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Updated: 2 hours 3 min ago

International Donors Visit UN Migration Agency Sites in Libya, Niger

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:56

Tripoli/Niamey – Yesterday (15/03), international donors completed a visit to witness activities carried out by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in Libya and Niger. A total of 17 Government donors from European countries and the United States participated in the visit to these two important countries on the Central Mediterranean migration route.

In Libya, donors visited detention centres where IOM distributes humanitarian aid and provides support for the improvement of living conditions, while also providing protection assistance and offering voluntary humanitarian return support.

IOM advocates for alternatives to detention and for the reopening of IOM's shelter for vulnerable migrants, which closed in 2011. Donors also visited Tripoli’s main port where they met with the Libyan Coast Guard and saw efforts related to a rescue operation, including IOM-supported primary health check-ups and protection screenings.

The donor group also held consultations with the Mixed Migration Working Group, which is comprised of UN agencies and NGOs and is co-led by IOM and UNHCR, the Refugee Agency. It aims to ensure effective coordination of protection and assistance to migrants and refugees in Libya, including in detention centres, in urban areas, along the mixed migration routes from southern to northern Libya, and in rescue-at sea-situations.

In Niger, the donor group visited IOM’s migrant transit centres and participated in focus group discussions with migrants who recounted their ordeals while journeying to Libya or Algeria. The delegation also visited one of IOM’s reintegration projects, a kindergarten managed by a Nigerien returnee from Belgium, in Niger’s capital, Niamey.

The delegation met with Government officials, traditional authorities, the UN Country Team and agencies, and other diplomatic representatives during the three-day visit, throughout which an ongoing discussion took place about scaling up the reintegration of migrants.

IOM has six transit centres in Niger where migrants have access to various services, including basic assistance and support for obtaining identity documents. The centres are open and the accommodation is voluntary. All migrants arriving at the centres are registered, profiled and informed of their rights by IOM staff. Their stay in the centres is usually short (one to two weeks), enabling migrants to make their return plans, communicate with their families and secure travel documents and transport tickets to their community of origin.

More than 7,000 migrants last year voluntarily returned to their countries of origin with help from IOM’s mission in Niger. This February, IOM Niger assisted more than 1,300 migrants to return home.

Despite a drastic reduction in the number of irregular migrant arrivals in Italy – the per-day average dropped from 2,142 in 2015 to 163 in 2018 – over the past four years, the Mediterranean remains one of the deadliest migration corridors in the world. The dangers of this perilous journey start long before Libya.

In the first quarter of 2018, IOM has helped around 4,000 migrants – the same ones languishing in detention centres, typically survivors of harrowing voyages at sea – return home to more than two dozen countries. That is in addition to the 19,370 men, women and children IOM flew safely home from Libya last year.

IOM’s main priority in Libya and for the Central Mediterranean route is saving lives.

A recent statement from William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General, called for six urgent and concrete actions to better protect migrants on the route: end the arbitrary detention of migrants; improve registration to help better determine the size of the vulnerable population and what their needs are; support Libyans, as migrants are not the only ones affected by the security situation in Libya; help the Libyan authorities develop their migration management structures; prosecute smugglers and traffickers; and, most importantly, create more safe and legal pathways for people to migrate safely to Europe. Read more here.

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon, IOM HQ at Tel: +41794035365, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:38Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

International donors meet with migrants in Niger. Photo: IOM

International donors meet with migrants in Niger. Photo: IOM

International donors meet with migrants in Niger. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Drought Response Coordination Improves in Four Federal Member States in Somalia

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:55

Mogadishu - Four Federal Member States of Galmudug, Jubaland, Hirshabelle, and South West State in Somalia have improved their drought and emergency response coordination as a result of support provided by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The ongoing drought affecting Somalia has led to the displacement of some one million people within the last 12 months, bringing the total number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the Federal Member States to over two million.

The majority of IDPs live in collective sites or with host communities in urban areas, often facing harsh conditions with limited access to basic services, precarious physical security, and increased exposure to gender-based violence (GBV). A Drought Impact Needs Assessment—carried out by the Federal Government in 2017, with the support of the UN, World Bank and EU, found USD 1.7 billion in recovery needs across Somalia as a result of drought. Municipal support for displaced persons is one of the sectors with the highest level of needs.

Under a year-long project, IOM and UNDP provided technical support and expertise to regional government-led Drought Response Committees, district administrations and other disaster management institutions in the four Federal Member States, improving the information flow and enhancing cooperation between Federal Government and each State on drought and emergency response.
The support provided includes the appointment of eight Somali experts on drought coordination, early recovery and information management to each State, as well as data collection.

Ridwaan Abdi, Director of the National Humanitarian Coordination Center (NHCC) of the Federal Ministry for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management, thanked IOM and UNDP for supporting greater coordination and information sharing among Federal Member States, and between the Member States and the Federal Government.

“Such local capacity investments are highly appreciated,” Abdi added. “Considering the current alarming humanitarian situation in the country and the need for good coordination and information, the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs & Disaster Management (MoHADM) supports the continuation of this project and would also like to see teams of experts utilized more in Federal Member State Line Ministries.”  

Representatives attending the event from Galmadug, Jubaland, Hirshabelle and South West State also underscored the important achievement of bringing key stakeholders together in the same room, and reiterated the need for further collaboration to find long term solutions to drought response.

Jennifer Pro, IOM Somalia’s Drought Response Coordinator, explained: “This project has been instrumental in strengthening coordination gaps and identifying potential areas of support, as well as facilitating discussions on early recovery and longer-term resilience building. IOM is committed to supporting the Federal Government and Member States in better responding to the immediate and long term needs of drought and emergency affected populations.” 

Abdul Qadir, UNDP Somalia Climate Resilience Portfolio Manager, said climate change and drought response is a vital issue for Somalia, explaining “Different studies show that this particular region will be 3.2 centigrade hotter by 2080, and one of the best ways to adapt to climatic events is through joint initiatives like this one.”

“UNDP will continue to partner with our government counterparts and other UN agencies to strengthen disaster coordination and information management systems in Somalia at both Federal and State levels,” Qadir added.

IOM and UNDP work to support the Government of Somalia and the Member States in building long term resilience and response to cyclical drought and emergencies, through water infrastructure, climate adaption, disaster management, durable solutions and life-saving humanitarian response projects across the country.

For more information please contact Yuko Tomita, Programme Support Coordinator, IOM Somalia:  Email:, or Keelin FitzGerald, Communications Specialist, UNDP Somalia. Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:36Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Representatives from four Federal Member States of Galmudug, Jubaland, Hirshabelle, and South West State in Somalia attended the briefing session. Photo: Tomita Yuko / IOM 2017

Representatives from the Federal Government of Somalia thanked IOM and UNDP for supporting greater coordination and information sharing in Federal Member States, and between the Member States and the Federal Government. Photo: UNDP Somalia 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Japan Supports IOM Efforts to Prevent Gender-Based Violence in Somalia

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:52

Mogadishu – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, with support from the Government of Japan has completed the distribution of 150 solar lanterns to survivors of sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) in Galkayo, a district in the north-central Mudug region of Somalia, and Mogadishu, Somalia’s capital city.

According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), there are over two million internally displaced persons (IDPs) throughout Somalia. As a result of both protracted and acute displacement, women and girls may be more exposed to protection risks including gender-based violence (GBV), combined with a potential dearth of health and social support services.

With support from the Government of Japan, IOM is coordinating GBV prevention and response efforts, with a focus on raising awareness and providing survivors with comprehensive psychosocial support, medical referrals and legal aid, where feasible. Last September, IOM trained staff from non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Mogadishu to build their capacity in GBV case management and GBV information management systems (GBVIMS).

In early February 2018, IOM Somalia hosted a Psychological First Aid (PFA) training of Trainers (ToT) and a GBV Mainstreaming ToT in Dolow, Gedo in collaboration with the GBV working group. Facilitated by a Mental Health and Psychosocial Support Specialist (MHPSS), the training aimed to build a multi-sectoral capacity among implementing partners from the Health, DTM, WASH and CCCM sectors on concepts around GBV, risks, the role of humanitarian actors from various sectors in prevention and mitigation and to build the capacity of field workers in crisis situations.

PFA provides humane, supportive and practical assistance for people who are distressed, in ways that respect their dignity, culture and abilities.

This week in Galkayo, female-headed households and 18 GBV survivors in Sawade, Bulo and Afarta Tanngi IDP sites received 75 solar lanterns. In Mogadishu, GBV survivors, people with disabilities and newly displaced female-headed households in Dagahweyne IDP site received the remaining 75 lanterns.

Fadumo*, one of the recipients of a solar lantern at the Gadahweyne IDP settlement, said with a smile: “I am happy to have received the lights; it will go far to supporting my family and allow me to do my chores easily at night. With the solar lantern I will have more time to study at night and early in the morning after prayers; this has brightened our nights and we are hoping for more opportunities to brighten our lives.”

To date IOM has distributed over 7,508 solar lanterns to drought-affected communities across Somalia since 2013, prioritizing female- and child-headed households.

* Name changed to protect her identity

For more information please contact the Programme Support Unit at IOM Somalia, Tel: +254715990600, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Gender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

In Galkayo, female headed households and 18 GBV survivors in Sawade, Bulo and Afarta Tanngi IDP sites received 75 solar lanterns. Photo: Jama Hassen Abdille / IOM 

In Galkayo, female headed households and 18 GBV survivors in Sawade, Bulo and Afarta Tanngi IDP sites received 75 solar lanterns. Photo: Jama Hassen Abdille / IOM 

In Mogadishu, GBV survivors, people with disabilities and newly displaced female headed households in Dagahweyne IDP site received 75 lanterns. Photo: Ayan Mohamoud  / IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 1,000 Mexican Judicial Officers Trained to Improve Prosecution of Human Traffickers

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:52

Mexico City – This week (14/03), IOM Mexico concluded a training project which saw some 1,050 Mexican judicial officials trained, over a two-year period, on how to improve prosecution of human traffickers. In total, 35 capacity building sessions were held in 29 of the country’s 32 states.

Of the total participants, more than 50 per cent were high-level judicial officers – judges and magistrates – while the remainder were legal aides. Overall, there was a slightly higher attendance of women throughout the trainings.
When the project was initiated in 2015, Mexico’s conviction rate for trafficking in persons (TIP) cases was 13.16 per cent, with 204 convictions out of the 1,550 cases investigated from 2009 to 2014 (US Department of State’s 2015 TIP Report).

IOM Mexico carried out an in-depth assessment of jurisprudence to identify where the paradigmatic challenges rested and at what level of the prosecution process management obstacles in trafficking cases could be found. This report became the basis for the 35 training sessions delivered around the country over the last two years.

Trainings focused on basic aspects of TIP, international and national legal frameworks as well as the clear definitions of differences between TIP and other crimes. In this regard, the trainings centered on the correct identification of victims of trafficking while guaranteeing victims' protection throughout the investigation process.

A preliminary analysis of attained results shows that the training sessions were effective in terms of increasing knowledge among judicial authorities in Mexico. While pre-test approval rates reached 37 per cent, post-tests rose to 75 per cent. Furthermore, the large majority of attendees’ comments mentioned that the sessions were extremely useful.

These training sessions stand as a component of a larger project funded by the United States Department of State to monitor and combat trafficking in persons and involved the Commission of Higher Courts of Mexico (CONATRIB). The project is centered on strengthening the capacities of Mexican authorities to prevent, detect, identify, and prosecute cases of trafficking in persons guided by a human rights and gender perspective.

The Counter-Trafficking, Child Migration and Gender Unit of IOM Mexico continues to work with Mexican authorities, the private sector and civil society in order to strengthen detection, identification, and attention of victims of TIP in Mexico. As part of these efforts, IOM Mexico has promoted the development of Standard Operating Procedures in several states, as well as specific Trafficking in Persons Protocols for the Ministry of Labor and the National Institute for Migration.

For further information, please contact Rogelio Quintero at IOM Mexico, Email:, Tel: +52 1 55 55363922; or Cesia Chavarria, Email:, Tel: +55 5536 3922.

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: MexicoThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Mexican judicial officers attending a training session in Quintana Roo state. Photo: IOM Mexico. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Strathmore University Launch Solar Water Training

Fri, 03/16/2018 - 09:49

Nairobi – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has partnered with Strathmore University in Kenya to start a Solar Water Pumping course, launched on 13 March.

The course is part of the IOM-led Global Solar and Water Initiative (GLOSWI), supported by the European Union, and will be incorporated into the Strathmore Energy Research Center curriculum. Training courses will run several times each year. Other project partners include Oxfam and the Norwegian Refugee Council.

The effort is aimed at building capacity among humanitarian engineers, government specialists, private sector actors and consultants working in the fields of water supply and clean energy.

“Our partnership with Strathmore University is unique in nature and will serve as a model for sharing solar water innovations with future engineering practitioners,” said IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa Jeffrey Labovitz. “We are now at a time where clean and affordable energy can increase access to water in places where in the past, access involved walking long distances.”

Across many rural communities and poor urban centers in East and Horn of Africa, millions of people suffer from a dearth of access to clean and safe water. They are often forced to trek miles to get water from streams for domestic and livestock consumption.

This initiative has already trained many water and energy specialists from various humanitarian agencies and UN bodies in East and Horn of Africa, in a bid to make the water supply more sustainable, ecological and cost-efficient in both humanitarian and development settings. Many of those trained are providing services to local communities and within settlements for refugees and internally displaced persons. 

The use of clean energy in water projects is growing exponentially in East Africa, with hundreds of millions of US dollars invested every year.

“East Africa offers huge untapped potential for providing affordable and clean water to communities who need it most,” said Jérôme Burlot, Water and Sanitation expert for EU Humanitarian Aid in East Africa. “By training more water experts, we can spread the knowledge and skills to exploit this potential.”

The course will help the trainees with hands-on training, while fostering further dialogue on best practices for effective solar water pumping in East Africa. Solar water pumping focuses on solar technology, fluid dynamics, pump mechanics, hydrology and irrigation.

Potential applications of this course include small-scale irrigation, potable water supply for institutions, community-scale water supply schemes and livestock water supply.

For more information please contact Kenneth Odiwuor, Tel: +254 722 560363, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 16, 2018 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: Capacity BuildingHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Stranded Migrants, Refugees Return Home from War-torn Yemen: IOM

Thu, 03/15/2018 - 05:56
Language English

Yemen – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, continues to help stranded migrants in Yemen return home, with the latest of its humanitarian return movements taking place this week (12/03) – one from Al Hudaydah for 41 Ethiopian migrants and a Croatian migrant and the other from Aden for 144 Somali refugees.

Since March 2015, the conflict in Yemen has greatly affected both Yemenis and migrants and the closure of most of Yemen’s ports is preventing migrants from returning home on their own. Through its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme, IOM is providing transportation and return support from Yemen to the migrants’ final destinations in their home countries.

The journey for 36 Ethiopian migrants stuck in Sana’a started last Saturday (10/03), when IOM transported them by bus to the port of Al Hudaydah. There they joined a further five Ethiopian migrants, who were staying at IOM’s Migrant Response Point (MRP).

IOM’s MRP provides shelter, food, medical assistance and other humanitarian support for stranded migrants. Following exit formalities, a total of 42 migrants (41 Ethiopians and one Croatian) boarded the ship and departed from Al Hudaydah Port for Obock, Djibouti. On arrival, they were met by IOM staff, who assisted with their onward travel to Ethiopia.

On the same day (12/03), IOM in coordination with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, helped 144 Somalis refugees depart Aden to return home. This group were assisted through the Assisted Spontaneous Return programme (ASR) for Somali refugees in Yemen, which is carried out in close collaboration with the Yemeni Authority, Somali National Commission for Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons (NCRI) and the Somali Consulate.

“Every month, around 10,000 migrants enter Yemen. Usually their hope is to reach the Gulf countries but they often become targets of the conflict, seldom making it to their destinations,” said Khan Aseel, Officer in Charge of IOM’s Hudaydah sub-office.

“After being misled by smugglers, they are left stranded and destitute in Yemen, while also at risk of further abuse by smugglers, as well as the effects of the ongoing conflict. Migrants face a variety of dangers, from death due to starvation and dehydration during the journey to exploitation and abuse like abduction, forced labour, sexual abuse, torture and threats once in country,” said Aseel.

“After facing desperate circumstances, it is extremely important that a safe route home is available to them.  Often migrants can be overlooked during such a crisis as Yemen, but IOM is committed to providing a way for them to get home,” added Aseel.

So far in 2018, IOM has helped nearly 660 stranded migrants return home from Yemen, while in 2017, 2,860 were assisted.

IOM’s 2018 return movements from Yemen are currently funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the German Government and the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

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

Posted: Thursday, March 15, 2018 - 12:54Image: Region-Country: YemenDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Voluntary Humanitarian Returns from Libya Continue as Reintegration Efforts Step Up

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:04

Brussels, Geneva, Tripoli, Dakar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, announced today (13/03) that it has assisted 10,171 migrants to return home safely from Libya with support from the European Union, African Union, and the Libyan Government since the scale up of Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) from the country started on 28 November last year. Another 5,200 migrants have returned with the support of African Union member states in the same period. Some 23,302 migrants have returned through IOM’s VHR programme since January 2017. 

“We are continuing to assist migrants inside Libyan detention centres, while increasing efforts to reach stranded migrants outside of detention,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya Chief of Mission.

“Since the expansion of our VHR operation, the number of migrants in official detention centres have dropped from an estimated 20,000 people in October 2017 to 4,000 people today, a five-fold decrease. IOM in Libya is also working with the authorities to register migrants, provide lifesaving assistance in the form of health care and essential aid items, psychosocial support, improve consular services and projects promoting community stabilization,” said Belbeisi.

Nearly half of voluntary humanitarian returns carried out by IOM from Libya are part of a larger EU-IOM initiative to protect and assist migrants in need not only in Libya but in 26 countries along the Central Mediterranean Route. This includes crucial support for reintegration of returnees in countries of origin.

Launched in December 2016, with additional funding from Germany and Italy through the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration is active in Libya and countries in North Africa, the Sahel and Lake Chad region, and the Horn of Africa. 

Together with its partners, IOM has been scaling up activities in countries of origin to meet the surge in returns from Libya and ensure that returning migrants receive appropriate assistance upon arrival as well as longer-term support to adjust to life and re-establish themselves in their communities.  Reintegration assistance is also available through the programme for those assisted to return from European Union member states.

IOM Regional Director for the EU, Eugenio Ambrosi, said that the huge protection needs and the scale of returns in the last few months under the VHR operation have overtaken initial planning and pose some additional challenges for countries of origin.  He cautioned that the reintegration process is complex and requires time. 

“We are embarking on a completely new approach to reintegration and we believe in it. It will take some time to build, and in cooperation with authorities in countries of origin and the local communities, we are already seeing promising developments,” said Ambrosi.  

“The Joint Initiative, in partnership with the governments of countries of origin and the African Union, aims to make sure that the migration process is safer, and that returning migrants can get back to their countries of origin safely and re-establish their lives without the feeling that they are a burden for their communities and families,” said IOM Regional Director for West Africa, Richard Danziger. 

He cautioned, however, that many returnees from Libya are traumatized after having suffered unspeakable abuses, and so their immediate medical and psychosocial needs have taken priority.

The new, integrated approach to reintegration combines support for returning migrants and their home communities. It aims to mitigate possible tensions at home for returnees by involving local communities in the reintegration process and raising awareness to address potential stigma of return. For this reason, capacity building, systems strengthening, social, psychosocial, and community-based aspects are being built into the programme.

Monitoring and evaluation of reintegration activities are also part of the programme’s approach to measure impact and identify good practices to build on.


Under Joint Initiative activities starting from May 2017, 23,500 migrants have received immediate post-arrival and reception assistance after voluntarily returning home from Libya and other countries.

Approximately 16,000 migrants have been assisted with general reintegration support such as referrals and counselling sessions, with options for trainings and job fairs in the pipeline.

Over 5,000 people have received additional reintegration support, including help for individuals to set up a small business with groups of returnees or in partnership with their community.  Their projects can be participatory and community-based projects, as well as collective and individual initiatives.


IOM believes that this innovative approach also has the potential to complement local development, particularly in how it is designed to respond to the socio-economic priorities identified by local authorities, migrants and their communities.

“The initiatives we are undertaking with the EU and our African partners represent a new chapter in migration cooperation. It is the first time that substantial funding has been invested to support the priorities and capacity of partner countries to manage return and reintegration and to make migration itself a safer and informed process,” said Ambrosi.


"I am not ashamed to be back home. People can talk and say what they want. I am now back in my country and have found a job,” said Gaspard, who had left Côte d’Ivoire in search of work.  After a terrible experience in Libya, he decided to return home with help from IOM through the Joint initiative programme.  See the stories of more returnees here.


Background Information

While the VHR programme is not new and IOM has been supporting migrants to return since 2006, the scale-up was launched on November 28th, 2017 when the African Union, European Union and the United Nations came together at the AU-EU Summit in Abidjan to respond to reports of slavery and migrant abuse in Libya.

A tripartite AU-EU-UN taskforce was established with the objective of saving and protecting lives of migrants and refugees along the routes and, in particular, inside Libya, as well as to accelerate the assisted voluntary returns to countries of origin and the resettlement of those in need of international protection for a period of six months (ending 30th May 2018).

The immediate focus of the Task Force was the voluntary repatriation, within six weeks, of at least 15,000 migrants identified in Government-controlled detention centers through the European Union Trust Fund. The joint work of the task force has been instrumental in addressing a number of challenges faced in the evacuation of migrants including: timely issuance of exit visas, granting landing rights to non-Libyan airlines and provision of documentation/consular services for migrants to enable their return. 

The EU Trust Fund is backing the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based, development-focused, and return and sustainable reintegration policies and processes.

For more information please contact Olivia Headon in Geneva, Tel:  +41 794 035 365, Email:; Ryan Schroeder in Brussels Tel: 32 2 287 7116, Email:; or Florence Kim in Dakar, Tel: +221 78 620 6213, Email:   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:56Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

Thousands of detained migrants have been returned home from Libya © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, FAO to Support Agricultural Livelihoods, Forestry on Bangladesh-Myanmar Border

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:03

Cox’s Bazar – When a poor, rural farming community finds itself in the middle of the fastest-growing refugee crisis in the world – doubling its population in just a few months – it’s not just the new arrivals who need support as food prices soar and infrastructure is overloaded.

Now a farming initiative, backed by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and IOM, the UN Migration Agency and funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), is bringing new opportunities and improving nutrition for families living on the Bangladesh-Myanmar border.

“I used to plough my land with a spade. This will make it much easier,” said Ayesha Begum, trying out the controls of a new mechanical power tiller. “I can grow more produce and sell some at market and use some myself. It will bring a little profit, but if people can buy things from me at a good price and live better, that will make me happy,” added the 35-year-old small-scale farmer.

Ayesha’s machine is one of dozens being given to 24 community agricultural associations in the Teknaf and Ukhiya sub-districts of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, as part of a USD 3 million programme to support agricultural livelihoods and forestry in the area.

As well as power tillers, farmers involved in the project are receiving seeds to produce high-nutrient vegetables, such as spinach and amaranth. They are also receiving high-efficiency water pumps and organic fertilizer to reduce exposure to harmful chemicals. Through the programme, 500 local farming families will be supported to improve their livelihoods and provide nutritious food to the Rohingya refugee community, where people are largely reliant on food rations and malnutrition is rife.

In the past six months, almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees have fled violence in Myanmar. Since the influx began, local residents in the Cox’s Bazar area have struggled with significant challenges from overstretched infrastructure to major hikes in food prices. In August last year, bitter gourds cost around 30 Bangladesh taka (BDT) or USD 0.36 per kilogram and are now around BDT 50 (USD 0.60), according to local residents.

Vast swathes of formerly protected forest have been cleared as Rohingya refugees sought land on which to put up shelters and cut firewood for cooking. What was once home to plants and wildlife, including endangered Asian elephants, is now a makeshift city built on barren slopes. Locals, who formerly relied on the forests for additional food and income sources, can no longer do so.

“Not just agriculture, but education, health, and community infrastructure… are under tremendous pressure because of the influx,” said Mohammad Abul Kalam, Commissioner of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commission in Cox’s Bazar. “Thanks to IOM and FAO, this [project] is aimed at compensating some of the losses suffered by farmers in Ukhiya and Teknaf,” he added.

“The initiative has three main aims: to provide high quality, nutritious food; increase income for local farmers; and improve the quality of life for everyone in this area. This is part of a five-year project with the agriculture and forestry departments, which will also include regeneration of the local forest,” said to Peter Agnew, FAO’s Emergency Response Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

“The goal is to enable local farmers to produce enough nutritious fruit and vegetables to be able to allow the World Food Programme to reduce its reliance on bringing food in from outside the region to feed the refugees,” said Agnew.

“The host community here in Cox’s Bazar has extended a very generous welcome to the refugees in their time of need. However, there is no doubt that the sudden and rapid arrival of almost 700,000 people in the past six months have added further pressure on the local population and infrastructure,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

“Supporting host communities with projects such as this bring multiple benefits and forge positive interactions between them and the refugees. It allows local farmers to improve their livelihoods while developing sustainable ways to meet the vital nutritional needs of the refugee population,” he added.

Innovative local farmers such as Ayesha are already foreseeing additional benefits. She runs a small grocery store at her farm. “When people come to my store I think they will be interested in organic products. I will teach them about it,” said Ayesha.

She is also quick to dismiss gender stereotypes about women’s roles in agriculture: “No-one is born knowing things. We all just have to learn them when we’re growing up and it makes no difference if you’re male or female.”

For more information, please contact Manuel Pereira, IOM Bangladesh, Tel: +8801885946996, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:50Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

Farmer Ayesha Begum tries out a mechanical power tiller near Cox’s Bazar  ©IOM/Fiona MacGregor

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Receives USD 30.5 Million from Japan for Humanitarian Support

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:03
Language English

Tokyo – The Government of Japan has donated USD 30.5 million to support IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in its 2018 operations – assisting vulnerable migrants such as displaced persons, refugees, returnees and affected communities, in the midst of various conflicts and crises continuing around the world.  With this donation, Japan will also support increasing the capacity of various governments in their humanitarian border management efforts.

Almost half of the contribution (USD 14 million) has been allocated to support IOM programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa, including in Sudan, the Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania, Mali, Sierra Leone, Djibouti, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Democratic Republic of the Congo and Lesotho.

In Asia, the Japanese funding will be used to respond to the Rohingya crisis in Bangladesh, and will be put towards the provision of shelter, health assistance, and alternative fuels so as to preserve the forestry surrounding refugee sites. It will also assist vulnerable Afghan returnees from Iran with life-saving post-arrival humanitarian assistance, and fund the returns of skilled nationals from Iran.

The Government of Japan has provided substantial funding for IOM activities in the Middle East and North Africa, specifically in Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon and Syria. Specific portions of the funding were designated for the regional response to the Syrian crisis, assistance to internally displaced persons in Iraq and improved border management in Libya.

In Ukraine, the Japanese funding will support IOM’s efforts to enhance social cohesion amongst selected communities in the conflict affected Donbas region.

The Government of Japan remains a strong partner of IOM. Its generous support has helped strengthen the organization’s humanitarian, transition, recovery, and peace building programmes, including through the delivery of immediate lifesaving relief; community stabilization and early recovery activities; emergency return and reintegration assistance for migrants caught in crises.

For more information, please contact Yuko Goto at IOM Tokyo, Tel: + 81 3 3595 0108, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:49Image: Region-Country: JapanDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 11,636 in 2018; Deaths Reach 462

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:02
Language English

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 11,636 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first ten weeks of 2018, with just under 48 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece (29%) Spain (23%) and Cyprus (less than 1%). This compares with 20,151 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Monday that over the weekend Italian and international ships patrolling waters between Libya and Italy rescued 373 migrants in five separate operations. The majority of those rescued are Western African nationals.  On Monday they arrived in Italy: 93 taken to Pozzallo by the NGO OpenArms, while 274 reached Augusta on board the ship Aquarius (NGO SOS Mediterranée).

Among these survivors were a 14-year-old Libyan boy suffering from leukaemia. He arrived with an older brother and cousin, 23 and 31 years old, after the three embarked in the hopes of receiving treatment for his illness.

According to information IOM staff collected at the landing point, the three young men managed to leave Libya a few days ago using a small dinghy, loaded with petrol cans. After six hours at sea the ship of the NGO OpenArms sighted their vessel. When they approached the boat, rescuers found the child traveling with an IV attached to his arm.

The three were then transferred onto the Aquarius and, upon arriving at Augusta, they received immediate assistance.

Di Giacomo added that, according to Ministry of Interior figures, 5,566 irregular migrants have arrived by sea to Italy this year: or barely one third the figure at this time last year, when 15,843 migrant men, women and children were brought to Italy after being rescued in the waters north of Africa. Through 11 March Italy arrivals are averaging fewer than 80 persons per day (see chart below).

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported Monday that deaths on the Central Mediterranean route – 462 as of March 11 – were down some 14 per cent below their total at this same time in 2017, when 536 migrants had been counted as drowned or missing in the waters between North Africa and Italy.

Although authorities reported no new deaths at sea since an incident on 3 March, the Missing Migrants Project added 20 new victims to the Central Mediterranean route’s mortality lists after receiving information from Libya on Maritime Rescues and fatalities recorded through the end of February.

Over the course of last month, IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported a total of 34 bodies had been retrieved from Libya’s coastal beaches, while 375 migrants had been rescued or intercepted at sea during that time.

IOM Libya's Ms. Petré also reported Monday 21 migrants (all men) were returned to Libyan shores by the Libyan Coast Guard after having embarked from Sabratha on a small rubber boat. These migrants were returned to Abu Sitta, near Tripoli. The migrants received first aid plus medical consultations from IOM staff at the disembarkation point; first aid also was provided to five migrants suffering from mild petrol burns, mild skin infections, musculoskeletal pain and headaches.
As the sole humanitarian actor at the site, IOM also provided food before the migrants were transferred to Tajoura detention centre. One minor (a 16 year-old male) was identified among the group. IOM is following up on necessary protection measures. No emergency cases were reported; no bodies were retrieved.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia on Monday said that over four days ending 10 March, the Hellenic Coast Guard reported at least four incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the island of Lesvos and Samos. The Coast Guard rescued 175 migrants and transferred them to those islands.

An additional 226 arrivals during those days to the islands of Kos, Samos, Rhodes and Lesvos brings the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory through 10 March to 3,374 (see chart below) – an average of around 48 persons per day.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that total arrivals by sea in 2018 have reached 2,659 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 11 March.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 733 migrant fatalities in 2018, compared with 1,044 through 11 March last year (see chart below).

Most recently, two people lost their lives on the US/Mexico border. On 11 March, one migrant drowned when crossing the Río Bravo from Coahuila to Texas. His body was retrieved by Mexican civil protection authorities near El Saucito. On the same day, US Border Patrol agents found the remains of a migrant in Sunland Park, near the Santa Teresa port of entry in New Mexico.

In the first ten weeks of 2018, at least 48 migrants have died while crossing the US/Mexico border, compared to 81 recorded at this same date last year. Border fatality statistics usually are not completed until the end of a calendar month, when forensics officials in US border counties in Texas and Arizona release their data. This year’s March total, then, is expected to rise.

MMP data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:48Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Joint Statement: Coercion of Children to Obtain Fingerprints and Facial Images is Never Acceptable

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:02
Language English

Brussels - IOM, together with other UN agencies and NGOs issued yesterday (12/03) a joint statement raising concerns ahead of the EU institutions' negotiations on 27 March on the EURODAC Regulation.

The statement warns that the proposed system would inappropriately allow the use of coercion to take the fingerprints and facial images of children.

Established in 2003, the EURODAC Regulation establishes an EU asylum fingerprint database. When someone applies for asylum, no matter where they are in the EU, their fingerprints are transmitted to the EURODAC central system. The proposed changes to the system aim to expand the current database of asylum applicants to better identify “irregularly staying third country nationals” using biometric data.

The joint statement stresses that coercion of children in any manner or form in the context of migration related procedures violates children’s rights, which EU Member States are committed to respect and uphold.

IOM and its partners urge the Council of the European Union, the European Parliament and the European Commission to exempt all children, no matter their age, from all forms of coercion in the EURODAC Regulation, in full compliance with the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Read the joint statement.

For more information please contact Melissa Julian, IOM RO Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 7133, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:46Image: Region-Country: BelgiumDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Central, North American Countries Work on Joint Strategy Against Migrant Smuggling with IOM, UNODC support

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:01
Language English

San Jose – Sixty representatives from the 11 Member States of the Regional Conference on Migration (RCM) will gather in San Jose, Costa Rica, Tuesday 13 March to promote medium and long-term joint strategic policies and actions to tackle the multi-billion illegal industry of migrant smuggling.

The UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) estimates that two of the principal smuggling routes – leading from East, North and West Africa to Europe and from South America to North America – generate about USD 6.75 billion a year for migrant smugglers. These criminals get rich while subjecting migrants to dangers including robbery, sexual abuse, human trafficking, kidnapping, forced recruitment by drug cartels, and even death due to inhumane conditions along the smuggling route.

The regional workshop starts today and aims to develop, a counter-smuggling regional work plan for the first time, to strengthen regional coordination, set common regional goals regarding the fight against migrant smuggling – including protection of the most vulnerable migrants – and enable the development of standardized operating procedures.

In 2016 IOM, the UN Migration Agency, developed and submitted a set of recommendations for strengthening the regional strategy against the smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons to the RCM. The establishment of a regional counter-smuggling action plan was one of the recommendations.

“While it is indisputable that each country in the region has made remarkable progress – regarding intelligence processes and promoting cooperation through the implementation of various regional efforts – common regional objectives and actions must be implemented in the medium term to be strengthened and framed within a regional strategy,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

The Costa Rican General Director of Migration, Gisela Yockchen, said that “only with a clear political commitment and a regional approach will we be able to find solutions that promote safe and regular migration. This work plan will strengthen a common approach from our governments to combat the networks linked to organized crime and the smuggling of migrants.”

The workshop will be attended by prosecutors working on crimes associated with migrant smuggling, as well as immigration and police officers, from Belize, Canada, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama and the United States.

This meeting is organized by the RCM (also known as the Puebla Process), a multilateral mechanism for coordinating policies and actions relating to migration in the 11 member states. The event is supported by the IOM Mesoamerica Program, funded by the US Department of State, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, as well as the Anti-Crime Capacity Building Program of the Government of Canada.

For more information please contact Patricia Ugalde at IOM Costa Rica, Tel. +506 22125300, Email:

Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:44Image: Region-Country: Costa RicaDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Debate on Climate Change and Migration at International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:01

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, will join a high-level panel on 14 March during the International Film Festival and Forum on Human Rights in Geneva (FIFDH), Switzerland. The panel titled “Climate Refugees”: Drop the Quotation Marks! will focus on the impact of climate change on population movements around the world. The event is co-presented by the Philanthropia Foundation and the Platform on Disaster Displacement.

Jill Helke, IOM Director of International Cooperation and Partnerships, will speak at the panel. She will highlight the impact of sudden disasters on population movement, while also shedding light on the effects of drought and other slow-onset events and processes. According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), more than 475,000 people have been internally displaced in Ethiopia, over 1.2 million in Somalia and more than 14,000 in Madagascar between November 2016 and November 2017 due to drought, yet slow-onset events receive less media exposure than sudden disasters.

Joining Helke will be Robin Bronen, Executive Director, Alaska Institute for Justice; Ambassador Nazhat Shameem Khan, Permanent Representative of the Republic of Fiji to the United Nations in Geneva; and Major General ANM Muniruzzaman, Chairman of the Global Military Advisory Council on Climate Change (GMACCC) and former Military Advisor to the President of Bangladesh. The panel will be moderated by Xavier Colin, Founder of GEOPOLITIS on RTS and associate fellow at the Geneva Center for Security Policy (GCSP).

The debate will follow the screening of the documentary The Age of Consequences, a film by Jared P. Scott. The movie examines the impact of climate change on the scarcity of resources and threats to human and state security, while bringing in the migration implications as well.

However, IOM experts stress that these phenomena do not automatically result in insecurity and violence.

“Where displacement and migration do occur, promoting development in both departure and destination areas, improving conditions in host communities and ensuring migrants are integrated can avoid tensions and ensure human security,” says Dina Ionesco, IOM Head of Migration, Environment and Climate Change ahead of the screening.

IOM has been addressing the links between migration, environment and climate change for more than 25 years on all fronts. Since 1998, IOM has implemented over 1,000 projects related to human mobility, disasters and climate change, and released in 2017 the first Atlas of Environmental Migration.

The FIFDH is the leading international event dedicated to film and human rights. For the past 15 years, the festival has taken place in the heart of Geneva, the human rights capital, parallel to the annual main session of the UN Human Rights Council in March.

Learn more at: and

For more information, please contact:
Dina Ionesco, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179481 Email:
Jorge Galindo, IOM HQ, Tel: +41227179205, Email:
Chirine El Labbane, Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), Tel: +41 79 542 18 09, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:42Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia: 

Somali child displaced by drought. ©

The FIFDH is the leading international event dedicated to film and human rights. ©

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ecuador Hosts Regional Seminar on Human Mobility in Latin America

Tue, 03/13/2018 - 10:01

Quito – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the Vice Ministry of Human Mobility of Ecuador, the Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences of Ecuador (FLACSO in Spanish) and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (COSUDE in Spanish), last week (6-8/03) held a Regional Seminar on Human Mobility in Latin America in Quito, Ecuador.

The seminar aimed to discuss the challenges of current migration contexts and new migration policies in Ecuador and the region at large.

Thirty-six representatives from academia, governments, UN agencies, international organizations and civil society groups attended the event. The participants presented their perspectives on three topics: the regional view of migration flows and migration policies; human mobility and its plurality; and the challenge of diversity for migration policies.

Ecuador’s Vice Minister of Human Mobility, Ambassador José Luis Jácome, emphasized the importance of participating in the Global Compact for Migration and Refugees from an inclusion, equality and rights-based perspective. The Global Compact for Migration will be the first, intergovernmental negotiated agreement, prepared under the auspices of the United Nations, to cover all dimensions of international migration in a holistic and comprehensive manner.

Jácome also urged attendees to reflect on the subject from a personal and human perspective. "We have all moved around the world, people in human mobility are [just like] us," said Jácome.

"This meeting is important to recognize the challenges faced by migrants and try to value all the positive contributions of migration," said IOM Regional Migration Analyst and Researcher Vanina Modolo.

The seminar served as a space to share experiences on circular mobility, trafficking in persons, migrant smuggling, and the challenges that migrants and refugees face in the region. In addition, it allowed for the exchange of topics related to the economic and cultural inclusion of migrants by laying the foundations for inclusive migration policies.

The seminar ended with a discussion about gender, ethnicity and youth in the migration process which, within the framework of the International Women's Day celebrations, showcased the work of migrant women in a context of abuse prevention and protection of rights.

For more information please contact Carolina Celi at IOM Ecuador, Tel: +593 23 934400, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 13, 2018 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: EcuadorDefault: Multimedia: 

Regional Seminar on Human Mobility in Latin America. ©

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Aid still not Reaching Displaced People in one of the most Underfunded Crises: DR Congo

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 10:41

Kinshasa – Since the last quarter of 2017, violence carried out by armed groups in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has led to a steep rise in the number of people displaced in the country - more than 4.5 million - and the humanitarian assistance that they need. A majority have yet to be reached with aid due to lack of funding and access. 

In the first week of February, attacks by armed groups in the Beni Territory of North-Kivu led to more than 2,200 people being displaced from their homes. This is in addition to the 1,500 people who were displaced at the end of January to the Oicha Health Zone in Beni territory. As of 14 February, there were more than 12,000 displaced people sheltering in that locality. This is in addition to the over 1.3 million displaced people in the territory alone.

This recent violence and displacement has led to an escalated need for humanitarian assistance in the north of Beni Territory, where the Oicha Health Zone is located. Due to a lack of capacity as a result of low levels of funding, no humanitarian actors have yet to reach the areas where displaced people are arriving - leading to their most basic needs not being met, like food and shelter.

Since the start of February, Djugu territory in the province just south of North-Kivu, Ituri, has seen a surge in inter-ethnic violence between Hema and Lendu ethnic groups. Fleeing burning villages and for fear of their lives, 28,634 people have been displaced to Bunia, Ituri’s provincial capital, in the last couple of weeks. According to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, the deadly violence has also caused 34,000 Congolese to cross Lake Albert into Uganda since the start of January 2018.

“Some funding has come in but not nearly enough to meet the critical needs of millions in the DRC,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM’s Chief of Mission in the DRC. “We hope the upcoming donor pledging conference for the crisis in the DRC in mid-April will lead to more financial support to avert more unnecessary deaths and suffering,” added Chauzy.

The greater Kasai region, consisting of the Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental, Lomami and Sankuru provinces, was previously considered calm. However, since 2016 intercommunal and land-related conflicts have been escalating. During the worst days of 2017, the region had a population of approximately 1.3 million internally displaced people. Today, the region hosts 896,000 internally displaced people and has seen the largest population of people returning to their areas of origin, 605,000.

As the security situation in some areas has improved over the past months, some internally displaced people are returning to burned down villages and are in urgent need of humanitarian support. Since September 2017, IOM has launched a project to better monitor the displacement situation in Kasai region, which will collect more accurate data on population movements, the number of internally displaced people and returnees, as well as their needs. This information informs the whole humanitarian community’s response in the region.

In the Tanganyika province, IOM is organizing the relocation of displaced people from collective centres to displacement sites in Kalemie, Tanganyika’s provincial capital. This will ensure that these displaced populations have better access to humanitarian assistance, livable shelters, clean water and sanitation and relative safety. Accommodation will be provided in transit centres, while the families build their shelters in the displacement site with the support of an IOM-provided Emergency Shelter Kit.

IOM is also assisting those who wish to return voluntary to either their areas of origin or chosen areas of return. Facilitating movement from collective centres will also allow the centres to be used for their origin purposes. Majority of these collective center are schools and those are targeted in priority for IOM’s return and relocation operations. As of 8 March, IOM has supported the transfer of 205 households to the Kalunga site and 150 have been supported to return to areas close to Kalemie town. The security situation remains unstable in territories like Bendera and Nyunzu, which prevents some displaced families from returning home. 

Since its release, only USD 4.7 million has been given towards IOM’s USD 75 million appeal for 2018. You can read IOM’s full appeal here. IOM’s appeal is part of the wider UN humanitarian response plan. 

For more information, please contact:Olivia Headon in IOM HQ, Tel: +41794035365, Email: Jean-Philippe Chauzy in IOM Kinshasa, Tel: +243 827 339 827, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 9, 2018 - 10:33Image: Region-Country: Republic of the CongoDefault: Multimedia: 

Over 4.5 million Congolese are internally displaced. 

More than 2,200 people were displaced from their homes in the first week of February following attacks by armed ground in the Beni Territory of North-Kivu.

Intercommunal and land-related conflicts have been escalating since 2016 in the greater Kasai region.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Empowering, Inspiring and Educating Women Police in Georgia

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 10:11

Georgia - IOM Georgia marked International Women’s Day by hosting the seventh annual regional Women in Policing Conference which closes today (Friday) in the capital Tbilisi.

The event was organized with the support of the U.S. Embassy in Tbilisi and in close cooperation with the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law (INL).  It brought together more than 250 female police officers from Georgia and nearby countries like Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia, Moldova, Armenia and Ukraine, as well as from further afield: Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, the Philippines, Pakistan, Indonesia and Myanmar.

According to Mike McMahoon, the Director of INL in Georgia “the aim is to empower and inspire women police officers to success through training, discussion and mentoring to give officers training that they don’t traditionally get in their own countries and in their own academies”.

Ilyana Derilova, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Georgia noted “the majority of attendees were border police, coastguards, patrol police, investigators; therefore, their capacity building, especially through such training courses as criminal investigation to identify smuggling of migrants and trafficking cases is crucial for facilitating orderly and humane movement of persons across national and international borders”.

The Government of Georgia is working hard to promote gender equality and protection of women’s rights. Georgia has joined the Council of Europe Convention on Preventing and Combatting Violence against Women and Domestic Violence, which has resulted in a number of legislative amendments that promote women's involvement in many decision-making processes. According to Giorgi Gakharia, the Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia “women's role in the police system is increasing significantly: the Ministry is working on reform of the role of district inspector, where we see the principle of women's involvement and we believe that the role of women in this new institution should be even greater”.

Top law enforcement officers from the United States and Canada addressed the conference on professional development, leadership issues and practical law enforcement matters.

Ian Kelly, U.S. Ambassador to Georgia commented “the Women in Policing Conference is a great way for Georgia to showcase its inclusiveness and openness to the participation of women in promoting peace and security”.

For more information contact Anna Kakushadze on +995 32 2252216. Email

Language English Posted: Friday, March 9, 2018 - 10:25Image: Region-Country: GeorgiaDefault: Multimedia: 

Attendees at the seventh Annual Regional Women in Policing Conference in Tbilisi this week. 

The three-day event brought together more than 250 female police officers.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency in Iraq Appeals for Funding to Assist IDPs and Returnees

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 09:28

Iraq – The number of internally displaced Iraqis is currently more than 2.3 million, and those who have returned to their place of origin over 3.5 million. Responding to the needs of these vulnerable groups is a top priority for IOM, the UN Migration Agency in Iraq, as elaborated in the organization’s 2018 Crisis Funding Appeal.

The IOM appeal for USD 26.7 million highlights the urgent needs of more than 700,000 Iraqis across the country – returnees, host community members, and internally displaced persons (IDPs), especially those remaining in camps or informal settings, and those who may experience secondary displacement.

IOM Iraq’s appeal is in line with the United Nations’ Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) in Iraq, which was launched on 6 March in Baghdad, together with the Government of Iraq’s 2018 Plan for Relief, Shelter and Stabilization of IDPs.

“Across the country, Iraqis continue to be affected by the impact of the recent conflict, and require immediate support,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “The requested funding is essential to provide continued humanitarian assistance for the displaced, and to support returnees to restore social, health, housing and community infrastructure so they are able to restart their lives.”

Just over half of IOM Iraq’s appeal is destined to assist IDPs and returnees with seasonal shelter and non-food items. The appeal also covers support to camp coordination and camp management teams; psychosocial care; health-care services; emergency livelihoods in retaken areas; and the implementation of the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM).

According to IOM Iraq’s DTM, an estimated 2,317,698 people continue to be displaced, and 3,511,602 people have returned since the beginning of the conflict in January 2014. Returns of displaced people to their area of origin currently exceed 100,000 per month.

Of the 2.3 million displaced, more than 631,000 live in camps, and nearly 260,000 live in critical shelter arrangements, such as informal settlements, unfinished buildings, religious and school buildings.

For data on displacement across Iraq please visit the IOM Iraq DTM website portal:

For more information please contact Sandra Black in IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, March 9, 2018 - 16:23Image: Region-Country: IraqDefault: Multimedia: 

An estimated 2,317,698 Iraqis continue to be displaced, and 3,511,602 people have returned since the beginning of the conflict in January 2014.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency: Lack Of Data Perpetuates Invisibility of Migrant Women’s Deaths

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 09:23

Berlin – Since IOM, the UN Migration Agency, began collecting data through the Missing Migrants Project in 2014, it has recorded the deaths of 1,234 women, more than half of whom died while attempting to cross the Mediterranean. This figure represents less than five percent of the total number of migrant deaths recorded during this period by the Project, which is based at IOM’s Data Analysis Centre in Berlin.

Only 31 percent of the incidents recorded by Missing Migrants Project have any information on the sex of those who died or went missing. “It is critical to seek better information on all those who go missing during migration, so that we can understand why these people risked their lives and how these deaths could have been avoided,” said Jill Helke, Director of IOM’s Department of International Cooperation and Partnerships. The reasons why so little is known about missing migrants are further discussed in IOM’s recent Fatal Journeys report.               

Nevertheless, records where the sex of a migrant is known can provide insight into where and how women die crossing borders. Worldwide, the Missing Migrants Project recorded the deaths of 525 women during migration in 2017. Though the scarcity of sex-disaggregated data on migrant deaths means that it is difficult to say which migratory route is most dangerous for women, the available data indicate that crossing the Mediterranean is particularly deadly, with the deaths of 238 women confirmed last year. The Missing Migrants Project also recorded the deaths of 141 women who died while migrating in Africa, 90 who died in Southeast Asia and 20 while trying to cross the US-Mexico border in 2017.

The vast majority of recorded migrant women’s deaths were due to drowning – 337 women lost their lives while crossing a body of water. The Mediterranean is not the only fatal sea journey location, as 79 women perished in the Bay of Bengal or the Naf River on the Myanmar-Bangladesh border. Even though women comprise a smaller proportion of the overall number of deaths than men, of those recorded by Missing Migrants Project in 2017 the proportion of women who drowned was larger than the proportion of men who drowned: 64 percent of the women who perished in 2017 drowned trying to cross a body of water, compared to 42 percent of the men.

The available data show that women are also undertaking dangerous journeys by land. In 2017, 61 women died from exposure to harsh environments during their journeys, 47 due to illness and lack of access to medicines, 28 due to vehicle accidents, and 15 suffered a violent death. For 37 women, the cause of death is unknown.

Last year, 103 of the women recorded in the Missing Migrants Project database were originally from Asia, including the Middle East, while another 133 were from African nations and 44 were from the Americas. The origin of 245 others could not be determined.

Evidence shows that women face greater risks of death while migrating irregularly. Many factors contribute to this, including gendered social practices within family groups and within countries of transit as well as various smuggling tactics.

In the Mediterranean, for instance, women and children are often given places below deck or in the middle of boats with the aim of protecting them during the crossing. However, this can lead to tragic consequences as it can be more difficult to escape from that situation if a boat is in distress. Search and rescue teams report finding women and children who could not escape fast enough and suffocated from toxic fumes as a result. Qualitative findings indicate that weaker swimming skills, heavier clothing and travelling with children may also lead to higher risks of drowning.

Globally, female migrants are at high risk of sexual abuse on their journeys. Research in Latin America showed that 60 percent of women travelling irregularly through Mexico were victims of sexual assault. When women become pregnant during migration, they have special health needs that often go unaddressed and can contribute to their higher risk of fatality.       

A lack of reliable sex-disaggregated data perpetuates the invisibility of female migrant deaths. Information on the deaths of migrant women is highly contingent on the identification of bodies. As many deaths of women occur at sea, and in large numbers, the identities of those who die often remain unknown. Their remains are either not recovered from the water, or information about them is not reported by those who recover the bodies. Other incidents occur in remote locations and mostly go unrecorded.

Figures derived from NGO and official sources, the media or witness testimonies from other migrants often do not include sex-disaggregated data. This means that female migrants who die during their journeys may not be identified as such.

The Missing Migrants Project must rely on ad hoc media reporting and survivor testimonies to learn more about the women who left their homes searching for a better life and did not survive. The following incidents that involved women were recorded by MMP last year:

On 21 February 2017 the bodies of three women and one man were recovered, and another four women and four men remained missing after their boat sank off the coast of El Seibo Province, Dominican Republic. Two of the women who died were sisters Walkiria Matías Tapia and Yoleydi Matías Tapia, ages 17 and 19 and from Santo Domingo. They intended to reach Puerto Rico along with the other passengers.

On 24 July 2017, Rosa María de la Cruz Curruchich de Ortiz (37), Bernardo Ortiz de la Cruz (18), Florinda Manuel Pascal (17) and María Guadalupe Francisco Basilio (15) died trying to cross the Río Bravo, between Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, and El Paso, Texas, USA. Rosa and her son Bernardo travelled from their home in the rural municipality of Joyabaj, Guatemala, while Florinda and María came from San Miguel Acatán, Guatemala.  

On 1 September 2017, 26 Rohingya individuals, including six women, six men, four girls and four boys died when their boat sank trying to cross the Naf River, into Teknaf, Bangladesh.  They were among the more than 650,000 Rohingya who fled violence Rakhine State, Myanmar in the last five months of 2017. In December 2017, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix estimates that 52 percent of the Rohingya population that was in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh were women. 16 percent of Rohingya population surveyed were single mothers.

On 3 November 2017, 26 women from Nigeria, believed to be between 14 and 18 years old, died in the Central Mediterranean. Another 53 people were estimated to have gone missing in this ship wreck. Autopsies revealed that two of the women were pregnant when they died. Only two of the women were identified before being buried after a funeral held in Salerno, Italy.

The stories of missing migrants are also about the families that are left behind, many of which include mothers, wives and children. When a family member who migrated is not heard from again, this can have tragic legal, economic, social and of course, painfully emotional effects.

Note: Migrant women, as referred to in this text, include both women and girls (under age 18)

Language English Posted: Friday, March 9, 2018 - 16:19Image: Region-Country: GermanyDefault: Multimedia: 

Evidence shows that women face greater risks of death while migrating irregularly.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 10,949 in 2018; Deaths Reach 442

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 09:19

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 10,949 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first nine weeks of 2018, with just under 51 percent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece (27%) Spain (22%) and Cyprus (less than 1%). This compares with 20,051 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Monday that, according to Ministry of Interior figures, 5,457 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy this year: or barely one third the figure at this time last year, when 15,843 migrant men, women and children were brought to Italy after being rescued in the waters north of Africa. Through 7 March Italy arrivals are averaging fewer than 83 persons per day. This compares with 240 per day in 2017 and 140 per day in 2016. (see chart below).

Across the entire region, along three principal migrant routes, the dramatic drop in arrivals is reflected in the statistics as well.  In 2015 on this same date, IOM counted 143,544 irregular migrants entering Europe by sea, an average of 2,142 daily. Those numbers dropped to 134,905 (1,983 average, daily) this point in 2016 and to 20,051 (daily: 299). So far this year daily arrivals average 163 men, women and children across the zone. (see chart below)

IOM’s Missing Migrant Project (MMP) reported Monday that deaths on the Central Mediterranean route—442 as of March 8—were down some 15% below their total at this same time in 2017, when 521 migrants had been counted as drowned or missing in the waters between North Africa and Italy.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia on Thursday said that over three days ending 6 March the Hellenic Coast Guard reported no incidents requiring search and rescue operations in the Aegean and just one irregular migrant landing, on the island of Kos this past Monday.

That brings the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory through 6 March February to 2,915 (see chart below)—an average of about 45 persons per day.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that total arrivals by sea in 2018 have reached 2,540 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 8 March. In 2017 IOM recorded 1,584 entering Spain irregularly by sea through the end of February. Sea arrivals for Spain in March 2917 totalled almost 850 for the entire month of March last year; to date this month only 38 arrivals have been recorded.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 710 migrant fatalities in 2018, compared with 1025 through March 7 last year. (see chart below)

IOM reports 442 migrants are estimated to have died this year on the Mediterranean Sea’s three routes. Most recently, 21 people went missing after a boat capsized off the coast of Libya on Saturday, 3 March. A Cypriot merchant vessel rescued 30 survivors from the sinking boat and transferred them to SOS Méditerranée’s ship Aquarius. IOM staff on the ground spoke with them when they were brought to Pozzallo on Tuesday, and they reported that 51 people were on the boat when it sank. Tragically, 21 migrants went missing and are presumed dead.

On the US/Mexico border, the remains of a young man were recovered from the Río Bravo near Eagle Pass, Texas on 4 March – he is thought to be part of a group of migrants that went missing on 27 February when trying to cross from Piedras Negras, Coahuila. The Missing Migrants Project also recorded the death of one Honduran migrant in Reynosa, Mexico on 1 March. On the Mexico/Guatemala border, a 47-year-old Honduran migrant was hit by a freight train in Huimanguillo, Tabasco on 5 March.

The remains of a young Afghan migrant were retrieved in the Evros/Meriç River on 6 March by Turkish authorities. He fell into the river and drowned when attempting to cross to Greece. The Missing Migrants Project has recorded the deaths of 8 people on the Evros in 2018.

MMP data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.


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

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:


For more information, please contact:

Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:

Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:

Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:

Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:

Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:

Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:

Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:

Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:

Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:

Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 28 78 78 05 (mobile) office: +216 71 860 312 EXT. 109 Email:



Language English Posted: Friday, March 9, 2018 - 16:07Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Humanitarian Partners Assist Vulnerable Haitian Migrants

Fri, 03/09/2018 - 09:07

Ouanaminthe – IOM, the UN Migration Agency has opened four Border Resource Centres (BRC) at the official Haitian border crossings to aid vulnerable migrants returning from the Dominican Republic. The last of these BRCs was inaugurated in Ouanaminthe on 1 March.

The BRCs represent the only state structures that ensure the care of vulnerable migrants at the four official border crossing points. The three centers inaugurated in 2017 have already welcomed, registered and assisted 287 migrants in distress in 2018 (135 women and 152 men).[1]

In collaboration with the Institute of Welfare and Research (IBESR) and the National Office of Migration (ONM), these centres allow for better identification, guidance and assistance to vulnerable migrants. They additionally provide spaces to foster synergies between local state, civil society and multilateral protection actors. Each BRC relies on the support of trained registration officers to manage vulnerable migrants. These migrants are often unaccompanied or separated children or victims of human trafficking.

"As women, children and vulnerable individuals are the primary victims of the inefficiencies of the border management mechanisms, this initiative responds to the urgent and clearly identified needs and reaches the most vulnerable who are exposed to all types of trafficking, including human trafficking,” said Elie Thélot, President of the National Committee Against Trafficking. “The National Committee Against Trafficking will do its best to support and strengthen the Border Resource Centers."

Since June 2015, when the registration period of the National Regularization Plan for Foreigners (NRPF) in the Dominican Republic closed, IOM and its civil society partners have registered more than 230,000[2] Haitian migrants that have returned to Haiti through border monitoring activities. Of these returned migrants, 4,167 are presumed to be unaccompanied or separated children and 5,807 are persons at risk of statelessness.

Migrants often arrive in precarious conditions. They are traumatized and have no access to financial resources, and are sometimes wounded. Many of these migrants have no connection or direct link to Haiti.

IOM, with the help of the Canadian Government, implemented a project to assist vulnerable children and women in the border areas between Haiti and Dominican Republic. Carlos Rojas-Arbulú, Head of the Canadian Cooperation in Haiti, said that this project “aims to improve the capacity of local actors to combat irregular migration, trafficking, and to establish referral mechanisms to facilitate access of basic services and promote the sustainable reintegration of vulnerable migrants, particularly women and girls."

The primary target beneficiaries of the project implemented by IOM at the Haitian-Dominican border are vulnerable women and minors. These beneficiaries are targeted by BRCs according to nine types of vulnerabilities, including unaccompanied children, single mothers, victims of trafficking in persons, and persons at risk of statelessness.  

Chandlè is 14 years old who has lived in Mao (Dominican Republic) since he was 11. He was with his cousin when Dominican soldiers detained him on the street and asked him for papers he does not have. “They put me on a bus that sent me to the border,” he recalls. After spending 3 days in a detention center in Dajabon on the Dominican Republic side of the border, he was pre-identified as a vulnerable migrant by IOM and referred to the Border Resource Center in Ouanaminthe, Haiti.

When IOM Haiti Protection Officer Michelot Difficile welcomed Chandlè to the BRC, the boy was exhausted. “As any other vulnerable migrant that arrives at the BRC, Chandlè received a hot meal from the Haitian Red Cross and then a local protection officer from IBESR (the Haitian Institute of Welfare and Wellbeing) registered him to identify his vulnerabilities and contact his family,” explained Difficile.

While local protection actors are contacting his mother in Dominican Republic and his extended family in Haiti, Chandlè is staying at the hosting center of the Sister of St Jean in Ouanaminthe. There, along with the other kids, he has a bed to rest, food to eat, and friends to play with. “I am glad I have found a safe place to rest,” said Chandlè in perfect Spanish. “I am reassured that my family knows where I am. I was so scared. I just want to go back to home to see my mother and go back to school.”

The opening of the BRC in Ouanaminthe guarantees the presence of social partners and other non-state protection actors assisting Chandlè and other vulnerable migrants. It will also facilitate an integrated response with POLIFRONT, the Haitian Border Police.

That special unit created by the Haitian National Police in 2014 began its operations in January 2018, with the deployment of 91 specialized police officers trained on securing the border separating the cities of Ouanaminthe and Dajabòn in the North-East Department.

IOM supports the Haitian National Police in the deployment of its special border unit with logistic assistance (uniforms, vehicles, dorms and police station’s rehabilitations) and with continued training of Border Police officers in the fight against trafficking; migrants' rights; the procedures for referring vulnerable migrants; first aid; the situation of the minors at Haitian-Dominican border; psychological care; corruption challenges; and Spanish classes.

On 1 March IOM additionally organized a donation ceremony at the North-East Headquarters of the Border Police in Morne Casse (Fort-Liberté) where two Land Cruiser vehicles were handed over to POLIFRONT. Marc Justin, Director of the Border Police, and representatives from the Embassy of Canada, attended the event.

"IOM advocates for dignified and safe migration as well as integrated and efficient border management system,” said IOM Haiti Chief of Mission Fabien Sambussy. “This approach is now materializing in Ouanaminthe through the assistance offered to vulnerable migrants in the BRC, and thanks to the reinforcement of border security by the POLIFRONTs. Deployed since January 10th 2018, the POLIFRONT has already arrested 12 alleged traffickers and recovered 25 million gourdes in customs fees. IOM hopes that these two components which are essential to the management of an international border will soon be completed by the implementation of the Border ID Card."

For more information, please contact Julie Harlet in IOM Haiti, Tel: +509 4638 8051, Email:



Language English Posted: Friday, March 9, 2018 - 15:57Image: Region-Country: HaitiDefault: Multimedia: 

(From left to right) IOM Haiti Chief of Mission Fabien Sambussy, Mayor of Ouanaminthe, President of the National Committee Against Trafficking Dr Elie Thelot, and Head of Canadian Cooperation in Haiti Carlos Rojas Arbulu.

Inauguration of the four Border Resource Centres. 

IOM Border Assistant pre-identifying unaccompanied children in Dajabon, Dominican Republic.

Chandle, 14, getting registered at the one of the Border Resource Centres of Ouanaminthe, Haiti.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN