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Updated: 16 min 58 sec ago

Ending Modern Slavery

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 12:34

By William Lacy Swing, Director General of the United Nations migration agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

NEW YORK—Two centuries ago, right here in this city soon to emerge as the world’s center of commerce, a coalition of clergy, government officials, business leaders and rescued victims rose to fight the scourge of human slavery.

Their cause was Abolitionism and it became the world’s first transnational human rights movement.

Thanks to Abolitionism, businesses that depended on human bondage would no longer be tolerated. Soon they would be illegal. Slavery, which had endured since antiquity, was driven first from the English-speaking world and, eventually, everywhere else.

Or was it? We are here this week to examine a problem that’s risen in today’s increasingly globalised economy. To put it in blunt terms, the “chains” of historic slavery have in some cases been replaced with invisible ones: deception, debt bondage, unethical recruitment. It may be an infection buried within the supply chains of sophisticated global industries—like fishing, logging or textile manufacturing.

Or it can be hidden in plain sight—on any street corner where sex is sold for money.

Its victims number in the tens of millions. At any moment in 2016 forced labor—and its twin scourge, forced marriage—enslaved an estimated 40.3 million men, women and children worldwide, this according to research being released here this week during the opening of the United Nations General Assembly.

While many consider slavery a phenomenon of the past, it is a plague that is still very much with us. Criminals worldwide continue to find new ways to exploit vulnerable adults and children, undermine their human rights and extract their labor by force. Whether this takes the form of the sexual enslavement of women or the recruitment and trafficking of men forced to labor, no continent, and no country, is free today of this threat to human rights and human dignity.

On 19 September, Alliance 8.7, the global partnership to end forced labor, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labor, will bring together key partners representing governments, United Nations (UN) organizations, the private sector, workers’ organizations and civil society to launch new global estimates of modern slavery and child labor.

The global estimate of modern slavery was developed by the International Labor Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with my organization, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is also the United Nations global migration agency.

Accurate and reliable data are vital tools in tackling complex social challenges like modern slavery. The estimates prepared by Alliance 8.7 will not only raise international awareness about such violations, but will also provide a sound basis for policymakers around the world to make strategic decisions and enable development partners to address funding gaps.

Drawing on in-depth responses from thousands of face-to-face interviews conducted in 48 countries, combined with comprehensive data sets about the experiences of victims of human trafficking from the IOM, the global estimates of modern slavery will provide valuable insight into the numbers behind modern slavery with specific information regarding region, group and gender.

Among the findings to be presented here this week:

Since 2012, 89 million people experienced some form of modern slavery, some for periods as brief as a few days, others for many years.

Debt bondage affected half of all victims of forced labor.

Women and girls accounted for 71 per cent of total modern slavery victims.

One in four victims of modern slavery were children.

Such data, sadly, reveal only one facet of this ongoing tragedy: its global scale. The hard work of rescuing victims reveals how deeply modern slavery affects whole families.

Recently, IOM’s Global Assistance Fund for victims of trafficking and other migrants in vulnerable situations contributed to assisting 600 men from foreign fishing boats enslaved in Indonesian waters. Some had not been on dry land for years. One victim told IOM he had been separated from his family, without any contact, for 22 years.

There should be no mystery as to why this has become such a concern of IOM. We call for migration that is safe, legal and secure for all. Safe and legal migration means mobility managed transparently by the world’s governments, instead of hidden in a labyrinth of criminal netherworlds.

Migration that is secure for all means just that: for all. Governments need not wonder who is sneaking tonight across some unguarded border. Employers need not worry their new hire is, unknown to them, a debt-slave bound to a “recruiter” who is pocketing their pay—even as he or she increases the debt burden on the victim. Families need not dread what has become of a son, or daughter, who leaves home for a distant opportunity—and then is never heard from again.

So please join me in this fight against global slavery. The struggle may be centuries old but, in some ways, it’s just beginning.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 12:25Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Assists National Consultations on Global Compact on Migration in Ghana

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:23

Accra – The Ministry of Interior of Ghana, in collaboration with IOM, the UN Migration Agency, held a one-day national multi-stakeholder consultation forum on 15 September to support Ghana’s contribution to the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

The national consultation, which is part of the broader consultations on the development of the GCM, provided an opportunity for key stakeholders including, government ministries, departments, agencies, private sector actors, civil society organizations, academia and media to share their specific experience and identify ways forward on the issue of safe, orderly and regular migration.

Priority areas and recommendations included improved coordination, improved education and employment opportunities, capacity building of relevant stakeholders, awareness raising campaigns, harnessing the development potential of diaspora through facilitating remittance sending and investment options in Ghana, greater collaboration with the private sector and more regular channels of migrating for education and employment.

The Deputy Minister for Interior, Henry Quartey, stressed the need to produce recommendations: “In your deliberations, I want you to be guided by the challenges that confronts this nation as a result of the complex migration dynamics in the country. The recommendations from this meeting must be a true reflection of the national priorities and the reality when it comes to the management of migration.”

Sylvia Ekra-Lopez, Chief of Mission for IOM Ghana, said, “The national consultations on the GCM offer an opportunity to strengthen the contribution of migrants to development. It is important that consultation, which goes beyond a whole of government approach to a whole of community approach, impacts the life of the young Ghanaian men and women, who take the decision to undertake unsafe, disorderly and irregular migration. It is for this voiceless group that we are holding the meeting today.”

Yahya Danjuma of the Sahara Hustlers Association, a group formed by a returnee as a way to sensitize migrants on the dangers of irregular migration and trafficking, explained during a panel discussion on the drivers of irregular migration: “We are undertaking that perilous journey, not because we don’t know the dangers, but because we want an improvement in our lives. If we stay here we are not likely to get a decent job. Our best bet is to travel,” Danjuma said.

The Global Compact on Migration is expected to be adopted by member states at an intergovernmental conference on international migration in 2018. The goals of the compact are aligned with target 10.7 (Facilitate orderly, safe and responsible migration and mobility of people) of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Key aims included contributing to global governance of migration and a framework for comprehensive international cooperation on migrants and human mobility.

IOM will continue to follow up with participants as the inputs for Ghana are finalized for inclusion in the compact. 

The event was funded through the project Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Ghana which is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF).

For more information, contact Eric Kwame Akomanyi at IOM Ghana, Tel: +233 20 5549 243 or +233 302 742 930 ext 240, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: GhanaThemes: Global CompactGlobal Compact on MigrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Supports Pakistan’s Registration of Undocumented Afghans

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:22

Pakistan – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is backing a Pakistan government initiative to register up to a million unregistered Afghans believed to be living in Pakistan.

The documentation process, which was approved by Pakistan’s cabinet in February as part of the country’s Policy on the Repatriation and Management of Afghans, started on August 16th and has now registered some 70,000 Afghans.

The registration aims to meet a need among undocumented Afghans by providing them with identification credentials in form of Afghan Citizen Cards (ACC) that will allow them to legally live in Pakistan temporarily.

The process is being led by Pakistan’s National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) and Ministry of States and Frontier Regions (SAFRON), in close coordination with Afghanistan’s Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation.

NADRA has set up 21 centers across Pakistan to implement the programme. Most of the documentation to date has taken place at centers in the KP province. But centers in other cities including Lahore, Karachi and Quetta have also registered significant numbers.

IOM Pakistan Chief of Mission Davide Terzi said: “The registration process is a timely and positive government intervention, which is welcomed by IOM and other international partners. We see this exercise as an important step towards addressing complex challenges faced by the Afghan community residing in Pakistan due to lack of identity documents and we hope that it will help the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan to enhance bilateral cooperation on migration management.”

IOM is supporting the documentation process. In coordination with Pakistan’s Chief Commissionerate of Afghan Refugees (CCAR), it has launched an information campaign through print media and radio, to enhance awareness of the process among undocumented Afghans.

The organization has also deployed staff to various documentation centers across Pakistan to monitor the process and inform authorities about the challenges. IOM is also providing technical support to both governments to manage the process in a humane and orderly manner.

For further information please contact Junaid Arshad Khan at IOM Pakistan. Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: PakistanThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Mohmand and his family are among thousands of undocumented Afghans families living in Pakistan. Families like these will now be able to regularize their stay in Pakistan for a limited time through the documentation exercise initiated by the government in last month. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Lack of Data on Children and Women Migrant Deaths Highlighted in New UN Migration Agency Report

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:19

Berlin – Between January 2014 and June 2017 IOM´s Missing Migrants Project recorded 665 migrant children deaths, a figure which is likely to be three times as high based on the number of children migrating, both accompanied and unaccompanied, worldwide. The lack of information and data disaggregation by gender and age is highlighted in the recently launched report Fatal Journeys Volume 3 – Part 1: Improving Data on Missing Migrants, prepared by IOM´s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre.

In the Mediterranean, the deaths of 658 women and 532 children have been confirmed out of nearly 13,000 total fatalities recorded in three and a half years. However, the age and gender of more than 10,000 migrant deaths in the Mediterranean is unknown.

As stressed in the report, collecting and analysing data on migrant deaths and disappearances is hampered by several challenges. Information on age and gender of the deceased specifically is highly contingent on the identification of bodies. As a consequence, in incidents in which many migrants are lost in shipwrecks, the gender and age breakdown of the decedents remains unknown. This is of concern given that the majority of migrant deaths globally are recorded as taking place over water.

Additionally, despite women representing just under half of the world’s migrant population (117 million in 2015), many data sources implicitly or explicitly assume that migrant populations are dominated by adult males.

Media articles on migrant deaths often fail to mention the gender and age of the decedents, as do nearly all aggregate figures from NGO and official sources. This means that female and child migrants who die during their journeys may not be identified as such, especially in situations complicated by trafficking.

Differing policies and practises used to track and record arrivals of migrants from country to country make developing strategies to estimate more accurate numbers of female and children among the dead more difficult.

For instance, while the number of unaccompanied or separated child arrivals is publicly available information in Greece and Italy, in Spain it is not. Children may also avoid being registered by authorities, or claim to be older than 18 so that they can continue their journeys and not be taken into protection.

As a result of these difficulties, the completeness of migrant deaths data varies greatly by region. Of the incidents of death recorded by the Missing Migrants Project, only half of incidents have information on either age or gender, but the proportion in each region around the world ranges from 5 to 85 per cent.

Consequently, the 4,207 migrant decedents who were identified as men, women or children represent less than 20 per cent of the more than 22,500 migrant deaths recorded between January 2014 and June 2017.

Expanding data collection and reporting could enable empirical analysis of trends in migrant fatalities, which could further strengthen policies and programmes to reduce risks on migrant routes. Where possible, this data should be sex- and age-disaggregated, to lead to identification of the dead, and to better understand the risks specific to women and children on migration routes worldwide.

Fatal Journeys Volume 3 was funded by the UK’s Department for International Development and can be found here: 

For more information, please contact: 
Julia Black, Missing Migrants Project in Berlin, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Frank Laczko, IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre in Berlin, Tel: + 49 30 278 778 20, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 16:36Image: Region-Country: GermanyThemes: Migration ResearchMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Child Protection on Eastern and Central Mediterranean Migration Routes Focus of Ljubljana Conference

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:19

Ljubljana Over 100,000 migrant and refugee children arrived in Europe via the Central and Eastern Mediterranean routes in 2016 alone. More than two thirds of these were unaccompanied or separated children at high risk of exploitation.

As many as 75 per cent of the children and adolescents who travelled on the Central Mediterranean route suffered at least one indicator of exploitation, violence or abuse according to the IOM-UNICEF report Harrowing Journeys released on Tuesday (14/09). 

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and its partners with European Union (EU) support are working to enhance the protection and safeguarding of asylum seeking, refugee and migrant children who find themselves on the Eastern and Central Mediterranean migration routes. This work was the focus of a regional conference organized by IOM in Ljubljana last week (13/09).  

“Migrant children are extremely vulnerable. The perils that shadow children on these routes have demonstrated the urgent need for an integrated approach to child protection and a transnational response to better cater to the needs of these girls and boys,” said Irina Todorova, IOM’s Senior Regional Thematic Specialist for Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants, based in Brussels.

The purpose of the conference was to enable mutual learning, exchange and harmonization of approaches and services for migrant children. It attracted over 50 national authorities and representatives from UN agencies, NGOs, embassies, academia and the media from Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hungary, Italy, Serbia and Slovenia.

Boštjan Šefic, State Secretary of the Slovenian Ministry of the Interior, said that while the number of migrant and refugee arrivals has decreased on the Eastern Mediterranean route, systemic improvements and continuous preparedness for a regional response were still needed.
“We cannot become complacent. We have to remember that our response must always take children’s vulnerability and protection needs into consideration,” Šefic said.

At the conference, representatives from participating countries described the steps taken to improve the protection of children on the move in Europe, with emphasis on the challenge of identification, referral and assistance for unaccompanied migrant children and children victims of human trafficking and other forms of violence and exploitation.

Enhanced integration measures and initiatives were promoted not only as a social necessity, but also as a key protection measure.

“If migrants are not properly integrated, they can be subject to trafficking because trafficking is based on exploitation,” said Sandi Čurin, the Slovenian National Coordinator for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings.

Participants stressed the need to improve the integration of children in educational systems, including through the support of cultural mediators and psychosocial assistance.

Adriano Silvestri, from the EU’s Fundamental Rights Agency noted a worrying tendency towards the increased use of detention of migrant children in the EU.

“A significant number of children are in immigration detention; this concerns unaccompanied migrant children, but particularly children in families,” Silvestri said.

Systematic screening and training of all actors working with and for children – especially on the front line – and continued efforts from Member States on improving guardianship systems to better cater for the specific needs of migrant children, were among the key takeaways from the day.

The importance of family reunification was repeatedly underlined as a legal and safe way to reunite families and prevent children from going missing.

The event was organized within the framework of an IOM regional project called Protecting Children in the Context of the Refugee and Migrant Crisis in Europe. The project is supported by the European Commission's Directorate-General for Justice and Consumers.

The project, which will run until January 2018, aims to improve the protection of migrant children in those European Union Member States, which have in recent years experienced an increased number of arrivals of migrants and refugees, including particularly vulnerable unaccompanied and separated children.

For more information, please contact Balazs Lehel at IOM Hungary, Tel: +36 147 22 508, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 16:37Image: Region-Country: HungaryThemes: Capacity BuildingHumanitarian EmergenciesMigrants RightsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Download the publication here

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 131,772 in 2017; Deaths Reach 2,556

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:17

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 131,772 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 17 September, with over 75 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 300,076 arrivals across the region through 17 September 2016.

IOM Rome reported on Monday, 18 September that, according to official figures from the Italian Ministry of Interior, 3,407 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy this month through 17 days, which nearly matches the 3,914 that arrived through 31 days of August (see chart below) and represents an increase of almost 2,000 arrivals just in the past week.

Arrivals by Sea in Italy
January - September 2017/2016/2015
(Source: Italian Ministry of Interior)  





































(as of 17/09)



Early on Saturday morning, 16 September, around 1,074 migrants on one wooden and five rubber boats were rescued at sea off Azzawiyah. Among the rescued migrants were 17 children. The rescued migrants, the majority of them from Nigeria, Senegal and Ghana were transferred to Shuhada al Nasr detention centre where they received health assistance from IOM. Since many migrants suffered from scabies, IOM is planning an anti-scabies operation at the detention centre. IOM will also distribute non-food aid and provide psychosocial support. The following day, on Sunday, 17 September, around 1,000 more migrants were rescued at sea off Subratah.

The total number of migrants rescued so far this year in Libyan waters, is 16,437.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia on Monday (18 September) said that according to the Hellenic Coast Guard, there were at least five incidents off the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Anafi and Chios this past weekend that required search and rescue operations. The Hellenic Coast Guard managed to rescue 222 migrants and transferred them to the respective islands.

Namia further reported that migrant arrivals to the Greek islands totalled 2,889 for the first 16 days of September, making this month 2017’s busiest on the Eastern Mediterranean Sea route. After rather low arrival rates through July this year, in the 47 days since 1 August, some 6,554 have entered Greece from Turkish waters – an average of 140 daily – compared with 11,404 during the previous seven months combined. Over the last four reporting days (13-16 September), arrivals have averaged 164 men, women and children daily.

So far, a total of 17,959 migrants this year have entered Greece by sea, which equals only about 10 per cent of last year’s total arrivals and just 2 per cent of 2015’s surge (See chart below).

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) recorded several fatalities in the Mediterranean since last week: three bodies were found in a dinghy during a rescue operation 44 kilometres northwest of Tripoli, Libya, on 15 September; and six Algerian migrants are still missing after their boat capsized off the coast of Almería on 13 September.

These deaths and disappearances bring the total of fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2017 to 2,556, which is 712 fewer than at this same time last year. 

Elsewhere MMP corded an additional 1,225 migrant fatalities in 2017 as of 18 September. MMP recorded one more death in Southeast Asia, after one boat carrying women and children fleeing Myanmar capsized in Naf River on 14 September. One five-week-old baby tragically died. The bodies of three more children washed up on the bank of Naf River last week. Nearly three weeks into a mass exodus of people fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, dozens have died while fleeing to Bangladesh: IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 76 deaths since August 31.

Additionally, MMP recorded three deaths in the Americas: one migrant drowned in the Río Bravo, in Piedras Negras, Mexico, and two migrants died in a vehicle accident near the San Ysidro border crossing point between Tijuana and San Diego.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic:
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:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, 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: Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global

Categories: PBN

More than 40 Million in Modern Slavery, 152 Million in Child Labour Around the World

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:17

New York – New research developed jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with IOM, the UN Migration Agency has revealed the true scale of modern slavery around the world.

The data, released during the United Nations General Assembly, shows that more than 40 million people around the world were victims of modern slavery in 2016. ILO has also released a companion estimate of child labour, which confirms that about 152 million children, aged between 5 and 17, were subject to child labour.

The new estimates show that women and girls are disproportionately affected by modern slavery, accounting for almost 29 million, or 71 per cent of the overall total. Women represent 99 per cent of victims of forced labour in the commercial sex industry and 84 per cent of people in a forced marriage.

The research reveals that among the 40 million victims of modern slavery, about 25 million were in forced labour, and 15 million were living in a forced marriage.

Child labour remains concentrated primarily in agriculture (70.9 per cent). Almost one in five child labourers work in the services sector (17.1 per cent) while 11.9 per cent of child labourers work in industry.

Guy Ryder, ILO Director-General, said: “The message the ILO is sending today – together with our partners in Alliance 8.7 – is very clear: the world won’t be in a position to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals unless we dramatically increase our efforts to fight these scourges. These new global estimates can help shape and develop interventions to prevent both forced labour and child labour.”

Andrew Forrest AO, Chairman and Founder of the Walk Free Foundation, said: “The fact that as a society, we have the brilliance to create something are remarkable as artificial intelligence, but we still have 40 million people in modern slavery shames us all. It speaks to the deep-seated discrimination and inequalities in our world today, coupled with a shocking tolerance of exploitation. This has to stop. We all have a role to play in changing this reality – business, government, civil society, every one of us.”

About the data

The new global estimates are produced by ILO and Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with IOM, as a contribution towards Alliance 8.7. Central to the estimates of modern slavery is data from 54 specially designed, random sample surveys involving interviews with more than 71,000 respondents across 48 countries, alongside data from close to 40,000 victims of human trafficking assisted by IOM. Alliance 8.7 is the global partnership to end forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and child labour that brings together key partners representing governments, UN organisations, the private sector, workers’ and employers’ organizations and civil society in order to achieve Sustainable Development Goal Target 8.7.

The data is published in two reports:

  • Global estimates of modern slavery: Forced labour and forced marriage, prepared jointly by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and Walk Free Foundation, in partnership with IOM, the UN Migration Agency
  • Global estimates of child labour: Results and trends, 2012-2016, prepared by the International Labour Organization (ILO)

The 2017 Global Estimates can be found online at
For more information, please contact Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 16:41Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Counter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingLabour MigrationMigration and YouthDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Cox’s Bazar Health Facilities Struggle to Cope as New Arrivals Pass 415,000: IOM Scales Up Mobile Teams, Support to Government Clinics

Tue, 09/19/2017 - 11:16

Cox’s Bazar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency is working with Government and aid agency partners to rapidly ramp up fixed and mobile health services in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar district to help some 415,000 people who have fled violence in Myanmar’s North Rakhine State over the past three weeks.

Many of the new arrivals, who have walked for days through jungle in intense heat and monsoon rains, are already sick and malnourished by the time they reach the teeming settlements of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Camping in the open with little or no shelter on muddy hillsides with no access to clean water or latrines, the very young and the old are at greatest risk from water borne and contagious diseases.

“Newly arrived children are at high risk of vaccine preventable diseases. Bangladesh is already free of polio and almost free of measles and rubella. So, the Government, the World Health Organization and humanitarian partners launched an urgent immunization programme on Saturday to vaccinate 150,000 newly arrived children. Nutrition support and management of malnutrition, especially severe acute malnutrition, is also urgently needed for these children,” said Dr. Samir Kumar Howlader, IOM National Health Programme Officer.

“Lack of safe drinking water, personal hygiene and sanitation facilities has already resulted in acute watery diarrhea and other water borne diseases. So, disease surveillance and early warning systems also need to be strengthened significantly,” he added.

Others have arrived in Bangladesh with injuries inflicted in Myanmar. “I was living with a gunshot wound for five days. I would have lost my leg if I didn’t get treatment,” said Anayet Ullah, 18, who was in a critical condition when he was treated by an IOM medical team at Ukhiya government health complex. The doctors referred him to Cox’s Bazar Sadar Hospital, where he recovered.

The Ukhiya doctors and nurses are one of 12 IOM teams operating from government health facilities in the two Cox’s Bazar sub-districts of Ukhiya and Teknaf, where the Rohingya population outside the two UNHCR-run refugee camps now totals an estimated 600,000 people, two thirds of whom have arrived since August 25th. Three IOM mobile medical teams have also started providing basic and primary healthcare services in three spontaneous settlements in the area.

In addition to primary health care and referrals, the teams focus on sexual and reproductive health, and maternal and child health. They also provide mental health and psychosocial services to about 120 people each day. They say that all of these services will need to be massively expanded to cope with the influx of new arrivals.

Over the past three weeks, IOM teams have provided emergency and primary healthcare services to around 15,000 new arrivals and 9,500 others from the Rohingya and host populations. They assisted 64 child deliveries and provided referral services to another 226 patients.

Agencies working in the health sector have told the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) in Cox’s Bazar that they have already provided treatment to some 52,000 of the new arrivals. But existing facilities are reporting a 150-200 per cent increase in patients, overwhelming current capacity and resources.

They say that an estimated 171,800 newly arrived people are not yet covered by any primary health care services. Primary health care coverage also needs to be expanded as soon as possible to cover all newly arrived populations in both spontaneous and existing makeshift settlements, they note.

The agencies also say that an estimated 14,000 pregnant women are in need of maternal and child health care. An estimated 50 per cent of them are considered to have complicated pregnancies and may need emergency obstetric and neonatal care.

In addition to the immunization campaign, the Ministry of Health, which is leading the health sector response with the support of IOM, says that 16 mobile medical teams and satellite clinics have been mobilized in existing and new settlements, covering an estimated 217,206 new arrivals. They include mobile reproductive health clinics. Three more mobile teams are also providing daily services in no man’s land on the border and eight ambulances are operating. The MoH has also established a Control Room at the Civil Surgeon’s Office in Cox’s Bazar to support coordination of the response.

Last week, IOM has appealed for USD 26.1 million to meet the immediate needs of the 400,000 newly arrived people now sheltering in Cox’s Bazar. The Flash Appeal, covering the next three months, includes USD 3 million for healthcare. The IOM appeal is part of a broader appeal (ISCG Preliminary Response Plan) by all ISCG agencies operating in Cox’s Bazar for USD 77.1 million through year end.

For more information, please contact:
Peppi Siddiq in IOM Dhaka, Tel: +8801755568894, Email:
Chris Lom in Cox’s Bazar, Tel. +8801733335221, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 19, 2017 - 16:43Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigrants RightsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

People line up outside an IOM mobile clinic in Unchiprang spontaneous settlement. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Balukhali makeshift settlement residents, who face growing risks of water borne diseases, cross floods to reach the main road. Photo: Chris Lom / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Appeals for USD 4.95 Million to Support Communities in Wake of Irma, Jose Devastation

Mon, 09/18/2017 - 03:35

San Jose – In early September, two Category Five hurricanes, Irma and Jose, laid a path of destruction across the Leeward Islands, the eastern Caribbean region, the sub-Bahamian region, Cuba and the United States. IOM, the UN Migration Agency is appealing to the international community for USD 4.95 million to urgently help affected communities rebuild. IOM will provide technical expertise and work with regional and national authorities, as well as local groups, to deliver humanitarian relief, manage human mobility, ensure accountability mechanisms and enable a fast resilience-focused recovery.

IOM has deployed a surge team of six experts to support efforts led by IOM offices in the affected countries. The team has expertise in Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), displacement tracking, shelter management, gender-based violence risk reduction, core relief items support and shelter operations. Based in the coordination hubs in Antigua, Barbados and at a regional level in Panama, the surge experts have already been deployed to the affected islands to conduct assessments, which have been factored into the appeal.

Across 16 countries and overseas territories, a staggering 21 per cent of the combined total population of 26 million was exposed to the detrimental effects of extreme weather. Although the extent of the damage is still being analyzed, early reports suggest a large-scale interruption of basic services and a high concentration of infrastructure damage. Some islands have been made uninhabitable with close to 100 per cent infrastructure damage. Losses incurred by Hurricanes Irma and Jose are anticipated to be as high as USD 62 billion without counting the US. Current estimates state that some 17,000 people are in need of immediate shelter assistance. IOM and the International Federal of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) will coordinate the rollout of shelter operations under this appeal. The response will be tailored to the context of each prioritized country and island based on assessments and the needs identified. A large part of IOM's response in this area will involve training local partners in distribution, shelter repair and post-assistance monitoring, as well as supporting community-led construction of transitional shelters and the rehabilitation of damaged houses by providing technical assistance, materials, tools and training. As with all relief operations globally, IOM will encourage the employment of local skilled and non-skilled workers.

Pre-emptive evacuation, displacement and other forms of human mobility across the region spurred on by the hurricanes peaked above two million people. Stranded migrants and undocumented migrants are at risk of not accessing aid, not being able to get evacuated for lack of documentation and vulnerable to traffickers and smugglers. IOM will track the movement of people and their needs to ensure targeted aid. As some people displaced by the hurricanes are living in collective centres and temporary sites rather than with family, IOM will coordinate assistance at these centres, while also improving the living conditions. IOM will also facilitate the voluntary, humane and dignified return of displaced populations to their areas of origin if possible.

In the wake of natural disasters, many factors can negatively affect the safety of women and girls; particularly the exacerbation of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) related risks. These include, but are not limited to, a lack of essential resources, disruption of community services, change of gender roles, disrupted relationships, a lack of privacy, and weakened infrastructure. All national and international actors responding to an emergency have a duty to protect those affected by the crisis, which includes protecting them from GBV. Shelter management activities will be planned and implemented along with GBV risk mitigation interventions that promote safety, dignity and privacy of men, women, boys and girls who seek protection in evacuation centres and other collective sites.

"We cannot spare one more minute waiting to help the communities affected by two of the worse hurricanes seen by the region in years," said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies. "IOM has already started stepping up its assistance but without these vital funds we will not be able to reach the people worst-affected by tragedy after tragedy and most in need of assistance. We are concerned about people sleeping out in the open, the conditions in the collective centres, the safety of women and girls and much more.

"With enhanced funding, we can work with local authorities and groups to address these concerns and protect people who have already gone through more than enough."

IOM has established humanitarian coordination and logistic hubs in Panama for the regional level, in Barbados for the Eastern Caribbean region and in Jamaica for the sub-Bahamian region. Given the geographical spread of affected islands and coordinating entities, IOM will increase the coverage through the presence of a sector coordinator and technical experts, who will work hand in hand with the regional Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA), as well as with local governorates’ offices and national emergency management agencies. Transfer of expertise and capacity building will be paramount to this initiative.

IOM's support and appeal are part of the wider inter-agency response plan, which was released on Friday (15/09) and appeals for a total of USD 27 million.

Read IOM's detailed appeal here.

For more information, please contact Jorge Gallo at IOM's Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 2212 5300, Email:

Language English Posted: Monday, September 18, 2017 - 09:31Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff distributing NFIs in Fort Liberté, Haiti. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Calls for Coordinated Response as Nearly 400,000 Stream into Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 11:09

Cox's Bazar - IOM, the UN Migration Agency yesterday highlighted the need for a coordinated humanitarian response to the massive inflow of destitute people fleeing Myanmar and arriving in Cox’s Bazar. Estimated new arrivals have reached 391,000 and there is no sign of the flow of people drying up, as smoke from burning villages in Myanmar’s North Rakhine State remains clearly visible from the Cox’s Bazar district.

Thousands of the new arrivals are now walking north along clogged roads towards a 1,500-acre settlement site demarcated by the Government. Located between two of the biggest makeshift settlements of Kutupalong and Balukhali, the site will help aid agencies to access over 200,000 new arrivals currently camping or living in the open on waste ground, hillsides or by the side of the road.

In these so-called spontaneous settlements, people who arrive from Myanmar exhausted, hungry and often traumatized by the violence that they have seen, are living in terrible conditions, often with no shelter, no food, and no access to clean water or basic services.

“To respond to this inflow, which is unprecedented in terms of speed and numbers, we need to ensure a coordinated response among the growing number of agencies bringing lifesaving aid to the thousands of people flooding into Cox’s Bazar," said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies. "In order to help the most vulnerable, we have to identify who needs what where, and which agency can provide it. This is critical if we are to get help to the people who need it most, as fast as possible.”

IOM hosts the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), which publishes a daily report summarizing the emergency response in sectors including shelter and essential non-food items; water, sanitation and hygiene; health; safety, dignity and human rights; education; and nutrition. Each sector is led by an operational aid agency, which coordinates the work of other agencies active in the sector. They in turn feed data back to the ISCG coordination unit, which uses it to map the emergency and identify resources, needs and agencies that can meet them. 

The Government of Bangladesh, foreign governments, including Turkey, Indonesia and Malaysia, and aid agencies on the ground are now racing against the clock to bring in the lifesaving food, shelter, water, sanitation, health and other services that the new arrivals need.

ISCG agencies operating in Cox’s Bazar have appealed for USD 77.1 million to fund the emergency response through year end (ISCG Preliminary Response Plan). Several agencies, including IOM, have committed funding from their emergency reserves. The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund, the European Commission and the United Kingdom have also made funding commitments but agencies face a huge funding shortfall. This is likely to increase as people continue to arrive from Myanmar.

As part of the overall ISCG appeal, IOM launched a Flash Appeal, covering the next three months, of USD 26.1 million to meet the immediate needs of the newly arrived people. The appeal includes USD 100,000 for the coordination of the response.

Within the framework of Bangladesh’s National Strategy on Myanmar Refugees and Undocumented Myanmar Nationals (UMNs) in Bangladesh, IOM has been coordinating the humanitarian assistance to people who have crossed in Bangladesh from Myanmar and vulnerable host communities in Cox's Bazar since 2014. Prior to the latest influx, IOM Bangladesh was coordinating humanitarian assistance to some 200,000 living in makeshift settlements and host communities in Cox’s Bazar. Lifesaving services delivered by IOM and its partner agencies include clean water and sanitation, shelter, food security, health care, education, and psychosocial support for the most vulnerable individuals, many whom are suffering from acute mental trauma or are survivors of sexual violence.

For more information, please contact:

Peppi Siddiq in IOM Dhaka, Tel: +8801755568894, Email:

Chris Lom in Cox’s Bazar, Tel. +8801733335221, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 - 16:42Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigrants RightsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

People arriving are in urgent need of life-saving assistance, including food, water and sanitation, health and protection. Photo: Saikat Biswas / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

A scene from the Kutupalong refugee camp. Photo: Saumaun Heiat / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Deploys Experts to Support Islands Affected by Hurricanes Irma, Jose

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 11:07

San Jose - IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has deployed a surge team of six experts in shelter and camp management, displacement tracking, and gender-based violence risk reduction to support humanitarian efforts in the Caribbean islands most affected by Hurricanes Irma and Jose. IOM has released around a quarter of a million US dollars from emergency funds for relief in the region.

Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, the Bahamas, the British Virgin Islands, Saint Kits and Nevis, Saint Martin, Sint Maarten, and the Turks and Caicos are in need of shelter, hygiene facilities, food and health infrastructure, since the unprecedented hurricane destroyed almost all critical infrastructure in these islands.

In Barbuda, health facilities and ambulances have been destroyed by Hurricane Irma. Medical services are no longer available, and a staggering 99 per cent of the island’s building structures, especially roofs, were visibly damaged. About 90 per cent of electricity infrastructure, including telephone lines, were also damaged. Initial assessments revealed that about USD 200 million is required to rebuild damaged or destroyed building structures.

“The building that houses all the records of the people of Barbuda was completely destroyed. The records are on the parapet being battered by the weather right now,” reported Kurt Kerret, one of the IOM experts deployed to the islands. 

In Anguilla, 90 per cent of electricity infrastructure and government buildings have been substantially damaged, and critical government functions, such as police stations and the National Emergency Operations Centre, have been temporarily affected.

In coordination with the Caribbean Disaster Emergency Management Agency (CDEMA) and the United Nations Disaster Assessment and Coordination (UNDAC), IOM surge teams have been deployed to the region to conduct initial assessments and coordinate rapid response.

Based in the coordination hubs in Barbados, Antigua and Panama, experts of the surge team have begun assessments in other affected islands as identified by the CDEMA and the UNDAC/OCHA, such as Antigua and Barbuda, while other deployments are being coordinated.

IOM has recently begun to pre-position contingency stocks in Panama – making it the third location of its global warehouses. Existing stocks will be dispatched as soon as specific needs are identified in the affected locations. In addition, over 500 shelter box tents, 500 toolkits, and 5,000 hygiene kits are pre-positioned in Haiti and can be moved in response to needs.

In Haiti, Hurricane Irma was not as destructive, but significantly impacted the northern part of the country with heavy rains and winds that caused severe flooding and the consequent agricultural losses. IOM’s Protection Team evacuated 72 children from an orphanage at risk of flooding in collaboration with the Cap-Haitian Advancement Acton Committee (CAPAC) and the Institute of Social Welfare and Research (IBESR). Pre-positioned leaflets and bracelets with information on the free hotline were made available on the ground to advise and refer suspected cases of human trafficking and smuggling.

“An enormous effort and a huge logistical endeavor are going to be needed in the Eastern Caribbean area and sub-Bahamian region to cope with the basic needs of the thousands of islanders battered by the hurricanes. An even bigger struggle will be necessary for long-term reconstruction,” said Nuno Nunes, head of the IOM surge team deployed in the area.

For more information please contact Jorge Gallo at IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Email:, Tel: +506 2212 5300


Language English Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 - 16:41Image: Region-Country: Costa RicaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration and Climate ChangeMigration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

 IOM staff providing support in Malfety Fort Liberte in the northeast department in Barbuda. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

In Barbuda, a staggering 99 per cent of the island’s building structures, especially roofs, were visibly damaged. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Labour-sending Asian Colombo Process Countries Meet on Global Migration Compact in Kathmandu

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 11:04

Kathmandu – A two-day meeting of labour-sending countries in Asia ended yesterday (14/09) in Kathmandu, Nepal. It brought together senior officials from Colombo Process Member States to develop a joint position as part of the preparatory process for the forthcoming Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

The officials, who are responsible for supporting their countries’ efforts to protect and promote the rights of their labour migrants abroad, enhance migration governance, and engage in the GCM process, were tasked with producing actionable recommendations to address the priority issues and challenges of the GCM.

The discussions focused on the five thematic areas of the Colombo Process: skills and qualification recognition processes of labour migrants; fostering ethical recruitment; effective pre-departure orientation and empowerment for migrant workers; remittances; and international labour market analysis. 

The meeting offered participants the opportunity to share their collective experiences and best practices to address migration challenges and opportunities and ensure that the regional perspective is reflected in the final outcome of the GCM process.

The outcome of this meeting – the joint Colombo Process contribution to the GCM – will be shared at a regional United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) consultation in Bangkok, Thailand in November. It will then be submitted for consideration at the GCM stocktaking meeting in Mexico at yearend.  

The Colombo Process is a Regional Consultative Process on migration and comprises 12 Asian labour-sending countries: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Viet Nam, and is currently chaired by Nepal. Six Member States are among the top 11 remittance-receiving countries in the world. IOM, the UN Migration Agency provides technical expertise to the process.

Colombo Process Member States recognize that the human rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrant workers should be respected, irrespective of their legal status, and the welfare, dignity and well-being of their families, in particular women and children, should be promoted and protected.

“While we discuss our common position and recommendations to move ahead, we must not forget that migrants from our countries also immensely contribute to the development, prosperity and diversity of the transit and destination countries,” said Dilli Bahadur Chaudhary, Nepal State Minister for Labour and Employment, opening the meeting. “This is an opportune time for us to strongly raise the common concerns of our migrants and suggest better options to address these issue. This will also be beneficial for the transit and destination countries to better manage and provide services to the migrants.” 


The meeting was hosted by Nepal’s Ministry of Labour and Employment (MoLE) and supported by IOM and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The GCM was announced during the UN General Assembly on 19 September 2016 as part of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants. It aims to establish an international cooperation framework on migration and human mobility.

 The GCM is intended to be closely linked to the Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which include key migration targets. It is expected to be finalized and adopted by UN Member States at an intergovernmental conference in late 2018.

For more information, please contact:

Paul I. Norton at IOM Nepal, Tel: +977 1 4426250, Email:

Government of Nepal Ministry of Labour and Employment, Tel: +977 1 4211963, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: NepalThemes: Capacity BuildingGlobal CompactGlobal Compact on MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Colombo Process delegates gather in Kathmandu on 14 September. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Launches Global Photo Exhibition in Kabul: ‘Coming Home – Snapshots of Return, Loss and Hope in Afghanistan’

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 11:02

Kabul – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the European Commission Directorate General for Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), this week (13/9) launched two photo exhibits featuring Afghan migrants.

The launch, at the historic Babur Garden in Kabul, was attended by representatives of the Afghan government, Afghan civil society and the international community, including UN agencies, embassies, and national and international NGOs.

For the ECHO exhibit, Sandra Calligaro travelled across Afghanistan in the summer of 2017 to capture the work of the Emergency Response Fund, which responds to the needs of people displaced by natural and man-made disasters such as flooding, earthquakes, landslides and conflict.

“The organizations participating in the ERM are responsible in every part of Afghanistan to identify areas where people are on the move and to assess whether they need our support and assistance. But while it is important to provide assistance to those in need, it is equally important to hear the voices of those people who are behind the statistics and figures, and tell their story. This is what this exhibition is about,” said Esmee de-Jong, head of ECHO in Afghanistan.

For the IOM exhibit, Andrew Quilty travelled to four key border crossing points between Afghanistan and Iran/Pakistan during July and August 2017 to record the arrival of returnees, document their stories and the hardships of their journey. Many arrived exhausted after days of travelling in blistering summer heat. Others had been detained for days or weeks prior to their return. Their emotions were mixed – fearful of what lay ahead, but happy to be ‘home’.   

IOM hopes that the exhibit will return the topic of Afghan migration to the center of public attention, both in Afghanistan and abroad. With humanitarian crises around the world, and the downsizing of the international presence in Afghanistan, the country has almost disappeared from international media coverage.

“This photo exhibition is about encounters with Afghan returnees on the borders with Iran and Afghanistan. You would imagine a situation full of despair. Yes, there is despair, there is uncertainty, and there is fear of the future in many of the faces of those who were photographed. But there is also a lot of hope that Afghanistan will actually offer them a future,” said IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission Laurence Hart.

The IOM exhibit is scheduled to go on an international tour to various countries in late 2017 and early 2018, to share the stories of Afghan migrants with a wider international public.

For more information please contact Eva Schwoerer at IOM Kabul, Tel: +93729229129, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 - 16:39Image: Region-Country: AfghanistanThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

A group of forcibly returned undocumented Afghans crossing from Iran. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Korean Humanitarian Workers Trained on Staying Safe in Hostile Environments by UN Migration Agency

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 11:00

Seoul - Humanitarian workers around the world are increasingly becoming targets of terrorism and other attacks. According to the Aid Worker Security Database, since 2012 some 250 people have come under attack in the field every year.

As the Republic of Korea (ROK) expands its humanitarian assistance programmes, there are currently about 900 Korean aid workers deployed in the countries experiencing conflicts or other disasters, with others planning to follow them into the field.

To enhance their awareness of personal security and safety, IOM, the UN Migration Agency in the ROK this week (12-15/09) organized a four-day Safe and Secure Approach in Field Environments (SSAFE) training for 34 aid workers from the Government, UN agencies and NGOs in Seoul.

On 13 September, IOM also signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the International Peace Supporting Standby Force (IPSSF), the Korean armed forces unit responsible for training for peace keeping missions, to deliver SSAFE trainings in the ROK.

The SSAFE training equips UN staff and other humanitarian actors with an understanding of safety and security issues before they are deployed to hazardous environments. The curriculum was jointly developed by the UN System Staff College and the United Nations Department for Safety and Security (UNDSS).

Three IOM security experts introduced practical skills including radio communications, awareness of weapons, vehicle security and hostage survival, using highly interactive and participatory methods. A field exercise allowed participants to apply the skills that they had learned.

“As more Korean aid workers work in unstable environments, they need to know how to protect themselves and cope with unexpected dangers. IOM ROK began this training three years ago and we would like to continue it, as there is a real need,” said Miah Park, IOM ROK Head of Office.

“By the end of this course, we expect that participants will be equipped with the skills and knowledge to identify threats to their personal safety and security, and to mitigate the risks,” said William Wairoa-Harrison, IOM’s global head of staff security, who attended the Seoul event.

Funded by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), IOM ROK has implemented various capacity building workshops for national humanitarian actors, including a psychosocial support workshop and a public health emergency response seminar.

For more information, please contact Miah Park at IOM ROK, Tel: +82 70 4820 2781, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 - 16:38Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM security expert Steve Mayall presents SSAFE in Seoul. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 128,863 in 2017; Deaths Reach 2,550

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 10:58

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 128,863 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 13 September, with over 75 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 298,663 arrivals across the region through 13 September 2016.

Mediterranean Developments

IOM Libya reports today that on Tuesday, 12 September, 248 migrants (207 men, 39 women and two children) were rescued off Azzawya; on the following day, 13 September, another 136 migrants (99 men, 36 women and one child) also were rescued off the coast of Azzawya. To date in 2017 14,210 migrants have been rescued in Libyan waters.

IOM Rome reported on Thursday, 14 September that, according to official figures of the Italian Ministry of Interior, 100,325 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy this year, which is about 23 per cent less than arrivals by this same time last year (see chart below).

IOM Rome has also reported on the composition of nationalities seeking to enter Italy via sea through August (see chart below). Nigeria continues to be the largest sender nation, although at a rate well below last year’s traffic, while Guinea has edged slightly ahead of Bangladesh in the second spot.

IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia on Thursday (14 September) said that according to the Hellenic Coast Guard, there were at least four incidents off the islands of Lesvos, Samos and Chios this week that required search and rescue operations. The Hellenic Coast Guard managed to rescue 273 migrants and transferred them to the respective islands.

Namia further reported that migrant arrivals to the Greek islands total 2,234 for the first 12 days of September, making this month 2017’s busiest on the Eastern Mediterranean Sea route. After rather low arrival rates through July this year, in the 44 days since 1 August, some 5,900 migrants have entered Greece from Turkish waters, compared with 11,404 during the previous seven months combined. Thus far a total of 17,304 migrants this year have entered Greece by sea, which remains only about 10 per cent of last year’s total arrivals and just 2 per cent of 2015’s surge. (See chart below.) 


1 Jan – 31 Dec 2014

1 Jan – 31 Dec 2015

1 Jan – 31 Dec 2016

1 Jan – 12 Sep  2017






IOM’s Namia adds that over the last three days for which IOM has data (10-12 September) 698 migrants arrived, mainly to the islands of Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Kos and Megisti.

IOM’s Dimitrios Tsagalas of the IOM Cyprus office also reported this week on the 305 migrants who arrived via two vessels on Saturday (9 September) on the island’s north-western coast, after leaving from the Turkish town of Mersin.

One boat, with 134 passengers on board landed near Latchi, and included 88 men, 9 women and 37 children, all from Syria. A second vessel with 171 on board, arrived near Pyrgos Tyllirias with 117 men, 17 women and 37 minors, also from Syria.

The migrants said they paid up to USD 2,000 (EUR 1,600) each for the crossing.  Police said that it was the largest number of migrants to reach Cyprus in a single day. A total of 818 migrants have landed in Cyprus so far in 2017. Through 9 September last year the migrant total was 345.

Finally, IOM continues to monitor events of migrant arrivals to Europe via the Black Sea.

From Bucharest, IOM Romania’s Head of Office Mircea Mocanu reported this week that a recent uptick in arrivals to Romania via the Black Sea crossing indicates smugglers may be exploring alternative routes to Europe from the east.

IOM’s Mocanu cautioned that numbers on these crossings remain quite low, especially compared with busier Central and Eastern Mediterranean routes. IOM Romania, which relies on Romania’s Ministry of the Interior and Coast Guard for data, reported that in 2013 there were no irregular crossings through the Black Sea into Romania, while in 2014 authorities recorded the crossing of just 430 migrants. That figure dropped to 68 in 2015 and then just a single recorded crossing in 2016.

This year there have been 482 migrants recorded in five separate arrivals via fishing boats, including the group of 157 migrants (Iraqis and Iranians; 56 children and 101 adults) which arrived early Wednesday morning (13 September). Historically, migrants crossing Romania enter Hungary as they continue their journeys into Central Europe.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) recorded several fatalities in the Mediterranean last week: one body was recovered near Al Khums, Libya, on 11 September, and at least seven migrants died or disappeared in the Western Mediterranean in two separate incidents. One boat capsized yesterday night off the coast of Almería, Spain: three migrants were rescued and one body was recovered. Search and rescue operations are still underway, and there may be more missing.

These deaths bring the total of fatalities in the Mediterranean in 2017 to 2,550, which is 1,012 fewer than the total number of fatalities through the same period last year. 

MMP has recorded 135 deaths through 13 September off Spain, whose death toll now has surpassed the total for all of 2016, when 128 migrants were reported on the Western Mediterranean route. Through this same date in 2016, 116 migrants were reported killed on this route.

Elsewhere in the world, MMP has recorded an additional 1,218 migrant fatalities in 2017 through 13 September, bringing the 2017 total through 13 September to 3,768 men, women and children. That compares with 5,109 through the same period last year (see chart below).

Since last week, MMP recorded 12 more deaths in Southeast Asia, after two boats carrying women and children fleeing Myanmar capsized in the Naf River in recent days. Ten bodies were recovered between Shah Pori Dwip and Jaliapara on 13 September, and two bodies were found near Teknaf on 14 September. Nearly three weeks into a mass exodus of people fleeing violence in Myanmar’s Rakhine State, dozens have drowned while attempting to escape to Bangladesh by boat: IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 69 deaths in this region since 31 August.

Additionally, MMP recorded two deaths in the Americas: one migrant was hit by a train in Sinaloa, Mexico, and the remains of another migrant were found in a ranch in Hidalgo County, Texas.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic:
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 Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, 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:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 - 16:37Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

West African States Meet to Discuss Regional Challenges on Migration towards Global Compact for Migration

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 10:55

Accra – High level experts and government officials from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), the European Union, IOM, the UN Migration Agency and other organizations convened this week (12-14 September) in Accra, Ghana for the Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA) meeting to discuss common migration issues and recommendations towards the Global Compact for Migration (GCM).

“I am convinced that this meeting will enrich the consensus on migration management, address the complexities of migration and lead to recommendations,” said Henry Quartey, Deputy Minister for the Interior in Ghana.

Some of the recommendations of the inter-state consultations were: implement all the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) from a migration perspective; educate the youth on their human rights; open effective and accessible regular migration channels; foster interstate economic and political cooperation; increase advocacy and awareness on the benefits of labour migration; and improve date collection on remittances.

“Given the high mobility that exists within West Africa, the MIDWA gives ECOWAS the opportunity to speak with one voice to inject its views and that of its Member States into the GCM deliberations. IOM will support ECOWAS and the respective governments in addressing the ever-increasing migration challenges,” mentioned Sophie Nonnenmacher, IOM Senior Regional Policy and Liaison Officer.

The final recommendations will be submitted to the ECOWAS Council of Minister to be discussed and adapted at the next meeting, scheduled to take place in early December 2017 in Abuja, Nigeria.

“I encourage all member states to implement the recommendations as well as to study and share information on current migration dynamics, pattern and trends as well as strengthen data at the national and regional levels,” said Laouali Chaibou, ECOWAS Commissioner for Trade, Customs, Free Movement of Persons and Tourism.

The ECOWAS region is characterized by high levels of cross border human mobility and migration caused by climate change, terrorist attacks and voluntary migration. Since its establishment in 1975 ECOWAS has played a key role to promote free movement and migration in the sub region. MIDWA was specifically designed to encourage ECOWAS Member States to discuss common migration challenges and concerns and to jointly find solutions to these challenges from a regional perspective.

MIDWA’s annual meetings are part of the Free Movement and Migration in West Africa project (FMM West Africa project), which has a component on intra-regional dialogue and migration policy development, specifically designed to support the MIDWA process. FMM is implemented by IOM, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) and is being funded jointly by the European Union and ECOWAS. It seeks to maximize the development potential of free movement of persons and migration in West Africa.

The GCM is a major intergovernmental process, to which IOM is extending technical and policy expertise as requested by Member States until its culmination in September 2018.

For more information please contact:

Tijs Magagi Hoornaert at IOM West and Central Africa Regional Office, Tel: +221 784 600 619, Email: 

Frantz Celestin at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 8141375873, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 - 16:36Image: Region-Country: GhanaThemes: Capacity BuildingGlobal CompactGlobal Compact on MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

From left: William Henner, EU Ambassador in Ghana; Laouali Chaibou, ECOWAS Commissioner; Henry Quartey, Ghanaian Deputy Minister of Interior; and  Sophie Nonnenmacher, Senior Policy and Liaison Officer, IOM at the Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA) meeting. Photo: Tijs Hoornaert / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Participating ministers and officials at the Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA) meeting. Photo: Tijs Hoornaert / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, OAS, Costa Rica Hold High-Level Forum on Irregular Migration Flows in the Americas

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 10:54

San José - The High-Level Forum on Irregular Migration Flows in the Americas took place 12-13 September 2017. The purpose of the forum was to generate commitments to ensure good migration governance in the Americas, including migrants from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean in an irregular situation, and to turn them into real contributions to the building process of the Global Compact for a Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which was adopted in September 2016 by the United Nations General Assembly.

The Forum brought together most Organization of American States (OAS) Member States, and discussions included a broad range of issues on migration such as human rights of migrants, smuggling of migrants, trafficking in persons, environmental migration, labour migration and migration governance. Finally, the participants analyzed the role of international cooperation in the Americas’ response to irregular migration flows.

During the event, OAS Secretary General Luis Almagro emphasized that "issues related to migration should always be considered under a human rights-based approach, though this does not mean abandoning essential national security conditions." [Watch video]

IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson said, “This Forum could not come at better time: We are facing an historic juncture to discuss migration and progress towards a better governance.”

Ambassador Thompson also highlighted the importance of having global and regional systems and mechanisms to improve migration governance.

The event was co-hosted by the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Interior of Costa Rica, and the National Police, in close cooperation with the OAS General Secretariat and IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Costa Rica, Manuel González Sanz, invited the Member States of OAS to participate in this forum following the publication of the regional report: “Irregular Migration Flows to/within the Americas form Africa, Asia, and the Caribbean,” produced by OAS and IOM. Both the report and the forum were requested by the government of Costa Rica due to the increasing extra-regional migration flows within the region in 2015 and 2016. 

For more information, please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel. +506 2212 5352 Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: Costa RicaThemes: Capacity BuildingGlobal CompactGlobal Compact on MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson delivers her statement during the high-level forum on irregular migration in the America. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017           

Main hall of the high-level forum on irregular migration in the Americas, an event that brought together most of the OAS member states. Photo: UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 1 Million Nigerians Affected by Boko Haram Crisis Biometrically Registered to Better Target Aid

Fri, 09/15/2017 - 10:30

Maiduguri – Earlier this month, 1,019,904 people affected by the Boko Haram conflict have been biometrically registered by IOM, the UN Migration Agency in northeast Nigeria since December 2015. Biometric registration equips the humanitarian community with accurate information to more effectively respond to the needs of people who have lost their homes, family members, friends and livelihoods, as well as those of communities hosting them.

More than 1.75 million people are displaced across Nigeria’s Adamawa, Bauchi, Borno, Gombe, Taraba and Yobe States, according to IOM’s latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), published earlier this week.  DTM tracks displacement and people returning to their areas of origin, as well as their needs; biometric registration  goes beyond the displaced populations in Borno and Adamawa States – the centre of the Boko Haram conflict – providing more precise, individualized data on location and needs. This allows for more targeted aid delivery by identifying family size and vulnerabilities, such as physical disabilities or illness. Those who voluntarily report such challenges during their biometric registration and the accompanying interview are directed to IOM’s mental health and psychosocial support teams or to other partners handling health and protection matters, such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), among others.

Gathering information on the location and needs of individuals and their families through voluntary biometric registration and the complete Displacement Tracking Matrix for the states hardest hit by the ongoing conflict in Nigeria is critical for addressing major issues like cholera as it directs water, sanitation and hygiene assistance to those in need. IOM is providing hand-washing stations with chlorinated water and working with communities in camps to improve hygiene practices. There are more than 1,700 cases of suspected cholera in Borno state, as of mid-September.

Information from interviews and biometric registration is shared, in line with IOM’s global data protection principles, and continues to guide humanitarian partners in providing direct, impactful assistance to the neediest with the World Food Programme’s mobile-money transfers, among other responses.

For more information, please contact IOM Nigeria:

Julia Burpee, Tel: +234 906 228 2406, Email:

Henry Kwenin, Tel: +234 902 011 2424, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, September 15, 2017 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Biometric registration of displaced people by IOM staff in Damboa, Borno State. Photo: Temitope Omoyemi / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Biometric registration of displaced people by IOM staff in Damboa, Borno State. Photo: Temitope Omoyemi / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, ICVA Hold Consultations with NGOs to Better Protect Displaced, Crisis Affected People

Thu, 09/14/2017 - 04:37
Language English

Nairobi – IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, in partnership with International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA), on 11 and 12 September held consultations with non-governmental organizations in East and Horn of Africa. The consultations explored ways to work better together to protect and assist people in need including those in crisis and displaced populations. The consultations were held in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi.

An upsurge in the number of people on the move and the growth and complexity of crisis have meant the need for context-specific, flexible humanitarian response has never been more pressing.
Speaking at the event, Vincent Houver, IOM Deputy Director of Operations and Emergencies said, "Whether internal displacement or mixed migration, little can be achieved if it's not for coherence and collaboration. Challenges are such that no single organization can overcome them."

“There is a need to have transparency, respect and openness between institutions. These consultations provide a great platform to identify how we need to work together and get along and to hear where the difficult work is happening and where impact and change is greatly needed to ensure global impact,” said Nan Buzard, Director of ICVA.

The consultation forum between IOM and NGOs was first held in Geneva, Switzerland in 2015. This is the first of such consultations to be held in East and Horn of Africa.

“This is the first regional consultations to be held in Africa. It gives us an opportunity to work with national NGOs and build their capacity so that they can embed migration issues into their agenda,” Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa said. 

During the consultations, participants discussed four thematic areas, among them approaches to durable solutions to internally displaced persons guided by the IOM Progressive Resolution of Displacement Situations (PRDS) framework; addressing the needs of migrants in vulnerable situations, engagement of partners in cluster coordination and the Global Compact on safe, orderly and regular migration.

IOM’s crisis response has grown both in scope of services provided and geographical coverage, as has the Organization’s humanitarian partnership and cooperation with NGOs.

NGOs provide IOM with invaluable knowledge and information, operational capacity as well as advocacy functions while continue to the capacity of local NGOs by opening access to joint activities, including capacity building and access to national resources.

IOM recognizes in its humanitarian policy that strategic and successful humanitarian partnerships must draw on the strengths of each party, to ensure effective crisis responses that effectively assist and protect those in need. As a founding member of the Global Humanitarian Platform, IOM has endorsed the Principles of Partnership (PoP) that aim to ensure equality, transparency, result-oriented approaches, responsibility and complementarity across humanitarian partnerships.  

For more information, please contact Kenneth Odiwuor at IOM’s East and Horn of Africa Regional Office, Tel: +254722560363, Email:

Posted: Thursday, September 14, 2017 - 09:17Image: Region-Country: KenyaDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Bangladesh PM Visits Overflowing Settlements in Cox’s Bazar, Calls on Government, International Community to Help Most Vulnerable New Arrivals from Myanmar

Wed, 09/13/2017 - 09:15

Cox’s Bazar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, yesterday welcomed a visit by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina to assess the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Cox’s Bazar. An estimated 370,000 people have fled to the district from neighbouring Myanmar to escape violence since August 25th.

The Prime Minister, accompanied by top officials from her administration, visited Cox’s Bazar to study the worsening humanitarian situation and meet people sheltering in the Kutupalong Refugee Camp.  “We have to give them, medication...[for] as long as [Myanmar] doesn't take them back. They are human beings, we cannot just push them back...we are humans [too],” she said.

Speaking with some of the recent arrivals through IOM interpreters, the Prime Minister was visibly saddened by what she heard and asked both members of her government and international agencies to step up support to the most vulnerable of the new arrivals.

IOM is continuing to work closely with the Bangladesh government and is rapidly scaling up its response in a humanitarian crisis that has left existing support structures in Cox’s Bazar reeling. The influx appears to be continuing, with many new arrivals still on the move, and thousands more reportedly waiting to cross the border into Bangladesh.

Many new arrivals are moving from road side encampments, mainly in the southern tip of Cox’s Bazar district, into new spontaneous settlement areas, which are starting to emerge. 

Many others are also starting to settle on 1,500 acres of land near the Kutupalong Makeshift Settlement, which the government has demarcated for the temporary settlement  of new arrivals.

The local administration has been broadcasting messages to people camping on roadsides to move to the proposed new settlement area, and humanitarian agencies are gearing up to provide support at the location.

Local communities at the site are sympathetic towards the new arrivals, with the local mosque committee, political and community leaders providing basic assistance, including food, shelter and transport.

New arrivals in all locations are in urgent need of life-saving assistance, including food, water and sanitation, health and protection. According to planners, a rapid, comprehensive multi-sector response is now needed, including 60,000 shelters, 4.5 million litres of water per day, 15,000 latrines, and 1.5 million kilograms of rice per month.

On Sunday IOM appealed for USD 26.1 million to address lifesaving needs through the end of 2017. The IOM appeal is part of a broader appeal (ISCG Preliminary Response Plan) for USD 77.1 million by all Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) agencies operating in Cox’s Bazar.

The United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) has agreed to provide IOM with USD 1.15 million. The European Commission (EC) has also committed EUR 3 million to help address the most pressing needs of the new arrivals.

IOM has also allocated USD 2.5 million from its own emergency response fund. Earlier, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) confirmed an allocation of USD 7 million across multiple agencies in response to the ISCG appeal. But the funding shortfall is still significant and is likely to increase as people continue to arrive from Myanmar.

ISCG agencies conducted a joint rapid assessment last week and the group is expected to develop a full operational plan incorporating the needs of all Undocumented Myanmar Nationals  and registered refugees in Cox’s Bazar through the end of 2018.

For more information, please contact IOM Bangladesh. Peppi Siddiq in Dhaka, Email:, Tel. +8801755568894. Or Chris Lom in Cox’s Bazar, Email:, Tel. +8801733335221.


Language English Posted: Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - 09:11Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina meets new arrivals in Kutupalong Refugee Camp, Cox’s Bazar. Photo: Govt. of Bangladesh

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina meets new arrivals in Kutupalong Refugee Camp, Cox’s Bazar. Photo: Govt. of Bangladesh

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN