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Updated: 1 hour 24 min ago

Migrant Returnees Turn to Mobile Money in Sudan

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 08:13

Khartoum – To get around the shortage of cash in Sudan, Africa’s largest mobile operator MTN has partnered with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to enable returning migrants to use its mobile money service MoMo to re-establish their livelihoods in the country.  

An IOM pilot project will allow up to 2,000 returnees starting small businesses to select their own suppliers paid through MoMo.  

“Economic reintegration is one of the key elements to sustainable return, and MoMo is an innovative way of delivering it,” said Andrew Gray, head of migration management and development at IOM Sudan.   

Sudan presents 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.  

With IOM’s support, the country is also facilitating the return and reintegration of its nationals, many of whom were stranded in Libya.  

In addition to psycho-social support, qualifying Sudanese migrant returnees are offered economic assistance to acquire vocational skills in preparation for their re-entry into the job market. They may also be offered small grants, paid in kind, to start small businesses.  

Among those who have received reintegration support through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative is Mohamed Ahmed who returned to Sudan from Libya in 2018 with the IOM’s assistance.  

He was able to open a shop in Omdurman market, Khartoum State, and now has a sustainable income. “Business is going well now, and I also got married and life has been getting better,” he says.  

An agreement was reached between MTN, the Secretariat for Sudanese Working Abroad (SSWA) and IOM, through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa (the EU-IOM Joint Initiative). 

“It is an honour for MTN to be a part of this pilot; it goes further to the core of what we believe, to serve those who are unbanked, marginalized, to drive financial inclusion to those who do not have access to bank accounts and benefits of normal financial activity,” said MTN Sudan CEO Malik Melamu. “We hope that we can expand this partnership, to reach further.” 

Amel Ibrahim of the SSWA said, “We are here to help the Sudanese people and this pilot could not be done without the collaboration of everyone. We hope for continued support to successfully reintegrate returning migrants to Sudan.” 

About the EU-IOM Joint Initiative 

Backed by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the programme was set up in 2016 in close cooperation with 26 African countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa and North Africa regions. 

It facilitates safer, more informed and better governed migration for both migrants and their communities through the development of rights-based and development-focused procedures and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. 

In the Horn of Africa, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative – running from March 2017 to March 2021 – is mainly focused on four identified priority countries: Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan. 

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

Language English Posted: Friday, January 17, 2020 - 15:07Image: Region-Country: SudanThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Partners Relocate Hundreds of South Sudanese Refugees in Ethiopia

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 03:30

Gambella – The International Organization for Migration, IOM, has assisted 700 South Sudanese refugees with onward transportation to the Gore-Shembola and Tsore refugee camps in Assosa situated in Benishangul Gumuz Regional State, some 800 kilometers from Pamdong reception centre in Gambella where they had been holed up.

With severe food insecurity and renewed armed conflict worsening the already dire humanitarian situation in South Sudan, a significant number of refugees continue to arrive in Gambella, which sits at the border between South Sudan and Ethiopia.

Whilst Gambella continues to host most South Sudanese refugees, the Gambella regional government has officially communicated that they will no longer accommodate more refugees, implying all relocations will be to the Gure-Shambolla Refugee Camp, established in April 2017.

In 2019, IOM relocated a total of 5,603 South Sudanese refugees. However, road transportation was hampered by insecurity in the volatile region.

There has been an upsurge of arrivals with over 4,000 refugees, including unaccompanied or separated minors, arriving at Gambella’s Pagag border for assistance since November 2019.

To help ease the pressure, IOM, in collaboration with the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), will continue relocating willing refugees by air to the safety of in-land camps in Assosa.

“Last year (2019), we airlifted 719 South Sudanese from Gambella to Assosa’s Gure-Shembola and Tsore camps, collaborating with UNHCR and ARRA, and this week we are planning to airlift 300 more using Ethiopian Airlines charter flights,” said Betelhem Berhane, IOM Officer in charge of the operation.

“Since 2018 we have been working together with ARRA and UNHCR, providing transportation assistance to decongest refugee overcrowding in Gambella and to ensure their timely, safe, and dignified relocation to alternative sites in Assosa,” she added.

Prior to relocation, IOM provides pre-departure medical screenings (PDMS) to ensure refugees are fit for travel, referring those with medical needs to local health facilities. IOM also provides operational and medical escorts in line with its global standards, as well as high energy biscuits and water during the journey.

Emergency transportation assistance to refugees enables access to immediate life-saving services including food, shelter or health care in Gambella, Benishangul-Gumuz, Somali and Tigray Regions, and reducing their vulnerability to multiple protection risks. 

Relocation to the camps where provision of services is more sustainable and accessible for refugees is vital to prevent loss of life and the deterioration of the status of the refugees. Movement from Gambella will continue for the next few weeks as a maximum of 300 people can be airlifted to Assosa each day.

In 2019, IOM, with funding from US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and UNHCR, provided transportation and travel health assistance to 74,788 refugees from Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Somalia and other nationalities.

For more information, please contact Eric Mazango at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 6611117 (Ext. 456), Email:

Language English Posted: Monday, January 13, 2020 - 10:24Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaSouth SudanThemes: IOMRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

South Sudanese refugees being relocated from Gambella to Assosa, Ethiopia. Photo: IOM Ethiopia

South Sudanese refugees being relocated from Gambella to Assosa, Ethiopia. Photo: IOM Ethiopia

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Calls on EU Council Presidency to Support a Comprehensive, Long-Term Vision on Migration

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 08:01

Brussels – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) encouraged Croatia to use its six-month tenure at the helm of the Council of the European Union (EU) to promote a more comprehensive approach and a long-term EU budget that facilitates orderly, safe and regular migration.

In recommendations released today (15/01), IOM also called on the Croatian Presidency to ensure that migration considerations are reflected and integrated in the upcoming European Green Deal.

Croatia assumed the rotating six-month Presidency on 1 January 2020 and will hold this role through key EU discussions on a new pact on migration and asylum, a new EU-Africa strategy, a new Multiannual Financial Framework and a European Green Deal. The Presidency also coincides with the kickoff of the “decade of action” to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the target date of 2030.

“The Croatian Presidency will have the opportunity at the start of this new ‘decade of action’ to drive forward Council discussions on strategic, comprehensive, and coherent migration policies that can benefit the EU both internally and externally in partnership with third country partners,” said Ola Henrikson, IOM’s Regional Director for the EU, European Economic Area and North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

“We think that any discussion on migration policy must recognize the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development, including within the EU,” he added.

In promoting a comprehensive approach to migration governance, the Croatian Presidency should encourage Member States to prioritize flexible and accessible legal pathways for the admission of migrant workers to the EU. This should go alongside sound return and reintegration schemes that are developed and implemented in close partnership with origin, transit and host countries.

Equally important, advancing discussion on reforms for a functioning Common European Asylum System and an agreement on the Regulation for a Union Resettlement and Humanitarian Admission Framework are needed. Additionally, IOM is encouraging the Croatian Presidency to support investment in the collection, analysis and dissemination of improved migration data that can support evidence-based policies. 

Looking ahead, IOM recommends that the EU budget for 2021-2027, the Multiannual Financial Framework, be endowed with the appropriate resources and procedures to implement a strategic and long-term vision.

“To achieve orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration, the EU’s future budget must respond to the needs and commitments of both the EU and its partners and adhere to a rights-based and holistic approach,” said Henrikson.

Croatia is taking over the Council Presidency as the EU is set to move forward with the proposed roadmap of the European Green Deal, which outlines ambitious measures towards a sustainable green transition. IOM is convinced that any forward-looking green policy must address the relationship between migration, displaced people and climate change.

“Given the critical role migration plays in the context of environment and climate change, the Croatian Presidency should factor migration into the measures that will be taken in the framework of the European Green Deal,” said Henrikson.

IOM's recommendations can be downloaded here.

For more information please contact Melissa Julian at IOM Brussels, Tel: +32 287 7133, Email: 


Language English Posted: Wednesday, January 15, 2020 - 14:16Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

On 1 January 2020, Croatia assumed the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU). Photo: European Union

IOM calls on European Union (EU) Council Presidency Croatia to support a comprehensive, long-term vision on migration. Photo: IOM

IOM calls on European Union (EU) Council Presidency Croatia to support a comprehensive, long-term vision on migration. Photo: IOM

IOM calls on European Union (EU) Council Presidency Croatia to support a comprehensive, long-term vision on migration. Photo: IOM

IOM calls on European Union (EU) Council Presidency Croatia to support a comprehensive, long-term vision on migration. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Heartbreak as Women and Children Perish in Migrant Shipwreck

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 07:40

Çeşme, Western Turkey – “I saw some light of hope in people’s eyes hoping that their children or wives were alive but I had to give them the terrible news that some of their family members had died. Then I saw the deepest level of helplessness and desperation in their eyes. I had to inform a recently wed man that his wife and baby had died. I cannot find words to express how he hugged his deceased wife and child as a last farewell.’’

The words of Mehmet Emin Ayhan, a member of the IOM Turkey Mediterranean Response Team describing the scenes as survivors and the dead came ashore in Çeşme, Western Turkey at the weekend.

Eleven people including eight children lost their lives in the shipwreck on Saturday (11/01) when their small boat carrying 19 migrants capsized 250 metres after launching, on the short journey to the nearby Greek islands.

The eleven deceased - all Syrian nationals - were recovered by the Turkish coast guard at around 20:30 Turkish time. Among the eight survivors are four men, three women and one child. IOM Turkey’s Mediterranean Response Team was called to the disembarkation point and provided assistance in the form of blankets, hot drinks, first aid and comfort to the shocked survivors.

This latest tragedy comes during an apparent spike in departures from the western coast of Turkey. In the past two weeks a boat carrying 15 migrants capsized and eight people died in the locality. A few days after that a vessel carrying 56 migrants capsized nearby leaving four migrants dead and one still missing. In a separate incident on Saturday 20 people were rescued and twelve died when their boat capsized on an unusual route in the Ionian Sea near the Greek island of Paxos.

The latest tragedy brings the total number of deaths recorded in the Mediterranean in the first ten days of 2020 to 35. According to figures provided by Turkish Ministry of Interior Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM) 60,000 migrants and refugees were intercepted trying to cross the Mediterranean to Europe in 2019. In December alone more than 3,000 migrants were intercepted by the Turkish Coast Guard.

“More and more people are being driven by desperation to take these journeys of abject desperation”, said Lado Gvilava, IOM Chief of Mission in Turkey. “This latest tragedy breaks my heart, not only as we join the grief of the migrants and their families, but also as I hear, once again, that my staff have acted as heroes. Their hearts are forever marked with what they see every day, and I cannot praise them highly enough as they carry out their grim work with true dedication.”

For more information please contact Marshall Patsanza on Tel: +905343512702, Email:

Please also see

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 16:18Image: Region-Country: TurkeyThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

‘A father and son huddle to keep warm in a Turkish Coast Guard rescue boat waiting to reach land. IOM’s Mediterranean Response Team has provided humanitarian assistance to migrants rescued in the Aegean Sea since 2016. Küçükkuyu Harbour, İzmir. © IOM 2019 /Bekir ERDİNÇ’

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Nearly 1,000 Migrants Returned to Libya in the First Two Weeks of 2020: IOM

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 07:32

Geneva – At least 953 migrants, among them 136 women and 85 children, have been returned to Libyan shores in the first two weeks of 2020. Most were disembarked in Tripoli and all were taken to detention centres. NGO search and rescue vessels reported having rescued 237 others. These returned migrants are among the more than 1,000 who have left Libya by sea since 1 January, driven in part by the heaviest clashes Tripoli has seen since hostilities began nine months ago.   

Migrants who spoke to International Organization for Migration (IOM) staff at disembarkation points in Libya said that the escalation in hostilities in and around the capital, and the deteriorating humanitarian situation are the main reasons behind this increase in departures.    

During the same period last year, 23 bodies were recovered by the coast guard and no migrants were returned to Libya. The current sudden increase in departures is especially alarming given the very limited search and rescue capacity in the Mediterranean.   

IOM has consistently called for the dismantling of the detention system, and the orderly release of migrants. Alternative solutions that safeguard lives must be found to alleviate the suffering of thousands of men, women, and children who are held in inhumane conditions.   

While IOM teams are present at disembarkation points to provide emergency assistance to migrants, including basic health assistance and screenings, the Organization reiterates that measures to protect lives and guarantee the safety of these people are not in place.   

Over 1,000 other migrants who have registered for IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme are still trapped in Libya due to the security situation. The challenging and unsafe environment in the country’s capital has disrupted aviation activities thus hindering an important lifeline for stranded migrants. 

"While our operations and programmes continue across the country, they have been largely affected, especially with regards to the safe movement of migrants to transit points and airports. A minimum degree of security is needed for us to be able to safely assist 500 people scheduled to return home in the coming days,” says IOM Libya Chief of Mission Federico Soda.   

For more information, please contact Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva: Tel: +41794035526, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 14, 2020 - 16:20Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Migrants returned to Libyan shore by the coast guard. Photo: IOM Libya 2020

Migrants returned to Libyan shore by the coast guard. Photo: IOM Libya 2020

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

10 Years After 'Goudou Goudou' IOM Assists Haitian Women Artists Raise Funds for the Vulnerable

Fri, 01/10/2020 - 07:36

Port-au-Prince – To commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Haiti earthquake and remember its victims, IOM Haiti, its Goodwill Ambassador Phyllisia Ross and a group of Haitian women artists have released the song 'Goudou Goudou' on video. Named for the popular way Haitians describe the earthquake which devastated their country, the video will help raise funds for the many displaced Haitians still living in camps who still need support. 

The 7.0 magnitude earthquake devastated Haiti on 12 January 2010, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in coordination with the Government of Haiti, UN and other humanitarian agencies, has resettled 98 per cent of 1.5 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) who were relocated due to the natural disaster. 

After the earthquake, which caused the death of at least 220,000 people and injured tens of thousands more, IOM, the leading agency of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster, supported the collection and monitoring of data on IDPs through the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). From this data, the necessary action in disaster management, shelter and non-food items, protection and health could be determined. 

"After the earthquake struck, IOM staff responded within 24 hours," said Giuseppe Loprete, IOM Chief of Mission in Haiti. "We provided and coordinated the necessary services for survival, worked closely with the Government of Haiti and international humanitarian aid agencies to find lasting solutions to the crisis that left millions of people homeless and living in 1,500 camps," he added. 

IOM also supported the Government of Haiti in generating a national policy on short-term evacuation that covers preparation, pre-evacuation, evacuation and post-evacuation in the event of an emergency of this nature and magnitude. More than 20,000 people were trained in basic first aid and disaster risk management in communities or camps. IOM also supported the construction or rehabilitation of 39 buildings that can be used as a short-term evacuation centre. 

IOM Haiti, through the Shelter Cluster, distributed grants to support the costs of renting accommodation to over 19,000 households. In coordination with other organizations, IOM also distributed more than 2,550 shelters, 20,000 reinforcement kits and 500 repair kits for timber-framed houses. 

As of December 31, 2019, many of some 1,477 evacuation shelters need at least some remediation. IOM Haiti maintains that it is crucial to continue strengthening the capabilities of the National System for Disaster Risk Management in terms of evacuation shelter management and other responses to disasters. 

In addition to addressing building needs, IOM provided immediate responses in areas such as gender-based violence (GBV), child protection, assistance to more vulnerable populations and mediation support during forced evictions. As a result, more than 16,500 people at risk have been supported in the camps (972 of which were for GBV), and 3,333 people have received their identity documents. 

Health has also been a major issue since the earthquake. As part of the response to possible cholera outbreaks, IOM assisted 4,037,301 people in 532 camps and communities. In addition, IOM collaborated in the construction of four diarrheal disease treatment centres and installed 386 necessary medical structures. 

Despite all these efforts, many people affected by the earthquake continue to face challenges and to date, still lack access to basic services, electricity, water, food, health, education and livelihood opportunities, as do many others in Haiti. Migratory flows from Haiti to neighbouring countries as well as to North and South America are increasing as the most vulnerable population seeks new opportunities abroad.  

For more information please contact Anton Galan, IOM Haiti, Tel:+509 4612-0436. Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, January 10, 2020 - 11:54Image: Region-Country: HaitiThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesShelterDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Haiti's Goodwill Ambassador Phyllisia Ross and a group of Haitian women artists have released the song Goudou Goudou to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Photo: IOM Haiti

IOM Haiti's Goodwill Ambassador Phyllisia Ross. Photo: IOM Haiti

IOM Haiti's Goodwill Ambassador Phyllisia Ross and a group of Haitian women artists have released the song Goudou Goudou to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake. Photo: IOM Haiti

Message from Giuseppe Loprete, IOM Chief of Mission in Haiti, on the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Haiti earthquake

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Hits Milestone: 5,002 Gambians Supported with Assisted Return

Tue, 01/07/2020 - 09:01

Banjul – The Gambia is a small coastal West African country of just over two million people. Between 2014 and 2017, over 35,000 of its citizens arrived, “irregularly” on European shores, according to Frontex, the EU border agency, with even more whose journeys stopped in Libya or the Mediterranean Sea.  

And yet, over the past three years, a rather sizeable proportion of these “irregulars” have also returned home. As the year 2019 ended, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reached a milestone of assisting over 5,000 stranded Gambian migrants – more than three times the organization’s initial target set in 2017.   

The milestone caps three years of work to facilitate the Voluntary Humanitarian Return of 2,992 Gambians from Libya, another 1,392 from Niger and 618 more stranded along key migration routes in Africa and in Europe. The mechanism has been IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) program, which remains a vital protection measure for vulnerable migrants who wish to return to their homeland but lack the means to do so.  

“Facilitating over three times the number of voluntary returns we expected in 2017 is a significant moment for us and all our partners. Our next goal is to bridge the gap between the number of Gambians we’ve assisted to return, and those we’ve assisted with reintegration,” expressed Fumiko Nagano, IOM’s Chief of Mission in The Gambia. “We also hope to expand community-based projects, to ensure that communities benefit as well from the reintegration of its members.”   

Of some 5,002 Gambians who returned home with IOM’s support, two-thirds have received some form of reintegration assistance.   

The reintegration assistance offered aims to address economic, social and psychosocial needs. As such, returned migrants may receive support to set up or strengthen a small business, support to pursue education or vocational training, support for job insertion or referrals to other services, or other forms of support such as housing or psychosocial counseling.   

After receiving food, essential supplies, medical and psychosocial support, returned migrants take part in counseling sessions aimed at tailoring reintegration assistance to their specific needs, interests and skills based on the available opportunities in the country.  

Fatou is one of those who have benefited from such support, after she returned via charter from Libya last April. “My husband and I desperately wanted to return home permanently, but there was no way out of Libya,” Fatou recalled. “Through our reintegration assistance, we bought [sewing] machines and opened a tailoring shop.”  

Added Paul, another returnee, “I travelled through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Along the way, I encountered all sorts of challenges. In April 2017, I came back to The Gambia with IOM’s support. I trained and right after I got a job in one of The Gambia’s largest ICT companies.” 

IOM also offers returned migrants the option to venture into collective projects or projects involving community members. The first two community-based projects launched in 2019. In Brikama-Ba, Central River Region, an association of 46 members (including 16 returned migrants) came together for an agri-business initiative. Meanwhile, in Kundam, Upper River Region, an association of 11 members (including three returned migrants) launched a cereal processing project.  

 A majority (90 per cent) of the voluntary returns were supported through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. Launched in July 2017 with funding from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, The Gambia’s initial target of 1,500 was reached after only three months of the programme’s activities. The remaining voluntary returns were supported through bilateral return and reintegration programs, primarily through Germany, Switzerland and Austria.  

“The new Gambia’s most important resource is its people, especially its youth. The European Union, working in close partnership with the Government of The Gambia and the IOM, helps stranded returnees to not just survive, but to build a future and thrive in The Gambia,” said Attila Lajos, Ambassador of the European Union.  

Find out more about returnees to The Gambia here  

For more information, please contact Miko Alazas at IOM The Gambia; Tel: +220 330 3168, Email: or visit

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 7, 2020 - 15:38Image: Region-Country: GambiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

“I travelled through Senegal, Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger. Along the way, I encountered all sorts of challenges. In April 2017, I came back to The Gambia with IOM’s support. I trained and right after I got a job in one of The Gambia’s largest IT companies.” Photo: IOM/ Miko Alazas 

After almost two decades working in Libya, Fatou found herself in a country torn by conflict. “We desperately wanted to return home permanently, but there was no more way out of Libya. Through our reintegration assistance, my husband I bought machines and opened a tailoring shop.” Photo: IOM/ Miko Alazas 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Child Taken During Armed Clash in South Sudan that Claimed Mother's Life Released, Reunited With Father

Thu, 01/02/2020 - 23:04

Juba - A four-year-old boy taken when fighting broke out between armed groups in Isebi, South Sudan on 27 October, has been released and was today reunited with his father in an emotional meeting in the capital Juba.

The child, whose name is being kept confidential, is the son of a female International Organization for Migration (IOM) volunteer who was killed along with a male colleague when they were caught in the exchange of gunfire. A third female IOM volunteer who disappeared along with the child died later of her injuries, IOM has learned.
“We are very grateful that the boy is safe and relieved that this ordeal that has been ongoing for almost ten weeks is finally over,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission, Jean-Philippe Chauzy.
“The boy has been reunited with his father and our primary focus now is to ensure that they both receive counselling.”
The UN Migration Agency thanked the International Committee of the Red Cross for the invaluable support and pivotal role it played in facilitating the safe return of the child as well as a UN agency that is providing counselling services to the boy and his father.
The child’s mother was working at the IOM Ebola Virus Disease (EVD) Point of Entry screening site in Morobo.
“While we celebrate the safe return of the little boy, our hearts are heavy because we have learned that our volunteer who was taken at the same time has passed away,” said the IOM Chief, Jean-Philippe Chauzy.
Following the incident in October, IOM suspended EVD screening at five points of entry sites, namely Isebi, Bazi, Kirikwa, Lasu and Okaba. Operations in two sites, Bazi and Okaba were restored on 18 November 2019 while the three remain closed due to ongoing insecurity, particularly near Lasu.
For more information please contact Liatile Putsoa, IOM South Sudan, Tel.: +211 912 380 104 Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, January 3, 2020 - 06:03Image: Region-Country: South SudanThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Father and child were reunited Thursday afternoon in Juba, nine weeks after the boy went missing in an incident that claimed the lives of two IOM volunteers on Oct 27 in Isebi, South Sudan. IOM has learned that a third volunteer who disappeared at that time has also died. IOM Photo/Liatile Putsoa

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Global Migrant Deaths Decline, but Tragedies Continue Worldwide 

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Geneva – As 2019 draws to a close, the International Organization for Migration reports that there has been a sharp decline in the number of migrants dying while attempting to cross international borders.  

Migrant fatalities reached at least 3,170 by mid-December, compared to just over 4,800 this time last year, representing a 34 per cent fall. Despite this, the trends identified by IOM in 2019 remain stark for migrants and for refugees. 

The Mediterranean, the scene of countless tragedies at sea in recent years, recorded the lowest level of deaths and crossings since 2014. However, the death rate among migrants departing Libya’s shores increased as smugglers put them at ever great risk. 

The outflow of people from Venezuela has meanwhile left millions of people in severe hardship as they attempt to escape instability to seek protection and opportunities in neighbouring countries. 

The emerging trends highlighted by IOM in 2019 include: 

  • Global deaths of migrants crossing borders irregularly declined sharply 
  • Mediterranean sea crossings reached their lowest level since 2014P 
  • Horn of Africa crossings to Yemen now average over 10,000 persons per month 
  • 4.8 million Venezuelans are living abroad, mostly in Colombia, Perú, Chile, Ecuador and Brazil 
  • Mediterranean Sea crossings by irregular migrants from Africa, the Middle East and South Asia 

Irregular migration via departure points in Turkey, Libya and across North Africa topped 100,000 men, women and children for the sixth consecutive year. More than 13,000 migrants entered Europe via land routes along the Mediterranean, either by entering Greece near border crossings with Turkey, or entering Spain through the two Spanish enclaves, Ceuta and Melilla, in North Africa.  

While 100,000 is significant, the volume of Mediterranean crossings in 2019 shows a steep decline over recent years (see chart above). In fact, barring a year-end surge, 2019 will see the lowest number of irregular migrants on the Mediterranean since IOM began compiling such statistics in 2014. 


While departures from Libya decreased in 2019, the journey remains as deadly as ever. IOM’s Missing Migrants Project recorded 44 fatal incidents off the Libyan coast this year claiming the lives of 743 migrants. This signals the needs for increased search and rescue capacity to minimize loss of life at sea, especially in the Central Mediterranean Route, which remains the world’s deadliest sea crossing.  


IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in 2019 recorded 126,360 irregular migrants through November crossing to Yemen from the Horn of Africa, the vast majority (92 per cent) leaving from Ethiopia with most of the balance from Somalia. DTM estimates this year’s total will surpass 137,000 migrants on this route, which remains one of the most dangerous in the world.  

The total is expected to represent a slight decline from the nearly 160,000 irregular migrants tallied on this route during 2018. Over the past two years, irregular migration between this corridor of Africa headed towards the Arabian Peninsula has averaged upwards of 12,000 per month. 


As of 15 December, DTM reports there were an estimated 211,071 migrants in official reception centres in the region.1 While there has been little change in the total number of migrants in the region when compared to the 206,108 migrants in the same countries at the end of 2018, the figures per country show different dynamics: The most significant changes have been in Italy and Greece. In Italy, the total has fallen throughout 2019 from 135,838 reported on December 2018 to 95,020 reported on 30 November. In Greece, the total has risen from 60,083 reported on 26 December 2018 to 99,142 on 30 November. 


As of 30 November 2019, there were over four million foreign nationals present in Turkish territory seeking international protection, compared to 3.9 million at the end of 2018. Most of them are Syrians (3,691,333 individuals) who are granted temporary protection status, followed by asylum-seekers and refugees from countries including Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran, Iraq and Somalia. The Turkish Coast Guard reported 56,778 apprehensions of irregular migrants at sea between January and November.  


Irregular migration continues to be a lethal endeavor around the world, with the Mediterranean corridor still the deadliest. Through mid-December at least 1,250 men, women and children had died attempting to reach Europe via the Mediterranean, including eight new victims reported on 17 December by authorities in Morocco.  

This year marks the fifth straight of at least 1,000 deaths on the Mediterranean. IOM’s Missing Migrants project reports that, since 2014, more than 19,000 migrants and refugees have died on the Mediterranean Sea, more than two thirds of that total perishing on the central Mediterranean route linking Libya and Tunisia to Italy. 

Worldwide, migrant fatalities through 50 weeks of 2019 are slightly more than 3,170, compared to nearly 4,831 at this same time last year. Fatalities are down on the Mediterranean, in North Africa and the Middle East and Asia, and up slightly in Europe. 

By contrast, the number of migrant fatalities in the Western Hemisphere is up. Hundreds have died fleeing Venezuela, including in shipwrecks in the Caribbean. Through Mid-December at least 659 men, women and children have died crossing the Americas, which compares with 583 during the same period last year. 

IOM DTM Europe Flow Monitoring  

Missing Migrants Project 

The report Fatal Journey Volume 4, published 28 June : 

For more information, please contact: 

Leonard Doyle IOM spokesperson Tel +41 709 285 7123, Email: 

Joel Millman, IOM Geneva, Tel.: +41 79 103 8720, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:40Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

In 2019, the Mediterranean, a scene of countless tragedies at sea in recent years, recorded the lowest level of deaths and crossings since 2014. Photo: IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Government of Iraq and IOM Share Findings of First Ever Nationwide Migration Profile

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Baghdad – Iraq, in contrast to nearby Middle East states like Jordan and Lebanon, hosts the lowest number of immigrants in proportion to its population. Nonetheless, the country’s foreign population is growing, more than tripling between 1990 and 2017, largely due to the influx of refugees from Syria.  

Migration in northern Iraq is largely driven by conflict, while migration in southern Iraq is more often linked to livelihood factors such as the loss of arable land and water scarcity. 

These, and other findings, come from the first Migration Profile for Iraq, which was unveiled this week (19/12) during a press briefing at Baghdad’s Babylon Hotel. The project was assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

The Migration Profile presents facts and figures about migration; it is the first-ever statistical overview of migration in Iraq and will help establish an evidence base that will influence national migration policies and strategies including a National Migration Strategy.  

In October 2019, IOM also completed the Migration Governance Indicator (MGI) assessment that measures national capacities across 90 governance indicators in six thematic areas.  

“The Migration Profile is the result of the first-year meetings between Iraqi ministries and IOM. It will influence both near and far-reaching migration policies,” said Ahmed Rahim, Director of the Department of Foreign Immigration at the Government of Iraq's Ministry of Displacement and Migration. 
The profile shows that patterns of out migration have shifted significantly since 2003. During the period between the Gulf War and 2003, the primary destination for Iraqis migrating abroad was Iran; after 2003, Jordan and Syria emerged as primary destinations. Europe became a major destination after 2014, with Sweden, Germany and the UK standing out as significant destination countries. 

In recent years, internal displacement has been a prime concern. Displacement driven by the war against the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) presents a peculiar case, in that it has provoked more internal displacement than international migration – in part because previous countries of refuge were in crisis themselves (Syria) or inaccessible (Jordan). Emigration as a result of ISIL’s presence has reached Turkey, Europe and Western countries, rather than former asylum countries (Iran, Jordan, Syria). 
Other findings of the profile relate to the Iraqi diaspora; trends of irregular migration; Iraqi students studying abroad; and more. IOM has carried out similar studies in over 80 countries around the world using a standard approach to the research. The profile uses existing knowledge and literature; interviews with government and international organizations; publicly available quantitative data; and non-public data shared both by Iraqi authorities and international organizations. 

“The Migration Profile demonstrates the Government of Iraq’s commitment to harnessing evidence-based and whole-of-Government approaches towards strong migration governance,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “The migration data it contains can be leveraged in years to come to mainstream migration into policies and strategies.” 

The Migration Profile was developed through a capacity-building process overseen by a Technical Working Group established by the Government of Iraq's Ministries of Migration and Displacement; Interior; Foreign Affairs; Justice; Labour and Social Affairs; and Planning; as well as the Central Statistics Office alongside IOM.  

For more information please contact IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit, Tel: +964 751 402 2811, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:30Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Migration ResearchDefault: Multimedia: 

Government of Iraq and IOM share findings of first ever nationwide migration profile. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Returnees and Community Members Engage in Rehabilitation of Health Centre in Maputo

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Maputo – Yesterday (19/12), the District Government of Matola, in cooperation with the National Institute for Mozambican Communities Abroad (INACE) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with the support of the European Union, launched the rehabilitation of the Ndlavela Health Centre in Maputo Province to provide the community with improved access to health services.  

“This health centre is a lifeline for the community. We receive hundreds of patients every day, who require basic to more complex services,” said Saide Momade, Director of the Health Centre. “It needs an upgrade in order to provide improved services for our patients. We are thrilled that this renovation will take place and pleased that it will involve the community.” 

The renovation of the Ndlavela Health Centre is supported by a European Union funded Pilot Action on Voluntary Return and Sustainable, Community-Based Reintegration in Southern Africa. The renovation will be implemented through a cash for work scheme, whereby 20 community members, as well as 20 male and female returnees from South Africa – and originally from Matola – will access short-term employment. They will also receive valuable training in building construction.  

The renovation effort will cover several spaces, including treatment rooms, the maternity ward, and bathrooms. It will continue through February 2020. The health centre serves the surrounding community of more than 17,000 people, including returnees. 

The need for the rehabilitation of Ndlavela Health Centre came up during a community dialogue held in Matola in March 2019, where community members voiced concerns and expressed community priorities. The participants identified activities that would address the causes of migration, especially to South Africa, and also benefit the communities who welcome returnees back home.  

Guillome Cossa, who recently returned to his home in Ndlavela after 13 years in South Africa, said: “The services of this health centre are central for our community. I am also a resident; my wife gave birth to our son here. I have experience in construction, so I made myself available for this effort. I am glad for the employment opportunity, and to work together with my neighbours.” 

EU Delegation Programme Manager, Abel Piqueras Candela, added: “The European Union is pleased to support both community members and returnees’ joint effort to improve health services in Matola for the benefit of the residents of this area.” 

The EU funded Pilot Action on Voluntary Return and Sustainable, Community-Based Reintegration in Southern Africa benefits several countries, including South Africa, as a country of destination, and Malawi, Zambia, and Mozambique as countries of origin. It has so far assisted 264 Mozambican nationals to voluntarily return from South Africa to their communities. The project also supported a total of 138 Mozambicans who were assisted to return from South Africa after the xenophobic attacks occurred there last September. 

IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa Charles Kwenin said, “Assisted Voluntary Return is an important tool to manage migration in the Southern African region. It is a privilege for IOM to pilot this initiative in Southern Africa, and it is encouraging to see a concrete community intervention of this type materialize.” 

Watch video here

For more information, please contact Faira Alibhai at IOM Mozambique, Tel: +258 852 162 278, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:25Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

The local community members and returnees will benefit from the EU-funded renovation of Ndlavela Health Centre in Maputo Province. Photo: IOM/ Faira Alibhai 

A returnee works on the EU-funded renovation of Ndlavela Health Centre in Maputo Province. IOM/ Sandra Black 

Members of the local community cheer some of the returnees working on the EU-funded renovation of Ndlavela Health Centre in Maputo Province. IOM/ Sandra Black 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Nepal Migration Profile Calls for Upskilling of Workers to Compete in Global Job Market

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Kathmandu – A new Nepal Migration Profile launched to coincide with International Migrants Day 2019 has called for skills development for Nepali workers to help them to compete in global job markets. The Profile was supported by the IOM Development Fund. 

“This Migration Profile was developed at the time when migration has been identified in the international agenda as an issue of importance that needs to be addressed in a comprehensive and planned way,” said UN Resident Coordinator for Nepal Valerie Julliand, speaking at the launch. “The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) recognize the growing impact of migration on development and the UN in Nepal sees it as a priority,” she added.  

The Profile characterizes Nepal’s migration situation as one of out-migration for employment. Some 500,000 young Nepalis leave the country every year for work and currently Nepalis are working in over 100 different countries around the world. Their remittances represent over 25 per cent of Nepal’s GDP.  Nearly 75 per cent are unskilled or low skilled and the Profile calls for more skills development for young people to enable them to find better employment opportunities both abroad and at home.  

Other recommendations in the Profile include: establishing a national coordination mechanism to address all government, non-government and private sector migration-related issues; ensuring full implementation and monitoring of current laws designed to protect migrant workers; expanding bilateral agreements with additional countries of destination which specify minimum working conditions; and continuing to monitor the operation and impact of restrictions on women migrating to certain countries. 

IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Lorena Lando highlighted the need for Nepali migration to be properly measured and understood, to ensure that positive impacts are harnessed and negative impacts are minimized. “We stand ready to support the Government in its efforts to address this complex relationship between migration and sustainable development in more coherent and holistic manner,” she said. 

Nepal’s Minister for Labour, Employment, Social Security Rameshwar Ray Yadav also welcomed the Profile. “It provides a comprehensive evidence-based account of the country’s migration experience in a single concise document to serve as a planning tool for policymakers and practitioners; and present available statistics on migration stocks and flows in a concise and internationally comparable way. I believe the recommendations and the information analyzed will be helpful to manage migration and its overall impact on development,” he said. 

The Profile is the result of several months of consultations and research led by an inter-Ministerial forum co-chaired by the Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security and IOM. The National Planning Commission and the Central Bureau of Statistics were also closely involved in the work of the forum. 

IOM Migration Profiles provide an overview of trends, patterns, impact and governance of migration of a country. They offer a comprehensive evidence-based account of the country’s migration experience in a single concise document to serve as a planning tool for policymakers and practitioners; and present available statistics on migration stocks and flows in a concise and internationally comparable way. 

Following the launch, which was attended by officials from government agencies, civil society, academia, UN, development partners, and media, IOM organized a high-level dialogue on migration governance and sustainable development. Participants included representatives from Nepal’s National Planning Commission, the Central Bank, leading civil society organizations working in the field of migrant protection, together with IOM officials. 

For more information please contact Lorena Lando at IOM Nepal, Tel: +97714426250 (Ext. 194), Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:20Image: Region-Country: NepalThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM, UN and Nepali government representatives launch the Nepal Migration Profile in Kathmandu. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Launch of Migration, Information and Data Analysis System at Zambia-Malawi Border

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Lusaka – Southern Africa has a long history of intra-regional human mobility, with migration as a significant factor inextricably linking the sub-continent’s economies for centuries.  

Today, cross-border trade is a major feature of the region’s economic and social landscape. The African Development Bank estimates such activity to contribute to the incomes of some 43 per cent of the African population, even though such trade is largely informal. Lengthy and cumbersome immigration processes, often done manually, increase the cost of trade. 

To change this state of affairs, the Common Market for Southern Africa (COMESA) Secretariat is collaborating with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support a multi-year project called the COMESA Cross Border Trade Initiative: Facilitating Small Scale Trade Across the Borders (SSCBTI).  

The Small-Scale Cross Border Trade Initiative is funded by the European Union. Its overall objective is to increase formal small-scale cross-border trade flows in the COMESA/tripartite region, leading to higher revenue collection for governments as well as increased security and higher incomes for small-scale cross-border traders. 

As part of the implementation, IOM is supporting the deployment at Mchinji border post in Malawi of a Border Management Information System (BMIS), known as the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS).  With the capability to collect, process, store and analyse traveller information in real time, MIDAS enables States to effectively monitor those entering and exiting their territories while providing a sound statistical basis for migration policy planning. 

“I urge for the full deployment of the MIDAS for the benefit of the governments of Zambia and Malawi, as well as for the small scale cross border traders,” said Dave Haman, COMESA Assistant Secretary General for Finance and Administration, during the launch of MIDAS which took place on the last week (13 December) at the Mwami-Mchinji border.  

Facilitating human mobility is of paramount importance for international trade in general, and for small scale cross border trade, as it contributes towards enhancing administrative efficiency and operational effectiveness at the border.  This in turn reduces costs and the time it takes for goods to get to market. 

Malawi’s Homeland Security Minister Nicholas Dausi called for improvement of cross border trade between Zambia and Malawi, and in a speech read on his behalf by Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr Chilesha Mulenga, Home Affairs Minister Steven Kampyongo stated that the Government of Zambia is delighted that the Republic of Malawi has adopted MIDAS, adding “as a result the Zambian Government is confident that the systems will enable the two countries to manage their borders in a secure manner.” 

As part of the MIDAS deployment, IOM supported technical training for immigration officers from Mchinji border post, Lilongwe and Blantyre offices. IOM also handed over computer equipment and the MIDAS border management information system. 

IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa, Charles Kwenin stated that with the increasing mobility of persons and goods, “it is imperative for States to address the challenge of ensuring the right balance between open, but at the same time secure and controlled borders.” 

In addition, Malawi’s European Union (EU) delegation leader Jose Maria Navaro was hopeful that the success of MIDAS would quickly be rolled out to facilitate smooth cross border trade at other borders. 

As the Mchinji border post transitions into a One Stop Border Post, the MIDAS system will strengthen the capacity of immigration and border officials to process travellers, including small scale traders, more rapidly and professionally and thus making their border crossing experience safe and more humane.  

In addition, MIDAS will help the Government of Malawi to better understand the mobility patterns through the systematic collection, collation and analysis of immigration and emigration trends. Furthermore, MIDAS opens opportunities to analyse migration and trade data and subsequently inform evidenced based policy formulation and programmatic interventions. 

For more information, please contact Abibo Ngandu, IOM Regional Office for Southern Africa, Tel: +276 0779 7199, Email: or in Malawi, Mpilo Nkomo, IOM Head of Mission - or in Zambia, Nomagugu Ncube - IOM Officer in Charge -  

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: ZambiaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Malawi’s Minister for Homeland Security Nicholas Dausi and Zambia’s Ministry of Home Affairs Permanent Secretary Dr Chileshe Mulenga cut the ribbon to mark the official handover of the MIDAS in Mchinji, Malawi. Photo: IOM

A demonstration of how the MIDAS operates is conducted by the IOM and Malawian Immigration Officers at the official handover in Mchinji, as delegates look on. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Begins Relocating Venezuelans from Manaus to Other Cities in Brazil

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Manaus – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has started the process of relocation of Venezuelans currently living in the city of Manaus, Brazil, to other cities in the country. In total, 58 people are included in the first flights, which are taking place this week (17-20 December). 

After this first group, the goal of IOM is to support each month at least 100 refugees and migrants from Venezuela to seek new opportunities in all regions of the country. They are Venezuelans who are in shelters, on the street or even living in rented houses in neighbourhoods of Manaus. 

Those who have already found a job or have family or friends in other Brazilian municipalities but have no means to travel are eligible to be relocated. IOM participates in the process starting with registration and checks and provides Venezuelans with advice on how to access documents for travellers. IOM also provides vaccines, health assessment and air tickets for the new destination.  

Jhuberlin Carolina, Deibi Gonzalo and their three children were part of this first group to leave Manaus. The family's destination is Curitiba, where Jhuberlin's mother and brothers have been living for three years. The move was already in their plans, but with the small income of BRL 100 (USD 25, approximately) per week that Deibi receives as a technical assistant in Manaus, the family expected a long waiting period while they saved for airfare. 

“I didn't think we would be able to travel this fast. I am very grateful for the attention IOM has given us,” said Deibi.  

“It will be a moment of great joy,” Jhuberlin added, noting that her grandmother will finally meet her one-year-old granddaughter, Dana. 

This operation is part of the relocation strategy carried out by the Federal Government with the support of UN agencies and civil society. In the State of Amazonas, where Manaus is located, the main partners are the Amazonas Government and Manaus City Hall.  

The Amazonas Departments of Justice, Human Rights and Citizenship, and Social Welfare, as well as the Municipal Women Bureau, Social Welfare and Citizenship monitor the activities carried out and strengthen all public services to Venezuelans. The local Health Departments also perform the medical evaluation, mandatory step of the process of relocation. 

The IOM relocation activities in Manaus are implemented with the financial support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State. 

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

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Venezuelan family is relocated from Manaus to Curitiba, Brazil. Photo: IOM/ André Sena 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Cambodia Launch New Project to Detect, Manage TB among Migrants on Thai-Cambodian Border

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Poipet – IOM and the Cambodian National Centre for Tuberculosis and Leprosy Control (CENAT) have launched a new collaboration to diagnose tuberculosis (TB) among Cambodian migrants returning from Thailand. The project, which is funded by the Global Fund for AIDS, TB and Malaria, will provide TB screening, diagnosis, health education, and referral support to over 100,000 migrants over the next three years. 

The Poipet border between Thailand and Cambodia, in Cambodia’s Banteay Meachey province, is the main crossing point for Cambodian irregular migrants returned by the Thai immigration authorities. According to Poipet officials, over 70,000 were returned through the Poipet in 2017. As irregular migrants working in Thailand, many suffered from poor working and living conditions and had limited access to healthcare, making them especially vulnerable to TB. 

Under the new project, IOM and CENAT will collaborate to offer TB screening at the Poipet Migrant Transit Centre, through providing health education, onsite digital X-ray services, referral support for TB suspect cases to get rapid diagnosis through molecular diagnosis, and follow up to ensure that diagnosed patients get access treatment through Cambodia’s national TB programme at their final destination. Poipet currently has very limited capacity for TB diagnosis and treatment. 

The project, which is part of a regional Global Fund grant implemented across Greater Mekong Sub-region countries to address TB in migrants and mobile populations, will also offer services to the local community, where many people are mobile and work on both sides of the border. 

CENAT Director Dr Mao Tan Eang launched the initiative. “This is a special free service for migrants, but we will also welcome people from surrounding villages who suspect they have TB or have symptoms such as a cough for more than two weeks, sweating at night, fever and weight loss. Please come to have a test done here,” he said. 

“This project and collaboration with CENAT is a critically important to ensure that migrants, and in particular undocumented and irregular migrants, are not left behind in the pursuit of the global health goal of ending TB for all. Collectively, governments, civil society and communities will only be able to achieve universal health coverage if no-one is left behind,” said IOM Regional Migration Health Advisor for Asia and the Pacific Dr Patrick Duigan. He added, “To eliminate TB we need to ensure that migrants and mobile populations are included in public health efforts. There can be no Universal Health Coverage or ending of TB without migrant health coverage and providing access to TB care for migrants.” 

For more information please contact Kristin Parco at IOM Phnom Penh, Email:, Tel:  +855 12 900131. 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:10Image: Region-Country: CambodiaThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

Cambodian migrants returned from Thailand undergo TB screening in Poipet. Photo: IOM 

Cambodian migrants returned from Thailand undergo TB screening in Poipet. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 106,711 in 2019; Deaths Reach 1,246

Fri, 12/20/2019 - 08:29

Geneva – IOM reports that 107,546 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 18 December, roughly a 5 per cent decrease from the 112,836 arriving during the same period last year.

Arrivals this year to Greece and Spain are at 60,363 and 24,976, respectively, (85,339 combined) accounting for just over 79 per cent of the regional total, with the balance arriving in much smaller numbers to Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Arrivals to Greece are running just shy of twice 2018’s totals from this time, while arrivals to Spain are less than half last year’s arrivals.

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 18 December stand at 1,246 individuals – or 56 per cent of the 2,219 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).

IOM Italy
IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo cited official Ministry of Interior figures of 11,155 migrants have arrived in Italy by sea this year through 18 December, compared to 23,126 at this same time in 2018. IOM Libya has reported that through 15 December 8,613 migrants have been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in 2019.

IOM Greece
IOM Greece’s Eirnini Axarli reported that from Friday (13/12) through Thursday (19/12), the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) participated in at least 34 incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kos, Samothrace and the port of Alexandroupoli. The HCG rescued a total of 1,173 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports.

Those arrivals, plus others discovered off the islands of Symi, Farmakonisi and Leros bring to 60,363 the total number of irregular migrants arriving by sea this year (see chart below). Arrivals to Greece in 2019 very nearly match total arrivals from 2017 and 2018 combined and have averaged more than 270 per day since 1 July.

IOM Greece further reported that through the month of November, a total of 58,200 irregular migrants entered Europe via the Aegean passage, the largest single group – Afghanistan nationals, with 24,429 – accounting for 42 per cent of all arrivals through 11 months of 2019. The next largest nationalities include Syria (14,640 arrivals), Iraq (3,168), Palestinian Territories (2,926), Democratic Republic of the Congo (2,834), Somalia (2,398), the Islamic Republic of Iran (1,925), Congo-Brazzaville (872), Cameroon (861), Pakistan (398), and Yemen (319).

Somalia seems to be a relative newcomer to this route, with just 141 migrants identified through April this year, but over 2,200 during the following seven months. Meanwhile small numbers of outliers from Latin America and the Caribbean continue to arrive in Europe via this Aegean ‘backdoor’, with a single Colombian national appearing on the Hellenic Coast Guard’s list for the first time, along with recent arrivals from the Dominican Republic (31 thus far in 2019), Haiti (37), Venezuela (3), Peru (2),  and Ecuador (1).

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 over 34,000 people, including 3,170 in 2019 (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. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography.

Migrant deaths in the Americas continue during what may be the deadliest year MMP has recorded in the hemisphere over the past six years. Through mid-December at least 659 men, women and children have died crossing the Americas, which compares with 583 during the same period last year. 

Missing Migrants Project researcher Julia Black reported this week that her data record of deaths in the Americas does not include two categories of fatalities: deaths of migrants who died while in official detention either in the USA or in Mexico, and a smaller, newer category: deaths of asylum seekers who registered their requests with US authorities and then agreed to be sent across the border to Mexico to await their court appearances.

Of the first group, MMP reports that in 2019, at least 24 people died in US immigration detention centres or in hospital immediately after a stay in a detention centre, including at least four children. At last three others died under similar conditions in Mexico.

Of the deaths of people seeking asylum while waiting in Mexico under the US’s new ‘Remain in Mexico’ policy, Black noted that although IOM does not collect comprehensive data on deaths which occur during asylum processing times, there have been at least three deaths so far since November this year. The remains of an unnamed Salvadoran man who, according to Mexican authorities, was waiting for permission to enter the US were found, gruesomely, in two suitcases in Tijuana on 20 November.

Brazilian Sirley Miranda died on 6 December while waiting with her two daughters in Mexico City for her asylum claim to be processed. Magaly Medina Calvo, a 57-year-old woman from Cuba who had two children living in the United States, died last week in a shelter in Mexico. Her first appointment at the US Asylum Court in El Paso, Texas was scheduled for 12 February next year.

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 Journeys 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.

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

See contacts here.

Language English Posted: Friday, December 20, 2019 - 15:02Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Social Cohesion: Recognizing Migration is a Benefit that Works for All

Wed, 12/18/2019 - 14:29

International Migrants Day - Opinion Editorial
IOM Director General António Vitorino 

Too often, when we speak of migrants, we find ourselves having to speak about moments of extreme hardship, caught up in a narrative of crisis. Those who find themselves in detention in Libya, trafficked in the back of trucks, having sought new lives away from failing states, conflict and disaster.  

Today is International Migrants Day, a day to remember these individuals and reiterate the need to respect the rights and dignity of all. It is a day set aside by the United Nations to recognize the estimated 272 million migrants that are integral members of all our societies today.  

But it is also a day to recognize the generosity and warmth of the host communities that have embraced newcomers arriving with little or nothing to their names. In Colombia, in Germany and across the globe, we have seen examples of communities that have shared their homes and lives with those less fortunate. Many of the communities into which migrants arrive already are fragile, limited in resources and struggling to flourish. 

This year on International Migrants Day, IOM has chosen to focus on social cohesion, in recognition not just of migrants, but of the communities in which they can and do flourish. Our societies are not static; our networks of community are constantly fracturing and rebuilding when faced with change, whether due to economic recession, aging populations or the tensions of different political world views. 

Too often, when we speak of migration, we debate whether it is good or bad, costs too much or pays out too little and the precise contributions that migrants make to our lives. But to view migration as an accounting practice is to reduce it to a fraction of its whole. It is an evolving –often challenging—yet integral part of our societies, enriching them in multiple, intangible ways.  

Too often, we forget that migrants are quietly already part of our lives, their contributions woven into our daily interactions. Some are scholars studying to acquire new skills. Others are workers seeking to leverage their expertise for better pay or a wider range of opportunities. Some are family members who have joined loved ones, to care for them and start new chapters in their own lives.  

Many migrants have crossed a nearby border for opportunities in countries not very different from their own. Indeed, more and more, we see workers routinely crossing borders, living in one country, working in another. Others cross continents or oceans, taking giant steps—and giant risks—to join new societies with different languages, religious practices, foods and cultural norms. They risk a great deal to succeed among us.  

Migrants need to change to cope with the challenges of adapting to a new social and cultural environment and respect the values – gender equality, for example – of the communities which they have joined.  Mutual respect for diverse beliefs is a cornerstone of a social cohesion that works for the benefit of all. 

The communities that thrive are those that embrace change and adjust to it. Migrants are an integral and welcome element of that change. Migrants can also become -- often surprising -- champions of resilience when times are tough, when a community experiences unexpected shocks, including environmental change and disaster, unemployment, and political turmoil.  

But communities cannot adapt alone. They need support from governments and organizations such as IOM, to ensure adequate provision of public services, orientation and language support, human capital investment, and broader strengthening of community infrastructure.  

Today’s political climate is challenging; oftentimes migrants make for an easy scapegoat for all the ills of society, rather than one element of a cure. Thus, on this day, we need to constantly remind the international community of the reality -- both historic and contemporary – that when well managed migration works, closed societies can become open, and political tensions fade away.  

Whether we are living, working, loving or building, we do so together. 



Language English Posted: Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IMD 2019Default: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM: Mediterranean Arrivals Reach 110,699 in 2019; Deaths Reach 1,283. World Deaths Fall

Wed, 12/18/2019 - 12:15

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration reported today 110,669 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea during the year just ended, marking the sixth straight year that at least 100,000 arrivals were recorded on three Mediterranean Sea Routes. The total is only slightly below the 116,273 men, women and children who crossed the Mediterranean in this fashion in 2018, a decline of about five per cent.

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 2019 are at 1,283 individuals—or about 44% of the 2,299 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018. The Mediterranean has claimed the lives of at least 19,164 migrants since 2014.

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. Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 34,532 people, including 3,368 in 2019 (see chart below).

As has been the case since 2014, the Mediterranean's central route between North Africa and Italy remains the region's deadliest corridor. Missing Migrants researchers estimate one in 33 people died attempting to cross the Central Mediterranean in 2019, compared to one in 35 in 2018 and one in 51 in 2017. 

Though the number of deaths recorded fell from 2,299 in 2018 to 2,183 in 2019, these figures do not include a rising number of shipwrecks still yet to be confirmed, according to data collected by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, based at IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in Berlin, Germany. 

That is, this year’s figures do not fully reflect the several ghost boats which went missing in the Mediterranean in 2019, totaling at least 413 people lost at sea whose deaths may never be fully verified. In these cases of ghost boats, no migrants were rescued at sea around the time of the distress calls.

So, while the number of migrant deaths recorded in the Mediterranean is down in 2019 compared to previous years, IOM records indicate that hundreds of lives were lost without a trace this year. These ‘ghost boats’ – vessels reported missing en route to Europe for which no hard evidence can be found – have become increasingly frequent since the search and rescue presence of European and non-governmental actors fell in mid-2017.

One of these unaccounted for boats was carrying at least 73 people and disappeared in the Alborán Sea en route to Spain on 26 November, including 20 women and 3 children. Another boat disappeared in the Western Mediterranean in January, while at least another five vessels went missing off the coast of Libya en route to Italy. In all seven of these 2019 cases recorded by the Missing Migrants Project, no survivors were rescued at sea near the time of the distress calls.

“The remains of those lost at sea this year may never be found, like thousands of others lost in the Mediterranean. Each year that these deaths continue means more families live in limbo, not knowing whether a relative is dead or alive,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s GMDAC. “If you come from a high-income country, efforts will be made to find and identify your body should you go missing. The same simply does not apply if you are an undocumented migrant.”

Sadly, ghost boats are not a new phenomenon: IOM documented six unverifiable reports of disappeared boats in the Mediterranean between 2014 and 2018. Beyond the Mediterranean, many more boats are believed to have been lost on overseas routes, notably on the Western African route to Spain's Canary Islands. At least 170 migrants lost their lives on this route in 2019, compared to 43 last year.

Elsewhere in 2019, reported fatalities increased in several regions of the world, including Europe, Southeast Asia and the Middle East. The largest increase in fatalities was in the Americas, where 787 men, women and child migrants were confirmed lost, compared with in 593 confirmed in 2018, a rise of almost 33 per cent.

Of those 787 dead in the Americas, a total of 479 deaths--60 per cent--were confirmed just along the U.S.-México border. That is the highest total for border deaths IOM researchers have reported in any year since 2014. Moreover, with some U.S. counties in Texas and Arizona yet to report full end-of-year statistics, that 479 total is likely to rise in the days and weeks to come.

Last year IOM reported 444 deaths in this zone, 417 in 2017, 401 in 2016, 339 in 2015 and 306 in 2014, the year IOM first compiled these grim statistics. 

Among those migrants perishing in the Americas, the greatest known number of deaths of any nationality came from Venezuela, with 103 victims in 2019. Others include nationals of Guatemala (69), México (67), Haití (62), Honduras (58), El Salvador (29), the Dominican Republic (15) and Cuba (8).

For the latest data on migrant deaths and disappearances, visit IOM’s Missing Migrants Project website here. Raw data can be downloaded from 

For more information, please contact Joel Millman, Media-IOM Geneva, Tel.: +41 79 103 8720.

Language English Posted: Friday, January 3, 2020 - 17:49Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: IMD 2019Default: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Djibouti’s First 'Fab Lab' Offers Young Migrants Tech and Support

Wed, 12/18/2019 - 04:42

Djibouti City – Young people in Djibouti today marked International Migrants Day with the launch of an UN Migration-supported youth-led fabrication lab or “fab lab” which will provide training and access to computer-assisted equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters for returnee migrants, refugees and the local community. 

“This space makes it practical to dream about what we want to achieve,” said Rahma Abdirachid, an electrical engineering student at the University of Djibouti and Creative Spaces user. “Providing access to such a space for everyone to see, try out and share ideas will give young people unprecedented autonomy.”  

Housed by the University of Djibouti, the lab called ‘Creative Spaces’ aims to increase job and learning opportunities in technology and build stronger start-up and entrepreneurial communities in migration contexts.  

The opening marks International Migrants Day’s theme of social cohesion, melding technology, innovation and migration under one roof. Creative Spaces offers people aged 26 and under structured courses and mentoring to work through different phases of product design and prototyping.  

They will be able to develop technical and digital skills, identify common challenges and come up with viable social impact and commercial solutions. Creative Spaces is the result of an innovative partnership between IOM, the University of Djibouti and the Swiss-based humanitarian organization, Terre des Hommes.  

Situated in the Horn of Africa, Djibouti’s one-million people face unique migration challenges. It is a source and transit country for hundreds of thousands of migrants and refugees from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Yemen and, while the economy has seen some growth over recent years, youth unemployment remains very high. 

Migrants forced to abandon dangerous journeys and turn back to their country of origin often wrestling with many complicated emotions. They can experience rejection from families and communities, exacerbated by feelings of low self-worth and depression about not reaching their intended destination and the ill-treatment they suffered in the hands of smugglers and traffickers. People in these situations can struggle to re-establish their lives.   

IOM helps young returnee migrants access vocational training, education, micro-financing, psychosocial support, as well as information about the dangers of irregular migration and traffickers. IOM Djibouti has played a key role in supporting migrants and returnees through a wide range of programmes in the country since 2009. Funded by IOM’s Development Fund, Creative Spaces is a venture further into the area of technology and digital development to create more inclusive, forward-looking opportunities for young people in Djibouti and neighbouring countries.    

“We are evolving in an era of makers, of “do it yourself” and I think it is important, even essential to push a passion for creativity here in Djibouti,” said 23-year-old Beyleh Daher, manager of Creative Spaces.  “A fab lab is a space for creation and design open to everyone. It is a community resource and will help boost people’s inventiveness.”  

Originating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), fabrication labs are an international network of open, public spaces and workshops offering computer-assisted tools. They are founded on the “Do it Yourself” movement. 

For more information please contact Hannah Murphy, IOM Geneva, in Djibouti at Tel +44 7951 538946, Email: 


Language English Posted: Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 11:20Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiThemes: Migration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM is supporting a youth-led fabrication lab or “fab lab” which will provide training and access to computer-assisted equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters for returnee migrants, refugees and the local community. Photo: IOM

IOM is supporting a youth-led fabrication lab or “fab lab” which will provide training and access to computer-assisted equipment like 3D printers and laser cutters for returnee migrants, refugees and the local community. ​Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Unmapped: Writers Invited to Submit New York Migration Stories

Wed, 12/18/2019 - 03:33

New York – Today (18/12) on International Migrants Day, Fordham University and IOM launch the writing competition unmapped: migration stories of New York.

In its first year, unmapped is inviting writers of fiction and non-fiction living in New York to submit their unpublished original stories showcasing the experiences of migrants and migration in New York.

A port city transformed into the cultural centre of the world by travellers, New York City boasts the benefits of migration.

“We hope to receive stories that do not shy away from presenting life as it is experienced which, we hope, will promote more accurate, positive perceptions of migrants. To give a human face to a phenomenon that seems – quite literally – foreign, even though it has been part of all our lives, at one point or another,” said Ashraf El Nour, Director of the IOM Office to the UN.

“This year, in celebration of International Migrants’ Day, IOM and Fordham University hope to go one step further. To not only share migrants’ stories, but to provide a platform through which they can tell their own stories, in their own words,” he added.

The city’s diversity is unmatched with more than 8 million residents calling New York City home today. While New York, as well as many other metropolises around the world, is a great demonstration of the vibrant influence migrants can have in an urban centre, in the global political discourse, migrants and migration often get a lot of bad press.

“New York City is the capital of the world because it is a city of migrants, each of whom brings their talents, their strengths, their hope for a better society to their new home. Fordham University was founded by a migrant and still serves to empower migrants today,” said Brendan Cahill, Director of the International Institute of Humanitarian Affairs, Fordham University. “For this reason, the Institute is thrilled to partner with IOM on unmapped, creating a platform to disseminate those remarkable stories,” he added.

Despite this, negative and inaccurate stereotypes about migrants pervade the public consciousness, ignoring the potentially huge benefits of migration for all. Worse still, toxic narratives stir public fear about migration are the driving force behind government policies that seek to restrict, and sometimes criminalize, the normal human desire to pursue a better life, wherever that may be.

The unmapped project hopes to uncover insights into the migration journey from different perspectives, and to provide an opportunity for people of immigrant backgrounds to share their experiences and participate in a form of media often criticized for its lack of diversity. Selected entries will culminate in the publication of the first unmapped writing collection.

Entries can include creative non-fiction (essays, memoirs), short fiction or poetry about the lives and experiences of New York City’s migrants. There is no age limit.

For more information and how to submit entries, go to:

For more information, please contact Rahma Gamil Soliman at IOM New York, Tel: +1 917 515 7454, Email: and Camille Giacovas at the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs, Fordham University, Tel: +1 718 817 5303, Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, December 18, 2019 - 10:23Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Immigration and IntegrationInternational Migrants DayDefault: Multimedia: 

The Statue of Liberty, New York City, New York. Photo:IOM/1966

A ten-year-old Hungarian refugee gets a lesson in the fine points of baseball from American boys in a Brooklyn neighborhood playground. He is one of the more than 5,000 Jewish Hungarian refugees who were helped to resettle in the United States with United Hias Service assistance. IOM/1959

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN