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Updated: 2 hours 3 min ago

IOM Empowers Women Business Owners in Somalia to Recover from COVID-19 Impact

Tue, 12/08/2020 - 04:04

Mogadishu – The worldwide COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted lives—and economies—across continents, sparing neither high-income countries, nor the low-income ones whose citizens often seek jobs abroad to escape economic distress. Few countries are as migration-dependent as Somalia. And few have been treated as harshly by the global downturn.

Somalia’s informal economy—based largely on remittances, imports, and agriculture—has been heavily impacted by COVID-19. It is estimated that 40 per cent of households in Somalia are heavily dependent on remittances, and pandemic-related travel restrictions have cut remittance flows sharply.

An IOM study on remittances this past August reported Somalia’s Department of Diaspora Affairs had noted a decline in remittances based on reports received and consultations held with a number of mobile transfer operators indicating a sharp decline. IOM research indicated a decrease of remittances by over 60 per cent.

Woman-owned businesses have been especially hard-hit, with disruptions in supply chains and reductions of cashflow. The flow of customers also has been disrupted as curfews and social distancing put many customers off.

A recent study, conducted in Mogadishu by IOM and the local research firm Raagsan Consulting, found that, of 320 women-led businesses surveyed, over 300 reported reduced revenue and sales. About half reported having to put their operation on hold with about the same number saying they faced difficulty paying back loans or rent. Almost 60 per cent said they had been forced to shut down during the pandemic, with about one third of that group closing permanently. 

Nimco Yusuf, 45, is one businesswoman feeling the pain. She started her kitchen utensils business in Mogadishu ten years ago hoping to address new market demand after years of conflict. She started by offering cooking utensils.

“When I started my business, Somalia was coming out of many years of conflict,” she explained. “Families started returning, and there was a need to restart their homes, including kitchen items.”
By the start of 2020, Nimco was doing well enough to support 15 children. She was even able to hire outside help, putting two full-time employees to work in her shop. 
Then, in March, the first case of COVID-19 was confirmed in Somalia. A government-imposed curfew and other mobility measures impacted her business, along with thousands of others.  "I experienced a 62 per cent decrease in sales and a shortage of supplies.” she said.

Today, Nimco is one of 185 Somali women being supported by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to deal with the financial impact that the COVID-19 had on their businesses.
IOM Somalia, with funding from the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO), began partnering with Somalia’s Ministry of Labor and Social Affairs (MOLSA) to support women-led micro and small enterprises (MSEs) impacted by COVID-19 in Mogadishu. 

Cash assistance is the key component, with grants ranging from USD 650 to USD 2,000, depending on the size of the business and its needs. Cash grants are designed to help these entrepreneurs restock supplies and may address other needs, such as paying rent, electricity, or loans.

IOM estimates that the grants to 185 beneficiaries will directly improve the lives of 1,122 family members. The financial stimulus that supports these small businesses will also positively impact the local economy.

The women also receive five days of training in business continuity, including basic financial literacy. Most of the women receiving this support present high vulnerabilities, including having a high number of dependents, living in rented places or informal settlements, being displaced, having members of the family with disabilities, being unable to write or read, or having children at risk of child labor. 
The support of IOM and the national government comes at a crucial time. With remittance flows declining since the start of the pandemic, many families have been pushed deeper into poverty. This risks reversing decades of progress on development and poverty alleviation. 

“Addressing the impact of COVID-19 on Somalia’s economy is imperative to reduce push factors for migration that can put at further risk individuals in vulnerable situations, especially women and children,” says Richard Danziger, IOM Somalia’s Chief of Mission. 

This kind of support in Somalia addresses not only the most urgent needs of the women, but also empowers them to be agents of change in their communities and an inspiration for future generations.
“Please continue to support us, not with money, but with skills training,” said Nimco. 

This activity is possible thanks to the generous funding of the German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO).
For more information, please contact IOM Somalia Programme Support Unit. Email: iomsomaliapsu@iom.int 

 

 

 

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 8, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: COVID-19Capacity BuildingGender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

 A woman sells produce in a market in Madina village, Kismayo, in March 2019. Photo: Rikka Tupaz/IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 100 stranded Ugandan Women Provided with Return Assistance from Kingdom of Saudi Arabia

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 12:03

Kampala/Riyadh – On Tuesday (01/12) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) assisted 105 stranded Ugandan women, including victims of trafficking, to return home from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). They were stranded due to COVID-19. 

Thousands of Ugandan migrant workers are working in KSA and other parts of the Middle East, mainly as domestic workers and security guards. When COVID-19 started, many lost their jobs. They also faced stigma and xenophobia. Prior to the pandemic, most of the 105 women who returned home safely had been sending money back home to support their families.  

The women arrived in Uganda on a return flight funded by German Humanitarian Assistance, in co-ordination with authorities in Saudi Arabia and Uganda. Upon arrival, many looked relieved to be home, despite evident signs of stress. 

“At least, I thank God I have returned alive,” one woman said to another as they walked towards the buses taking them to their overnight accommodation. 

“The plight of many migrant workers in the COVID-19 era highlights both the devastation of the pandemic as well as the importance of organized international labour migration,” said IOM Uganda Chief of Mission Sanusi Tejan Savage. 

The economic impact of COVID-19 on these women, and on migrant workers in general, has been devastating. Ugandans working abroad contributed approximately 4.5 percent to Uganda’s Gross Domestic Product, placing it above the Sub-Saharan Africa average of 2.8 percent.  IOM is working with the Ugandan and Gulf nations as well as other partners to enhance labour rights and protection for migrant workers. 

 “The economic impact of COVID-19 is affecting the employment prospects of many, and IOM is offering assistance during this difficult period. We commend the efforts of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which contributed to ‘leaving no one behind’ and helping the most vulnerable to return home voluntarily,” explained Carmela Godeau, IOM Regional Director for Middle East and North Africa.  

The return of these 105 women is the second intervention of IOM Uganda to support the return of stranded migrants since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. In September, IOM in Uganda and Bahrain helped 113 Ugandan women return from Saudi Arabia, following an appeal for help by the Ugandan authorities.  

“The information from the Uganda Government indicating in May that more than 2,400 mostly vulnerable Ugandan migrant workers were stranded abroad was distressing enough and, as IOM, we are doing all we can to improve the safety, welfare and dignity of migrant workers from the region,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa. 

Many migrant workers from Uganda and Africa remain stranded and without work. They are facing tremendous difficulties abroad, and may face even greater challenges when they return.  

These returns are part of IOM Uganda’s support in respect of COVID-19. IOM has also supported the Government with COVID-19 surveillance at the Entebbe International Airport and other points of entry.  

 

For more information, please contact: 

IOM Uganda:  Richard M Kavuma, Public Information Officer: rmkavuma@iom.int | +256 312 263210  

IOM Bahrain:  Amy Edwards, Migrant Protection and Assistance: aedwards@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 4, 2020 - 18:59Image: Region-Country: UgandaThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

The returning migrants enter the terminal at Uganda's Entebbe airport. Photo: IOM

The returning migrants disembark from the aircraft at Uganda's Entebbe airport. Photo: IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Concerned about Impact of Yemen Famine Predictions on Displaced Persons, Migrants

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 11:39

Sana’a – New United Nations data showing record levels of acute food insecurity in Yemen raise major concerns over the impact of hunger on particularly vulnerable groups, especially internally displaced people and migrants. Millions of people are displaced across Yemen, with over 166,000 newly displaced this year alone, while at least 14,500 migrants are stranded in the country — both groups worryingly cite access to food as among their critical needs.

“The impact of the UN’s famine predictions will be disastrous, and even fatal, for internally displaced people and migrants, who are already greatly suffering as a result of limited access to food and humanitarian assistance,” said Christa Rottensteiner, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Chief of Mission in Yemen.

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and UNICEF reported on 3 December that a new Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) analysis “indicates that pockets of famine-like conditions (IPC Phase 5) have already returned for the first time in two years.” The two organizations further warned that “the number of people experiencing this degree of catastrophic food insecurity could nearly triple” by June 2021.

Yemen’s severe food insecurity is driven by the ongoing conflict and the deteriorating economy. Linked heavily to the economic crisis and exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. At the same time, the increased cost of living, currency depreciation, shortage of foreign exchange, a decrease in remittances and limited government revenues have all left Yemeni families increasingly unable to afford even limited amounts of food.

"Ending the conflict is the only means of bringing a sustainable end to the food and displacement crisis in Yemen, which has devastated communities across the country for six years already,” added Rottensteiner.

Torrential rains and flooding have further exacerbated the situation by devastating local communities, farms and displacement sites between April and August.

As a result of these complex factors, at least 27 per cent of those newly displaced across Yemen in 2020 cited food as a main need. The governorates where food is a priority for displaced people are Lahj (85%), Shabwah (67%), Al Dhale’e (59%) and Abyan (58%). In both Lahj and Shabwah governorates, which are still mostly in IPC 3 (Crisis), key informants reported to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) that their food issues were due to the increased prices of essential commodities in local markets.

 

Nearly half of these displaced families in Lahj and nearly 90 per cent in Shabwah live with host families or relatives where they do not pay rent. That indicates that the host communities are experiencing dire economic conditions, limited resources and shortages in food supplies. This is having a knock-on effect on the displaced community.

In Shabwah governorate, food is the highest priority because many people displaced there work as civil servants and are facing reductions or pauses in government salaries. While in Al Dhale’e governorate, 73 per cent of the displaced were farmers who were forced to flee their land and are now unable to find work, leaving them unable to support their families. And despite over 40 per cent of the newly displaced in Al Dhale’e not having rent as a household expense, they still cannot afford food.

Food insecurity in the majority of districts in Marib governorate, where over 60 per cent of this year’s displacements have occurred, is already at emergency levels (IPC 4). This is extremely worrying given the large number of displaced people sheltering in the district and the limited humanitarian assistance available. There, the displacement crisis is further exacerbated by ongoing hostilities, which would lead to further disaster if they were to move closer to heavily populated areas.

In Marib, IOM partners with the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to distribute emergency aid packages, including food rations, and cash assistance to those newly displaced in the governorate.

Like many displaced families, migrants are heavily reliant on aid and local charity for access to food.

"Although often ignored, migrants are some of the most vulnerable groups in Yemen. There is a humanitarian imperative to ensure that all plans to respond to this deadly hunger crisis include them,” Rottensteiner concluded.

International migrants –particularly the approximately 10,000 stranded in Aden and Marib– are in dire need of food, in addition to shelter, water and health care. In Marib, 60 per cent of migrants do not have access to food. In Aden alone, IOM is working with the Government of Ethiopia to facilitate the safe return of stranded migrants; the Organization has registered over 3,400 migrants who wish to return home. While they wait, IOM distributes food vouchers to migrants and organizes cash-for-work activities, in addition to ongoing emergency assistance. 

The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) 

IOM DTM data collection methodology works with key informants at the location level. Currently, IOM only has full access in seven governorates in Yemen and partial access in an additional six governorates. For more information on DTM and displacement or migration data for Yemen, please visit: https://displacement.iom.int/yemen.  

 

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon, IOM Yemen, Tel. and WhatsApp: +967730552233, Email: oheadon@iom.int   

Language English Posted: Friday, December 4, 2020 - 18:00Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

An IOM doctor talks with a displaced mother about her child's condition at a health clinic in Al Jufainah Camp (Yemen's largest displacement site) in Marib, 2020. Photo: IOM 

Women migrants sit in front of their temporary shelter in Marib where they are some of the approximately 5,000 stranded in the conflict-stricken governorate, 2020. Photo: IOM 

 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM and UNAOC Celebrate Youth Filmmakers from Around the World at Virtual Ceremony

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 11:15

New York – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) announced the winners of their PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival. The awards ceremony, an annual event for the joint initiative, for the first time took place virtually. 

The 2020 winning videos were chosen from among hundreds of submissions from over 70 countries. Winners were selected for their coverage of migration, diversity, social inclusion, and xenophobia. 

Internationally acclaimed Spanish musician Rafael Aguirre opened the virtual awards ceremony, which was followed by the screening of the winning PLURAL+ videos. 

“This year, we received more than 500 videos from more than 70 countries. That is yet another proof of youth’s resilience and strength, even during challenging times,” said the High Representative for UNAOC, Miguel Ángel Moratinos in opening remarks. “Their conviction that the world can and should be a better place, and their creative vision in addressing the pressing social issues of migration, social inclusion, diversity and xenophobia, are the essence behind the production of these inspiring and thought-provoking short films.” 

The UN Under Secretary-General for Global Communications, Melissa Fleming, also attended the ceremony and praised young people’s ability to express their views: “Your videos demonstrate the special power of storytelling to move people to care and to take action.” She added that “COVID-19 has tested all of us like never before. Yet, even in pandemic, you should not stop from expressing your creativity and from using it to educate others about key issues like migration, diversity, inclusion and tackling xenophobia.” 

IOM Director General, António Vitorino, added: “A world that is diverse, where we can all exist and thrive together despite—and through—our differences. That world that is big enough to include everyone from any culture, religion, gender, or race. Today we have a reason to be hopeful. In their videos, young people are telling us that, despite all the challenges, they are not giving up on the future and the world they want.” 

 
Youth Filmmakers from Around the World 

The awards were presented by members of the PLURAL+ International Jury, which include Nayeli Chavez-Geller (New York Correspondent, Primer Impacto, Univisión), John Yearwood (Deputy Editor, Politico), Thuraya Ismail (Secretary General, Mentor Arabia), Louise Kanza (Co-Founder, Sophie A. Kanza Foundation), José Antonio Bautista (Investigative Journalist), and Sophia Kianni (UN Youth Advisor on Climate Change). Winning filmmakers will have the opportunity to screen their films. 

Hashem Hamed and Omar Al-Jallad, from Jordan, were winners in the up to 12 years old category for their film “Islam and Math”. In the 13 to 17 years old category, the award went to India’s Kulsoom Rizavi, for “Who is a Refugee?” In the 18 to 25 years old category, the winner, Bayan Abutaema from Jordan, was recognized for “ERROR 017”. The UNAOC-IOM Award for the Prevention of Xenophobia went to Brazil’s João Maciel for “The mask I don't want to wear”. 

Two new awards this year honored Mexico’s Diego Casillas for “Dear society: a queer message” and “Religion is love” by Brazil’s Marcos Magalhães. 

The winning PLURAL+ videos will be available online soon on the festival’s website and will be disseminated worldwide. 

 

For more information, please contact:  

Rahma Gamil Soliman, Migration Officer for Media and Communications at the IOM Office to the United Nations in New York, Email: rsoliman@iom.int, Tel: +1 917 515 7454  

Thibault Chareton, Project Management Specialist – Media & Migration at UNAOC in New York, Email: thibaultc@unops.org, Tel: +1 646 306 8780 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 4, 2020 - 13:56Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Diversity and IntegrationIOMDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

New Social Cohesion Initiative to Promote Inclusive Migration Management in Turkey

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 07:15

Ankara – As 2020 comes to an end, Turkey continues to be the largest host to refugees in the world. There are four million foreign nationals present in the country and numbers are rising. Most come from the Syrian Arab Republic, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Islamic Republic of Iran and Somalia.

A new project has been launched, funded by the European Union (EU) and to be managed jointly by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM). It seeks to build social cohesion and inclusion as migrants and refugees integrate into Turkish society.

The initiative, worth EUR 11 million, is funded by the EU Instrument contributing to Stability and Peace (EU IcSP), and is supporting Turkey’s National Action Plan on Harmonization. The action plan contains objectives for employment, health, education, social policies, orientation, and social aid. The official launch in Ankara last week was held partly online due to COVID-19 restrictions.

In a video message, the EU Ambassador Nikolaus Meyer-Landrut sounded a note of high optimism: “This project will help address the consequences of the Syrian conflict and increased migratory pressure for Turkey by building on the capacity of Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management and local public institutions. The EU focus is progressively shifting towards inclusion and self-reliance considering also the needs of the local communities. In general terms, social cohesion aims at promoting inclusion and integrated communities. Turkey’s inclusive response to the Syrian refugee crisis, coupled with the society’s welcoming attitude, constitutes the backbone of social cohesion in Turkey.”

IOM’s Regional Director Renate Held, speaking from Vienna, highlighted the importance of the action at local level: “Nuanced and context-specific solutions are needed: building the capacity of public services to meet the needs of an increasingly diverse population, harmonizing approaches both vertically and horizontally.”

Over the next 15 months, IOM will be coordinating and implementing a wide range of activities: facilitating migrants’ access to services and rights, building the capacity of DGMM, provincial directorates and local authorities, and piloting innovative activities to promote social cohesion. 

For DGMM. Dr. Gökçe Ok, noted: “Migration is a very dynamic process. It has its opportunity dimension as well, and smart people look for the opportunities”.

For more information, please contact Gamze Adli on +90 507 491 8591, Email: gadli@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, December 4, 2020 - 13:57Image: Region-Country: TurkeyThemes: Capacity BuildingImmigration and IntegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

The kickoff meeting for the ‘’Harmonization and Social Cohesion Programme Across Turkey Project’’ took place on 27 November in Ankara, Turkey. Photo: IOM/Melis Güner 

Ahmed is one of the many refugees receiving psychosocial care at the SSG near Hatay, Turkey. He receives regular psychosocial care from his case worker. Photo: ️IOM/Muse Mohammed 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Provides Food Vouchers to Vulnerable Refugees and Migrants Affected by COVID-19 in Brazil

Fri, 12/04/2020 - 07:05

Brasilia – Nearly 4,000 vulnerable refugees and migrants in Brazil affected by mobility restrictions and the socioeconomic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic are receiving vouchers from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to purchase food and other basic items.  The vouchers are one-time offers, valued at about USD 100. 

IOM is closely coordinating the activity with local governments and 31 humanitarian partners, prioritizing families with children and elderly persons who face food insecurity due to lack of a regular income. 

The distribution of the vouchers is taking place in more than half of Brazil’s states, states which were selected based on those locations where the most vulnerable refugees and migrants are living. In particular, Venezuelans relocated by the Federal Government are a top priority. They reside in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Pará, and the federal district, Brasilia. 

Other states have been selected based on the requests by the local governments and civil society organizations, such as the state of Acre. Many are located at the triple border area shared by Brazil, Bolivia and Peru, where migrants and refugees have been stranded due to COVID-19's border restrictions. 

In September, IOM reported on the hindered mobility that has been one of the most common impacts of COVID-19 on different categories of refugees and migrants across Latin America, especially Venezuelans. 

Many migrants are unable to continue their journey and remain stranded in transit countries; many others cannot not leave their countries to embark on the first legs of their journeys. Migrants stranded at airports, land border crossing areas or at sea were featured in multiple reports, as were migrants camping in front of Embassies asking for support from their Governments (for example, hundreds of migrants from the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the Bolivarian Republic of Venezuela have been camping outside their respective embassies in Chile requesting support to return home). 

That is the situation IOM is responding to in Brazil. 

To Miriangela, a Venezuelan who arrived in Rio de Janeiro two years ago, this support is essential. “I live alone with my 7-year-old son and I'm not working at the moment. With the voucher I can buy food and cleaning products," she explained. 

In Brasilia, IOM’s activity also benefits some 60 Warao Venezuelans, members of indigenous tribes. “We are very grateful for the help. This is the first time that we have received a food voucher, being able to choose what we will buy,” said Nilda, who had been living in the city for two months with eight other family members. 

Vinícius Duque, a coordinator of Policies for Migrants and Promotion of Decent Work from the city of São Paulo, explained: “Networking is essential in this moment of public emergency. More than ever, these partnerships need to be strengthened. This action is the result of a joint effort between IOM and the government, contributing uniquely to expand the different actions and policies that have been developed on different fronts, benefiting immigrant families in situations of extreme vulnerability in the city of São Paulo.” 

This initiative is part of the IOM Global Response to the COVID-19 pandemic and has a national partnership with Sodexo Pass do Brasil and the Stop Hunger Institute for the issuance of vouchers.  Financial support is granted by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State.  

IOM’s Chief of Mission in Brazil, Stéphane Rostiaux, said: “At this time, when many families have suffered not only from the health effects of the pandemic but also from the socioeconomic impact, this support which allows food provision respecting people's autonomy is essential.” 

For more information, please contact Juliana Hack, IOM Brazil, Tel:  +55 61 3771 3772. E-mail: jhack@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 4, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: COVID-19IOMMigrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

Nilda and her mother in Brasília. Photo: IOM/Juliana Hack 

Miriangela, a Venezuelan living in Rio de Janeiro for two years, was one of the first beneficiaries to receive the voucher. Photo: IOM/Diogo Felix 

Delivery of vouchers in São Paulo. Photo: IOM/Carla Lorenzi 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Global Policy Network to Promote Ethical Recruitment

Thu, 12/03/2020 - 02:22

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched today (3 December 2020) a Global Policy Network to promote ethical recruitment and the protection of migrant workers.

Cross-border recruitment is a vital part of facilitating international labour mobility. When implemented in a fair and transparent manner, it contributes to safe and orderly labour migration, which benefits countries of origin and destination, employers, and migrants. However, when international standards are not adhered to, the risks to migrant workers can be severe. Fraudulent and unethical behaviour by unscrupulous labour recruiters can lead to conditions of human trafficking and forced labour.

The new Global Policy Network on Recruitment will address shortcomings in regulation and enforcement that can exacerbate vulnerabilities and lead to gaps in the protection of migrant workers. It will bring together policy makers, regulators, and practitioners from around the world to collectively identify solutions, highlight promising practices and address complex challenges.

“IOM is proud to announce the new government-driven policy network on recruitment, and we look forward to supporting our Member States to make it a reality,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino.

“Migrant workers around the world need our collective support; the challenges they face have been brought into stark relief by the ongoing pandemic. The global community has a duty to address these challenges, and the Policy Network will make a vital contribution to that effort. We hope you will join us.”

Network membership will help States implement their commitment to safe migration and strengthen their migration governance by facilitating dialogue, knowledge transfer and sharing of good practices. The Network will introduce Members to leading-edge, innovative solutions to the common challenges that policy makers and regulators face.

“A lesson learned from the past few decades of increased global mobility is that no national system exists in a vacuum,” stressed Oscar Berger, Deputy Director at the Swedish Ministry of Justice.

“Our hope is that the Network will function as a source of information on regulatory structures in other countries and how these relate to the Swedish system, as well as an instrument of inspiration on how to safeguard the rights of foreign employees being recruited for work in Sweden.”

In the time of COVID-19, the need for a Policy Network of this kind is more urgent than ever. The pandemic has laid bare the gaps in our current model of migration governance and exacerbated the vulnerabilities that migrant workers face. Without better recruitment regulation, enforcement, and protection, migrants will continue to suffer, with consequences and risks to everyone. The time to change this model is now.

The Policy Network emerged as a result of the 2019 Global Conference on the Regulation of International Recruitment, held in Montreal, Canada. The Conference brought together 100 policy makers from over 30 countries around the world and resulted in the flagship resource, the Montreal Recommendations on Recruitment: A Road Map towards Better Regulation. The Network will build on these foundations and be anchored in the framework established by IOM’s IRIS: Ethical Recruitment initiative.

“Ensuring full compliance of private recruitment agencies with regulation will be key in leveraging safe labour migration pathways. It is my hope that the Global Policy Network will also trigger in-depth discussion on the return and reintegration of migrant workers,” said Lawrence Egulu, Commissioner for Employment Services at the Uganda Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development.

For his part, the Canadian Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship, Marco E.L. Mendicino, underlined that establishing the Global Policy Network for Recruitment as a vehicle to address ethical labour recruiting and the protection of migrant workers “builds directly on the Montreal Recommendations and has Canada’s full support. We welcome this concrete outcome from last year’s conference in Montreal and encourage other Member States to engage in the Network to facilitate dialogue and collaboration on these issues.”

The Network is designed as a vehicle for policy dialogue that will be both practical and solutions-oriented. It will:

  • Provide clear, practical guidance to promote policy coherence and good practices;
  • Encourage operational and regulatory cooperation across participating jurisdictions;
  • Establish a mechanism through which guidance and strategies can be tested and scaled, and actions taken.

IOM’s Labour Mobility and Human Development Division focuses on the protection of migrant workers and seeks to enhance the benefits of labour migration for all parties involved. The Division operates IRIS: Ethical Recruitment, a global initiative designed to promote ethical recruitment with support from governments, civil society, the private sector and ethical recruiters.

To learn more about the Policy Network and its activities or to express interest in joining the Network, please contact Philip Hunter at phunter@iom.int

Language English Posted: Thursday, December 3, 2020 - 09:08Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Archival photo of migrant workers in Colombia.  Photo: IOM/Rocío Sanz

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Provides Personal Protective Equipment to Two Frequently Used Points of Entry in Vientiane Capital

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 12:57

Lao People’s Democratic Republic – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Department of Immigration, General Department of Public Security, the Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) recently (25-11) handed over personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline border officials at Wattay International Airport and Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I to better protect travelers, migrants, frontline officials, and ensure safe and effective migration and border management during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

IOM procured essential PPE for two Points of Entry (PoEs) to address and respond to gaps identified from the rapid assessments conducted at frequently used PoEs. Zena Van Bemmel Faulkner, Acting Head of Office of IOM, and Police Colonel Saysaming SIVILAY, Director General of Immigration Department, General Department of Public Security, MoPS handed over 15,000 surgical masks, 2,000 surgical gloves, 190 goggles, 1,000 hand sanitizers, 160 face shields, 10 handheld thermometers, and 15 electric disinfection sprayers to Wattay International Airport. Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I received 10,000 surgical masks, 50 hand sanitizers, 150 face shields, 10 handheld thermometers, and 10 manual disinfection sprays.

Pol. Col. Saysaming SIVILAY thanked IOM for the ongoing support, saying “this support comes in a timely manner as the country on 23 November received 14 newly imported COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 39 cases. The Government’s quick response would not have been possible without the generous support of the Australian Government, IOM, WHO and other development partners assisting in the COVID-19 response at PoEs,” he said.

Together with MoPS, IOM started the first PoE mapping assessment in Vientiane Capital on 28 August, before rolling out to six other provinces across the country. A total of 10 frequently used PoEs were assessed to look at preparedness and response capacities for COVID-19, which included assessing existing capacities of infrastructure, processes, and personnel to respond to COVID-19 and future outbreaks.

Based on the findings of this assessment, IOM has developed in consultation with MoPS the standard operating procedures (SOP) for frontline border officials and information, education, and communication (IEC) materials for incoming and outgoing passengers.

From 27 to 30 October, IOM held a joint training at Wattay International Airport and Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I for frontline officials, with trainings at 10 international PoEs scheduled to be rolled out by the end of 2020.

IOM has been monitoring the large number of migrants returning across the region. The pandemic has significantly changed human mobility and trade patterns, and as travel restrictions created new risks for migrants, many have become stranded or found themselves in irregular situations.

Under its Health, Border and Mobility Management Framework, IOM sets to improve the prevention, detection, and response to the spread of diseases at points of origin, transit, destination, and return.  

This activity is part of IOM’s project Responding to Cross Mobility Challenges at Points of Entry in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, with joint funding from the Australian Government and the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

For more information please contact Suhyun PARK at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (0)55 136 294. Email: spark@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 19:52Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: COVID-19IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM handed over essential PPE to Wattay International Airport to better protect frontline officials and inbound travelers.

Handover of essential PPE to the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, one of the most frequently used PoE in Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

The PPE was procured after joint rapid assessments at the border and in close consultation with the Department of Immigration.

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

Pacific Governments Conclude Regional Policy Dialogue on Climate Related Mobility

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 09:14

Suva, Wednesday, 25 November, 2020 – Over the past three months, the joint-agency Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security (PCCMHS) programme has hosted a series of six regional policy dialogues with senior government officials from across the Pacific region. In coordination with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the discussions provided an opportunity for Pacific countries to review the human security implications of climate change and mobility, discuss relevant global, regional and national initiatives and examine different options for the region to ensure the protection of climate related migrants.

Pacific communities have been affected by a range of sudden-onset and slow-onset hazards that are made more intense and accelerated by climate change. It is not uncommon to hear stories of how families, communities and villages must move due to the impacts caused by rising sea levels, ocean acidification, coastal erosion, temperature and changes to rainfall variability and El Niño and La Niña climate patterns.

The PCCMHS regional policy dialogue provided an opportunity for the participating countries to initiate discussions on a regional process in support of responses to climate change-related migration, displacement and planned relocation.

This reality led Hon. Simon Kofe, Minister of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs, Tuvalu to state that “Every nation must take ownership of and responsibility for climate-change-related issues... Developing a regional framework to respond to climate change and disaster-related migration, displacement, and planned relocation can enhance our regional advocacy at the international level, boost the Pacific’s role as leaders in battling the world climate crisis, and encourage all nations to do their part in resolving this crisis.”

The first of the six regional webinars commenced in September and set the scene in providing an introduction to the objectives of the regional policy dialogue. This was subsequently followed by webinars two and three that focused on country perspectives on current mobility trends, existing challenges as well as the relevant national policies.

Session four reviewed existing regional and global policy processes that address climate change related displacement, migration and planned relocation.

In session five, discussions highlighted legal and policy gaps that needed to be addressed to enable for the proper protection of Pacific communities most prone to the impacts of climate change.

The sixth and final webinar concluded in November and focused on framing a potential Pacific regional response and identifying next steps for the development of the regional response to enhance the protection and empowerment of migrants and communities adversely affected by climate change and disasters in the Pacific region.

During the webinar sessions, government representatives had the benefit of receiving and considering a comprehensive set of key messages prepared by PCCMHS’s technical advisory group – comprising of experts from across the Pacific region in multiple sectors related to cross-cutting areas of climate migration, as well as from implementing partners including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, International Labour Organization, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Platform on Disaster Displacement.

 “I am pleased with the approach taken by the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security programme which puts Members [Countries] at the centre of this policy dialogue consultation. This engagement would assist partners to frame the best regional response to progress this work during such unprecedented times, said Dr. Filimon Manoni, Deputy Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum.

“The Pacific region has the opportunity to show the rest of the world how it’s done by continuing the conversation on the need to develop a regional response that focusses on protecting the interests and rights of our future generations, so that they can choose to stay where they are, move in anticipation of harm or if they are displaced,” said Mr. Solomon Kantha, IOM Chief of Mission in Fiji.

Discussions on climate mobility will gain further momentum in 2021 as the PCCMHS programme looks to support national and regional consultations in the Pacific region. The PCCMHS programme will review the outcomes of these consultations face to face in Suva to inform a regional framework that respects national policies, strategies and narratives while promoting recognition and the legal protection of migrants and displaced persons particularly in the context of climate change.

 

For more information contact:

Ly Ngo, Associate Programme Officer, ESCAP Subregional Office for the Pacific. Email: ly.ngo@un.org

Sabira Coelho, Programme Manager, Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security Programme at IOM Fiji. Email: scoelho@iom.int

Christopher Yee, Programme Specialist at IOM Fiiji. Email: cyee@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 15:38Image: Region-Country: FijiThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

6th Regional Policy Dialogue

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

120 Central African and Sudanese Refugees Resettled to France

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 07:08

N’Djamena – Over the past week (starting 27/11), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) facilitated the resettlement of 120 refugees from Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) to France. The refugees, including 65 women and 55 men left N’Djamena (Chad) on a chartered flight last Friday morning. Many had spent more than ten years in Chad, awaiting a chance to be resettled and restart their lives. 

All COVID-19 sanitary protocols were adhered to during the resettlement operation (including PCR-testing to COVID-19 prior departure). In addition to COVID-19 screening, the refugees were screened for medical conditions and received in-depth pre-departure orientation to ensure their integration in their new society goes as smoothly as possible. 

Upon arrival in France, the refugees were welcomed by French NGOs who will provide administrative and social support for a one-year period.  

“Resettlement offers refugees a unique opportunity to rebuild their lives in dignity. It is thus an important part of finding durable solutions to refugee situations, of which we are proud to participate,” said Anne Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission. 

With more than 480,000 refugees living in 14 camps and various urban centres, Chad is one of the largest refugee-hosting countries in West and Central Africa. IOM works closely with Government, non-governmental and UN partners, to ensure that the most vulnerable among them have access to durable and lifesaving solutions such as resettlement to a third country. 

This includes eligibility assessment and referral, accommodation in a transit centre (once refugee status has been determined and the resettlement process has been initiated), pre-departure medical screening, vulnerability assessment, flight and support for durable integration in the destination country. 

In 2020, IOM in Chad resettled 312 refugees from Sudan and the Central African Republic to France, Australia, Canada, Sweden and Norway. 

Djamal’s Story 

I arrived in Chad from the Central African Republic with my mother and my seven siblings in 2014. I was 16 years old. We fled because of the violence in our country. When we arrived, we had nothing. We had no money, and we knew no one. We first went to Moundou [Southern Chad]. From there, international organizations helped us contact family members. Afterwards, we went to the Doholo refugee camp [near the border with CAR] to be registered as refugees. It was not easy. In the camp, my mother learnt about nutritional health and started working as an assistant in the health centre. The little that she earned helped us make ends meet. It was this work that helped us survive while we lived in the camp. We are happy to be going to France. I have made some friends here. Some of them work as drivers, others want to go back to school. My dream is to become a pilot. I have always been fascinated by planes, and I hope that in France, I will be able to realize my dream.  

For more information, please contact François-Xavier Ada, Communications and Policy Officer at IOM Chad. Email: fadaaffana@iom.int.  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Migrants awaiting to board their resettlement flight at N’Djamena airport. Photo: Hani Nassar/IOM. 

Migrants awaiting to board their resettlement flight at N’Djamena airport. Photo: Hani Nassar/IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

2020 Global Migration Film Festival Opens Linking a Worldwide Audience to Cinema and Human Mobility

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 06:26

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week (30 November) is launching its annual Global Migration Film Festival, presenting five selected films for screening worldwide. This will mark IOM´s fifth year presenting documentaries, features and short films that explore the themes of migration and human mobility.  

This year’s film festival is taking place despite the global health emergency brought on by COVID-19, with the selected films offered through a virtual platform.  

As in past years, dozens of individual IOM missions also will hold events tied to films’ presentations, joined by panel discussions and other cultural moments open to the public. Those, too, will be launched on virtual, online platforms. 

“We’ve had an outpouring of support from filmmakers worldwide. And, as usual, choosing our selection from the hundreds of works submitted has been both a challenge and a joy. The fact that we can bring so much fine material to so many—and to do so virtually—is a small miracle,” said Leonard Doyle, IOM’s head of Media and Communications. 

Among the over 800 films submitted for IOM’s consideration are five final works that have been chosen to be made accessible on a global internet platform. The five selected films are “Amygdalia” (Greece), directed by Christina Phoebe; “Revolution from Afar” (USA), directed by Bentley Brown; “Omar and Us” (Poland), directed by Maryna Er Gorbach and Mehmet Bahadir Er; “8000 Paperclips” (Israel), directed by Nitsan Tal; and “Women’s Country” (Turkey). directed by Şirin Bahar Demirel. 

The Film Festival features capture the promise and challenges of migration, and the unique contributions that migrants make to their new communities. The goal of the Festival is to open audiences to a larger discussion concerning the mega trend of our time: migration. 

“The Festival is also an advocacy tool, one that can draw attention to the perils of xenophobia and the stigmatizing of outsiders, many of whom are suffering terribly due to the pandemic”, added IOM’s Doyle.  

In the past years, IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival has offered screenings in over 100 countries, reaching audiences of up to 60,000 people annually. Films have been screened under the stars for migrants, as part of a 1,200 kilometer caravan through the desert, in refugee camps and migrant transit centres, as well as in libraries, universities and film clubs in cities large and small.  

This year’s events will continue until 18 December, International Migrants Day, which in previous years has been the date that closes the festival with a gala awards ceremony. This year’s award winners will be announced on-line.   

Click here to learno more about the 2020 official selections. 

To visit the GMFF website: https://www.iom.int/global-migration-film-festival   

For more information, please contact IOM HQ: 
Joel Millman, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Emergency in Northern Ethiopia Requires Urgent Humanitarian Intervention and Access

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 06:22

Addis Ababa – Internally displaced populations are in dire need of humanitarian and recovery assistance following the reported cessation of military operations on 28 November, after more than three weeks of combat in the northern Ethiopian regional state of Tigray by the Ethiopian National Defence Forces. 

In the worst-case scenario, the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG) estimates that 1.98 million people could be affected. Ahead of the inter-agency needs assessments underway this week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is scaling up its operational and technical capacity to respond.  

The Organization is appealing for USD 22 million to contribute to collective preparedness efforts ahead of the humanitarian response to the situation in Northern Ethiopia. 

Considering the forecasted needs, IOM’s Migration Emergency Funding Mechanism has allocated USD 1 million to urgently mobilize global stocks of shelter, non-food items (NFIs) and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to ensure that humanitarian assistance can be immediately delivered to the affected populations once access is granted.  

“We are committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable as soon as we can reach the affected populations and can assess the increasing needs,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Ethiopia. 

“Access to the affected regions is paramount to understanding the numbers and whereabouts of those forced to flee.” 

IOM’s current preparedness efforts, highlighted in the appeal, are designed to ensure that the most pressing humanitarian needs are met and to lay the foundation for recovery. Additional information on vulnerabilities, access to services, numbers and locations of affected populations will further inform the long-term response once available. 

Funding toward this appeal will allow the Organization to provide shelter and NFIs as well as health and WASH services in affected communities. It will also enable IOM to support adequate protection and assistance in displacement sites.  

In addition, IOM will employ its Displacement Tracking Matrix to inform the collective humanitarian and development response and better prioritize the allocation of resources.  

As a first step, a surge team of technical experts has been deployed to Addis Ababa to guarantee that adequate expertise is available in affected areas, hence fostering a streamlined humanitarian coordination and response.   

The emergency in northern Ethiopia comes at a time when the country is grappling with a humanitarian situation worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing desert locust infestation which has negatively impacted food security levels.  

Prior to November, IOM’s DTM recorded a total of 1.8 million people internally displaced by insecurity and disasters across the country. IOM will continue to accelerate efforts to respond to this population in its programming with a view to conclusively address and resolve internal displacement in Ethiopia.  

The appeal for the Northern Ethiopia Crisis is in line with the ICCG’s Humanitarian Preparedness Plan. 

IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis and displacement in 2020 and beyond. The Platform is regularly updated as crises evolve and new situations emerge.     

For more information, please contact:  

Angela Wells, IOM Public Information Officer in Geneva, Email: awells@iom.int, Tel: +41 79 403 50365 

Yvonne Ndege, IOM Regional Spokesperson for East and Horn of Africa in Nairobi, Email: yndege@iom.int Tel: +254 797 735 977 

Krizia Kaye Viray, IOM Ethiopia Public Information Officer, Email: kkviray@iom.int, Tel: +251993531220   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

Internally displaced populations are in dire need of humanitarian and recovery assistance in northern Ethiopia. Photo: IOM Ethiopia 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Rethinks Diaspora Engagement in “New Normal” Reality

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 06:42

Tbilisi –The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape global migration, and how communities interact across tightened borders.
This is especially true in the Black Sea region, which has long been a fulcrum of migration in the Southern Caucasus and further afield. Fittingly, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Georgia hosted a high-level online conference on Diaspora engagement this week.

“The pandemic keeps pushing us to rethink the way we operate and do things. It also keeps offering new opportunities,” noted Sanja Celebic-Lukovac, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Georgia in her opening remarks.

“We – IOM and our partners – are using this particular moment to reflect on the new potential for migration management. Most of all, we are exploring how diaspora involvement can help us address not just the present consequences of this global crisis, but also in shaping our ‘new normal’ for the years to come,” said IOM’s Celebic-Lukovac.

The two-day conference, which IOM hosted alongside the Georgian Foreign Ministry and the State Commission for Migration, brought together senior officials from many of the countries bordering the Black Sea, as well as experts from Western Europe and Canada. 

“Migration in the South Caucasus and the Black Sea region is a complex and dynamic phenomenon,” noted IOM Regional Director Renate Held, joining the event by video-link from Vienna. 

She added: “The countries represented at this meeting today face a common set of opportunities and challenges regarding migration governance. They require evidence-based policies and programming to leverage the development potential of migration.”

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Vladimer Konstantinidi, affirmed “now more than ever we need our diaspora professionals to engage in social and economic recovery.  This is where we need to enhance linkages between our diaspora professionals and private sector representatives.”
The conference, entitled “Emigration and Diaspora Engagement to Promote Private Sector Development”, was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. It highlighted specific examples of diaspora engagement, as well as structures and networks established to manage migration policies and to ensure successful diaspora relations. 

The conference report will be disseminated in December and presented at the Global Forum on Migration and Development in early 2021.  
For further information please contact Joe Lowry on +436603776404, Email:jlowry@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 13:50Image: Region-Country: GeorgiaThemes: COVID-19Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

A two-day conference, which IOM hosted alongside the Georgian Foreign Ministry and the State Commission for Migration, brought together senior officials from many of the countries bordering the Black Sea, as well as experts from Western Europe and Canada. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

“Include Migrants in Vaccine Plans,” IOM Urges at Regional Health Conference

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 06:38

Skopje – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has issued an urgent call to Governments not to forget migrants as the battle against COVID-19 enters a new phase.  

Even as headlines of a new vaccine raise hope that the darkest days of the pandemic may be ending, a current second wave reveals infection rates up to ten times higher in parts of Europe than those of last Spring. 

Participants in this week’s meeting of the South-Eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN), organised from North Macedonia’s capital, learned that a combination of harsh winter conditions and seasonal flu likely will put a massive strain on already-overburdened health services.  

“This is bad news for the tens of thousands of migrants in the region,” explained IOM’s Senior Regional Health Advisor, Dr. Jaime Calderon, during his address to the forum. “All too often, migrants encounter obstacles in accessing health services—due to language and cultural barriers, fees they cannot afford, and lack of inclusive health policies.” 

SEEHN is a network linking the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and the former North Macedonia. Each of these is a source country—and increasingly, a transit country—for migrants.  

Some 30,000 migrants passed irregularly through the region this year, about the same as previous years, despite pandemic restrictions. There are about 12,500 currently in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and 7,100 in Serbia. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, IOM is rushing warm clothes and sleeping bags to rough-sleeping migrants as temperatures drop below freezing. 

IOM’s Dr. Calderon urged governments to include migrants in public health strategies and vaccination plans. 

“Vaccines are among our most critical and cost-effective tools to prevent outbreaks and keep communities safe and healthy,” he stressed. “For everyone to thrive, countries must intensify efforts to ensure that no one is left behind and all migrants – no matter their legal status – have access to the life-saving benefits of vaccines.”  

For more information please contact Joe Lowry at +43 660 3776404, Email: jlowry@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 13:55Image: Region-Country: Bosnia and HerzegovinaThemes: COVID-19Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

Rough-sleeping migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina are receiving clothes, shoes, blankets and hygiene kits to help them through the winter. Photo: IOM

Rough-sleeping migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina are receiving clothes, shoes, blankets and hygiene kits to help them through the winter. Photo: 2020 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mauritania: IOM and the National Statistics Office Sign Agreement on Data Collection and Analysis on Migration

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 06:27

Nouakchott–  The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the National Statistics Office (Office National de la Statistique, ONS) of Mauritania signed an agreement on Wednesday (25/11) to jointly implement data collection and analysis activities on migration. 

This agreement will contribute to assessing migrants’ presence and profiles in the country, including in Nouakchott, which is seeing an increased number of migrants. Since September, at least 1,100 migrants have been intercepted or rescued off the coast of Mauritania. 

This agreement will provide a better understanding of the needs of migrants in the country to provide them with tailored assistance, including awareness-raising about the risks of irregular journeys and the available alternatives.

“This milestone agreement is particularly critical in ensuring that the Government of Mauritania uses jointly-produced data to inform evidence-based policies on migration,” said Laura Lungarotti, Chief of Mission of IOM Mauritania. 

A first joint activity is scheduled for December 2020 in Nouakchott. IOM plans to assist in updating the estimated number of migrants in the city and to further understand their profiles, needs, and challenges encountered through individual surveys. 

The data collection also will focus on the impact of COVID-19 on migrants, in terms of employment and access to health services and support. 

Since November 2018, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in Mauritania has been providing vital information on human mobility in both Nouakchott and Nouadhibou, including transhumant movements along Mauritania’s southern borders with Senegal and Mali.

IOM’s DTM has also been providing mobility restriction mapping at Mauritania’s entry points to help monitor the situation at the border and the preparedness of entry points to manage flows and to apply health mitigation measures. 

Mauritania’s DTM is funded by the European Union, Japan, Germany, the IOM Development Fund (IDF) and IOM’s unearmarked funding. 
For more information, please contact Lisa Godde lgodde@iom.int and Nicolas Hochart nhochart@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 13:57Image: Region-Country: MauritaniaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Signing of the agreement by the IOM Chief of Mission in Mauritania and the Director-General of the National Statistics Office. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

First IOM Charter Flight since Border Reopening Brings Home over 150 Ghanaian from Libya

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 06:10

Tripoli/Accra– Over 150 Ghanaians were provided with Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance from Libya by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on 24 November. This the charter flight is the first since the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), in Accra following COVID-19 related border closures. 

Upon arrival, migrants were tested for COVID-19 and provided with onward transportation cash assistance for their immediate needs, including travel to their home communities. The most vulnerable received medical and psychosocial assistance. 

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic poses additional challenges to vulnerable migrants, a more coordinated and efficient support system with Government and partners needed to make sure no migrant is left behind in the COVID-19 response,” said Abibatou Wane-Fall, IOM Ghana’s Chief of Mission. 

Out of the more than 584,500 migrants identified in Libya by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), over 27,200 are Ghanaians. Libya accounts for 63.5 percent of the returns to Ghana under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. Other major countries of return include Niger, Mali and Mauritania. 

“Before going to Libya, I was working as a taxi driver. I thought life in Ghana was difficult. I was very wrong. I regret embarking on this journey. My friends who remained behind are doing well, whereas I am worse off. I urge young Ghanaians to stay and work in Ghana as there are opportunities in the country,” said Kwame who returned with the charter.

Upon return, migrants are eligible for reintegration support, which includes counselling, referral to existing programmes and services (trainings, medical and psychosocial assistance), or in-kind support, as necessary. Additionally, they can become part of collective or community-based projects to set up a business with other returnees or community members. 

The recently launched Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Reintegration of Returnees in Ghana provides important guidance, including on handling returns and supporting returnees in their reintegration process.

As part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, IOM Ghana also works with the Government and partners to raise awareness about the risks of irregular migration among communities, promote safe migration, and counter stigmatization and discrimination. 

Over 300 awareness-raising sessions have been organized in communities and schools across the country, while radio and TV broadcasts with similar messages have reached around 1.1 million Ghanaians nationwide. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, IOM has revamped its awareness raising efforts to include COVID-19 prevention messages in its community outreach sessions.

Since 2017, IOM has assisted more than 1,500 Ghanaians with their voluntarily return home. So far, over 480 returnees have completed their reintegration process; 1,400 have participated in reintegration counselling, and almost 1,500 have received mental health and psychosocial assistance.

For more information, please contact Juliane Reissig, Public Information Officer at IOM Ghana, at JREISSIG@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: GhanaLibyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationCOVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

First IOM charter flight since border reopening brings home over 150 Ghanaians from Libya. Photo: IOM/Juliane Reissig  

IOM staff welcomes returnees at the Kotoka International Airport. Photo: IOM/Juliane Reissig  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ministers from East and Horn of Africa Pledge to Harmonize Labour Migration Laws to Protect Migrant Workers’ Rights

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 05:32

Nairobi—The entirety of humankind’s history begins in East Africa, with early Africans’ outbound migration towards Europe and the Middle East. That movement continues, especially now, with some five million recent African migrants living and working outside the continent.     

And yet, migration within Africa remains the more dynamic trend. Over 21 million African migrants—more than five times the number of those in Europe, Asia or the Americas—are migrants to each other’s countries. Their movement, and growing presence in their neighbors’ cities and towns, are turning their countries’ economies into components of each other as well.    

Moreover, by sharing access to things like complementary trade in goods and services, tapping parallel labor pools and creating rising remittance flows, African migrants are engaged in an ever-accelerating cycle of cooperation and co-dependence.   

Those are just some of the themes stimulating policy discussion here this week during a second Regional Ministerial Forum on harmonization of labour migration policies in the region, which brought together officials from East and Horn of Africa (EHoA) countries to chart the next steps in what is being called the “Regional Ministerial Process on Harmonizing Labour Migration Policies in East and Horn of Africa: A United Approach on Safe, Regular and Humane Labour Migration (Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration, i.e., RMFM).  

The RMFM calls on countries to cooperate towards establishing a common platform for engagement between countries of origin, transit and destination on labour migration, as well as to enhance inter-state, intra and inter-regional cooperation for strengthening the protection of the labour, social and human rights of African migrant workers in destination countries,” said Mohammed Abdiker, the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa.    

IOM and the Government of Kenya –Chair of the RMFM, called this week’s meeting as a follow up to a January ministerial regional meeting to start discussions.    

Ministers from Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi worked with other high-level government representatives to harmonize labour migration policies in the region. They also made commitments to make labour migration safe, orderly and humane by establishing a common platform for engagement with the Gulf states and other countries that are major employers of African migrant workers.  

As IOM’s Abdiker explained to participants, migrants from the Horn of Africa move through Yemen, the Middle East and beyond seeking employment. He emphasized that with demand traditionally for workers to fill the female sectors of domestic work, migration flows from the EHoA are women and youth dominated.      

Migration to Gulf Cooperation Council countries has provided jobs and generated significant remittance inflows, providing sustainable incomes for EHOA migrant workers and their families. Citing one example, according to World bank data, in 2019 the general remittance flows into Ethiopia were recorded at 531 million USD in 2019, accounting for 0.5 per cent of the country’s Gross domestic product (GDP).   

But he warned of a downside. “Since the outbreak of COVID-19,” Abdiker said, “emerging data and reports from those on the front lines, have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified. This is the shadow pandemic growing amidst the COVID-19 crisis and we need a global collective effort to stop it.”   

Integrating economies in the East and Horn of Africa will make them more resilient to and able to withstand shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic currently severely impacting many economies across Africa. One form of integration is the harmonisation of labour migration laws across the region, which will allow for the free movement of people in the region and beyond, spur economic development, and boost the transfer of skills.    

According to the World Migration Report, the region is experiencing considerable levels of outward labour mobility, driven by poverty, low wages and high unemployment. The Gulf States’ proximity to Eastern Africa and their employment opportunities make them an attractive destination for many East Africans.   

Harmonizing labour migration regulations would safeguard the rights of migrant workers and prevent unfair practices such as excessive working hours, passport confiscation, confinement and denial of salary, impacting the lives of thousands of migrants, and their families, and ordinary citizens in a region with a population of nearly 420 million people. This is according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.    

Harmonizing labour migration laws further would mean people can move freely and transfer skills where they are most needed.    

“As increasing cross-border human, labour and skills mobility play a significant role in the development of the continent, the social, labour and human rights of migrant workers, women and girls, men and boys has become an ever-more urgent challenge,” said IOM’s Abdiker.   

For more information contact: Yvonne Ndege, Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Tel:  +2547 977 35977, Email: yndege@iom.int     

Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: COVID-19Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Displacement Continues Due to Insecurity in Cabo Delgado, Northern Mozambique

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 05:21

Maputo– The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is deeply concerned about the continued displacement of civilian populations in northern Mozambique due to insecurity in Cabo Delgado province. Over the past month (28 October – 25 November), more than 45,000 individuals fled the northern district of Muidumbe due to multiple attacks in several locations. Some people were newly displaced, while others were already displaced and again forced to flee. 
 
“Displacement is on the rise in northern Cabo Delgado as attacks on civilian populations continue,” said IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Laura Tomm-Bonde.  

“We are extremely concerned about this situation and are providing humanitarian support as best we can. Displaced families are highly vulnerable and further assistance is required to meet humanitarian needs.”

Over 37,000 of those displaced from Muidumbe, roughly 100 km from the Mozambique-Tanzania border, travelled north to Mueda district. Others moved south to Montepuez (5,000 individuals) and to the provincial capital Pemba (3,000 individuals) by road. 
 
IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) reports that at least 424,000 individuals were displaced as of late September, a 17 per cent increase from the previous month. Of the total displaced, over 144,000 are in areas that are hard to reach due to security concerns.

 “We had to leave our area due to multiple attacks, and moved to the city of Pemba, said Nlabite Chafim, one of eight people from the same family who fled through the forests on foot in July before finding transportation to the provincial capital. “My niece witnessed her parents being killed, and she is not the same.”
 
Like many others, they are staying with relations and receiving assistance from IOM. 
 
“We appreciate the psychosocial support sessions for girls, and the materials given to our family, which helped my brother to restart his carpentry business and provide for our family,” she said. 
 
From 16 November to 22 November, IOM tracked more than 14,400 displaced people who were on the move from Muidumbe. Nearly half (48 per cent) of this population are children, 30 per cent are women and 22 per cent are men. Among the main needs reported by displaced people are food, shelter and household items. 
 
IOM’s DTM teams are deployed to several locations across Cabo Delgado on a daily basis to collect data on displacement movements and humanitarian needs. The process takes place in cooperation with the Government of Mozambique through a network of staff and local residents, and the information is shared with humanitarian partners to inform their response planning. IOM and its partners participated in a multisectoral rapid assessment in Montepuez to support the humanitarian response and assess needs.
 
IOM is providing immediate assistance to displaced populations in support of the Government of Mozambique humanitarian response. The assistance includes shelter materials, distributions of household items, and the establishment of displacement sites with coordination for basic services provision. In addition to mental health and psychosocial support, IOM also facilitates access to life saving health and protection services. 
 
IOM, with the support of its partners, has assisted nearly 400,000 individuals affected by insecurity and Cyclone Kenneth in Cabo Delgado from April 2019 to October 2020.
 
For more information, please contact: 
Sascha Nlabu, IOM Mozambique Head of Programmes and Operations; email: snlabu@iom.int or 
Sandra Black, Media and Communications Officer; Tel: +258 84 494 4359, email: sblack@iom.int  

 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: IOMInternally Displaced PersonsMigrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

Displaced families from Muidumbe district travel through Mueda to safety after fleeing insecurity in Cabo Delgado. Photo: IOM Mozambique

IOM teams interview displaced families who fled from Muidumbe district this month due to insecurity in Cabo Delgado. Photo: IOM Mozambique

IOM teams interview displaced families who fled from Muidumbe district this month due to insecurity in Cabo Delgado. Photo: IOM Mozambique

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Scales Up Response as Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras Face Consequences of Two Consecutive Hurricanes

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 08:27

San José, Costa Rica – With the support of its partners and donors, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has allocated USD 750,000 for humanitarian and early recovery actions in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. These funds will provide food, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment for people affected by the hurricanes. IOM will continue to increase its support in coming days.

"Today, our attention is directed towards Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and other affected countries, but our attention cannot be fleeting. As reconstruction and recovery will take years, assistance needs to be sustainable and enduring," said Michele Klein-Solomon, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America, and the Caribbean.

"Storms Eta and Iota have suddenly transformed the lives of millions of people in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. This natural disaster will have long-term consequences, which will probably be reflected in the migration situation in the region," warned IOM’s Klein-Solomon.

According to a report by IOM Guatemala, more than 17,300 people are housed in 132 shelters that were prepared for the emergency in the departments of Alta Verapaz, Huehuetenango, Quiché, Jalapa, Petén, Izabal, Zacapa and Chiquimula.

"The post-hurricane scenario in the region presents us with the need to articulate comprehensive responses that allow, first, to save and protect the lives of people, and then, to offer sustainable development alternatives," explained Jorge Peraza, IOM Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

"We know that climate conditions and the effects of situations such as those that occurred in Northern Central America and Nicaragua during these previous weeks are compounding drivers of forced displacement. Attention aimed at recovering people's livelihoods and reducing existing vulnerabilities is imperative," IOM’s Peraza added. 

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, sanitary conditions of shelters are concerns as overcrowding may compromise personal protection against the disease. In Guatemala, IOM has coordinated the implementation of the Integrated Shelter Registration System (SIRA), together with authorities of Puerto Barrios, Guatemala’s main Caribbean port, to collect information on those of the affected population currently in shelters in the surrounding department of Izabal.

In Honduras, UNOCHA reports indicate that the total number of people sheltered in that country exceeds 75,000. There, IOM is developing individual reports on the results of Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) surveys conducted across 31 shelter sites in San Pedro Sula. IOM Honduras analyzes data collected in these surveys to prioritize and provide support.

In Bilwi, Nicaragua, also on the Caribbean coast, IOM is coordinating with the Nidia White Women's Movement Organization to reach mainly women and children who are sheltered due to evacuations. Using funds from the Regional Conference for Migration, IOM has sent humanitarian assistance kits to Bilwi. Those kits include food, medicine, and supplies for the protection and prevention of COVID-19. 

Through the United Nations Interagency Group UNETE, and in coordination with Nicaragua's Government, IOM is likewise coordinating assistance actions focused on protecting displaced populations across the country.

In southern Mexico, where Civil Protection reported almost 297,000 people affected and some 30 deaths, IOM has provided support to two shelters for migrants in Chiapas state by distributing drinking water and repairing roofs. IOM is also coordinating with the private sector representatives, OCHA, and other UN agencies to determine ways to further support areas affected by the heavy rains.

For more information, please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM’s Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Email: jgallo@iom.int, Tel: +506 72036536.

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 13:45Image: Region-Country: GuatemalaHondurasNicaraguaThemes: Migration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

‘People have lost their heritage, their personal belongings; this means practically starting from scratch. It's like a shock', that's how Emiliano Tux Chub, a resident of San Pedro Carchá in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, one of the areas affected by the storms, reports the current situation. Photo: Emiliano Tux.

With the support of its partners and donors, IOM has allocated USD 750,000 for humanitarian and early recovery actions in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, providing food, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment for people affected by the hurricanes and will continue to increase its support in the coming days. Photo: IOM / Ismael Cruceta.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Publishes Report on Reintegration Outcomes

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 05:33

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) published today (24/11) a new report: “Mentoring Returnees: Study on Reintegration Outcomes Through a Comparative Lens”. The study, conducted in collaboration with the Samuel Hall think tank and the University of Sussex, analyses the outcomes of reintegration in three fieldwork countries—Guinea, Morocco, and Senegal—combined with data analyses from 14 additional countries.  

The work is based on standardized indicators developed during a 2017 Samuel Hall/IOM study conducted as part of the DFID-funded Mediterranean Sustainable Reintegration Project, complemented by qualitative primary data collected in the three fieldwork states.  

“It is one of the first, if not the first, systematic large-scale use of data from IOM’s reintegration sustainability survey combined with the “Operationalising an Integrated Approach to Reintegration” (ORION) Mentoring project,” said Professor Michael Collyer of the University of Sussex. “This is a very interesting approach to working in Guinea, Senegal and Morocco focusing to develop mentorships of people who have returned to further enhance the sustainability of reintegration.” 

The results of this research highlight the interconnectedness of reintegration dimensions with the economic dimension being foundational, while social and psychosocial support are needed to consolidate and sustain reintegration gains. Psychosocial support cannot be considered an ‘optional extra,’ rather it is a crucial component to a healthy and sustainable reintegration process.    

“Another key result is the small, but statistically significant, positive impact of the ORION mentoring approach on reintegration,” explained Nassim Majidi, Co-Director of Samuel Hall. “Having mentors working with returnees ensures better reintegration outcomes. These early successes and trust built by ORION mentors need to be built further upon,” noted Majidi.  

“We see this study as the beginning of more investigation and evaluation that we can conduct on the critical issue of sustainable reintegration” added Nicola Graviano, Head of IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Unit. 

“We have a huge potential to do more and know more about our interventions, so that we can improve in the future in better designing and implementing our reintegration interventions, and be more impactful for the migrants, for the communities of origin and for the countries of origin that we support.”   

The research presented in the report was conducted under the “Operationalising an Integrated Approach to Reintegration” (ORION) Project, funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The ORION project aims at, among other objectives, reinforcing evidence-based reintegration programming with robust monitoring processes and data collection.   

To read a summary of the report, please click here. The full report is available here.   

For more information, please contact IOM HQ in Geneva: Safa Msehli, Tel: +41 79 403 5526, Email:  smsehli@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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