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Updated: 1 hour 26 min ago

Second Informal Thematic Consultation for the Global Compact on Migration Focused on Drivers of Migration

Wed, 05/24/2017 - 04:46

United States – The second informal thematic session entitled Addressing Drivers of Migration, including Adverse Effects of Climate Change, Natural Disasters and Human-made Crisis, through Protection and Assistance, Sustainable Development, Poverty Eradication, Conflict Prevention and Resolution took place on 22-23 May 2017 at United Nations Headquarters in New York.

It was the second in a series of six informal thematic consultations that will take place this year, feeding into the consultation phase of the Global Compact on Migration, the first intergovernmentally negotiated UN agreement to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

During the first panel on Monday, regarding sustainable development and poverty eradication, the UN Migration Agency’s (IOM) Director General William Lacy Swing emphasized the importance of Member States to “work towards policy and institutional coherence, in three concrete ways: 1) by establishing inter-ministerial coordination mechanisms; 2) empower subnational governments and partners as innovators that bring new and practical approaches to migration governance; and 3) ensure evidence-based policy making.” 

Other panels focused on human-made crises as drivers of migration and adverse effects of climate change and natural disasters as drivers of migration.

The Secretary-General of the Intergovernmental Conference, the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration (SRSG), Louise Arbour, noted that “when discussing the drivers of migration, we must remember our mandate which is to facilitate safe, orderly, and regular migration and not to discourage mobility altogether. Our principal goal rather, must be to try to understand what compels people to migrate through irregular channels and to seek to better regulate those.”

IOM co-organized a side event with the Together Campaign to interview consultation participants from Member States and civil society on the importance of diversity and combating xenophobia. IOM also took part in a side event hosted by the Mission of Belgium, Resilience to Climate Change: Small Islands, Migration and Adaptation.

IOM continues to support the intergovernmental process as it evolves, particularly in extending to Member States - together with the Office of the SRSG - the required technical and policy expertise. Encouraged by the inclusive nature of this process, IOM has designated Colin Rajah as its civil society liaison focal point to help facilitate the participation of civil society leaders during consultations for the Global Compact on Migration taking place around the world this year.

The third thematic consultation will take place during 19-20 June in Geneva on international cooperation and governance of migration.

For further information, please contact Lanna Walsh at IOM’s Office to the United Nations in New York, Tel: +1.212.681.7000, Ext. 263, Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, May 24, 2017 - 04:41Image: Region-Country: AmericaUnited States of AmericaThemes: Global Compact on MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Mariam Chazalnoel (far right), IOM Thematic Specialist on Climate Change, addresses a panel discussion at the Mission of Belgium to the United Nations. Photo: UN Migration Agency/Lanna Walsh

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ECHO Provides EUR 3 Million to UN Migration Agency’s Humanitarian Response in Iraq

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 10:51
Language English

Iraq - Displacement and return movements continue across Iraq, affecting nearly five million people. Funding for humanitarian operations is urgently needed, particularly with new displacement caused by the intensification of operations to retake Mosul.

Through a grant of EUR 3 million, the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) is funding the UN Migration Agency (IOM) to implement a fourth phase of its humanitarian response, supported by ECHO in Iraq, to assist conflict-affected populations. This phase will bring ECHO’s total contribution in Iraq, since 2014, to EUR 27 million.

The nine-month project will benefit more than 180,000 of the most vulnerable Iraqis, including populations of internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and host communities. The project will be implemented in coordination with community leaders, government authorities and humanitarian clusters. It will uphold ECHO’s integrated approach to humanitarian assistance and coordination through information sharing among ECHO partners.

The ECHO project involves direct assistance, such as the provision of seasonal core relief items to conflict-affected populations; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) services and shelter upgrades for critical shelter arrangements to protect displaced people in the hot summer and cold winter months; and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM).

The project will also support the production of Communication with Communities media campaigns, to provide conflict-affected families with essential information and facilitate two-way feedback mechanisms among beneficiaries, humanitarian actors and government authorities.

“This ECHO funding arrives at a critical time, when support is urgently needed to assist the newly displaced from Mosul and the millions of Iraqis who continue to be affected by the ongoing conflict,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission, Thomas Lothar Weiss.

“We thank ECHO for this generous support, which will address the need for shelter, household items, camp management support and essential information provision for thousands of vulnerable Iraqi families,” added Weiss.

Farhan fled his hometown of Ramadi when ISIL arrived in 2014. Together with his wife, four children and disabled brother Ahmad, they were displaced to Baghdad and lived in an unfinished building with four other families. The building’s condition was poor – it had no fence, the ceiling was leaking and its inhabitants were not protected from the elements.

Following an assessment, with support from the ECHO project, IOM’s CCCM team provided the families with core relief items, replaced the ceiling, provided a water filtering system, a wheelchair for Ahmad, and talked with the family about health issues, fire safety and garbage disposal.

“With these renovations, we feel and see a real difference,” Farhan said. “Despite our ordeal, we can smile again and we now know that many people in the world feel our suffering and can hear our voice, and that they can help. It is the first time I see my brother Ahmad happy.”

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) estimates that as of 15 May 2017 there were 3,065,000 internally displaced persons across all 18 governorates of Iraq due to the current crisis. Of these, more than 1,845,000 IDPs (60 per cent of Iraq’s total IDP population) live in the five governorates targeted by the ECHO project: Anbar, Baghdad, Kirkuk, Ninewa and Salah al-Din.

IOM has received only 33 per cent of the required USD 28,830,000 needed for the Mosul crisis response through June 2017, and 29 per cent of the USD 76,300,000 needed to address the funding gap for all Iraq-based response efforts through December 2017. This funding gap is impacting IOM’s ability to effectively provide for the needs created by the Mosul crisis.

IOM’s DTM actively monitors displacement across Iraq. The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement across Iraq are available at:

For further information, please contact IOM Iraq: Sandra Black, Tel. +964 751 234 2550, Email: or Hala Jaber, Tel. +964 751 740 1654, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 16:17Image: Region-Country: AsiaCambodiaDefault: Multimedia: 

Displaced families in Salah al-Din receive sealing-off kits from IOM and ECHO. Photo: IOM

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84 Stranded Migrants Returned from Yemen

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 10:50
Language English

Yemen - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) transported 84 stranded migrants from Al Hudaydah Port in Yemen to Djibouti on 21 May. Following a hiatus due to rough seas and security challenges, this was the first voluntary humanitarian return organized out of Yemen in two months.

Most were Ethiopian nationals. The group consisted of 29 unaccompanied migrant boys, seven women and 48 other vulnerable cases. Seven migrants had severe injuries; some were receiving medical care and temporary shelter from IOM in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital. As soon as they were well enough to travel, IOM transported the migrants by bus to Al Hudaydah earlier in the week. 

Most of these migrants had intended to transit Yemen to reach Saudi Arabia but found themselves trapped in Yemen’s conflict. Many had their basic human rights violated by migrant smugglers and other criminal gangs. IOM coordinated a trip by Yemeni immigration officials to Al Hudaydah, where they met the migrants and completed the Government's exit formalities.

After a full day's travel by boat, IOM Djibouti received the passengers, provided temporary shelter, and started arranging emergency travel documents through local embassies. The IOM Djibouti team also began coordinating the final part of the journey – starting with their flights to Ethiopia.

IOM staff in Addis Ababa are on standby to provide post-arrival assistance at the airport, particularly for the most vulnerable persons, who may need longer-term reintegration support.

“Yemen is a country that has been ravaged by conflict, has collapsed public services and is now battling a cholera outbreak,” said Laurent de Boeck, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission. “Many of the migrants being helped this weekend were stranded and suffering in Yemen for months. Some had been held in government detention due to their irregular immigration status. All of the migrants are anxious to return home safely,” de Boeck explained. 

Stranded migrants frequently reach out to IOM for immediate assistance, hoping for eventual safe passage home. Migrants who have been previously returned with IOM assistance tell their compatriots still stranded in Yemen to contact IOM for protection and assistance. 

This latest movement, brings to 515 the total number of migrants in 2017 IOM has helped leave Yemen by sea, sailing from Al Hudaydah to Djibouti, and then onwards to their countries of origin where applicable. These operations are made possible with funding from the Federal Republic of Germany Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the United States Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). Cooperation from the Governments of Yemen, Djibouti and Ethiopia has helped to make the operations a success.

For further information, please contact Mahamat Nour, IOM Al Hudaydah, Tel: +967 736 900 068, Email: or Saba Malme, IOM Sana’a, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 16:18Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastYemenDefault: Multimedia: 

Ethiopian migrants board a boat in Yemen bound for Djibouti. Photo: IOM

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IOM, Cambodian Businesses Work Together to Combat Human Trafficking and Slavery

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 10:50
Language English

Cambodia - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) has trained representatives from over 30 Cambodian manufacturing, hospitality and service companies to combat human trafficking and slavery in their businesses and supply chains.

The training in Phnom Penh on Monday (22/05) was part of a new regional IOM initiative – the Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) programme – and was open to companies belonging to the Cambodian Federation of Employers and Business Associations (CAMFEBA).

The training covered practical information for reducing the risk of human trafficking and slavery in both daily operations and supply chains. It also provided guidance for complying with new Cambodian and international anti-slavery legislation that holds companies responsible for the practices of their suppliers, as well as their own workplaces.

“The private sector has a key role to play in combatting human trafficking and slavery by ensuring that they recruit workers in a fair and ethical way,” said IOM Programme Manager Kristin Dadey.

“Increasingly, ethical companies are adopting ‘the employer pays’ mode for recruitment, in which employers cover the cost of recruiting new workers. This will help to protect workers from unscrupulous labour brokers and recruitment agents,” she noted. “IOM strongly believes that ethical business practices serve the interests of both companies and workers alike.”

Trafficking for forced labour remains a challenge for Cambodia, and IOM Cambodia is working with the Government and private sector partners to develop a comprehensive approach to combatting the problem.

This includes providing direct assistance to victims on their return home, often after traumatic experiences abroad. Most of the victims assisted by IOM Cambodia last year were men trafficked into the fishing, factory and construction sectors in Southeast Asia.  

CAMFEBA is an autonomous and independent federation of employers and business associations recognized and registered with the Ministry of Social Affairs, Labour, Vocational Training and Youth Rehabilitation of Cambodia. It is committed to ensuring that its members put workers first by complying with international labour and human rights standards.

For further information, please contact Kristin Dadey at IOM Cambodia, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 16:16Image: Region-Country: AsiaCambodiaDefault: Multimedia: 

Cambodian companies are working with IOM to promote ethical recruitment and combat trafficking. Photo: IOM

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Expansion of IOM Transit Center on Pakistan Border Increases Aid for Afghan Returnees

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 10:49
Language English

Afghanistan - Over 55,000 undocumented Afghans returned from Pakistan between 1 January and 18 May 2017. This is double the number of returns during the same period in 2016, the highest return year on record. The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is expecting nearly 600,000 undocumented Afghans to return from Pakistan and Iran by the end of 2017.

On 20 May, IOM reopened its Torkham Transit Centre for undocumented Afghan returnees from Pakistan, following major work to enlarge it. Torkham is in eastern Afghanistan’s Nangarhar province close to the summit of the Khyber Pass, the main artery linking the two countries.

Afghanistan’s fragile humanitarian situation and widening conflict in the country mean that undocumented returnees face unique challenges – both on arrival and when they try to reintegrate after as many as three decades abroad. Their priority needs include shelter, food, livelihood-sustaining activities, access to clean water and basic services including health care and education.

Laura Thompson, IOM Deputy Director General, opened the transit centre extension during a three-day mission to Afghanistan. During the visit, she also met with Abdullah Abdullah, Afghanistan’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO), the Minister of Refugees and Repatriation and Social Affairs, as well as other UN and donor partners.

Ambassador Thompson also launched the 2017–2018 edition of the Return of Qualified Afghans programme. A long-running Japanese-funded project launched in 2001, it has helped 586 skilled Afghans return from Iran to take part in 12-month job placements within government agencies.

“In the past two years, the lives of vulnerable Afghans have continued to become more and more precarious, with spiralling levels of conflict and growing pressure on local host communities as influxes of returnees and displaced people stretch their resiliency,” said Ambassador Thompson.

“IOM is committed to working in support of the Government and the people of Afghanistan across the migration spectrum, from the provision of immediate assistance for families at the point of entry, to seeking out longer term reintegration solutions at the community level,” she added.

IOM has been providing post-arrival humanitarian assistance to undocumented returnees from Pakistan at the Torkham border crossing since 2012. The Torkham Transit Centre is one of four IOM centres at border crossing points between Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran, where returnees can receive assistance in the form of household supplies, food, temporary accommodation, medical care and onward transport to their final destinations in Afghanistan.

IOM aims to provide 100 per cent of undocumented Afghan returnees from Pakistan with immediate humanitarian assistance linked to medium to longer-term, community-based reintegration solutions that address the entire spectrum of needs from the point of first arrival.

The expansion of the Torkham centre has doubled its accommodation capacity to accommodate 30 families or 210 individuals at any one time. Warehousing capacity has been expanded to allow IOM to stock 1,000 family assistance packages at the centre and the facility’s clinic has doubled in size.

Other improvements include the provision of more services for returnees through partners. These include the addition of child-friendly spaces organized by UNICEF, Mine Risk Awareness Education provided by UNMAS/DRC-DDG, and psychosocial and gender-specific support. 

“The scope and scale of the return is impossible for any single agency to address alone,” said Laurence Hart, IOM Chief of Mission and Special Envoy in Afghanistan.

“With hundreds of thousands of vulnerable people returning to Afghanistan, sometimes after decades away, IOM is working closely with the Government, the UN and NGO partners to ensure a comprehensive response. Transit centres where several agencies co-locate and provide specialized services are a good example of this approach,” said Hart.

Support for IOM’s post-arrival humanitarian assistance for returnees is provided by the Governments of Canada, the Czech Republic, Germany, Japan, Sweden, Norway and Switzerland, as well as the UN Central Emergency Fund and the European Union (ECHO). Reintegration funding is provided by the European Union’s DG DEVCO.

At the beginning of May, IOM issued an updated funding requirements document outlining the need for USD 52.8 million to assist 292,000 returnees from Pakistan and Iran through March 2018.

For further information, please contact Nasir Haidarzai at IOM Afghanistan. Tel. +93 794 199 542, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: AsiaAfghanistanDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson (center) inaugurates the expanded Torkham Transit Center. Photo: IOM

The UN Migration Agency (IOM) Deputy Director General Laura Thompson (center) inaugurates the expanded Torkham Transit Center. Photo: IOM

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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 549,135 in 2017; Deaths: 1,340

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 10:48
Language English

Switzerland - IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 59,135 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 21 May, with over 80 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 190,977 arrivals across the region through 21 May 2016.

Mediterranean Developments

IOM Rome reported that, through 21 May this year, 50,041 migrants or refugees have landed in Italy (See chart below).

IOM spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo reported Monday that over 4,000 migrants arrived in Italy since IOM’s report last Friday. On Monday, the Italian Coast Guard’s Diciotti ship brought to land the corpse of one Western African migrant. Survivors from one rescue operation reported that another migrant went missing at sea after falling from a dinghy.

Although not yet added to the Missing Migrants Project data base, IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported that on Monday, 22 May, the remains of two men were retrieved in Al Maya between Az Zawiyah and Janzour in the western part of Libya. The total number of bodies retrieved so far in 2017 is 226 and the total number of rescued migrants is 5,897.

On Saturday (20 May) 96 migrants – 82 men, 10 women and four children – were rescued at sea off Az Zawiyah. The migrants were of mixed nationalities including some from Bangladesh and several African countries. 

IOM Athens said yesterday (22 May) that Greek authorities reported new arrivals of 133 migrants and refugees between Thursday (18 May) and Sunday (21 May). Since 1 January, a total of 6,395 sea-borne arrivals of irregular migrants have reported at various Greek islands.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 1,933 fatalities through 17 May (see chart below) with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – about two thirds of the global total.

Since last week, MMP has recorded eight deaths in the Central Mediterranean (although six of these occurred on 16-17 May). Two others include one dead and one missing reported by IOM Rome from rescue missions last Friday (19 May). MMP also recorded the death of a migrant electrocuted on a train in Cannes.

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:
For further information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 16:14Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 
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IOM’s Data Analysis Centre Hosts Expert Workshop on Irregular Migration Data

Tue, 05/23/2017 - 10:47
Language English

Germany - The UN Migration Agency (IOM)’s Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) recently (19/05) hosted an expert workshop, Measuring Irregular Migration: Innovative Data Practices to discuss recent practices on collecting data on irregular migration. The workshop is part of a project aimed at strengthening data analysis in the context of irregular migration to Europe, and is funded by the UK Department of International Development (DFID).

The event represented a follow-up to a previous workshop held in Nuremberg (Germany) in 2016 focusing on the measurement of “safe migration”, also supported by DFID.

Participants included experts from academia, governments as well as international and non-governmental organizations involved in recent initiatives to improve data on undocumented migrants in various countries and on irregular migration movements, particularly in the European context.

The event also featured presentations on good practices from other regions, and a discussion of if and how these could be applied in Europe. Jeffrey Passel, Senior Demographer at the Pew Research Centre, a Washington-based “fact-tank,” delivered a keynote speech on Pew’s methodology to estimate numbers and characteristics of the unauthorized population in the US.  

The workshop represented a valuable opportunity to learn about existing tools to improve the knowledge base on irregular migration, including IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Flow Monitoring Surveys; the Mixed Migration Monitoring Mechanism Initiative (4Mi) of the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat; the network-based approach used by the Risk Analysis Unit of Frontex; and the social media monitoring initiative of the European Asylum Support Office (EASO).

Discussions also revolved around the specific risks and vulnerabilities of migrants travelling irregularly, and the access to basic services for undocumented migrants in countries of residence.

Experts participating in the event included Franck Düvell, Associate Professor at the Centre on Migration, Policy and Society (COMPAS), University of Oxford; Georges Lemaître, formerly at the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); Michelle Levoy, Director of the Platform for International Cooperation on Undocumented Migrants (PICUM); Philip Martin, Professor Emeritus at the University of California, Davis; Nando Sigona, Senior Lecturer at the University of Birmingham; and Dita Vogel, Senior Researcher at the University of Bremen.

Such discussions are particularly timely in light of current preparations for a Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to be adopted by signatories of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants next year.

“Migration targets in the Sustainable Development Goals imply the need to monitor whether migration is safe, orderly and regular and whether migrants are ‘left behind’,” said Frank Laczko, Head of IOM’s Data Analysis Centre. “The New York Declaration recognizes the importance of improved data collection, both on regular and irregular flows as well as on the needs of refugees and migrants. Assessing the extent to which migration is indeed becoming safer and more regular will require more and better data on irregular migration,” he added.

While data collection efforts have been particularly prominent in Europe in recent years, due to the relatively large increase in the numbers of migrants and asylum-seekers crossing the Mediterranean in 2015, irregular migration remains extremely hard to quantify for most regions of the world. Knowledge of the socio-economic profiles, needs and vulnerabilities of irregular migrants is extremely limited.

However, irregular migration is a global phenomenon, concerning richer and poorer countries alike. Participants agreed that looking at migratory movements occurring between countries in the Global South will be crucial in considering the linkages between migration and development.

Finally, discussions also concerned issues of presentation of irregular migration numbers and the political sensitivity of communicating about irregular migration. “As the international community discusses what should be included in the Global Compact on Migration, including what countries should prioritize in terms of data collection, it will be important to not only address the data needs but also how data on migration could be better presented and communicated,” concluded Laczko.

A workshop summary report will be released on the IOM GMDAC website soon.

For further information, please contact: Marzia Rango, IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, Tel: +49 (0)3027877824, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 23, 2017 - 16:13Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaGermanyDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants of the expert workshop on “Measuring Irregular Migration: Innovative Data Practices” conducted by IOM’s Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC). Photo: IOM

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IOM, UNICEF, Mozambique Host First Ever Forum to Fight Trafficking of People with Albinism in Southern Africa

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 10:26
Language English

Mozambique - Children living with albinism in Southern Africa face discrimination and abuse, often culminating in abduction, murder or human trafficking. The abuse is linked to the belief that body parts of persons with albinism could produce wealth and good luck when used in witchcraft potions.

A two-day regional forum on preventing and combating human trafficking and protecting people with albinism in Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania is currently underway in Pemba, northern Mozambique. The workshop, the first of its kind, was organized by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in partnership with UNICEF, the General Prosecutor of the Republic of Mozambique (PGR) and the Prosecutor of Cabo Delgado province.

Participants include representatives of Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania’s counter-trafficking coordination bodies, prosecutors, criminal investigation police, national human rights institutions, NGOs concerned with the protection of people with albinism and traditional healers. 

Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania share common borders and are either countries of origin or destination for the trafficking of people with albinism and their body parts. The forum will result in a plan of action on cross-border cooperation for the prevention and prosecution of human trafficking-related crimes and the protection of the rights of people with albinism, eventually resulting in more effective investigation and prosecution, as well as victim protection.

“UNICEF is supporting the Government to enhance civil registration by investing in the establishment and expansion of a digitalized system of birth registration to ensure the basic rights of every child to name, identity and nationality,” said Marcoluigi Corsi, UNICEF Representative in Mozambique.  

“This will in turn prevent and address disappearance of children, abandonment or assist in investigations when children with albinism are affected. Following new instances of kidnapping and killing of children and people with albinism in Mozambique, UNICEF launched in August 2015 a social media campaign called #TodosIguais to create awareness on this issue. The ongoing campaign has so far reached over five million people,” Corsi added.

“A regional approach like this that complements national efforts in Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania is the only way we will improve cross-border coordination and investigation to protect people with albinism,” said Katharina Schnoering, IOM Chief of Mission in Mozambique. “This regional approach to investigation, research and cooperation was recommended in a recent report by the UN independent expert who visited Mozambique in 2016,” added Schnoering.

IOM is working in partnership with the Governments to assist victims of trafficking and provide strengthened national counter-trafficking responses in Mozambique, Malawi and Tanzania.

UNICEF supports the strengthening of child-friendly justice systems through capacity-building support to the police, judiciary and public prosecution to enhance accountability for violence and crimes against children.

UNICEF also supports the strengthening of multi-sectoral case management systems to enable adequate channeling of cases of violence, harmful practices, including ritualistic killings or trafficking, child abandonment or any other risks that children face. UNICEF’s health and education programmes help increase access to health and education services, especially for the most vulnerable and marginalized children.

For further information, please contact: Chiara Frisone, IOM Regional Office for Southern Africa, Tel: +27 72664 8003, Email: Or Gabriel Pereira, UNICEF Mozambique, Tel: +258 82 316 5390, Email:

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 - 16:13Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastMozambiqueDefault: Multimedia: 

Children with Albinism are often abused in Southern Africa. Photo: Patricia Willocq

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UN Migration Agency Supports Thousands Displaced in Conflict-affected Eastern DR Congo

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 10:26
Language English

Democratic Republic of the Congo - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is responding to the urgent humanitarian needs of 27,193 displaced people in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s (DRC) eastern province of North Kivu, through funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (SIDA).

Through its rapid response mechanism, SIDA has provided 1.6 million SEK (USD 183,000) to IOM’s assistance programme for internally displaced persons in North Kivu, who had lacked adequate access to shelter, water and sanitation in IOM-managed displacement sites. 

“These funds have come at a time when most humanitarian actors have pulled out of many displacement sites in eastern DRC due to security and funding issues, leaving thousands of displaced people even more vulnerable,” said Boubacar Seybou, Head of IOM’s Office in Goma. “With SIDA funding, we were able to ensure that residents of displacement sites in North Kivu have better access to dignified shelter, safe and potable water as well as adequate sanitation facilities,” added Seybou.

For decades, the DRC has experienced conflict and instability, triggering mass displacements and abuses of human rights at the hands of warring factions against innocent civilian populations. By the end of April 2017, there were 3.7 million internally displaced persons in the DRC, making it the African country most affected by internal displacement. North Kivu remains the province with the most population movement. Unlike in other provinces, armed violence represents the sole cause of displacement.

Since the beginning of 2016, the deterioration of the political and security situation, the upsurge in inter-ethnic conflicts and the disengagement of several humanitarian actors has led to a significant decrease in emergency assistance to IDPs in displacement sites in North Kivu.

SIDA’s funding has been crucial to enable IOM to construct and rehabilitate basic water and sanitation infrastructure and provide 4,000 households with shelter kits. In the first three months of 2017, IOM constructed 324 latrines with hand wash stations, 120 showers and 35 rubbish pits in four targeted displacement sites.

“Before we felt like prisoners but after the arrival of IOM we have been freed,” said Sebakara Mukamusoni, one of the residents of the Muheto displacement site. “We can finally wash ourselves in the showers and, thanks to the construction of latrines, diarrhoea has diminished in our site,” Mukamusoni added.

In the Muheto site, IOM installed a new water system network, as the closest source of clean water was more than two kilometres away. IOM also provided community committees in the different sites with tools and basic training to maintain these water and sanitation infrastructures.

Over the next 12 months, IOM will continue to provide life-saving assistance and protection to vulnerable people in displacement sites in North Kivu, thanks to additional financing from SIDA of 10 million SEK (USD 1 million).

For further information, please contact: Chiara Frisone, IOM Regional Office for Southern Africa, Tel: +27 72664 8003, Email: Or Boubacar Seybou, IOM Goma, Tel: +243 812043425, Email:

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 - 16:14Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastDemocratic Republic of the CongoDefault: Multimedia: 

Displacement site in North Kivu, DRC

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Renewed Communal Violence in Northern Mali Leads to Spike in Displacement

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 10:26
Language English

Mali - A recent resurgence of communal violence and armed conflict in northern Mali has displaced thousands more people over the past few months.

This week, Mali’s Commission on Movement of Population (CMP) reported an increase of 14,223 internally displaced persons (IDPs) since February, bringing the total number of people uprooted by violence across the country to 58,985 individuals (10,248 households).

Most of the newly displaced people are clustered in the Timbuktu region due to recent violent conflict in the nearby commune of Gourma-Rharous. 

Nationally, the Timbuktu region continues to host the highest number of IDPs (22,328), followed by Segou (10,794) and Menaka (10,381). 

Several months ago, communal violence appeared to have abated, prompting the UN Migration Agency (IOM) to step up return and reintegration assistance for IDPs wishing to go home. At the time, IOM expressed hope that all displaced people could potentially return to their communities of origin by year’s end if there was no re-occurrence of conflict and there was sufficient humanitarian assistance to do so.

IOM says more financial support is necessary to assist vulnerable communities. It also renews its call to all groups in Mali to work toward stability and peace, avoid further displacement and do everything possible to enable displaced families to return home.

The IOM mission in Mali continues to work with the Government of Mali to provide up-to-date information on movements of IDPs and returnees as well as on the needs of the populations affected by conflict, as part of the country’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) programme.

IOM also continues its community stabilization work, including the rehabilitation of damaged houses in areas affected by conflict, delivery of core relief items, psychosocial and reintegration assistance, and income-generation and skills-building activities.

For further information, please contact: Aminta Dicko, IOM Mali. Tel: +223 90 50 00 07, Email:

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastMaliDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff monitors the population movements through Flow Monitoring Points located at entry and transit points of the main cities of Bamako, Mopti, Timbuktu and Gao. File Photo: IOM / Juliana Quintero

Evolution du nombre de PDIs

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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 54,715 in 2017; Deaths: 1,332

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 10:25
Language English

Switzerland - IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 54,715 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 17 May, with nearly 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 189,950 arrivals across the region through 17 May 2016.

IOM Rome reported that, through 17 May this year, 45,754 migrants or refugees have landed in Italy, and over 8,500 – or nearly one fifth of this year’s total – have arrived over the past two weeks. (See chart below.)

The mission added that 2,179 migrants were saved Thursday by rescue ships, including the NGO ships of MOAS, SOS Mediterranée, Sea-Eye and Proactiva Open Arms. Those rescued have not yet landed in Italy so are not included in this month’s total.
Although not yet added to the Missing Migrants Project data base, IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported Thursday that the remains of six migrants have been retrieved by Libyans since Tuesday. On 16 May, the remains of a female were retrieved in Sabratha by members of the local community. That same day, the remains of one man and one woman were retrieved in Az Zawyiah by the Libyan Red Crescent. Petré added that on Wednesday (17 May), two bodies were retrieved as well as one more victim discovered the day before (16 May). All three were found in Tripoli.
On Thursday 117 migrants were rescued (102 men, 11 women and four children) off Garaboli, east of Tripoli, and were taken to Abu Salim detention centre in Tripoli, Petré said. That brings the total number of those rescued off Libya this year to 5,445, while the count of dead migrants discovered in Libya is 224.
IOM Athens said this week Greek authorities have reported new arrivals of 167 migrants and refugees since Monday (15 May), more than half of those to the island of Chios. The IOM mission in Greece also released data received from the Hellenic Coast Guard regarding the nationalities of all sea-borne arrivals this year of irregular migrants sailing from Turkey (see chart below) through the end of April.

Of 5,137 migrant arrivals during the first four months of this year, just over half came from two countries: Syria (with 1,891 arrivals) and Iraq (706). Greek authorities reported over 345 arrivals from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the third most common nationality, more than Afghanistan (316), Pakistan (267) and Iran (132), each of which sent thousands of migrants along this route in both 2015 and 2016.
One surprise: citizens from countries as far away as Algeria (with 229 arrivals), Kuwait (170) and Cameroon (129) appear to be seeking passage to Europe via a corridor that previously saw migrants passing through mainly from countries – such as Mali, Nigeria, Ghana, Ethiopia and Eritrea – whose citizens appear now to have abandoned this route.
This suggests that although Syrians and Iraqis – especially from each country’s Kurdish population – continue to rely on nearby Turkey to escape violence in their homelands, many others are treating Turkey as a place to access a clandestine route they can reach via regular travel means. One aspect that has not changed: migrants leaving the Caribbean island shared by the Dominican Republic and Haiti continue to try to enter Europe from Turkey using the Eastern Mediterranean’s irregular routes. Through April, 45 citizens from the Dominican Republic arrived in Greece by sea, with another 10 coming from Haiti.
Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 1,924 fatalities through 17 May (see chart below) with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – about two thirds of the global total.

Besides over a dozen more victims missing in Mediterranean waters this past week, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project added one Haitian man drowned off the coast of Eleuthera Island, Bahamas, another victim drowned in the Rio Bravo and one missing person in the Gibraltar Strait, off the coast of Tangiers, Morocco.

Earlier this month (7 May), Missing Migrants Project noted that fatalities across the Americas surpassed 200 men, women and children – the earliest that total had been reached in the three years MMP has been recording such data. In 2016, the 200-deaths threshold was reached on May 30, and in 2015 not until July 31.

This year the deaths – almost entirely of US-bound migrants crossing Mexico by land or the Caribbean by sea – include citizens of the following countries: Haiti (70 dead), Honduras (16), Dominican Republic (12), El Salvador (5), Mexico (4), Guatemala (3), Brazil (2), Peru (2) and Nicaragua (1).
Missing Migrants Project researcher, Julia Black, based in Berlin, noted: “More drownings have taken place this year. For the period 1 January–17 May 2017, 124 migrants drowned in the Americas, compared to 30 drownings for the same period last year (and 54 drownings for the same period in 2015).”
She explained this is mainly due to three large incidents in the Caribbean (68 Haitians drowned off the shores of Turks and Caicos in January; 12 Dominicans drowned on their way to Puerto Rico in February and 8 more in April). She noted the number of drownings in the Rio Bravo (Rio Grande) between the US and Mexico also had doubled: 34 drownings from 1 January to 17 May 2017, compared to 17 drownings for the same period last year.
Meanwhile 2017 has witnessed fewer vehicle and train incidents. For the period 1 January–17 May 2017, 10 train incidents and 7 vehicle incidents led to the death of migrants. That compares with 18 train and 16 vehicle incidents for the same period last year.
IOM’s Black added: “Missing Migrants Project data represent only a minimum estimate of deaths during migration each year. It is very likely that the real number of migrant deaths and disappearances is higher than what is reflected by these figures. Data collection in Latin America and the Caribbean relies largely on media reports, which are often incomplete and frequently do not specify the migratory status or nationality of the deceased.”
Remains of 88 “unknown” nationals have been recorded – or 43 per cent of the America’s total thus far in 2017. That proportion compares with 33 per cent of last year’s total, when the nationalities of 249 victims – from a total of 720 fatalities – went undetermined. Thanks to forensic autopsies and DNA matches, many “unknown” victims later were identified, so this percentage tends to diminish over time.
One recent example: 28-year-old María Dolores Borja Cabrera, whose remains were discovered on a ranch in Brooks County, Texas, in late May 2013. The Ecuadorian, whose remains were only identified last October, left behind a 10-year-old daughter.
For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:

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

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For further information please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 - 16:12Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Helps Stranded Migrants Return to Bangladesh from Libya

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 10:22
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Bangladesh - On Wednesday (17 May), the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) helped 43 Bangladeshi migrant workers to return home from Libya.

The returnees were detained by the Libyan authorities for not having valid travel documents, work permits or visas. The return assistance, under IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, was funded by the European Union and facilitated by the Bangladeshi Embassy in Tripoli, the Libyan Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM), and IOM missions in Tripoli and Dhaka.

Most of the migrants had, prior to their detention, spent time in Tripoli working on construction sites or for janitorial companies.

The 43 returnees bring the total number of Bangladeshis returned from Libya under IOM’s AVRR programme to 165 this year.

Thirty-nine of the group were working in the Libyan capital, Tripoli. When their employers pulled out of the country, their work permits and visas expired. Without the means to leave Libya, they were arrested as irregular migrants and detained. The remaining four migrants became undocumented when their passports expired. Following their arrest, they spent up to six months in detention.

Aged between 18 and 59, the AVRR beneficiaries come from the districts of Bagerhat, Barguna, Barisal, Bogra, Brahmanbaria, Chandpur, Comilla, Cox's Bazar, Dhaka, Faridpur, Feni, Gazipur, Gopalganj, Habiganj, Jessore, Khulna, Kishoreganj, Kushtia, Madaripur, Manikganj, Meherpur, Moulvibazar, Munshiganj, Mymensingh, Naogaon, Narail, Narayanganj, Narsigdi, Netrokona, Noakhali, Pabna, Patuakhali, Rajbari, Rangpur, Shariatpur, Sirajganj, Sylhet and Tangail.

Ruhul Amin Khan, 45, from Madaripur district, returned to Bangladesh from Libya in March with 27 other Bangladeshi migrants. He later described his experiences at an IOM counselling session.

“I came back (to Bangladesh) after nine months, penniless, jobless and up to my eyeballs in debt. I’m now afraid for my life. My broker is after me for the money that his associates tried to extort from me in Libya,” he said.

“IOM’s assisted voluntary return and reintegration programmes allow migrants to return home with dignity after often long spells in detention and to start rebuilding their lives. We place a lot of emphasis on their economic reintegration when they return to minimize the likelihood that they will try to migrate again, perhaps under even more dangerous circumstances, in order to pay off their often considerable debts,” said IOM Bangladesh Chief of Mission and Special Envoy to India and Bhutan, Sarat Dash.

Under the AVRR programme, IOM Bangladesh receives returnees at the airport, organizes their onward travel to their final destination, and agrees and monitors a reintegration plan with returnees identified as vulnerable. In 2017, 84 of the 165 returnees from Libya have received IOM reintegration assistance.

For more information, please contact Shirin Akhter at IOM Bangladesh, Tel. + 880 1711 187 499, Email:, Tel. + 880 1711 187 499. Or Othman Belbeisi at IOM Libya, Tel. +216 29 600 389, Email:

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 - 16:11Image: Region-Country: AsiaBangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

Bangladeshi migrants arriving in Dhaka from Libya on March 8th 2017. Photo: IOM / Nasimul Ibrahim

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Migrants’ Needs Often Overlooked in Times of Crisis: IOM

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 10:22
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South Africa - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) says migrants too often fall through the cracks during emergencies and has called for better planning and coordination to ensure targeted assistance for migrants before, during and after crises.

The issue was the focus of a two-day, IOM-sponsored conference and training this week in Pretoria, South Africa that brought together disaster risk reduction, civil protection and emergency management representatives from Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) member states as well as aid groups and emergency specialists.

“Protecting and assisting migrants caught in crisis is our collective responsibility,” said Bogdan Danila, Emergency and Post-Crisis Specialist with IOM’s Regional Office for Southern Africa. Speaking at the conference, she said, “We must join efforts to respond to crises impacting migrants to save lives, increase their protection, decrease their vulnerability and improve targeted assistance.”

The SADC region is experiencing a food insecurity crisis and other devastating effects of drought and flooding brought on by a two-year-long El Niño event. Additionally, in March 2107, Madagascar was hit by a tropical cyclone that left more than 110,000 people displaced, while severe flooding led to the displacement of thousands of people in Mozambique and Malawi in 2015. In addition to natural disasters, the region has experienced man-made crises, including a spate of attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa.

Participants at this week’s Pretoria conference discussed practical approaches to addressing migrant needs in preparedness, response and recovery work. They reviewed the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative and its guidelines, which are a multi-stakeholder effort aimed at protecting migrants who are in countries experiencing conflict or natural disaster.

“Since hazards such as floods and drought often affect several SADC countries simultaneously, it is necessary that we coordinate our preparedness and response to the needs of migrants in crisis,” Clement Herbert Kalonga, Senior Disaster Risk Reduction Programme Officer with the SADC Secretariat, told the gathering. “There is need for combined efforts at global, regional and national levels to systematically address the growing threats and risks migrants face.”

IOM is currently rolling out training such as the one in Pretoria aimed at stakeholders involved in emergency preparedness and response. The training is based on materials and methodologies developed under the MICIC Initiative and in collaboration with government counterparts.

The workshop was funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). 

For further information, please contact: Chiara Frisone, IOM Pretoria Tel: +27 7266 48003; Email:  

For further information on the MICIC Guidelines and capacity building tools, please contact the MICIC team at IOM, Tel: +41 22 7179322, Email:

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 - 16:10Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth AfricaDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants work in groups to review the correct terminology to use when speaking about migrants in crisis during the Regional Workshop on Integrating Migrants in Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: IOM

Participants at the Regional Workshop on Integrating Migrants in Emergency Preparedness, Response and Recovery in Pretoria, South Africa. Photo: IOM

Categories: PBN

Solar Powered Data Systems to Bolster Border Management in Nigeria

Fri, 05/19/2017 - 10:22
Language English

Nigeria - Until 2016, Nigeria’s land and sea borders had been without data systems commonly used for inspecting travel documents, conducting automated security checks, and tracking movements in and out of the country.

The UN Migration Agency (IOM), working in close cooperation with the Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS), is providing its border data system MIDAS (Migration Information and Data Analysis System), with accompanying solar power systems, to address these issues.

Throughout May, with the support of the Government of Japan, IOM is training approximately 50 NIS officers from across the country under the project, Enhancing Land Border Control in Nigeria.

Training will continue in June at each of four border posts where MIDAS will be installed: Calabar Sea Port, Kongolum, Maigateri and Oron Sea Port. IOM specialists from Nigeria, Geneva and Dakar are supporting the training, alongside experienced co-trainers from NIS.

IOM initiated MIDAS in Nigeria in 2016 with support from the European Union.

MIDAS enables immigration officers to collect, process and store information from travellers electronically – including biometric data. This will bring the total number of Nigeria land and sea borders covered to nine, plus the NIS headquarters and three State Commands. Further expansion of MIDAS is planned for the near future. 

The accompanying solar power systems are substantial and should last 12 years with no major servicing. Each has a carbon offset equal to two cars being taken off the road for one year or planting 600 trees, and will play an increasingly important role in the “greening” of Nigerian Government operations.

Mohammed Babandede, Comptroller General of the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), lauded the expansion of MIDAS equipment and training. “This training will broaden the horizon of [our] officers in facilitating regular migration and enhancing their effectiveness at border management,” he said at the first training in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital, last week.

“This initiative will help normalize border procedures in Nigeria, and supports NIS in ensuring well-documented and orderly migration into and out of the country, toward the goals of better facilitation of regional migration, better protection of migrants’ rights, and improved border security. At the same time, the solar power systems make an important contribution to carbon offset in government operations,” said Charles Harns, who runs the border management project at IOM Nigeria.

For further information, please contact IOM Abuja, Ikechukwu Hillarion Attah, Tel: +234 701 1824 415, Email: or Charles Harns, Email:

Posted: Friday, May 19, 2017 - 16:09Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastNigeriaDefault: Multimedia: 

Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) officers at the first day of the Training of Trainers session. Photo: IOM

Categories: PBN

Diversity is Destiny! We Make our Future and Diversity Makes Us

Thu, 05/18/2017 - 06:55
Language English

Switzerland - Cultural diversity is the driving force of modern life, has a crucial role in development and underpins the wealth of nations. We will celebrate it this week by observing World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development.

The International Organization for Migration, the United Nations Migration Agency, considers human mobility a mega-trend of our time. We believe migration provides the quickest means for our world to manage human ambition and human resources and direct both to where they can do the most good.

Migration relieves poverty in places where jobs are scarce, just as it speeds economic growth and spurs greater efficiency in places where an aging workforce needs a jolt of youth.

Naturally, since we support the positive impact of migration, we must support the diversity that such migration brings.

It is sometimes asked whether the West’s multiculturalism, its diversity, has reached its limits? Can a society only cope with so much diversity? The answer is no. There has never been a city or a country brought down by too much “diversity.”

The majority of free people living in free societies—liberal democracies if you will—have concluded that embracing openness and “multi” ethnic inclusion is the best way to create strong, creative and prosperous societies. And experience bears this out.

Consider the United States. It has largely been built by migrants from all over the world. Take almost any country with a flourishing society and you will find an important migrant contribution.

For example, it was Huguenot refugees who launched the watch-making industry in Switzerland and it was a Lebanese migrant, Nicolas Hayek who gave the Swatch to the world. Flemish migrants launched the British weaving industry.  

From Alexandria more than 2000 years ago, to Istanbul in the 13th Century and London or New York today we have examples of cities that were built on and thrive on diversity. 

 The bottom line is that today no single state lives within the framework of a single, acknowledged “culture.” Even states averse to permitting entry to more “foreigners “must acknowledge the multiple “cultures” within their own borders. All countries have them: religious, ethnic, social, societal, sexual, occupational, educational, dietary specificities.

Now does diversity present challenges? Yes it does, but then again the answer to the challenges is not to seek to erase the differences but to work out how to develop understandings, values and perspectives can be common property. 

At IOM we take this challenge seriously. Our commitment is demonstrated in media campaigns such as “i am a migrant,” which is a pillar of the UN’s TOGETHER initiative to promote respect, safety and dignity for everyone who has left home in search of a better life.

TOGETHER, created at the September 2016 UN Summit on migration, has a primary goal of bringing together all existing campaigns and actions promoting diversity and fighting xenophobia.

Through “i am a migrant” IOM collects stories from all over the world from migrants telling us about their lives and journey to a better future for themselves and for the societies in which they live and work. The campaign highlights migrants’ positive role in both countries of destination and origin. And it gives a human voice to migration one piece of diversity at a time.

This is the diversity that we celebrate on May 21 with World Day for Cultural Diversity for Dialogue and Development. Let’s celebrate together, and welcome the migrants arriving in our cities, the villagers who come to make us great and keep our future always in sight.

Posted: Thursday, May 18, 2017 - 12:52Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Director General’s Message on International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia

Wed, 05/17/2017 - 05:22
Language English

Switzerland - Every person experiences migration differently. Gender identity and sexual orientation can have an impact on a migrant’s journey – unfortunately, often in a negative and even dangerous way.

In 2017, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex (LGBTI) individuals still face an alarming number of human rights abuses, including exclusion, discrimination, harassment, public outing, prosecution, corrective rape, damaging medical treatments, torture and murder.

Seventy-five States still have laws criminalizing same sex activities, with punishments as extreme as death. In these communities, discrimination is often deeply entrenched. This can be a factor in why someone migrates or becomes displaced and it can pose serious risks while a person is in transit or once arrived at their destination.

Equality and freedom from discrimination are fundamental human rights that belong to all people, regardless of sexual orientation, gender identity or because they are intersex.

Today, the International Day against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia, acts as a reminder of the violence and discrimination experienced by LGBTI people around the world. The UN Migration Agency (IOM) reaffirms its commitment to LGBTI migrants and staff members. Together, we strive to be an equal and inclusive organization and workplace for all.

Two of IOM’s fundamental principles are ‘equality’ and ‘non-discrimination’. These principles apply both to our staff and to the migrants we serve.

IOM has a zero tolerance policy for any type of homophobia, transphobia or biphobia and does not tolerate any abuses against migrants and host communities receiving assistance or protection from IOM. We are working to create safe spaces for LGBTI beneficiaries through protection, tailored assistance and staff training. 

IOM also has the same zero tolerance for similar abuses against LGBTI colleagues within the Organization. We understand that some of our IOM LGBTI colleagues face challenges in the workplace. As an international organization, IOM continues to develop new policies and procedures to support diversity and inclusion.

Through our work, IOM is an organization that embraces and celebrates diversity. Let me emphasize, once again, that we are committed to treating all beneficiaries and staff members with respect, regardless of their sex, gender, sexual orientation or gender identity. 

IOM is an LGBTI ally with zero tolerance for all discrimination.

William Lacy Swing
Director General
UN Migration Agency (IOM)

Posted: Wednesday, May 17, 2017 - 11:19Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

Why does IOM celebrate IDAHOT? Read more here

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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 53,912 in 2017; Deaths: 1,316

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:38
Language English

Switzerland - IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 53,912 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 14 May, with nearly 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with last year’s 189,075 arrivals across the region through 14 May 2016.

IOM Rome reported that, through 14 May this year, 45,118 migrants or refugees have arrived in Italy, or nearly 1,000 men, women and children per day, a pace considerably ahead of both May 2015 and 2016. (See chart below).

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reports that on 11 May, IOM helped 258 stranded migrants – 233 men and 25 women, including four unaccompanied children and a baby girl – return home to Nigeria from Libya.
The UN Migration Agency reported 256 of the migrants, who were detained in Gharyan Al Hamra detention centre, spent their pre-departure night at Tripoli’s Trig al Seka detention centre before traveling to Nigeria the next day. The remaining two migrants previously lived in urban areas.

Arrangements for the charter flight, which departed Tripoli’s Mitiga airport and arrived in Lagos the same evening, were coordinated by Libyan authorities, the Embassy of Nigeria and colleagues at IOM Nigeria.
In addition, IOM provided pre-departure interviews, medical check-ups and facilitated exit visas for all the passengers who further received non-food items, clothes and shoes.

This latest Nigeria charter flight is part of IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration assistance funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

So far in 2017, IOM Libya has helped 3,392 stranded migrants return to their countries of origin. Of these, 613 were eligible for reintegration assistance. IOM Athens reported on Monday (15 May) that total sea arrivals to Greece through 14 May stand at 6,095 – an increase of over 500 in the past week. While that total is small compared to last year’s total at this same time (155,790), this week’s number indicates that the pace of 2017 arrivals from Turkey is beginning to pick up.

Greek authorities reported no new arrivals on Saturday (13 May) but rescued 105 on Thursday (11 May), 153 on Friday (12 May) and 203 on Sunday (14 May). The islands of Chios, with 221 arrivals during the past week, saw the most number of migrants or refugees landing.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 1,905 fatalities through 14 May (see chart below) with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – about two thirds of the global total.

During this past week, Missing Migrants Project recorded as new deaths the bodies of seven African migrants retrieved from crafts rescued by sea patrols this past weekend in Mediterranean waters between Libya and Italy. MMP also recorded the death in a train accident of a Central American migrant discovered near railroad tracks outside Choapas, in the Mexico state of Veracruz. Choapas has been the site of several violent deaths of migrants in recent years and has a reputation as the spot where kidnapping gangs ambush migrants as they journey north towards the US-Mexico border.

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:
For further information please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Kelly Namia at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 16:08Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

China Backs UN Migration Agency’s Work in Somalia

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:35
Language English

China - William Lacy Swing, Director General of the United Nations Migration Agency (IOM) signed an agreement yesterday (15 May) with China’s Ministry of Commerce for USD 1 million of multi-sector assistance, that will support IOM efforts to help internally displaced persons, vulnerable communities and returnees in Somalia.

Ambassador Swing, who was in Beijing on 14-15 May to take part in the Belt and Road Forum for International Cooperation, warmly welcomed the contribution – China’s first to IOM’s humanitarian work since it became the 165th member of IOM in June 2016.

“This contribution towards IOM’s humanitarian programmes is another milestone in bilateral relations between IOM and China,” Ambassador Swing told guests at the signing of the agreement, which was hosted by the Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce, Yu Jianhua. “It shows China's commitment to international cooperation that improves the lives and well-being of vulnerable migrants and displaced people worldwide.”

The IOM project, which will reach over 15,000 people, will support the UN and the Government of Somalia-backed 2017 Somalia Humanitarian Response Plan. It will also provide lifesaving aid to vulnerable populations in areas affected by the ongoing drought and displacement.

The Belt and Road Forum, which was attended by representatives from over 100 countries, was the largest meeting to date to promote the colossal Belt and Road Initiative‎ (BRI). China has committed USD 124 billion to the scheme.

Ambassador Swing, speaking at an event on the theme of Trade and Sustainable Development, described labour migration as an essential element in co-building the ‘Belt and Road Community’.

“Facilitation of movement of capital, goods and services has been of enormous benefit to the global community,” he noted. “However, the missing piece of the globalization network, freer flow of people, still holds the promise of even greater prosperity. We must encourage visionary initiatives like the BRI.”‎

For further information, please contact Pär Liljert at IOM China, Tel. + 86 13466385492. Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 16:09Image: Region-Country: AsiaChinaDefault: Multimedia: 

In November 2016, rains failed for the third year in a row forcing Somalia into a devastating drought resulting in over 600,000 people being displaced within the country. Photo: IOM / Muse Mohammed

IOM Director General William Lacy Swing and Chinese Vice Minister of Commerce Yu Jianhua sign the funding agreement. Photo: IOM

Categories: PBN

Conflict-Displaced Ukrainians Surviving on Just USD 2.50 Per Day: IOM

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:35
Language English

Ukraine - Two-thirds of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine have barely enough funds to buy food, according to the UN Migration Agency (IOM)’s latest report: National Monitoring System on Situation of IDPs in Ukraine*. 

On average, income per IDP in Ukraine is 1,991 Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH) or USD 75 per month, or approximately USD 2.50 per day. But some are even worse off, with 21 per cent surviving on less than two dollars a day. The average price of a loaf of bread in Ukraine is USD 0.40.

As of April, Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy has registered 1,583 million IDPs since 2014. Since the beginning of the crisis in Ukraine, IOM has provided support to some 138,000 conflict-affected people. Its current focus lies in providing income opportunities for IDPs and conflict-affected populations, and facilitating social cohesion, recovery and peacebuilding. 

There are a few positive notes in IOM’s new survey. The level of IDPs being employed has slightly increased from 35 per cent in March 2016, when the first IOM survey was conducted, to 42 per cent currently. However, employment levels remain quite low compared to the situation before displacement: approximately one third of IDPs who had a job before the conflict still cannot find a new one.

Other problematic issues are living conditions and payment for rent and utilities. Two thirds of IDPs live in rented housing, while one fifth are staying with relatives or with hosting families. Only one per cent in the government-controlled part of Ukraine lives in housing they own. 

The survey shows great uncertainty about the future. A quarter of IDPs say they will never move back to their places of origin. Thirty-nine per cent would like to return when the conflict is over. Another 17 per cent said that they may consider returning in the future. 

“Lack of support in finding relevant solutions for IDPs and returnees hinders their integration and creates dependencies on government and aid organizations,” said IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission, Manfred Profazi. “With the National Monitoring System, IOM aims to assist the Government in improving its knowledge about the situation and the needs of IDPs. We want to highlight emerging trends so that the Government can better develop evidence-based policies to address IDPs’ needs.” 

At the joint presentation of the survey in Kyiv, Deputy Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs, Heorhii Tuka, stressed the importance of data collection and IOM’s expertise in shaping strategy and planning practical steps to support the well-being and integration of IDPs. 

* IOM has been regularly conducting surveys about IDPs in Ukraine since March 2016. In this round, covering March–April 2017, 1,025 IDPs were interviewed face-to-face, and 3,312 IDPs registered by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine across the country were interviewed by phone. 

For further information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 5015, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 16:07Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaUkraineDefault: Multimedia: 

Half of IDP households in Ukraine are families with children. Photo: IOM / V.Shuvayev

Categories: PBN

Rapid Response Fund Supports Conflict-affected Sudanese in Central Darfur

Tue, 05/16/2017 - 10:35
Language English

Sudan - A Rapid Response Fund (RRF) grant of USD 250,000 has been awarded to Triangle Génération Humanitaire (TGH) to provide core relief items to approximately 1,500 vulnerable Sudanese families.

Due to camp closure and relocation, these families had recently been returned from Chadian refugee camps to the Um Dukhun locality in Central Darfur State. The RRF is an emergency funding mechanism of the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, a unit within the USAID Organization (USAID/OFDA).  The Fund is managed by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and is designed to respond to the life-saving needs of newly displaced people.

Due to repeated displacement, starting in March 2014 to Um Dukhun town and then continuing across the border into Chad, these displaced families have lost almost all their possessions, such as cooking pots and jerry cans to hold water.

Many now live in makeshift shelters, constructed from deteriorated plastic sheeting and wooden sticks, which do not provide any protection from the rain and the cold. Others who have not been able to find plastic sheeting are sharing overcrowded shelters with relatives, with an average of seven to ten people sharing one small shelter designed to hold a maximum of five people.

The rainy season is expected to start soon in the Um Dukhun locality. IOM recognized the urgency to respond to the critical needs of these displaced families who, to date, received little or no assistance. 

Without support, many will have to sleep outdoors and the risk of ill health from malaria, colds, skin diseases and other ailments will be particularly high for vulnerable people, such as single parents, children under the age of five, the elderly and those who are already suffering from illness or disability. This RRF allocation will provide 1,491 families with emergency relief items, such as jerry cans, cooking sets, blankets, sleeping mats and plastic sheeting.

The population receiving assistance arrived in Central Darfur between December 2016 and February 2017 and is particularly vulnerable due to repeated displacement. A recent assessment carried out by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) teams (December 2016–January 2017) revealed a high percentage of single female-headed households, unaccompanied minors and elderly people.

The RRF has been managed by IOM since 2013. To date, it has distributed over USD 3 million of assistance to more than 1.1 million vulnerable individuals through the provision of emergency water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) amenities, and health, shelter, core relief items distribution and protective interventions.

For further information, please contact Riad Marrow at IOM Sudan, Tel: +249 9224 06616, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, May 16, 2017 - 16:06Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSudanDefault: Multimedia: 

Rapid response fund supports conflict-affected Sudanese in Central Darfur. Photo: IOM

Categories: PBN