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Updated: 2 hours 54 min ago

International Migration Within Africa Nearly Doubled Between 2008 and 2017: Report

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 11:47

Addis Ababa – The movement of people between countries within Africa is the defining feature of migration on the continent a new, 10-year study of migration has concluded. 

The second edition of the Report on Labour Migration Statistics in Africa (2017), released by the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa on 29 September, reveals that the number of new arrivals from a different African country almost doubled from 13.3 million to 25.4 million migrants over the decade (2008 to 2017), an average annual growth rate of 7.5 per cent. 

Although foreign migrants represent just 2.1 per cent of the total population on the continent, their numbers have continued to grow rapidly, driven by demographic, socio-economic and environmental factors and leading to increased pressure on the labour market of host countries. 

The report was jointly produced by the African Union Commission (AUC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), as part of the Joint Labour Migration Programme (JLMP). 

The population of Africa increased to 1.2 billion in 2017, from 944 million in 2008, which is an average annual growth rate of 2.8 per cent. The working-age population on the continent rose from 509 million to 662 million, an increase of around 33 per cent. 

West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa accounted for the largest movements of migrant workers on the continent, with young people in West Africa being the most likely to move in search of work. This is partly attributed to the cooperation agreements between countries within the regions, which recognize individuals’ rights to move freely and to settle. 

The report also touches on the growth in remittances, the characteristics and distribution of migrants, as well as the level of social protection enjoyed by migrant workers. 

The volume of remittances received from Africans, including those living and working outside the continent, is said to have increased by 33.4 per cent to USD75.7 billion in 2017, from USD56.8 billion in 2010. 

The report comes at a time when the African Union Commission, heads of governments, and development partners have been calling for reliable, high quality and timely labour migration data that is disaggregated by gender, age, socio-economic activities, migratory status and other key indicators. 

As such, the information in the report is seen as key in aligning development priorities, and in monitoring progress towards the objectives of the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. 

Through the JLMP, the AU Commission is working closely with member states and the eight regional economic communities (RECs) to build a database on international labour migration on the continent, which the Report drew from. 

Over 100 technical experts, government ministers and representatives of member states, officials from the development sector, funding partners, and other interested individuals came together in two virtual meetings that coincided with the launch of the report. 

In her remarks, the Commissioner of Social Affairs at the African Union Commission, Amira Ms. Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil said, “… the implementation of the Joint Labor Migration Program (JLMP) in collaboration with the partners, ILO and IOM, goes a long way towards poverty eradication, inclusive development as well as ensuring that migrants are well protected when they leave their countries of origin in search of better opportunities.” 

Ms. Maureen Achieng, IOM’s Chief of Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union and UNECA, said, “… we hope that, with the data from the report, AUC, member states and RECs will be able to address remaining challenges related to the paucity of disaggregated data required for policy formulation in migration, economic, labour, climate action, enterprise development, investment, education and other policies that will ultimately contribute to a prosperous Africa.” 

Data collection for an improved third edition, expected to be launched in January 2021, is currently underway. The JLMP is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA), German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), and the European Union (EU). 

For more information, contact Eric Mazango at IOM Ethiopia, Email: emazango@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - 12:59Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Rakuten Viber Join Together to Combat Xenophobia

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 11:36

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration and Rakuten Viber announce a new partnership to fight xenophobia, stigma and discrimination with an interactive global community and a special exclusive sticker pack on Viber. The community is free and already available for all Viber users across the globe, providing relevant content for both migrants and locals alike. 

The partnership aims to foster social cohesion and combat widespread online racist and xenophobic incidents in the wake of COVID-19. The pandemic has in some cases been used as a pretext to scapegoat foreign nationals and the most vulnerable, blaming them for the virus’ spread. 

“Being able to support local communities and provide a platform for people to seek assistance and empowerment in these uncertain times is a priority for all of us at Rakuten Viber. For us, people are always in the centre of what we do and in order to delight our billion users across the globe we are constantly working on different social partnerships to address every need of our users. I am more than happy that Viber is joining forces with the IOM in the combat against xenophobia in this crucial moment when risk groups are most vulnerable,” said Anna Znamenskaya, Chief Growth Officer at Rakuten Viber. 

IOM remains concerned that xenophobia will increase, exacerbated by social tensions driven by an economic downturn. Now, more than ever, the safety and fairness of our society depends on the effective protection of the most vulnerable, including migrants.  

specially designed sticker pack called “Different, Together” will also be launched on Viber, to complement and support IOM’s efforts against xenophobia. The stickers are designed by Hannah Padilla, a Filipina illustrator and artist. The sticker pack is a continuation of the partnership between IOM and Rakuten Viber, one of the leading global applications for free and secure communication.  

All who download the pack from the Viber’s sticker market will get smooth and instant access to the community and will be able to access and interact with the content.  

More local IOM and Rakuten Viber campaigns are to follow soon – stay tuned and open-minded! 

About IOM 
 
IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all.  

Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all.  

For further inquiries, contact media@iom.int

About Rakuten Viber 

At Rakuten Viber, we connect people. No matter who they are, or where they are from. Our global user base has access to a range of features like one-on-one chats, video calls, group messaging, and updates and discussions with their favourite brands and celebrities. We ensure our users have a secure and free environment to share their emotions.  

Rakuten Viber is part of Rakuten Inc., a world leader in e-commerce and financial services. It is the official communication channel of FC Barcelona, and the official instant messaging and calling app partner of the Golden State Warriors. 

Join Viber today and enjoy the world's best communication experience. 

For further inquiries, contact us at media@viber.com 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - 12:58Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Yemen: IOM Warns Disaster Looms in Marib, as Escalating Fighting Drives up Humanitarian Needs

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 07:30

Marib – Deadly fighting now is entering its tenth month in northeast Yemen, where more than 90,000 people have been displaced to and within Marib governorate since January. That’s over half of all conflict-related displacement in Yemen this year.   

The situation is about to get worse. 

“We are hugely concerned about the devastating impact of heavy fighting getting closer to areas  heavily populated with civilians - displaced people, locals and migrants,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission. 

Arriving with little-to-nothing, the vast majority of those being displaced today have no option but to shelter in extremely overcrowded settlements in Marib city and surrounding areas where they lack the most basic services needed to survive.  

Added IOM’s Christa Rottensteiner: “We hope that a peaceful resolution can be found soon to prevent a massive displacement crisis: hundreds of thousands of people could be forced to flee, many of whom would be running from this conflict for the second, third or even forth time. And more areas would become unreachable for humanitarian organizations, meaning vulnerable communities would be left without even the most basic support.”. 

Displacement to Marib governorate has been ongoing since the start of Yemen’s conflict. In 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recorded some 800,000 displaced people living there—which at the time represented nearly a tripling of Marib’s pre-conflict population. Today, the number of displaced people in the same area is believed to be even higher, given the recent combat and displacement.  

“For years, the host community has generously welcomed displaced families, despite increased pressure on public services, but should the fighting persist, we will see the needs in Marib rise to even more alarming levels,” said Rottensteiner. 

“While IOM teams and partners are working hard to respond, they are facing an uphill struggle, given the amount of suffering. Displaced families are in dire need of safe shelter, clean water, sanitation and food support,” she added.  

Of the families displaced since January, an estimated 70 per cent are in need of shelter support, as they are living in makeshift shelters, many families in one small tent, overcrowded and dangerous abandoned buildings. Others are sleeping out in the open. Fewer than five per cent have regular access to a latrine. When combined with the fact that displacement sites are overcrowded, this creates an extremely worrying situation given that hygiene and physical distancing are key to combatting the spread of COVID-19.  

Adding to the hardship, Marib governorate was recently heavily affected by floods. An estimated 17,000 families have been impacted, many of whom had been displaced already and were living in makeshift shelters.  

Since establishing an office in Marib last year, IOM has reached more than 25,000 families with assistance, which includes health care, shelter, improving displacement sites, water, sanitation and hygiene, and protection services. IOM is also constructing a humanitarian hub in Marib to support a larger response by providing workspace for response partners. 

There are currently 140 displacement sites in Marib governorate, according to local authorities. These include sites like Al Jufainah, the largest camp in Yemen which accommodates some 40,000 people, as well as informal sites of small groups of families living in abandoned buildings. Since the start of hostilities in January, at least 23 displacement sites on the frontlines were evacuated when residents had no option but to flee for their lives, while 13 new sites were established by the displaced community, local authorities and partners. Many of these new sites lack minimum humanitarian services. 

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon, IOM Yemen, Tel: +251926379755, WhatsApp: +967730552233, Email: oheadon@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Migrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

A displaced woman, one of 90,000 to have fled to Marib since January, prepares a meal in her makeshift shelter. Photo: IOM 2020 

IOM staff provide emergency aid to newly displaced people in Marib. Photo: O. Headon/IOM 2020 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Eight African Migrants Dead, Several Injured off Horn of Africa

Mon, 10/05/2020 - 17:22

Obock, Djibouti— Staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today (05/10) assisted Djiboutian authorities as they attended to the grim task of recovering and burying eight drowning victims whose remains washed ashore after a lethal journey from Yemen over the weekend.  
 
The victims—from a total of 34 mainly Ethiopian and Somali migrants seeking to return to Africa after attempting to find work in the Arabian Gulf—make even more tragic a recent wave of Africans arriving in Djibouti.   
  
“It was at night and the smugglers turned off all the lights on the boat, claiming we were being followed the Coast Guard. But they were lying,” 19-year-old survivor Galgalou Haji Wacho from Oromo, Ethiopia, told IOM.  “There was no Coast Guard. They started hitting us with sticks and iron bars.”  
   
Mr. Haji Wacho said he was in the water for nearly two hours, struggling to make out the coastline ahead. “I could not see anything,” he recalled. “It was pitch black. I did not know whether I was dead or alive.”  
   
He and twenty-five others, some of whom suffered injuries, today are receiving medical treatment at IOM’s Migrant Response Centre in Obock.  
  
While thousands of African migrants remain stranded Yemen, authorities fear some of those may be waiting for a chance to re-cross the dangerous waters many already braved to get to the Arabian Gulf just months ago. Thus, the prospect grows of more fatalities in the coming weeks and days.  
   
Said Stephanie Daviot, Chief of Mission, IOM Djibouti, “This tragedy is a wake-up call. Migrants are arriving in Djibouti in large numbers from Yemen. Regional governments and the international community must come together to address a situation of dangerous journeys facing migrants in the region since the outbreak of COVID-19. Migrants who are unable to move forward in their journey and with no means to return home.”   
   
She added: “Risking their lives, facing exploitation from smugglers, and in this instance, very tragically, death and injury, these migrants run a gauntlet that makes a mockery of respecting migrants’ human rights and dignity. IOM is concerned there could be further drownings.”  
   
The tragedy follows the arrival of some 2,678 migrants from Yemen into Djibouti since July, according to IOM data. Say others who have arrived here in recent weeks, most are trying to return to Ethiopia and other nations after having failed to reach the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia despite managing to leave Africa for Yemen.   
   
Due to COVID-19 related border closures, and the extreme danger facing migrants in the Gulf state, many have given up on their hope of finding jobs and opportunities in the Kingdom.  

IOM Djibouti has been providing emergency medical care, food, water, tents and counselling on COVID-19 awareness and prevention measures to those arriving in Obock. Moreover, IOM has assisted an estimated 1,239 migrants who already had been stranded in Djibouti for months.  
  
Meanwhile, across Djibouti’s border in Ethiopia, IOM has been assisting returnees with food, water, clothing and other essentials they need for their journeys home.  
   
In August, IOM launched a USD84M appeal - Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen (RMRP) - to respond to the needs of migrants in the Horn of Africa and Yemen taking such journeys, and to help an estimated 14,000 migrants currently stranded in Yemen. Many want to go home and rely on smugglers to do so for lack of alternatives.  
  
IOM is advocating for humanitarian access to those in need of help and is working with regional governments to help those who want to return home.   
  
For more information, please contact Yvonne Ndege, IOM Regional Spokesperson for East and Horn of Africa in Nairobi, Tel: +254 797 735 977, Email: yndege@iom.int   

Or Olivia Headon, IOM Yemen, Tel: +251926379755, WhatsApp: +967730552233, Email: oheadon@iom.int

Language English Posted: Monday, October 5, 2020 - 17:19Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

Dr. Youssouf from IOM brings water to a group of migrants found in the desert during a Mobile Unit patrol. The migrants disembarked on the beach of Gerere at night and walked part of the 50 km that separates it from the town of Obock. Photo: IOM/Alexander Bee

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

PROMISE Consultation Meeting to Strengthen Commitment between IOM and Skills Development Partners

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 08:21

Vientiane – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) held a Consultation Meeting (28 September) with Skills Development Partners under IOM’s regional programme – Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand (PROMISE).

The one-day consultation meeting aimed to exchange knowledge on Safe Migration issues and improve training materials for Skills Development Partners (SDPs), strengthen support on mainstreaming Safe Migration training into institutions’ schedules, and enhance access of quality Safe Migration information for students enrolled in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system. It brought together 30 representatives from key stakeholders, including 13 directors from TVET schools and three directors from Skills Development Centres and Lao-Korea Skills Development Institute, as well as representatives from key line ministries of the Lao Government, IOM and Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC).

Opening the ceremony, Ms. Anousone Khamsingsavath, Director General of the Skills Development and Employment Department (SDED) at MoLSW, spoke on the importance of disseminating information on formal migration channels and pursuing a cooperative strategy to increase skills development opportunities and promote decent employment for migrants.

Participants actively discussed ways to mainstream Safe Migration knowledge into school curriculum, and shared challenges encountered under COVID-19. Among the methods discussed were village-level information campaigns involving family members, provision of materials on specific job application procedures for graduates, and more budgetary support for job fairs. Participants agreed to continue their support for the second Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop in mid-October.

IOM, in close coordination with MoLSW, set up the first ToT on safe migration for TVET and Skills Development Centres in July 2019. The training was attended by 33 skills providers from Vientiane Capital, Khammouan, Savannakhet, Salavan, Attapeu, and Oudomxay were trained. In January 2020, the National Project Advisory Committee met to further ensure stakeholder commitment to incorporating Safe Migration training into respective institutions’ school calendar.

There are a total of 34 TVET schools and 6 Skills Development Centres across Lao People’s Democratic Republic, among which 23 institutions have previously received safe migration training from IOM. Following a government order on 18 March, school operation was suspended as part of the effort to prevent COVID-19 transmission, creating new challenges for Skills Development Institutions. Education institutions partially re-opened in early June.

PROMISE, now in its fourth year of implementation, is a cross-regional initiative that aims to promote poverty reduction through ethical recruitment and skills development, safe migration schemes, and enhanced return and reintegration mechanisms. The programme is supported by SDC.

For more information please contact Karen HO at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (0)21 267 734. Email: kho@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 14:16Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Skills development partners discussing ways to incorporate safe migration component into existing curriculum.

30 representatives attended the one-day event.

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

IOM launches 5 million EUR project to support stability and border management in Northern Chad

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 08:11

N’Djamena – A new EUR 5 million project implemented by IOM in Northern Chad will contribute to strengthening stability in the Borkou, Ennedi Ouest and Tibesti provinces.   

The project, “Balke - Security and Stabilization Project in Northern Chad,” is funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It will support marginalized communities and migrants—including vulnerable migrants stranded in the region—and enhance the capacities of local authorities to manage borders and mobility humanely.   

The new project targets 150 000 people in 50 communities (including 4,550 direct beneficiaries) and will provide vocational and business skills trainings to local youth to enable them to launch income-generating activities.   

“IOM is currently the only UN agency active in the northern part of the country, where it works to support of the Chadian Government’s efforts to reinforce opportunities for regional stability,” said Anne Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission. “By implementing this project, we hope to foster resilience and social cohesion, including between migrants and host communities.”  

The project also will partner with local radio stations and community members to raise awareness on the dangers of irregular migration, human trafficking and smuggling in a region where a growing number of migrants--including Chadians and third country nationals—have been observed in recent years.   

The region is also a historical crossroad for Sahelian migration, especially towards Libya and in some cases, onwards to Europe.   

“Migration has long been one of the most effective coping mechanisms employed by populations in Chad to address threats to their human security and has traditionally been a means of ensuring livelihoods for Chad’s diverse people,” added IOM’s Anne Schaefer. 

The northern provinces of Borkou, Ennedi Ouest and Tibesti--located nearly 1,000 kilometres from N’Djamena, Chad’s capital city—are among Chad’s most fragile. The region is vulnerable to insecurity, especially since the outbreak of conflict in neighbouring Libya in 2011, which deeply affected stability in the region and forced hundreds of thousands of Chadians residing in Libya to return to Chad.  

A gold mining rush, which swept through the region in the early 2010s, has given rise to a new migration dynamic in the region, attracting an estimated 100 000 workers, including Chadians and third country nationals who often work in inhuman conditions in artisanal gold mines. Between 2019 and 2020, IOM helped more than 300 survivors escape exploitation in the region. Included were local youths who had been introduced to illegal mines by established networks of smugglers and traffickers.  

“Our goal, through this project, is to address the key drivers of instability in Northern Chad by supporting the Government in efficiently managing its borders, and by creating spaces for dialogue between communities, civil society organizations, local and national authorities for safe migration management in the region,” IOM’s Anne Schaefer explained.   

To improve humanitarian border management and human security along the vast Chad – Libya border, IOM will deploy—under the newly launched Migration Data Analysis System (MIDAS) project—IOM’s own border management system. Border officials and key authorities will also be trained in the principles of humanitarian border management, including document verification as well as the identification and referral of potential victims of trafficking.  

“The Balke project not only provides opportunities to generate income for local populations, but also supports their participation in decision-making processes, thus helping them shape their future by enhancing security and stability,” said H.E. Jakob Haselhuber, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chad. “Germany remains committed to contributing to the promotion of peace and security through stabilisation efforts in Northern Chad and the wider Sahel region, together with our local and international partners.”   

For more information, please contact Anne Kathrin Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission. Email: aschaefer@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM assists migrants in Ounianga Kebir in Northern Chad. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Bangladeshi Migrants, Including Mizdah Attack Survivors, Return Home

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 07:23

Dhaka – This week (30/09), 164 migrants arrived home on a Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) flight from Libya. Aboard the charter, which landed at Dhaka’s Hazarat Shajalal International Airport (HSIA), were nine survivors of the tragic shooting in the Libyan town of Mizdah, where on 27 May, 30 migrants—including 26 Bangladeshis—were shot and killed in a smuggling warehouse. 

With those survivors were other vulnerable migrants, including 39 people with medical conditions. IOM medical escorts travelled with the migrants to Bangladesh whereupon arrival health teams were on hand to coordinate care for requiring quarantine at government facilities. IOM teams also will provide referral support to specialized services and follow up with assistance to migrants with chronic conditions.  

Eligible migrants will receive reintegration support once they have completed their government-mandated quarantine period. Follow-up care is particularly important for people who experienced physical and psychological trauma while stranded in Libya.  

The deadly attack in Mizdah, southwest of Tripoli also left 11 other migrants critically injured. IOM and its partners have supported those survivors in the months following the violence.  

“I can’t forget the incident, it was like living a nightmare,” said Syed Khan. “I was shot, and it took me four months to recover enough to make the journey home. Many of us haven’t fully recovered and we are still traumatized. I am grateful to IOM and the Government of Bangladesh for the medical and other support they provided in Libya and for arranging my flight home.” 

COVID-19 has exacerbated the vulnerabilities of migrant workers across the world, said Giorgi Gigauri, IOM Bangladesh’s Chief of Mission.  

“We are working to overcome movement and other restrictions to access vulnerable migrants who are stranded and in need of support,” IOM’s Gigauri said. “We are working closely with the Government—in particular the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment—to  ensure their access to health services, shelter, food, consular services. And, for the most vulnerable, flights home.”  

Most migrants will return to Bangladesh through HSIA, the country’s busiest airport. There IOM, in coordination with the Government’s Communicable Disease Control (CDC) Division, has been working since March to build the capacity of point of entry (POE) staff to identify, screen, and refer travelers with COVID-19 symptoms.  

In Bangladesh, IOM supports the Government at 20 of the 28 POEs in the country. COVID-19-responsive systems and procedures at POEs enable the safe re-entry of migrants while ensuring protection for frontline POE staff and communities across the country.  

Aside from on-arrival assistance to migrants, IOM also provides tele-counselling, health referrals and follow-ups, skills diversification and financial literacy training, and reintegration support for the most vulnerable returning migrants.  

To improve migrant protection, voluntary return and reintegration along the Central Mediterranean route in Africa, the European Union (EU), through the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), launched the Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Africa with IOM in 2016.  

The flight was made possible with the support from the EUTF.  

For further inquiries, please contact Samantha Donkin at IOM Bangladesh, Email: samdonkin@iom.int, or Sarif Islam, Email: mdsislam@iom.int    

Language English Posted: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: LibyaBangladeshThemes: Migration GovernanceDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff in Tripoli provided information and support to migrants departing Tripoli on a voluntary humanitarian flight on Tuesday, 29 September. 

164 migrants from Bangladesh, including nine survivors of the Mizdah incident, left Libya earlier this week. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Warns of Humanitarian Crisis as Migrants Evicted from Bosnian Camp

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 22:07

Bihac - “This is what the start of a humanitarian crisis looks like”, warned IOM’s representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina today, as hundreds of migrants were forcibly removed from the IOM-run accommodation which has been sheltering migrants and refugees for almost two years.

“Beyond the inhumanity of it all, it is difficult to see how last night’s action addresses the legitimate concerns of local citizens”, said Peter Van der Auweraert, IOM’s sub-regional coordinator for the Western Balkans. “It will only add to number of people already sleeping rough in and around Bihac”. 

In the wake of local elections in November, local authorities in Una Sana canton, bordering Croatia, took the drastic action Wednesaday night, claiming pressure from the local community. The move adds a further 350 people to the 2,500 that IOM estimates are already sleeping rough in Bosnia.

The total number of migrants and refugees currently in the country is about 8,500. Most see Bosnia and Herzegovina as a transit country on route to the European Union, and the past two and a half years have seen more than 55,000 migrants and refugees using this route.

IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina took the most vulnerable cases into medical facilities, but hundreds of others had to fend for themselves. 

“We are calling on the authorities to provide access to shelter for those 350 migrant and refugees, as well as the other 2,500 people sleeping outside in forests, abandoned buildings and public spaces, added Van der Auweraert. 

Early snows have hit much of Europe, a reminder that the bitter Balkan winter is just around the corner.  

“Every year we call for solutions, and every year we just about manage to find accommodation for those that need it”, noted Van der Auweraert. “But this year the upcoming local elections in mid-November and the higher number of migrants and refugees sleeping outside make us less confident. The situation is very, very grim”. 

For more information please contact Peter Van der Auweraert at pvanderauweraert@iom.int . Tel +38761226301

Language English Posted: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 03:48Image: Region-Country: Bosnia and HerzegovinaThemes: Migrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM is warning of a humanitarian crisis as 350 migrants and refugees were forcibly removed from the IOM-run accommodation in Bira, Bosnia.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Migrant Forum in Asia Join Forces to Promote Ethical Recruitment and Protect Migrant Workers

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 10:52

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) are joining efforts to combat the unethical recruitment and exploitation of migrant workers.

The two organizations today (01 Oct) signed a global Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote cooperation, exchange of information and mutual assistance in relation to ethical recruitment and migrant worker protection. This collaboration is urgently needed in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the enhanced risks and vulnerabilities faced by jobseekers and migrant workers around the world. 

“IOM is delighted to formalize our cooperation with MFA today through this MOU,” said Monica Goracci, Director of IOM’s Department of Migration Management.  

“This is an important milestone that builds on our already close collaboration and the many connections we have at national and local levels," IOM's Goracci continued. "The MOU gives us an opportunity to strengthen and globalize our engagement at a time of urgent need for migrant workers around the world. We look forward to the close collaboration this will inspire across our two organizations.” 

MFA Regional Coordinator William Gois said, “This moment of crisis has provided us with an opportunity to build back better. We cannot let this moment pass without starting from the fundamentals. We need to address the structure and systemic flaws of the labour recruitment practices.”  

IOM is committed to combating all forms of exploitation and abuse of migrant workers. MFA is a regional network of faith-based groups, academia, members of the media, lawyers, and rights advocates working on social justice for migrant workers and members of their families. Together, the two organizations will catalyze cooperation between policy makers, civil society and the private sector to strengthen protections for migrant workers with an immediate focus on the urgent needs resulting from the COVID-19 health crisis and its socio-economic impact. 

Migrant workers across economic sectors, industries and occupations face the risk of exploitation linked to unethical recruitment and employment practices that place them in situations of vulnerability to debt bondage and forced labour.  

The MOU is the latest in IOM’s response to the challenges migrant workers, employers and recruiters face in the context of COVID-19. 

In April, IOM through its IRIS: Ethical Recruitment Initiative released Guidance for Employers and Labour Recruiters providing preliminary guidance about how to protect migrant workers and ensure the highest recruiting standards in the face of COVID-19. In August, IOM and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) jointly released employer guidance for measures to protect migrants during the pandemic. 

The risks migrant workers face are accompanied by health-related vulnerabilities throughout the migration process and at work, when appropriate measures are not taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For migrant workers who have lost their jobs, the situation is often dire: many face the loss of livelihoods, have no means to support themselves and the loss of income has resulted in evictions and reliance on emergency and humanitarian support.  

The time to act on this situation is now and many important steps are being taken by civil society organizations, home and host governments, and other stakeholders. The IOM-MFA partnership will reinforce these, while setting the stage for medium- and long-term solutions as the world moves towards recovery and a “post-crisis” new normal.  

For more information, please contact Philip Hunter (IOM), Tel: 41 22 717 92 15, Email: phunter@iom.int or William Gois (MFA), Tel: +63-2-8277-9484, Email: mfa@mfasia.org

Language English Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 16:47Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Collaboration is needed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with enhanced risks and vulnerabilities facing jobseekers and migrant workers worldwide. (C) IOM

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) are joining efforts to combat the unethical recruitment and exploitation of migrant workers.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) are joining efforts to combat the unethical recruitment and exploitation of migrant workers.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Agencies Hail Milestone As Over 1000 Asylum Seekers Relocated From Greece So Far This Year Through EU Initiative

Wed, 09/30/2020 - 13:34

Athens, Brussels, Geneva – The Government of Greece, together with IOM, the International Organization for Migration, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNICEF, the UN Children’s Fund today (30-09) welcomed the relocation of 139 asylum seekers to Germany, which has brought the total number of people relocated from Greece to other European Union (EU) Member States through a European Commission-funded programme this year to over 1,000.   

This was the 16th relocation flight organized under the EU programme implemented by IOM, UNHCR and UNICEF in cooperation with the Government of Greece through the Special Secretary for the Protection of Unaccompanied Children, and in close collaboration with the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). 

This year, a total of 1,066 asylum seekers have been relocated from Greece to Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal.    

Among the group that arrived safely in Germany today were families with children with special health needs and 53 unaccompanied children, 37 of whom had been transferred to the Greek mainland after multiple fires completely destroyed the Moria reception and identification center three weeks ago. 

“We feel grateful for the people that helped us in Greece and we’ll never forget them. We don’t speak German, but we’ll try hard to learn the language. My brothers live in Germany and I’m excited that I’ll see them again after such a long time,” said Lina Hussein from Syria who travelled today with her husband, Osman, and her sons, Yousef and Mohammad. 

Since the tragic fires at Moria, IOM, UNHCR and UNICEF have worked together with the financial support of the European Commission and leadership of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum’s Special Secretary for the Protection of Unaccompanied Children to move 724 unaccompanied children from the islands to the mainland in anticipation of their relocation to other European States. All children have been settled in temporary facilities run by IOM and partners on the mainland where support is provided in line with EU standards. 

The relocation initiative, which started last April, has proven to be a workable act of responsibility sharing. The UN agencies are encouraged by the expression of solidarity and action by some Member States to welcome additional asylum seekers and recognized refugees from Greece at a time of heightened hardship. 

“This milestone is a remarkable testament that cooperation among partners can change the lives of children and other vulnerable people for the better,” said Ola Henrikson, IOM Regional Director for the EEA, EU and NATO. “Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, relocation flights are happening almost every week. We hope this momentum is sustained and expanded, with more European states participating soon.”   

“Following many calls for enhanced responsibility-sharing in Europe and the particular need to relocate unaccompanied children and other vulnerable people from Greece, we are very pleased to see this taking concrete shape and gradually expanding”,  said Pascale Moreau, UNHCR Director for Europe. “We are grateful to the countries concerned and hope that more countries follow this positive example and demonstrate their solidarity with Greece.” 

“The relocations of unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable children continue to be an important part of protecting the rights of refugee and migrant children,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe.  “These children, many of whom have fled abject poverty and conflict, have the right to be safe and develop to their full potential.” 

Prior to departure and through the provision of updated information, a child’s best interest assessment is supported by UNHCR, EASO, UNICEF and NGO partners to ensure that the relocation is appropriate for these children, with their informed views also considered during the process. At the same time, pre-migration health assessments including COVID 19 testing, are provided in line with the protocols established by Greece and the Member States of Relocation. 

As of mid-September, there were almost 4,400 unaccompanied and separated children in Greece in urgent need of durable solutions, including expedited registration, family reunion and relocation. Among them, over 1,000 are exposed to severe risks, including exploitation and violence, and facing homelessness and precarious conditions in urban centres.  

The Agencies call for more EU solidarity through relocations following the release of the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum, which contains a series of legislative proposals on the EU’s approach to migration and asylum. The release of the Pact provides a unique opportunity for the EU to move beyond one-off relocation exercises and establish more predictable arrangements for relocation within the EU, for longer-term impact. 

For more information, please see: IOM Relocation Fact Sheet on Relocations from Greece.

For more information, please contact: 

IOM:   
Ryan Schroeder at IOM Brussels Tel + 32 492 25 02 34. Email: rschroeder@iom.int     
Christine Nikolaidou at IOM Greece, Tel + 30 6947 833 412, Email: cnikolaidou@iom.int  
Angela Wells at IOM Geneva Tel +41 79 430 5365, Email: awells@iom.int   
Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva Tel + +41 79 403 5526, Email: smsehli@iom.int   
 
UNICEF:    
Olga Siokou–Siova, UNICEF Greece +30 211 2340 297, osiokou-siova@unicef.org 
Chulho Hyun, UNICEF Europe and Central Asia (Geneva), +41 79 643 3452, chyun@unicef.org  
 
UNHCR:   
In Athens, Stella Nanou, nanou@unhcr.org, +30 6944586037  
In Geneva, Andrej Mahecic, mahecic@unhcr.org, +41 79 642 9709 
In Geneva, Shabia Mantoo: mantoo@unhcr.org, +41 79 337 7650   
In Brussels/EU Affairs Maeve Patterson, patterso@unhcr.org, +32 470 99 54 35  
In Berlin, Chris MELZER, melzer@unhcr.org, +49 151 706 660 13 

Language English Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 19:30Image: Region-Country: GreeceThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesRelocationResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

A new life in Germany begins for unaccompanied children and vulnerable asylum seekers relocated from Greece. Photo: IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM to Investigate Reports of Sexual Abuse and Exploitation in the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Wed, 09/30/2020 - 12:30

Geneva- The International Organization for Migration is gravely concerned by reports published in the media yesterday of sexual exploitation and abuse of women by aid workers in the Democratic Republic of the Congo during the Ebola crisis. 

In light of these reports, IOM’s Director General is ordering an immediate investigation by the Organization including an assessment of the serious allegation against an IOM worker. 

Such abuses by UN personnel and other humanitarian workers are an outrageous breach of trust with those we are mandated to support, often in very trying humanitarian circumstances.  

IOM is determined to investigate and eradicate these shocking abuses wherever and whenever they occur including in this particular instance. 

As an Organization we work constantly to improve our systems to tackle sexual exploitation and abuse, with strengthened reporting tools, staff trainings, and awareness raising across the Organization.  

Because victims of abuse are sometimes reluctant to come forward, we are committed to improving our reporting mechanisms to ensure confidence in the system and that victims are fully aware that they can report such allegations without fear of retribution. IOM is fully committed to supporting the immediate and longer-term needs of victims, including their access to legal, health and psychosocial support.     

The safety and protection of those whom we serve and our staff and partners is a critical priority for the organization. 

 

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

Language English Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 15:28Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, KSrelief Sign New Agreement to Support over 100,000 People in Yemen

Wed, 09/30/2020 - 11:30

Geneva – As the crisis in Yemen approaches its sixth year and the COVID-19 outbreak adversely impacts communities, humanitarian needs continue to rise across the country. To support the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) crisis response in Yemen, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is providing the Organization with USD 15 million in funding.  

“This funding comes at a vital time for Yemen as the situation continues to reach new lows, with communities across the country struggling to survive,” said António Vitorino, IOM Director General.  

Dr. Abdullah Al Rabeeah, Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), signed the joint cooperation agreement on behalf of the center, while Director General Vitorino signed on behalf of IOM. 

The partnership will allow IOM to provide shelter, essential items, camp management and education support to vulnerable Yemeni communities. The project will support over 100,000 conflict-affected and vulnerable people in displacement sites in Yemen with critical camp management and shelter support, as well as almost 10,000 displaced persons and host community members with better access to education in areas hosting large displaced populations. 

Internally displaced people across Yemen struggle to access lifesaving services, including safe shelter. In Marib alone, IOM assessments show that more than 5,000 families are in urgent need of shelter and essential household items as well as other basic assistance. Additionally, education access for displaced communities is constrained in governorates where resources and public services are already limited.  

“Saudi Arabia’s latest contribution to IOM’s response will help us reach even more vulnerable people across the country and provide lifesaving assistance to displaced families. As the world comes to grips with COVID-19, countries like Yemen need more support than ever,” added Director General Vitorino. 

IOM’s partnership with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has already provided millions of people in Yemen with vital aid, including health care and shelter. In 2019, KSA’s contribution to IOM’s response in Yemen helped the Organization reach approximately 2.8 million people with lifesaving assistance. 

IOM works across Yemen providing support to displaced and conflict-affected Yemenis as well as migrants transiting through the country. 

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon at IOM Yemen, Tel: +251926379755, WhatsApp: +967730552233, Email: oheadon@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 17:26Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

A displaced family in Marib, Yemen receive emergency aid packages from IOM thanks to funding from KSrelief. Photo: IOM 2020

Press Release Type: GlobalTopic: Responding to Humanitarian Needs
Categories: PBN

IOM, Amazon Step Up COVID-19 Rohingya Refugee Response in Cox’s Bazar

Tue, 09/29/2020 - 09:57

Cox’s Bazar – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is teaming with global technology leader Amazon to strengthen health response efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic in the Rohingya refugee settlements of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. By supporting frontline health workers in the district through the provision of adequate Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), the nearly quarter-million-dollar donation will enhance the capacity of local doctors, nurses and medical staff in the fight against COVID-19. 

Sustaining the well-being of frontline workers is crucial to response efficiency, but the surge in PPE demand around the world has made its acquisition difficult. Despite challenges, approximately 322,000 gloves, 16,000 gowns and coveralls, 18,300 N95 respirators and 119,000 face shields have been distributed to community health workers and health care providers at both IOM and Government health facilities here since the beginning of the crisis. While progress is being made, demand still outweighs PPE supply across the district.  

As one of the largest health partners in the district, IOM is supporting or operating 35 health care facilities in Cox’s Bazar – contributing to infection prevention control, risk communication, community engagement and case management. Through the donation, more frontline health workers will be able to deliver these life-saving services to refugees while reducing their risk of exposure. Amazon’s contribution marks the first private sector donation to IOM’s COVID-19 response efforts in the country. 

As of 27 September, 251 cases of COVID-19 have been identified in the Rohingya settlements and 4,671 cases have been confirmed among host communities in Cox’s Bazar. In Bangladesh, approximately 360,000 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed – with confirmed deaths nearing 5,200. As the unprecedented global health crisis continues to evolve, strengthened partnerships and multilateral cooperation are as crucial as ever. 

“Despite the supplies of PPEs to health care providers as much as available, around 50 staff from IOM health team have been infected with COVID 19 so far. The infection among health staff not only lead to sufferings and life risk, but also results in vacuum in the work force leaving the affected staff and the contacts (co-workers) out of work for at least two weeks. Thus, to ensure uninterrupted services in the health facilities, protection of staff is of utmost priority,” said Dr. Samir K. Howlader, National Health Officer at IOM in Cox’s Bazar. 

IOM and the humanitarian community, with support from organizations like Amazon, continue working around the clock to boost health response efforts and expand support to those disproportionately vulnerable to COVID-19.  

For more information, please contact Tarek Mahmud at IOM Cox’s Bazar,  Tel: + 880 1752 380240, Email: tmahmud@iom.int, or Nathan Webb, Tel: + 880 1869 530170, Email: nwebb@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 13:57Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

 IOM staff pictured in a renovated COVID-19 Isolation and Treatment Center (ITC) in Camp 8W of the Rohingya Settlements of Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al

Frontline medical staff are available to conduct consultations for community members who report COVID-19-like symptoms, IOM ITC in Camp 8W of the Rohingya Settlements in Cox’s Bazar. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

Frontline medical staff are available to conduct consultations for community members who report COVID-19-like symptoms, IOM ITC in Camp 8W of the Rohingya Settlements in Cox’s Bazar. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Welcomes Proposals for a New EU Pact on Migration and Asylum

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 17:00

Geneva, Brussels – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) welcomes the arrival of the much-anticipated proposals comprising a future European Union (EU) Pact on Migration and Asylum presented on Wednesday (23-09) by the European Commission. IOM is pleased to see affirmation in the package that migration and mobility can be manageable under a comprehensive, rights-based, whole-of-route approach grounded in partnerships and cooperation.

“While we have yet to assess it in detail, the proposal is a notable starting point that covers many dimensions of a complex, broad and often divisive issue,” said António Vitorino, IOM Director General. “It clearly recognizes that no one country can manage migration and mobility alone or in isolation. We remain optimistic that an international approach can become a positive reality for both migrants and societies.”

IOM will be closely following the upcoming discussions over the proposals and believes that the challenges and opportunities of international migration and mobility must unite rather than divide us if we are to collectively achieve safe, orderly and regular migration across the entire migration cycle.

The complexity of the proposed framework reflects the nature of migration governance itself. Ensuring policy consistency and coherence amongst the sheer number of stakeholders invested in its effective management, while essential, is likely to pose significant challenges.

It will also be important for the EU and its Member States to agree on longer-term policy that is truly coherent in its internal and external aspects, rooted in genuine partnerships, grounded in human rights and aligned with existing international frameworks and agreements. 

IOM appreciates the vision and the innovations that have been presented in the Pact, but it leaves open several questions about implementation which will need careful and thorough consideration.

IOM encourages the EU to strive for balance between EU priorities such as returns and readmission, and issues that go to the heart of other states’ perspectives such as enhanced mobility and legal migration channels. We reiterate our call on the EU to revitalize and demonstrate a genuine spirit of partnership and mutual support that considers the realities of migration, particularly in Africa with regard to free movement, and the priorities and needs of African countries. In this regard, dialogue through the Valletta process between the EU and African countries and the AU-EU-UN Taskforce on Libya are rightly seen as best practices to replicate and reinforce.

The Organization applauds the Commission’s position that search and rescue, and saving lives at sea, is not optional. It is both a moral duty and an international obligation, and should not be criminalized. The Pact outline also recognizes the importance of predictable disembarkation in a place of safety. However, we continue to strongly encourage EU agreement and action to increase resources and reinstate an EU-led search and rescue capacity.

IOM is pleased to see recognition in the proposal of the importance of a common approach to voluntary returns with more harmonized procedures, complementarity with other sectors and links to the external dimension and reintegration. IOM will continue to offer steadfast support to assisted voluntary returns and reintegration programmes, drawing on its long-standing global experience. A comprehensive, integrated approach to return must also include measures to promote sustainable reintegration that caters to the needs of returnees and local communities alike.  

On the way forward, IOM would like to see a clearer delineation between safe channels such as legal migration for work, and pathways for international protection such as resettlement, which should remain a high priority in its own right with greater commitments from EU Member States. Emphasis on relocation of asylum seekers and vulnerable groups within Europe should be sustained. Concerning regular labour migration, IOM welcomes the fact that the Pact addresses migrant skills and attracting talent through partnerships and that it acknowledges the reality that Europe needs migrants.

Most migration – including to the EU – happens in a safe and regular way, contributing to growth and dynamism when well managed.  We have seen repeatedly how people on the move, when integrated and their rights are upheld, can be part of the solutions needed in our societies.

“We cannot underestimate the importance of this collective endeavour, uniting the forces of EU Member States and Institutions, partner countries, international organizations and the United Nations.” said Vitorino. “IOM looks forward to continued cooperation with the EU and all partner countries in the shared interest of better governing migration with the commitment to leave no one behind.”

For more information, please contact Ryan Schroeder at IOM in Brussels, + 32 492 25 02 34, rschroeder@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, September 25, 2020 - 22:55Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: International and Regional CooperationMigration PolicyDefault: Multimedia: 

The future of migration can be manageable under a comprehensive, protection and rights-based, whole-of-route approach grounded in partnerships and cooperation. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Voluntary Returns from Niger to The Gambia Resume After Six-Month Hiatus

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 09:28

Banjul – After a six-month hiatus due to COVID-19 border closures, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) resumed its Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme from Niger to The Gambia, with the support of the European Union.  

On Wednesday (23/9), 26 Gambian migrants finally returned home, after months stranded in IOM’s transit centres in Niger. 

The group returned home on a charter flight from Niamey, Niger’s capital, passing by Conakry in Guinea, for the return of 100 Guinean migrants. With The Gambia’s airspace still officially closed, this humanitarian corridor was exceptionally approved by authorities. 

Mobility restrictions related to COVID-19 have stranded hundreds of thousands of migrants around the world. An IOM Issue Brief has analysed the broad impacts of border closures on stranded migrants and proposed innovative steps nations can take, in particular ensuring stranded migrants regardless of nationality or migratory status are included in all national COVID-19 response plans. 

Prior to their departure, in collaboration with the European Union Capacity Building Mission (EUCAP Sahel) and the Centre for Medical and Health Research (CERMES) in Niger, IOM organized COVID-19 testing for migrants hosted at transit centres in Agadez and Niamey. Before their travels, the migrants were all given hand sanitizer and masks, and pre-packaged food and water to minimize contact. 

Upon arrival, the returnees underwent temperature screenings and were issued arrival assistance cards before being transported to an overnight temporary accommodation facility, where they were provided meals and core relief items, including essential hygiene supplies. 

“AVRR has always been an indispensable tool for migration management – a lifeline for migrants who wish to return home but do not have the means to do so,” said Fumiko Nagano, IOM’s Chief of Mission in The Gambia.  

“This mechanism has become even more vital amidst the pandemic. Despite the current challenges, IOM remains committed to supporting safe and dignified returns, in close coordination with the government authorities who made this return possible.” 

The following day, the returnees received further medical and psychosocial support and took part in an orientation session on the process of receiving reintegration assistance. Each migrant received an allowance to cover immediate needs and onward transport. 

“The European Union remains strongly committed to protecting migrants and supporting returnees in their reintegration, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said H.E. Attila Lajos, EU Ambassador to The Gambia, on the importance of the return programme. 

With Niger currently the top sending country of returning migrants to The Gambia, the resumption of the AVRR programme was critical. Since 2017, 1,600 Gambians returned home from Niger, representing more than half of all returns to The Gambia in 2019 and 2020. 

In March, in order to contain the spread of the virus, the governments of The Gambia and Niger imposed several restrictions, including the closure of all borders. This affected IOM’s AVRR programme and left thousands of migrants stranded in IOM’s six transit centres across Niger. 

“I have been in Niger for over nine months,” said Lamin Darboe, one of the returnees. “It wasn’t easy. I’m just happy to finally be back home because I have been wanting to go home for so long.” 

Since the beginning of the pandemic migrants at IOM’s transit centres in Niger were provided with masks and handwashing stations and underwent regular health checks. Prior to their departure, the returnees attended special awareness-raising sessions on the coronavirus and underwent mandatory COVID-19 PCR tests.  

IOM last assisted with AVRR from Niger to The Gambia on 19 March 2020, shortly before The Gambia’s borders closed in response to its first confirmed COVID-19 case. Until this week, only seven Gambians had been able to return home with IOM’s assistance – voluntary returnees from Germany and Switzerland, through exceptionally approved commercial flights. 

As COVID-19 continues to impact the socioeconomic climate, the returnees will begin receiving their reintegration assistance in the coming weeks. The assistance aims to address economic, social and psychosocial needs, with various types of support tailored to the returnees’ needs and interests. 

You can watch the video of the return here.

For more information, please contact: 

Miko Alazas at IOM The Gambia, Tel: +220 330 3168, Email: aalazas@iom.int  
Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int Or visit www.migrationjointinitiative.org 

Language English Posted: Friday, September 25, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM’s AVRR programme from Niger to the Gambia resumed after a six-month hiatus. Photo: IOM/Alessandro Lira

Appropriate health measures were taken upon arrival, including mandatory temperature screenings. Photo: IOM/Alessandro Lira 

The humanitarian corridor was exceptionally approved by authorities, given Gambian airspace remains officially closed. Photo: IOM/Alessandro Lira 

This September, 26 Gambian migrants returned home, after months of being stranded in Niger. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Resettlement to Spain Resumes as nearly 140 Syrian Refugees Arrive from Lebanon with IOM Support

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 08:31

Madrid – Nearly 140 Syrian refugees, including 53 children, arrived safely at Adolfo Suarez airport in Madrid yesterday (24 Sept) on a resettlement flight from Lebanon. 

The flight carrying 138 people organised by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) under Spain’s national resettlement programme, marks the resumption of resettlement from Lebanon after movements were put on hold temporarily in March due to global mobility restrictions imposed due to COVID-19.  

“We are thrilled the group has made it safely to Spain and take special pride in this operation, which was closely coordinated with the Spanish Government in a clear demonstration of upholding international commitments,” said Maria Jesús Herrera, Head of IOM’s Office in Spain.  

“The fact that Spain and Lebanon have agreed to continue supporting safe pathways in difficult times shows a growing recognition of the importance of improving common and comprehensive migration governance tools such as resettlement programmes.”  

IOM’s Head of Office in Lebanon Fawzi Alzioud, underlined the cooperation between governments, IOM and the its UN partners. 

“The resumption of resettlement interventions and the humanitarian support of the host countries comes with great gratitude from IOM. We thank the Spanish government for their efficiency, effectiveness, and cooperation for receiving and hosting these vulnerable families,” he said.  

“We also extend our sincere gratitude to the Lebanese Government, the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) and all partner organizations for their superb collaboration and facilitation throughout the resettlement process.” 

Earlier this year, Spain was among the first countries to consider and use “virtual selection missions” in Lebanon to identify refugees eligible for resettlement during a time of pandemic-related physical distancing restrictions. 

Pre-departure activities are a key part of the programme. IOM in Lebanon helped to prepare the refugees’ early integration with pre-departure orientation sessions organized in line with physical distancing measures, as well as medical examinations – including PCR tests for COVID-19 – and subsequent care and logistical support. Four IOM staff were also aboard the flight to provide medical and operational escort services. 

Upon arrival in Madrid, the refugees were welcomed by the IOM team in Spain, together with Spanish NGOs, UNHCR and national authorities. The Spanish NGOs are assisting the newly resettled refugees with their accommodation in different regions around the country. Social workers will support settlement into their new environment throughout the first 18 months, with a special focus on the first six months. They will also help the refugees access rights and medical care, while acquiring the tools for successful integration in Spain. 

Resettlement remains a life-saving tool for many refugees. The temporary hold on resettlement travel—necessitated by disruptions and restrictions to international air travel caused by COVID-19 —delayed the departures of some 10,000 refugees to resettlement countries.   

Throughout this period, IOM, UNHCR and partners continued to process and counsel refugees and resettled scores of emergency and urgent cases. 

In 2020, 200 refugees have been resettled from Lebanon to Spain through Spain’s national resettlement programme, which is funded by the Spanish Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, and implemented cooperation with UNHCR. The national programme also includes resettlement of refugees from Turkey and Egypt. 

For more information please contact Oussama Elbaroudi, IOM Spain, Tel:  +34 915 943 670, Email: ouelbaroudi@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, September 25, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: SpainThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM, Spanish authorities welcoming a Syrian family at Madrid Airport. ©IOM 2020 

Syrian refugees arriving, Madrid Airport after resettlement from Lebanon.©IOM 2020 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Thousands of African Migrants Return from Yemen, Assisted by IOM in Djibouti

Fri, 09/25/2020 - 08:23

Djibouti - More than 2,000 African migrants who have arrived from Yemen over the last three weeks are being assisted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in Djibouti, Horn of Africa. 

The migrants from Ethiopia and Somalia including children as young as eight-years-old, returned to Djibouti after failing to reach the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia due to COVID-19 movement restrictions, border closures, and extreme danger along this migratory route. 

They arrived hungry, tired and in need of medical assistance after making the treacherous boat journey back across the Gulf of Aden, and then walking for days to the town of Obock through the Djiboutian desert where temperatures reach 40C. 

Many were forced to pay smugglers who often abandon them in the desert without food and water. Several of the migrants said they witnessed others die along the way due to dehydration. 

IOM has helped and treated hundreds of migrants along the way over the last few months. 

IOM Djibouti and the Government of Djibouti are providing emergency medical care, food, water, tents, counselling, and COVID-19 awareness and prevention since mobility restrictions imposed due to COVID-19 stranded thousands of migrants in Yemen leading to mass returns to Djibouti, a major country of transit for migrants in the region. 

An additional 1,239 Ethiopian migrants have been stranded for months across Djibouti, unable to reach Yemen or return home. A quarantine site established by the authorities with the support of IOM and other partners have been set up to help reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading among themselves and their communities. 

Djibouti’s Health Ministry has been providing COVID-19 tests to migrants in quarantine. It is an overwhelming situation with for a small country with a population of less than one million people, and fewer economic and human resources than most nations in the region. 

Across the border in Ethiopia, which is home to many of the migrants, an estimated 8,700 have been received from Djibouti since the start of COVID-19. The Government of Ethiopia has been providing food, water, soaps, sanitary items, beddings and clothing, among other types of assistance for its returning nationals. 

IOM in August launched an USD84M appeal to fund its Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen (RMRP) to respond to the needs of migrants coming back to Africa from Yemen, the thousands affected in Ethiopia, Somalia and Djibouti and over 14,000 currently stranded in Yemen.  

“Djibouti is facing a colossal humanitarian challenge for a small country,” Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Regional Director, East & Horn of Africa, said from Obock. 

“What is required is a unified response from the international community, governments in the region, and our partners in the Gulf nations to address the issue of young men and women risking their lives to reach the Gulf in search of jobs and opportunities. Until then we will continue to see these kinds of situations. That’s why IOM’s Regional Migrant Response Plan Appeal, supported by and including 27 other humanitarian partners assisting migrants along this route, is so important.” 

Of concern to IOM is despite COVID-19 and its impact, some migrants are still trying to make the journey to Yemen, where they risk danger, abuse, and detention. IOM is advocating humanitarian access to those in need of urgent aid and for the resumption of Voluntary Humanitarian Return flights to assist the many who wish to return home. 

For more information please contact Yvonne Ndege, IOM Regional Spokesperson for East and Horn of Africa in Nairobi, Tel. (Mob): +254 797 735 977. Email: yndege@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, September 25, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM team is distributing water for stranded migrants arriving from Yemen in Obock region 

IOM team is distributing non food items in Masagara site in Obock town 

IOM team is providing medical assistance for migrants arriving from Yemen in Obock region. 

IOM team is providing medical assistance for migrants arriving from Yemen in Obock region. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

New report from IOM: Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean

Thu, 09/24/2020 - 16:06

Berlin – Public debates surrounding migration in West and North Africa—indeed, across the Mediterranean Sea basin—often are riven by misconception and partial representations of a truly complex reality.  

A new volume by IOM’s Global Migration Data and Analysis Centre (GMDAC) titled Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean provides a more nuanced view. This comprehensive, fact-based and balanced account of migration from and within West and North Africa and on routes towardsthe Mediterranean sifts through important new data from the past two years.  

Besides offering analysis on migration flows within and from North and West Africa, this report also offers new evidence on the impact of COVID-19 on migrants and migration. 

Contrary to common assumptions about migration from and in West and North Africa, overall levels of international migration in these regions are relatively low, especially compared to norms elsewhere.  

In mid-2019, countries in West and North Africa hosted 10.4 million immigrants, based on UN estimates, representing only 1.6 per cent of these regions’ total population. That’s well below the world average of 3.5%. Outbound emigrants comprise 3.4% of the total population of these countries, on average.  

A common misconception also endures concerning the direction of outbound migration—that it mainly takes migrants out of the region. “Intraregional migration is by far the predominant migration pattern in West Africa,” Frank Laczko, Director at IOM’s GMDAC, explained. “Most migrants from countries in West Africa migrate to other countries in the region and these are often short-term movements.”   

Evidence presented in the volume shows that migration contributes to economic and human development and to the resilience to economic and environmental hazards within communities across West and North Africa. For example, migrants acquire new skills, knowledge, social norms and values in destination countries which help them to contribute to development back in their home communities in a variety of ways. 

For most countries in West Africa, remittance inflows in 2019 represented upwards of 5% oftheir entire GDP, with Nigeria being the top recipient country in the region. Remittances to that country increased by almost 47 per cent-from19.7 billion USD in 2010 to 23.8 billion USD in 2019. Similarly, Senegal’s remittances received  saw a record increase of 67 per cent from 1.5 billion USD in 2010 to 2.5 billion USD in 2019, based on World Bank data.  

Regionwide, total remittances, have increased 43% between 2010 and 2019, from 23.6 billion USD to 33.7 billion.Migrants interviewed in countries in West and North Africa report to be moving mainly to seek better livelihood opportunities, join their family members or study. This contrasts sharply with reasons given by migrants interviewed in Italy after crossing the Mediterranean, which often include fleeing conflict and political insecurity and searching international protection.  

“This may be an indication that migrants seeking international protection often have no choice but to embark on dangerous journeys across the Mediterranean and that the original reasons for migrating may change during the journey due to violence and abuses faced in countries of transit or first destination,” noted Marzia Rango, one of the lead editors of the report.  

“Europe’s tightening of external border controls and the increasing tendency to criminalize irregular migration in countries in West and North Africa may have exacerbated risks faced by migrants,” she added.  

Mobility restrictions have resulted in many migrants becoming stranded at international borders and in quarantine and transit centres across these regions – an estimated 50,000 by the end of June 2020, according to data from IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). 

Despite COVID-19, migration along the Central Mediterranean Route more than doubled during 2020. Arrivals to Italy during the first half of 2020 increased by 150 per cent compared to the same period in 2019, from 2,779 in 2019 to 6,950, though overall levels are quite low compared to previous years. Arrivals to Malta increased by 33 per cent from 1,276 in the first half of 2019 to 1,699 during the same period in 2020.  

Lack of job opportunities due to the pandemic has likely contributed to such an increase, among other factors. 

“Migration in West and North Africa and across the Mediterranean: trends, risks, development and governance” comprises 38 chapters contributed by nearly50 experts across international organizations, civil society and migrant associations on both sides of the Mediterranean Sea. The workwas supported financially by the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office. 

Access the full report here. 

For more information about the Edited Volume please contact Marzia Rango at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 (0) 30 278 778 24, Email: mrango@iom.int  or Irene Schoefberger, Tel: +49 (0) 30 278 778 38, Email: schoefberger@iom.int 

For media inquiries please contact Stylia Kampani at IOM GMDAC, +49 (0)30 278 778 16, Email: skampani@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Thursday, September 24, 2020 - 15:57Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

(c) MOAS 2016

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Reinforces Assistance on Lesvos to Support Island Decongestion

Wed, 09/23/2020 - 08:56

Athens – Two weeks after the tragic fire on Lesvos and the settlement of more than 9,000 migrants and refugees in a temporary accommodation facility, IOM has deployed additional staff to Lesvos to support efforts by the Greek authorities to reduce overcrowding on the island. 

IOM welcomes the response of the Greek authorities and partners’ efforts to provide for the immediate needs of shelter, food and water and urges a continued push for longer-term, sustainable solutions for all migrants and refugees on Lesvos and the other the North-Eastern Aegean islands.  

“Our focus is to promote and support sustainable options for people who are eligible to leave the island of Lesvos,” said Gianluca Rocco, Chief of IOM’s mission in Greece.  

“The safe, humane and orderly movement of more people from the island is a top priority and we will continue working in this direction in close coordination with the Greek authorities.” 

To this end, IOM is assisting all unaccompanied children and other vulnerable people who are deemed eligible by the authorities for transfer from the islands to mainland Greece and relocation to other European states. The Organization is also providing integration support on the mainland for recognized refugees through IOM’s “HELIOS” project, shelter of vulnerable groups on the mainland, and assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) for those who choose to return to their country of origin in safety and dignity.  

On Lesvos and the other islands, IOM information teams are reaching out to and working with migrants who express an interest to return to their home countries through the AVRR programme.  

At the same time, IOM’s HELIOS project team is assisting recognized refugees on the islands to identity housing solutions on the mainland with the wider goal of promoting their integration into Greek society. 

Immediately after the fire at the Moria center, IOM with the support of the European Commission and in coordination with UNHCR and UNICEF moved more than 400 unaccompanied children from Lesvos to the Greek mainland in less than 24 hours. A plan for the transfer of the unaccompanied children from all the Greek islands has been developed by the Special Secretary for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors and the first group of 129 children will be transferred on 23 September into temporary shelters on the mainland. 

“We are ready to assist the safe transfer of all unaccompanied children to the mainland and support their relocation to other European Countries. To date, more than 900 people, including children and people with vulnerabilities, have been relocated from Greece,” said Rocco.  

“We applaud the commitments made by European countries to receive more children and vulnerable people and encourage even wider participation in the future.” 

IOM is hopeful that the European Commission’s proposal for an EU Pact on Migration and Asylum will represent an opportunity for Europe to reimagine the governance of migration and human mobility as safe, orderly, inclusive and rights centred through a common, longer-term and comprehensive approach. 

For more information please contact:   

In Greece: Christine Nikοlaidou, cnikolaidou@iom.int, +30 6947833412    
In Brussels: Ryan Schroeder, rschroeder@iom.int, + 32 492 25 02 34     

Language English Posted: Wednesday, September 23, 2020 - 15:00Image: Region-Country: GreeceThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM reinforces staff in Lesvos to inform and support migrants. 

IOM reinforces staff in Lesvos to inform and support migrants. 

IOM reinforces staff in Lesvos to inform and support migrants. 

IOM reinforces staff in Lesvos to inform and support migrants. 

IOM reinforces staff in Lesvos to inform and support migrants. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

In Wake of Severe Flooding, IOM, USAID Combine to Deliver 155 Tons of Doated Relief Supplies to Sudan

Tue, 09/22/2020 - 13:53

Khartoum– Sudan is facing its worst flooding in decades. Weeks of heavy rains have caused destruction, displacement and loss of lives, leading the Government of Sudan to declare a three-month State of Emergency in the country. 

To assist thousands affected by the floods roiling Sudan in recent weeks, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) joined the U.S Agency for International Development (USAID)’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance to airlift over 155 metric tons of urgently needed relief supplies to the country.  

Three flights carrying relief supplies from USAID’s warehouses in Italy and the United Arab Emirates arrived here over the weekend (19 Sept). The cargo of life-saving supplies included 30,000 blankets, 30,000 water containers and 1,500 rolls of plastic sheeting. The supplies are intended to provide emergency shelter for at least 75,000 people. 

The floods have affected more than 730,000 people, destroyed over 146,000 homes leaving thousands displaced. Nearly 100 people have been lost in floodwaters since the start of the rains in mid-July, according to the Government’s Humanitarian Aid Commission (HAC).  

“The historic floods have exacerbated an already deeply difficult time for the people of Sudan, amid economic crisis and the COVID-19 pandemic. We quickly mobilized this airlift of relief supplies to help people in this time of great need,” said Helen Pataki, USAID Mission Director for Sudan.  

Bernard Lami, IOM Deputy Chief of Mission added: “Sudan is facing multiple challenges, as we continue to fight on all fronts against COVID-19 and now flooding, IOM is scaling up efforts and will continue to work closely with partners to ensure aid is provided to help meet the urgent needs of those most affected. Relief items will be distributed quickly to reach those most affected.”  

The relief supplies, which were offloaded on arrival to an IOM warehouse in Khartoum are being prepared and packaged into kits for ease of distribution.  

“Each kit will comprise essential household items such as two blankets, two collapsible 10L jerry cans, and one 4m by 6m plastic tarpaulin for use as temporary building material for repairs or emergency shelter,” explained IOM’s Lami.  

IOM in close coordination with partners, the Government of Sudan’s HAC, Flood Task force, Shelter and Non-Food Item Sector (NFI) of the humanitarian response in Sudan, and UN Agencies, will distribute the supplies. Priority will be given to the areas of most urgent needs, including the states hardest hit of Khartoum, North Darfur and Sennar, which accounts for 43 per cent of affected people.   

 In addition, USAID and IOM also are activating the Rapid Response Fund (RRF), an emergency funding mechanism made available to international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Sudan to further extend rapid delivery of life-saving humanitarian assistance for flood-affected communities through the provision of critical emergency shelter, provision of relief items, clean water, improved sanitation and hygiene, and health services  across the country.  

IOM has been managing the fund since 2013.  This year, the RRF, funded by USAID allocated at least USD 2.05 million in emergency funding crucial to NGO partners to provide immediate life-saving assistance in response to these historic floods. 

The Government of Sudan has warned that heavy rains are anticipated in the coming few days in Sudan, which will likely lead to more flooding and further destruction. Thousands of people will require urgent support such as shelter, non-food items, and water, sanitation and hygiene services, which are paramount to prevent outbreak of disease. IOM appeals to donors and the international community to provide more funds to increase response and lessen the gap in coverage in Sudan. 

For more information please contact, Lisa George, Communications and Media Officer, IOM Sudan Email: IOMSudanmedia@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, September 22, 2020 - 13:51Image: Region-Country: SudanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Arrival of USAID airlift of flood relief supplies in Khartoum Photo: IOM SUDAN/Lisa George 

Arrival of USAID airlift of flood relief supplies in Khartoum Photo: IOM SUDAN/Lisa George 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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