an even busier migration from Turkey and the Eastern Mediterranean in 2020 than it did in 2019, when over 64,000 migrants and refugees arrived, the biggest surge since 2016. 

IOM Greece this month also reported final numbers by nationality for the 2019 arrivals. Afghanistan was the top country of origin for migrants entering, with 28,253 arrivals or about 45 per cent of all arrivals during the year. Many Afghan nationals are believed to have begun their journeys to the Mediterranean after spending many years in Iran.  

Syrian was the second largest source country on this route in 2019, with 16,019 arrivals. Iraq was the third largest country of origin with 3,396. 

Other top senders included the Palestinian Territories (3,190), Democratic Republic of the Congo (3,006), Somalia (2,624), Islamic Republic of Iran (2,106), Congo (1,067), Cameroon (931), Turkey (508) and Pakistan (415).   

IOM Athens also noted that the 2019 surge in arrivals is having an impact on Greece’s Aegean region, where in January 2019 the migrant population amounted to 14,500, while the current number in January 2020 has increased to 41,894 within the timespan of a single year. 

IOM added that, since last summer, the Organization has been actively supporting the Greek authorities in their decongestion efforts. The movement of vulnerable people arriving from the islands has been prioritized and they are being transferred to open accommodation facilities on the mainland. 

As in years past, the Eastern Mediterranean continues to be a preferred route for certain nationalities whose presence rarely register on either the Central or Western Mediterranean routes. Both the Republic of Congo (Brazzaville) and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa) are among the top senders, as is Cameroon and the Palestinian Territories. At the same time, prominent migrant nationalities such as Nigerians, Bangladeshis and Ethiopians are barely present and easily outnumbered by arrivals from much smaller countries such as Togo, Guinea and Kuwait.  

There also continues to be a tiny contingent of fewer than 100 migrants arriving from Latin America. In 2019 this group was dominated by Haiti and the Dominican Republic, with a handful of others from Venezuela, Ecuador and Perú.  

Meanwhile IOM is warning of a possible spill-over effect into the Western Balkans as people try to continue their journeys north into Europe.  

Sub-Regional Coordinator for the Western Balkans, Peter Van Der Auweraert noted: “There are now over 100,000 migrants registered in Greece in various different forms of accommodation, up more than 70 per cent over a year ago. Many desperately want to get to other EU countries, and some will – without any doubt – start moving in greater numbers as soon as the weather warms up and the mountains are clear of snow. But accommodation centres in both Serbia and Bosnia and Herzegovina are full to capacity so we need to get ready now, because we know we are going to face many challenges come springtime.” 

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

See contacts here

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 14:05Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Assistance Arrives for Thousands of Abyei Attack Survivors

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 07:13

Juba – At least 33 people, including women and children, were killed and an unknown number wounded during the attack in Kolom, nine kilometres from Abyei town last Wednesday. It is reported that children were abducted during the incident.  

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of life as a consequence of the events which have taken place in Kolom over the last week,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Chief of Mission in South Sudan. “We work with these communities and it is heart-breaking to witness what happened.” 

A rapid interagency assessment conducted on 24 January concluded roughly 4,000 people fled to Abyei town. The IOM missions in South Sudan and Sudan in partnership with the UN and international NGOs humanitarian communities have initiated a response.  Seventy households were provided with immediate humanitarian assistance, such as blankets, bed sheets and sleeping mats, jerricans, soap, plastic tarpaulins and rubber ropes for making temporary shelters.   

However, there are roughly 3,600 people at five other locations in Abyei town that still require urgent assistance. With support from the Core Pipeline Unit, IOM South Sudan’s central repository of relief supplies, more relief items including mosquito nets and solar lamps are being sent from Juba to Abyei by air and road this week. IOM is also coordinating the WASH assistance and started emergency latrine digging at Abyei boys secondary school where the majority 230 households from Kolom are sheltering. 

“In situations like these, we know that people flee in different directions,” said Asar Ul Haq, IOM South Sudan Programme Coordinator. “So far, our immediate response has only reached families displaced in Abyei centre, but we intend to support all households affected by this tragedy and the findings from the joint assessment will shed light on what help is needed, and where.”  

IOM has been working in the four counties that form the Abyei ‘box’ since 2010, responding to humanitarian emergencies and working with local communities, primarily the Misseriya and Ngok-Dinka, to mitigate conflict and build social cohesion between the two groups.   

Due to long standing tensions, violent clashes between the agro-pastoralist Ngok Dinka and the nomadic cattle herding Misseryia, whose seasonal grazing routes run through Abyei, have led to several waves of displacement of the Ngok Dinka community and the destruction of public infrastructure.   

“The recent attacks cast a dark cloud over efforts to hold a cattle migration conference intended to search for common ground for the amicable co-existence of the Misseriya and Ngok-Dinka, and to find solutions to mitigate fighting over the migration corridor and cattle raiding,” said Chauzy. 

IOM South Sudan transitional and recovery activities including flood response to roughly 8,000 households have had to temporarily halt.   

“This attack is a huge concern as it also sets back other lifesaving activities in Abyei region,” Chauzy said.  

For more information, please contact Liatile Putsoa at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211912380104, Email: lputsoa@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 28, 2020 - 14:20Image: Region-Country: South SudanSudanThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff in South Sudan prepare clothing and household items for distribution to survivors of the January 22 attack on the town of Kolom that claimed the lives of 33 people and forced thousands of others to flee to neighbouring Abyei town. Photo: IOM 2020

Survivors of the January 22 attack on the town of Kolom that claimed the lives of 33 people and forced thousands of others to flee to neighbouring Abyei town, leave an IOM distribution point carrying clothing and household items. Photo: IOM 2020

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Responds to Humanitarian Needs of Migrant Caravan in Guatemala

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 10:35

Guatemala City – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has provided food, medical care, housing, and transportation and facilitated the return of more than 140 migrants who voluntarily decided to go back to their countries of origin after arriving in Guatemala from Honduras, in the latest migrant caravan. 

The caravan, which departed from San Pedro Sula, Honduras on 14 January, was widely reported to have quickly grown to more than 4,000 people by the time it reached the Mexico-Guatemala border.  

Laura*, one of the migrants who requested IOM's support to return to Honduras, said had learned about the caravan from a television broadcast and decided to join the trek north towards Mexico. She explained why she  she was choosing to return voluntarily.  

“I used to work in an office, but salaries for women are very low there. That, and sexual harassment at work is what motivated me to leave the country,” she said. “I have decided to go back to Honduras because of my son. I'm traveling with him, and I can't put him in danger.” 

As part of its support to the Government of Guatemala, IOM has deployed a team to Ayutla, at the Tecun Umán border crossing, to provide technical assistance to authorities to help identify migrants who may require aid in returning to their communities of origin in Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua. According to IOM's Assisted Voluntary Return Programme (AVR) protocol, individuals must voluntarily express their desire to return and be assisted by the Organization during this process.  

Under this programme, IOM delivers and coordinates services such as meals, hygiene items, medical consultation shelter, and transportation for people who are stranded, contributing to the efforts of Guatemalan authorities and social organizations.  

IOM's AVR Programme was created to provide humanitarian aid to all migrants stranded worldwide. In Guatemala, this includes members of the caravan, as well as those who have arrived in the country under the Asylum Cooperation Agreement (ACA) signed between the governments of Guatemala and the United States.  

"The ACA deals with the specific matter of asylum and while it does not include or mention IOM, in compliance with our mandate we are on the ground to provide a humanitarian response to those people who have arrived under this agreement," said Jorge Peraza, IOM Head of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. 

"IOM makes sure that those who want to return to their country are not in imminent danger or face risks to their life, integrity, and dignity upon return," Peraza added.  

As part of the protocol used to manage these cases, IOM conducts psychosocial interviews with the beneficiaries, which has allowed for the identification of persons who require re-evaluation, more advice, information, and, where appropriate, assistance and protection. 

"IOM reiterates its commitment to continue providing humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, as well as to provide support to its Member States to improve their governance of migration to achieve a safe, orderly and regular migration," concluded Peraza. 

*Name has been changed for the protection of the migrant.  

For more information, please contact Melissa Vega, at IOM Guatemala, Email: mevega@iom.int, Tel: +502 2414 7410 

Language English Posted: Friday, January 24, 2020 - 17:32Image: Region-Country: GuatemalaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the 140 migrants who marched with the caravan have requested and received IOM’s support to return to Honduras. Photo: IOM/Alejandro Martínez 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

New Cooperation Agreement Among East, Horn of Africa States Address Overseas Worker Exploitation

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 09:29

Nairobi – The rescue last week of roughly 100 children and young Ugandan women here as they prepared to fly to United Arab Emirates to labour as domestic workers, reinforces the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime’s (UNODC) recent assessment that human trafficking has become a menace in East Africa over the past decade. 

The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) staff in Kenya are all too familiar with these sorts of cases. Last May 19 Ugandan girls were rescued and in Sept 2018, nearly 60 others were rescued as they prepared to board a flight to Oman. 

“Sadly, there are similar stories from countries across the region,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa.  

“It is important to ensure countries have policies and legislation in place to address the violations of migrant workers’ rights, smuggling and trafficking in persons as well as combatting organized crime.”  

A two-day forum of Labour and Social Protection Ministers and high-level government officials from the East and Horn of Africa this week signed a regional cooperation agreement that is an important step in that direction, making it harder for human traffickers to exploit young people looking for work in Gulf states. 

The agreement, finalized signed Tuesday at a forum hosted by the Kenyan government, with support from IOM and the International Labour Organisation (ILO), aims to harmonize labour migration policies in the region to make labour migration, safe, orderly and humane by establishing a common platform for engagement with the Gulf states and other countries that are major employers of African migrants. 

Attendees from Kenya, Burundi, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Uganda, and Tanzania.  

The lack of harmonized labour migration policies means migrants risk exploitation and abuse through unfair practices including excessive working hours, passport confiscation, confinement and denial of salary. 

Representatives also agreed to form a Regional Ministerial Labour and Social Protection Forum, with a rotational chairmanship. 

“This committee, with additional membership from development partners, will take the lead in driving the implementation of key agreements from the Forum,” said Kenya’s cabinet secretary for Labour and Social Protection Simon Chelugui. 

“It will also advise and provide progress reports to the ministers in charge of Labour Migration in the region on the Agenda of this and subsequent forums.” 

The ministers agreed to cooperate on the provision of diplomatic and consular assistance for migrant workers, especially in countries where some states did not have diplomatic representation, and committed themselves to expanding bilateral labour migration agreements beyond the level of unskilled workers, such as domestic workers, to incorporate other professionals. 

IOM recorded at least 140,000 people migrating on the Eastern route from the Horn of Africa to Yemen risking their lives in dangerous water crossings. These journeys usually start in Ethiopia’s rural communities of Oromia, Amhara, and Tigray regions, passing through Obock on Djibouti’s coast, or from Somalia’s Puntland region.

Yemen, however, is not their destination. Almost 90 percent of migrants arriving in Yemen last year were bound for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, whose long-established Ethiopian community comprises a considerable portion of some estimated five million undocumented migrants living in the kingdom.

IOM Regional Director Mohammed Abdiker, explained that the countries of the region face a challenging employment picture, and need to grow by at least 6 percent annually for the next two decades just to absorb a young, rapidly-growing work force.

“However, economic growth alone is not sufficient; it needs to be accompanied by structural transformation in the infrastructure and service sectors for true job creation,” Abdiker said.

“The lack of economic opportunity and the expectation to find better livelihoods elsewhere, continue to constitute two of the major push and pull factors for migration.”

For more information contact: Yvonne Ndege, Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Tel:  +2547 977 35977, Email: yndege@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, January 24, 2020 - 11:54Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: International and Regional CooperationLabour MigrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

As Ukraine’s Veterans Return Home, IOM Survey Finds Bias and Unfair Treatment

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 06:03

Kyiv— Some 370,000 military veterans currently are attempting to reintegrate into civilian life in Ukraine. Researchers from the International Organization for Migration surveyed over two thousand veterans and their family members last year between the months of July and October. Many reported facing unfair treatment.

Almost half of the veterans of the six-year conflict in eastern Ukraine suffer bias and mistreatment in their daily lives, with one third feeling excluded from society, according to a new study based on IOM’s survey which the which the International Organization for Migration released here Thursday (23 January) in Ukraine’s capital.

The survey—supported by European Union and the Ministry of Veterans Affairs, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons of Ukraine—revealed that bias to those questioned is most common when accessing medical or social services, or on public transport.

Additionally, three of four veterans believe that their experience can be understood only by those who have a military background.

One third of the male and almost half of the female veterans who had jobs before military service, returned home to find their jobs gone.

While many (67%) eventually found paid work, started businesses of their own or registered as private entrepreneurs, others cited a need for re-training and support in finding new income opportunities.

“The EU is very pleased to have funded this survey,” said Ambassador Matti Maasikas, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. “The results help authorities to understand better and to address the challenges that veterans face after they return from the battlefield.”

European Union funding has allowed IOM to support almost 800 veterans like Andrii (see sidebar, below) with training and equipment to develop their own small businesses.

“IOM is committed to supporting the reintegration of veterans and the well-being of their communities through socioeconomic recovery and psychosocial support that contributes to the restoration of trust, social cohesion and stability,” explained Anh Nguyen, Chief of Mission at IOM Ukraine.

IOM has implemented this EU-funded project, launched a year ago, in three pilot regions: Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Lviv. In addition to livelihood training and grants, the project supports social cohesion activities, such as sporting events and roundtables with local authorities.

Qualified psychological assistance is provided by professionals, who were specifically trained in psychosocial support for veterans and their families.

The Secret Gardener 

Andrii is a radio engineer by profession, who did a year-long stint as a navy seal in the east of Ukraine. Upon returning home, he wanted to earn a living again, but his health was severely affected: “During my time at the front I had to settle in for the night in all sorts of conditions, from deep snow to impenetrable swamps. We had to spend up to ten days in the field with a 50 kg backpack.” Andrii decided to do follow his secret passion. As a veteran, he got a plot of land near his parents’ house, and within a few weeks, with the help of his father, it was cleared of shrubs Now the former Ukrainian navy seal has two greenhouses with a total area of 500 square metres where he cultivates flowers, lettuce and cucumbers. Together with his partners Andrii is also engaged in landscaping, pruning gardens, and lawn care. As part of an EU-funded grant from IOM, Andrii received a lawn mower, pruning shears and other gardening equipment. “When a person is non-stop stressed for a year and a half, they need a little peace and quiet. They say that plants help reduce stress. You go to your garden, you sit a little on the swing, and you feel relieved,” he says.

“Guided by the principle ‘nothing for the veterans without veterans’, we deeply value studies such as these as they allow us to implement data-based programmes and policies,” said Oksana Koliada, Ukraine’s Minister of Veterans Affairs.

Later this winter, IOM and EU will launch a public campaign to tackle the stereotypes affecting Ukrainian society’s perception of veterans.

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

Language English Posted: Friday, January 24, 2020 - 12:53Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Andrii, a Ukrainian navy seal turned gardener, is one of 800 veterans supported by IOM with funds from EU to find new income opportunities. Photo: IOM / Volodymyr Shuvayev

Andrii, a Ukrainian navy seal turned gardener, is one of 800 veterans supported by IOM with funds from EU to find new income opportunities. Photo: IOM / Volodymyr Shuvayev

Ambassador Matti Maasikas, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine and Anh Nguyen, IOM Chief of Mission in Ukraine

Iryna Loktieva, National Monitoring System Project Specialist at IOM Ukraine and Therese Rosenfeld, Programme Officer at IOM Ukraine.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over One Million Ethiopians Received Humanitarian Aid from IOM in 2019

Fri, 01/24/2020 - 06:00

Addis Ababa – Shitaye Assefa, a 65-year-old mother in Ethiopia’s Oromia Regional State, knows what it means to live without a reliable supply of water.

“Our daughters faced many hardships and attacks on the way to the water pond, which was often dirty and not healthy enough to drink but we had no other option,” she said.

Before the International Organization for Migration (IOM) rehabilitated water wells in her home district, Shitaye had to walk long distances in search of water. Today, she is one of approximately one million Ethiopians who received humanitarian assistance from IOM last year.

“Now we can access clean water nearby and our children can go to school without worrying about getting water to the family,” said Shitaye.

Of the one million beneficiaries, more than 620,000 people received water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services. These included newly constructed latrines, hygiene kits inclusive of menstrual hygiene management items, and safe access to water through the construction and rehabilitation of water wells, springs and water schemes.

In addition to WASH services, IOM provided shelter construction and other emergency items to vulnerable populations, primarily in Somali and Oromia Regional States.

The Organization also worked with communities and local institutions to promote safe hygiene practices and construct new WASH facilities in schools and health facilities.

An estimated 360,000 people were provided with non-food items (NFI) including emergency shelter and cooking materials. Nearly 73,000 beneficiaries received shelter support through communal structures and transitional shelters. These efforts mostly benefited formerly displaced populations in Oromia and Somali regions who are now returning home.

“This health post was demolished when conflict broke out a couple of years ago; as you can see now it has been rehabilitated into an even better structure than it was before,” said Hirba Hituke, Kercha District Health Post Manager.

IOM is also finalizing the construction of a reservoir that will provide clean water to the community in this area.

“Safe and well-constructed water facilities are crucial to effectively prevent waterborne diseases for affected populations throughout Ethiopia,” said Fioretto Tabata, IOM Ethiopia WASH & Shelter/NFI Program Manager.

The Organization hopes to continue this effort over 2020 and address the needs of the most vulnerable.

IOM provided this assistance in 2019 with the financial support from European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations , UN Central Emergnency Relief Fund, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, the Government of Germany, the Government of Japan, the Office of U.S. Foreign Disaster Assistance, and Shelter Box.

For further information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 6611117 (Ext. 455), Mobile: +251 91 163 9082, Email: salemayehu@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, January 24, 2020 - 12:52Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

A beneficiary receives hygiene kits in Southern Nations and Nationalities and People’s Region in Ethiopia. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Weekend Attack on Humanitarian Hub to Instill Fear, Intimidate, IOM Says

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 11:10

Ngala - On 18 January, non-state armed groups stormed a humanitarian facility in Ngala town, some 124 kilometers from Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state. Although all United Nations humanitarians in the facility – including three IOM staff – were reported safe, an entire section of the facility was burned down as well as one of the few vehicles used by humanitarians to deliver aid.

“The intended effect of this is to instill fear in the local population and intimidate the humanitarian actors working in north-east Nigeria,” said IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission Franz Celestin.

The targeted facility is one of nine humanitarian hubs in Borno managed by IOM. Humanitarian hubs provide operating environments for aid workers in deep field locations, including accommodation, office and connectivity services. These spaces are critical for a sustained and effective humanitarian response in Nigeria.

 “These (humanitarian) hubs are the ultimate enablers to allow the humanitarian workers to improve the quality of the response by allowing them enough time on the ground to do what they're supposed to do. Prior to the hubs, humanitarian workers could only go on day trips, so they'd go one day at a time to deliver services.”

The attack comes just 11 days after members of a non-state armed group (NSAG) infiltrated Monguno town. Two children, an adult male and one adult female were killed in the attack on a camp for internally displaced people. In addition, several injured people are currently receiving medical attention at a nearby clinic run by ALIMA, an international non-governmental organization.

That deadly attack left 2,728 people homeless. According to an IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report, more than 300 shelters and properties belonging to the affected individuals were destroyed.

The ongoing conflict in north-east Nigeria continues to claim the lives of innocent people, and increasingly, of humanitarian workers. In 2019, twelve aid workers lost their lives, twice the number of deaths in the previous year.

DTM provides detailed and up-to-date information on characteristics and needs of crisis-affected populations registration and profiling of displaced populations in camp and camp-like settings, flow monitoring exercises and reports, as well as the provision of detailed infrastructural information on areas of return through village assessment surveys. DTM reports and tools can be found here

Read statement of Edward Kallon, the UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Nigeria here

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo, IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 906 273 9168, Email: jgalindo@iom.int

Bereavement Support Crucial Following Deadly Attack in North-East Nigeria

Maiduguri – Aid workers from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week are continuing to provide assistance to the survivors of a 7 January attack on a camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Monguno town in north-east Nigeria that killed two adults and two children. The assistance, which has been provided to 130 people so far, includes counselling, psychological first aid and referrals to other services such as food and health within the Government Senior Science Secondary School (GSSSS) camp.

The attack on the camp left over 2,700 people homeless.

“Bereavement support is provided to people who are experiencing a loss, be it the loss of someone dear to them or loss of property,” explained Gladys Cheruto Kios, IOM Nigeria Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) Programme Coordinator.

“This emotional support is not a one-time event, but a process offered during the grieving session to come to terms with a tragic event.”

Mental health and psychosocial support are key components of humanitarian interventions in north-east Nigeria, a region that has been ravaged by conflict for over a decade. IOM first applied MHPSS services in Monguno over two years ago, in August 2017.

The humanitarian crisis in north-east Nigeria has claimed the lives of over 36,000 people, including 12 aid workers in 2019 alone. Over seven million people remain in need of urgent lifesaving assistance in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa.

Monguno town is home to 159,542 IDPs including 52,784 children. IOM provides shelter solutions, non-food items, water, sanitation and hygiene, mental health and psychosocial support and camp coordination and camp management to displaced populations living in the area. In 2019 alone, Monguno suffered a total of nine attacks by non-state armed groups.

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 21, 2020 - 18:02Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Residents from an IDP camp at Monguno attend a focus-group discussion. Photo: Mshelia Yakubu/IOM

More than 300 shelters and properties belonging to the affected individuals in an IDP camp at Monguno, were destroyed. Photo: Ibrahim Muazu/IOM 

More than 300 shelters and properties belonging to the affected individuals in an IDP camp at Monguno, were destroyed. Photo: Ibrahim Muazu/IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Second International Forum on Migration Statistics calls for more evidence-based dialogue

Mon, 01/20/2020 - 14:49

Cairo – “I have put migration data at the centre of my vision for IOM, and have committed to strengthening the Organization’s engagement in this area over the next years,” IOM Director General António Vitorino told the second International Forum on Migration Statistics (IFMS) during opening ceremonies here this past weekend.  

Organized jointly by the International Organization for Migration, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) brought over 700 delegates from more than 90 countries to its unique space for dialogue, information-sharing and networking for a broad range of actors hosted by the Egyptian Government, which currently chairs the African Union (AU).  

Added DG Vitorino: “We as experts, practitioners and decision-makers have a collective responsibility to ensure that reliable facts and robust evidence are not only produced but also used appropriately and intelligently to steer policy and programmes and to combat an often-pervasive misinformation about migration.”  

Delegates representing national and regional authorities, NGOs, international agencies and the private sector have gathered in Cairo with the aim of building and strengthening migration data capacities around the world. The three-day event at the InterContinental Citystars Hotel in Cairo concludes Tuesday (21/01).  

Mr. Sameh Shoukry, Egyptian Foreign Minister, stated: "Owning and relying on data in policy making is a key guarantee of proper international cooperation in the management and governance of human migration, and to enhance the contribution of migrants to development on a basis that respects their rights, legal frameworks and meets the needs of the international labour market, in addition to supporting the efforts of the international community to address some of the root causes of migration such as conflict, economic and social crises and environmental change.”  

The Forum is organized around six thematic areas including measuring progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other global commitments as well as data innovation. Several sessions will explore the potential of using “big data” to compliment the analysis of human mobility and migration flows as well as ways to address internal displacement through innovative monitoring tools.   

"This conference comes at an important and significant time,” noted Egyptian General Khairat Barakat, Head of the Central Authority for Public Mobilization and Statistics. “Migration data constitutes a key segment of human resources, manpower information and cross-border groups. It also establishes controls for coordination between migration data producers to enable them to make the most of the data.”   

IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) Director Frank Laczko, will speak at the closing plenary session on the next steps after the Forum. Other IOM representatives speaking at the Forum include Michele Klein Solomon, IOM Director of the Policy Hub and Marina Manke, IOM Head of Labour Mobility and Human Development Division.  

The inaugural IFMS took place in January 2018 at the OECD Headquarters in Paris. IFMS aims to  foster continuous discussion on global processes and enhance exchange between producers and users of migration data. The event is supported by partner organizations including ILO, UNHCR, UNODC, European Commission, UNFPA, and UNECE.  

For more information, please contact Stylia Kampani at IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), Tel: +491601791536, Email: skampani@iom.int or Omar Awwad at IOM Egypt, Tel: +20 1032 049 144 , Email: oawwad@iom.int   

Language English Posted: Monday, January 20, 2020 - 14:42Image: Region-Country: EgyptThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General António Vitorino told the second International Forum on Migration Statistics (IFMS) during opening ceremonies.  Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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