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Updated: 2 hours 25 min ago

More Help Needed for Yazidis Struggling to Rebuild in Sinjar: IOM Iraq

Tue, 07/17/2018 - 10:08

Hardan, Iraq - As millions of Iraqi returnees grapple with post-conflict realities in areas devastated by war, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) has provided more than 600 Yazidi families with non-food items in villages around the town of Sinjar, about 120 km west of Mosul.

IOM distributed essential household items such as mattresses, blankets, cooking stoves, hygiene kits, rechargeable lights and fans with the financial support of the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance.

For the first time since the end of the conflict, IOM last week was able to access Hardan, a village located about 30 km east of Sinjar town. The local Mukhtar (community leader) of Hardan, Qolo Qasem Elyas, explained that about one fifth of families have returned to the village.

“More than 300 families, around 2,100 individuals, used to live in Hardan but to date only about 60 families have returned,” said Elyas. “On 3 August 2014, when ISIL militants attacked and overran Sinjar district, including Hardan, 70 people were killed and 376 kidnapped, many of whom are still missing.”

ISIL executed hundreds of Yazidi men and enslaved thousands of women and children. Escaping widespread violence in 2014, hundreds of thousands of Yazidis and other minorities from the district fled to Mount Sinjar.

Today, thousands of people are still too afraid to leave the mountain, preferring living in tents on Sinjar’s plateau, rather than returning to their villages.

Rebuilding their lives has brought immense challenges for the trickle of families who chose to return. Many have nothing at all; their savings have been depleted, their homes looted and destroyed, and their livelihoods, wiped out.

Where they are available, essential services in these villages are only partially functioning, and the area remains heavily contaminated with the explosive remnants of war and improvised explosive devices. Communities are often a fraction of what they once were and, as people have begun to return, the absence of thousands of family members is palpable.

The Mukhtar of Hardan village explained that neither the school nor the health clinic are functional because the community has no piped water due to infrastructure damage.

Families who invited IOM staff into their homes said that there is little support available to help them cope with their psychological and physical trauma, and they expressed great anxiety about the future.

Over the coming months, IOM will help to improve conditions across multiple sectors in communities of return, repairing essential infrastructure, such as the public water network, supporting the local government to deliver healthcare and other essential services, and facilitating access to livelihoods through cash-for-work projects.

“IOM is providing critical humanitarian assistance to the population in Sinjar, and we expect to scale up this assistance soon,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “After more than three and a half years in exile, Yazidis deserve the chance to be able to return and re-establish their lives and communities. Given the scale of damage, much support is needed.”

According to IOM Iraq’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), in the year since the area was fully retaken from ISIL, most Yazidi families remain unable to return to Sinjar town and surrounding villages; of the 52,158 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who have returned to Sinjar district, less than one fifth have returned to areas south of Mount Sinjar.

For more information please contact Sandra Black at IOM Iraq, Tel: +9647512342550, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 16:05Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Distribution of non-food items in Hardan village near Sinjar.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Afghanistan Looks to Diaspora to Promote Development

Tue, 07/17/2018 - 10:05

Kabul – IOM, in partnership with the Government of Afghanistan, this week (15-17/7) organized a workshop to help Afghanistan to engage with its diaspora abroad to promote the country’s development.

The event was the first of its kind in Afghanistan and was attended by 16 representatives of various government bodies, including the Ministry of Labour, Social Affairs, Martyrs and Disabled, which is currently the lead ministry responsible for diaspora engagement.

IOM presented an “Enabling, Engaging, Empowering” approach to diaspora communities for development. This includes the mapping of diasporas, best practices in engagement strategies, reducing barriers to engagement, and how to empower policymakers and diasporas to build mutual trust.

“Almost anyone can be part of a diaspora. It is a very personal decision which links to the feeling of identity and belonging to a certain group or place,” IOM regional labour migration expert Lara White told delegates.

The training was part of an IOM Development Fund-supported project to help the Afghan government in its diaspora engagement efforts, which aim to attract foreign investment and skills transfer. There are an estimated 6 to 7 million Afghans living abroad.

IOM, which began to promote the return of qualified Afghans to the country in 2001, is now supporting the roll out of Afghanistan’s National Diaspora Policy, which President Ashraf Ghani prioritized as a means of achieving development and self-sufficiency for Afghanistan in July 2017.

“IOM congratulates the Afghan Government for its diaspora engagement efforts over the past year and stands with you in further promoting diaspora engagement for the medium to longer term development of Afghanistan,” IOM Chief of Mission and Special Envoy Laurence Hart told the workshop.

The IOM Development Fund project aims to inform the Afghan National Diaspora Policy in preparation for its roll-out. It will firstly conduct a mapping of the Afghan diaspora in selected countries. Secondly it will support a needs assessment to determine where the biggest needs are for diaspora engagement to see where the diaspora can have the biggest impact. And thirdly it will build the capacity of government staff in diaspora engagement.

The project and the Afghan government’s efforts to engage the diaspora are in line with Objective 19 of the Global Compact on Migration, which calls for creating the “conditions for migrants and diasporas to fully contribute to sustainable development in all countries.”

For more information please contact David Hofmeijer at IOM Afghanistan, Tel. +93 72 922 9432, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: AfghanistanThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

Afghanistan is developing a national diaspora policy to engage with over six million Afghans living abroad. Photo: IOM 2018.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Indonesian City Admits Migrant Children to Public Schools

Tue, 07/17/2018 - 10:05

Medan – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Department of Education in the Indonesian city of Medan have signed a Memorandum of Understanding paving the way for 297 refugee children to enter the local public-school system, which started Monday.

Medan, a port city of more than two million people in North Sumatra, currently hosts 2,226 refugees and asylum seekers, the largest migrant population in any single location in Indonesia.

The children originate from nearly two dozen different countries – including Afghanistan, Iraq, Somalia, and Myanmar. They will start joining local children in seven Medan schools later this month. 

For many, this will be their first day at a formal school since leaving their home countries. For some, it will be the first time ever.

Of the group, 72 will enter the school system immediately, while the remainder will be phased in over the next three to six months after attending Indonesian language classes that IOM introduced earlier this year.

“As human beings, we are very concerned for the refugees, especially for these school-aged children,” said Hasan Basri, the Head of Medan’s Department of Education. “My department will give its full support towards ensuring that they are able to pursue their education.”

Prior to this agreement, IOM provided migrant and refugee children across Indonesia with a variety of educational options, including home schooling and regular classes at their accommodation, while supporting migrant-driven community learning centres.

“We are delighted that (Medan’s) Mayor endorsed our proposal for these children to enrol in public schools,” said IOM Western Indonesia Coordinator Mariam Khokhar. “Being in a structured school setting will return a semblance of normalcy to their lives. IOM will provide uniforms for the new pupils and will continue to mobilize support for their right to education.”

Indonesia is a signatory to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child and local governments across the archipelago are increasingly acknowledging the importance of access to education for migrant and refugee children.

Elsewhere in Indonesia, IOM has this year secured 56 places in public schools in the Jakarta area and 60 in Makassar for the children, while their families await third-country resettlement. Last year it secured 80 places.

The migrants themselves continue to play an essential role in providing education to both children and adults. Last month in Pekanbaru, 650 kilometres south of Medan, migrants inaugurated a volunteer-driven youth learning centre that will serve as a coordination hub for educational and cultural activities, including those aimed at helping the host community. The centre emulates a similar one set up in Medan last year that also empowers migrants to help themselves and their hosts.

In addition to educational support, IOM also provides over 8,800 migrants and refugees temporarily stranded in Indonesia with shelter, food security, health and psychosocial assistance under a programme funded by Australia.

For more information please contact Patrik Shirak at IOM Indonesia at Tel. +62215 7951275; Email: - Paul Dillon at IOM HQ Geneva at Tel. +41 79 636 98 74


Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 15:55Image: Region-Country: IndonesiaThemes: Migration and YouthRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Refugee children yesterday attended their first day of school in Tangerang, near Jakarta. Photo: Dayinta Pinasthika / IOM 2018

:  IOM’s Mariam Khokhar and Medan City Department of Education officials led by Hasan Basri  (centre right) sign the agreement to provide access to public education for refugee children. Photo: Dewi Manurung / IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Central American Countries Exchange Experiences of Voluntary Return

Tue, 07/17/2018 - 10:04

Panama City – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, this week (16-17/07) held a regional workshop to exchange experiences of assistance programmes for the voluntary return of migrants in situations of vulnerability. Held in Panama City, the workshop was attended by participants from the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) member states.

According to the latest IOM report on assisted voluntary return and reintegration, IOM provided assistance to 72,176 migrant returnees in 2017 around the world. Among them, 3,331 were identified as vulnerable, of whom 48 per cent had health-related needs, 34 per cent were victims of human trafficking, and 18 per cent were unaccompanied migrant children.

At the regional level, Mesoamerica is considered as a region of origin, transit, destination, and return of migrants, where situations of vulnerability associated with irregular migration can lead migrants to seek assistance to return to their countries of origin.

In this context, the workshop sought to strengthen the countries' capacities related to comprehensive migration governance, including the protection and assistance of migrants in situations of vulnerability throughout the migration process.

Also presented during the workshop were the Assisted Voluntary Return Fund, from which more than 250 people have been benefited since 2015 and the IOM Fund for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration implemented through the Mesoamerica Program and has provided assistance to more than 600 migrants since 2010.

"We have found out that many countries make great efforts to assist their nationals abroad to return to their country of origin voluntarily, but often it is done in isolation and without sharing their experiences with other countries," said Santiago Paz, IOM's Chief of Mission in Panama. "This event will strengthen their own voluntary return mechanisms and make them more effective in their response to these situations."

"These regional exchanges and spaces for dialogue reaffirm the will of our governments to implement and work on jointly, to face different challenges for a safe and orderly management of migration," said Nadia Montenegro de Detresno, General Director in charge of Legal Affairs and Treaties of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Panama. "Collaboration and exchange of experiences between governments is essential to be able to act effectively for the protection of migrants, as well as the commitment and challenge for the member countries of the RCM, both of destination and of origin and transit, in the creation and strengthening of mechanisms and protocols to protect people who return voluntarily," she added.

The workshop also counted the participation of representatives from other countries outside the region such as the Netherlands and Colombia, who presented their own experiences with the purpose of promoting dialogue and exchange of experiences and initiatives that contribute to improving the protection of people in a situation of vulnerability.

This effort was made with the support of the Mesoamerica Program, which seeks to contribute to the development and implementation of strategies for regular, orderly and safe migration, ensuring adequate protection for migrants.

For more information, please contact Khalid Khattabi at IOM Costa Rica, Tel: 506 22125328, Email

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 17, 2018 - 15:45Image: Region-Country: Costa RicaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants at today's workshop on Good Practices in Assisted Voluntary Return. Photo: IOM/2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Director General Swing lauds “historic” Global Compact for Migration

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 19:11

New York - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) today heralded the completion of the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) as an important milestone that will improve international cooperation on migration. 

“This is not the end of the undertaking but the beginning of a new historic effort to shape the global agenda on migration for decades to come,” IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing said today. “States approached negotiations in an admirably positive spirit of collaboration with a view to how they would like to see migration policy, practice and cooperation evolve over the years, rather than as a reaction to one crisis after another as it often seems.” 

The GCM sets out a range of principles, commitments and understandings among Member States, affecting nearly 260 million international migrants and the communities that host them, including considerations relating to human rights, humanitarian, economic, social, development, climate change and security issues. 

“Throughout the process, UN Member States have clearly recognized that migration is always about people. The migrant-centered approach adopted with the commendable guidance of co-facilitators from Mexico and Switzerland, and of the Special Representative to the Secretary General on International Migration, is unprecedented,” Director General Swing said. 

 “I want to acknowledge the critical importance of their decision to include such a wide spectrum of government, civil society and private sector actors over the past two years, in particular the invaluable contribution of migrants themselves.” 

The Compact is the culmination of a process that began in September 2016 when the United Nations General Assembly addressed, for the first time at such a high level, the issue of human mobility and its many dimensions in a High-Level Summit on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants.  

The Summit resulted in the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants that launched an intensive preparatory process which has led to this week’s agreement. It is slated for adoption at an Intergovernmental Conference in Marrakesh in December. 

“It was the sustained commitment and resolve of UN Member States and a of highly engaged stakeholders to find a new way forward that brought us to this day. We look forward to continued partnership with them, and to supporting their efforts to implement the vision and spirit of the GCM, in the years to come.” 

For further information please contact IOM TITLE Michele Klein-Solomon PHONE/EMAIL or IOM Spokesperson Leonard Doyle Tel. +41792857123. Email: 



Language English Posted: Friday, July 13, 2018 - 19:09Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Member State representatives burst into applause as historic Global Compact for Migration is finalized in New York.  Photo: Rahma Gamil Soliman. IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

DG Swing Discusses Myanmar Crisis with Aung San Suu Kyi

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 17:56

Nay Pyi Taw - IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing said rebuilding community cohesion in Myanmar is key to resolving the crisis created by the flight of 700,000 refugees to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh since last August.

Swing made the remarks in a meeting Thursday with Aung San Suu Kyi, State Counsellor of Myanmar in the nation’s capital Nay Pyi Taw. He also welcomed a plan recently agreed between UNDP and UNHCR (respectively the UN agencies for development and refugees) and the Myanmar government.

The Joint Myanmar Government-UN plan is designed to create the conditions for voluntary, safe and dignified return and reintegration of the refugees with quick impact projects to benefit communities. The aim is to create confidence-building and social cohesion measures leading to economic growth and development.

“Myanmar faces great challenges, and there is an urgent need to help bring communities together to enable the country to achieve its great potential” Swing said.
IOM has a track record in peace and reconciliation worldwide, and he offered its support in this regard.

In wide-ranging discussions, Swing and Aung San Suu Kyi discussed IOM’s decade-long, active presence in Myanmar where its 600 staff are providing a range of services to vulnerable communities in 13 of the country’s 14 states and regions, including Rakhine state. IOM’s work focuses on safe and orderly migration, community development, health care, disaster risk reduction and preventing human trafficking and smuggling.

The meeting coincided with peace and reconciliation talks in the capital which Aung San Suu Kyi is leading. With a number of the country’s multiple ethnic groups still involved in active conflict, the government faces many challenges beyond the immediate humanitarian crisis of the refugees.

One of those is migration with its long borders with Thailand, Laos, China, India and Bangladesh. (Some 25 per cent of Myanmar’s population are migrants, whether internally or in foreign countries.)

For more information contact Leonard Doyle Tel +41 792857123 / Email

Language English Posted: Friday, July 13, 2018 - 17:51Image: Region-Country: MyanmarThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM DG William Lacy Swing Meets with Myanmar’s Aung San Suu Kyi on Refugee Crisis.  Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 48,629 in 2018; Deaths Reach 1,422

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 07:30

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 48,629 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 11 July 2018. That total compares to 102,308 at this time last year, and 239,492 at this time in 2016.

Arrivals to Italy and Spain are nearly identical, both just shy of 17,000 migrants, both destinations accounting for 35 per cent of the region’s arrivals. However, Spain continues to be the preferred destination, accounting for well over half of all arrivals since 1 June.

IOM Rome reported Thursday that the number of irregular migrants arrived by sea to Italy thus far in 2018 is at 16,984 migrants: a number that is over 80 per cent lower than last year in the same period.

The downward trend appears to be accelerating (see chart below): monthly arrivals to Italy this year have topped the 4,000-person mark just once, in January. For the previous two years, monthly arrival totals to Italy regularly exceeded 10,000, and 20,000 during summer months.


IOM Libya’s Christine Petré on Thursday reported that during the day yesterday (12 July) the Libyan Coast Guard was in the midst of a search and rescue operation concerning two rubber boats, with more than 100 migrants between them.

IOM’s emergency teams were waiting Thursday at disembarkation points preparing to assist migrants with direct assistance including food and water and medical care. Petré added that during the first 193 days of 2018, a total of 11,380 migrants have been returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard, an average of almost 60 per day.

Since 1 July, however, the remains of 21 migrants have been found along the Libyan coast.

IOM Madrid’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday that total arrivals at sea in 2018 have reached 16,902 men, women and children, irregular migrants who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 11 July.

Slightly over half of all landings – 8,752 people – occurred just in the past 41 days. Moreover, sea arrivals to Spain by irregular migrants already have surpassed 75 per cent of all of 2017 arrivals, and exceed the arrivals of 2015 and 2016, combined (see charts below).

*The figures for June 2018 include the migrants who disembarked in Valencia from the Aquarius boat – total of 630 migrants  

IOM Spain also reported Thursday on its assistance in the relocation to France of 78 migrants who arrived on the Aquarius Rescue ship in recent weeks, after a series of interviews that took several days to complete before these 78 migrants were able to travel. Two others remain in Spain due to medical reasons. Once their health conditions permit them to travel, IOM will arrange their transfer to France.

The charter flight departed Thursday at 11:20 from Valencia Airport. The majority of the migrants were from Sudan (70%) and the rest were from Eritrea, Ethiopia, Chad, Guinea and Libya. Ninety-four per cent were men and 6 per cent women.

IOM Athens’ Antigoni Avgeropoulou said Thursday that IOM learned of three incidents during a two-day stretch, 9-10 July, where the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) carried out search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios. The HCG rescued a total of 95 migrants and transferred them to those islands.

Another 65 migrants were reported landing at Kos without Coast Guard assistance and 65 more to Lesvos, Samos and Chios, bringing to 225 the total number of arrivals during those two days. Through that date the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory since 1 January is 14,392 (see charts below).

IOM’s Balkans team reported Thursday that, based on available data, more than 3,300 irregular migrants were intercepted by the border authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and Albania in June 2018, five times more than a total of 649 registered in the first six months of 2017.

As previously reported, the most significant increase was observed in Bosnia and Herzegovina where authorities registered a total of 2,744 in June alone, reaching a total of 8,034 since the beginning of the year (eight times more than the 1,116 registered in the whole of 2017).

Historical data on monthly arrivals indicate a gradual increase in arrivals to Bosnia and Herzegovina since last summer that reached its peak in June 2018. In August 2017, authorities reported 97 irregular entries, a 54 per cent increase compared to 63 reported in July same year. Since then numbers have kept rising, reaching a peak in June 2018.

An estimated 330 new irregular migrants were registered in Bosnia and Herzegovina on a weekly basis between February and June 2018, ranging from 68 reported between 26 February and 4 March and 736 registered between 4 and 10 June 2018.




Weekly Irregular Entries to Bosnia and Herzegovina: February – June 2018


In Albania and Montenegro authorities reported 3,394 new irregular migrants since the beginning of 2018 (double the 1,559 registered in the whole of 2017). Some 2,130 irregular migrants were intercepted while entering Montenegro and 1,254 on entry to Albania. Moreover, DTM flow monitoring activities in the North of Albania (Shkodra region) revealed another 590 irregular migrants who attempted to leave the country between March and June 2018.

Majority of all irregular migrants were of Pakistani origin, followed by those from Syrian Arab Republic, Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq, Morocco and Algeria (read more here).

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths of 2,151 people while migrating in 2018 (see chart below).

Most recently, at least three people died on the US-Mexico border. On 1 July, Mexican civil protection authorities recovered the remains of a young man from the Río Bravo near Nuevo Laredo, in Tamaulipas. Another young migrant drowned trying to cross the Río Bravo on 9 July. His body was recovered near Ciudad Miguel Alemán, also in Tamaulipas.

On 6 July, US Border Patrol officers found the remains of a man near highway 98 in El Centro, California. He died of dehydration shortly after crossing the border from Mexicali.

There were two other additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since Monday’s update. On 5 July, a 40-year-old man died after falling from a freight train near Torréon, in Mexico’s state of Coahuila. The Missing Migrants Project team also received information about another train-related death which took place in Mexico earlier in May: a young migrant was killed by a freight train near El Carrizo, Sinaloa.

While probably an underestimate, 19 people are known to have died in Mexico as they travelled on top of cargo trains in 2018. A similar number have drowned this year in the river separating Mexico from Texas, which is slightly fewer than at this time in 2017. Last year a total of 48 migrants are believed to have drowned in the Río Bravo.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff 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.

Download the Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Atigoni Avgeropoulou, IOM Greece, Tel :   +30 210 99 19 040 (Ext. 166), Mobile: +30 69 48 92 98 09, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional DTM, Austria, Tel: + +43 1 5812222, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain. Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Tel: +216 71 860 312 (Ext. 109), Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, July 13, 2018 - 13:35Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Humanitarian Situation Worsens as Over 800,000 Displaced People Face Cold and Heavy Rains in Ethiopia

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 07:30

Dilla –  Over 800,000 internally displaced persons are living without adequate shelter and safe sanitation in Ethiopia, resulting in a worsening humanitarian situation further exacerbated by cold, wet weather brought on by the rainy season.

Clashes last month between communities along the border of two Ethiopian regions – Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples' Region (SNNPR) and Oromia Region – forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee their homes.

Those displaced in June added to some smaller-scale displacements that occurred in April and May.

According to data collected through IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), there were already 1,776,685 people internally displaced throughout Ethiopia – most due to drought and subsequent floods – before these latest movements.

Walking for days to find safety, many sleeping out in the open along the way, the displaced communities have few if any possessions beyond the clothes they left in, and no food or money.

Samira*, a 22-year-old mother of seven who arrived three months ago in one of the first waves of displacement, is now living in Gedeb (Gedeo Zone), where local authorities have requested IOM, the UN Migration Agency, to focus its site management support.

Her family left home with very little and have hardly had enough to sustain their lives while displaced. Her husband was also wounded in his leg when they were fleeing.

“We only managed to escape with our lives - we did not carry anything with us, only our children, but I know there are people here who have it worse than us,” said Samira, whose family has found shelter in a disused building.

“We are really grateful to have shelter to protect us from the outside but we need more food and clothes – our children are cold. There are good organizations supporting us but we need much more.”

The Government of Ethiopia which has lead the response since the crisis began, is racing to provide vital humanitarian services across numerous displacement sites in West Guji Zone (Oromia) and Gedeo Zone (SNNPR), the latter hosting the majority of those displaced.

Many of the displaced people are staying with relatives in local communities or in rented accommodations, while others are sheltering in collective centres like schools, government buildings and disused factories. Those staying in local communities still come to the collective centres during the day to access humanitarian services.

Thousands of people are crammed into overcrowded collective centres unfit for human habitation. Others sleep outside on dirt floors with nothing more than a tarpaulin to shield them from the cold and rain. Open fire cooking in overly congested buildings, poor sanitation and cold weather are all contributing to a worsening environment from both health and protection perspectives.

In support of and in close coordination with the Government of Ethiopia, IOM is providing humanitarian assistance to displaced populations in collective centres and within local communities through an integrated approach focusing on core aid distribution, emergency shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance, primary emergency health care and site management support. In addition, IOM’s DTM is supporting the overall response by much needed identification of population movements and needs.

"With so many people displaced in such a short space of time, IOM mobilized response teams and resources to immediately help the Government and local communities address the rapidly-mounting humanitarian needs," said Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission and Representative to the African Union, IGAD and UNECA.

"However, the rains continue and people have very little to survive on - more support is urgently needed from the international community."

In the past week, IOM distributed 1,000 blankets and began building 40 communal shelters to protect displaced communities from the weather. By Thursday (12/07), IOM had completed 15 of a planned 150 latrines and had started digging several more. These activities are being done in addition to displacement tracking rapid assessments, and other ongoing support.

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon in Ethiopia, Tel: +251902484062, Email:<>

Language English Posted: Friday, July 13, 2018 - 13:40Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Samira,* a displaced Ethiopian, holds one of her seven children in front of the tiny space she shares with other families at the Gedeb site. Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM 2018

A partially constructed building at the Gedeb site - one of the most congested, hosting thousands of Ethiopians internally displaced by conflict. Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM 2018

Displaced women at Gedeb speak to IOM about their living conditions. Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM 2018

IOM constructs a communal shelter to help provide adequate shelter for displaced Ethiopians in Gedeb (Gedeo Zone). Photo: Olivia Headon/IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Resumes Voluntary Humanitarian Returns from Yemen

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 07:27

Sana’a – After a careful assessment of the current situation in Hudaydah by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and through high-level coordination with stakeholders, a voluntary humanitarian return of 53 Ethiopian migrants was organized from Yemen.

On Thursday (12/07), utilizing IOM expertise in such complicated situations, a safe corridor was charted to move the migrants from Hudaydah Seaport; a ship with proper clearances transported the 53 migrants (48 men, 5 boys) out of war-torn Yemen to Djibouti, where IOM staff will receive them and coordinate their onward journeys.

“It was important to focus the evacuation on the migrants present in Hudaydah and move them as soon as possible due to the escalation of fighting around Hudaydah,” said Stefano Pes, IOM Yemen Officer in Charge. “We are pleased that we were able to evacuate them.

"On a sad note, a migrant who was hit with a stray bullet in Sana'a a few days ago passed away today. This is a small example of the level of danger that migrants and the people of Yemen are enduring every day," he added.

Last month (22/06), IOM announced that its voluntary humanitarian return assistance to migrants stranded in Hudaydah would be postponed until further notice, due to ongoing military operations approaching the port city. Prior to that, IOM had to cancel a scheduled return of stranded migrants which was due to occur on the 14 June.

With the intensification of fighting near IOM’s Migrant Response Point (MRP) in Hudaydah, 22 Ethiopian migrants were evacuated on 19 June to Sana’a to be housed in one of the organization’s foster family locations for close observation and care.

Meanwhile, IOM Yemen is continuing its humanitarian assistance to fleeing and displaced populations from Hudaydah at its Migrant Response Point, which is now serving displaced Yemenis in addition to migrants.

With the support of other UN agencies, IOM has been providing the migrants with food, transportation out of Hudaydah, health care assistance, psychosocial support and cash assistance. Due to the dire need and the substantial volume of displacement, IOM has dispatched a mobile medical team to Hudaydah, in an ambulance staffed by one doctor and three nurses, to meet the emergency healthcare needs of affected populations. Five ambulances were also donated to support the population, given the shortage of medical facilities and professionals in the region.

To date, IOM has assisted over 483 Ethiopian migrants with return assistance out of Hudaydah, and 1,205 Somali refugees out of Aden Seaport.
For more information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, July 13, 2018 - 13:30Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

53 Ethiopian migrants departing from Hudaydah port, Yemen, en route to Djibouti, where IOM staff will coordinate their onward journey to Ethiopia. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Adopts New Mobile-based Staff Security System

Fri, 07/13/2018 - 07:27

Geneva – This week IOM, the UN Migration Agency, adopted an innovative new staff security system across IOM missions worldwide. With the Security Communications and Analysis Network (SCAAN), IOM’s 11,000 global staff will be equipped with a mobile app that utilizes geolocation, context-specific advisories, instant headcounts and reporting features to enhance security communications and assistance.

SCAAN will have a life-saving impact on teams in the field worldwide. According to the Aid Worker Security Database, there were 158 major attacks against aid operations in 2016, in which 101 aid workers were killed, 98 wounded and 89 kidnapped.

For the second year in a row, South Sudan had the highest number of attacks on aid workers with 52, followed by Afghanistan (25), Syria (20), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (13) and Somalia (12).

“As the safe humanitarian space in which we operate continues to shrink, ensuring the security and well-being of staff working in hostile environments is essential,’’ said William Wairoa-Harrison, Head of IOM Staff Security Unit. “Adoption of SCAAN at the global level allows any staff member facing danger to instantly alert us, enabling a more rapid response.’’

SCAAN is designed to mitigate risks and strengthen security measures, particularly for staff working in high-risk locations – armed conflicts, natural disasters, civil unrest and other threats – by leveraging the latest mobile technology. The mobile app facilitates rapid communication between field staff and security personnel, which is vital to providing efficient and appropriate assistance in an emergency.

SCAAN was developed jointly by IOM's Staff Security Unit and the Media and Communications Division in collaboration with CENTRIC, the research and innovation centre at Sheffield Hallam University in the UK. SCAAN has two components: a mobile application developed for IOM staff; and a dashboard for security staff monitored by IOM’s 24/7 Security Operations Centre as well as local and regional security personnel. Through this co-design partnership, SCAAN has been customized for the protection of IOM staff.

“Innovation and co-creation coupled with close partnership between IOM and CENTRIC made the vision of SCAAN into operational reality for the safety and security of IOM staff,” said Babak Akhgar, Director of CENTRIC.

IOM currently has over 11,000 staff working in more than 150 countries worldwide including 800 staff responding in Level 3 emergency contexts. IOM works extensively in providing technical and operational support in humanitarian contexts and provides migration services in emergencies or post-crisis situations to address the needs of individuals and uprooted communities across the globe.

For more information, please contact Amy Rhoades at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 9948; Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, July 13, 2018 - 13:21Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, African Union and Partners Commit to Enhancing Labour Mobility in Africa with USD 9 Million Swedish Grant

Thu, 07/12/2018 - 09:04

Nairobi – Yesterday (11/07) IOM, the UN Migration Agency, on behalf of the African Union Commission and the International Labour Organisation signed a USD 9 million grant with Swedish International Development Agency, SIDA, that will go towards labour migration policy development, capacity-building for the African Union Commission, labour institutions and RECs, skills development and skills mobility, and overall labour migration governance.

The grant, which will support the implementation of the Joint Programme on Priority Implementation Actions on the AU-ILO-IOM-ECA Joint Programme on Labour Migration Governance for Development in Africa (Priority JLMP), was signed during the opening ceremony of the Symposium to Foster Labour Mobility within and from Africa in Nairobi—which focused on the effective governance and regulation of labour migration and mobility in Africa. The event took into account rule of law and the involvement of key stakeholders across government, legislatures, social partners and migrants, international organizations, NGOs and civil society organizations.

“In connection to this symposium, Sweden would like to announce that it will finance an initial phase of three years JLMP project with a total of USD 9 million,” said Torbjorn Petterson, the Swedish Ambassador to Ethiopia and Djibouti. “In addition, Sweden is also providing support to the AU via IOM to retain the existing capacity of AU in terms of technical assistance,” Ambassador Petterson added.

Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission and Representative to the AU/UNECA/IGAD, commended the African Union on its leadership on labour migration issues in Africa and emphasized the importance of partnership and a whole society approach in migration management. She thanked the AUC and ILO for entrusting IOM with the leadership role in the management of the grant.

Responding to the needs explicitly identified by RECs and social partners, as well as to those defined in AU regional policy instruments, the programme focuses on critical areas for facilitating free movement of workers as a crucial means of advancing regional integration and development in Africa.  Long-term, the implementation of the JLMP is expected to:

  • extend dignified work and social protection to migrant workers and their families
  • strengthen regional integration and inclusive development
  • encourage employment, productivity, productive investment and business success
  • enable better social and economic integration of migrants, effective labour and social protection mechanisms, and sustainable labour market systems. 

The program will target the East African Community (EAC), Southern Africa Development Cooperation (SADC), Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and migrant workers, migrant associations, diaspora associations and labour market institutions.

The Initiative is funded by the Swedish International Development Agency (SIDA).

For more Information, please contact Jo Rispoli, Senior Regional Specialist on Labour Mobility and Human Development, IOM Nairobi at Tel: + 254 700638505, Email:

Language English Posted: Thursday, July 12, 2018 - 15:02Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: Migration PolicyDefault: Multimedia: 

Ambassador of Sweden to Ethiopia and Djibouti, H.E. Ambassador Torjorn Pettersson and Maureen Achieng, Head of Mission, IOM Ethiopia and Representative to AUC, IGAD & UNECA exchange notes during the signing ceremony at the on-going Symposium to Foster Labour Mobility within and from Africa. Photo: IOM 

Senior Government representatives from the Ministries of Labour, representatives of Regional Economic Communities, Intergovernmental Authority on Development, representatives from the European Union and Gulf Cooperation Council Member States, the Civil Society, Development and Social Partners pose for a group photo during the symposium. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Solar Power Delivers Water to Tens of Thousands of Yemenis

Wed, 07/11/2018 - 08:22

Sana'a – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, yesterday (10/07) handed over a large-scale solar power water project to the Government of Yemen that is helping to deliver approximately one million litres of water daily to 55,000 people in a country facing chronic water shortages.

Power generated by the 940 solar panels installed on three schools in Amanat Al Asimah and Sana'a Governorates began pumping water to residents of the neighbourhoods of Shu'aub, Al Madinah Al Syahya, and Sho'ob two weeks ago.

IOM’s solar power water project in Yemen, where 90 per cent of the population lacks access to sufficient water, aims to provide conflict-affected communities with alternative methods of accessing clean water. Many people are forced to use unsafe sources of water, which is a clear contributor to the recent cholera outbreak.

Solar energy, collected through photovoltaic (solar) panels, powers deep water pumps and water supply systems. This method cuts dependency and the high recurrent costs of fuel-based technology. An estimated 150,000 litres of diesel and 500 tonnes of carbon emissions will be saved annually due to the environmentally friendly water system in Sana’a.

The project provides essential water supply in places where supply and prices of fuel and other basic commodities are greatly affected by the ongoing conflict and are erratic at best.

Hamoud Obad, Governor of Sana'a, and Abdalah Al Hadi, the Deputy Minister of the Water and Sanitation Authority joined Stefano Pes, IOM Yemen’s Head of Emergency, Transition and Recovery at the official ceremony Tuesday in Sana’a.

This initiative is supported by the United States Office for Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and the Government of Germany. IOM plans to expand this project throughout Yemen to contribute to the sustainable solarization in the country.

For more information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel:+ 967 736 800 329; Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, July 11, 2018 - 14:08Image: Region-Country: YemenDefault: Multimedia: 

Secretary of Amanat Al Asimah in Sana’a, Yemen officially inaugurates IOM’s Solar Water Initiatives. Photos: IOM/Saba Malme

Secretary of Amanat Al Asimah Hamoud Obad extend thanks to IOM for the beneficial and brave project. Photos: IOM/Saba Malme

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, UN Partners Collaborate with Mozambican Authorities to Enhance Migrant Workers’ Protection

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 10:22

Maputo – The UN Migration Agency (IOM), International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNOHCHR), are collaborating today to enhance the ability of Mozambique government officials to report on and provide technical guidance to the implementation of the International Convention on the Protection of the Rights of all Migrant Workers and Members of their Families (CMW).

The four-day National Training on Treaty Body Reporting and Workshop on the socialization and domestication of the CMW also aims to improve the government’s capacity to review its legal, policy and institutional framework in Mozambique.

The Convention sets minimum human rights standards for migrant workers and members of their families, with a special focus on eliminating labour exploitation in the migration process.

“Mozambique is member to seven international treaties and optional protocols since 2013 and it was one of the three countries in Southern Africa to ratify this convention,” IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Katharina Schnoering said in her opening remarks.

“I want to take the opportunity to congratulate the Government of Mozambique for this important step. Now, it is also important to work on the domestication of the Convention into the Mozambican legislation so that these commitments become a reality.”

The facilitators team is comprised of four human rights specialists working at UNOHCHR Pretoria, the Regional Office for Southern Africa and Geneva headquarters. The trainers team includes two members of the Mozambican inter-ministerial committee, representing the Ministry of Justice, Constitutional and Religious Affairs, and the Ministry of Labour, Work and Social Security.

The training focuses on the reporting mechanisms to the treaty bodies, while the workshop aims to provide a direction on how to initiate the process of domestication and explain the obligations that come with domestication of the CMW. It will also help participants to identify legal, policy and institutional gaps in Mozambique.

“The main objective of the reporting process is that the treaty bodies evaluate the level of implementation of the State duties regarding the treaties,” said Marcoluigi Corsi, the acting UN Resident Coordinator and UNICEF Representative in Mozambique.

“The reporting of the member state works as an opportunity to evaluate and debate human rights issues in the country and identify problems and areas that require more attention.”

Mozambique is a country of origin, transit and destination for people engaged in complex mixed migration movements and the country has increasingly seen mixed movements coming from the East and Horn of Africa. Due to their immigration status, inability to speak the local language and unfamiliarity with the Mozambican context, migrants are often not afforded access to justice or the rule of law. Providing technical support on the domestication of the CMW, will ensure that the rights of migrant workers are guaranteed and applied.

For more information please contact Linda Manjate Magaia at IOM Mozambique, Tel: +258 823078342 Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 14:13Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueDefault: Multimedia: 

Helena, widow of a Mozambican migrant worker, holding her baby.

IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Katharina Schnoering speaking at the event. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Kuwait Provides USD 10 Million to UN Migration Agency for Operations in Yemen 

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 09:26

Geneva  On Monday, 9 July, the State of Kuwait donated USD 10 million in support of the UN Migration Agency (IOM)’s humanitarian work in Yemen.

“Given the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Yemen, the State of Kuwait is determined to support the humanitarian needs of the Yemeni people through its collaboration with the international humanitarian organizations,” Ambassador Jamal Al-Ghunaim, Permanent Representative of the State of Kuwait to the United Nations Office and other International Organizations in Geneva, told IOM’s Director General William Lacy Swing, during their meeting.

“The State of Kuwait would like to reiterate its firm intention of further strengthening the longstanding and fruitful relations with the International Organization for Migration, in the ultimate service of international humanitarian work,” the ambassador added.

Director General Swing called Kuwait “a reliable source of support” for many years and observed that the emirate is IOM’s oldest collaborator among the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

In February this year, IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, launched a USD 96.2 million appeal to support Yemenis and migrants impacted by the three-year old conflict.

The appeal comes under the USD 2.96 billion Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) which covers the entire humanitarian community.

Due to a protracted economic crisis, intermittent conflict, and weak rule of law, Yemen was already facing chronic vulnerabilities even prior to the escalation of conflict on 25 March 2015. This has led to a system-wide failure in the health and education sector, as well as a shutdown of governmental services and mass unemployment. Some 22.2 million Yemenis – more than 2 out of 3 people – will need humanitarian aid in 2018, with half of the population living in areas directly affected by conflict.

“Three years of conflict have inflicted suffering on millions, affecting every Yemeni – man, woman or child,” said DG Swing.  “With armed conflict ongoing, a stalled peace process and an economic blockade, Yemen is in the grips of a devastating protracted humanitarian and developmental crisis,” he added.

The conflict has also displaced some two million Yemenis within their own country, according to the Task Force on Population Movement. Nearly 90 per cent of internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been displaced for one year or more, including 69 per cent who have been displaced for over two years. The protracted nature of the displacement is straining IDPs’ and host communities’ ability to cope.

A further one million IDPs have returned to their area of origin but are in dire need of aid. Their homes have been severely damaged by the fighting and urgently require rehabilitation assistance.

For more information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Sana’a, Tel: + 967 736 800 329; Email:, or Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 14:55Image: Region-Country: KuwaitThemes: IOMOthersDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 47,637 in 2018; Deaths Reach 1,422

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 09:24

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 47,637 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through 8 July 2018. That total compares to 101,392 at this time last year, and over 239,492 at this time in 2016.
Arrivals to Italy, Greece and Spain are about even through 14 weeks. Italy, with 35 per cent of arrivals, remains the busiest destination, barely edging out Spain (34%) and Greece (30%). If these trends persist, Spain looks likely to have had the largest number of arrivals before summer’s end. 

IOM Rome reported Monday that arrivals of irregular migrants to Italy thus far in 2018 are at 16,933, less than one-fifth (19%) the total arriving through mid-year 2017 and mid-year 2016. The downward trend appears to be accelerating (see chart below): monthly arrivals to Italy this year have topped the 4,000-person mark just once, in January. For the previous two years, monthly arrival totals to Italy regularly exceeded 10,000 and 20,000 during summer months.

Nonetheless, irregular sea passage across the Mediterranean’s central route remains treacherous. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has now recorded 1,422 people who have lost their lives at sea in the Mediterranean since the beginning of the year. 
Most recently, a young man drowned in the Western Mediterranean between Morocco and Spain. The online mapping platform Alarm Phone reported that on 3 July, the group was in contact with a boat in distress which was trying to reach Spain from Morocco. Tragically, a young man lost his life before the boat was returned to Morocco. He was 19 years old and from Senegal.
IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported Monday that since 5 July, the remains of eight migrants were found along the Libyan shore in Tajoura, Garaboli and Suq al Juma. She added that so far this year, 11,311 migrants have been returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard. 
IOM Madrid’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday that total arrivals at sea in 2018 have reached 16,295 men, women and children, irregular migrants who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 8 July.
Just about half of all landings – 8,145 people – occurred just in the past 38 days. Moreover, sea arrivals to Spain by irregular migrants already are almost 75 per cent of all of 2017 arrivals, and exceed the arrivals of 2015 and 2016, combined (see charts below).

IOM Athens’ Antigoni Avgeropoulou said Monday IOM has learned that from last Thursday through Sunday (5-8 July) the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least six incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios. The HCG rescued a total of 228 migrants and transferred them to those islands.
Another 57 migrants were reported landing at Kos and elsewhere, bringing to 319 the total number of arrivals between those four days. Through that date the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory since 1 January is 14,119 (see charts below).


Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has documented the deaths of 2,138 people while migrating in 2018 (see chart below). Besides those on the Mediterranean, there were two more additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since Thursday’s update.
In Mexico, a 28-year-old man from El Salvador died after falling from a freight train near Cañada Morelos, in Mexico’s Puebla state on 5 July. At least 17 people have lost their lives while transiting through Mexico due to rail accidents in 2018. In Europe, a 22-year-old Pakistani man drowned in the Uni River near Bihac, in Una-Sana Canton, Bosnia and Herzegovina on 5 July.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff 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.
Download the Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here.

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Atigoni Avgeropoulou, IOM Greece, Tel:   +30 210 99 19 040 ext. 166; M. +30 69 48 92 98 09, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional DTM, Austria, Tel: + +43 1 5812222, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Tel:  +216 71 860 312 (Ext. 109), Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 14:50Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Third Group of Syrian Refugees Resettled to Croatia

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 09:18

Zagreb – A third group of 24 Syrian refugees landed in Zagreb after leaving Turkey today (10/07) with the support of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in a continuation of the first ever resettlement programme initiated last year by the Republic of Croatia. 

The new arrivals included five families, 13 adults and 11 children, of which there were 15 males and 9 females.  Four persons have been assisted with special travel and transport arrangements based on their specific needs, including wheelchairs and care for a pregnant passenger.

After leaving the airport, the new arrivals were taken to the Reception Centre for Asylum Seekers in Kutina.

To date, three groups totalling 105 refugees have resettled to Croatia from the 150 planned through the pilot programme.

A total of three selection missions to interview potential beneficiaries under the programme have been carried out in Turkey so far.  

The first and the second group of 40 and 41 Syrian refugees arrived in Croatia on 28 November 2017 and 25-26 January 2018, respectively.

As was done with the two groups of Syrian refugees who were resettled earlier this year, IOM staff will provide Croatian language and Socio-Economic Orientation courses on topics such as living and working in Croatia, building social networks, getting familiarized with the institutions and organizations, and rights and obligations in education, housing, health, social welfare and employment.

Since the start of the programme, a total of 69 beneficiaries above 6 years of age have participated in an 80-hour beginner Croatian language course organized by IOM, and 62 resettled persons took part in an 18-hour Socio-Economic Orientation. IOM also conducted skills and education assessments for 57 individuals.

Since the arrival of both groups, IOM has assisted 75 persons who have been transferred to individual accommodation in Zadar, Slavonski Brod and the Zagreb County.

The protection and humanitarian character of the pilot resettlement project continues to ensure the availability of a much needed safe and legal channel for the most vulnerable refugees, in which IOM coordinates all activities with the Ministry of the Interior and other stakeholders.

For more information please contact IOM Croatia. Igor Aničić, Email:, Tel: +385 64 63 885 or Ivan Piteša, Email:, Tel: +385 48 16 885


Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 14:40Image: Region-Country: CroatiaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Latest group of Syrian refugees from Turkey arrive in Zagreb, Croatia. Photo: IOM

Latest group of Syrian refugees from Turkey arrive in Zagreb, Croatia. Photo: IOM

Latest group of Syrian refugees from Turkey arrive in Zagreb, Croatia. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Helps More than 70,000 Migrants Return Voluntarily and Reintegrate in 2017

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 09:18

Geneva  Today (10/07), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reported that 72,176 migrants returned home voluntarily in 2017 with the organization’s support, through Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programmes. Key trends and figures are highlighted in IOM’s latest report: Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration 2017 Key Highlights. 

The number of migrants assisted in their voluntary returns represents a 27 per cent decrease as compared to 2016, when 98,403 migrants were provided with return and reintegration support. This decrease was mainly due to a lower volume of voluntary returns from the European Economic Area (EEA) and Switzerland, which nevertheless remained the region from which the largest proportion of beneficiaries returned.

It should be noted, however, that the number of AVRR beneficiaries in 2017 remained significantly higher than those recorded in the 2005-2015 period and should therefore be regarded as having gone “back to normal” after an exceptional year.

AVRR beneficiaries in 2017 returned from 124 countries to 165 countries and territories of origin. Germany remained the top host country (41 per cent of the total) and Albania remained the top country of origin, despite a 54 per cent decrease and a 60 per cent decrease respectively.

Nearly one third of the migrants assisted by IOM’s AVRR programmes were female; a quarter of them were children.

Of the total assisted, 3,331 were identified as being in vulnerable situations, namely: migrants with health-related needs (48 per cent), victims of trafficking (34 per cent) and unaccompanied migrant children (18 per cent).

Some trends observed in 2016 were also confirmed last year, such as the increasing number of voluntary returns from transit countries (for instance, from Greece or Niger) and the increasing number of intraregional returns, particularly within the Middle East and the African continent.

The AVRR 2017 Key Highlights report also showcases some of IOM’s most significant global initiatives for the year 2017. These include the recent conceptualization of IOM’s integrated approach to reintegration in the context of return and the development of indicators to better measure reintegration outcomes, which are finding concrete application within the framework of the EU-IOM External Actions in Support of Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

The report also shows that in 2017, IOM continued to make returnees’ voices better heard, by promoting avenues and tools for returnees and their communities to share their stories.

“The initiatives put in place last year illustrate IOM’s commitment towards further enhancing the nature and the quality of voluntary return and reintegration support provided to returnees,” said Anh Nguyen, Head of IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance Division. “As underlined in recent discussions on the upcoming Global Compact for Migration, there is a need to facilitate voluntary return and foster sustainable reintegration of returnees in their communities through the creation of conditions for personal safety, economic empowerment, inclusion and social cohesion.”

To read IOM’s AVRR 2017 Key Highlights report, please click here. For further information on IOM’s AVRR programmes, please click here.

For more information, please contact Nicola Graviano at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 94 72 or Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 14:45Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Global Migration Film Festival Empowers Women Victims of Human Trafficking in Madagascar

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 09:01

Antananarivo – A group of Malagasy women who were victims of human trafficking overcame their fear of speaking out and last week spent four days directing and filming their own stories of forced marriage and domestic slavery for a counter-trafficking documentary.

The initiative, which took place between 2 and 6 July, is part of this year’s Global Migration Film Festival, a demonstration of the festival’s commitment to enable and engage communities in filming migration narratives from their own perspectives.

Madagascar is a source country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour, and women and children subjected to sex trafficking. Malagasy children, mostly from rural areas, are subjected to prostitution, domestic servitude, and forced labour in mining, fishing, and agriculture within the country.

Moreover, it is estimated that thousands of Malagasy women are employed as domestic workers in Lebanon, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia; a smaller number of workers seek employment in Jordan, Mauritius, and Seychelles.

Trafficking victims returning from Gulf countries report various forms of abuse and exploitation. Reports suggest Malagasy men in the Middle East also endure exploitation through forced labour in the service and construction sectors.

Both realities of national and transnational trafficking have been raised during the week-long workshop, which is based on peer-to-peer learning and includes editorial discussions, photography and framing techniques as well as participatory filming and editing. One of the exercises is storytelling amongst the participants to help create bonds, empathy and find commonalities between the different narratives.

For the first time in Madagascar, victims were empowered by IOM to become the filmmakers of a counter-trafficking film to help raise awareness of a subject that, in many communities, remains hidden or treated as taboo. The Festival’s team of facilitators trained the participants using Participatory Video (PV) methodology that, beyond creating a final product, is a process that catalyses self-reflection, self-recognition, transformation and change. 

In order for the women to portray themselves with dignity – but without running the risk of revealing their identities – the majority opted for protecting their faces either using counter-light techniques or covering up with locally made tissues. 

They also embraced a creative solution: presenting themselves without revealing their real names, but names of flowers grown in Madagascar instead.  “Dalia,” “Ovy Ala,” “Menakely,” “Mavo Adala” “Rose” and all the other members became the “Flora filmmakers” group and produced the short film Fleurs de l’Espoir (Flowers of Hope) – a 15-minute collage of testimonials portrayed via seven themes: Poverty; Lies and Frauds; Slavery and Abuse; Violence; Forced Marriage; Search for Freedom, and Hope.

“After the process I was proud because I could not imagine we could produce a film like this, especially after all we’ve been through,” affirmed Lilas. She also claims to have learned many lessons “because we shared a lot of things amongst ourselves.” 

On Friday, 6 July, a special Avant-première was organized by IOM and the participants to present the film exclusively to their close friends, family members and selected partnering authorities. Blondine R., 55, the mother of “Mavo Adala,” believes the film is very useful to help prevent other young women from falling into the trap of human trafficking like her daughter. When asked which part mostly touched her, she exudes a sense of pride and said, “I liked when my daughter said women must be strong, confident and help empower themselves. This really inspired me.”

The awareness-raising component of the film was also mentioned by one of the participants, who stated: “It has shocked me and my friends. We did not know about this problem. It has brought many questions: What can we do about this? How can we help?”

In the coming months, the film produced in the local language (Malagasy) will be disseminated by IOM and the Government of Madagascar to communities and villages across the country.

“This is a great film to raise awareness because it can really touch people as it was made by human trafficking victims themselves and not by actors. There are very few women who would agree to share their stories so gathering all these video testimonials is a crucial step. But this is not enough because there are still people inciting others to go. We need more consistent initiatives from all stakeholders,” said Jeannie Rafalimanana, from the Diaspora Directorate of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

At the end of the year, during the 3rd edition of the Global Migration Film Festival, an international version will be screened around the world.

Amanda Nero, the Festival Director and one of the facilitators of the Participatory Video initiative said, “For the Festival, it is important not only to be a broad platform to inform, educate and promote the debate around migration but to enable affected communities that usually don’t have such a chance, to film and share their own stories. That can create change.”

Fernanda Baumhardt, Norwegian Refugee Council's expert deployment capacity (NORCAP) and participatory video expert supporting IOM, said this initiative is far from a traditional communications activity. “This is about communication for social change. It helps migrants' affected communities heal and recover,” Baumhardt said. 

“For the first time, we inverted the way of communicating about trafficking in persons: instead of us talking, we sat, observed and heard the victims of trafficking putting across in their own words and with their own means, their experiences. With that, we want to put emphasis on the individuals’ agency to overcome their trauma, and show that if you have been a victim at some point of your life, you are – as a human being – deserving of so much more, and we will not let you be catalogued as a victim for the rest of your life,” said Clara Perez, Counter-Trafficking Project Coordinator.

IOM’s GMFF Participatory Video Project is an initiative to amplify voices, empower and foster social cohesion in migrants’ affected communities.

The workshop tour kicked off in Amman, Jordan, in October 2017. In November, it reached Malakal, South Sudan, to work with communities that have fled war and violence and in December last year, the workshop was held for a group of migrants living in Geneva, Switzerland. In 2018, it was held at an indigenous shelter for Venezuelan migrants in the North of Brazil.

After Madagascar the project’s next stop will be Afghanistan to facilitate returnees telling their stories of reintegration and hope. The initiative is funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF) and supported by NORCAP.

Watch Behind the Scenes: Participatory Video Workshop on Human Trafficking in Madagascar.


For more information please contact:Amanda Nero, Media and Communications Division, IOM HQ, Mobile: +41 767 883 785. Tel: +41 227 179 482, Email: or Daniel Silva y Poveda, IOM Madagascar, Tel: +261.32 56 54 954, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 14:35Image: Region-Country: MadagascarThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants in IOM’s GMFF Participatory Video Project in Madagascar. Photo: IOM

Participants in IOM’s GMFF Participatory Video Project in Madagascar. Photo: IOM

Participants in IOM’s GMFF Participatory Video Project in Madagascar. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Unveils Part Two of Its Global Review of Migrant Smuggling Data and Research

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 08:55

Geneva – The 2018 International Migration, Integration and Social Cohesion (IMISCOE) Conference in Barcelona this month (2-7 July) was also the site of IOM’s launch of its newest publication Migrant Smuggling Data and Research: A Global Review of the Emerging Evidence Base – Volume 2.

The UN Migration Agency notes that this report picks up where the first volume left off, building on a review of current migrant smuggling data and research by covering additional geographic areas that could not be included in the first volume. Volume 2 also delves into migrant smuggling in specific countries seriously affected by this transnational phenomenon, such as Ecuador and Mexico.

Marie McAuliffe, IOM’s Head of Migration Policy Research, organized and co-edited the report.
Volume 2 highlights several aspects that are common to migrant smuggling in various locations, namely its clandestine and hidden character; the agility and dynamism of smugglers, facilitators, networks and migrants; and the variable impacts on people, most apparent when things go wrong and people are harmed or die en route.

The report is part of a broader project to counter migrant smuggling, of which research is one key pillar. In her speech to launch the publication, McAuliffe noted that “Just as responding to migrant smuggling is challenging for all these reasons, researching migrant smuggling is also challenging. It can be demanding and at times dangerous but it is also important.”

She went on to stress that research and critical enquiry can help us learn from migrants by documenting their experiences, recognizing their circumstances and better understanding their decisions so as to help amplify the voices of those use or are exploited by smugglers.

Florian G. Forster, who leads IOM’s Immigration and Border Management (IBM) Division, said the report was financially supported by the Republic of Turkey. 

Forster, who is coordinating IOM’s efforts in the field of counter migrant smuggling, underlined the importance of partnerships and close cooperation among the relevant agencies within the United Nations system: “IOM notably cooperates very closely with UNODC, the recently launched initiative by the two UN bodies for a Joint Platform on Counter Migrant Smuggling being another important element of this coordinated UN system-wide effort.”       

Three research-specific  recommendations for countering smuggling were issued based on the two volumes of the report: partnerships between policymakers and researchers on aspects of migrant smuggling should be strengthened; research capacity and institutions within regions should be built up in regions and countries where smuggling is prevalent; and emerging and priority topics for research and data collection should be points of focus in the development of global, regional, and national policies that are better able to respond to migrant smuggling effectively. 

The full report is available here.

For more information, please contact Vanessa Okoth-Obbo at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 93 66, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 14:30Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Human SmugglingMigration ResearchDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

European, Chinese Experts Meet to Discuss Automated Border Control Systems

Tue, 07/10/2018 - 08:55

Shanghai – Over 140 million people crossed China’s borders between 2015 and 2016 – six per cent more than the previous year.  Managing this huge volume of people requires sophisticated information technology (IT) systems to facilitate the work of border and migration agencies.  

Like other countries across the globe, China is successfully implementing IT-based border management tools to manage growing numbers of travellers in order to reduce the time spent clearing immigration, improve security, and facilitate seamless cross-border travel.   

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is today organizing a two-day seminar in Shanghai on IT systems for border management, bringing together officials from the central and provincial levels of China's National Immigration Administration, and experts from European Union (EU) Member States and IOM to showcase various systems and identify best practices. 

The Chinese government at national and regional levels is already running pilot programmes for IT systems in border management. These include fingerprint scanning of all foreign travellers in Guangdong province, which was introduced in February 2017, and the use of e-gates for Chinese citizens and permanent residence card holders.  

IOM border management specialist Dr. Erik Slavenas told seminar participants that international cooperation will play a key role in the adoption of the new technologies. “To achieve the full potential of the use of automated border controls, we need to intensify the role of UN agencies in international cooperation and information sharing,” he said. 

The seminar, which included a field visit to Shanghai’s Pudong airport, is part of a series of technical exchanges under the framework of the EU-China Dialogue on Migration and Mobility Support project, funded by the European Union Partnership Instrument. 

For further information please contact Etienne Micallef at IOM China. , Tel:+86105 979 9695. Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 10, 2018 - 14:26Image: Region-Country: ChinaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

China is adopting automated border controls to process rapidly growing numbers of international travelers. Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN