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Updated: 7 min 37 sec ago

Three Years On, Kilip Villagers Continue to Thrive with IOM, USAID, European Commission Support

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 10:41

Port Moresby – A United States Government delegation visited Kilip community over the weekend (03/08), eager to see the sustainable water supply and climate resilient agriculture project installed here in 2016 in response to the El Niño-induced drought. 

As part of its project, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) drilled 17 boreholes, giving access to safe drinking water to over 65,000 people across three provinces, namely Jiwaka, Enga and Chimbu.

Jointly funded by USAID and the European Commission, IOM’s Enhancing Climate-Resilient Agriculture and Water Supply in Drought-Affected Communities in Papua New Guinea project targeted the most-affected villages in the three provinces.

IOM also conducted participatory health and hygiene education instruction to some 15,777 beneficiaries in the communities most affected by drought. Also, part of the project: Pump-minder trainings for selected 30 community members in the targeted areas, where IOM equipped beneficiaries with practical skills, tools and personal protective gear to carry out maintenance for 17 boreholes, which will help guarantee their maintenance and sustainability.

These pump-minder trainings were complemented by water-user committee awareness, held for the selected 150 community champions to ensure local ownership and equity of access to the water sites.

Three years on, Kilip villagers and neighbouring communities continue to experience the benefits under the project.

During the visit by the US Government delegation, community members highlighted several benefits arising from the project including improved food security, access to safe drinking water and a decline in disease outbreaks. “Our children would always get sick in the past. We no longer visit the clinics regularly like we did before you [IOM] came to Kilip community. The education IOM gave us, and the borehole you drilled here benefits over 5,000 people in Kilip. We are a healthy community,” said one beneficiary.

IOM also implemented a sustainable agriculture intervention through technical trainings to 100 master farmers that reflect the understanding and improvement of the local and indigenous farming practices. The training focused on promoting community resilience while encouraging the use of locally developed hybrid varieties of crops and vegetables.

Enhancing the resilience of local communities and building the capacity of local farmers in sustainable agricultural practices is contributing to long-lasting impacts. Beneficiaries of rice farming (training, tools and seeds distribution) now are recording three harvests each year and reporting improved food security and resilient livelihood.

The rice farmers were proud of the 20 tonnes of rice their farms have yielded and noted that as their capacity to harvest rice grows, their ability to process rice was limited. They thus requested support for additional milling capability.

For more information please contact IOM Port Moresby. Lance Bonneau, Tel: +675 3213655, Email: or Peter Murorera, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: Papua New GuineaThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeMigration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM PNG Chief of Mission, USAID representatives and Kilip community members pose for a photo at the IOM support water point. Photo: IOM/Tomoko Sato

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

‘One Migrant – One Tree’: Over 100 Migrants Plant Trees on Niger’s Independence Day

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 10:38

Niamey – Niger’s economy is largely dependent on subsistence agriculture, making it vulnerable to adverse climatic conditions. It is estimated that more than 100,000 hectares of arable land are lost each year in Niger due to desertification. Periodic droughts and floods – as well as land degradation caused by overgrazing – aggravate existing vulnerabilities and put Niger’s population at risk.

Since 1975, Niger has celebrated National Arbor Day on 3 August – which also is the country’s Independence Day – by encouraging citizens to plant trees and organize environmental events. Both are essential to combating desertification across the country.

To mark the day, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) supported the initiative “One Migrant – One Tree” which saw more than 100 migrants from IOM’s transit centres in Niamey, as well as members of disadvantaged neighbourhoods, plant trees this past Saturday.

“Often people look at us as being a nuisance or a burden,” says Ousmane, 19, a migrant from the Central African Republic, who is staying at IOM’s transit centre in Niamey. “It’s good that we have the opportunity today to show that we can also help, that we can make a difference. These trees are proof; they will be the legacy we leave behind in Niger.”

The initiative “One Migrant – One Tree” supported by the European Union, within the framework of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism, is part of Project All Migrants, managed by JEMED, Jeunesse en Mission Entraide et Développement (Youth in Mission for Mutual Aid and Development) since 2014.

JEMED is a Christian non-governmental organization that supports the Niger government's efforts in its fight against food insecurity and environmental degradation due to climate change. As part of the organization’s activities, JEMED assists migrants in transit who reside in poor neighbourhoods in Niamey. The organization provides food, non-food items and medical assistance when needed, but also organizes outreach activities and, upon request, refers migrants to relevant organizations or one of IOM’s transit centres in Niamey.

To mark the 44th anniversary of National Arbor Day in Niger, 70 migrants staying in disadvantaged neighbourhoods were mobilized, along with 30 migrants from IOM’s transit centres in Niamey. As recommended by the authorities, the species chosen were mango trees or other species which provide shade. They were planted in the courtyard of school No. 5 in Niamey’s Koubia neighbourhood.

“It’s important to include migrants in such initiatives and make them feel valued in their host communities,” said minister Paul Abdoulaye Zagre, founder of Project All Migrants. “On one hand, we are working towards saving the environment; on the other, we are creating a fraternal bond between migrants and community members.  At the end of the day, we are more similar than we care to admit.”
This newly created green space will provide a better living environment for the school’s students, while also enabling them to grow an eco-conscious mentality. The students, along with the teachers, were sensitized during the day on environmental issues and climate change, but also on how to take care of the newly planted trees.

“This is a great opportunity for migrants and community members to come together and work towards the same goal,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “We are happy to work with JEMED on this day of learning and awareness-raising about important issues such as the environment, while we create strong bonds between different members of the community.”
During the one-day activity, the migrants had the chance to discuss their migration journeys and hopes for the future. “This is a wonderful initiative. Not only will the planting of these trees make a big difference for children going to our school, it is also an opportunity for us to meet people from all over the continent,” added Adamou, 36, who lives in the neighbourhood. “This is a good reminder that in the end, we are all brothers.”
To address the economic issues related to land degradation, IOM also implements a community stabilization project in Agadez, funded by the United Nations Convention to Combat Desertification (UNCCD), which aims to integrate migrants in host communities and facilitate the restoration of degraded lands.

Through the same project and with support from UK’s Department of International Development (DFID), IOM also provides one-week training sessions in agricultural techniques for migrants staying at IOM’s transit centre in Agadez, as they wait for their departure through the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeMigration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

 More than 100 migrants met on National Arbor Day to plant trees together. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Partners with Asiacell to Support Economic Recovery in Iraq

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 10:38

Erbil — The ISIL conflict displaced 6 million people in Iraq, disrupted the national economy and limited employment opportunities for citizens. Sixty per cent of jobs in Iraq are in the private sector, within Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs); very large numbers of those businesses experienced loss as a result of the conflict and need support to rebuild.

In Fallujah, for example, an International Organization for Migration (IOM) market assessment found that 69 per cent of construction businesses and 66 per cent of food-related businesses saw their workshops looted or burned between 2014 and 2017. Mosul and numerous other areas also showed high levels of damage and limited access to finance – challenges that the Enterprise Development Fund (EDF) is designed to help businesses overcome.

On Monday (05/08), IOM Iraq signed a memorandum of understanding with telecommunications company Asiacell to support innovation under the EDF – a livelihoods programme that contributes to economic recovery and private sector revitalization through tailored support to Small and Medium Enterprises.

The innovation component (EDFi) supports early-stage tech businesses and tech start-ups in Iraq that can contribute to the local economy and create jobs for young people in the tech sector.

“We strongly believe that the engagement of the private sector is a necessary condition for successful and sustainable economic recovery and job creation,” said IOM Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “IOM Iraq looks forward to a long, productive collaboration with Asiacell, as we work to expand job creation and improve economic opportunities across Iraq.”

“Today marks the start of a strategic partnership between Asiacell and IOM that will bring the EDFi into effect in Iraq,” added Asiacell CEO Amer Sunna. “Asiacell looks forward to contributing to the development of youth skills and capabilities and setting the foundation for a powerful and sustainable economy.”

EDF aims to restore essential economic infrastructure by providing financial capital to SMEs in economic sectors that were successful prior to the conflict but suffered loss and damage and have a high demand for labour. By targeting key sectors and providing necessary funding, the EDF encourages rapid but also large-scale job creation. The fund has received hundreds of applications since the pilot phase was launched in September 2018, and 142 business grants have been approved to date.

“After the liberation of Mosul, I sold a small plot of land that I owned and tried my best to reopen my factory,” explained Moufaq Ahmed Mohamed, an EDF beneficiary and owner of an oxygen plant. “I started with only two workers. Later, I received a grant from IOM which enabled me to buy a generator which is crucial to my work.”

“[Before that] I frequently lost hours of work due to sudden power outages,” he continued. “This generator was a boon to my factory; I have been able to produce more, enabling me to hire more people and expand to 11 workers — which means feeding 11 families. This makes me very happy; this kind of support for the private sector contributes to the revival and rebuilding of Mosul.”

EDF forms part of IOM’s work in support of the people and Government of Iraq to promote sustainable recovery across the country.

IOM Iraq’s EDF is supported by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM); the European Commission’s Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO); KfW, the German Development Bank; the Government of the Netherlands; and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

For more information please contact Rawan Saed at IOM Iraq, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

The Enterprise Development Fund (EDF) is a livelihoods programme that contributes to economic recovery and private sector revitalization through tailored support to Small and Medium Enterprises in Iraq. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Welcomes Colombia’s Decision to Recognize Nationality by Birth to Children Born in the Country to Venezuelan Parents

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 10:38

Bogotá – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) welcomes the decision made by the Government of Colombia granting nationality to children born in the country, to Venezuelan parents. This measure will benefit more than 24,000 children who are at risk of statelessness.

With this exceptional and temporary administrative measure announced yesterday (05/08) by the President of Colombia, Iván Duque, the Government confirms its commitment to both human rights and international conventions, by guaranteeing boys and girls the right to a nationality, regardless of their migratory status.

“This resolution is a contribution towards regular and safe migration, which hopefully will facilitate the recognition of the fundamental rights of Venezuelan children, as well as contribute to their integration into the society,” said Ana Durán Salvatierra, IOM Colombia Chief of Mission.

The resolution will enter into force on 20 August 2019 and will be applied to children born in Colombian territory since 19 August 2015. The Government of Colombia will contribute to prevent this vulnerable population from becoming stateless, representing a very important step to guarantee its integral protection.

IOM, together with the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State, will technically support the Colombian National Registry Office in the implementation of this resolution, as well as in the dissemination of the campaign Primero la Niñez.

The campaign seeks to inform the targeted population on how to access this measure, what procedures to follow, the date of entry into force of the initiative, as well as the role of the different entities.

According to Migración Colombia through its Administrative Special Unit, as of 30 June 2019, more than 1.4 million Venezuelans are in Colombia, being the first receiving country in the region.

In its efforts to support the Government in this campaign, IOM is joined by other United Nations agencies, namely the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF).

For more information, please contact IOM Colombia: Andrea López Pinilla, Email: or Karen Mora, Tel: + (57) 1 639 7777, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: ColombiaThemes: Migrants RightsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Campaign poster for Primero la Niñez.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 39,289 in 2019; Deaths Reach 840

Tue, 08/06/2019 - 10:31

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 39,289 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 4 August, roughly a 34 per cent decrease from the 59,271 arriving during the same period last year.

Arrivals this year to Greece and Spain are at 18,947 and 13,568, respectively, (32,515 combined) accounting for almost 83 per cent of the regional total, with the balance arriving in much smaller numbers to Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Arrivals to Greece are running approximately 16 per cent ahead of 2018’s totals from this time. Arrivals to Spain are almost 43 per cent lower.

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost seven months of 2019 are at 840 individuals – or about 45 per cent of the 1,517 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 ( see chart below).

The 840 deaths at sea do not include, however, 20 persons reportedly drowned over the weekend. IOM Italy’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported late Monday that 49 migrants arrived in Lampedusa earlier in the day without escort – that is, apparently without any rescue effort by official units or NGO operations – stating that the arriving migrants saw at least 20 fellow passengers fall into the sea during their journey. The survivors came mainly from Côte d'Ivoire.

Missing Migrants Project

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project (MMP). Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 32,595 individuals, including 1,637 in 2019, through 4 August (see chart below).

Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher. MMP 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.

Since the start of the year, about half of all global fatalities have occurred on three routes across the Mediterranean. These deaths are included among the 18,757 fatalities recorded by the Missing Migrants Project since 2014.

Several tragedies in the Mediterranean were documented since last week’s update. In the Central Mediterranean, an estimated 150 people lost their lives in a shipwreck off the coast of Al Khums, Libya, on 25 July. Approximately 134 survivors were rescued by fishermen and returned to the shore by the Libyan Coast Guard. In the days following the shipwreck, the remains of 43 people were recovered, while 107 people remain missing and unaccounted for.

In the Western Mediterranean, a young Algerian man reportedly went missing while trying to swim around the heavily guarded border fence separating Morocco and the Spanish exclave of Ceuta near El Tarajal.

IOM Yemen reported that 93 Ethiopian migrants were travelling on a boat from Djibouti to Yemen when it broke down. Around 26 of those on board where under the age of 18. They were stranded in the Gulf of Aden for one week without food or water. Survivors who managed to reach the shore in Al Buraiqeh, Yemen reported that around 15 of those onboard died, either of dehydration, starvation or drowning at sea.

In Europe, the remains of a man were found on 28 July on the Evros/Meriç river in the north-eastern Evros region, at the land border with Turkey. Since the start of 2019, MMP has documented the deaths of 14 people in this river, which forms a natural border between Greece and Turkey. In 2018, 55 fatalities were recorded on this border, compared with 14 over 2014–2017. Additionally, two deaths were reported in Bosnia and Herzegovina, near the border with Croatia: on 31 July, a young Algerian man was found dead near the town of Velika Kladuša, while a day later, on 1 August, a man of unknown nationality was hit by a train near Bihac.

In Mexico, a Salvadoran man was shot on 31 July, when he was attempting to climb onto a freight train in Saltillo, Coahuila. This incident was reported by the migrant shelter in Saltillo, where he had stayed with his eight-year-old son for a few days before continuing their journey north. He is among the 75 people recorded dead or missing by MMP in the region since the start of the year, of which 12 were children.

Of the recorded deaths this year, 21 per cent were due to violence. Additionally, in Mexico’s southern state of Chiapas, a 46-year-old Cuban man died on 2 August, apparently from cardiac arrest while walking the streets of Tapachula.

On the US-Mexico border, at least 27 people have died during the month of July, while six deaths have already been recorded since 1 August.

Most recently, the remains of three people who died of dehydration were found in different counties in Arizona, including those of two young women. In ranch lands of Maverick County, Texas, authorities recovered the remains of two men who died from dehydration between 31 July and 2 August. At the Lordsburg Border Patrol Station in New Mexico, a 32-year-old man from El Salvador died within hours of being apprehended near El Paso by US Border Patrol agents. He was travelling with his 11-year-old daughter – they wanted to join her mother, who lives in the US.

Several drownings also were reported in the Río Bravo/Rio Grande over the past few days: US authorities recovered the remains of a man in Hidalgo County on 25 July, while Mexican civil protection authorities retrieved one body in Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila on 28 July. They recovered three more bodies between 29 July and 2 August, in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. In Reynosa, the remains of two men were recovered from the banks of the river on 2 August. IOM estimates that at least 228 people have died on the US-Mexico border in 2019. When looking at data compiled over time, 2,135 people have been recorded dead or missing along this border since the Missing Migrants Project started collecting data in 2014.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project this year also has reported a sharp increase in the number of Venezuelan nationals who have died during migration since 2014, when the Missing Migrants researchers began documenting migrant fatalities worldwide.

From 2014 through 2016, MMP recorded a total of 7 fatalities of Venezuelans, zero in 2017, before recording a jump to 42 through all last year. Half of those 2018 fatalities occurred at sea between Venezuela and the Netherlands Antilles islands of Curaçao and Aruba.

In 2019, through just six and a half months, 82 fatalities have been recorded, or nearly twice those recorded all last year, and almost 60 per cent of all deaths reported of Venezuelan migrants since 2014. (see chart below).

In total, MMP has recorded the deaths of 137 Venezuelan nationals since 2014. Those fatalities were recorded in the following countries:  Curaçao, Aruba, the US-México border, Colombia, Ecuador, Trinidad and Tobago and Brazil.

In total, at least 485 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 358 recorded through this point in 2018 – an increase of roughly 35 per cent.

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

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

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, August 6, 2019 - 16:17Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

More than 750 Youths Trained in Entrepreneurship and Business Management

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 07:01

Tenkodogo - "I want to do business in poultry farming. I already have the skills, but no funds. I am very proud because I didn’t know where to find the partners, but thanks to this event, I now have the information I needed. I think I will have the funds to start my business, "says Isabelle Zougmoré.

Isabelle is one of 750 youths who were trained in entrepreneurship and business management as part of the project Youth, Employment and Migration implemented by IOM in the Centre-East region of Burkina Faso. The Centre-East is the most affected region by irregular migration in Burkina Faso.

Facing unemployment and poverty, many youths “bras valides” (able arms) from the Centre-East opt to migrate, often risking their lives for a chance at better economic opportunities for themselves and their families. In 2018, 56 per cent of migrants assisted with voluntary return to Burkina Faso came from this region. 

To reduce this phenomenon, 750 youths from the region were trained in entrepreneurship and small business management in various areas, including farming, agriculture, trade and crafts. However, only half of them (375) received funding to realize their activities through the project. To help the other 375 trainees raise necessary, IOM organized an Entrepreneurship and Networking Day event on 27 July 2019 aiming at connecting youths with financial institutions likely to support their projects.

"The development of the region should not be done for the youths, but by the youths”, said Marie-Stella Ndiaye, Project Manager for IOM. “Young people are the solution and not the problem. It’s only through this strength and their commitment that we’ll succeed”, she added at the opening of the event.

The Entrepreneurship and Networking Day brought together entrepreneurs, youths, business promoters, representatives of banks, microfinance institutions and civil society organizations. It was also the opportunity for youths, local authorities and financial institutions to share experiences, and reflect on how to create an economic and solidarity-based ecosystem conducive to the promotion of youth entrepreneurship in the region.

The opening ceremony chaired by the High Commissioner of the province of Boulgou, Mr. Boukary Sawadogo, representing the Governor of the region and sponsored by the Mayor of Tenkodogo, Harouna Welogo mobilized around 375 young microenterprises promoters, representatives of banks, microfinance institutions and civil society organizations.

"The meeting allowed us to have information on various funding opportunities and the conditions to meet in order to access them", says Eric YAO, one of the participants.

The Youth, Employment and Migration project is implemented with the support of the Governments of Italy and the Kingdom of Belgium. It aims at strengthening the employability and entrepreneurship capacities of youths most at risk to migrate irregularly. As part of the project, a study [in French] on profitable niche-markets in the region was conducted.

An awareness raising campaign on the risks and dangers of irregular migration was also organized, reaching more than 36 000 people in the region. In addition to that, the 375 young people selected for funding have received technical and vocational training in the various sectors of activity in which they intend to do business including breeding, gardening, catering, mechanics, welding, carpentry, etc. These trainings aim at strengthening their abilities and their technical skills to succeed in their respective businesses.

For more information, please contact  Marie Stella NDIAYE, Project Manager (Email:;  Mobile: +22656587471),  Emmanuel KANSIE, Communication Assistant (Email: ; Mobile: +22674938024), or visit


Language English Posted: Friday, August 2, 2019 - 11:15Image: Region-Country: Burkina FasoThemes: Migration and DevelopmentMigration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

A woman visits a stand at the Entrepreneurship and Networking Day in Tenkodogo. Photo: IOM

Participants at the opening ceremony of the Entrepreneurship and Networking Day in Tenkodogo. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Hijrah Talk: A New Dialogue around Migration in the Middle East and North Africa

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 06:54

Cairo – “Hijrah Talk”, a talk show using digital platforms to challenge misconceptions around migration, was launched on 29 July by IOM’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).  

The production aims to spread fact-based dialogue around migration across 22 Arab countries and throughout the Mediterranean region.  The format consists mainly of short video interviews with experts answering questions that address popular myths surrounding migration. The goal is to help unpack some of these views, thus better understand a more realistic view of migration.  

The bi-lingual name – “Hijrah”, in Arabic (for Migration), plus “Talk” – encourages both English and Arabic speakers to watch and interact.  

“We’re facing today a critical issue of trust. People are certainly less interested in the usual institutional messages,” said Leonard Doyle, IOM Head Media and Communications Division and Spokesperson. “Trust with the audience is built when we start speaking their language, reflecting their concerns, and balancing the dialogue to bring together misconceptions and facts, misinformation and information,” he added.  

“By providing the public with easy access to data pertaining to the scale, scope, and socioeconomic context of migration trends, especially on a regional scale and with a gender balanced approach, Hijrah Talk will help create a medium to demystify some of the misconceptions around migration,” said Senior Regional Liaison and Policy Officer Kristina Mejo. “This talk show was founded with the objective of bridging the gap between the populist discourse and migration research,” she added.  

IOM MENA’s regional media and public information strategy focuses on public perceptions and discourse around migration in the region.  

Regional Media and Public Information Officer for MENA Farah Abdul Sater explained how “in MENA, adults who live in countries with the highest unemployment rates show the most negative attitudes towards migration to their countries. While in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, which have high percentages of temporary migrant workers, among nationals and Arab expatriates interviewed, a relatively small percentage of people want migration levels to decrease and a high share want levels to increase or stay the same.” 

“Understanding such nuances between countries is important to balance the dialogue. However, optimizing existing positive discourse entry points is even more important,” added Abdul Sater.  “For example, younger people globally are more likely to have an opinion about migration. They are more likely to favor increasing immigration levels. Hijrah Talk’s digital format and simple language is tailored to engage more young adults in MENA.” 

Hijrah Talk premiered on the regional office’s social media pages, including YouTube. The choice of the video format responds to global audience preferences, and the decrease of individual attention span. Six episodes will air between July and October, and each episode will be translated to Arabic, thus allowing local audiences to comment and interact. 

As IOM, “Our role is not to preach to the usual public of supporters,” said Laurent de Boeck, IOM Egypt Chief of Mission. “It is rather to bring the right information to the misinformed public, and to create a constructive dialogue about migration. That’s the power of Hijrah Talk.” 

To watch Hijrah Talk’s first episode please visit IOM’s Regional YouTube Channel. 

For further information, please contact IOM’s Regional Media and Public Information Unit, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, August 2, 2019 - 12:36Image: Region-Country: EgyptThemes: IOMOthersDefault: Multimedia: 

From left: IOM Egypt Chief of Mission Laurent de Boeck, IOM Senior Regional Liaison and Policy Officer Kristina Mejo, and IOM Head Media and Communications Division and Spokesperson Leonard Doyle at the launch of “Hijrah Talk” last 29 July by IOM’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).  

IOM’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) launches the “Hijrah Talk”, a talk show using digital platforms to challenge misconceptions around migration last 29 July. Photo: IOM

IOM’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) launches the “Hijrah Talk”, a talk show using digital platforms to challenge misconceptions around migration last 29 July. Photo: IOM

IOM’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) launches the “Hijrah Talk”, a talk show using digital platforms to challenge misconceptions around migration last 29 July. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ethiopia IOM Participates in Planting of World Record-breaking 353 Million Trees in One Day

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 06:36

Addis Ababa – Responding to Ethiopian Prime Minister Dr. Abiy Ahmed’s call to break the Guinness World Record in a nationwide reforestation initiative, 353 million trees were planted in one day this week (Monday, 29 July 2019) in Ethiopia. 

Entitled the “Green Legacy” project, this effort began with a goal of planting 200 million trees in one day – but enthusiasm was so great, that target was nearly doubled. Over 50 staff from IOM Ethiopia and other UN colleagues participated in the planting at Gullele Botanical Garden in Addis Ababa – one of the 1,000 designated planting sites of the ambitious initiative.  

The record was previously held by India for planting over 50 million trees in one day in 2016.  

These 353 million saplings are part of a wider 4 billion tree-planting initiative currently underway in Ethiopia. Over 2.9 billion trees already have been planted since the initiative began this past May. It is part of the country’s bid to fight against lost forest resources and help mitigate climate change, and contributes to Ethiopia’s green economy strategy. 

"A reforested Ethiopia is a critical mitigation measure in the face of climate change; an increasingly key driver of mobility in this region. It therefore gives us great pleasure to take part in this reforestation initiative – IOM is proud to be part of the journey towards a greener Ethiopia,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia’s Chief of Mission and Representative to the AU, ECA and IGAD. 

IOM welcomed the invitation to participate, with volunteers embracing the task of helping to plant saplings. To ensure sustainability of the initiative, the nationwide monitoring of seedlings has been affirmed by the Ethiopian Minister of Agriculture. 

PM Abiy’s initiative links closely with key environmental targets as laid out in the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).  

Green Legacy also links with IOM’s Migration, Environment and Climate Change (MECC) programming, as climate change is known to be one of the key driving factors of forced migration in Ethiopia – where people are forced to move as their old place of residence becomes inhospitable due to the changing climate and environment. In managing environmental migration, IOM promotes the minimization of forced and unmanaged migration as much as possible.  

Established eight years ago, and with over 705 hectares of land, the Gullele Botanical garden is used for research, education, eco-tourism and conservation. Accordingly, the botanical garden hosts hundreds of what are believed to be Ethiopia’s 6,000+ plant species. With the addition of the saplings today, the garden will host many more – and an even greater variety of tree species. 

For more information please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie, IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 11 55 71 707 (ext.1455), Mobile/WhatsApp: +251911 63 90 82. Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, August 2, 2019 - 12:30Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeMigration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff planting trees at the Gullele Botanical Garden in Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM Ethiopia

IOM staffers pose for a photo after taking part in the record-breaking million trees planting in one day. Photo: IOM Ethiopia

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

In Iraq, IOM Engages Government, Community Actors to Tackle Human Trafficking

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 06:30

Baghdad – Across Iraq, the instability and insecurity caused by years of conflict have left an environment where trafficking in persons (TIP) is a constant and real threat. It occurs in peacetime and is exacerbated during conflict and post-crises. Approximately 1.6 million people in Iraq are internally displaced. The 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan estimates that 6.7 million people are still in need of humanitarian assistance. 

Many individuals and communities are vulnerable to human traffickers and migrant smugglers; these risks impact those communities affected by the conflict with the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), as well as migrants who have been trafficked into Iraq or are in irregular situations. 

Between January 2018 and July 2019, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) assisted 108 Victims of Trafficking (98 women, 10 men). Most of them were foreign nationals, reflecting the nature of cases that are referred to IOM, and most were victims of either labour or sexual exploitation.  

On Tuesday, World Day against Trafficking in Persons (WDATIP), the focus here was on creating an environment where government and civil-society actors could discuss pathways to combat the crime and provide meaningful protection to victims.  

IOM, within the framework of the Strengthening Community Policing in Iraq project, organized the technical workshop “Building Networks to Better Identify and Assist Victims of Trafficking and Other Sexual Gender-Based Violence” for criminal justice actors, service delivery providers, and community members from across Iraq. The aim of this one-day workshop (30/7) was to develop a potential procedure for security and protection actors to identify, refer and assist victims of trafficking and sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) using the community policing approach. 

The foundation for Tuesday’s workshop was laid in Baghdad early last month, when IOM and Iraq’s Ministry of Interior organized a joint session for criminal justice actors on mainstreaming the Community Policing approach and protection principles into investigations of trafficking cases. Community Policing focuses on supporting the Ministry of Interior and rebuilding trust between law enforcement officers and communities to re-establish the rule of law and create safe and secure environments where law enforcement can better serve and protect the community. 

“From a judiciary perspective, there are ambiguities at the practical level in the fight against trafficking in persons. We need to have more discussions and offer concrete results in providing protection to victims, in cooperation with international organizations,” Judge Ala’a Hussein, from the Baghdad Rusafa Investigation Court, said at the time. 

As a direct outcome of the joint session, letters of recommendation were issued to the Higher Judicial Council suggesting waivers of fines for victims of trafficking who find themselves in irregular situations because of their trafficking experience and overstayed visas. 

Also, on WDATIP, IOM Iraq’s Trafficking in Persons Awareness-Raising Roadshow stopped in Erbil. Between 21 July and 21 August, IOM staff are traveling the country with representatives of the Government to conduct information sessions on trafficking in persons in selected governorates.  

The Iraqi Parliament passed an anti-trafficking law in 2012 that put forth punishments for both sex and labour trafficking; however, it was only adopted in the Kurdistan Region in 2018. Through activities like the roadshow and targeted trainings for law enforcement officers and community members, IOM Iraq’s Migration Management Unit (MMU) is working to ensure the law’s proper application throughout the region. 

“IOM lauds the Government of Iraq for paying more attention to address trafficking in persons as a form of transnational organized crime. IOM, with its strong network across Iraq, continues to support the Government of Iraq and society to combat trafficking in persons,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “These methods include developing and promoting a well-planned migration strategy, providing technical assistance, and capacity development that will lead to prevention, protection of victims, and prosecution of offenders.”  

IOM Iraq conducts complementary counter trafficking initiatives supported by the US Government’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons. These activities focus on raising awareness of TIP within at-risk communities, and training front liners to identify and safely refer victims of trafficking. IOM Iraq also provides comprehensive assistance to victims of trafficking, including items such as clothes and dignity kits, emergency cash assistance and services (legal, psychosocial and medical assistance, or assisted voluntary return and reintegration – either directly or through partners).  

As part of the holistic response to counter trafficking, IOM assists government counterparts in strengthening Integrated Border Management and Community Policing, including supporting initiatives towards the UN Security Council 1325 Resolution on Women Peace and Security. 

The project Strengthening Community Policing in Iraq is funded by the Germany Federal Foreign Office (FFO). 

For more information please contact Vanessa Okoth-Obbo at IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, August 2, 2019 - 12:25Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

On World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, IOM hosted a workshop in Erbil focused on community policing as a counter-trafficking strategy. Photo: IOM 2019

IOM Iraq’s Counter-Trafficking roadshow stopped in Dohuk on 21-22 July. Photo: IOM 2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ebola Prevention Intensified at Uganda’s Borders

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 06:25

Kampala – One year after the beginning of the Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), the disease continues to affect highly mobile communities along the Ugandan border at major transit hubs.  

According to the International Organization for Migration’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), the majority of people (roughly 40 per cent) crossed the Congolese-Ugandan border last month to engage in economic opportunities. Others crossed over to visit family or buy goods.  

The highest number of movements tracked by DTM occurred at the border point adjacent to Beni – the epicentre of the outbreak and an area suffering from conflict and displacement. 

“There is a risk Ebola may cross into Uganda, but efforts at entry points are helping us to prevent the spread of the disease. Despite the outbreak in DRC it is important that people can continue to move, trade and seek refuge freely,” said Dr. Patrick Kaliika, IOM Uganda EVD Health coordinator.  

The World Health Organization (WHO) urged that borders should not be closed and no restrictions on trade be made when recently declaring the outbreak in DRC a Public Health Emergency of International Concern.  

IOM and partners are accelerating prevention efforts at more than 64 border crossing points – also called Points of Entry (POEs) – in Western Uganda.  

“Prevention is better than cure so the approach of monitoring and preparing is crucial for Uganda. Through collaboration with partners I can confidently say we are prepared if another case appears here,” said Ayebale Apolo, an epidemiologist with Uganda’s Ministry of Health (MoH). 

He joined six other officials from IOM, WHO and the Government of Uganda this week in a joint monitoring mission to assess the effectiveness of current POE sites. In the next six months, these organizations will train health, immigration, security, customs and other officials on how to ensure border control during humanitarian and health emergencies.  

IOM currently operates 20 POE screening sites in southwestern Uganda and supports districts and national authorities to monitor and mentor operations in seven  districts along the border with DRC.  

Health workers encourage travellers to wash their hands to prevent transmission and each person is screened for symptoms – including a temperature check. If teams suspect a traveller may be infected, they are transferred to the designated health facility for further assessment and care. 

Three cases of Ebola surfaced in Kasese District in Uganda in June, after three infected travellers crossed the border together from DRC. Since then, a new POE site has been established in Kasese and contacts were vaccinated. There are no current cases of Ebola in Uganda.  

“IOM hopes this border health project not only better prepares the country to stop the spread of Ebola but also other diseases that are likely to become more prominent in transit hubs,” Dr. Kaliika continued. 

This initiative falls in line with WHO’s Regional Strategic Plan for EVD Operational Readiness and Preparedness as well as the Uganda National EVD Preparedness Plan. It is supported by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).  

The Organization also manages 83 screening sites at areas of high transit in DRC and 15 POE sites at border points near high-risk areas in South Sudan.  

For more information, please contact: 

Angela Wells, Department of Operations and Emergencies, IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 403 5365, Email: 
Erika De Bona, IOM Uganda, Tel: +256 312 263 210, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, August 2, 2019 - 11:49Image: Region-Country: UgandaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

Travellers are encouraged to wash their hands to prevent possible transmission of Ebola at border screening points in Uganda. Photo: IOM / Muse Mohammed 2019

Health workers at Point of Entry screening points check each traveller for fever and other symptoms of Ebola. Photo: IOM / Muse Mohammed 2019

Travellers are encouraged to wash their hands to prevent possible transmission of Ebola at border screening points in Uganda. Photo: IOM / Muse Mohammed 2019.

Health workers at Point of Entry screening points check each traveller for fever and other symptoms of Ebola. Photo: IOM / Muse Mohammed 2019

Health workers at Point of Entry screening points check each traveller for fever and other symptoms of Ebola. Photo: IOM / Muse Mohammed 2019

Health workers at Point of Entry screening points check each traveller for fever and other symptoms of Ebola. Photo: IOM / Muse Mohammed 2019

Health workers at Point of Entry screening points check each traveller for fever and other symptoms of Ebola. Photo: IOM / Muse Mohammed 2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Japan Build Solar-powered Water Supply Network for 30,000 Rohingyas

Fri, 08/02/2019 - 05:49

Cox’s Bazar – One of the world’s largest humanitarian solar water systems was officially inaugurated today (31/07) by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and partner the Japan International Development Agency (JICA). The network will provide safe, clean water to approximately 30,000 people living in the Kutupalong Mega-Camp from a deep underground well.  

This network is the largest and most cost-effective system in the camps, and is the result of positive collaboration between JICA, the Bangladeshi Government, the United States and IOM. Generous funding came from the Government of the United States and the Government of Japan.  

Local Government Division (LGD) Secretary Helal Uddin Ahmed from the Government of Bangladesh on 31 July 2019 inaugurated the water supply network at Camp-12 addressing as chief guest.  

Helal Uddin Ahmed in his speech said: “This network will go a long way in meeting the needs of the community and is a great example of cooperation between the agencies.” 

Japan Embassy’s Minister Takeshi Ito, Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner (RRRC) Mohammed Abul Kalam, IOM Chief of Mission in Bangladesh Giorgi Gigauri, Cox’s Bazar’s Deputy Commissioner Md. Kamal Hossain, Department of Public Health Engineering’s Chief Engineer Md. Saifur Rahman and JICA Bangladesh Office’s Chief Representative Hitoshi Hirata were present.  

Japan Embassy’s Minister Takeshi Ito said: “I would like to commend the people of Bangladesh who have accepted more than 700,000 displaced people... We are now providing safe water for 30,000 people and it will contribute to the realization of Sustainable Development Goal Number Six: ‘Clean Water and Sanitation for all.’”  

RRRC Mohammed Abul Kalam said: “This water network is the biggest, most cost-effective system in the refugee camps. It is an outstanding example of collaboration as well, and I commend that.” 

The water comes from a deep borehole carefully tested to measure sustainability over the long term. The system takes full advantage of the area’s tremendous solar energy potential and is powered by almost 200 panels, providing enough electricity to pump over 580,000 litres of water daily. The water storage reservoir is made up of six large 95,000 litre tanks, capable of supplying the population for over 24 hours in emergencies.   

Importantly, the system includes a disinfection plant, which will chlorinate the water to prevent household-level contamination. Almost 10 kilometres of pipeline was installed for this network, supplying 358 taps through 87 tap stands.  

IOM Bangladesh’s Chief of Mission Giorgi Gigauri said: “This system stands as an international example; not just for its capacity; but because of the impressive collaboration between partners, countries and people. In addition to addressing the immediate needs of the local community, we look forward to working with Rohingya volunteers and host community technicians to localize this system and ensure its sustainability well into the future.” 

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

Language English Posted: Friday, August 2, 2019 - 11:22Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Bangladesh Chief of Mission Giorgi Gigauri and partners inaugurate the humanitarian world’s largest solar-powered water system in Cox’s Bazar. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM: Survey Shows Displaced Women in Ukraine Desperate for Work

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 10:15

Kyiv – In the sixth year of conflict and internal displacement in Ukraine, the employment situation of those who have fled their homes has slightly improved – however, displaced women face particular challenges while seeking employment.

IOM has been assessing the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine with the help of its global tool, the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), since March 2016. The latest round of IOM’s survey has been conducted with funding from the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM)*.

The results have been presented in the capital Kyiv today (30 July 2019), in cooperation with the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs and the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine.

As revealed by the latest IOM survey, among those internally displaced persons who have been actively seeking employment, 21 per cent are men and 79 per cent are women.

The share of employed IDPs currently is 48 per cent, a four percentage points increase from the end of the last year. Among the total population of Ukraine aged 15–70 years, the level of employment is considerably higher at about 57 per cent.

“I see that employers refuse me not just because I am an IDP, but because I am a woman with two little children,” said a 40-year-old displaced woman interviewed by IOM. “I always specify that there is a grandmother who will help if a kid gets sick, so I won’t need to take a leave, but I see it does not help to convince the employers.”

Another woman explained that it is difficult for her to find a job due to her age. “Even though I was only 50 when I was displaced,” she said, “I was not invited even for a single job interview over these years.”

Among those IDPs who are actively looking for a job (about 6%), over a third have been unemployed for more than a year, with some up to four years. Meanwhile, 13 per cent had been unemployed for more than four years.

While IOM continues regularly updating and analyzing disaggregated data on the IDP situation, it also provides direct assistance to conflict-affected people. “Since 2014, IOM has assisted over 422,000 vulnerable displaced and conflict-affected people in Ukraine, with women standing for 46 per cent and children for 24 per cent of the beneficiaries,” said Hazim Torlic, IOM Ukraine Officer in Charge.

“IOM has provided over 5,000 displaced and conflict-affected women with grants for micro-business, self-employment or vocational training,” Torlic added.

As of late July, the USD 162 million Humanitarian Response Plan, prepared by humanitarian partners for this year for Ukraine, has been funded only at 28 per cent. About 1.4 million IDPs are officially registered across Ukraine. According to IOM data, the average monthly income per IDP household member is UAH 2,667 (about USD 100), considerably lower compared to the national Ukrainian households’ average at UAH 4,696 (about USD 180).

*The latest survey round was conducted in January–March 2019; a total of 2,402 respondents were interviewed face to face, and 4,028 by telephone.

Download the report.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsLabour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Viktoriia, a pulmonologist by profession, never had less than four jobs simultaneously over the years of her displacement as she has been struggling to earn enough. Last year she opened her own outpatient office in Ukraine’s capital Kyiv and received necessary medical equipment with IOM’s grant. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Lao People’s Democratic Republic: Officials Exchange Counter-Human Trafficking Practices

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 10:15

Thalat – Irregular migration is a common challenge faced by Southeast Asian countries, especially the Greater Mekong Sub-region, where legal migration channels can be costly, time-consuming and complicated. As a result, many migrant workers opt for irregular channels and fall victim to debt, exploitation, abuse and human trafficking, often at the hands of employers, brokers or recruiters.

IOM and the Lao Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) are organizing a two-day workshop for government officials to discuss best practices and challenges encountered when implementing counter trafficking initiatives in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

The meeting – attended by 14 officials from ministries engaged in trafficking in persons (TIP) prevention, protection and prosecution – is to discuss national initiatives to combat human trafficking and promote information sharing.

IOM and the Lao government are committed to reducing TIP through close cooperation in the areas of migration management, partnerships and crisis response. 

Deputy Director General of Social Welfare Vongkham Phanthanouvong told participants that his ministry had a long history of partnerships in anti-trafficking, including providing at-risk groups with access to jobs and information. “We will continue to implement anti-human trafficking initiatives and provide assistance – in line with the Lao People’s Democratic Republic policies and the National Action Plan on human trafficking,” he said. “We need to organize more technical meetings like this to coordinate and exchange lessons,” he added.

IOM Programme Officer Zena Van Bemmel-Faulkner underscored the importance of collaboration in responding to human trafficking. “We hope that stakeholders working on anti-trafficking efforts in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic will strengthen the existing collaborative networks. We need to seek further synergies across individual projects and to ensure the complementarity of joint efforts so that we can better address any blind spots in our anti-trafficking response,” she noted.

The workshop was part of a regional IOM programme funded by US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). The Migration Assistance and Protection Programme (MAPP) has been implemented across 11 countries in Southeast Asia and Central Asia, including the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, since 2011.

The programme aims to strengthen the capacities and resources of governments to manage complex migration flows in the region, particularly involving migrants in vulnerable and crisis situations, through enhanced structures, policies, processes, safe and legal pathways and effective partnerships at the national, sub-regional and regional levels.

For more information please contact Misato Yuasa at IOM Vientiane, Email:, Tel: + 856 (0) 21 267 734.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Lao officials and IOM experts share best practices in combating human trafficking. Photo: IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Workshop for Female Artists Strengthens Community Outreach Activities in Niger

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 10:15

Niamey – Risks, vulnerabilities and needs while embarking on a migration journey are strongly shaped by one’s gender. In 2018 alone, IOM assisted more than 20,000 migrants at its six transit centres in Niger, of whom close to 2,000 are female migrants, coming mostly from Niger (40%), Nigeria (21%), and Cameroon (15%).

To respond to the vulnerabilities of women on the move, IOM Niger employs nine female community mobilizers (MobComs) from different backgrounds and nationalities, to conduct sensitization sessions on irregular migration and its alternatives.

To further reinforce its gender-specific awareness-raising activities in Niger, IOM organized between 22 and 27 July, the workshop “Meeting of Women Working in Media and Female Artists” (REFEMAC), in partnership with local music label Art-Disc Records, and thanks to the support of the European Union, within the framework of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism.

With the theme “A Better Informed and a More Secure Migration for Women and Young Girls”, the workshop aimed to expose female artists and journalists to current migration trends for women, the dangers of irregular migration, and strategies for preventing the phenomenon and raising awareness.

“Irregular migration today, in its understanding by the general public, is an essentially male phenomenon,” said Abdourahamane Harouna Koudou, Coordinator for Art-Disc Records. “We strongly believe in the influence the participants have and the role they can play on empowering other women.”

The 20 participants chosen are all well-respected influencers and leaders in their respective fields, ranging from acting to journalism, and through the workshop, are all pledging to commit to raising awareness about irregular migration and its risks.

“Our messages become more credible when they are shared by people that have a certain notoriety beyond our organization,” said Stephanie Eeckman, IOM’s Community Outreach Officer in Niger. “If the participants are fully informed and engaged with the cause they are promoting, they can have a considerable impact on behavior change related to irregular migration.”

During the one-week workshop, IOM’s community mobilizers or “MobComs” facilitated various debates between the 20 participants and speakers on various migration-related topics. Last week, the 20 participants, along with IOM’s female MobComs, visited Bobiel 2, IOM’s transit centre for female migrants in Niamey, in order to talk to migrants about their experiences with migration along this route.

Aida is one of the migrants who spoke openly about her migration journey during Wednesday’s visit. She has been at IOM’s transit centre in Niamey for three weeks, as she waits to return to Burkina Faso, through the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.
“I left my country with a lot of hopes and dreams, but what I found abroad was only misery,” said Aida. “I had a hard time finding a job, and when I finally found one, I was never paid. I shared a room with eight other girls and could barely afford to eat. This was my life for seven years.”

Tifa, one of the artists participating in the workshop, recalls her own experience from earlier years when an acquaintance offered her a job in a beauty salon in Tunisia. “My mother convinced me not to go while all my friends were telling me I was crazy to let such an opportunity go,” says Tifa. “I now realize that this could have easily been me. There was someone there to open my eyes and I hope I can do the same for other people one day.”

“This initiative shows that awareness-raising in Niger is not only about making communities aware of the risks of irregular migration, but also about empowering community members and giving them a space to identify their own solutions,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “We need to continue to encourage collective responsibility through strengthened community mobilization.”

Over the next few months, IOM’s team in Niger will continue to reinforce the team with the addition of more female MobComs to ensure that women and other vulnerable groups receive clear messages that can prevent them from falling prey to human trafficking networks, both within and outside Niger.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 16:20Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingGender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

The 20 artists and journalists participating in the workshop visited IOM’s transit centre for women in Niamey. Photo: IOM/Monica Chiriac

The 20 artists and journalists participating in the workshop visited IOM’s transit centre for women in Niamey. Photo: IOM/Monica Chiriac

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Namibia Validates Draft National Migration Policy

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 10:15

Windhoek – Migration has become a phenomenon of our time and Namibia is no exception. And rural zones-to-city migration is one of Africa’s driving forces.

The percentage of the population living in Namibia’s urban areas increased over two decades from 27 per cent in 1991 to 43 per cent in 2011. Moreover, demographers estimate that by the year 2030, more than 60 per cent of Namibia’s population will live in the urban areas. This was revealed by the draft National Migration Policy for Namibia which was validated on Friday, 26 July 2019 at Safari Hotel and Conference Centre in Namibia’s capital.

This draft policy is a product of the National Committee on Migration Management, which comprises governmental and non-governmental institutions that play a huge role in strengthening of migration management, chaired by the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration (MHAI) and supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

The Validation was attended by 61 participants from governmental and non-governmental institutions as well as the diplomatic corps. Beatrice Kiraso, the International Consultant tasked to assist with the drafting of the policy, presented the draft policy.

The comprehensive National Migration Policy aims to contribute to the strengthening of migration management capacity in Namibia, with the overall objective of supporting the government in developing a comprehensive and coordinated approach towards migration management based on well-identified needs and priorities.

In his keynote address, the Executive Director in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Immigration, Etienne Maritz, officially opened the validation workshop and encouraged contribution from invited participants from line ministries, UN Agencies, civil society, NGOs and diplomatic corps to further enrich the policy before Cabinet endorsement.

He said that, unlike the olden days, managing migration in the modern days is not easy. “The time has changed, requiring policy response to manage migration,” he explained.

The policy is linked to a five-year draft Implementation Action Plan, developed to aid the implementation of the proposed strategies to address the identified gaps and enable Namibia to better manage migration.

The UN Resident Coordinator in Namibia, Rachel Odede, reiterated the UN’s commitment to supporting the government with developmental issues in the country. She said: “The United Nations in Namibia, as ‘Your Partner of Choice,’ stands ready and willing to support the implementation Action Plan of this policy.” She further emphasized the importance of Diaspora engagement for economic development of their country of origin.

In his presentation on migration policy and development at the Validation Workshop, IOM Senior Labour Mobility and Human Development Specialist Jason Theede spoke about the several initiatives by the African Union (AU) and Southern African Development Community (SADC) region in strengthening migration management including the AU Draft protocol on free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment, the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (MPFA) and the Draft SADC Migration Policy Framework.

He further added that the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development “provides a key opportunity to proactively address migration and its relationship to development.”

Strengthening Migration Management in Namibia is an 18-month project implemented with financial support from the IOM Development Fund (IDF) and has three (3) main interventions: to establish a National Committee on Migration Management; to develop a comprehensive National Migration Policy; and finally, to develop a roadmap for the implementation of  the National Migration Policy.

For further information please contact Wendy Hilongwa at IOM Namibia, Tel: +264 61 231 639, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: NamibiaThemes: Migration PolicyDefault: Multimedia: 

(From left) Deputy Executive Director for MHAI Nehemia Nghishekwa; Director of Visas, Passports and Permits in MHAI Allison Hishekwa; UN Resident Coordinator Rachel Odede; Executive Director for MHAI Etienne Maritz; International Consultant Beatrice Kiraso; and IOM Senior Labour Mobility and Human Development Specialist Jason Theede.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Private Sector Supports Counter-Trafficking Initiatives in Madagascar

Tue, 07/30/2019 - 10:15

Antananarivo – “Now that I am back home, I will be able to start my life again,” states a Malagasy woman upon her repatriation to the capital of the island nation of Madagascar, which lies off southeastern Africa. She is one of the many victims of trafficking assisted by IOM in the recent months’ upsurge in repatriation cases.

Thousands of Malagasy women are employed as domestic workers in Lebanon, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia and face exploitation. Hundreds of Malagasy women are sent on false pretense of legitimate work to China and end up exploited in forced labour and sold as brides.

In the first six months of the year, a record number of more than 200 women victims of trafficking have been assisted to return to Madagascar. They all share a feeling of hope for what their life will be from now on.

Unfortunately, there are many whose future looks dark still. Trafficking in persons remains a significant challenge for the country. According to IOM and its partners’ research, women are particularly vulnerable and subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour in the domestic sector within the country, as well as beyond its borders.

Today (30 July, World Day Against Trafficking), the National Coordination Office for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons (Bureau National de Lutte contre la Traite des Etres Humains – BNLTEH) held an awareness-raising event on the risks of unsafe migration and Trafficking in Persons.

With support from IOM, the event was held in the main hall of the Antananarivo International Airport, managed by Ravinala Airports S.A. – a consortium made up of Meridiam, Aéroports de Paris (ADP), Bouygues Bâtiment International (BBI) and Colas – which develops and manages the airports of Antananarivo and Nosy Be under concession.

Travellers and passers-by were given the opportunity to exchange views with IOM and BNLTEH staffers on Trafficking in Persons in Madagascar, and to view a short, animated video clip on the risks associated with unsafe international migration for the purpose of labour. The development of the awareness-raising campaign materials and the event at the airport were funded by Ravinala Airports S.A.

In comments to the press on the margin of the awareness-raising event, IOM Madagascar Chief of Mission Daniel Silva y Poveda noted that “Today’s initiative is an excellent illustration of the commitment of private sector stakeholders in the fight against Trafficking in Persons. Counter-trafficking is not a sole responsibility of Governments. Counter-trafficking is a responsibility of the whole society. We thank Ravinala Airports S.A. for breaking ground on this type of engagement in Madagascar and to lead by example.”

For his part, Nicolas Deviller, Deputy CEO from Ravinala Airports S.A., emphasized that “Airports are the main gateway for people who want to go to/or leave Madagascar. Fighting against trafficking in persons cannot be done alone by Ravinala Airports. We have to work with IOM, Government and the BNLTEH to save lives.” Felana Ratsimbazafy, Quality, Health, Safety, Social and Environment Director at Ravinala Airports added that “Financing this campaign can prevent unsafe migration and help victims of this crime to seek assistance. They are not alone.”

IOM works in partnership with governments, other United Nations agencies, international and non-governmental organizations, the private sector and development partners on all aspects of counter-trafficking responses – prevention, protection, and prosecution. Since the mid-1990s, IOM and its partners have provided protection and assistance to close to 100,000 men, women and children, who were trafficked for sexual and labour exploitation, slavery or practices similar to slavery, servitude, or for organ removal.

For more information please contact Daniel Silva y Poveda, IOM Madagascar. Tel: +261 32 56 54 954, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 30, 2019 - 16:07Image: Region-Country: MadagascarThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Safe Migration Pathways Key to Tackling Human Trafficking, Modern Slavery, Forced Labour 

Fri, 07/26/2019 - 11:09

Geneva – A new report out today (26/07) examines the connection between migration and modern slavery and focuses on which migrants are most vulnerable to being forced into modern slavery, and under what circumstances. 

Prepared by Minderoo Foundation’s Walk Free initiative and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for the Alliance 8.7 Action Group on Migration, the report provides recommendations on key steps governments can take to address this risk.  

The report confirms certain sub-groups of migrants are at particular risk. These include migrants who are fleeing violence and conflict, migrants who have been dislocated from community and family support structures without access to legitimate forms of employment, legal status or social protection, and migrants who are moving or working through irregular channels. Other vulnerable types include migrants who are working in sectors that are out of sight (such as work at sea or in private homes) or in sectors of the economy that are not covered by labour laws. 

Child and adolescent migrants are particularly vulnerable, creating the need for governments to offer better protections, such as family reunification schemes. Female and male migrants are vulnerable to abuse but in different ways – with women experiencing higher rates of modern slavery in domestic work, the sex industry and through forced marriage – while male migrants are more likely to be exploited through forced labour in the construction and manufacturing sectors. 

The report notes that some government policies could have the effect of increasing vulnerability of certain groups of migrants. Restrictive migration policies that seek to ban or limit certain forms of migration can have unintended consequences, such as driving risky practices underground or trapping vulnerable people in dangerous situations.

Key findings 

  • Migrants fleeing conflict and violence, child migrants travelling without family and undocumented migrants are highly vulnerable to human trafficking, modern slavery, and forced labour.   
  • Political support for safe and legal migration pathways is needed because migrants continue to be trafficked or otherwise exploited and abused during transit and upon arrival.   
  • While there are national laws and policies intended to protect migrants from abuse, significant gaps in coverage and implementation leave large groups of people more vulnerable to abuse than others. These gaps are exploited by unscrupulous criminals for personal gain. 
  • There is an urgent need for national governments to recognize the close connection between the aims of achieving safe, orderly and responsible migration and preventing human trafficking, modern slavery, and forced labour. Governments need to close gaps in criminal and labour laws and provide protections for migrants, to ensure vulnerable migrants are protected. 

Migrant workers face risk through policies in both sending and receiving countries. In many countries, recruiters are subject to little or no regulation, so they continue to charge migrants high fees, sometimes repayable at high interest rates, simply to connect them with available jobs.  

Tied visas that give employers undue control over their workers’ living conditions, or that prevent migrants from switching jobs without permission, can create an environment of dependence that can be readily exploited by unscrupulous employers. 

“It is vital governments provide meaningful protection for people fleeing repressive regimes, violence and conflict. Research indicates these situations increase migrants’ vulnerability to modern slavery. We call on all governments to create safer migration pathways, provide protection for vulnerable people and bolster the capacity of first responders in crisis situations,” said Jenn Morris, chief executive of Minderoo Foundation’s Walk Free initiative. 

“In today’s global economy, the movement of people is inevitable, and we have to find ways to achieve migration safely and humanely. This report points to a number of practical steps that governments can take to increase protection of vulnerable migrants, such as ensuring national child protection laws apply to all children, including child migrants, closing gaps in labour laws in high risk sectors like domestic work, and prohibiting charging of recruitment fees,” said Fiona David, lead author of the report and Research Chair, Minderoo Foundation. 

“Without action to address the drivers of unsafe migration and to step up protection and assistance to migrants, many migrants will be trafficked and otherwise abused. We need to do the hard work to create safe migration pathways that better reflect the realities of migration and labour markets, as well as balance the needs of national interests and migrant rights. The recently agreed Global Compact for Safe Orderly and Regular Migration provides a roadmap for how to move forward,” said Mathieu Luciano, Head of IOM’s Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants Unit in Geneva. 

Funding for the Alliance 8.7 Action Group on Migration was made possible through support provided by the UK government to accelerate Alliance 8.7’s work to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour.   

The report is available here:

For more information, please contact: 
Mathieu Luciano at Tel: +41797011523, Email: or Leonard Doyle (media, located in Geneva) at Tel: +41792857123 , Email: 

Minderoo Foundation: 
Tess Ingram (media, located in Australia) at Tel: +61 448 922 364, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, July 26, 2019 - 17:07Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Counter-TraffickingLabour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

"I was sold, exploited. My former recruiter contacted me to help her recruit new girls. I refused! I have been through hell and I do not wish it to anyone," says Tate, a trafficking victim in Mauritania. Photo: IOM/Desjardins Sibylle 2018 

Report cover.  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Poribortok! Community Advocates Bring Positive Change in Rohingya Camps, Cox’s Bazar Villages

Fri, 07/26/2019 - 11:06

Cox’s Bazar – Samuda Begum wants to ensure her community’s women are aware about their human rights and concerns especially about the issues surrounding early marriage, household violence, and physical and sexual assault, so that they can lead life as human beings with dignity and respect.  

Standing on the podium, the middle-aged Samuda, a Rohingya woman living in one of the refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar, expressed her wish before hundreds of people from her community on Tuesday. With such courage, she has included her name in the list of Community Advocates, a group initiated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its local partner PULSE Bangladesh.  

A total of 400 Community Advocates from the refugee community have decided to join this group initiative and started their work on July 24, 2019 through a programme launch in camp 9.  

Community advocacy is part of the broader community mobilization work being carried out to prevent gender-based violence (GBV) and promote access to GBV services in refugee camps and in host communities. It is led by a team of Community Advocates who over time will become the heart of strengthening the community mobilization process. At the centre of this approach are women and men, girls and boys who have a desire and a commitment to create change in their lives and in their communities, known as Poribortok! (Change Maker!)  

With the slogan Coming Together is a Beginning, Keeping Together is Progress and Working Together is Success, the white T-shirt wearing Community Advocates are inspired to work with Rohingya and host community members to sensitize and raise awareness on GBV, particularly against women and girls.  

Speaking at the launch of the programme, IOM Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh Manuel Pereira said that through this initiative, IOM is working hard to prevent gender-based violence in Bangladesh. “IOM always comes with creative ideas to engage with communities and the Poribortok are just another example. This initiative aims to build a drive for peaceful and safe relationships, and for a community in which every person in camp or local area can feel equally valued. Our Community Advocates will make this happen as we provide skills building and learning to increase their recognition in respective communities.”  

Additional Commissioner Kazi Mohammad Mozammel Hoque from the office of Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner welcomed IOM and PULSE Bangladesh to initiate such measures in the Rohingya camp and the crisis-affected local areas. “Community Advocates are chosen from the community level so they can gain trust of the community members quickly. I hope they will work to create positive social change by taking action in their personal lives and relationships and in their community.” 

The Community Advocates will support core community mobilization teams in 100 sub-blocks in several Rohingya camps. In every block, four community advocates – a woman, a girl, a boy and a man – are enlisted and have committed to at least one hour a week to facilitate prevention activities and one day a month for training.  

At least 2,000 people will be reached regularly while the advocates will also interact with five Community Action Groups and Community Leaders allowing the community to lead, inspire and influence positive change in their own lives and the life of others by challenging the social norms that perpetuate violence and power imbalances in communities.  

Along with the refugee community, IOM and PULSE Bangladesh are also working to enlist 320 Community Advocates at the local host community areas with the same objective. Key to highlight is that advocates give support voluntarily and they feel the urge to develop the mindset and attitudes of the community regarding gender issues and violence in the community.  

“IOM and PULSE’s community advocacy initiative will bring together community advocates, collaborating community groups and structures, community leaders, local authorities, community actors, NGO partners UN agencies and government to showcase the various services interlinked and needed for successful community mobilization,” said IOM Protection Programme Manager Chissey Mueller.  

The 19-year-old Rohingya advocate Anas Hossain said that he will make positive change in his community and he believes that this change is possible when the person believes in his or herself.  “Everyone can be treated with respect and it has to be started from me,” he said. 

For more information, please contact Tarek Mahmud at IOM Bangladesh, Mobile: +8801752380240 Tel: +88034152194-95, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, July 26, 2019 - 17:05Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Community advocates are presenting a role play at the launch of the community advocates initiative "Poribortok!"

IOM Bangladesh and local partner, PULSE launch the community advocates initiative "Poribortok!" 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Sudanese Migrant Returnees to Access Health Insurance

Fri, 07/26/2019 - 11:04

Khartoum – Abuse, stress and lack of medical care are constant bedfellows for migrants in Libya’s detention camps – and those who are rescued unwittingly transfer the health burden to their countries of origin where assistance is often limited.   

Luckily for Sudanese returnees, a solution is underway. Returning migrants in the country will soon access healthcare under the country’s National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF).  

This follows an agreement signed at the end of July with the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. 

A pilot targeting 2,000 Sudanese returnee families will run for a year, beginning in July 2019, and could pave the way for access by all migrant returnees.  

Aside from unemployment and access to housing, lack of access to healthcare is among the main issues faced by migrants who voluntarily return to Sudan, as in other places.  

Sudan has a complex and diverse migration profile as a source, transit and destination country at the centre of multiple migration routes and is host to several migrant populations from neighbouring countries, including seasonal workers.  

According to the IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM)’s most recent report, covering March to May 2019, Libya is currently hosting at least 641,398 migrants from more than 39 countries. Sudanese migrants account for 11 per cent of the migrant population, after Nigeriens (21%), Egyptians (15%), and Chadians (15%). 

Since its launch in the Horn of Africa in March 2017, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative has assisted almost 900 migrants to return to Sudan from Libya. 

However, Libya is not the only country from which migrants have returned to Sudan under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative. IOM has also supported returns from Niger, Algeria and Ethiopia.  

Returnees will now be able to access medical care, thanks to the agreement between the NHIF and the EU-IOM Joint Initiative.  

Until now the EU-IOM Joint Initiative has been funding medical screenings and referring targeted returnees to medical service providers and covering their medical fees. But a systematic access to primary healthcare has been missing. 

The pilot is meant to rectify this by improving access to primary healthcare for the programme’s beneficiaries. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative will pay the participating families’ annual premiums to the NHIF, with the fund being responsible for providing them with health services.  

In particular, the agreement aims to support efforts to reduce morbidity and mortality through enhancing access to medical assistance and preventing unnecessary or long-term complications.  

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused procedures and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. Backed by the EU Trust Fund, it covers and has been set up in close cooperation with 26 African countries. 

Said El Moghira Al Amin, the head of the NHIF’s Directorate of Population Coverage, welcomed the collaboration with IOM, saying: “NHIF considers this as a giant leap towards covering all migrants under its umbrella as well as achieving universal health coverage (UHC) in Sudan.”  

IOM’s Chief of Mission in Sudan, Catherine Northing said: “Providing health care is a crucial issue for returnees. The programme provides comprehensive needs-based assistance to facilitate their reintegration and this new agreement with the National Health Insurance contributes significantly to this.  It will not only provide coverage for the returnees but also their families.” 

For more information please contact Julia Hartlieb at the IOM Regional Office in Nairobi, Tel: +254 734 988 846, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, July 26, 2019 - 17:03Image: Region-Country: SudanThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff in Sudan assisting Sa migrant returnee. Photo: IOM

IOM staff assisting Sudanese migrants returnees. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Promotes Migrant Labour Inclusion in the Private Sector in Southern Brazil

Fri, 07/26/2019 - 11:03

Florianópolis – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) yesterday (25/07) held a workshop in Florianópolis, southern Brazil, which focused on the implementation of labour inclusion of vulnerable migrants of different nationalities within the private sector.  

The workshop addressed myths, answered practical doubts about the documentation and hiring process as well as highlighted benefits and the importance of diversity and inclusion in the development of corporate strategies. 

The event is part of a new round of workshops organized by IOM, launched in Curitiba earlier in July, and will be held in other states across the country. The first event took place as part of the Business Forum on Socio-Economic Inclusion of Migrants and Refugees, which was attended by over 80 people. 

In Brazil, there are about 1.4 million international migrants recognized by the government, and Santa Catarina is the fifth state where most of this population live. Relevant figures show the importance of raising awareness within the labour market in the state to the inclusion of migrants and in the retention of these talents. In order to illustrate this, Brazilian company JBS shared best practices on hiring. 

JBS’s Human Resources Coordinator in Itapiranga (SC), Teresinha Blasczak, shared the experience of hiring Venezuelans. “It has been a very positive experience not only in terms of Corporate Social Responsibility but also in the opportunity of knowledge sharing. These people helped us a lot in the company, responding to our needs. They come with a good education background and they are restarting their lives. Many of them are engineers, lawyers, accountants, who are now on the production line but are looking forward to growing. We learn a lot from them, and they are also very grateful for the opportunity they have,” explained Blasczak. 

This is the second edition of a series of workshops launched last December by IOM Brazil, with support from the IOM Development Fund (IDF). The workshops were designed based on the results of an IOM survey, in partnership with the UN Global Compact for Business and Human Rights.  

In the first series of workshops, over 60 companies were trained in the cities of Boa Vista, São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. The IOM project foresees the organization of at least five more workshops in the coming months. 

This activity was possible with the financial support of the Government of the Netherlands. 

For more information, please contact Juliana Hack, IOM Brasilia, Tel: + 55 61 3771 3772 Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, July 26, 2019 - 16:59Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff in Brazil promoting migrant labour inclusion in Santa Catarina. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN