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Updated: 4 min 1 sec ago

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 6,413 in 2019; Deaths Reach 208

Tue, 02/05/2019 - 10:41

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 6,413 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 34 days of 2019, a 17 percent decrease from the 7,499 arriving during the same period last year. However almost all of that decrease is attributed to the virtual disappearance of new arrivals to Italy, where only 202 people have arrived in 2019, compared with 4,723 through these same days in 2018. Spain’s arrivals this year are already more than triple those of 2018’s at this time. Arrivals to Greece also are about 33 percent higher than at this time last year (see chart below)

Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost five weeks of the new year are at 208 individuals, compared with 391 deaths during the same period in 2018. (See chart 1).

Missing Migrants Project

2019 is the fifth year of IOM efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project.  So far in 2019, Missing Migrants Project has recorded 354 people who have died during migration (see chart below).

This includes 125 people who have drowned in the past week while trying to migrate in four different parts of the world: Gulf of Aden, Colombia-Panama border, the US-Mexico border and the Caribbean.

The Coast Guard of Djibouti has confirmed that a total of 86 people were on board boats that sank last week off the coast of Obock, Djibouti.  After sixteen people were rescued, 52 bodies have been recovered and 18 remain missing at sea. Three women are among the dead. The passengers were mostly Ethiopian Oromo. There were also Ethiopian Amhara, Ethiopian Somali and one person from Yemen. The boats left from the locality of Godoria, in northeast Djibouti, with the aim of reaching the Arabian Peninsula. The wreck happened shortly after departing, due to the heavy load on board.

The Colombian Navy offered updates from another of last week’s tragedies – the shipwreck that occurred on the Colombia-Panama border on 28 January. Eight survivors, reported to be nationals of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, were rescued off the coast of Capurganá, municipality of Acandí, in Colombia’s northern province of Chocó. The bodies of 18 more people have been recovered and six remain missing.  At least 10 children drowned in this accident. The people on board intended to reach the border with Panama to continue their journey north overland to the U.S.

As reported last week, on 28 January, the remains of two young Mexican men were recovered from the Rio Bravo, on the border between Mexico and the United States. Their families had reported them as missing on 12 January, when they attempted to cross the border into the US. The remains of another man who was travelling with them still have not been located.

Most recently, on 2 February, a migrant boat sank off the coast of Marsh Harbour, Abaco Island, Bahamas. Seventeen people were rescued, while the bodies of 28 people have been recovered so far.  All of the dead are believed to be migrants from Haiti. The Royal Bahama Defence force and the U.S. Coast Guard were both involved in rescue efforts. (see chart 3.b)

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 migrant deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

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

See contacts here.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 5, 2019 - 17:25Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Returns One-Thousandth Ghanaian from Libya, Niger since 2017

Fri, 02/01/2019 - 11:05

Accra – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) received a mandate in December 2016 to help rescue vulnerable migrants from Ghana stranded en route to Europe. The plan was to bring 650 men and women home within three years. This week IOM met – and exceeded – that initial target, bringing home its 1001st Ghanaian beneficiary as part of a successful run that exceeded all parties’ expectations.

The latest return flight came in a week ago, on 25 January. The project will run until 2020.

“I’m happy that I came back to my family. I didn’t lose my life during my journey or in Libya. I am finally back home,” exulted Fuseini, a Ghanaian returnee who came home from Libya in 2017, one of the first to return. He hopes to open a clothing shop.

Fuseini is one of the many Ghanaian migrants who were assisted by IOM in cooperation with the European Union (EU) in Ghana and the Government of Ghana. The majority (934 men, 73 women) were assisted from Libya (795) and Niger (195).

IOM in Ghana provides all returnees with assistance upon arrival, including the provision of pocket money to cover immediate needs. All returnees are eligible as well for reintegration support based on their needs which include counselling, education and vocational training, and psychosocial and medical support. IOM also offers referrals for other services or in-kind support through individual, collective or community projects. So far, a total of 556 migrants are in the process of receiving or have received reintegration support.

This assistance is funded by the European Union through the three-year EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Ghana, which began in May 2017.

“Given the clear links that have been established between migration and development, the Government is committed to developing strategies that will lead to sustainable reintegration of returnees to enable them to contribute meaningfully to the country’s development,”’ said Rose Tsorhey, Director for Policy Planning, Monitoring and Evaluation at the Ministry of Interior (co-chair of the Project Steering Committee with the EU Delegation.

Added the EU’s Ambassador to Ghana, Diana Acconcia: “The European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has been created first and foremost in the aim to save lives of migrants. Hence, I am glad to see that through joint initiative, the EU and IOM have already supported the return in dignity of more than 1,000 Ghanaians stranded on the routes, mainly in Libya and Niger.”

The project is part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. The Joint Initiative, backed by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), includes close collaboration with 26 African countries. It has so far offered assistance to over 58,000 migrants stranded along the migratory routes in Africa to return home safely.

“Supporting the safe and dignified return home of more than 1,000 Ghanaians – many of whom were in detention – is a significant achievement which needs to be acknowledged. However, much remains to be done to support the successful integration of these migrants in Ghana while at the same time continuing to facilitate new voluntary returns and disseminating safe migration messages,” said IOM Ghana’s Chief of Mission, Sylvia Lopez-Ekra.

One in four migrants returned to Brong Ahafo region, followed by Ashanti (17 per cent), Accra (17 per cent) and Western Region (11 per cent).  

For more information, please contact Anita J. Wadud at IOM Ghana, Tel: +223 302742930 (Ext. 2400), Email: ajwadud@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, February 1, 2019 - 18:04Image: Region-Country: GhanaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Funding from Qatar Charity for Migrants and Refugees in Bosnia

Fri, 02/01/2019 - 11:03

Sarajevo – IOM and the Qatar Charity signed an agreement on 29thJanuary 2019 for USD 364,050 in support of the response to the refugee and migrant situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Agreement was signed on Tuesday ate the UN House in Sarajevo by Faisal Rashid A. T. Alfehaida, the Assistant of the General Director for Operations and International Partnership of Qatar Charity, and Dražan Rozić, the IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina Emergency Response Coordinator. 

The funds will be used to address the need for expanded accommodation capacities and humanitarian assistance of the up to 5,000 migrants and asylum seekers in the country.

“This generous contribution will allow IOM to further improve the humanitarian conditions in the temporary accommodation centres for migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina and, at the same time, support local communities and municipalities hosting migrants on their territory,” said Peter Van der Auweraert, IOM Chief of Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Sub-Regional Coordinator for Western Balkans.

The project aims to improve the living and security conditions in the temporary reception centres in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with particular focus on Ušivak temporary reception centre in Hadžići Municiaplity, near Sarajevo.

“While IOM is currently accommodating some 4,500 persons, this new support is crucial as we are expecting the number of persons to increase during the spring. Meanwhile, there is also a critical need to improve conditions in the current centres,” noted Rozic.

Planned activities include improvement of the existing infrastructure and expansion of the current capacity of the centres, complementary to the support already provided by the European Union. Small interventions will also be realized in support of local communities hosting refugees and migrants.

“Qatar Charity is proud to start this cooperation with IOM, improving the humanitarian support and conditions for the migrants and refugees currently staying in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” said Faisal Rashid A. T. Alfehaida, of the Qatar Charity.

For more information please contact Peter Van der Auweraert at IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tel: +41798336424, Email: pvanderauweaert@iom.int; or Edita Selimbegović, Tel: +387 33 293 713, Email: eselimbegovic@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, February 1, 2019 - 18:02Image: Region-Country: Bosnia and HerzegovinaThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Representatives from the Qatar Charity and IOM at the signing ceremony on Tuesday.

A group of Iranian men at an IOM centre in Bosnia.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 5,989 in 2019; Deaths Reach 208

Fri, 02/01/2019 - 11:02

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 5,989 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 30 days of 2019, a slight decrease from the 6,550 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through just over four weeks of the new year are at 208 individuals, compared with 243 deaths during the same period in 2018. (See chart 1). 

Missing Migrants Project 

So far in 2019, the Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded the deaths of 308 people (see chart below).

On the Mediterranean, MMP received confirmation Thursday about an incident from 21 January, when 106 people who had been intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard were disembarked in Al Khoms, Libya. According to survivors’ testimonies, one Somali man drowned at sea before they were intercepted. His remains were not recovered.  That brings to 208 the total number of fatalities on the Mediterranean through 30 January, or two thirds of the worldwide total.

Elsewhere this week, dozens of men and women are feared drowned in two shipwrecks in the Red Sea’s Strait of Bab el-Mandeb, off the coast of Obock, Djibouti. The number of people who were travelling on the two capsized boats is unknown. The boats had left from the locality of Godoria, in northeast Djibouti, with the aim of reaching the Arabian Peninsula, and capsized shortly after departing, as they were heavily overloaded.

Fifteen survivors have been rescued during a search and rescue operation by the country’s coast guard, and the remains of 52 people had been recovered. Many more are thought to be missing at sea.

In 2018, at least 156 people are known to have drowned in attempts to get to Yemen, mainly from the Horn of Africa, an increase compared to the 111 migrants estimated to have died in 2017 on this route. Reports of the increasingly cruel measures adopted by smugglers, such as overcrowding of boats and forced disembarkation in deep waters, seem to account for the increase in deaths at sea. The largest single loss of life last year was on 6 June 2018, when 62 people drowned in the Gulf of Aden off the coast of Yemen.

On the Caribbean, near the sea border shared by Colombia and Panamá, another shipwreck caused the lives of at least 24 people on 28 January. Eight survivors, nationals of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, were rescued off the coast of Capurganá, municipality of Acandí, in Colombia’s northern province of Chocó. According to their testimony, 32 people were travelling on the boat – including 14 children – with the aim of reaching the border with Panamá to continue their journey north. As of Thursday (30 January), the Colombian Navy had recovered the remains of 12 people, including those of seven children. An estimated 12 people are thought to be missing.

On the Río Bravo, where the border brings Texas together with the Mexican States of Tamaulipas and Coahuila, the remains of two young Mexican men were recovered from the river on 28 January. Their families had reported them as missing on 12 January, when they attempted to cross the border into the US. The remains of another man who was travelling with them have not yet been located.

Two train-related accidents were recorded in Mexico. A 30-year-old Honduran man died after falling from a cargo train near Sayula de Alemán, in Mexico’s southern state of Veracruz on 28 January. Another Honduran man was killed near El Derramadero, in Coahuila on the same day. He fell from a train covering the line between Mexico City and Nuevo Laredo, a city on the border with the US.  These two deaths represent the fourth and fifth fatalities from train accidents this month. MMP reported 40 such fatal accidents in 2018. (See chart 3b). 

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

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

See contacts here.

Language English Posted: Friday, February 1, 2019 - 17:54Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Headcounts Show Reduction in Number of People Sheltering in Two of South Sudan’s Largest Displacement Sites

Fri, 02/01/2019 - 10:54

Juba – Reports released by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in South Sudan show a decline in the number of people in two of the country’s largest displacement hubs: Wau and Bentiu displacement sites.

Recent headcounts indicate that 114,330 people are residing in Bentiu UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) Protection of Civilians (PoC) site, while 25,968 people are living in the PoC and collective centres in Wau. These numbers are down from the official biometric registration figures – 161,071 for Bentiu and 36,832 for Wau – counted in the last comprehensive verification exercises in 2016 and 2017 respectively, which have since only been updated to include small numbers of new arrivals and newborns. It is difficult to account for those, who have left the sites, on the biometric register without carrying out a full verification exercise, as people do not usually alert camp management when they leave permanently.

Multiple escalations in the conflict in South Sudan since its outbreak in 2013 have caused more than 4 million people to flee their homes. Over half of the displaced fled into neighbouring countries, namely, Sudan, Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and the Central African Republic.

However, nearly 1.9 million people are estimated to be displaced within South Sudan’s borders. Most (nearly 90 per cent) live within host communities, rather than displacement sites. Others live in small displacement sites known in the South Sudanese context as collective centres. The remaining group of the displaced population live on or adjacent to UNMISS bases where they sought protection during the conflict. The PoC sites, which are unique to South Sudan, are located in Bor, Bentiu, Juba, Malakal and Wau.

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) collects key data on displacement and migration in South Sudan to inform the humanitarian community’s interventions. In displacement sites, they conduct biometric registration and headcounts to gauge population size. Biometric registration involves scanning/recording a person’s thumb prints and recording relevant personal details.

Although it is an effective means of measuring the size of a displacement site, it is also a massive endeavour, which cannot be done frequently, as it requires sealing off the displacement site for multiple days. Recognizing that there can be significant population changes between biometric registrations, IOM’s displacement tracking team conducts monthly headcounts in Bentiu and Wau PoC sites to monitor changing dynamics and displacement trends.

In Bentiu, the most recent headcount shows that children under the age of five constitute over one third of the PoC site population. Overall, half of the population are men and half are women. The 2018 Bentiu PoC Headcount Trends Report can be access here.

In the Wau PoC site, there was a steady decline in population size throughout 2018, as indicated by headcounts down from just over 25,000 in January 2018 to 15,272 people by the end of the year. At the same time, the collective sites in Wau, namely Cathedral, Nazareth, St. Joseph, Lokoloko and Masna collective centres, saw some fluctuations, with influxes of newly displaced people at times.

For example, June of last year saw violent clashes take place between armed groups in areas south of Wau, including Baggari County and Jur River. As the fighting spread, more and more people were forced to flee their homes in search of safety closer to Wau town and some 760 newly displaced people arrived in Masna collective centre.

This information can also be complemented by an intention survey recently conducted by DTM in Wau, which shows that 40 per cent of the displaced people interviewed intend to leave the PoC, half of them in the first quarter of the year. The 2018 Wau PoC and Collective Centre Headcount Trends Report can be access here.

In September 2018, the Government of the Republic of South Sudan and key opposition forces signed a peace agreement. In the months since then, many areas throughout the country are becoming more stable though some displacement has continued due to localized conflict

Although DTM data is, so far, only reflecting cautious upward trends in potential return movements since the signing of the peace agreement, the humanitarian community is preparing for a scenario of increased returns during the year should stability continue to increase.

“Data, such as population sizes in the PoCs, is vital to our operations,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission. “It shows us what is required to meet people’s needs and where the displaced are when outside of the displacement sites.”

“Furthermore, having people return to their areas of origin does not mean an end to humanitarian requirements in South Sudan. In fact, those are still vast and will continue to be as millions still lack access to essential health care, safe shelters and clean water, among other essential facilities. I trust international donors will continue to support the people of South Sudan and enable us to further the provision of lifesaving assistance as the country moves towards sustained peace,” said Chauzy.

IOM champions an integrated, multi-sector approach where migration management and recovery and stabilization efforts complement humanitarian interventions in health, mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), camp, coordination and camp management (CCCM), shelter and non-food items (S-NFI) and logistics. The Organization’s aim in South Sudan is to build community resilience and reduce dependency on humanitarian aid. This work is all under pinned by data collected through DTM.

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon in Juba, Tel: +211912379843, Email: oheadon@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, February 1, 2019 - 17:46Image: Region-Country: South SudanThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Rows of shelters of Wau PoC site where IOM’s DTM headcounts indicate 15,272 people to be living. Photo: IOM/O. Headon

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Death Toll Mounts as Search Continues for Survivors of Djibouti Boat Tragedy

Wed, 01/30/2019 - 12:23

Djibouti—International Organization for Migration (IOM) staff based in Obock, on Djibouti’s Red Sea coast, are reporting Wednesday that a total of 16 survivors have been recovered from Tuesday’s sea tragedy.

Through noon local time (GMT+3), IOM’s team has learned that the remains of 30 victims have been recovered—three men and two women found on Tuesday and another 25 persons today.

The tragedy occurred off Godoria, a locality in the Obock region of northeast Djibouti. After being alerted by local residents, a team of gendarmerie gathered near the reported site of the tragedy discovered two survivors yesterday, one an 18-year old male survivor, who reportedly boarded one of two boats, in his case with some 130 people on board.

“This tragic event demonstrates the risks that vulnerable migrants face as they innocently search for better lives,” said IOM Djibouti Chief of Mission Ms. Lalini Veerassamy. “The government of Djibouti has always shown empathy and regional leadership on this critical issue. We will continue to support them to prevent such tragedies and protect migrant lives.”

IOM manages a Migrant Response Centre (MCR) in Obock, where hundreds of Yemen-bound migrants are assisted each year if they choose repatriation to their countries of origin under an IOM/operated voluntary return programme. There are currently more than 500 migrants at the MCR.

Staff there have been helping survivors of Tuesday’s tragedy and lending support to Djibouti authorities as they continue to patrol the shoreline in search of other survivors.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP), based in Berlin, released data today indicating there have been at least 199 drownings confirmed off the coast of Obock, Djibouti since 2014. MMP has records of three major shipwrecks of craft departing Obock, before yesterday’s tragedy. In 2014 one wreck was recorded in late February resulting 17 dead or missing; another in mid-November left 30 dead or missing. Two more tragedies in 2016—10 dead 5 October; another on 21 October left 14 dead—for a total of 71 deaths off Djibouti before yesterday’s shipwreck, which MMP estimates has resulted in at least 128 new deaths.

MMP also has recorded additional sea tragedies in the Horn of Africa-to-Yemen route that occurred further offshore from Obock itself. Missing migrant counts these additional deaths in the hundreds (see chart below).

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project.

For more information please contact: Lalini Veerassamy, IOM Chief of Mission in Djibouti, +253 77 31 18 11 

Angela Wells at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 403 5365, Email: awells@iom.int 

 

Language English Posted: Wednesday, January 30, 2019 - 12:15Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

Members of IOM’s Obock team rush to site of Red Sea tragedy to assist Djibouti authorities in search for survivors and victims of Tuesday’s drownings.  Photo. IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

More than 130 Migrants Reported Missing Tuesday Following Two Shipwrecks Off Djibouti Coast

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 17:30

Djibouti - More than 130 migrants have gone missing on Tuesday morning (29 January) off the coast of Djibouti after two boats capsized.

The event took place off Godoria, a locality in the Obock region of northeast Djibouti. After being alerted by local residents, a team of gendarmerie gathered this afternoon near the reported site of the disaster and discovered two survivors as well as the remains of three women and two men.

The coast guard was also alerted and launched search and rescue operations. Those operations are still underway with two patrol boats.

According to local witnesses, the boat capsized roughly 30 minutes after departure due to its excessive load. The boat also faced heavy swells.

An IOM team visited the location to assist local officials and assist in the search for survivors. IOM staff found one: an 18-year old male, who reportedly boarded the first boat with 130 people on board. Included in that group were 16 women. This survivor said he did not have information about the second boat.

The five corpses recovered currently are being transported by the Ministry of Health to a hospital in Obock for examination.

IOM manages a Migrant Response Center (MCR) in Obock, where over 500 migrants are being assisted ahead of repatriation to their countries of origin under the voluntary return programme.

For more information please contact: Lalini Veerassamy, IOM Chief of Mission in Djibouti, +253 77 31 18 11 email: lveerassamy@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 17:21Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

Searching for Survivors in Godoria, Djibouti. Photo IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Earthquake-Affected Community in Papua New Guinea Gets Access to Safe Drinking Water

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 09:21

Port Moresby – Soi - a remote community of 210 families in Nipa Rural district in Papua New Guinea’s Southern Highlands province - was devastated by the 7.5 magnitude earthquake that hit the area in February 2018.

Landslides triggered by the quake polluted the community’s traditional water sources and after the disaster villagers – mostly women and girls – had to walk for over an hour to collect water for household use from a nearby river. Girls were missing school because of this time-consuming chore.

A needs assessment carried out by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in April 2018 found that access to potable water was a top priority for the community, both in Soi and in other locations across the district.

Working with the Emergency Controller’s Office, Southern Highlands Provincial Administration, and the UN country team, IOM used a community-based approach to equip schools and health facilities with 17 rain water tanks benefiting 26,915 people in five communities, five health centres and five schools.

Community members worked together to install the rain-fed supply, with technical assistance from IOM. “Everyone took part in the construction. Mothers and young boys and girls prepared the ground and gathered stones and sand from the river,” said Soi resident Janet John. “Mothers cooked food for the builders and men mixed cement and did the construction work,” she added.

During a post assistance monitoring conducted by IOM in January in Soi, community members welcomed the changes brought about by the project.

“We used to collect water from the bush. This is my first time to get water from a tap,” said one Soi housewife. “I am very happy I no longer have to walk long distances to fetch water from the bush,” said another. “IOM has helped us to have better access to clean and safe water for drinking and we really appreciate their support,” said community leader Paul Tokam.

For more information please contact IOM Port Moresby. Tomoko Sato, Tel. +675 3213655, Email: tsato@iom.int or Peter Murorera, Email: pmurorera@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 15:45Image: Region-Country: Papua New GuineaThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff, community members at the launch of the new water supply. Photo: IOM/Samike Gagee

Children collect water from the new water supply in Soi. Photo: IOM/Peter Murorera

Children collect water from the new water supply in Soi. Photo: IOM/Peter Murorera

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Humanitarian Airlifts from Yemen Allow Hundreds of Stranded Migrants to Return to Ethiopia

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 09:05

Sana’a / Addis Ababa – Approximately 350 Ethiopian migrants stranded in Yemen are set to fly home this week under the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) latest Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) flight operation. Such airlifts resumed from Yemen in late November last year.

IOM is handling the logistics to ensure the safe departure of the migrants from Sana’a International Airport to Bole International Airport in Addis Ababa. The beneficiaries will depart on chartered flights leaving today (29/01) and tomorrow (30/01).

“There are currently limited pathways for migrants to return home from Yemen. Through the support of and close coordination with government authorities, partners and IOM teams, we have been able to ensure migrants can reach their countries of origin in a safe and orderly manner,” said David Derthick, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission.

“IOM will continue to prioritize return movements for migrants in 2019,” he continued. The Organization plans to assist more than 3,000 migrants with VHR services this year.

IOM had previously suspended VHR airlifts after the escalation of the conflict in 2015. During the suspension, IOM transported migrants on chartered boats across the Gulf of Aden. In 2018, IOM provided VHR to more than 1,000 vulnerable migrants.

Unpredictable sea conditions, however, often caused delays or restrictions of movement – at times forcing boats to return to Al-Hudaydah’s port. 

Humanitarian airlifts resumed in November 2018, after IOM coordinated with Yemeni and Ethiopian authorities to allow more than 400 migrants to safely return over the course of four days.

Despite the ongoing conflict, Yemen’s proximity to the Horn of Africa means that it remains a significant transit point for migrants seeking livelihoods and opportunities. IOM expects mixed migration flows to Yemen will continue this year, affirming the importance of IOM’s Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen.

In addition to operating the VHR mechanism out of Yemen, IOM teams provide humanitarian and protection support to vulnerable migrants throughout the country. While efforts are made to meet migrants upon arrival and ensure basic needs are met, IOM also provides longer term interventions, such as health and shelter. Additionally, psychosocial support services help those that have suffered trauma and loss during their journey.

Given the current restrictions on movement, transporting migrants out of Yemen is especially challenging. Many of those assisted require additional support, such as medical escorts to provide in-flight care.

In addition, IOM provides specialized care for unaccompanied migrant children, many of whom were unprepared for the treacherous journey to Yemen. IOM works closely with authorities in Yemen and Ethiopia to ensure these children are cleared for travel and that family members are prepared for reunification. 

Upon arrival, IOM Ethiopia provides returnees with temporary accommodation at a transit centre, meals and non-food items, onward transportation assistance and psychosocial support to those in need.

Returnees in need of further medical assistance will be referred to health providers while unaccompanied minors will receive family tracing and reunification assistance. A few vulnerable migrants will receive reintegration assistance through cash grants.

For more information, please contact Angela Wells at IOM HQ in Geneva, Tel: +41 7940 35365, Email: awells@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM resumed humanitarian airlifts for stranded migrants in November 2018. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 5,757 in 2019; Deaths Reach 207

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 09:02

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 5,757 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 27 days of 2019, a slight increase over the 5,502 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost four weeks of the new year are at 207 individuals, compared with 242 deaths during the same period in 2018.

IOM Italy

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Monday reported that the NGO ship “Sea-Watch 3,” which rescued 47 migrants last Saturday (19 January), is now in Italian waters – about one mile off the coast of Siracusa, Sicily, as of Friday night. The vessel had yet to receive authorization to land.

The boat approached Sicily several days ago, seeking shelter from adverse weather conditions currently affecting the Mediterranean.

Di Giacomo called the situation “very critical, given the difficult winter period with low temperatures and rough seas and the fact that the ship is not sufficiently equipped to host people for so many days on board.” He added: “The space inside is insufficient, and some people are forced to remain outside on the bridge.”

IOM also has learned that many of the migrants on board reported both to the “Sea-Watch 3” crew and to visiting members of the Italian Parliament, who also boarded, that they had been victims of abuse and violence during their stay in Libya.

Di Giacomo noted that among the vessel’s passengers are 13 unaccompanied minors, whose condition is of particular concern. He said adequate protection and safeguarding measures must be taken for them as soon as possible, in line with international conventions.

IOM’s Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, noted that the denial of a safe port to vessels that have rescued migrants in distress is reoccurring and an indication of a deteriorating situation in the Mediterranean. “It is increasingly urgent that, in order to put an end to this current ad hoc approach to life-saving operations, all Mediterranean countries start working together to establish a safe and orderly disembarkation mechanism,” he explained.

IOM Spain

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that through Sunday (27 January) 3,809 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants this month, or more than the 1,400 arriving through all of January last year. Through this period, irregular migrant arrivals by sea to Spain are 66 per cent of all Mediterranean arrivals of this type; moreover, that total through just under four weeks of 2019 is just over 800 arrivals shy of the total through the first four months of 2018, a period during which IOM reported 4,627 irregular migrant arrivals to Spain by sea (see chart below).

IOM Greece

IOM Greece’s Antigoni Avgeropoulou said on Monday (28 January) that from Friday (25 January) to Monday, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least two incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Farmakonisi and Chios. The HCG rescued a total of 80 migrants and transferred them to those islands.

Those 80 arrivals were among some 111 IOM recorded in the four days between 24 and 27 January arriving at the islands of Farmakonisi, Lesvos and Chios and bringing to 1,660 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart below).

Missing Migrants Project

2019 is the fifth 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 30,602 people, and yet due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and what happened to them, the true number of deaths during migration is likely much higher. 

 

So far in 2019, Missing Migrants Project has recorded the deaths of 226 people, 207 of those on one of three Mediterranean Sea routes.

Most recently, two young Algerian men lost their lives in the Western Mediterranean. It is believed they left from Spain’s North African enclave Ceuta with two others on 14 January. They left in a small inflatable boat without an engine. The four Algerians have been residing at Ceuta's Temporary Residence Centre, where many migrants are detained after attempting to reach the European mainland via Spain. After several days at sea, the boat in which the four men were travelling started taking on water.

The Spanish Guardia Civil was able to rescue two of the men and brought them back to Ceuta, but the others remained missing. Their bodies washed up on Algerian shores a few days later: on 21 January, the remains of one were found near Béni-Saf, in the Algerian province of Ain Témouchent; on 24 January, the body of the other missing man washed up on El Ain beach, in the same province.

A few days before, on 22 January, the body of a 40-year-old woman had washed up on Bahara beach, in Algeria’s province of Mostaganem – this appears to be an unrelated incident.

In the Central Mediterranean, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) reported that 106 migrants had disembarked in Khoms from a commercial ship on 21 January. An MSF team was present during their disembarkation and reported that a 15-year-old boy died in the hospital, shortly after being taken from the ship.

Elsewhere, Missing Migrants Project documented the deaths of four people crossing the Río Bravo that makes up the Texas-Mexico border.

On 22 January, an unidentified man was swept away by currents of the Río Bravo while he tried to cross from the Mexican town of Nuevo Laredo into Texas. On 23 January, US Border Patrol agents retrieved the body of a man near Minas del Seco, in Maverick County. A day later, Mexican civil protection authorities found the body of a man near the municipality of Reynosa Díaz, in Mexico’s northern province of Tamaulipas. On Saturday, 26 January, the remains of another man, believed to be of Ukrainian nationality, were recovered from the Río Bravo near La Playita, Reynosa, Mexico.

In Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, a 24-year-old Guatemalan woman and her son, who was five years old, were killed in a car crash on 24 January. She was eight months pregnant when she died. In Mexico’s southern province of Veracruz, a 40-year-old man from El Salvador died in a hospital in Oluta on 21 January, from the injuries he sustained after falling from a freight train. On 24 January, a man who was travelling on top of a freight train was killed after falling from the cargo train near San Mateo Ixtacalca, Cuautitlán, Mexico.

Late Monday MMP received reports of a shipwreck near Capurganá, Colombia, from which between 20 and 27 migrants were said to be missing. Initial reports were that the victims were African, identified as “from the Congo.” Media in the region indicate several survivors have been found but no bodies after a small motorboat foundered in the waters linking Colombia to Panamá.

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 migrant deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.

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

See contacts here.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 16:05Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Guatemala to Triple Reception Capacity for Its Returning Migrants at Airport

Tue, 01/29/2019 - 09:02

Guatemala City – Guatemala will triple its capacity to assist its migrant populations returning by air from Mexico and the United States, when a new migrant support centre under construction at the La Aurora International Airport is opened later this year.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is overseeing construction of the Centre for the Reception of Returned Airborne Populations, which will then be managed by the Guatemalan Migration Institute (IGM) when it opens in June 2019.

The US Agency for International Development (USAID) has provided USD 1.2 million for the construction and sourcing of furniture and equipment adapted to the needs of those who return to the country.

The centre – which is being built on Guatemalan Air Force land granted by the Ministry of National Defense – is part of efforts to dignify the return process and provides the first step towards successful reintegration in the communities of origin.

"This is an important step for Guatemala, especially a significant step in the restitution of the rights of migrants, national security, the protection of returnees and dignifying migration processes," said Jorge Peraza Breedy, Chief of IOM Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras.

The building will include recreational areas adapted to the needs of unaccompanied migrant children, adolescents and returned families, in line with the Best Interests of the Child concept; a room for breastfeeding, medical clinics, telephone calls, a psychosocial interview room, a checkpoint and a waiting area for those who arrive to receive their relatives, among others.

The initiative will help Guatemala meet the growing challenges of managing human mobility, encourage social and economic development through migration and ensure respect for human dignity and the well-being of migrants.

During the first semester of the year, the IOM will implement actions that facilitate the integration of other government institutions to offer services and services for the returned migrant population.

The construction of the centre is part of IOM’s Return and Reintegration Project in the Northern Triangle of Central America, supported by USAID.

Between January and November 2017, 60,073 people were returned to Guatemala from Mexico and the United States; in 2018, in the same period, 87,560 returns were recorded, representing an increase of 45.8 per cent. The departments with the highest number of returnees are (in order): Huehuetenango, San Marcos, Quiché, Quetzaltenango, and Guatemala.

For more information, please contact Melissa Vega at IOM Guatemala, Email: mevega@iom.int, Tel: +502 2414-7401

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 29, 2019 - 15:55Image: Region-Country: GuatemalaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

The new center, under construction at La Aurora International Airport, will triple the capacity of the Government of Guatemala to support migrants being returned from Mexico and the US. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

News comment by Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants

Mon, 01/28/2019 - 11:47

Geneva—The flow of hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in recent years is the largest population movement in the recent history of Latin America. In the face of this monumental crisis, the reaction of the countries of the region has been exemplary. In my travels through the region, I have been able to witness the solidarity and commitment of governments, humanitarian organizations and local communities with refugees and migrants from Venezuela. The countries of the region have received Venezuelans with affection, generosity and respect, in the same way that, in the past, the Venezuelan people opened their doors to a large number of refugees and migrants from the region.

In recent days, however, violent actions, physical and verbal attacks and threats against Venezuelan citizens in several countries in the region have marred this picture. Although isolated and unrepresentative, these acts of hatred, intolerance and xenophobia are extremely worrying. Faced with them, it is essential that governments and societies respond with a clear and forceful message of rejection.
Racism, misogyny and xenophobia have no place in our countries and must be firmly condemned. Political and opinion leaders must appeal in their pronouncements to peace, justice, calm and restraint, condemning xenophobic and misogynistic attitudes and actions.

The media and users of social networks, for their part, must report the facts in a responsible manner, without inciting xenophobic attitudes and actions, and must also condemn all physical or verbal attacks against refugees, migrants and other foreign persons, when they occur.

Only through dialogue, solidarity, justice, coexistence and respect for diversity can we solve the multiple challenges that confront our region. Given the current humanitarian and political challenges, Latin America must remain faithful to its tradition of solidarity. In this context, the Quito Process - promoted by several countries in the region - constitutes a path of hope, a path of understanding and a path of common construction: it represents a road map to foster the reception, protection and inclusion of refugees and migrants in the host countries.

UNHCR and IOM will continue to support the efforts of States and civil society to address the most urgent needs of refugees and migrants, as well as to support host communities. It is with this objective that a Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform was established - with agencies of the United Nations System and various international organizations - and a Regional Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants has just been presented in order to foster a coordinated response, mobilize resources from the international community and promote a culture of tolerance, peaceful coexistence and inclusion.

For further information please contact:  Juliana Quintero, IOM Regional Office for South America, Tel.:  +54 11 48133 330/ Mobile:  +54 11 32488134. Email: juquintero@iom.int robuenosaires@iom.int  or robuenosaires.iom.int

Language English Posted: Monday, January 28, 2019 - 11:43Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Following Upsurge in Violence, IOM Scales Up Efforts to Assist Newly Displaced in Nigeria

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 10:48

Maiduguri – A recent upsurge in violence in Borno State, north-east Nigeria has caused the mass displacement of 55,417 individuals between 1 December 2018 and 24 January 2019. 

Attacks in the Borno towns of Baga and attempted attacks in Monguno by non-state armed groups on 26 and 28 December 2018 prompted population movements into already congested camps in Maiduguri, the state capital. Others fled to camps in Monguno, itself, as well as to the Konduga and Jere local government areas (LGAs) in December.  

Last week’s most recent attack on Rann town on 14 January forced another 30,000 people to flee. Since then many are reported to have returned to Rann, following the reestablishment of security forces.  

The humanitarian crisis in north-east Nigeria has caused the displacement of 1.8 million people, almost 80 per cent of whom are concentrated in Borno state.  

“I fled from my hometown because I was afraid there would be an attack. I walked to Monguno and then boarded a truck that took me to Gubio camp (Maiduguri) with my children,” said Hauwa, a 50-year-old woman from Doro town in Baga. “Here I feel safe, but I am sleeping outside and with little food.”  

These population movements highlight the need for additional land in areas like Monguno, to de-congest camps – either by opening new ones or expanding existing ones.  

In Maiduguri, Monguno, Konduga and Jere local government areas (LGAs), IOM is organizing focus group discussions with internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host community members to gauge sentiment to a proposed relocation from Teachers Village camp to a newly identified vacant stadium in the city.  

The Organization is supporting the State Management Agency (SEMA) in strengthening camp management and camp coordination in various displacement sites in Maiduguri. IOM has information booths to offer referrals on available services to IDPs, receive feedback and complaints.   

“Together with our humanitarian partners, we are providing assistance to new arrivals, but our current resources are not sufficient to meet the emerging needs,” said Dave Bercasio, IOM Nigeria’s Emergency Coordinator.   

Since late December, IOM has distributed 960 emergency shelter kits to support 4,300 new arrivals in Maiduguri. The kits consist of timbers, tarpaulin, ropes, and other shelter construction tools. More than 1,700 non-food item (NFI) kits have been distributed to 7,690 newly-displaced in Maiduguri.  

In addition, IOM has started building five communal shelters at the reception centre in Monguno, and will be assisting 475 households in Monguno with emergency shelter kits. IOM has also committed to constructing 500 emergency shelters in a new camp to be set up in Maiduguri.  

Mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) teams are providing psychological first aid, informal education, psychoeducation for caregivers, support group interventions, recreational activities for children, and sensitization on counter-trafficking and gender-based violence (GBV). These psychosocial activities have reached 10,360 new arrivals in eight camps.   

Throughout Borno State, IOM’s Emergency Tracking Tool team continues to monitor rates of displacement, conduct registration of IDPs in immediate need of humanitarian assistance and provide data to partners. IOM is committed to scaling up its response in order to meet escalating needs. 

Humanitarian agencies in north-east Nigeria are faced with an increasingly complex operational environment. Operating under these complex circumstances, IOM continues to provide lifesaving shelter, WASH, NFI, CCCM, livelihood, capacity building and MHPSS assistance to affected communities, as well as DMS/CCCM, Shelter and NFI sector coordination.   

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

Language English Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 - 17:46Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM distributes relief items to internally displaced persons in Ngala town, Borno State. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Increased Number of Nigerian Migrants Fall Victim to Sex Trafficking, Exploitation in Mali

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 10:12

Bamako – Every year, thousands of Nigerian women receive false promises. If they leave their country, they are told, they will find a good job, maybe as a waitress or a hairdresser. There they can earn enough money to begin a new life.  

Instead, many are caught in vicious cycles of sexual exploitation and servitude.   

‘Chance’, a young Nigerian, learned all this the hard way. Just over a year ago she was approached by neighbours who persuaded her to quit school and leave Nigeria for new work opportunities.   

“(They told me) I would work in restaurants and they would pay me USD 800 (400,000 CFA) monthly. They told me the work is in Malaysia,” she recalls. On 4 January 2018, she left with two girls from her neighbourhood.  

“Once we were in Mali, they told me it was for prostitution,” she explained. “They said it won’t take long, it would not even be for a month, just enough time to pay them USD 5,000 (CFA 2.4 million).” 

Nigerian women have become victims of such treatment across West Africa and Southern Europe. The International Organization for Migration (IOM)  reported in 2017 massive exploitation of Nigerian women and girls in sex commerce after being trafficked through Libya.  

But the crime also occurs much closer to home. 

Prompted by an increasing number of referrals from the Government of Mali, as well as members of civil society groups and Nigeria’s embassy, IOM has re-doubled its efforts to ensure victims of trafficking are identified, protected and, ultimately, assisted in restoring their dignity and livelihood back home.  

IOM in Mali has responded to 260 such cases since 2017. According to that mission, 238 of the victims were from Nigeria. In 2018, alone, IOM assisted 188 Nigerian women victims of trafficking (VoTs) stranded in Mali with shelter, food, clothes, medical and psychosocial support, as well as assistance for voluntary return and reintegration to Nigeria. 

“The vulnerability of migrants increases along the route of their journeys, especially for women traveling alone,” said Michele Bombassei, IOM’s Specialist on Migrant Protection and Assistance for West and Central Africa.  

“But we should not think that women only are exposed to abuse. In the case of gold mining, for instance, we witness a large variety of abuse and exploitation, targeting men and women, and unfortunately children,” he added. 

In the past year, IOM has provided capacity building trainings to more than 550 key stakeholders in Mali including prosecutors, judges, law enforcement agents, governmental and non-governmental actors – enhancing their ability to fight against human trafficking and increase the referrals to IOM. 

IOM also trains staff of the Nigerian Embassy as wells as representatives of Nigerian and Malian NGOs on techniques for interviewing, identifying and providing immediate protection to victims (or potential victims) of trafficking. This allows them to better identify victims and refer them to competent authorities for further assistance. 

For that reason, last December IOM cooperated with Nigeria’s National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to organize a fact-finding mission to assess the real extent of the phenomenon.  

NAPTIP representatives and IOM staff met with non-governmental and governmental stakeholders in Bamako as well as with potential VoTs working in a mining village in the Kangaba region.  

“We are working closely with NAPTIP, the leading anti-trafficking agency in Nigeria, and our collaboration during the mission is but one step towards the safe return of these victims as well as their proper rehabilitation to prevent further re-trafficking,” said Frantz Celestin, IOM Nigeria Chief of Mission ad interim.  

To fill in the lack of data on the exploitation of migrants in mines, IOM is also conducting a study on Migration Towards Artisanal Mining Sites in Mali, and in other West African countries. The findings will help IOM better understand the migratory dynamics in relation to gold mining activities in the region and provide stakeholders with evidence-based research to inform their policies, strategies and responses.  

In close partnership with NAPTIP, IOM Nigeria is assisting the return of 162 trafficking survivors with shelter, transportation, and medical assistance. IOM is assessing their needs and putting plans in place for their rehabilitation. 

The current research and assistance provided to these victims of trafficking are funded by UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). 

For more information, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221 786206213, Email: fkim@iom.int  

 

Language English Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 - 17:25Image: Region-Country: MaliThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Chance, a Nigerian VoT who returned from Mali in 2018, speaks about her experience to IOM staff. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migrant Voluntary Return and Reintegration Assistance Suspended in Mali 

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 10:10

Bamako – IOM Mali has temporarily suspended assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) services for roughly 1,500 migrants to better assess their eligibility after evidence surfaced suggesting that attempts were being made to take advantage of this service. 

“We came to realize there was the potential for our humanitarian efforts to be exploited by people who were not entitled to assistance,” said Michele Bombassei, IOM’s migrant protection and assistance specialist for West and Central Africa. “That undermines IOM’s ability to help truly vulnerable migrants who meet eligibility criteria.” 

“We are reviewing hundreds of pending AVRR cases at our ad-hoc transit centres in Bamako and will resume our efforts once we are satisfied that the assistance is being provided to the people who are most in need,” Bombassei added. 

Since its launch in December 2016, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration (Joint Initiative) has provided return and reintegration assistance to over 51,000 people stranded along the migratory routes from West and Central Africa to North Africa and Europe. Vulnerable migrants like these can request IOM’s assistance to return home in a voluntary, dignified and humane manner, and once there, access reintegration support. 

In mid-November 2018, the IOM mission in Mali noticed an unprecedented peak in the number of returnees requesting help that did not match the typical flows of people across the Malian borders with Algeria and Mauritania. 

In early January the Organization advised migrants sheltered at Bamako transit centres that their applications were being thoroughly reviewed to ensure they meet the Joint Initiative’s eligibility requirements. 

IOM is working closely with the Malian Government, civil society and representatives from the relevant countries of origin to address the situation and ensure available resources are allocated to protect the most vulnerable. 

IOM has four decades of experience managing AVRR programmes. Since the launch of the Joint Initiative in Mali in 2017, IOM has assisted 9,768 West African migrants mainly from Mali, Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire, Senegal, the Gambia, Sierra Leone, and Liberia. 

For more information, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221786206213, Email: fkim@iom.int 

 

Language English Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 - 17:20Image: Region-Country: MaliThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

West African migrants undergo screening by IOM staff in a migrant centre in Bamako. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

United Nations Launches Thailand Migration Report 2019

Fri, 01/25/2019 - 10:09

Bangkok – Thailand has built its migration management capacity and is well positioned to maximize the benefits of migration if more is done to ensure the welfare and protection of migrants, according to a new report released by the United Nations in Thailand. 

Published on a regular basis since 2005, the Thailand Migration Report 2019 is the latest in a series produced by the UN Thailand Working Group on Migration, which is chaired by IOM and brings together 16 UN agencies. 

The report comprises 11 chapters that address working conditions, access to services, remittances, human trafficking and exploitation. Chapters are written by contributors from various UN agencies and provide up-to-date information on migration trends and patterns, as well as independent analysis of migration-related issues and policy developments.  

Migration to Thailand has intensified since the previous report in 2014. Based on data from a range of sources, the report estimates that Thailand now hosts approximately 4.9 million non-Thai residents, a substantial increase from 3.7 million in 2014.  

Most of them come from neighbouring Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Viet Nam, accounting for an estimated 3.9 million documented and undocumented migrant workers. Other major groups include an estimated 480,000 stateless persons, 110,000 skilled professionals and 100,000 refugees and asylum seekers. 

Thailand benefits significantly from their presence. Migrant workers help fill labour shortages, contribute to economic growth and are becoming ever more important as Thai society ages. Constituting over 10 per cent of the total labour force, their work is thought to contribute between 4.3 to 6.6 per cent of Thailand’s Gross Domestic Product. 

For migrants and their family members, employment in Thailand supports increased standards of living and poverty reduction in their home countries.  Up to USD 2.8 billion in remittances is sent home to families through formal channels to countries in the four main countries of origin every year. The figure rises to as much as USD 10 billion if informal remittance flows are also taken into account.  

The report notes that important steps have been taken by the Royal Thai Government to combat human trafficking and exploitative working conditions for migrants, including reforms to the laws and regulatory bodies used to manage the fisheries sector, amendment of the Royal Ordinance on the Management of Foreign Workers Employment, establishment of Migrant Worker Assistance Centres, and ratification of the 2014 Protocol to the Forced Labour Convention, 1930 (No. 29). 

Nevertheless, many migrants continue to face hardship and remain vulnerable to abuse. “While the situation for migrants in Thailand has improved in some ways since the last report in 2014, many challenges remain the same. Policy responses risk leaving migrants vulnerable and unsure of their legal status in Thailand," said report editor Benjamin Harkins. 

Thailand has enacted progressive policies that guarantee migrants access to many essential services regardless of legal status, including education and health care.  But barriers continue to hamper their use of these services in practice. Only 51 per cent of all eligible migrants are currently enrolled in public health insurance schemes, while up to 200,000 migrant children remain out of school, the report notes.  

Each chapter of the report provides recommendations for policy and programmatic changes to improve migration governance. “In line with many of the objectives in the 2018 Global Compact on Migration, recently adopted and endorsed by the Government of Thailand, the report provides key recommendations for all stakeholders to ensure that migration remains well-managed, safe, orderly and regular,” said IOM Thailand Chief of Mission Dana Graber Ladek.  

UN Resident Coordinator in Thailand Deirdre Boyd noted the important emphasis on partnerships in the report, with the government, private sector, civil society, trade unions, international organizations and the media all having a part to play.  “The United Nations is committed to supporting Thailand in its efforts to establish a long-term, coherent and rights-based governance framework that maximizes the benefits of migration for both migrants and society as a whole,” she stated.    

The Thailand Migration Report 2019 is a publication jointly produced by members of the UN Thailand Working Group on Migration. These include: FAO, IOM, ILO, OHCHR, UN-ACT, UNAIDS, UNCDF, UNDP, UNESCO, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODC, UN Women, the treate Bank and WHO. 

Download a free copy of the report here: http://thailand.iom.int/thailand-migration-report-2019-0 

For more information, please contact Reuben Lim at IOM Thailand, Tel: +66.2.343 9370, Email: rlim@iom.int  

 

Language English Posted: Friday, January 25, 2019 - 17:10Image: Region-Country: ThailandThemes: IOMMigration ResearchDefault: Multimedia: 

Thailand Migration Report 2019 is produced by the UN Thailand Working Group on Migration, which is chaired by IOM. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Starts Distribution of 10,000 Household Kits to Bangladeshi Families in Cox’s Bazar

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 09:38

Cox’s Bazar – IOM has begun a distribution of essential household items to 10,000 vulnerable local families in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, where almost a million Rohingya refugees are now living after fleeing violence in Myanmar.

Global attention has focused on the plight of the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims from Myanmar sheltering in Cox’s Bazar. But many local communities in the impoverished and underdeveloped district were also affected by the arrival of over half a million destitute people in August through September 2017, which put massive strain on infrastructure and pushed up prices.

The household kits include two blankets, two floor mats, one kitchen set and three bamboo baskets. Their distribution comes as winter weather brings cold nights to the district, which faces the Bay of Bengal in southern Bangladesh.

The distribution, which is taking place in close coordination with local government, follows a survey of 48,000 households in the Cox’s Bazar’s Ukhiya sub-district conducted by IOM and local government officials to identify those most in need.

Families targeted for assistance include female-headed households and single parent families; families with family members suffering from a disability or serious illness; pregnant or lactating women; child-headed households and those with a separated or unaccompanied child; and families reliant on irregular or casual labour, or whose income fell due to the impact of the refugee crisis.

Among the first to receive the kits was 36-year-old Rahima Khatun, who has four children, one of whom has a disability. “With these mats and blankets he will be able to sleep better,” she said.

“The local community in Cox’s Bazar has been remarkably generous during the refugee crisis and we know that the need for support extends beyond those in the refugee camps. IOM is committed to extending our support to the host community and these kits will help make life more comfortable for some of Ukhiya’s most vulnerable families,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM’s emergency coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

IOM was already working with local communities and in smaller refugee settlements in Cox’s Bazar, supporting the government of Bangladesh with medical and other services, when the Rohingya refugee crisis erupted in 2017.

Since then IOM and its partners have expanded health services for all in the area and launched several projects specifically targeting local communities with services including: disaster risk reduction; improvements to infrastructure and water supplies; support for reforestation and local farmers; and programmes aimed at developing community cohesion.

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar. Tel: +88 0 1733 335221, Email: fmacgregor@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Vulnerable families affected by the Rohingya refugee influx in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, receive household kits from IOM. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Releases Migration Recommendations to EU Council Presidency, Romania

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 09:38

Brussels – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) presented today (22/01) four recommendations on migration to the Romanian government, which took the helm of Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) on 1 January 2019 for a six-month tenure.  The recommendations focus on the migration dimension of EU’s next long-term budget, the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF).

“Romania will be leading the rotating EU Presidency through a critical period of substantial institutional changes for the European Union, and so ensuring the adoption of the EU’s next long-term budget will be a key priority,” said Ola Henrikson, IOM Regional Director for the European Union, Norway and Switzerland.

“Our recommendations are grounded in IOM’s view that the MFF should respond to the needs and commitments of the EU and its partners to ensure better migration governance in all of its dimensions,” he continued. 

The Organization’s recommendations paper aims to promote EU migration funding that is more simplified, coherent and holistic, people-centred and rights-based, and increasingly directed towards legal migration and integration.   

Given that migration is not a new or short-term phenomenon, IOM also recommends that policy and action on migration needs be implemented in a coherent and holistic way and should follow a long-term, strategic vision. Doing so would help to maximize the added value of EU financing, particularly considering the growing level of international engagement in this area.

EU migration funds are particularly instrumental in promoting the well-being of migrants and local communities in countries of origin, transit and destination. IOM believes EU funding should therefore be guided by international and European human rights law; ensure that EU actions are also gender-responsive and child-sensitive; and focus on integrating tailored responses, including for vulnerable migrants.

Legal migration and integration are closely interlinked priorities which should be considered on equal footing as policy objectives for EU funding. Considering the EU’s commitments made at the Valletta Summit on Migration and within the Partnership Frameworks, together with forecasted labour shortages in the EU at all skill levels, IOM recommends that more EU funds should be directed towards legal migration and integration.

Finally, funding rules and processes must become genuinely simpler for implementers of EU funds to facilitate increased access and partnerships.

IOM's twice-yearly recommendations to the rotating EU Presidencies are guided by its Migration Governance Framework (MiGOF) which is the first, and so far, only detailed articulation of planned and well-managed migration policies. 

IOM continues to encourage the EU and its Member States to promote a comprehensive approach to migration that puts the rights, needs, capacities and contributions of migrants at its core, with a view to ensuring their safety, dignity and human rights.

IOM's recommendations can be downloaded here in PDF.

For more information please contact Melissa Julian at IOM Brussels, Tel: +32 287 7133, Email: mjulian@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: GermanyThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Romania took the helm of the 6-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) on 1 Jan 2019. Photo: Creative Commons 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 4,883; Deaths Reach 203

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 09:38

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 4,883 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 20 days of 2019, a slight increase over the 4,466 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost three weeks of the new year are at 203 individuals, compared with 201 deaths during the same period in 2018. 
At this point in 2017 a total of 3,156 irregular migrants or refugees had landed in either Greece, Spain or Italy after crossing the Mediterranean, and IOM had recorded a total of 228 deaths.
See Table 1

Nonetheless, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that January 2019 marks the fourth straight year in which January has seen at least 200 irregular migrants and refugees drowning trying to reach Europe via one of three Mediterranean Sea routes. The worst was in 2016, when 370 people died in January crossings. Those fatality numbers had been dropping – to 254 and 243, respectively, in 2017 and 2018 – and could drop again this month depending on what occurs over the next 10 days.

The last time fewer than 200 migrants drowned in January in these waters was in 2015, when 82 died in January. In 2014, IOM recorded just 12 deaths of seaborne Mediterranean migrants in January.

The tragedy continued this past weekend, when scores of people lost their lives in several shipwrecks on the Mediterranean.

On 17 January, a boat with 54 people on board (including three women) capsized in the Alborán Sea, in waters between Morocco and Spain. The boat had departed from Nador, Morocco, five days earlier, and many of its occupants came from a single district in southeastern Mauritania. Two Spanish NGOs received distress calls to two of their emergency hotlines shortly after departure. Search and rescue operations conducted by Spanish and Moroccan rescue services could not locate the boat, however.

A single survivor was rescued by a Moroccan fisherman on 17 January, and he was hospitalized in Morocco. Staff from Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras spoke to him in the hospital, and he confirmed the tragic news that his 53 fellow travellers drowned at sea. No remains have been recovered.

The following day (18 January), three men were rescued 50 miles off Libya from a sinking boat by an Italian Navy helicopter and brought to Lampedusa, Italy. IOM staff spoke to the three survivors, who said the boat carried 120 people on board. Based on their testimony, IOM estimates that 117 people went missing and presumably drowned at sea before rescue services could reach them. According to the survivors, 10 women, one of them pregnant, and two children were on board.

IOM Libya reported on 20 January that the Libyan Coast Guard recovered two bodies and apprehended 141 people from a boat off the coast of Tripoli. Survivors reported that they had spent two days at sea before being intercepted, and many of them required emergency medical care.

In the Eastern Mediterranean, the Hellenic Coast Guard retrieved the body of a 23-year-old man off the Greek island of Farmakonisi on 18 January. According to the NGO Alarm Phone, he was travelling with a group of 53 people, among them seven women and ten children, who reported to the NGO that he had fallen overboard shortly before arriving to the island.

IOM Italy
IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Monday that through Sunday 155 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy, according to the country’s Ministry of the Interior. January 2019 is on track to record the lowest monthly arrivals total in more than three years. Di Giacomo added that the NGO ship “Sea-Watch 3” rescued 47 migrants on Saturday. It remains unknown where the craft will receive authorization to land.

IOM Rome on Monday offered further information on what survivors of the Friday shipwreck off Libya told IOM staffers who took their testimony in Lampedusa.

Migrants told IOM staff they had been brought to two separate buildings described as “hangars” before their departure: in one of them, traffickers had put some 100 people of mixed nationalities, age and gender; in the other, only 28 Sudanese male adults. Just hours before departure the latter group was brought over to join the others, although only 120 or so were allowed to board. The survivors speculated that the eight left behind – all from Côte d'Ivoire – lacked sufficient funds for the crossing.

From the hangar, the 120 migrants walked to the beach, led by six Libyan males. The three survivors also reported to IOM that their 12-meter dinghy, which left directly from the beach and not from a dock, started taking on water after about 10-11 hours of navigation, due to high waves.

At one point, when a migrant navigating the boat took a phone to call for help, the survivors reported that agitation and a wave of unrest spread rapidly among the people on board, who feared return to Libya. They said they would have preferred dying instead.

IOM noted late Monday that the commercial cargo vessel Lady Sham had returned 144 rescued migrants to Libya, while it remains unclear from where these individuals departed from, and when. IOM staff counted among the rescued 26 women—some of whom are pregnant—and four children. IOM understands most of these individuals have been taken into custody, but it cannot confirm that all have been. IOM staff today will continue to monitor their condition.

IOM believes the adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration represented a landmark moment in the pursuit of international cooperation on migration for the benefit of all.  The Global Compact on Migration, as it is based on the principles safe, orderly and legal migration and can and should be the basis sharing the responsibility to address issues of irregular migration, especially the Mediterranean emergency, now in its seventh year.

Said Federico Soda, director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean in Rome: "Until Libya can be considered a safe port where protection is guaranteed, governments must establish a safe and orderly disembarking mechanism in the central Mediterranean.”

IOM Spain
IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that through Sunday (20 January) 3,429 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants this month, or more than the 1,400 arriving through all of January last year. Through this period, irregular migrant arrivals by sea to Spain are 70 per cent of all Mediterranean arrivals of this type; moreover, that total surpasses that of all arrivals of this type to Spain through the first three months of 2018, a period during which IOM reported 3,369 irregular migrant arrivals to Spain by sea (see chart 2).


IOM Greece
IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou said on Monday (21 January) that from Friday (18 January) to Monday, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least three incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Farmakonisi and of the port of Alexandroupolis. The HCG rescued a total of 78 migrants and transferred them to those spots.

Those 78 arrivals were among some 465 IOM recorded in the four days between 17 and 20 January arriving at the islands of Farmakonisi, Samos, Lesvos and Chios and bringing to 1,166 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart 8.b).

 
*Unofficial data collected by IOM Greece and the Greek authorities of arrivals by sea.

IOM Greece also provided new data breaking down the top nationalities of irregular migrants apprehended by Greek authorities as they attempted to enter Greek waters from Turkey and elsewhere (see charts below). Among the findings from the past year: although seizures at sea grew in number by almost 3,000 men, women and children (to 32,742 from 29,884), many traditional sender countries showed a sharp decline.
For example, the number of Syrian arrivals dropped to 7,697 individuals in 2018 from 12,311 in 2017. At the same time Afghanistan, which replaced Syria as the top the sender on this route in 2018, nearly tripled the number of its arrivals – to 9,601 from 3,491 – while the numbers from Iraq, the #3 sender nationality in both 2017 and 2018, remained remarkably equal: 5,818 in 2017 and 5,893 in 2018.

Nationalities that showed sharp increases in their arrival numbers include Cameroon, Somalia, Turkey and Palestine, all of whose arrivals more than doubled year-on-year, and Yemen, whose arrival numbers rose by about 70 per cent. Those nationalities whose arrival numbers dropped included the Islamic Republic of Iran, Pakistan and Algeria.
See chart 13.

As in years past, outliers continue to use the Aegean as a bridge to Europe, even if in many cases their numbers are quite small.  In 2018 nine Haitians were apprehended attempting this crossing, as were 16 nationals of the Dominican Republic. There were also 16 nationals of Myanmar, 15 from Nepal, six from Colombia and three from Zimbabwe.

Missing Migrants Project
2019 is the fifth 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 30,602 people, and yet due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and what happened to them, the true number of deaths during migration is likely much higher. 

So far in 2019, MMP documented the deaths of two men on the US-Mexico border. On 16 January, a 28-year-old Mexican man was swept away by the currents of the Río Bravo while he tried to cross from the Mexican town of Díaz Ordaz, Tamaulipas, to La Joya, Texas. On the same day, but further north, the body of a 37-year-old Mexican man was retrieved from the Río Bravo by Mexican civil protection authorities near Jiménez, Coahuila. A resident of Ciudad Acuña, he had been reported missing by his family in December 2018.

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.
See chart 3.b.


See Recorded migrant death by region

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Kathmandu Valley Gets New Multipurpose Evacuation Centre

Tue, 01/22/2019 - 09:38

Lalitpur Metropolitan City – Bungamati, in Lalitpur Metropolitan City (historically known as Patan) is to get a multipurpose evacuation centre as part of a Thai-funded International Organization for Migration (IOM) programme to build eight evacuation centres in earthquake-affected districts of Nepal.

Speaking at a ground-breaking ceremony yesterday (21/1), UN Resident Coordinator for Nepal Valerie Julliand said that Nepal is among the 20 most disaster-prone countries in the world. “With recent disasters – the flooding of 2017 and the earthquake of 2015 – it is crucial for us to be prepared to provide humanitarian assistance to displaced populations and to build resilience for future disasters,” she noted. 

The 2015 earthquakes displaced approximately 2.8 million people. Some 117,700 people in the 14 worst-affected districts were forced to find shelter in makeshift camps. 2017 saw heavy rains resulting in flooding across 35 of Nepal’s 77 districts. Over 190,000 houses were destroyed or partially damaged, displacing tens of thousands of people and leaving many homeless.

“With the onset of any disaster or emergency, this earthquake-resistant centre will be used to provide shelter for displaced people, with priority given to the most vulnerable, including pregnant women, children, people with special needs and the elderly,” said IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Paul Norton.

“As a co-lead for camp coordination and camp management in humanitarian emergencies, IOM Nepal aims to contribute to the government’s efforts in disaster risk reduction and management. We are confident with this initiative at the local level that we will be able to help build the resilience of the community in Lalitpur Metropolitan City,” he added.

The centre will also serve as a venue for community activities, including women and youth groups, community-based training, recreational pursuits, adult literacy classes, information dissemination and income generating activities.

“This project is a symbol of friendship and cooperation between Thailand and Nepal. As we now celebrate the 60th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Thailand and Nepal, I would like to emphasize that Thailand will always stand by Nepal (to promote) closer bonds between the two countries and peoples,” said Royal Thai Embassy to Nepal Charge d’ Affaires Tanaphum Leelaporn.

The ground-breaking ceremony was also attended by senior officials from Nepal’s Home Ministry, Ministry of Urban Development, the District Office, UN, media, civil society organizations, students, youth and women’s groups, as well as the local community.

IOM plans to build similar multipurpose structures in seven other municipalities in earthquake-affected districts – Shankarapur, Kathmandu; Changunarayan, Bhaktapur; Gorkha Municipality, Gorkha; Neelkantha, Dhading; Gosainkunda Gaunpalika, Rasuwa; Chautara, Sindhupalchowk; and Bhimeswor, Dolakha. The project complements an ongoing UNDP project in the same areas.

For more information please contact Paul I. Norton at IOM Nepal, Tel: +977 1 4426250, Email: iomnepal@iom.int. Or the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC), Tel: +977 1 4211673, Email: info@moud.gov.np

Language English Posted: Tuesday, January 22, 2019 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: NepalThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Thai, IOM and UN officials join Lalitpur Metropolitan Mayor Chiribabu Maharjan at a ground-breaking ceremony for the evacuation centre. Photo: IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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