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Updated: 2 hours 6 min ago

IOM condemns the killing of aid workers amidst deteriorating security situation in Morobo County, South Sudan

Wed, 10/30/2019 - 10:32

Juba, October 30th, 2019 – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) condemns in the strongest possible terms the killing of three IOM aid workers on Sunday in fighting between armed groups in Morobo County, South Sudan’s Central Equatoria region. 

“We are deeply saddened by the loss of our colleagues and we extend our heartfelt condolences to their families and friends,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission, Jean-Philippe Chauzy in Juba.  

“We call for the perpetrators of these senseless acts of violence against innocent civilians and humanitarians to be brought to justice.” 

The IOM volunteers, one female and two males, were caught in a crossfire during clashes that broke out in the morning hours of 27 October in Isebi, in Morobo County. Two other male volunteers suffered non-life threatening injuries, one of whom is recovering from a gunshot wound.  

A female volunteer and a four-year-old son of the murdered female aid worker were abducted during the attack. Their whereabouts remain unknown.  

IOM’s humanitarians were working in Ebola screening points in border areas between South Sudan, Uganda and Democratic Republic of Congo, tracking the spread of the deadly disease. 

IOM Director General António Vitorino has expressed his “great pain and revulsion” at the assaults on civilians.  

“We grieve alongside our staff in South Sudan, for the families of the victims and reiterate that humanitarians and civilians are not and should never be subjected to such heinous acts of violence – we are not a target,” said Mr Vitorino.  

The UN migration agency has suspended EVD screening at five points of entry sites, namely Isebi, Bazi, Kirikwa, Lasu and Okaba, including operations of flow monitoring points and support to health facilities.  

“The safety of our personnel is paramount and will not be further jeopardized until we secure guarantees for the security of all our personnel operating in Morobo County,” said Chief of Mission Chauzy. “No effort will be spared to support the grieving families and we reiterate our commitment to support the people of South Sudan.” 

For more information, kindly contact, Liatile Putsoa at IOM South Sudan. Tel: +211912380104 or +211929444402, Email: 

Paul Dillon at IOM HQ Geneva. Tel +41796369874, Email  

Language English Posted: Wednesday, October 30, 2019 - 10:31Image: Region-Country: South SudanThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

“We grieve alongside our staff in South Sudan, for the families of the victims and reiterate that humanitarians and civilians are not and should never be subjected to such heinous acts of violence – we are not a target,” said Mr Vitorino

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Joint EU-IOM-UNHCR Communique: International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Crisis

Tue, 10/29/2019 - 10:16

Joint Communique by the co-chairs António Vitorino, Federica Mogherini, Filippo Grandi

The International Solidarity Conference on the Venezuelan Refugee and Migrant Crisis held in Brussels on 28-29 October 2019 sent a strong message of support to the Venezuelan refugees and migrants as well as to their host countries and communities in Latin America and the Caribbean.  

The Conference was co-chaired by Federica Mogherini, High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, and IOM Director General António Vitorino. The event aimed to raise global awareness about the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis and the efforts of hosting countries and communities. It also reviewed best practices and achievements of host countries, confirmed international support for a regional and coordinated response, and called for a global and inclusive partnership, where solidarity and responsibility are shouldered by the entire international community but also shared between public and private sectors. 

120 delegations attended, including EU Institutions and Member States, the most affected Latin American and Caribbean countries, donor countries, UN agencies, private sector, NGOs, civil society organisations and development actors including international financial institutions. 

The Conference acknowledged that the serious and deteriorating political, human rights and socio-economic crisis in Venezuela has produced one of the most severe displacement situations in the world., The outflow continues unabated, while resources and financing fall considerably short of the needs. According to official figures, some 4.5 million Venezuelans have left their country and most of them are in Latin American or Caribbean countries. This figure could reach 6.5 million people by end of 2020 worldwide. 

The Conference commended the remarkable solidarity of countries in the region and acknowledged the substantial challenges they face. Participants reaffirmed their strong commitment to continue protecting and assisting Venezuelan refugees and migrants and to support the efforts of the governments of the receiving countries, notably in ensuring a sustainable integration in host communities.  

The Conference also expressed appreciation for the coordinated response of countries in Latin America and the Caribbean. The Quito Process constitutes a significant step forward in harmonizing policies and practices, thereby scaling up the humanitarian response and integrating refugees and migrants across the region. 

While recognizing the sovereign right of States to manage their borders, the co-chairs stressed the importance of preserving access to asylum, strengthening the mechanisms that allow the identification of people in need of international protection, maintaining flexible entry policies, continuing regularizing and providing documents to Venezuelan refugees and migrants, as well as facilitating family reunification. Any acts of hatred, intolerance and xenophobia – even if isolated and unrepresentative – need to be forcefully rejected. 

The Conference confirmed the need for increased financial and technical support for host countries through stronger engagement from donors, international financial institutions, development actors, and the private sector to support national authorities in the provision of services and to promote economic opportunities for refugees, migrants and host communities. International financial institutions can play a key role by providing concessional funding and grants as well as technical assistance. Early intervention of development actors will be needed to strengthen the humanitarian-development nexus, reinforce social protection schemes, build capacity and facilitate the inclusion of refugees and migrants into the labour market. 

Participants underlined the need for a cooperation mechanism involving donor states, international financial institutions and other relevant actors. They reaffirmed the role of the Regional Coordination Platform led by UNHCR and IOM as the coordination mechanism to respond to the Venezuelan refugee and migrant crisis.  

As next steps, the Conference expressed support for the decision to hold a first meeting of the Group of Friends of the Quito Process, chaired by the European Union, in the coming months. The co-chairs noted with appreciation the additional pledges made during the conference and highlighted the importance of a continuous process over the coming year to mobilize substantial additional funding, including through a pledging conference.  

António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration   
Federica Mogherini, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission   
Filippo Grandi, United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - 10:12Image: Region-Country: Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)BelgiumThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

It is estimated that, so far, approximately 4.5 million Venezuelans have fled as a result of the political turmoil, socio-economic instability and humanitarian crisis in their country. The International solidarity conference is organised to mobilise support in addressing the refugee and migrant crisis, and to demonstrate solidarity of the international community to the affected host countries.

It is estimated that, so far, approximately 4.5 million Venezuelans have fled as a result of the political turmoil, socio-economic instability and humanitarian crisis in their country. The International solidarity conference is organised to mobilise support in addressing the refugee and migrant crisis, and to demonstrate solidarity of the international community to the affected host countries.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Street Art for Social Cohesion in Niger’s Transit Centres

Tue, 10/29/2019 - 09:31

Niamey – This week, a month-long street art project in the Nigerien cities of Niamey and Agadez concluded under the direction of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its partner Street Art Sans Frontière. The event supported 15 participatory painting sessions, attended by more than 1,000 people.

“Through this workshop, the two cities have become more colorful and welcoming, improving the living environment of its residents,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “We hope that the confidence the participants gained through these workshops will have an impact on other everyday actions. These may seem like small successes, but the personal satisfaction gained can further motivate them for life’s bigger challenges.”  

This is one of several awareness-raising projects that IOM’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa in Dakar is implementing this year various with support from the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. These events aim to introduce a human-centered approach to increase the social cohesion between migrants in transit, returnees and community members.  

IOM’s community mobilizers or “MobComs” facilitated the participatory street art activities and engaged with the public. Seeing as they have already become regular friendly faces among community members and migrants in transit, the MobComs have access to a wide range of neighbourhoods. 

In both Niamey and Agadez, artists worked alongside the migrants staying at IOM’s transit centres to decorate their temporary homes.  Neighbours, local associations and schools also approached IOM during the project’s implementation, asking to be included.  

“The project uses participatory public art as a way for migrants to give back to their host communities, while creating meaningful interactions in the process,” said Luca Putteman, IOM’s Regional Awareness Officer. “It’s also important for returned migrants to feel welcome and to be able to reintegrate properly in their communities.” 

Involvement was voluntary, within the limits of space and available material. Many bystanders were intrigued by the sudden artistic activities popping up in different corners of Niamey, and decided to engage, be it for a couple of brushstrokes or advice on the choice of colors. 

“Art can be a very powerful tool for stimulating open-mindedness and creativity, especially for young people,” said Antoine, one founder of Street Art Sans Frontière, the international art collective experienced in managing social projects across Western Africa. “Since street art is free and doesn’t take place in institutions, it is accessible to everyone.” 

To guarantee the project’s sustainability, a selected number of local artists, including several returnees, were trained by the team of international artists. The goal is to equip them with the necessary skills and know-how to continue the project in different locations within the country and the region, long after the project finishes. 

“I am very proud of what we accomplished today. Every time I will pass by this place, it will remind me of the good times we had here,” said 19-year-old Adama, a Niamey resident. “We realized today that we are all artists at heart and that, in fact, it doesn’t take much to create beautiful things.” 

 “It’s nice to see the effect one afternoon can have on people,” said Donald, 24, a migrant in transit from Cameroon. “This may not be my city, but it’s a great opportunity to make it beautiful for others and to create friendships along the way. It motivates me to want to do better and to share what I have learned with my friends back home.” 

 Watch the video in English | French 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email:; or Florence Kim at IOM’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221786206213, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Community StabilizationDefault: Multimedia: 

During the month-long street art project in Niger, 15 participatory painting sessions were organized for over 1,000 people. Photo: IOM 

During the month-long street art project in Niger, 15 participatory painting sessions were organized for over 1,000 people. Photo: IOM 

During the month-long street art project in Niger, 15 participatory painting sessions were organized for over 1,000 people. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Shares Non-Aligned Movement Vision for Peace and Development, Regional Director Tells Baku Summit

Tue, 10/29/2019 - 09:31

Baku – An integrated response is essential for global peace, stable societies, sustainable development and well-managed migration. That was IOM’s key message to the XVIII Summit of the Heads of State and Government of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Baku, Azerbaijan on 25 October.  

Argentina Szabados, Regional Director for Southeastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia – speaking on behalf of Director General António Vitorino – praised “the essential role NAM has played throughout its almost 60 years of existence in its quest to establish a more peaceful and prosperous world.”  

Speaking to more than 120 presidents, heads of state, prime ministers and their representatives, Szabados stressed IOM’s growth into its role in the United Nations system, including its coordination of the UN Network on Migration. 

She traced the evolution of IOM’s forthcoming Strategic Vison and Landscape, and how it would ensure the continuance of an effective, responsive organization, characterized by its proximity to migrants and governments alike, focused on migration as an agent of development. 

“We are, and with the help of our Member States and others, will remain capable of delivering tailor-made solutions to diverse migration challenges,” she said. “We share your vision of peace, prosperity and development.” 

The Non-Aligned Movement is the biggest forum for political coordination and consultation after and within the United Nations, composed of 120 Member States from the developing world. There are also 17 countries and 10 International Organizations that hold observer status. 

For further information please contact Joe Lowry at IOM’s Regional Office for South-Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Tel: +43660 3776404, Email:;

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - 16:05Image: Region-Country: AzerbaijanThemes: IOMMigration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

Argentina Szabados, IOM Regional Director for Southeastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, delivering a speech at the 18th NAM Conference in Baku. Photo: IOM 

(From left) Argentina Szabados, IOM Regional Director for Southeastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia; President Ilham Aliyev of the Azerbaijan Republic; and Vice President Mehriban Aliyeva.  Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Number of Ethiopian Returnees Assisted by IOM on Track to Double in 2019

Tue, 10/29/2019 - 09:30

Addis Ababa – Ethiopian returnees from Africa’s Eastern migratory route are coming back to their country at a rate of about 1,000 migrants per month, IOM reported this week. Just since 1 January this year, IOM Ethiopia has assisted 9,200. This represents close to a twofold increase compared to 2018, when 5,382 returnees were assisted by IOM.  

Most  Ethiopian returnees were assisted after they found themselves stranded on traditional migration trails, such as the Eastern migratory route, which stretches from the Horn of Africa to Persian Gulf emirates.  

Many migrants who undertake the dangerous journey fall into highly vulnerable situations that require various forms of support. These include financial help, immediate post-arrival assistance with shelter and medical screening, as well as specialized support like family tracing and reunification services for unaccompanied children. 

This past week, IOM assisted 140 Ethiopians returning from Djibouti by train. Despite the support these individuals receive to return safely, many arrive home only to find themselves in the same dire economic situation which prompted them to leave. Some migrants even return to conditions worse than when they left, in debt or with their savings exhausted paying for the trip.  

“Due to limited funding, our support does not always go beyond providing immediate post-arrival assistance,” says Hugo Genest, IOM Ethiopia’s Programme Coordinator for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration and Immigration and Border Management. Accordingly, reintegration support is as necessary as immediate post-arrival assistance. “Since most irregular migrants leave their country for economic reasons, the increase in number shows that these migrants also need alternative livelihood support,” he added.  

Mixed migration flows from the Horn of Africa continue to be a challenge, as a significant number leave the region irregularly, with Ethiopian migrants the most numerous. Moreover--and despite Yemen’s war and an escalating humanitarian crisis—2019 has seen a spike in  arrivals of East African refugees and migrants there. IOM estimates the monthly average migrants arriving in Yemen this year has been of 18,500, the highest number since data became available in 2006.  

While mixed migration flows to Yemen are largely made up of young men, about 30% are women and 10 and children

Beyond the immediate assistance provided to Ethiopian returnees, reintegration support is desperately needed, especially for vulnerable migrants, as most of them have exhausted their own as well as their family’s savings and need to rebuild their lives.  

IOM’s immediate post-arrival assistance in Ethiopia is made possible through generous funding from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark and the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the United States Department of State.  

 For more information, contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 6611117 (Ext. 1455), Mobile: +251 91 163 9082, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 29, 2019 - 16:20Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationEUTFDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff registering returnees before transportation allowance. Photo: IOM  

IOM staff registering returnees before transportation allowance. Photo: IOM  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ethiopian Migrants' Decision-Making is Focus of New Research in Djibouti

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 11:58

Nairobi – Sixteen-year-old Zinatou says learning difficulties forced her to drop out of school in Ethiopia. She soon set her sights on reaching Saudi Arabia through Obock, a coastal village in neighbouring Djibouti.

“I just followed a group of friends who decided to migrate,” she says. “My family was not aware of my travel.”

Zinatou also travelled without a back-up plan.

“What shocked me the most was seeing dead bodies of migrants abandoned on the road. We saw dead bodies in two different places,” she says. “It was hard to look at them because we were thirsty and we were afraid to end up like them, abandoned on the road.”

New research by the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Regional Data Hub in Nairobi, Kenya, is looking to cast the spotlight on these movements. It seeks to explore the nexus between migrant integration, decision-making and the expectations of the migration journey among young Ethiopian migrants venturing through this migratory route.

Between January and June 2019, IOM tracked 238,219 movements along this dangerous route. Ethiopian nationals were by far the majority (95% of those moving along the Eastern route), followed by Somalis (almost 5%), while other nationalities observed accounted for less than 0.1 per cent.

The research is being carried out with the support of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa; a 43 million Euro programme funded by the European Union that is running until 2021.

The study’s main target population are 15- to 29-year-old Ethiopians migrating for the first time. To supplement the insights gleaned from this group, returning migrants and re-migrating migrants are also being interviewed.

The research is structured along two phases: quantitative and qualitative, to ensure a deeper understanding of the dynamics under investigation.

Another migrant, Fanah, shares a similar story as he also awaits his return to Ethiopia from Djibouti. “I migrated to have a better life. This is my third attempt,” the 23-year-old says. “The first time, I arrived in Saudi Arabia. I worked there for one year but was deported.” 

The second time he was stranded in Yemen because of the war.  On his most recent attempt he was intercepted by coastguards off the coast of Djibouti.

Still, tens of migrants from land-locked Ethiopia regularly cross into Djibouti, a hot barren country that also serves as a major transit location for migrants on the eastern reaches of Africa. They are largely young adult males and about a fifth of them are below 18.

Their destination is mainly Obock, now associated with such migrants seeking to cross the Gulf of Eden to reach Yemen, Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries, on the so-called Eastern route.

But not much else is known about them in great detail, except that their movements are motivated by a desire for a better life.

The information compiled in the quantitative phase of the research will serve to delineate a clearer picture of the decisions young Ethiopian migrants take when migrating, how they perceive their migration journeys and what expectations they hold.

It will also provide initial data on the challenges faced by this population during their migration. Once the quantitative data has been analyzed, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions will be conducted to explore the emerging themes and gather more nuanced information on migrant motivations, expectations and hopes.

Ethiopia, the second most populous country in Africa after Nigeria, accounts for the largest numbers of migrant movements in the Horn of Africa.

The research is being conducted in close coordination with relevant national and local governmental authorities. IOM expects to share some preliminary results at the beginning of 2020, with a full launch of the research to stakeholders and the general public in booklet form and online around mid-2020.

According to Laura Nistri, the head of IOM’s regional data hub: “The Eastern migratory corridor is the most predominant in this region, mainly attracting tens of thousands of young Ethiopians seeking to improve their living conditions and economic status.”

She added: “At the same time, a significant number of them are routinely deported back to (the Ethiopian capital) Addis Ababa, risking their life while passing across war-torn Yemen, while most others are facing challenging working conditions in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.” 

For more information on mobility trends across the East and Horn of Africa region, the Regional Data Hub has just released a new report: A Region on the Move – Mid-year Mobility Overview (January to June 2019).

 About the EU-IOM Joint Initiative

Backed by the EU Trust Fund, it covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries. The programme facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused procedures and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration.

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative supports evidence-based policies and programme design by strengthening migration data on migratory movements and migrants’ needs and vulnerabilities. This enables migrants and potential migrants to make informed decisions about their migratory journeys, and also works to sensitize communities on migration.

For more information, please contact at the IOM Regional Office in Nairobi: Laura Nistri, Tel: +254 204 221 000, Email: lnistri@iom.intor Wilson Johwa, Tel: +254 701 838 029, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, October 25, 2019 - 16:20Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiEthiopiaThemes: EUTFMigration ResearchDefault: Multimedia: 

Migrants walk through the barren landscape near Obock. Photo: IOM 

An IOM researcher at Obock interviews a migrant. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ethical Recruitment Can Protect Rights of Nepali Migrant Workers

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 09:53

Kathmandu – Nepali government officials, private sector stakeholders and civil society representatives meeting in Kathmandu today acknowledged that ethical recruitment practices can play a key role in protecting migrant workers’ rights and reducing the risk of people becoming victims of forced labour or modern slavery.
Stakeholders taking part in a national consultation organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recognized that migrant workers are particularly vulnerable to exploitation at the recruitment and deployment phases of the migration cycle, when unscrupulous recruitment agencies and unauthorized agents can charge excessive fees, provide misleading information about jobs, and retain workers’ identity documents.
“There is now a growing recognition of ethical recruitment being a vital part of robust migration governance. IOM is working collaboratively with the private sector, civil society, governments and the international community to make recruitment a fairer process for workers, recruiters and employers,” said IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Lorena Lando.
“Migrant workers fill critical labour shortages. Employers and the governments of sending and receiving countries should therefore share responsibility for their protection throughout the migration cycle,” she added.
IOM advocates for ethical labour recruitment practices through initiatives such as the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) standard and Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST).
Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security Joint Secretary Umesh Dhungana said that migration is rarely “a choice” for Nepali migrants, due to the lack of employment opportunities at home. The government is therefore committed to work with civil society, the private sector and the international community to promote ethical recruitment, he noted.
“Nepal is in the process of revising bilateral agreements with destination countries in order to implement the ‘employers pay’ principle and minimize the burden on migrant workers,” he added.
Labour migration for employment overseas plays a vital role in socio-economic development and poverty reduction in Nepal and is a major source of jobs for young people. On average and estimated 800 Nepalis leave the country through formal channels to work abroad every day.
The national consultation was supported by the IOM Development Fund. Participants included government officials, private recruitment agencies, civil society organizations, academia, research institutes, trade unions and media.
For more information please contact Lorena Lando at IOM Nepal, Tel: +97714426250 (Ext. 194), Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 25, 2019 - 14:35Image: Region-Country: NepalThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Nepal Ministry of Labour, Employment and Social Security Joint Secretary Umesh Dhungana presents at the national consultation on ethical recruitment. Photo: IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 82,978 in 2019; Deaths Reach 1,080

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 09:15

Geneva – the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 82,978 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 23 October, a 15 per cent decrease from the 97,765 arriving during the same period last year.

Over half all arrivals this year (45,105) have landed in Greece, while almost one-quarter (20,036) have landed in Spain. Greece and Spain combine to account for 78 per cent of the region’s irregular sea landings, with the balance arriving in much smaller proportions to Italy, Malta and Cyprus (see chart below).

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through six months of 2019 are at 1,080 individuals – or almost half the 1,971 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).

In the Eastern Mediterranean, a three-year-old boy died, and a man went missing when a boat in which 34 people were travelling collided with a Hellenic Coast Guard vessel on 23 October. This terrible accident happened off the coast of Kos, Greece. Thirty-seven per cent of those who died in 2019 in the Eastern Mediterranean were children, with 26 child migrant deaths documented on this route.

IOM Italy
IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo cited official Ministry of Interior figures of 9,432 migrants who have arrived in Italy by sea this year through 23 October, compared to 21,935 at this same time in 2018. IOM Libya has reported that 7,346 migrants have been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in 2019, through 15 October.

IOM Spain
IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday sea arrivals to Spain, through 23 October have reached 20,006, or nearly double the 10,538 men, women and children who arrived in Spain through the first six months of 2019.  That calculates to an average of almost 68 persons per day for the entire year, compared to 2018’s average of over 160 per day.

While monthly arrivals to Spain are lower this year overall, fatalities on the Western Mediterranean route remain high – with 318 deaths reported through six months of this year, compared to 549 at this time in 2018.

IOM Greece
IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou noted on Thursday (24/10) that since Friday (18/10), the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least 24 incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Kos, Symi, Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kalymnos, Strongyli, Samothrace and the port of Alexandroupoli. The HCG rescued a total of 675 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports.

Those arrivals, plus some 1,400 arrivals IOM recorded between 16-22 October, bring to 45,105 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart below).

IOM Greece also reported Thursday that the five weeks between 29 August and 1 October saw the ten busiest irregular migrant arrival days this year, days when at least 562 men, women and children entered Greek waters along the Eastern Mediterranean route. On the busiest day, 26 September, a total of 819 migrants arrived (see chart below).

That compares to the average of 153 individuals each day for the year, as a whole.  By contrast the busiest day for arrivals on this route was 22 October 2015, when 8,292 men, women and children arrived irregularly in Greek waters.

Missing Migrants Project
2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project. Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 33,735 people, including 2,573 in 2019 (see chart below).

Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography.

Reports emerged on 23 October that the remains of 39 people were found inside a refrigerated lorry container parked at an industrial park in Essex, England. A police investigation was launched to conduct enquiries into these tragic deaths and piece together the circumstances of this incident. Eight of the deceased are women and 31 are men, and all are believed to be Chinese nationals. Initial police reports indicate that the trailer travelled from Zeebrugge, Belgium to the port of Purfleet in Essex on Wednesday 23 October.

Along the Western Balkans route, several deaths were documented during the past weeks, as people made their way across Bosnia and Herzegovina to reach western Europe. On 30 September, a man drowned in the Korana river, in Cazin, Una-Sana canton. The remains of a man were found in Biléca, near border with Montenegro, on 5 October.

Just a few days later, a young man was shot by a local resident when he was spending the night with a group of migrants in a village in Cazin, Una-Sana canton, on 9 October. Additionally, a death was recorded in North Macedonia on 12 October, when a 16-year-old Afghan boy died from the injuries sustained while travelling on top of a freight train. He was hospitalized in the town of Gevgelija after being found severely injured near railway tracks on 1 October. Unfortunately, he did not recover from his injuries and passed away at the hospital 11 days later.

At least 24 people have died on the Western Balkans route so far this year: eight deaths took place in Bosnia and Herzegovina, six in Serbia, five in Croatia, three in North Macedonia and two in Slovenia. There were 41 deaths documented along this route in 2018.

On the US-México border, three men drowned in the Río Bravo when attempting to reach Texas – their bodies were recovered on the Mexican riverbanks on October 21 and 22. Since the beginning of 2019, the deaths of 107 people (including at least 15 children) have been documented in the Río Bravo. This figure is already higher than the total number of drownings (87) recorded in the Río Bravo for all of 2018.

In México, the body of the fourth person who went missing during the 11 October shipwreck off the coast of Tonalá, Chiapas was recovered on 18 October in the nearby municipality of San Mateo del Mar, Oaxaca. He is believed to be a national of Cameroon, as were the other three people who lost their lives in this shipwreck. Additionally, another Cameroonian man died in a vehicle accident in 22 October near Hermosillo, Sonora.

In total, at least 621 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 499 recorded through this point in 2018, an increase this year by almost 25 per cent.

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

The report Fatal Journey Volume 4, published 28 June, includes an overview of five years of Missing Migrants Project data (2014-2018) and an update on what is known about deaths during migration in 2019.

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

Language English Posted: Friday, October 25, 2019 - 14:32Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

A New Life and New Hopes for Resettled Refugees Arriving in Romania

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 09:11

Bucharest – Forty-two refugees from Syria, including 17 children, arrived safely in Bucharest, after leaving Amman, Jordan over the last two weeks as part of the Romanian refugee resettlement programme. The group included a senior aged 82, celebrating her birthday on the day of arrival and two very young babies, three months old and two weeks old.

“All I want is for my children to live in a country where they can play in safety, go to school, have a peaceful future and dream freely,” said one of the mothers, full of hope, upon arrival in Bucharest, last week (15/10).

IOM staff welcomed the refugees at the airport in Bucharest on 15/10 and 23/10 together with the representatives of the General Inspectorate for Immigration. IOM received the new arrivals and helped to transfer them to the immigration authorities. Following that, IOM accompanied them to their new accommodations.

With logistical support from IOM, the General Inspectorate for Immigration in Romania carries out selection missions in Jordan. IOM then conducts health assessments for the selected refugees and carries out pre-departure orientation sessions to help manage their expectations and give a glimpse of life in Romania. This is followed by support during their travel to Romania in addition to a 45-day period of post-arrival assistance during which refugees are provided with intensive Romanian language courses, post-arrival orientation and needs-based support. 

At the same time, IOM conducts information sessions to help local actors prepare to receive refugees. This is done by sharing information on what it means to be granted refugee status in Romania, what the situation in the countries of origin looks like and inter-cultural communication.

“The people who arrived today have been through the worst and now have a chance at rebuilding their lives in peace,” said Mircea Mocanu, Head of IOM’s office in Romania. “Resettlement proves once again an amazing instrument for humane and safe travel. We are happy to be supporting the Romanian Government in its humanitarian response towards the situation in Jordan and Turkey,” he continued.

Romania has committed to resettling 109 Syrian refugees from Turkey and Jordan as part of the European Union efforts to increase resettlement in solidarity with hosting countries.
IOM Romania is comprehensively supporting Romania in its resettlement efforts from Turkey and Jordan, countries which collectively host more than 4.3 million refugees from Syria in need of international protection.

The resettlement project STARRT III is led by IOM in Romania, in partnership with the Schottener Social Services Foundation, and financed by the European Union through the National Programme – Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

IOM Romania has supported the resettlement of more than 100 refugees to Romania since 2014.

Watch video of the Syrian refugees arriving in Bucharest.

For more information, please contact Diana Dragos at IOM Romania, Tel: +4021 210 30 50, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 25, 2019 - 15:22Image: Region-Country: RomaniaThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Resettled Syrian refugees arriving at Bucharest Otopeni Aiport. Photo: IOM/ D.Dragos

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Ethiopia Publishes First Ever National Displacement Report

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 09:11

Addis Ababa – The Government of the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia this week (23/10) endorsed the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s inaugural National Displacement Report for Ethiopia.

The Report reveals for the first time the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the country who are returning to their communities, their condition, and their needs.

Completed in October, it shares findings from data collected in July via site assessment of 1,163 sites throughout the country, and that reflects 1,642,458 people as internally displaced. 

The biggest causes of displacement were conflict which displaced 1,089,856 IDPs, followed by drought which affected 424,845 IDPs and seasonal flood which affected 35,995 IDPs.

Using a new tool called the village assessment survey it identified that 816,813 of IDPs, across 659 villages, had returned home in June. 

The Government is currently leading a return initiative, that began in April 2019. This follows ethnic clashes in parts of the country in 2018, which contributed to a highly fluid situation, as evidenced by 3.04 million people who were recorded as displaced in March 2019.

To assist in this work, IOM Ethiopia continues to collaborate closely with national, regional and local government counterparts to track mobility.

It is working with the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC), for the site assessment and the village assessment surveys, and the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (MoLSA) for flow monitoring, throughout the data collecting and data endorsement process.

UN Migration has been conducting mobility tracking using a series of tools since 2012, and from September 2019 active tools now also include site assessments (SA) and village assessment surveys (VAS).

SA targets displaced people, assessing the availability of services at sites. VAS targets IDPs, returning IDPs, and host communities, assessing the capacity of villages to absorb returnees and to provide services, livelihoods and reintegration.

Besides mobility tracking, IOM also implements flow monitoring, which is used to track ingoing and outgoing migration flows at strategic areas of transit.

The recently released National Displacement Report is a new way of reporting on the displacement of people that was adopted by IOM Ethiopia’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) programme this year and replaces previously produced National Dashboards and Regional Reports.

The data are shared with government and humanitarian counterparts to inform programming, strategic planning, targeted response and advocacy.

Data are also used in institutional documents, including the Humanitarian Needs Overview and Humanitarian Response Plan. 

“We are very pleased to be able to provide comprehensive data on IDP populations, returning IDPs and host communities through our National Displacement Report. This data will help inform humanitarian response, development programming and government policy and advocacy,” said Cecilia Thiam of DTM Ethiopia.

The village assessment survey covered Kemashi, East Harerge, East Wellega, West Harerge, West Guji, Gedeo, Dawa, Fafan and Siti zones. In Round 19, whose data collection began in early September and was concluded in mid-October, coverage continues to expand to capture evolving trends and movements.

For more information, contact Cecilia Thiam, at IOM Ethiopia, Email: cthiam@iom.intor Eric Mazango, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 25, 2019 - 15:10Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsMigration ResearchDefault: Multimedia: 

Children are playing outside displacement camps where the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) is conducting its data collection in Somali region. Photo: IOM

Displacement caseload and causes of displacement in Ethiopia based on site assessment data.

Data collection is ongoing for the Site Assessment at Agamat, in Tigray region. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

First Human Trafficking Case Law Database Launched in Senegal

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 09:11

Dakar – Senegal is an origin, transit, and destination country for many migrants in West and Central Africa who may be subjected to trafficking in persons.

Forced begging is the most prevalent form of trafficking but traffickers also subject youth to domestic servitude, forced labour in gold mines, and sex trafficking. In 2018, 1,100 Senegalese migrants who intended to reach Europe were identified as vulnerable to trafficking in Libya.

Despite Senegal’s significant efforts to identify and assist trafficking survivors, the country’s taskforce against trafficking in persons (TiP) faces a lack of data on survivors, crimes, and traffickers. What’s more, weak networking and information sharing among local authorities and others means coordination of actions across Senegal is impaired.

In this context, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Senegal and the Ministry of Justice, through its National Unit for Combatting Trafficking in Persons (CNLTP) and the Directorate of Criminal Affairs and Amnesty (DACG), has endeavoured to promote the country’s first human trafficking case law database, the Système de suivi de la traite, known as Systraite.

The online system will collect data on trafficking survivors – such as the country or region of origin, age, gender – the types of abuse they faced, and other data including methods of referral procedure before courts and traffickers’ profiles.

This week (21/10), IOM together with CNLTP and DACG held a ceremony in Dakar to launch Systraite. Equipment including computers and internet modems was also handed to judicial personnel such as presidents of juvenile courts and prosecutors.

Prior to the launch, IOM joined the CNLTP and DACG to organized training sessions on the use of the system. Systraite will be deployed in five pilot regions: Dakar, Kedougou, St. Louis, Tambacounda and Thies, the most affected regions in Senegal.

“Collecting data is essential to fight human trafficking as it allows a better tracking of trafficking survivors and thus facilitate the investigation and prosecution of perpetrators,” said Clara Perez, Programme Officer at IOM Senegal.

Since August 2010, the CNLTP has been coordinating national efforts to address TiP, notably through the implementation of the three-year Action Plan (2018-2020) on the strategic axes of prevention, protection, and judicial prosecution of human trafficking.

This activity was implemented with the financial support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State within the framework of the Africa Regional Migration Programme. In the coming months, the project plans to set up the Systraite database in all Senegalese jurisdictions.

For more information, please contact Candide Migan at IOM Senegal, Tel: +221 33 8696200, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 25, 2019 - 14:42Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Six Months after Cyclone Kenneth, Recovery Still in Process in Northern Mozambique

Fri, 10/25/2019 - 09:10

Maputo – Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in northern Mozambique on 25 April with winds over 200km/hour and caused extensive damage in Cabo Delgado and Nampula Provinces to homes, infrastructure and agricultural land.

Cyclone Kenneth arrived just six weeks after Cyclone Idai had made landfall in central Mozambique in March; according to the Government of Mozambique’s Disaster Management Institute (INGC) Cyclone Kenneth affected over 280,000 people.

Since Cyclone Kenneth made landfall, IOM and its partners have assisted over 200,000 affected individuals (more than 40,000 households) with various shelter and non-food items. IOM was present, providing support in the immediate days following Cyclone Kenneth’s landfall, and by rapidly scaling up operations continues to respond to urgent humanitarian assistance and recovery needs.

As of mid-May IOM, had delivered over 7,000 plastic sheets to partners for distribution in Cabo Delgado and Nampula in responding to urgent shelter needs.

In close coordination with the INGC and local actors, IOM provided assistance on Matemo Island, where few buildings were left standing. There, shelter kits were critically needed to assist affected families, over 600 kits were provided in the 2 weeks following the cyclone.

Now six months after this natural disaster, affected communities in northern Mozambique are working towards recovery, and families are attempting to quickly finish rebuilding damaged homes before the pending rainy season arrives, while thousands of families remain in need of humanitarian assistance to support recovery.

“The area was devastated by Cyclone Kenneth. It rained heavily, and people’s belongings were washed away. Three people drowned near the river. Some schools and classrooms fell. The homes which are made of natural materials – mud and branches – began to fall; over 750 homes were damaged or destroyed. People were without food; it was a very difficult time,” said Josefina Ambassi, Chief of Chipene Village, in Memba District, Nampula Province.

“The community is almost healthy again, but there are more than 400 families who are still working on rebuilding or repairing their homes. They are worried about finishing the construction in time before rainy season and building stronger houses that will not fall. They will use the tarpaulins we received to cover their homes – instead of a wet place they will have a safe shelter to protect their children,” Ambassi added.

Yesterday (24/10) IOM provided over 400 households in Chipene Village with relief kits, including a tarp, rope, bucket, water container and kitchen set. In the upcoming week over 3,600 families in Memba District will receive relief kits, funded by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) and by the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

IOM is also providing affected populations with support for Health, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), Protection, and Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM). IOM efforts toward recovery in Cabo Delgado Province include shelter support for 3,000 families to rebuild more durable homes; and rehabilitation of primary schools and a health clinic in heavily affected Mucojo coastal area, projects taking place in collaboration with local partners. These efforts are in collaboration with the Government of Mozambique’s INGC, local authorities and humanitarian partners.

“The effects of Cyclone Kenneth continue to be felt in Northern Mozambique. Though six months have passed, and flood waters have receded, assistance is still needed to facilitate repair of infrastructure, including community spaces,” said IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Katharina Schnoering. “There is real urgency for families to rebuild their homes, as the rainy season is imminent, and further humanitarian assistance is required to facilitate recovery.”

Through the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), IOM conducts regular assessments in displacement sites, collecting information to share with the government and humanitarian partners to inform the response.

According to the most recent IOM DTM report on displacement following Cyclone Kenneth, 24,036 displaced people are currently tracked (across five accommodation centres, one transitional centre, and with host communities) to assess needs and gaps, in support of the humanitarian community and in close coordination with the Government of Mozambique.

DTM webpage:

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

Language English Posted: Friday, October 25, 2019 - 14:52Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM distributes aid in Nampula Province, Mozambique. Photo: IOM 

IOM distributes aid in Nampula Province, Mozambique. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Joint Statement by the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs, IOM, OCHA and UNHCR to mark the 10th Anniversary of the Adoption of the Kampala Convention

Wed, 10/23/2019 - 13:07

New York - Africa is marking today the 10th anniversary of the adoption of the African Union Convention for the Protection and Assistance of Internally Displaced Persons in Africa. Also known as the Kampala Convention, this ground-breaking treaty has so far been ratified by 28 countries on the continent. 

As the world’s first and only continent-wide legally binding instrument for the protection and assistance of internally displaced persons (IDPs), the Kampala Convention is a testament to the determination of African States to address the multiple challenges of IDPs. The treaty incorporates the basic elements of the 1998 UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement and outlines the responsibilities of States and other actors.  

Internal displacement remains a significant problem in countries across Africa, with more than 17.8 million people being displaced by conflict and violence. Women and children constitute the vast majority of those affected.  

We fully recognize the role and contribution that the Convention has made in preventing displacement across Africa, providing effective responses to displacement crises and supporting solutions for displacement situations, whether triggered by armed conflicts, violence or the effects of climate change and disasters.   

We also welcome and support the decision of the Assembly of the African Union to declare 2019 as the ‘Year of Refugees, Returnees and Internally Displaced Persons: Towards Durable Solutions to Forced Displacement in Africa’. This commemorative decision is an important opportunity to take stock of progress in implementing the Convention and identify outstanding challenges.  

Now is the time to fully translate the Kampala Convention into practice. We applaud all countries that have ratified the Convention and taken concrete steps to realize the spirit and letter of the treaty, including through developing relevant national laws and policies. We welcome the latest accession by the Republic of South Sudan to the Convention and call on all those that have not ratified and domesticated the Convention to do so without delay.   

We also welcome the announcement earlier today of the United Nations Secretary-General to establish a High-level Panel on Internal Displacement to increase global attention on displaced persons and develop concrete recommendations to improve the response.    

We furthermore call on member States of the African Union, international organizations and other partners to support the full and effective participation of both displaced and host communities in the implementation of the Convention. We also call on the international community to do more to strengthen its assistance and solidarity with countries and communities coping with internal displacement, including through a more collaborative and strategic approach and innovative financing mechanisms.  

For more information on this topic, please contact: 

For the Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons: Martina Caterina,, +41 22 739 7060 

IOM: Leonard Doyle, +41 79 285 71 23 

OCHA, Jens Laerke, Deputy Spokesperson, OCHA, Tlf  + 41 22 917 1142,   

UNHCR: Shabia Mantoo,, +41 79 337 76 50 

Language English Posted: Wednesday, October 23, 2019 - 13:05Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Marisha is one of almost five million people internally displaced in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Muse Mohammed/IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Solidarity Conference Calls for Action as Venezuelans Depart in Droves

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 20:51

Joint Press Release by the European Union, UNHCR and IOM 

Brussels - The dramatic flight of millions of Venezuelans has resulted in one of the direst displacement crises in the world and the largest in the recent history of the region. Nearly 80 per cent of the approximately 4.5 million Venezuelans who left their country have remained in Latin America or the Caribbean. 

Calling for urgent and concerted action for Venezuelan refugees and migrants, the European Union, together with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), are organising a high-level International Solidarity Conference next week on 28 and 29 October in Brussels. 

The conference will be hosted by Federica Mogherini, High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission, IOM Director General António Vitorino, UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi, and UNHCR/IOM Joint Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants Eduardo Stein.   

Countries in the region continue to show solidarity towards Venezuelans, ensuring people can move freely, access social services and integrate into local economies and communities – but the capacity and resources of national authorities and host communities are reaching a breaking point. More international support is needed to support Venezuelan refugees and migrants. 

"The European Union and its partners are renewing their commitment to the Venezuelan people. When 4.5 million people are on the move, action is needed and we will keep acting," said High Representative/Vice-President Federica Mogherini.  

“This is a moment to call for even greater support for Venezuelan refugees, migrants and their host communities by the international community. We want to raise awareness about the gravity of this crisis, we want to confirm and increase international support for a regional and coordinated response. The EU is already the leading donor and key political player, providing over €170 million since 2018 in support of the Venezuelan people.” 

“Countries and communities in Latin American and the Caribbean who have welcomed millions of Venezuelans deserve and need our support,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino. “The international community including donors, cooperation agencies and the private sector need to double down to ensure help arrives for the most vulnerable and those supporting them.” 

Ministers and high-level officials from Latin America and the Caribbean and Members States of the European Union will attend together with UN agencies, international cooperation agencies, NGOs, private sector companies, civil society organizations and development actors including international financial institutions.  

“This conference is a unique opportunity to bring together all the actors involved in the response,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi. “Together we are sending a strong message to Venezuelan refugees and migrants and their generous hosts in Latin America and the Caribbean, that the world has not forgotten them and that we will support them in their moment of need.” 

The International Solidarity Conference – which brings together humanitarian and development actors, the private sector, civil society, international financial institutions, as well as host and donor governments – aims to raise awareness of the crisis, reaffirm global commitments to host countries and communities, assess best practices and achievements, confirm international support for a coordinated regional response and call for greater international technical and financial cooperation with the region.  

Multi-media material, including B-roll and photos, here

For more information on this topic, please contact:  


In Geneva: Angela Wells,, +41 79 403 53 65 
In Brussels: Ryan Schroeder,, +32 492 25 02 34 


In Geneva: Liz Throssell,, + 41 79 33 77 591 
In Geneva: William Spindler,, +507 63827815 
In Brussels: Maeve Patterson,, +32 470 99 54 35  

European Union (In Brussels):  

Maja Kocijancic -, +32 2 298 65 70
Christina Wunder,, +32 2 299 22 56 
Xavier Cifre Quatresols,, +32 2 297 35 82 

More on the International Solidarity Conference here



Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 20:18Image: Region-Country: Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)Themes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

Juan (26) and Genesys (29) carry their daughter across the Simon Bolivar International Bridge, one of the main border crossings that connects Colombia and Venezuela.  Approximately 1.4 million Venezuelans are currently in Colombia. Many have their sights set on other South American countries where they hope to start a new life. Photo: Muse Mohammed/IOM

Venezuelans cross the Puente Internacional Simón Bolívar, the most traversed border point connecting Venezuela and Colombia in the Department of Norte de Santander. Approximately 50,000 Venezuelans cross into Colombia through the three official border crossings in this department every day.   Photo: Angela Wells/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mongolia Tackles Development Challenges Posed by Internal Migration

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 11:00

Ulaanbaatar – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a four-year project funded by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), to improve understanding and management of internal migration in Mongolia. 

After experiencing the collapse of the economic and social safety-net systems in the aftermath of the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Mongolia has faced an uneven development path impacted by natural disasters, including extremely cold winters (dzuds), droughts and floods. 

As a result, the capital, Ulaanbaatar, has become a magnet for Mongolians seeking safety, better economic opportunities and social services. It is now home to an estimated 1.4 million people or about half of Mongolia’s total population. Of these, about 600,000 live in the ger areas – spaces on the edge of the city where impoverished internal migrants have set up their traditional tent-houses.  

In 2017, IOM, with the support from SDC, embarked on a pilot project to research the issue. Two research papers: Mongolia Internal Migration Study and Urban Migrant Vulnerability Assessment pushed internal migration up the national and local government agenda and formulated a theory of change for necessary interventions. 

“Internal migration is now the most pressing issue in the country and my ministry welcomes this (new) project’s commitment to mainstream it into policy and management,” said State Secretary of the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection (MLSP) Gombosuren Unurbayar.  

Under the 2019-2023 project, IOM will work with the National Statistics Office (NSO) and the Ulaanbaatar Emergency Management Agency (UBEMA) to strengthen the government’s capacity to produce and analyse high-quality data on internal migration.  

The project will also work with the MLSP and the Municipality of Ulaanbaatar to support the production of thematic research studies which will mainstream evidence-based migration governance. The recommendations will be operationalized in a Policy Roadmap that will help the government and civil society to reduce the vulnerability of internal migrants through improved access to information, services and targeted interventions. 

“This partnership will be the driving force behind the project’s ultimate goal – to create the conditions for improved socio-economic well-being of internal migrants, thereby promoting inclusive growth, economic opportunities and social protection for vulnerable groups – a key aspiration of Mongolia Sustainable Development Vision 2030,” said IOM Chief of Mission for China and Mongolia Giuseppe Crocetti. 

SDC’s Deputy Director of Cooperation and First Secretary in Mongolia Benoît Meyer-Bisch added: “In Mongolia, like elsewhere in the world, migration is a big challenge, but also a great opportunity. The Swiss Government sees migration as cross-cutting and therefore posing a risk to development. This project will provide direct services to migrants, will help to develop policies and a plan of action, and will take a multi-stakeholder approach in partnership with the government and NGOs.” 

For more information please contact Joana Bala at IOM Mongolia, Tel: +976 94637810, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: MongoliaThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

Impoverished ‘ger’ settlements on the outskirts of Ulaanbataar are now home to some 600,000 migrants. Photo: IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Somalia’s 2.6m Internally Displaced Citizens in Need of Water, Shelter and Health

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 10:59

Nairobi – Somalia has for almost three decades been in the throes of conflict; now add the most recent drought and the result is displacement and food shortages. 

There are reports of urgent need for assistance among the most affected regions, such as Baidoa. 

In the first half of the year, forced displacement in Somalia was primarily due to insecurity, drought and floods, and currently a total of 2.6 million people remain displaced within the country.  

Following the declaration of a severe drought in the Horn of Africa region, aid agencies, in collaboration with the Government of Somalia, launched a Drought Impact Response Plan in June.  

Of the 15 million people living in Somalia, 5.4 million (about 30%) were estimated to be food insecure with 2.2 million of these in severe acute food insecurity conditions. 

More than half of the population lives in poverty with the highest poverty rates found in displacement settlements, with affected populations mainly coming from Lower Shabelle, Bakool, Bay and Sanaag and heading towards Middle Shabelle and Banadir.  

Baidoa, the capital of Bay region, hosts one of the largest IDP populations in Somalia. According to figures compiled by the international community, as of September 2019, Baidoa had 359,994 internally displaced persons, consisting of 51,322 households on 435 sites. 

Ali Ahmed, an IOM field officer in Baidoa said: “We have new arrivals here coming every day, every week...The biggest gap for the new arrivals is food, water and shelter – that is the main challenge.” 

IOM’s Chief of Mission in Somalia Dyane Epstein said: “The needs are immense, and IOM is working together with the government, communities, and international partners to provide the much-needed support, ensuring their basic needs are met.” 

In all, the East and Horn of Africa region had 8.1 million IDPs and 3.5 million refugees and asylum-seekers as of June. 

Largely due to prolonged conflict, Somalia also has a considerable refugee population abroad, nearly 900,000, according to UNHCR’s Global Trends Report issued in June 2019. The majority were staying in Kenya (34.7%), Ethiopia (26.4%) and Yemen (34%), in addition to 6 per cent hosted by other countries.   

Somalia itself hosted 17,000 refugees and asylum-seekers who were mainly settled in Woqooyi Galbeed, Bari and Banadir. Mainly from Ethiopia, Yemen and other countries, including Syria, Tanzania and Eritrea.  

For more information, contact Jan Van’t Land at IOM Somalia, Email: iomsomaliapsu@iom or Wilson Johwa at IOM Nairobi, Tel: +254 701 838 029, Email:   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

A total of 2.6 million people remain displaced in Somalia. Photo: IOM  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Promotes Reintegration of Returnees in Honduras

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 10:59

Juticalpa – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) delivered seed capital to 25 migrants returned to Honduras, in order to take productive actions as part of their sustainable reintegration process. 

The USD 25,000 invested will allow the beneficiaries to buy raw material, merchandise or work equipment, depending on the type of enterprise. The supported initiatives are distributed in various sectors of the economy such as industry, agribusiness, commerce and services. 

Beneficiaries receive approximately USD 1,000 per person, depending on the scale of their enterprise. One IOM official explained the process as follows: IOM makes a study of each case; an IOM team purchases the items required for each enterprise. Beneficiaries participate in a training process to strengthen their project ideas and transform them into a business plan with a long-term vision. 

One such beneficiary is Marcia Berónica Elvir, of Catacamas, in Honduras’ Olancho province. She recently returned from Mexico, having travelled there irregularly, with hopes of starting her own beauty salon.  

“Shortly after returning to Honduras, I decided to start my business,” she recalled. “IOM supported me with the purchase of dyes, shampoo, enamel and other materials, but also with training such as ‘Sales Strategies’ and ‘Teamwork,’ which have helped me greatly to improve my business plan. I am satisfied with what I have achieved, even now I have two girls employed working with me.” 

She affirms she will not migrate irregularly again. 

IOM beneficiaries participated in workshops organized by the National Professional Training Institute of Honduras (INFOP) and the Lutheran World Federation, and included a learning of basic administration, marketing and sales tools, as well as the proper management of their finances. Entrepreneurs were also provided with psychosocial support. 

“Migrants are entrepreneurs, with innovative skills and abilities, who seek to contribute to their family and the Honduran economy,” said Roberto Canizales, IOM Project Coordinator in Honduras. “They contribute to the generation of sustainable development opportunities, to the reduction of irregular migration and to a better migration management.”  

This project favours the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically those that promote resilience in vulnerable situations; the elimination of all forms of violence; full and effective participation of women and equal leadership opportunities. It also contributes to the achievement of the SDG goals related to the promotion of policies for the development of productive activities, creation of decent jobs, and entrepreneurship; and with the facilitation of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility. 

Both the delivery of seed capital and the training process took place within the framework of the Trinational Project for Resilience and Social Cohesion in North Central America, an initiative of the United Nations Peacebuilding Fund (PBF), implemented by the UN Agency for Refugees (UNHCR), IOM and the UN Development Programme. 

The event was chaired by Humberto Madrid Zerón, Mayor of Juticalpa; Carlos Rivera, National Coordinator of the Lutheran World Federation; Santiago Vargas, RED Project Coordinator; Sergio Matamoros, Regional Coordinator of INFOP; and Roberto Canizales, IOM Project Coordinator in Honduras. 

For more information please contact Ismael Cruceta at IOM Honduras, Tel: +504 9457-3685, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: HondurasThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

The supported initiatives are distributed in various sectors of the economy such as industry, agribusiness, commerce and services. Photo: IOM/Ismael Cruceta 

"Migrants are entrepreneurs, with innovative skills and abilities, who seek to contribute to their family and the Honduran economy," said Roberto Canizales, IOM Project Coordinator in Honduras. Photo: IOM/Ismael Cruceta 

The beneficiaries participated in a training process to strengthen their project ideas and transform them into a business plan with a long-term vision. Photo: IOM/Ismael Cruceta 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UNCCT, IOM Join Forces to Combat Trans-national Organized Crime and Terrorism in Asia

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 10:58

Bangkok – The United Nations Counter-Terrorism Centre (UNCCT) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) hosted a three-day regional workshop to improve cooperation in border management and to combat terrorism and transnational organized crime in Asia. 

Southeast Asia suffers from various types of transnational organized crime, including the trafficking and smuggling of people, drugs and weapons. Coordinated border management is widely recognized as an effective means to combat these problems, according to IOM Immigration and Border Management (IBM) specialist Donato Colucci. 

He noted that while governments in the region have invested heavily in ambitious cross-border trade and infrastructure initiatives, they now also need to commit to investing in coordinated border management policies and initiatives.  

“This will require international cooperation and a coordinated, cross-border response by multiple agencies, as well as capacity building,” Colucci said. 

The Bangkok event brought together senior officials from government departments responsible for border security and management in Thailand, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Maldives, Viet Nam, Cambodia and the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. 

Delegates included representatives from customs, immigration, defence and security forces, counter-terrorism investigation bureaus and transnational crime prevention offices. Speakers included experts from UNCCT, IOM, UNODC, IATA and INTERPOL.  

“This workshop was a pivotal platform for all the stakeholders  to network and learn about international best practices to promote a whole-of-government approach for a more comprehensive and better coordinated response to complex security issues that countries face or may face in the future,” said IOM Thailand Chief of Mission, Dana Graber Ladek. 

For more information, please contact Donato Colucci at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific, Tel: +66 632718804, Email: or Panitee Nuykram at IOM Thailand, Tel: +66 23439370, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: ThailandThemes: Capacity BuildingIntegrated Border ManagementInternational and Regional CooperationDefault: Multimedia: 

Delegates meet in Bangkok to discuss the role of border management in combatting terrorism and transnational organized crime. Photo: IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Participatory Dance to Strengthen Resilience to Violent Extremism in Niger

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 10:57

Niamey – The Tillabéri region, located in southwest Niger, straddles Niger’s borders with Mali and Burkina Faso. The region is characterized by fragile stability and today sits threatened by various economic and security risks concentrated at this three-state border zone.

Lack of effective border control and tensions over limited available resources have made Tillabéri a volatile area. Ethnic conflict has been a determining factor in the development of violent extremist organizations (VEOs) and criminal groups that occupy and regularly cross the region’s border areas.

This month (October), IOM’s Community Cohesion Initiative (NCCI) in Niger organized a rather unique response to these tensions: dance. IOM promoted a 10-day training in participatory dance in Niamey, Niger’s capital, for four dance troupes from the departments of Bankilaré, Ayorou and Téra – all in the conflict-affected region of Tillabéri – as well as for ten professional dancers from Niamey.

Around since 2014 and funded by the USAID/Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI), the NCCI programme addresses key drivers of conflict, including youth unemployment, increased reach of VEOs, and long-held feelings of exclusion among different ethnic groups.

Following their training sessions, the troupes took part in the “Rue Dance Niger” festival. There they performed participatory dances in the streets of Niamey. These performances offered youth from challenging environments opportunities to share their daily experiences and aspirations for a better future.

The festival, organized at the Centre Culturel-Franco Nigérien Jean Rouch (CCFN) in Niamey, gathered both professional and amateur dance troupes from Niger, neighbouring countries and France, and gave them a platform to perform in front of hundreds of people from mixed socio-economic backgrounds.

 “Niger has long been known for its traditions of peace and tolerance between various ethnic groups, and activities such as this restore that vital inter-community dynamic,” said Alan Bobbett, NCCI Chief of Party and Programme Manager. “It was inspiring to watch the troupes practice and to hear their stories. Community events and festivals such as this have been a casualty of the armed groups operating along the borders of Niger.”

Added Amadou, one of the trainees: “This training has really opened our minds to see the role we, the youth, must play in bringing back peace and security to our regions. As a Nigerien, it has been very interesting for me to learn different forms of dance from other communities.”

The programme partnered with famous Nigerien choreographer Maman Sani to create a space for positive youth engagement and expression. Music, dance and theatre have been identified by the programme as a powerful means for youth to promote alternative narratives and convey messages of peace and cohesion that can efficiently contribute to increasing the affected communities' resilience to violent extremism.

NCCI strives to empower youth leaders across western Tillabéri to play an active role in creating and promoting narratives to counter violent extremism. This activity aims to enhance youth's resistance to these groups and increase the ability of local communities based in Tillabéri to address threats by violent armed groups.

While the activity aimed first and foremost to allow young artists from departments confronted with insecurity to become strong actors of social change, it also helped give a more positive image of the Tillabéri region. The youth’s performance integrated traditional dances from their region, portraying the rich culture of Tillabéri to the public in Niamey.

The PCCN programme previously supported the participation of dance troupes from Abala and Diffa in last year’s edition, through which youth from these departments successfully engaged with the audience on sensitive topics such as peace and reconciliation. In Diffa and Tillabéri, the programme has also used ancestral storytelling, traditional singing and theatre workshops to engage youth and build resilient communities.

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Community StabilizationDefault: Multimedia: 

Four dance troupes from the conflicted-affected region of Tillabéri participated in the famous festival Rue Dance Niger in Niamey this October. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo

Four dance troupes from the conflicted-affected region of Tillabéri participated in the famous festival Rue Dance Niger in Niamey this October. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Theatre Helps Raise Awareness on Human Trafficking in Most Affected Regions in Nigeria

Tue, 10/22/2019 - 10:57

Benin City – The city of Benin in southern Nigeria was once the capital of the former Edo Kingdom of Benin, one of the oldest states in West Africa. It dates back to the 11th century.  

Little remains of that kingdom. The once-mighty city is now the main “sender” place of origin of Nigerians migrating irregularly towards Libya in search of greener pastures in Europe.

To inform local youth about trafficking in persons and other risks of irregular migration, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized on 18 October three theatre performances in the Edo state capital. The performances marked the completion of an eight-month training in 17 communities in Edo and Delta states, two key migration-prone areas in Africa’s most populous country.  

The open-air event brought together close to 100 individuals, who gathered to raise awareness about the plight of thousands of people who have suffered deception, abuse and exploitation along their migration journeys. Since early 2017, IOM has assisted some 15,171 men and women to voluntarily return to Nigeria. Most returned from Libya, Niger and Mali under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.  

Of those, 42 per cent came from Edo. The theatre project grouped 44 men and 33 women into five troupes performing 47 shows in 115 communities in Edo and Delta. From July through September this summer, those performances reached 8,403 individuals.

“Most of the actors are seeing theatre for the first time, so the training wasn’t easy. But I’m elated with the outcome,” said Lancelot Imasuen, a renown Nollywood filmmaker who led the project. “A lot of these people have the talent to pursue acting; some of them are even performing at the national arts and culture festival taking place this week in Benin City.”  

Together with Imasuen, IOM helped audition the actors and performers and equipped them with materials, musical instruments and props. Imasuen, who directed the three plays titled Empty Waka, Dance of the Migrants and Trafficked, trained the participants on directing, script development, stage management, set and costume design, and make-up.

“We selected returnees, students, potential migrants, and their families to promote social cohesion as we have witnessed that many returnees face stigmatization upon return to their communities,” explained Cyprine Cheptepkeny, IOM Nigeria Awareness Raising Officer. “We chose theatre as an awareness raising tool to pass on the message in an entertaining way, going beyond the traditional information channels,” she added.

Those watching the plays in markets and other public spaces say they have been impacted by the stories. At one performance, a woman among the audience shared the story of her daughter. Based on that testimony, IOM was able to identify the daughter as a victim of trafficking. Following further investigation, IOM staff referred the case to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

“In ancient Greece, theatre was seen as an instrument for social development and a means to express belief, approval or disapproval, pain and suffering,” said Eleni Zerzelidou, EU Project Officer, Migration and Drugs. “Community theatre nowadays goes beyond that. It comes from the community and it can help the community develop capacities for critical thinking on human trafficking and other issues affecting them.”

This project is part of IOM’s wider efforts to promote safe migration channels in Nigeria. At the end of October, IOM will organize the ‘Music for Safe Migration’ concert in Benin City, among other sensitization activities. The event was funded by the European Union through the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF).  

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 815 5263 827, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 22, 2019 - 16:11Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

The plays directed by Lancelot Imasuen are based on testimonies from returnees about their suffering along the migration route. Photo: Jorge Galindo/IOM 

The plays directed by Lancelot Imasuen are based on testimonies from returnees about their suffering along the migration route. Photo: Jorge Galindo/IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN