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Updated: 1 hour 4 min ago

Massive Fire Devastates Rohingya Refugee Camps in Cox’s Bazar

Tue, 03/23/2021 - 13:15

Cox’s Bazar – A massive fire swept through three IOM-managed sites yesterday displacing roughly 45,000 Rohingya refugees and causing catastrophic damage in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, the world’s largest refugee camp. More than 10,000 shelters were damaged in the fire and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s largest health centre in the camp was destroyed. The loss of the 24/7 health centre, which served more than 55,000 people in the last year, now further complicates the challenge of responding to COVID-19. 

The fire that raged through the camps only slowed once it reached the main roads, slopes, canals and rice fields. It has since subsided, but not before consuming essential facilities, shelters and the personal belongings of tens of thousands of people.  

The cause of the fire is still unknown. According to humanitarian agencies and local authorities, 11 people have lost their lives, more than 500 people have been injured and roughly 400 are still missing. 

“This disaster is a terrible setback that exacerbates the humanitarian needs of refugees in Cox’s Bazar,” said IOM’s Director General António Vitorino. 

"We will need to start from zero to rebuild. Our hearts are with all those affected.  We are committed to helping them build back safer with the support of the government of Bangladesh, our donors, partners and humanitarian actors.” 

In the immediate aftermath, government response services, including the fire brigade, the army and humanitarian agencies rushed to the area to put out the fire. IOM deployed its ambulances and mobile medical teams to respond to all those who were injured and to provide mental health and psychosocial support. 

Rohingya volunteers on the ground were the first responders, helping people to safety, supporting fire response efforts and working to support relief efforts. IOM teams and partners worked through the night to respond to the most immediate needs of those who fled the inferno. 

Today, families have begun to return to their plots of land. 

IOM is distributing emergency assistance to all those affected. This includes shelter kits and water as well as emergency items such as face masks, soap, blankets, solar lights, mosquito nets and jerry cans.  

With the start of the monsoon looming, rebuilding is critical. IOM will continue to help people reconstruct durable shelters, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities as well as its health centre, a facility that has been crucial to responding to COVID-19 over the last year.  

IOM’s emergency fund has pledged USD 1 million to the relief efforts.  A further USD 20 million is required to respond to these most urgent needs. 

For more information please contact: 

In Cox’s Bazar: Monica Chiriac, Tel: +880 18 8009 4048, Email:  

In Bangkok:  Itayi Viriri, Tel: +66 65 939 0934, Email: 

In Geneva: Angela Wells, Tel: +41 79 403 5365, Email:  


Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 - 20:11Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

A massive fire damaged more than 10,000 homes in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh yesterday. Photo: IOM 

IOM’s health clinic was destroyed in yesterday’s fire in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants Rights
Categories: PBN

Freedom From Racial Discrimination is a Right, Not a Privilege

Sat, 03/20/2021 - 09:48

UN Network on Migration Statement

Geneva – In marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations Network on Migration calls on States to scale up efforts to condemn racial discrimination and to pursue, by all appropriate means, the elimination of all forms of discrimination.

While States and societies reap the benefits of migration, the migration experience, too often, is characterized by racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, including hate speech and hate crimes. In some places, reactions to COVID-19 have amplified anti-foreigner narratives, racial and ethnic stereotyping, and biases that evoke fear, bigotry, exclusion, and violence. Such rhetoric and acts are harmful. They also ignore the significant contribution of migrants to societies they live in and the role they play in pandemic response and recovery efforts. 

The impact of COVID-19 has prompted widespread expressions of mutual solidarity and support from States, civil society and individuals that transcended migration backgrounds or status. In some instances, youth have been at the forefront of initiatives to stand up against discrimination, notwithstanding increased perceived racial discrimination among migrant youth and children. On this day, in line with the 2021 theme of “Youth standing up against racism,” the Network calls on States to increase efforts towards building inclusive and tolerant societies where migrant youth and children are empowered as agents of positive change, regardless of their migration status.

Across its guiding principles and objectives, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) reminds States of their commitment to condemn and counter expressions, acts and manifestations of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, violence, xenophobia, and related intolerance against all migrants in conformity with international human rights and labour laws. In line with the obligations outlined in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the commitments made in the GCM, the Network calls on States to:

  • Amend any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination;
  • Enact, implement or maintain legislation that penalizes hate crimes and aggravated hate crimes targeting migrants;
  • Empower migrants and communities to denounce any acts of incitement to violence directed towards migrants by informing them of available mechanisms for redress;
  • Guarantee access to justice, including effective remedies for victims of hate crimes and other acts of violence that target migrants;
  • Ensure that all expressions, acts and manifestations of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, violence, xenophobia, and related intolerance are effectively addressed and those who actively participate in the commission of a hate crime targeting migrants are held accountable, in accordance with national legislation;
  • Take immediate and concrete measures, especially in the fields of education, culture, and information, to combat racial and xenophobic prejudice and promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship;
  • Ensure, in conformity with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the availability of high-quality, timely, reliable and disaggregated data, while upholding the right to privacy under international human rights law and protecting personal data; and,
  • Dedicate targeted resources to schools with a high concentration of migrant children for integration activities to promote respect for diversity and inclusion, and prevent all forms of discrimination.

Racial discrimination threatens all pillars of society, undermining decades-long efforts towards greater equality within and between communities. It also erodes the Sustainable Development Goals’ central promise to “leave no one behind.”

By denigrating the humanity of some of us, we only diminish the humanity of all of us.

The United Nations Network on Migration was established to ensure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States in their implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. While the Network’s mandate is focused on migration, States are called to also implement these recommendations to refugees and asylum-seekers and to protect the human rights of everyone equally, regardless of migration status.

For more information, please contact:


UN Network on Migration (secretariat)
Florence Kim +41797480395


Helen Rosengren

Adam Bowers
+41 (0)22 799 63 48


Safa Msehli
IOM Geneva +41 79 403 5526


Rupert Colville
+41 22 917 9767



Michelle Alves de Lima
+1 (917) 515-2615


Ms. Shabia Mantoo

+41 22 739 7138


Christopher Tidey
+1 917 340 3017



Sonya Yee
Tel: (+43) 1 26060-4990





Language English Posted: Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Countering XenophobiaInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementUN Network on Migration
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Information Campaign on Internal Migration in Mongolia

Fri, 03/19/2021 - 08:13

Ulaanbaatar – Due to massive internal migration in Mongolia, almost half of the population lives in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, leading to many challenges in the city, including air and soil pollution, traffic jam and leaving rural Mongolia deserted. 

To help mitigate this trend, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recently launched Should I Stay or Should I Go? Research It!, an information campaign that encourages internal migrants to better inform themselves before migrating within the country. The campaign launched on 23 February will run until 1 April 2021.

Fully supported by national and local government authorities in Mongolia, the campaign will include a wide range of multimedia outputs which include a documentary, series of videos, photos received from a photography contest, posters and brochures. All these will be disseminated through traditional and non-traditional media channels across the entire country, aiming to reach about 60 percent of the total population.

Although internal migration has been one of the strongest factors to shape the modern state of Mongolia, this is the first ever information campaign to address internal migrants in a comprehensive way.

Over the past few decades, many Mongolians have been moving from rural regions to the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, as a main coping mechanism with climate change induced slow onset and sudden disasters. The capital city, which now has almost half of the country’s entire population of 3,2 million has been put  under significant pressure with regional discrepancies in economic opportunities and public service availability.

“Our research shows that internal migrants do not seek information about their destination and don’t have a plan for their journey, while the main sources of information are relatives and friends,” said Giuseppe Crocetti, IOM China and Mongolia Chief of Mission. With little exposure to official information and adequate research, migrants tend not to register their residency, face challenges in accessing public services, finding job and accommodation, he added. It is also seen from the research that one of the reasons migrants don’t register is that they either don’t know how to register or believe registering is too complicated. 

“The campaign is aimed at equipping the prospective migrants with necessary information tools which they can use for a safer and more successful migration experience providing, at the same time, exposure to alternative destinations and modalities of internal migration,” said Victor Lutenco, programme manager at IOM Mongolia. “We are also trying to motivate the migrants who already settled, especially in Ulaanbaatar, to follow with proper registration of their new residency and guides them on getting full access to relevant public services,” Victor added. 

IOM also cooperates with the national integrated digital service portal and its hotline 1111 as well as with General Authority for State Registration making all the necessary information on migration available on these platforms and digitalizing the residency registration service.

The Should I Stay or Should I Go? Research It!  information campaign, which employed Communication for Development (C4D) methodology, is implemented as part of the Understanding and Managing Internal Migration in Mongolia project funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The objective of the project is to improve socio-economic well-being of internal migrants in Mongolia through evidence-based, migration inclusive policies and concrete interventions on the ground.

As of March 15, 2021, the campaign had reached about 1,5 million people across the country.

For more information, please contact Erkhembayar Munkhbayar, +976-88101117.

Launching video of the campaign

Main documentary of the campaign

Alternate destination video from Khentii province

Alternate destination video from Dornogovi province

Alternate destination video from Tuv province

Language English Posted: Friday, March 19, 2021 - 12:52Image: Region-Country: MadagascarDefault: Multimedia: 

Due to massive internal migration in Mongolia, almost half of the population lives in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, leading to many challenges in the city, including air and soil pollution, traffic jam and leaving rural Mongolia deserted. Photo: Byambaochir.B, IOM Mongolia

Due to massive internal migration in Mongolia, almost half of the population lives in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, leading to many challenges in the city, including air and soil pollution, traffic jam and leaving rural Mongolia deserted. Photo: Battulga, IOM Mongolia

Due to massive internal migration in Mongolia, almost half of the population lives in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, leading to many challenges in the city, including air and soil pollution, traffic jam and leaving rural Mongolia deserted. Photo: Javkhlantugs.D, IOM Mongolia

Due to massive internal migration in Mongolia, almost half of the population lives in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, leading to many challenges in the city, including air and soil pollution, traffic jam and leaving rural Mongolia deserted. Photo: Gerelsaikhan, IOM Mongolia

Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: Migration Management
Categories: PBN

Hundreds of Unemployed Youth in Sierra Leone Receiving Skills Training

Fri, 03/19/2021 - 04:06

Freetown – An ambitious USD 4.3 million vocational training programme implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) this month registered its 940th participant, almost halfway towards the goal of preparing 2,000 unemployed young men and women to meet the domestic demand for skilled jobs.

Almost 60 per cent of young people in Sierra Leone are unemployed, driving their urge to seek work abroad, usually via irregular migration.

Yet in an economy still struggling after the ravages of a decade-long civil war, there’s also strong, unmet demand for skilled labour—including repairing and operating farming, road construction and mining machinery. By expanding a year-long effort to bring greater skills training here, IOM, foreign partners and Sierra Leone’s private sector are together creating jobs that will curb irregular migration.

This month, 200 people are engaged in a tractor and grader training programme funded by the government of Japan. Up to now, such training has been so scarce in Sierra Leone companies have had to import skilled migrants from other African countries to do machinery repair.

The initiative grew out of an encounter two years ago at the Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development (TICAD 7), where IOM representatives met with executives of Sierra Tropical Sierra Leone Ltd. (STL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Dole Asia Holdings and one of the country’s leaders in agribusiness.

IOM was encouraged by the company’s recent investments in pineapple cultivation, especially a fruit processing factory designed to employ locals. IOM had already conducted skills training sessions for 189 youths attached to Sierra Tropical LTD in the Sumbuya, Bo district.

"The knowledge and skills this programme bring will enable young people to have gainful employment that will provide them with income to support themselves and their families,” said Dr James Bagonza, the acting Head of Office for IOM Sierra Leone.

“It is good for young people to acquire the necessary skills and be employed in the country, rather than risking their lives to embark on desperate back way journeys.[1]"

At an event last month launching IOM’s Grader and Tractor Programme, Mohamed Orman Bangura, Sierra Leone's Minister of Youth Affairs, promised: "Those of you going through this training are assured of getting jobs upon graduation. It is no doubt that with our youths championing agriculture, the country will become food sufficient."

Another 240 youths have received entrepreneurship training and mentorship—that is, learning to launch their own businesses—and almost 300 received training for jobs in fisheries.

IOM also collaborated with the Freetown City Council to train 220 youth on sustainable waste management, equipping them with 20 motorized tricycles and other waste collection gear.

These projects all are part of IOM's larger scale youth empowerment project targeting 2,000 young job seekers by April 2022.


[1] “Back way” is West African slang for irregular migration.

For more information, please contact Dr James Bagonza, Head of Office IOM Sierra Leone, Email; Tel : +23276466371,  or Akao Kunikazu, Project Manager (TVET/Entrepreneurship Project), Email:; Tel:  +23299606007

Language English Posted: Friday, March 19, 2021 - 12:58Image: Region-Country: Sierra LeoneDefault: Multimedia: 

Hands-on training at the training location in Sumbuya, Bo District. Photo: IOM/Alfred Fornah

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: International Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

Record Cross-Border Migrant Returns Contribute to Bleak Humanitarian Outlook for Afghanistan in 2021

Fri, 03/19/2021 - 04:02

Kabul – Over the last year, more than one million Afghan migrants have returned or been deported to Afghanistan from neighbouring Pakistan and Iran as COVID-19 continues to deprive many of employment and health care.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that more than 650,000 undocumented migrants will return in 2021 – all of whom will be in dire need of humanitarian support at a time when donor funding is a small fraction of what is needed. 

As of 11 March, IOM reports that over 200,000 undocumented Afghan migrants have returned since the start of the year. This is more than double the rate of return over the same period in 2019 and 2020. Around half of these returns have been deportations in recent weeks.   

The elevated numbers of people coming back into the country is expected to remain high through the month of March due to religious holidays in Iran, during which many people travel home to see loved ones.  

“Desperation among the poor in Afghanistan has been growing over the years as there are fewer job opportunities at home. Many Afghans have no choice but to migrate to urban areas or other countries in search of a safer place to live, healthcare and education,” said Nicholas Bishop, IOM’s Cross-Border Response Programme Manager. 

“We are now seeing an increasing number of migrants returning back to Afghanistan, as COVID-19 has destabilized economies where undocumented Afghans have limited access to health care due to their legal status. The situation is becoming more dire by the day.”  

Many Afghan migrants return home with only the possessions they carry on their backs. Most have taken out significant loans to journey abroad in the first place and suffered from abuse during their time outside of the country.  

Outsized cross-border returns are one symptom of a much larger problem. This year, as many as 13.2 million people are expected to suffer from a widespread drought and famine-like scenario, according to the newly released OCHA’s Afghanistan Spring Contingency Plan

Combined with escalating levels of conflict and the ongoing consequences of COVID-19, the likelihood of additional waves of internal displacement, cross-border migration and a spike in humanitarian needs is high. Unfortunately, the Afghanistan Humanitarian Response Plan for 2021 is only 5 per cent funded as of 9 March. 

IOM, together with the Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation and humanitarian partners, delivers humanitarian assistance and other services to returnees at major international border crossings with Iran and Pakistan. A network of transit facilities provides overnight accommodation, hot meals, health and protection services, and transportation support.  

However, limited funding means that only 5 per cent of undocumented returnees receive the support they need each week.  

As of 9 March, Afghanistan has officially confirmed over 55,000 COVID-19 infections at present with 2,450 deaths. Due to limited  funding for the country’s COVID-19 response, the true rate of unrecorded infection is believed to be in the millions, according to Ministry of Public Health and WHO officials.  

Despite the delivery in recent weeks of vaccine supplies from India and the COVAX Facility  – the multilateral mechanism created to ensure equitable distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines among countries – and the start of a nationwide vaccination campaign, the identification of new viral variants is deeply concerning  for Afghanistan, as vaccines are unlikely to be widely available until 2022 or later.  

Under multi-donor funding contributions, IOM has deployed over 380 staff to support COVID-19 response efforts and ensure the continuation of basic primary health care in areas where hospital visits have declined by more than 25 per cent in the face of infection among health workers and rampant conflict.  

Later this month, IOM will issue its global 2021 Strategic Response and Recovery Plan, highlighting IOM’s approach to address the urgent humanitarian consequences of the pandemic, as well as the medium to longer-term socioeconomic interventions required to ensure the resilience of affected populations in Afghanistan and beyond.  

IOM Afghanistan is seeking USD 17 million in 2021 to respond to COVID-19.  

For more information, please contact Nicholas Bishop, Emergency Response Officer, IOM Afghanistan, Tel: +93794445948, Email: or Angela Wells, Public Information Officer, IOM in Geneva, Tel: +41 79 403 5365, Email: Language English Posted: Friday, March 19, 2021 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: AfghanistanDefault: Multimedia: 

At IOM Afghanistan’s Transit Centre in Kandahar, returnees are provided with specialized assistance to help them transition home in safety and dignity. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed 

More than 25,000 people cross back and forth between Afghanistan and Pakistan every day at the Spin Boldak border crossing. IOM Afghanistan provides humanitarian assistance to returning Afghan migrants in need.  Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReturn and Reintegration
Categories: PBN

Child Survivors of Trafficking Rescued in Ghana Return to Côte d’Ivoire

Fri, 03/19/2021 - 03:49

Accra – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Accra, Ghana, working in close collaboration with Ghana’s Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection (MoGCSP) this week organized the safe return of 13 child survivors of trafficking to their home country, Côte d’Ivoire.

The youths, now reunited with their families on March 15, had been exploited by traffickers on farms in Ghana’s Volta Region after being brought to the country by traffickers.

“Irrespective of where someone comes from, victims are victims, and must be given the best support possible,” said Abena Annobea Asare, Head of the Human Trafficking Secretariat of the MoGCSP.

“I am glad to see this day come to pass where all stakeholders have worked as a team to ensure the successful return. The most rewarding is to see success in the face of adversity."

The youths – all boys aged nine to 19 – were brought to Ghana from Cote d’Ivoire under the pretext of studying Quran. An Imam allegedly exploited the children as farm workers, some for up to ten years according to Ghanaian authorities. Exact timelines are difficult to trace, as children as young as three were trafficked and they do not know the day, month or year they came to Ghana.

Based on a tip, the Ghana Police Service (GPS) undertook a rescue. One alleged trafficker has been arrested and is being prosecuted.

Following the rescue mission, the boys were referred to a shelter for child victims under the auspices of the MoGCSP in Accra. They received counseling, medical screening, and further rehabilitation assistance. One boy who contracted COVID-19 has been quarantined in the government shelter and will go home once he tests negative.

IOM Ghana reports that strong coordination and collaboration between IOM, the Ivorian Consulate, the Burkinabé Embassy in Ghana and the Government of Ghana’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and MoGCSP enabled these children’s safe return. 

Return flights – including purchase of tickets, clothing, medical screening and COVID-19 tests – were funded via the Child Protection Compact (CPC) project under the U.S. Department of State´s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP) and a memorandum of understanding (MoU) between the Government of Ghana and IOM.

Upon arrival in Abidjan, the children were welcomed by their families, who had been traced by IOM Côte d’Ivoire and national authorities. The children and their families will continue to receive reintegration support in the framework of IOM prevention and protection activities.

Child trafficking remains an issue in Ghana and across international borders, especially in the fishing industries, but also in the farming sector. Children of various ages and nationalities may fall victim to perpetrators.

Over the past years, IOM Ghana has worked closely with the MoGCSP and the Ghana Police Service (GPS) to counter the issue of child trafficking in the country.

The Standard Operating Procedures to Combat Human Trafficking in Ghana, with an emphasis on child trafficking, had been developed by IOM in partnership with the MoGCSP and were launched in October 2017.

Subsequently, officers of the GPS and the Department of Social Welfare (DSW) were trained to strengthen the investigation of trafficking cases, as well as to be better able to address the needs of victims once rescued.

“The rescue mission of the Ivorian and Burkinabé children is evidence that the existing systems are functioning,” said Abibatou Wane-Fall, IOM Ghana Chief of Mission. “But a lot more needs to be done to prevent child trafficking in the first place. Together with our partners, IOM undertakes major efforts to raise awareness of the issue in the areas and sectors of concern.”

For more information, please contact Victoria Klimova at IOM Ghana, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 19, 2021 - 12:59Image: Region-Country: GhanaDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Ghana escorts rescued children on their flight home to Côte d’Ivoire from Kotoka International Airport, Accra. Photo: IOM/Juliane Reissig

The group waits in line to check in at Kotoka International Airport, Accra to take a flight back home to Côte d’Ivoire. Photo: IOM/Juliane Reissig 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Counter-traffickingEmergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants RightsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

IOM Chief of Mission Met with Lao Minister of Labour and Social Welfare

Fri, 03/19/2021 - 03:23

Vientiane – Ms. Shareen Tuladhar, the newly-designated Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, met with H.E. Khampheng Saysompheng, Minister of Labour and Social Welfare today (22 February).

On behalf of the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW), the Minister thanked IOM for the continuous support in managing effective labour migration, strengthening migrant protection, and promoting safe labour migration. H.E. Saysompheng also expressed appreciation for IOM’s commitment in aiding Lao People’s Democratic Republic’s graduation efforts from the Least Developed Country status. IOM and MoLSW’s joint efforts during the COVID-19 pandemic to conduct safe migration campaigns to returning migrants in eight provinces was mentioned as one of the recent highlights of the long-standing partnership.

Ms. Tuladhar congratulated the Minister on the notable progress made on migration policy, which includes the increased inclusiveness of migration in the recently finalized 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan (2021 – 2025) and the adoption of the Decree on Placement of Lao Workers to Work Abroad (Decree 245). She reassured that IOM stands committed to continue working in partnership with the government on labour migration management. IOM strives to protect migrant workers and to optimize the benefits of labour migration for both the country of origin and destination as well as for the migrants themselves. Specifically, in the current context, migrant workers play a critical role in the contribution of socio-economic recovery in any country.

MoLSW is the longest-standing partner of IOM in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. Since 2001, IOM has partnered with MoLSW in offering policy and technical advice to national governments that promote efficient, effective, and transparent labour migration flows; facilitating the ethical recruitment of workers; and capacitating officials and first responders in safe migration practices through various programming.

For more information, please contact Karen HO at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (20)55 136 294. Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 19, 2021 - 10:12Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

H.E. Khampheng Saysompheng met with Ms. Shareen Tuladhar on 22 February. Photo: Karen Ho / IOM

Ms. Shareen Tuladhar handing over a traditional Nepali decoration as memorabilia to MoLSW. Photo: Karen HO / IOM

Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: COVID-19Migration Management
Categories: PBN

Workshop Marks the Completion of IOM’s 10-year Asia Regional Migration Programme

Fri, 03/19/2021 - 03:12

Vientiane – On 19 February, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) convened a project closing workshop to mark the completion of IOM’s Asia Regional Migration Programme “Capacity Building, Migrant Assistance and Protection Project Phase X”.

The one-day meeting attracted 34 participants from Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare, relevant line ministries, the U.S. Embassy, development partners, and IOM. Participants reviewed the implementation and key achievements over the programme period and provided their inputs for future interventions.

Opening the meeting, Mr. Mixay Sengchanhthavong, the Deputy Director General of the Social Welfare Department (SWD), MoLSW thanked IOM and all participants for their vital efforts towards combatting human trafficking in Lao People’s Democratic Republic. “The collective efforts have effectively contributed to the national socio-economic development while protecting migrants in vulnerable situations.” He added.

Ms Anne Morrison, Social Economic at the U.S. Embassy, expressed gratitude for the long standing “crucial” partnership with IOM and MoLSW. “We are pleased to have supported this project. Preventing human-trafficking is not only about messaging and campaigns, policies are also important to sustain long term efforts” she said.

Over the past ten years, the U.S. Department of State funded programming has helped build government capacity in Lao People’s Democratic Republic on migration management to support the development of robust migrant protection frameworks, to complement government and civil society support. “While this decade long project is ending, our partnership will continue as we support the achievement of SDGs and Lao’s 9th National Socio-Economic Development Plan” Ms. Zena Van Bemmel-Faulkner, Programme Officer at IOM added.

IOM presented on the key findings of the research “Analysis of Migration Trends for Lao People’s Democratic Republic in Two Selected Provinces: Savannakhet and Xayaboury”. The study, which was conducted in July to August 2020, highlighted the impacts of migration patterns and the increased drivers of vulnerability that may change the human trafficking landscape amid COVID-19 pandemic.

A presentation on programme activities implemented over the ten phases (2007-2021) was delivered by IOM. Some key achievements and contributions in phase X (2020-2021) include: the rollout of safe migration trainings to 191 (64 women) officials in six Northern provinces, conducting a shelter study tour in three provinces with 24 officials, and supporting eight delegates from the Department of Labour and Social Welfare, MoLSW to attend the National Conference for Child Protection and Assistance Committee.

Since the first phase of the project started in 2007, IOM has worked closely with MoLSW to strengthen the capacities of the Lao Government in managing complex migration flows and better support migrants in vulnerable situations. Activities were implemented under three distinct pillars, namely migration management, partnerships, and crisis response.

The Asian Regional Migration Program successfully concluded in 2021, reaching over 1,300 direct beneficiaries in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, through capacity building activities, direct assistance to migrants, and supporting national and regional multi-stakeholder meetings. The ten-year programme is funded by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.

For more information, please contact Karen HO at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (21)267 795. Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 19, 2021 - 10:02Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM presented on the ten-year programme achievements. Photo: IOM 2021

A presentation on the summary of findings of the research “Analysis of Migration Trends in Lao People’s Democratic Republic” attracted positive feedback. Photo: IOM 2021

34 participants attended the half-day meeting to commemorate the completion of the programme. Photo: IOM 2021

Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: Migration Management
Categories: PBN

UN Network on Migration Launches “Migration Network Hub”, a Knowledge and Solutions Platform on the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Thu, 03/18/2021 - 12:45

Geneva – The United Nations Network on Migration launches today (18/03) the Migration Network Hub. It is the first knowledge platform and connection hub that supports UN Member States in the implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM).

This tool is intended to share migration knowledge, expertise, good practices and initiatives related to the GCM among Member States, practitioners and the UN system. Through a community of practice, users can participate in online discussions with peers, attend webinars, share resources and publications and showcase flagship initiatives.

Later this year, via the platform, governments will have access to migration-related services and support.

“Working collaboratively on migration is a founding principle of the Global Compact for Migration. The launch of the Hub is a milestone in this regard as it allows us to work better together, learn from each other’s experiences and exchange ideas on how to foster the implementation of the Compact at all levels,” said António Vitorino, Director-general of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Coordinator of the United Nations Network on Migration.

The Hub provides high-quality, curated content, analysis and information on all aspects of migration as covered in the GCM. Peer review ensures quality control, so content approved for inclusion is relevant, up-to-date and in line with the GCM and its guiding principles.

Recognizing that building the capacity of Member States and other stakeholders plays an important step towards achieving its 23 objectives, the GCM called for the creation of the Migration Network Hub as part of a capacity-building mechanism that also includes the Migration Multi-Partner Trust Fund. The Hub is also part of the UN Network on Migration’s efforts to bring greater cohesion to the work of the UN system on migration.

A needs assessment was conducted by the Migration Policy Institute on behalf of the United Nations Network on Migration to design the platform and understand the existing gaps and challenges faced by researchers and practitioners. One key challenge mentioned by those surveyed was the proliferation of competing (and sometimes contradictory) information on migration.

The platform is accessible here.

The United Nations Network on Migration was established to ensure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States in their implementation, follow-up and review of the GCM.

For more information, please contact Susanne Melde at IOM at or Florence Kim at the secretariat of the UN Network on Migration:; +41 79 748 0395.

Language English Posted: Thursday, March 18, 2021 - 19:41Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Global Compact on MigrationMigration ManagementMigration and the 2030 AgendaUN Network on Migration
Categories: PBN

Full Support for Democracy, Peace, Rule of Law in Myanmar: IOM Statement

Wed, 03/17/2021 - 11:59

Yangon, Myanmar – The International Organization for Migration (UN Migration), expresses its full support for the people of Myanmar in their pursuit of democracy, peace, human rights, the rule of law and fundamental freedoms, and strongly reiterates the statements of the UN Secretary-General condemning the escalating and violent repression of peaceful protesters across the country.

Myanmar is a country of significant human mobility. It is estimated that one in four Myanmar people are migrants either internally or internationally. Migrants are among the most impacted by the ongoing political crisis. Most recently, violent crackdowns reached Yangon’s western industrial Hlaing Thar Yar township, which hosts the largest population of internal migrants in Myanmar.

The fear of insecurity triggered the desperate return of hundreds of thousands of migrants to their communities of origin in search of safety and security. IOM expresses profound concern over the escalating use of force by military and security forces against peaceful protestors and reaffirms its longstanding and firm commitment to support migrants and the vulnerable, and ensure that humanitarian and life-saving assistance reaches those most in need.

Recognizing the critical linkages between a strengthened civil society, community resilience and the preservation of the democratic space, IOM highly values partnerships with civil society organizations. We work together to ensure that support interventions are tailored to the needs of migrants and vulnerable communities. The views and safety of civil society organizations are at the heart of IOM’s response to this crisis, and they remain an essential foundation for encouraging a return to the democratic transition.

IOM and its partners will continue doing their utmost to ensure that essential support reaches migrants and migrant-sending communities across Myanmar despite the challenging circumstances. 

We call for the immediate cessation of violence, as well as for the protection and recognition of the fundamental rights and aspirations of migrants, of the vulnerable, and of all the people of Myanmar.


For more information, please contact Itayi Viriri at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Tel: +63 916 237 0574, Email: or Paul Dillon, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 636 9874, Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, March 17, 2021 - 18:53Image: Region-Country: MyanmarDefault: Multimedia: 

Internal migrant workers sewing longyi (a sarong-like tube of fabric widely worn in Mynamar) at Taunggyi, Shan State. Photo: IOM/Ko OO 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants Rights
Categories: PBN

Stranded Migrants Arrive in Ethiopia from Yemen on First Return Flight since Start of COVID-19 Pandemic

Tue, 03/16/2021 - 06:31

Aden/Addis Ababa – One hundred forty Ethiopian migrants stranded in Yemen arrived in Addis Ababa today, the first Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme flight the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has facilitated between the two countries since the COVID-19 global pandemic was declared. 

“This flight is a vital lifeline for migrants who have been stranded for months on end in unsafe conditions,” said António Vitorino, IOM Director General. “In the coming months, we hope to see more migrants able to safely go home to their loved ones in this way.” 

In October, IOM’s Return Task Force estimated the COVID-19 related mobility restrictions stranded at least 3 million migrants around the world who wished to return home.  

Despite a reduction in the number of migrants arriving in Yemen — from 138,000 in 2019 to just over 37,500 in 2020 — the dangers they face have drastically increased over the past year. Unable to continue across Yemen to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), many stranded migrants lack shelter, water and food. Migrants also have been at increasing risk of experiencing xenophobia, exploitation and detention over the last year. 

“I have a family to provide for in Ethiopia so I left to find work,” said Mohammed, a 25-year-old man, travelling on the return flight. 

“I came to Yemen to make it to Saudi Arabia, but I was not successful. I can't describe my situation here, as it has been very difficult. I have been homeless and poor. I am happy to be going home but I have nothing to bring back to my family. I will never leave again.”  

Transiting through Yemen was already a perilous undertaking even before COVID-19. Migrants first travel through the scorching deserts of the Horn of Africa and then cross the Gulf of Aden in boats so cramped that passengers often die of asphyxiation.  

In Yemen, they are exposed to kidnapping, torture and abuse, while navigating a deadly conflict. While men comprise ae majority of people travelling on this route, women and children remain the most vulnerable.  

Since the start of the pandemic, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix reports that at least 9,000 people have become desperate enough to put their lives back in the hands of smugglers to return to the Horn of Africa on dangerous boat journeys.   

Smuggling networks that operate along this route across the Gulf sometimes force migrants off overcrowded boats. Earlier this month, IOM reported that 20 migrants lost their lives in such an incident. 

Since 2020, IOM teams in Aden registered over 6,000 migrants expressing a wish to return to Ethiopia. In December, the Government of Ethiopia visited the ancient coastal city and verified the nationality of 1,100 people, the first step of the voluntary returns process. The remaining migrants from this group are expected to travel in coming weeks. Additionally, thousands of other migrants remain stranded elsewhere in Yemen, including Ma’rib, where IOM hopes to extend its returns efforts soon.  

“I am thankful to the governments of Yemen and Ethiopia for working with each other to help this group of migrants,” added Director General Vitorino. 

“The recent tragedy in the Sana’a holding facility highlighted the vulnerability of migrants in Yemen and underlined the importance of acting to protect them.” 

Prior to departure, IOM carries out medical and protection screenings to ensure that returnees are fit to travel, while those with special needs are identified and supported. The Organization also provides clothing and hygiene items to those in need. 

In coordination with the Ethiopian government, IOM supports the government-run COVID-19 quarantine facility set up to accommodate the returnees in Addis Ababa and provides cash assistance, essential items and onward transportation assistance to home communities. The Organization also supports family tracing and the reunification of unaccompanied migrant children.  

Across the Horn of Africa and Yemen, IOM provides life-saving support to migrants through health care, food, water and other assistance.  

Today’s return flight from Aden to Addis Ababa is funded by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the humanitarian bureau of the U.S. State Department. Post-arrival assistance in Addis Ababa is supported by the European Commission's Directorate-General for EU Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and PRM.  


For more information, please contact: 

·       Olivia Headon at IOM Yemen, Tel: +967730552233, Email:  

·       Kaye Viray at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251993531220, Email:  

·       Angela Wells at IOM in HQ, Te;: +41 794035365, Email:  


Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 16, 2021 - 13:14Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaYemenDefault: Multimedia: 

Stranded Ethiopian migrants prepare for their journey home from Aden, Yemen, with IOM support. Photo: IOM 2021/Majed Mohammed.

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19DTMEmergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

IOM Director General António Vitorino Statement on the Ten-Year Anniversary of the Syrian Conflict

Mon, 03/15/2021 - 01:59

António Vitorino

Geneva – This week marks a decade of conflict and destruction in Syria. Countless lives have been lost to the war, millions uprooted and displaced, and entire generations impacted. 

Returning to their past lives is no longer an option for many Syrians and moving on is a daily heartbreak. Those affected by the crisis have shown remarkable resilience and perseverance, yet they have been offered little respite from the irreversible impacts of the conflict and bloodshed. 

Tragically, many who remain inside the country continue to suffer from severe human rights abuses, hunger and violence, a situation which is further compounded by the pandemic. The economic and political outlook for the next 12 months remains bleak, as those hit hardest are struggling to make ends meet. 

Thirty per cent of the total population is currently displaced, including 2.7 million people in the Northwest of the country. Over the last decade, many have been in a constant state of flight; nearly one-quarter of Syria’s internally displaced persons have been forced to flee at least four times.  

While more than 100 countries have opened their doors to Syrian refugees, more than 5.6 million people reside in refugee camps or urban centres in the neighbouring countries of Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt. 

Others have traveled further – embarking on dangerous journeys on the Mediterranean or across perilous terrain – taking great risks in hopes of a better life.  

While many Syrians have found avenues to integrate in their countries of asylum or resettled abroad, many more still struggle to meet their basic needs or find opportunities to build a better future. 

The International Organization of Migration (IOM) has been assisting Syrians fleeing conflict throughout the last decade.  

Our teams continue to work tirelessly to support those most in need with lifesaving humanitarian assistance and to promote social cohesion and opportunities for integration that have allowed many to start life anew. Our resettlement operations have helped more than 230,000 Syrian refugees to move safely to new countries.  

Inside Syria, we support the work of thousands of Syrian front-line humanitarian workers who take great personal risks every day to serve millions of people in distress and to track the scale of displacement. In the last year, IOM’s cross-border operations have reached more than one million people. 

Despite our best efforts, much more still needs to be done to mitigate the suffering of Syrians, to support the resilience of communities and to secure dignified solutions for all those displaced. 

Access to the North of the country through ongoing cross border operations remains an essential, lifesaving humanitarian intervention.  

Equally crucial is an increase in funding commitments by the international community for humanitarian operations. Without greater investment to adequately respond to the urgent needs of 13.4 million people inside Syria, we risk compounding this human tragedy.   

I call upon our trusted partners and the international donor community to continue to support IOM’s operations in Syria, to not turn their backs on the Syrian people.  

And while greater humanitarian funding is urgently needed, this situation will never be solved with aid alone. Too many lives continue to be threatened in the absence of long-term solutions. 

I join my fellow UN principals in calling for a sustainable resolution to end the conflict, and let the Syrian people rebuild their lives in dignity. Ultimately, only a political solution can end the decade of conflict and suffering and bring lasting peace.  


For more information, please contact:

Angela Wells at IOM in Geneva, Email:
Mohammedali Abunajela at IOM's Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa (Arabic), Email:
Language English Posted: Monday, March 15, 2021 - 11:30Image: Region-Country: Syrian Arab RepublicDefault: Multimedia: 

An elderly woman and her grandchildren sit outside their tent in a camp that hosts 6,179 internally displaced persons where IOM’s partners have been providing services since 2018. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants RightsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

Statement by IOM Director General António Vitorino on the Deadly Fire at a Migrant Holding Facility in Yemen

Sat, 03/13/2021 - 20:39

Antonio Vitorino

I am deeply saddened by the deaths of dozens of migrants in a fire at an Immigration Nationality and Passport Agency holding facility in Sana’a, Yemen, last Sunday (07/03). 

Our thoughts are with the families of those who died, and the more than 170 injured survivors. 

Conditions in the holding facility, which was three times over-capacity, were inhumane and unsafe.   

IOM does not establish, manage or supervise detention centres in Yemen or anywhere else in the world. Our teams provided migrants essential services like food, health care and water they otherwise would not have received. 

In the aftermath of the fire, our teams were at the facility providing emergency health assistance and saving lives. IOM continues to support the survivors today, where access allows. 

The United Nations Network on Migration advocates that detention should be the measure of last resort in any context, and that governments take a human-rights-based approach to migrant detention. 

In March of last year, IOM joined other UN partners to urge the release of migrants held in cramped and unsanitary conditions in formal and informal places of detention in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. 

We continue to do so in Yemen, where the arbitrary arrest and forced movement of migrants has increased since the COVID-19 outbreak began. 

IOM has also been working with all concerned authorities to restart its Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme from Sana’a to Ethiopia, a lifeline for many stranded migrants in dangerous situations.  

We will continue advocating for migrants until they are afforded their basic rights to protection, freedom of movement and access to services.  

I am concerned that this is not the last tragedy that migrants will experience in Yemen if the international community does not come together in a renewed effort to lessen the dangers they face and increase the support they receive.  

Language English Posted: Sunday, March 14, 2021 - 03:30Image: Region-Country: YemenDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Detention CentresEmergency Relief and ProtectionMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants Rights
Categories: PBN

First Regional Review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Asia-Pacific Concludes

Fri, 03/12/2021 - 08:08

Bangkok – The first regional review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in Asia and the Pacific concluded today (19 March) with a call for greater collaboration among countries in the region to implement this global framework for action to reap the benefits of migration for all. 

The review, organized from 10 to 12 March by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Regional UN Network* on Migration for Asia and the Pacific, brought together over 200 government representatives and stakeholders who discussed concrete steps to align migration with sustainable development and respect for human and labour rights in and beyond the COVID-19 era.

Among the conclusions was the need to seize the opportunity to reimagine human mobility in Asia and the Pacific. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed the region behind in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In light of this, delegates called for stronger collaboration amongst Governments in implementing the Global Compact in the region to ensure that no one is left behind. Policies should respect labour and human rights and be gender-responsive and child-sensitive.

The review also ensured that Asia and the Pacific would be well represented at the International Migration Review Forum in 2022 to make migration a priority in implementing the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in the region.

“This regional review offered the participants an opportunity to compare experiences among countries, share good practices and enhance collective actions in the Asia- Pacific region,” said António Vitorino, Director-General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Coordinator of the UN Network on Migration. “Today, member States and stakeholders have demonstrated the relevance and tangible value of the Global Compact for millions of migrants in the region.”

“As most migration is regional in nature, we must advance regional cooperation and partnerships at the regional, subregional and bilateral levels,” said Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.

“Let us work together, countries, intergovernmental organizations, stakeholders and UN entities. No country can address the challenges and opportunities of migration alone. We must be ambitious and advance practical implementation of the Global Compact.”

“As we learned from the pandemic – no one is safe until everyone is safe; therefore, a migrant-inclusive approach is key to finding a sustainable solution,” said H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Thailand.

“No matter how overwhelmed we are by the impacts of COVID-19, we can and must continue to advance. We must use the Global Compact to its full potential in overcoming these challenges.”

Chihoko Asada-Miyakawa, Assistant Director-General and Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific, ILO added, “COVID-19 has had an unprecedented impact on migrant workers, and they should be integral to our plans as we seek to build back better after the pandemic. Policies and approaches need to be fairer and more inclusive if we are to provide the protection and access to decent work that migrants deserve.”

The number of international migrants In the Asia-Pacific region has grown from 52 million in 1990 to over 65 million today, roughly 25 per cent of all the world’s international migrants. Notably, 70 per cent of all international migrants in Asia and the Pacific come from within the region. 

In her closing remarks, Nenette Motus, Coordinator, Regional UN Network on Migration and IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific said, “The Network stands ready to engage with and support all your efforts in the implementation, review and follow-up of the Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, particularly in the lead up to the first International Migration Review Forum (IMRF) in 2022 and beyond.”

The Asia-Pacific review will feed into the first IMRF informing the Forum of regional trends, challenges, successful practices and emerging issues in the region.

Video: Opening remarks from IOM Director-General and Coordinator of the UN Network on Migration

Download the Asia-Pacific Migration Report 2020     

Visit the review Meeting page here.

For more information please contact Florence Kim at the UN Network on Migration (Secretariat) at +41797480395, Email: or Itayi Viriri at the IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Tel: +63 916 237 0574, Email:

The United Nations Network on Migration was established to ensure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States in their implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. While the Network’s mandate is focused on migration, the Network calls on States to also implement these recommendations to refugees and asylum-seekers and to protect the human rights and health of everyone equally, regardless of migration status.

The member agencies in Asia-Pacific  are: ESCAP, ILO, IOM, OCHA, OHCHR, UNAIDS, UNDP, UN DRR, UNEP, UNESCO, UNFCCC, UNFPA, UN-Habitat, UNHCR, UNICEF, UNODC, UN Women, WFP and World Bank. IOM serves as coordinator and secretariat of the network.


Language English Posted: Friday, March 12, 2021 - 13:48Image: Region-Country: ThailandGlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

People from Thailand and Myanmar cross border from Thailand’s Mea Sot to Myanmar’s Myawaddy by boats at Tha Huan Yang pier in Tak province on August 21, 2018. Photo: IOM/Visarut Sankham

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Global Compact on MigrationInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

IOM Supports “Strategic Diaspora Mobilization” During COVID-19 Outbreak in Mauritania

Fri, 03/12/2021 - 07:43

Nouakchott – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this month launched a new programme tapping the socio-economic power of diaspora Mauritanians—now some 128,500 strong— that already remits over USD 1 million to their homeland weekly.

The initiative “Strategic Diaspora Mobilization” for the socio-economic development of Mauritania provides to the West African nation a new, but very familiar source of international support: overseas Mauritanians returning for short-term assignments.

With support from the IOM-EU Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, Mauritania is availing itself of assistance from citizens living in Europe, the Middle East and North America since 2000.

While remittances are welcome in one of the Sahel region’s most fragile states, it is Mauritania’s overseas talent that is crucial amid the current COVID-19 pandemic. Returning medical personnel embody the importance of migration’s often overlooked “brain chain,” whereby citizens working abroad acquire expertise they share with their homelands.

"Governments recognize that professionals and skilled workers represent essential human capital for their countries of origin,” observed Dr. Boubacar Seybou, IOM Mauritania’s Chief of Mission.  “On this basis, engaging the diaspora is at the forefront of the migration and development programmes of many countries, including Mauritania."

Engaging someone, for example, like Dr Boubou Camara.

IOM supported the return of the Grenoble, France-based respirologist. Dr Camara was mobilized into a three-month mission on a World Health Organization´s programme to train Mauritanian health personnel on the use of specialized medical equipment, including respirators. Afterwards, Dr Camara was offered a permanent contract by WHO to continue aiding Mauritania’s COVID-19 response.

"Diaspora members are ready to help,” said the 47-year-old specialist.

To date, IOM has facilitated 20 missions of experts, including 15 health professionals playing a significant role against COVID-19, giving technical support to Mauritania’s Ministry of Health.

In addition, IOM has assisted four other missions conducted with diaspora members in project management, social assistance, conflict prevention and child protection. Four diaspora recruits have decided to return permanently after been offered job opportunities, which has increased interest in the program among Mauritanians abroad.

Consultation sessions with Mauritanian nationals living in France, Germany and Spain—as well as a dedicated platform, facilitate information-sharing.

"Beyond their socio-economic involvement, members of our diaspora have always kept a sense of patriotism towards Mauritania, with the welfare and development of the country remaining a priority for them,” said Abdel Kader Mohamed, advisor to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Cooperation and Mauritanians abroad. “This adherence to national values is an essential element in their mobilization."

For more information, please contact Shauna Cameron, at IOM Mauritania, Tel.: +222 45 24 40 81, Email: or Moussa Tall, Senior Diaspora project assistant, Tel.: +222 267 76 461;  Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, March 12, 2021 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: MauritaniaDefault: Multimedia: 

Launching event of the new project in the presence of the SG of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cooperation and Mauritanians Abroad, the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System and the IOM Chief of Mission in Mauritania. Photo: M.Hananni/IOM/2021

Dr Boubou Camara is a Mauritanian doctor from the diaspora, who returned to the country thanks to IOM to support the national response against COVID-19, he is now the head of the medical care pillar of the United Nations in Mauritania. Photo: M.Hananni/IOM/2021

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

Japan Provides USD 37.1 million to Support IOM Operations in 2021

Fri, 03/12/2021 - 04:21

Geneva – The Government of Japan has allocated USD 37,100,767 to support the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s operations in 2021. Through this funding, IOM will implement projects to help vulnerable migrants, including displaced persons, refugees, returnees and communities affected by COVID-19, as well as conflict and crises worldwide.   

The Japanese contribution will also help to stabilize regions by building the capacity of various governments in humanitarian border management. 

More than 40 per cent of the contribution will be utilized to support IOM programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa; 35 per cent in the Middle East and North Africa and Europe; and 20 per cent in Asia.  

IOM’s Director General, António Vitorino, expressing appreciation for the generous contribution, said: “IOM is grateful for the continued support from the Government of Japan. In the time of COVID-19, this contribution will allow IOM to provide life-saving assistance for mobile populations facing COVID-19, as well as other existing crises. Japan’s generous support also will aid governments responding to other difficulties in the fields of border management, health, and livelihoods.”  

Japan-funded activities will include improving the capacities of the governments for integrated border management and building the capacity of the governments in health response, especially at points of entry and in border areas. In conflict-affected regions, displaced populations are also severely affected by COVID-19. The generous contribution will allow IOM to mitigate such negative impact toward mobile populations and build basis for assistance after COVID-19 crisis. 

For more information, please contact Paul Dillon, Managing Editor, IOM Geneva; Tel.: +41 79 636 98 74;  Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 12, 2021 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: JapanGlobalThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

IOM, UNHCR: Latest Mediterranean Tragedy Underscores Need for Search and Rescue

Wed, 03/10/2021 - 14:35

Joint Press Release IOM/UNHCR

Tunis/Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, are deeply saddened by the latest loss of life in the Central Mediterranean, after two boats capsized off Tunisia’s shores on Tuesday, 9 March.

At least 39 people drowned in a shipwreck off Kerkennah island. One hundred thirty-four survivors, most of them from Côte d'Ivoire, were brought to shore by Tunisia’s coast guard. The rescue operations are still ongoing, hampered yesterday by harsh weather conditions. A second shipwreck took place off the coast of Jebeniana city in Sfax governorate. The boat had 70 persons on board, including four children, who were all taken to shore.

These are the latest in a string of shipwrecks off Tunisia’s coast. IOM and UNHCR work with partners in the country to give emergency assistance and health support to survivors. In 2021, the Tunisian authorities have carried out 21 sea rescue operations – sometimes of boats departing from Libya’s coast.

“The approach adopted by Tunisia shows that it’s not only necessary but possible to guarantee the safety of those rescued, while providing for the health and security of the host communities,” said UNHCR’s Representative in Tunisia, Hanan Hamdan.

“We commend the search and rescue efforts of the Tunisian authorities and will continue to support them in providing urgent humanitarian assistance to those rescued at sea,” added IOM’s Chief of Mission in Tunisia, Azzouz Samri.

Some 190 people have died while crossing the Central Mediterranean in 2021, while roughly 5,700 others arrived in Italy from North Africa. This is an average of almost three deaths per day. 

“The central Mediterranean continues to claim lives as thousands of people embark on these perilous journeys, whether fleeing extreme poverty, conflict, or in search of a better life,” added Samri.

“We continue to call for proactive search and rescue in the most dangerous sea crossing in the world, and the establishment of clear and safe disembarkation for people rescued at sea.”

The agencies stress that prosecuting smuggling groups and traffickers who take advantage of the vulnerabilities of people and put them on risky journeys must be a priority.


For more information, please contact:

In Tunis

IOM Riadh Kadhi, Tel: +216 28 787 805. Email:

 UNHCR Ikram Houimli, Tel: +216 58941076. Email:,

In Geneva

Safa Msehli, Tel: +41 79 403 5526. Email:

Aikaterini Kitidi, Tel: +41 79 580 8334. Email,


Language English Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 21:29Image: Region-Country: TunisiaDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants Rights
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches New Anti-Trafficking Campaign in Mongolia

Wed, 03/10/2021 - 01:15

Ulan Bator – Mongolia is a source and destination country for men, women and children subjected to trafficking in persons for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labour. Official police statistics indicate that 350 individuals were identified as victims within Mongolia and abroad in 2012-2020. At least 70 per cent of victims of trafficking for sexual exploitation assisted in Mongolia are girls and women who were lured into sex trafficking in an attempt to better their lives and social status.

It was with this background in mind that on 5 March 2021, the  International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with the Coordination Council of Crimes Prevention of Mongolia launched a public information campaign in Mongolia entitled Dream Umbrella – Мөрөөдлийн to raise awareness among young women on what human trafficking entails, where to report the crime or access reliable and trustworthy information, and how to refer a case or seek help.

Dream Umbrella is based on IOM’s successful IOM X project, which uses Communication for Development (C4D) methodology, a participatory communication campaign approach aimed to address the prevalent knowledge and attitudinal gaps on human trafficking and to provide concrete actions and behaviors for targeted public audience.

In line with the C4D model, IOM identified the campaign focus, developed and reviewed its content through preparatory workshops and focus group discussions involving diverse stakeholders. Pre and post surveys are also conducted with over 500 young women between the ages of 18-27 to assess current levels of knowledge of human trafficking and measure the impact of the campaign.

The campaign was officially launched at the meeting of the Sub-Council on Trafficking in Persons and through a public interactive exhibit in the capital city of Ulan Bator.

“During the campaign, step by step activities will be organized with the purpose of preventing girls and women from becoming victims of this crime, increasing public awareness, enhancing the cooperation between government and non-government organizations, as well as media outlets,” explained Ms Lkhamtogmid Nyamgerel, Head of the Sub-Council on Trafficking in Persons and Head of the Coordination Council of Crimes Prevention.

Over the 21 days of the campaign, IOM will broadcast, nationally and locally, videos and animations to recognize the signs of trafficking in persons and to empower girls and women to make informed choices about job opportunities and migration decisions.

Posters will be placed in strategic public areas and transit points in Ulan Bator and Darkhan Uul. On the last day of the campaign, murals depicting campaign key messages will be created in these cities, in addition to other outreach activities such as informative stands with virtual reality games, social media challenges, flyers, to maximize the campaign’s impact.

A Facebook page (Dream Umbrella – Мөрөөдлийн) has been created as the primary hub for campaign information and it includes Mongolia’s first counter-trafficking chatbot.

“Through this campaign we hope that more and more young women will feel empowered to make informed decisions regarding their future and ultimately protect their dreams as the Dream Umbrella’s slogan goes,” said Giuseppe Crocetti, Chief of Mission of IOM China and Mongolia. 

The campaign launch was preceded by a training and scholarship program for 40 journalists on how to accurately report stories of human trafficking, at the end of which six project proposals were awarded and selected for publication on national and local media.

The campaign is funded by the Ministry for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation of the Government of the Netherlands within the framework of the project Strengthening Mongolia’s efforts to prevent and respond to human trafficking. “Together we can be successful in the fight against human trafficking. Together we can, and must, protect the dreams of young Mongolian women,” said H.E. Mr. Wim Geerts, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands to China and Mongolia.

For more information, please contact Veronica Scarozza, Counter-Trafficking Project Manager,

Language English Posted: Wednesday, March 10, 2021 - 08:04Image: Region-Country: MongoliaThemes: Counter-TraffickingIOMDefault: Multimedia: 

One of the campaign’s posters

Campaign launch event at the art exhibit: IOM installed a ‘Dream Umbrella’ corner at a famous art gallery in Ulan Bator hosting an exhibit on International Women’s Day. In the picture: a mother and a daughter posing with the Dream Umbrella photo frame. Photo: IOM Mongolia

Campaign launch event at the art exhibit: a participant experiencing the Dream Umbrella VR highlighting how it feels to arrive in an unsafe, new place without a plan. Photo: IOM Mongolia

Campaign launch event at the art exhibit: IOM officially launched the “Dream Umbrella – Umbrella challenge”. Photo: IOM Mongolia

Campaign institutional launch event at the Sub- Council Meeting. On the right: Giuseppe CROCETTI, Chief of Mission of IOM China and Mongolia connected from Beijing officially launching the campaign. Photo: IOM Mongolia

Members of the Mongolian Sub-Council Meeting on Trafficking in Persons during the campaign launch. Photo: IOM Mongolia

Campaign FB page

Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: Countering XenophobiaEmergency Relief and ProtectionReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

IOM Counts Excess of 131,000 Internally Displaced Persons in Northern Ethiopia Crisis

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 07:23

Addis Ababa – Over 131,000 people are displaced in 39 accessible locations in Ethiopia’s Tigray region and neighbouring Afar and Amhara according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) ’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) survey, the first official data of this type on the crisis in Northern Ethiopia that began in November 2020.

The data are not indicators of the total number of persons displaced due to the crisis, but rather represent only the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in sites accessible to DTM surveyors.

Almost 70 per cent (91,046) are in Tigray, 26 per cent (34,091) are in Afar and 5 per cent (6,453) are in Amhara.  Many displaced persons – including women and children – reportedly are in need of emergency shelter, food and access to clean and safe drinking water.

Since the beginning of the crisis, IOM has been monitoring the humanitarian and displacement situation through its Emergency Site Assessment (ESA), an area-based assessment, which captures the number of displaced persons, their locations and needs. This new assessment was conducted from 22 December to 14 January, and the findings from this data collection exercise were released this week.

The DTM gathers and analyzes data on population estimates, vulnerabilities, and the needs of displaced populations. In the three regions, IOM identified 30,383 displaced households.

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix will continue to expand its assessment coverage in the north so that the needs of more internally displaced persons can be assessed.

Since 2018, the  Displacement Tracking Matrix has been the official source for displacement numbers in Ethiopia. DTM works in collaboration with the National Disaster Risk Management Commission (NDRMC).

The ESA is conducted monthly to capture changes in the displacement dynamics and needs and is deployed in all accessible locations that reportedly host 20 IDP households or more. The information collected includes data such as population estimates, demographics, vulnerabilities, multisectoral needs and functionality status of infrastructure and services. This assessment captures detailed information through key informants, focus group discussions and direct observation.

The assessment was conducted in Western, Northwestern, Southeastern and Southern zones of Tigray region, as Central and Eastern zones were not accessible during the time of data collection.

IOM Ethiopia’s Emergency Site Assessment Round 2 Report can be found here.

DTM assessment activities were funded by the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Government of Germany.

For more information, contact Sarah Choong at IOM Ethiopia, Email: , or Kaye Viray, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 04:30Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Internal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

DTM staff are gathering data at a collective center hosting IDPs in Shire. Photo: IOM 2021

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternal DisplacementMigration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

IOM Somalia Relocates Nearly 7,000 Internally Displaced Families Facing Eviction

Tue, 03/09/2021 - 07:06

Baidoa – Nearly 7,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) who were facing eviction from their homes in Somalia were relocated on Sunday by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to Barwaaqo, a new site for IDPs, in the South West State.   

The IDPs were living on private land across 17 informal settlements in Baidoa city. They will join another 6,116 individuals who moved to Barwaaqo previously in 2019, in coordination with the South West State Government. 

There are currently an estimated 2.6 million IDPs across Somalia. Nearly 360,000 displaced people live in 500 locations in Baidoa, most of them on private land. Tenants have no rights over the land or security to stay there. Even though they have built homes and lived there for years, they are at constant risk of eviction.  

Habiba Mohamed, a 39-year-old mother of seven, knows all too well what it is like to be evicted. Since fleeing her native village, she had twice been evicted from spots where she hoped to offer her family safety and stability. She just arrived at the new location this week and is convinced it will finally bring stability to her life.

“I would like to stay here (in Baidoa) because we have access to land, education and better services for all of us including my children,” Habiba said.

“I remember one day we built a concrete toilet in the camp we were living in. That same afternoon the landowner told us to vacate the place the next morning”, explained another IDP, Halima Ibrahima.   

Her new home, Barwaaqo, means “prosperity’’ in Somali. The new residents are among the 13,000 people benefiting from the project launched by IOM with local partners.   

The site lies just outside Baidoa, on land donated by the local government to provide displaced communities with long-term accommodation security. The alternative—occupying a spot wherever it can be found—means running the risk of being accused of squatting on private land and facing renewed displacement.  

IOM joined the Danwadaag Durable Solutions Consortium overseeing the construction of Barwaaqo’s roads, water supply systems, streetlights and other infrastructure. Other partners brought in a school, two police stations, a primary health care clinic, a nutrition centre and a community centre.    

Relocated families receive cash assistance and a plot of land on which to build new shelters. Each has access to a garden plot to plant and harvest food. Residents will receive title deeds two years after resettlement, which reduces the threat of relocated families moving again and risking further evictions.  

“The problems that forced them to flee their places of origin are still there, and the majority of the IDPs don’t have any plans to return,” explained Mohamed Abdelazim, IOM Somalia's Head of Operations and Emergencies. “Persistent drought, flooding and conflict continue to drive displacement within Somalia and many people crowd into cities and towns in search of basic services.”  

The Barwaaqo relocation is part of a wider effort from IOM and the government to provide long-term solutions to displaced populations in the country. It also sets an example of how to successfully implement the Humanitarian-Peace-Development-Nexus (HPDN), which IOM intends to replicate elsewhere, both in Somalia and globally.    

The second phase of the Baidoa relocation project was funded by The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) and the European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO). Other donors that have contributed to the project are USAID and the Government of Japan.  

For more information, please contact Claudia Barrios Rosel, at IOM Somalia, Tel: +254 705 832 020. Email: ,  or the IOM Somalia Programme Support Unit:   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 9, 2021 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Internal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

Halima Hassan, a 39 years-old mother of nine children and her husband were one of the families relocated to Barwaaqo in 2019. “We are tremendously lucky to now have a place we can call home and where I can comfortably raise my children,” she said to IOM one year and a half after arriving to the new site. December 2020. Photo: IOM Somalia/Foresight

Aerial view of Barwaaqo 2 one year and a half after the first relocation. December 2020. Photo: IOM Somalia/Foresight 

IOM relocates families at risk of eviction in Baidoa, Somalia. March 2021. Photo: IOM Somalia

IOM relocates families at risk of eviction in Baidoa, Somalia. March 2021. Photo: IOM Somalia

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternal DisplacementInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN