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Updated: 2 hours 26 min ago

IOM, UNHCR Adapting to Modern Complexities of Resettlement, Mixed Migration Flows

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 18:20

Geneva – IOM and UNHCR are working closely to address the needs of people on the move even as they require different levels of protection, António Vitorino, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (UN Migration), told the inaugural Global Refugee Forum today in Geneva. 

As a result, he said, there is a need to find alternative, less traditional mechanisms to offer solutions to refugees and migrants such as humanitarian visa issuance, family reunification, and labour mobility programming. 

The GRF provides a platform for heads of state, UN leaders, refugees, civil society and business representatives and others to meet and discuss ways to transform the global response to refugee situations, and the doubling of the number of refugees over the past decade to at least 25.9 million. 

Director General Vitorino reiterated the long, well-established relationship between IOM and UNHCR, and highlighted that the complimentary work on refugee resettlement and repatriation is where coordination is closest. 

Resettlement is not the only solution for refugees, he noted. Across the world, displacement has become protracted, and refugees often cannot return without jeopardizing their safety and protection. While both agencies have engaged in large scale repatriation exercises over the years, conditions today in many places are not conducive for this to occur. 

“We need to recognize that more people will be stuck in protracted situations,” the Director General said. 

Complex migratory flows, which often involve mixed populations, have led to the enhancement of IOM and UNHCR’s coordination efforts. There is no single model, but in all the purpose is the same: avoid duplication and find synergies for more effective operational and protection responses to have a greater impact on the communities we aim to serve. 

“Better coordination between the two agencies represents added value to our cooperation with governments and civil society,” he concluded. 

The three-day Forum, which ends Wednesday on International Migrants Day, comes one year after the historic adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration and the affirmation by the United Nations General Assembly of the Global Compact on Refugees. 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 18:18Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

In Sigmo, Ethiopia, Livelihood Support Gives a Chance to Returnees

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 10:28

Addis Ababa—After months in Yemen, Fuad Faris returned to Ethiopia in 2018. He had spent his savings in a bid to reach Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in search of a well-paying job. His dreams were, however, shattered after being intercepted in Yemen for irregularly crossing into the country. 

“I left in search of money and a better life, but what I found on the way was quite the opposite,” Fuad, now in his early twenties, explained. 

While he was relieved to return to Ethiopia after his ordeal in a foreign country, he had no idea how he would survive after settling in his hometown of Sigmo, in Oromia Regional State.  

Now, two years later and with the help of IOM’s voluntary humanitarian return programme, Fuad is the proud owner of a small kiosk. He is among 122 returnees who have benefited from a reintegration assistance supported by the Danish Government that IOM is implementing in Sigmo.  

In addition to his kiosk, Fuad recently purchased cattle fodder he will use on farmland he acquired. He hopes to earn even more money from this activity to provide for his family. 

Fuad now says he earns a higher income than what he used to make before he decided to leave the country, which was a major push factor in his original decision to try to irregularly travel to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.  

Ahmed Jemal, another IOM beneficiary who runs a shop a few blocks from Faud’s, states that he now has savings and is planning to transform his shop into one of the town’s biggest.  

“I now tell many young people in my neighborhood that they should not despair and hope that life is any better on the other side. Life can be good here too if you work hard,” Ahmed said.         

Depending on the availability of funding, IOM provides reintegration support to returnees based on their individual needs and interests. In Sigmo, the reintegration assistance has supported the establishment of vending kiosks, retail shops, and cattle fattening businesses.  

With most of the shop owners having grown their stock since their business was initially set up last year, and with cattle fattening businesses now serving dairy farms, the success rate of all the reintegrated beneficiaries in Sigmo is high.  

In 2019, IOM Ethiopia was able to provide reintegration assistance to 2,017 individuals from various countries. IOM’s reintegration efforts and livelihood support programmes are part of the organization’s effort to make communities more resilient to irregular migration by providing alternative livelihoods.   

“We conduct assessments and consult with the returnees on how they are doing. So far, we have not witnessed any returnee who has had to close shop or re-migrated through irregular means. However, their success mostly depends on their dedication and hard work,” Abdulhakim Musa, a monitoring expert from the Ministry of Social Affairs in Sigmo, says of the returnees’ success. 

According to this official, reintegration support and business skills trainings are very useful in allowing returnees to start successful enterprises.  

For further information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251.11. 6611117 (Ext. 455), Mobile: +251.91.163-9082, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 15:57Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff support Ahmed Jemal, an Ethiopian returnee from Yemen and a beneficiary who runs a shop at Sigmo- Ethiopia. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

‘WAKA by IOM X’: Helping Youths in Nigeria and Guinea Make Informed Migration-Related Decisions

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 09:12

Dakar – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) together with community members from Oredo and Ikpoba Okha, in Edo State Nigeria, and Matoto, in Conakry, Guinea and with support from local authorities, launched this week WAKA by IOM X campaigns (Waka means move in Pidgin English).  

The campaigns aim at preventing exploitation associated with irregular migration by empowering young people in Matoto, Guinea and in Oredo and Ikpoba Okha, Nigeria to make informed migration-related decisions.  

Community-led videos encouraging youth to make informed decisions about their future, whether it be at home or abroad, have been produced as part of the campaigns.  

The videos were created as a result of participatory workshops that brought together more than 55 community members from Oredo, Ikpoba Okha and Matoto between August and December of this year.  

In Guinea, in a series of seven videos that challenge the traditional definition of success, being rich – entrepreneurs recount their experience and challenges they faced in setting up their successful businesses.  

In Nigeria, Check Am Well, a ten-minute docu-drama, tells the stories of two young people, Esosa and Osahon. Through their different experiences, including a migration journey, encountering returned migrants, and talking with other community members, they both come to the conclusion that safe migration is the best option, and for those that don’t want to follow that route, that there are opportunities at home.  

“The aim of the community members who designed the WAKA multimedia content is to ensure that the videos are relevant and impactful for young people from these communities, and that this information will help to protect them from exploitation that can result from misinformation,” said Mia Barrett, Head of the Awareness Raising unit at IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa.  

An IOM report shows that more than one in three migrants assisted with voluntary return by IOM along the main migration routes is either Guinean or Nigerian. Oredo, Ikpoba Okha and Matoto are the main communities of origin of returned migrants in Nigeria and Guinea respectively.  

In West Africa, some families rely heavily on remittances sent from children and spouses, and therefore the pressure to migrate on behalf of the entire family can be significant. Irregular migration from Nigeria and Guinea is mainly directed towards Europe through North Africa, with almost exclusive use of the Central Mediterranean route. Violence, exploitation and other abuses are faced by irregular migrants along the route.  

A lack of access to accurate and trustworthy information (both online and in-person) on how to go abroad regularly and what are the available opportunities at home often lead young people to take risks by migrating irregularly.  

A study conducted by IOM in the targeted communities in Nigeria and Guinea in September 2019 revealed that 54 per cent (out of 699 respondents) aged between 13 and 40 have not heard or seen information on the dangers of irregular migration in the last year.  

Additionally, 61 per cent indicated that friends were their primary source for information about migration and 60 per cent said they generally got information about local opportunities through word-of-mouth. Over half of those surveyed said it was difficult to find accurate information about migration and local opportunities from trusted sources.  

The WAKA campaigns in Guinea and Nigeria were informed through participatory workshops with community members, pre-survey research and focus group discussions where drafts of the video content were tested with the target audiences. Research assessing the videos and the campaign, including post surveys, are currently being conducted, with results available in early 2020. 

WAKA by IOM X was produced together with community members and government representatives in Matoto, Guinea and Oredo and Ikpoba Okha in Nigeria, and supported by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany.  

Visit to view the campaign. 

For more information, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa. Tel: +221786206213; Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Attendees at the WAKA Well Media Launch in Nigeria. Photo: IOM  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Supports Cross-border Communities Between Mauritania and Mali

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 09:10

Bousteila, Mauritania – “No development can be attained without security. It is with safe borders that we can guarantee the security of cross-border communities,” says Saghair Haimdon, Mayor of Bousteila, a village located at the border between Mauritania and Mali. 

To facilitate and secure cross-border movements of communities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) inaugurated in Bousteila the construction of the 22nd land border posts built by IOM since 2010 (of the 47 official border crossing points), thanks to the support of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF). 

Mauritania, as most countries in the Sahel region, faces multiple challenges regarding human trafficking, drug, terrorism threat, and arm smuggling as well as unaccompanied minor migrants. Integrated border management constitutes the most appropriated answer to tackle these problematics in a holistic approach.  

Being at the crossroads between Mauritania and Mali, Bousteila could be used as a strategic point of entry in the region. Once a week, Bousteila serves as a meeting point for farmers, cattle breeders and other tradespeople from each side of the border for the weekly market. The land border post facilitates safe movements and allows for a more accurate data collection regarding movement on the border.   

While contributing to the economic development of communities living in border areas, the frequent cross-border movements can pose a danger to local communities and migrants, specifically when these movements are done in a disorderly manner. 

Prior to the inauguration, IOM also conducted a campaign to sensitize local populations, with an emphasis on children, on the meaning of borders, increased security and the presence of migrants in their communities. Following those sessions of sensitization Bousteila’s high school students presented a short play illustrating comradery and support they have for their “next door neighbors”, as they referred to migrants coming from Mali.   

“I think land border posts are made so no one gets lost or hurt and everyone travels safely,” said 13-year-old Mohamed Lemine SaadBouh, a student at Bousteila’s local high school and actor in the play.  

Mauritania has more than 5,000 kilometers of land borders, the vast majority of which are located far from major roads and urban areas. In a bit to strengthen collaboration between border communities and security forces, “village committees” were established by IOM. 

Committees, established in villages around border posts, have improved security in these areas by strengthening relationships between villages and border officials. The youths are sensitized on the importance of border posts for the safe movement of communities through community meeting and discussions. Finally, the committees also act as mediator between cross-border communities, thus contributing to the resolution of conflicts over natural resources between communities. 

In December, three new posts built by IOM were delivered to the gendarmerie. Two others are currently under construction in Diama and N’Bekeit Lawach and will be delivered in 2020. 

These border posts were financed by the EUTF through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. 

These achievements are the fruit of the implementation of the Integrated Border Management Strategy, adopted by the Islamic Republic of Mauritania in 2015 and developed by IOM. This strategy covers all fields relevant to strengthening border management, including organizational and operational, legal, human resources, structural and equipment as well as financial frameworks.  

For more information, please contact Laurent de Castelli at IOM Mauritania: Tel: +222 45 24 40, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 15:58Image: Region-Country: MauritaniaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Young people in Bousteila, Mauritania. Photo IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Global Migration Film Festival Successfully Held in South America

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 09:09

Buenos Aires – Live streaming and other new technologies for viewing the latest cinema in actual movie theaters may be thinning audiences in much of the world, but South Americans continue to display a passion for enjoying a live screening, especially when it’s cinema dealing with migration. 

The fourth edition of the International Organization for Migration’s Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF), like all those preceding this month’s version, has been a remarkable success across the continent. 

From a Cinemateca in Barranquilla, Colombia, on the Caribbean Sea, to Córdoba in the heart of Argentina. From the Museum of Contemporary Art of Lima, Peru, to a temporary shelter for Venezuelans in Manaus, Brazil, IOM’s annual film festival shone this year in 18 different cities exhibiting over 60 separate screenings. 

GMFF-South America kicked off in Colombia, at a temporary shelter for migrants called Normandía in the capital city, Bogotá.  

There the Argentine documentary Con nombre de flor (Named Like a Flower), directed by Carina Sama, told the story of a transgender woman born in Chile, and later moved to Argentina and Brazil. A second screening of the same film included participation by a leading sexual and gender diversity activist as guest speaker. GMFF in Colombia all popped up in the towns of Riohacha, Valledupar, Cali and Barranquilla. 

Named Like a Flower also screened in Argentina, where the director spoke with the public in the inauguration in Buenos Aires. Screenings took also place in Salta, Córdoba and Santa Fe. Other films screening in Argentina during the GMFF included This is Home, Stranger in Paradise and the Brazilian documentary The Statues of Fortaleza.  

Perú saw screenings of In Times of Rain and The Power of Passport. Venues included the Lima’s Plaza of Memory, Tolerance and Social Inclusion and in the Museum of Contemporary Art. 

Nearly 30 screenings were held in Brazil, where events were staged in seven different cities: Brasília, Boa Vista, Pacaraima, São Paulo, Manaus, Curitiba and Belo Horizonte. In the Amazon, screenings took place in temporary shelters for refugees and migrants from Venezuela. 

Tomorrow (18 December) screenings in Quito, Ecuador, and Montevideo, Uruguay will close out the festival, the same day as the United Nations’ International Day of the Migrant. 

Trailers for the films mentioned: 

For further information, please contact Sebastián Giuliani at the IOM Regional Office in Buenos Aires, Tel. +54 11 4813 5414, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 15:55Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

The Argentine documentary Con nombre de flor (Named Like a Flower) is one of the films being screened during the GMFF in Colombia. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Baseball Without Borders: IOM Celebrates International Migrants Day through Sport

Tue, 12/17/2019 - 09:04

Buenos Aires – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) on Saturday (14/12) organized “Baseball without Borders” to celebrate integration at Argentina’s National Baseball Stadium in Ezeiza, Province of Buenos Aires, part of this week’s world observance of International Migrants Day on 18 December. 

Teams from Argentina’s communities of Cuban, Dominican, Japanese, American, Venezuelan expatriates – as well as Argentine teams, all members of the Baseball Metropolitan League Baseball Argentine Federation came together to compete. Joining baseball fans were Roberto Valent, the United Nations Resident Coordinator for Argentina, and Gabriela Fernández, IOM Argentina Head of Office. 

A global favorite – the Home Run Derby – drew representatives from all countries participating. There were food stands serving typical dishes from each region and traditional arts – such as Dominican dances, Japanese Taiko drums, Venezuelan percussion and Cuban salsa music. 

Alejandro Junco, a player from the Almendares Cuban team, said, “Baseball takes me back to Havana. When I play, I travel to my university, to the streets where I grew up.” 

Likewise, Carlos Castro was thankful for the diversity shown by the event and said about the Astroboys, the Venezuelan team where captains.  

“I do not call it ‘a team’, but rather ‘a family’,” Castro affirmed. 

Baseball came to Argentina in the 1950s, hand in hand with the arrival of Japanese migrants. While it is nowhere near as popular in Southern Cone countries as football, baseball’s draw has been growing thanks to recent migrant flows from elsewhere in Latin American, particularly those coming from Venezuela, where it is the leading sport.  

The Baseball Metropolitan League includes 21 teams; a majority from Argentina’s many migrant communities. At the opening ceremony, Roberto Valent emphasized “the importance of migration as a development engine for societies, and of sports as a privileged vehicle for the integration of migrants into host societies.”  

Gabriela Fernández, for her part, thanked all participating communities for their presence adding that the event “celebrates social cohesion, which is IOM´s main theme for International Migrants Day this year.” 

“Recreation is fundamental for migrants, since they are associated with joy, with meeting people from their same nationalities and customs, in a context of pluralism,” Fernández explained. “That is why we decided to go ahead with this event.”  

The event was organized thanks to funding by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) from the United States Department of State. 

For more information please contact Juan Pablo Schneider at IOM Argentina, Tel: +54 11 48151035, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 17, 2019 - 15:53Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM organized ‘Baseball without Borders' to celebrate International Migrants Day. Photo: IOM 

IOM organized ‘Baseball without Borders' to celebrate International Migrants Day. Photo: IOM 

IOM organized ‘Baseball without Borders' to celebrate International Migrants Day. Photo: IOM 

IOM organized ‘Baseball without Borders' to celebrate International Migrants Day. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Signs New Cooperation Agreement with Somalia

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 12:49

Mogadishu - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) today (14/12) signed a new cooperation agreement with the Federal Government of Somalia, which underlines both parties’ mutual interest to strengthen cooperation and to work together on migration issues to promote economic and social development.

The agreement was signed in Mogadishu by IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa, Mohamed Abdiker, and Somalia’s Minister of Planning, Investment and Economic Development, Gamal Mohamed Hassan. It renews an earlier agreement signed between the two parties in 1983 which focused on implementing programmes designed to reverse the impact of brain drain in developing countries like Somalia.

Thirty-six years later, IOM’s programme footprint has grown in Somalia. With over 450 staff across six regions of the country, IOM has been providing life-saving humanitarian services to crisis-affected populations, promoting durable solutions to displacement for IDPs and returnees, and supporting community stabilization and early recovery activities, while steadily supporting programmes related to long-term recovery and migration governance and development.

The recently launched Mission Strategy 2019 – 2021 is a testament to IOM’s commitment to working closely and strengthening its partnership with the Government of Somalia in line with the country’s National Development Plan.

Minister Hassan highlighted the need for a closer cooperation between IOM and the Government and thanked the organization for its commitment to supporting Somalia and its people. “The renewal of the cooperation agreement signifies the milestone thus far and reaffirms IOM’s commitment to work jointly on migration related issues,” Minister Hassan stated.

For his part, Abdiker highlighted the significant gains the Government and the people of Somalia have achieved over the past decade. He stressed the readiness of IOM to support the Government in achieving its development goals, including its commitments to SDGs and the Global Compact for Migration.  

For more information please contact the IOM Somalia Programme Support Unit, Tel: +254 705 832 020, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, December 13, 2019 - 12:46Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

183 Refugees Resettled from Chad to France with IOM Support

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 09:06

N'Djamena – Yesterday (12/12), 183 refugees originating from Sudan and the Central African Republic arrived safely in France after departing from Chad on a flight chartered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through France’s resettlement programme.  

The charter marks the last operation in a two-year programme which has resettled over 1,700 refugees from Chad to France. Launched in October 2017, the effort is funded by France and the European Union (EU). 

The refugees had been living in camps in Chad’s Eastern and Southern regions as well as in N’Djamena, the capital. The country hosts nearly 438,000 refugees, who mainly originate from the Central African Republic, Nigeria and Sudan and live in camps in the Eastern and Southern parts of the country.   

“We fled our country because of the war and came to Chad in search of calmness. Once in France we will have a more peaceful life,” said Abakar, one of the refugees resettled on Thursday.   

In addition to the flight, IOM in Chad provided the refugees with pre-departure orientation, medical examinations and subsequent care, and logistical support to attend selection interviews conducted by the French authorities (OFPRA) in Chad.  

Upon arrival, the newly resettled refugees were welcomed by French non-government organizations (NGOs) who immediately provided post-arrival assistance. The NGOs will also support their settlement in France throughout the first year with housing, French language courses, and tools for successful integration.   

“The long-term goal is to provide resettled refugees with a path to integration and cohesion within their new communities as part of the durable solution that resettlement represents,” said Emma Proust, a programme manager at IOM in France. 

Resettlement is a fundamental tool of international solidarity and responsibility sharing in finding solutions for refugees who are unable to return to their country of origin for fear of continued persecution while local integration in their country of asylum is also not an option. Founded in 1951 to assist in the resettlement of Europeans displaced in the aftermath of World War II, IOM has provided essential services in support of refugee resettlement operations for over six decades. In doing so, IOM works closely with governments, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), non-government organizations and other partners.

Resettlement is a fundamental tool of international solidarity and responsibility sharing in finding solutions for refugees who are unable to return to their country of origin for fear of continued persecution while local integration in their country of asylum is also not an option. Founded in 1951 to assist in the resettlement of Europeans displaced in the aftermath of World War II, IOM has provided essential services in support of refugee resettlement operations for over six decades. In doing so, IOM works closely with governments, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), non-government organizations and other partners.

For more information, please contact Emma Proust at IOM France, Tel: +33 1 40 44 06 91, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 13, 2019 - 16:01Image: Region-Country: ChadFranceThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

A quick smile, as one of the 183 refugees resettled prepares for his new life in France. Photo: IOM 

IOM Chad and Paris staff prepare for charter. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Bringing the EU and Georgia Closer

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 09:06

Tblisi – With its third anniversary approaching, an EU-Georgia visa liberalization agreement has let half a million Georgians access visa-free travel to the Schengen Zone, participants at an International Organization for Migration (IOM) conference learned this week. 

The EU-Georgia scheme has been hailed as a resounding success, but it has been accompanied by a sharp increase in the number of asylum claims lodged by citizens of Georgia, from 12,600 in 2017 to over 20,000 a year later. Projections for 2019 are that the figure will exceed 21,000. The approach has also led, in some European countries, to concerns that there has been an increase in the activities of organized crime groups.  

Rather than reverting to the visa-free travel suspension mechanism and reintroducing visa requirements for Georgians, the EU and partners now are looking at ways to support Georgia in stemming the flow of travelers by relying on stricter application of the Schengen Border Code at points of embarkation. 

IOM and the French Embassy this week organized the international conference in Tbilisi, where policy makers and practitioners from the EU and the Government of Georgia discussed ways to solidify Georgia’s compliance with the benchmarks of the Visa Liberalization Action Plan. 

“The conference reflected the comprehensive and complex nature of migration, and we were glad to be involved as we are committed to cooperation with the Georgian government, the EU and international partners in the field of migration management,” said IOM Chief of Mission Sanja Celebic Lukovac. 

The gathering also dealt with the operational challenges surrounding the increasing number of low-budget flights from Kutaisi Airport (Georgia’s second busiest airport). 

EU Ambassador Carl Hartzell affirmed “visa-free travel available to citizens of Georgia has demonstrated its worth by bringing the EU and Georgia closer together.” The general feeling, he noted, is that Georgia has demonstrated laudable commitment to cooperating with the authorities of EU Member States in decreasing the pressure of irregular migration. Yet more efforts are needed, participants at the event agreed. 

Co-organizer Diego Colas, France’s ambassador to Georgia, said he felt that “temporary labour migration schemes may very well be a solution to the problem of increased irregular migration from Georgia to the EU, provided such circular migration schemes are well-organized.” 

The conference was implemented under the IOM’s project Sustaining Border Management and Migration Governance – SBMMG, funded by the EU. 

Watch the interview with IOM's Sanja Celebic Lukovac and other participants: 

For more information please contact Ana Kakushadze at IOM Georgia, Tel: +995 32 225 22 16, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 13, 2019 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: GeorgiaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

From left: Director of the International Relations Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Georgia, Ekaterine Machavariani; Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Mission to Georgia, Sanja Celebic Lukovac; Ambassador of France, HE. Diego Colas; and Ambassador of the European Union to Georgia, HE. Carl Hartzell. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Short Film Competition and Workshops at Transit Centers Boost Filmmaking in Niger

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 09:06

Niamey – Making an award-winning film in Niger, one of the world’s poorest and most remote countries, is difficult. Making one in less than 48 hours, is really challenging. 

Yet those were the parameters this past Sunday (8/12) when the International Organization for Migration (IOM) launched here its second edition of the short film competition “48H Plus Tard,” organized as part of IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival, supported by the European Union, under the  Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism.   

The idea is to make a short film in under 48 hours, between 2 and 5 minutes, following certain organizer guidelines. The contest was free and open to everyone. 

“Uniquely placed to tell stories on migration, the goal of these trainings was to strengthen the migrants’ voices and to let them work on their own stories with the support of film professionals,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. Fifteen teams took the challenge, including teams made of film students and professional filmmakers. The shorts could be filmed and edited with the equipment of their choice. 

Some 48 hours later, 12 teams made it to the finish line with their short films, which were projected before an audience of over 200 people at the Centre Culturel-Franco Nigérien Jean Rouch (CCFN) in Niamey. 

Nigerien filmmaker Nicolas Houndadika and his team CCNC came in second during last year’s edition, but they came back in full force this year and took home the first prize. “We are incredibly honored and humbled to have won tonight. We gave it everything we had, and we are grateful it hasn’t gone unnoticed,” Nicolas said. “It’s not easy being a filmmaker in Niger, but perseverance pays off.” 

Nicolas’ team chose “despair” as the sub-theme of their film “Le désespoir de Moubarake.” The story is about a young boy telling his brother’s story as he is drawing. His family had risked everything so one older brother could travel, but the younger one fears he won’t make it alive. He wishes that his older brother doesn’t find a spot on a boat from Libya to Europe so he could come back home to his family. 

Within the context of the festival, local talent hub Magic Art Multimedia organized three consecutive one-week workshops for the migrants staying at IOM’s three transit centres in Niamey. The first workshop was in scriptwriting, followed by acting, and filming and editing.  



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

Language English Posted: Friday, December 13, 2019 - 15:59Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia: 

Fifteen teams signed up to compete in the short film competition “48H Plus Tard”, including film students and professional filmmakers. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

Fifteen teams signed up to compete in the short film competition “48H Plus Tard”, including film students and professional filmmakers. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

Fifteen teams signed up to compete in the short film competition “48H Plus Tard”, including film students and professional filmmakers. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 104,644 in 2019; Deaths Reach 1,246 

Fri, 12/13/2019 - 09:06

Geneva – IOM reports that 104,644 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 11 December, roughly a 6 per cent decrease from the 110,851 arriving during the same period last year.  

Arrivals this year to Greece and Spain are at 58,571 and 25,759, respectively (84,330 combined), accounting for about 80 per cent of the regional total, with the balance arriving in much smaller numbers to Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Arrivals to Greece are running approximately 93 per cent ahead of 2018’s totals from this time. Arrivals to Spain are more than 55 per cent lower.  

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 11 December stand at 1,246 individuals – or about 56 per cent of the 2,219 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).  

Mediterranean Developments 

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) noted several tragedies in the past week along the Mediterranean route. On the Western Mediterranean migration route, the remains of an unidentified person believed to be from Sub-Saharan Africa were recovered in Bouyafar in Morocco on Friday, 6 December. Investigations into the specific cause of death reportedly have been launched. On 10 December, a shipwreck off the coast of Maghnia, Tlemcen, Algeria claimed the lives of seven people – the remains of one person, between 22 and 30 years, were recovered, while another six remain missing at sea. All on board were said to be from Algeria. 

IOM Italy 

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo cited official Ministry of Interior figures of 11,097 migrants who have arrived in Italy by sea this year through 11 December, compared to 23,122 at this same time in 2018. IOM Libya has reported that through 30 November 8,613 migrants have been intercepted at sea and returned to Libya in 2019. 

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported on Thursday (12/12) the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) took part in at least 29 search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Kalymnos, Samothrace and the port of Alexandroupoli. The HCG rescued a total of 1,106 migrants and transferred them to those respective spots. 

Those arrivals, plus others to additional islands, bring to 58,571 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year. With three weeks remaining in 2019, total arrivals could well surpass the total – 62,243 men, women and children – on this route from 2017 and 2018 combined (see chart below).  

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project. Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 34,285 people, including 3,098 in 2019 (see chart below).  

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

In Europe this week the remains of four men and two women were found on the banks of the Evros River after they crossed from Turkey into Greece. Cause of death is likely hypothermia. The two women are believed to have been Sub-Saharan Africans. Their nationalities remain unknown.   

In Latin America, another six deaths have been recorded since last week's update, including three drownings of migrants crossing the Río Bravo separating Texas from Mexico. On 25 November, the remains of a young Honduran man were recovered on the bank on the Mexican side of the Río Bravo. One day before, an unidentified person was found drowned in the same river, near Gustavo Díaz Ordaz, Tamaulipas, Mexico. Last Saturday, 7 December, a 22-year-old Mexican man also was found drowned in the Río Bravo, near Reynosa Díaz, Tamaulipas.  

On Thursday 5 December, an unidentified man between age 40 and 45 years old and believed to be from Central America, died as a result of violence near Hermosillo, Sonora, Mexico. The following day, 6 December, a 35-year-old man, also believed to be from the region, lost his life from falling from the “La Bestia” – the migrants’ nickname for the network of freight trains – as he travelled north through Veracruz, Mexico. On 8 December a 23-year-old Guatemalan was reportedly shot near Juan Rodríguez Clara, also in Veracruz. She was one of a group of migrants in the back of a truck, which was attacked by gunfire. 

Migrant deaths in the Americas continue during what may be the deadliest year Missing Migrants Project has recorded in the past six years. In total, at least 657 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with the 551 that were recorded through this point in 2018.  

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here. The report Fatal Journey Volume 4, published 28 June, includes an overview of five years of Missing Migrants Project data (2014-2018) and an update on what is known about deaths during migration in 2019.  

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

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, December 13, 2019 - 15:57Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UNHCR and IOM: Over 5,000 Somali Refugees Voluntarily Returned Home from Yemen Since 2017

Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:58

Sana’a – The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) have helped 5,087 Somali refugees return home from Yemen since 2017.

In this latest departure, a boat carrying 145 Somali refugees left the Port of Aden today, and will arrive at the Port of Berbera Friday December 13. The voluntary returns are part of UNHCR’s Assisted Spontaneous Return (ASR) programme to which IOM is a partner. 

UNHCR manages a Return Help Desk (RHD) as part of ASR in Aden, Al Mukalla city in Hadramaut governorate and Kharaz in Lahj governorate. Somali refugees can visit the RHD to receive counselling on ASR and get registered. UNHCR, in collaboration with IOM, supports Somali refugees who wish to return home with documentation, transportation and cash assistance to facilitate the journey.

IOM provides operational support to refugee return movements through chartering a boat, providing medical support upon arrival and transportation assistance to the refugees’ final destinations.

“The ongoing conflict in Yemen has made it difficult for many refugees to cover basic needs for their families and to sustain themselves given the limited work opportunities and economic hardships,” said Martin Manteaw, UNHCR Deputy Representative in Yemen.

“Some refugees are now opting to return home and it is important for UNHCR to continue to help those voluntarily wishing to go home to do so in dignity and safety,” said Manteaw.

Yemen hosts the world’s second largest Somali refugee population, around 250,000 refugees. It is a long-standing refugee host nation and the only country in the Arabian Peninsula which is signatory to the Refugee Convention and its protocol.

But, after more than four years of conflict in Yemen - the situation for civilians, refugees, asylum seekers and migrants has deteriorated. More than 24 million people need assistance in the world’s largest humanitarian crises.  

“For refugees who have made the choice to return from Yemen, it is important that they can travel home safely and that reintegration into their communities of origin is facilitated,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission.

Thirty-nine organized departures have now taken place from Yemen to Somalia since the ASR programme commenced two years ago. The programme is facilitated by UNHCR in partnership with IOM, and in cooperation with humanitarian partners and authorities in Yemen and Somalia.

Amongst those who departed today was 20-year-old Naima who is hoping to go back to school in Somalia. She had to stop her education 10 years ago when her father got sick. Naima was left helping her mother around the house and working in the family business.

“I hope to be able to go back to school, complete my education, study medicine, and one day become a doctor,” said Naima.  

For more information on this topic, please contact:

In UNHCR Sana’a, Heba Kanso,, +967 71 222 5123
In IOM Sana’a, Olivia Headon,, +967 73 055 2233  

Language English Posted: Thursday, December 12, 2019 - 20:54Image: Region-Country: SomaliaYemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM and UNHCR have helped over 5,000 Somali refugees return home from Yemen via Aden port since 2017. Credit: Olivia Headon/ IOM 2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

The United Nations Network on Migration Commemorates First Anniversary of the Adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Wed, 12/11/2019 - 10:38

GENEVA - The United Nations Network on Migration commemorates this first anniversary of the adoption in Marrakech, Morocco, of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (Global Compact) and celebrates the world’s 272 million migrants and their important role and the contributions to countries of origin and destination.

In the run-up to International Migrants Day on 18 December, the United Nations Network on Migration is gathering today in Geneva to review its progress in the year since Marrakech and seek ways to improve migration for the benefit of all. The Network reaffirms its commitment to support partners in upholding the guiding principles of the Global Compact, in promoting international cooperation for the development and implementation of principled and effective national migration policies from a 360-degree approach, and to highlight that national sovereignty and the protection of human rights are mutually reinforcing.

The Global Compact is a significant step by Member States towards making migration work for all.  Based on international law and aligned with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the Global Compact highlights the need for international cooperation to address migration’s challenges and reap its benefits, while respecting, protecting and fulfilling the human rights of all migrants, regardless of their migration status, and promoting the security and prosperity of all our communities.   

The Global Compact unambiguously recognizes migrants as enriching our societies, ultimately contributing to sustainable development for all. Women comprise almost half of all international migrants, and there are 164 million migrant workers around the world.  It also calls for the dispelling of misleading narratives that generate negative perceptions of migrants and the elimination of all forms of discrimination, including racism, xenophobia and intolerance, against migrants and their families.

In 2020, the Network will continue to work with Member States and all relevant stakeholders in implementing the Global Compact, including through upholding their principled commitments; with migrants to better ensure their safety and dignity; and with communities around the world to ensure the benefits of migration are enjoyed by all. 
For more information, please contact:
Leonard Doyle
Senior Spokesperson, International Organization for Migration
Tel: +41-792857123,

Rupert Colville
Spokesperson / Head of Media
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Tel: +41 22 917 9767

Adam Cathro
Head, Media and Advocacy (ai)
United Nations Development Programme
Tel: +1-212-906-5326
Christopher Tidey
+1 917 340 3017

Sonya Yee 
Speechwriter and Spokesperson, UNODC
Phone: (+43 1) 26060-4990
Mobile: (+43-699) 1459-4990


Language English Posted: Wednesday, December 11, 2019 - 17:33Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Global Compact on MigrationUNDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Côte d’Ivoire: World-Renowned Photojournalist Reza Trains Returned Migrants, Journalists in Photography

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 03:33

Abidjan – “Photography is a universal language which can help express feelings and convey emotions without using words,” said Reza Deghati, the internationally acclaimed news photographer, who began his celebrated career 40 years ago, after he left his native Iran. 

This month, he is sharing his expertise, and his enthusiasm, with migrants returning to their African homeland after hard journeys abroad. “Photography allows returnees to gain self-confidence and rediscover themselves,” he explained. “Learning how to take a good picture of their daily lives helps them value their life and show us their side of their own story.” 

During the dates 6-8 December, Reza Deghati worked in collaboration with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) which organized a three-day photography training event in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. Six young photographers participated in the training here in the Ivorian capital. 

After learning the technical aspects of photography, the participants trained their newly acquired skills on by visiting reintegration and recreational activities organized by IOM for returned migrants and community members. For instance, the participants attended a street art painting performed by returned migrants on the walls of a school rehabilitated by other returnees.  

The aim of this pilot project was to offer returned migrants an opportunity to become visual storytellers of their daily life back home and help local journalists change the narrative on migration in the country.  

“I couldn't finish the first level of high school last year because I left for Algeria,” said 17-year-old Laciné who now is back at school as part of the reintegration assistance he received from IOM after returning to Côte d’Ivoire.  

“For me, this training is a new start as it can help me show others what I have experienced and what I am experiencing without using words,” Laciné explained. 

The training will be followed by a three-month coaching by IOM photographer Mohamed Diabaté, and the photographs taken by the participants will be exhibited in Spring 2020. 

“Learning photography means learning to look at the world in a different way,” Diabaté said. The IOM Côte d’Ivoire photographer and filmmaker added: “It also gives a new dimension to the returnees’ daily lives and it shows a reality that someone else cannot grasp. It enables us to see through their eyes.”  

This training is the first of a series that will be organized by IOM across West Africa in 2020. It was organized in the frame of an EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Sahel and Lake Chad regions. 

One participant, reporter Benjamin B., explained what he gained from the sessions with Reza Deghati this way: “As a journalist, I have a pen, and I can write. Words can explain reality. But the pictures will show it. If I have both skills, I can better write about migration.” 

For more information, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa: Tel: +221 78 620 62 13; Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 10:20Image: Region-Country: Côte d'IvoireThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

World-renowned photo reporter Reza trains returned migrants and journalists in photography. IOM/Mohamed Diabaté.

World-renowned photo reporter Reza trains returned migrants and journalists in photography. IOM/Mohamed Diabaté.

World-renowned photo reporter Reza trains returned migrants and journalists in photography. IOM/Mohamed Diabaté.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

EU-IOM Nepal Pilot to Integrate Migration into Efforts to Achieve Sustainable Development Goals

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 03:32

Kathmandu – On average, 400,000 young Nepalis enter the international labour market each year. The reasons affecting their decision to emigrate vary, but a lack of rural development and education opportunities are often cited.  

Nepal has made strides in translating the development potential of migration into development planning through support for earlier programmes such as the UN Joint Migration and Development Initiative. However, a better understanding of the ways in which migration impacts and is impacted by development would establish greater coherence in policies and activities designed to meet the country’s 2030 sustainable development targets.  

A recent International Organization for Migration (IOM) assessment carried out in the country earlier this year found that that there was a need for improved coherence between migration, sustainable development, education and rural development. The European Union (EU)-financed assessment recommended that Nepal upgrade its data on internal and international migration, strengthen coordination between existing migration measures and new policies in different sectors, and update its migration policies to reflect the complex relationship between migration and sustainable development.   

In follow-up to the assessment, this week the EU and IOM are launching a pilot initiative in Nepal as part of IOM’s EU-funded Mainstreaming Migration into International Cooperation and Development (MMICD) project. 

Deputy Head of the European Union Delegation to Nepal Eloisa Astudillo Fernandez highlighted the value of integrating migration into development sectors.  

“It’s a two-way relationship between sustainable development and migration as it can both benefit migrants and transit communities, but at the same time it brings many risks. Therefore, it is important to manage the whole process of migration in a way that gives as many benefits as possible while also mitigating the risks,” said Fernandez.  

She added, “For this project we have identified nine sectors that are impacted by migration. In Nepal, we have chosen to focus on the rural development and education sectors. The idea is to integrate the concept of migration within those sectors, as they have a strong impact on the outflow of migrants from Nepal.”  

Under the project, which is also piloting in Ecuador and Madagascar, IOM will work with Nepali partners to integrate migration into development planning, with a focus on education and rural development.  Assessments and trainings to identify links between the different policy areas will be conducted in consultation with stakeholders to develop a roadmap for further action. 

IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Lorena Lando sees value added in the initiative. “In order to achieve the central principle of Agenda 2030 – ‘leave no-one behind’ – IOM advocates mainstreaming migration into national development plans. The socio-economic impacts of migration need to be addressed in a more comprehensive manner,” she said.   

Piloting the project in Nepal is timely as the ‘decade of action’ to deliver the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by 2030 is approaching. Nepal is also preparing for its Voluntary National Review in July 2020, which will examine progress made towards the SDGs at a national and sub-national level. 

For more information, please contact Ruchi Thapa at IOM Nepal at Tel. +977-1-4426250 ext:167 Mob: +9841365316, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 10:05Image: Region-Country: NepalThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

Sigil Bati Shada lives in Jogidha 7, a tiny village of 11 households. She is building her house in a flood prone area. Photo: IOM/ Amanda Nero

The intensity and pattern of rainfalls has affected the cultivation of rice, the main product in Udaipur area and source of income of thousands of families. Photo: IOM/ Amanda Nero

River in Udaipur region during the dry season. Photo: IOM/ Amanda Nero

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Nigeria Partners with Google to Train Returnees in Digital Skills

Tue, 12/10/2019 - 03:31

Benin City/Lagos – Ever wonder how IOM finds collaborators? Well, in this instance, it ‘Googles’ them. Literally. 

Since 5 December, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been partnering with Google Nigeria to conduct IOM’s first Digital Skills Training for returnees and potential migrants in Benin City, Edo State and Ikeja, Lagos State.  

The training drew 93 participants, including returning migrants, interested in setting up small-scale businesses as well as mentorship and job placement opportunities. The one-day training consisted of hands-on sessions on how to build participants’ online presence and improve their search campaigns, job-seeking skills online. 

“Today I learned how to register my business online and how to use Google ads. This will help me get more customers and it will save me a lot of money and time,” said Owegie, a trainee. 

Most Nigerian returnees are between the ages of 18-35, and many of them return with knowledge, skills and experiences they gained prior to- or during their migration experience.  

IOM’s partnership with Google highlights the private sector’s contribution to returnees’ sustainable reintegration in Nigeria. 

“This training is aimed at helping participants start a career in digital marketing, be encouraged to build digital start-ups, and advance in the workplace,” said Temitope Saliu, Growth Tribe Africa trainer for Google Digital Skills Programme. 

The initiative complements the traditional business skills training, which equips Nigerian returnees with the knowledge and skills to prepare themselves for the next steps in their reintegration and kickstart small businesses. Business skills training is an opportunity for returning migrants to meet one another and allows returnees to share their experiences and pool together their in-kind assistance, skills, and resources to establish more sustainable businesses.  

Since 2017, IOM’s reintegration support has contributed to the development of over 44 different types of small-scale businesses in all Nigeria.  

Following the event, the trainees will have access to the Google Digital Skills for Africa e-learning platform to continue their learning. 

“The digital skills training will help improve the participants’ use of digital skills to contribute to their economic growth as entrepreneurs, thereby further filling in critical gaps in the labour market, fitting their businesses within existing supply chains, and invariably contributing to development,” explained Alex Cole, IOM Nigeria Programme Support Officer - Migrant Protection and Assistance. 

This activity is co-financed by the GIZ, commissioned by the Government of the Federal Republic of Germany under the Strengthening Assistance for Returnees and Potential Migrants and Promoting Safe Migration Practices Project in Communities of Origin. 

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 10, 2019 - 09:59Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationPrivate Sector PartnershipsDefault: Multimedia: 

The Google-IOM training drew 93 participants, including returning migrants in Benin City and Ikeja. Photo: IOM/Barinedum Agara

The Google-IOM training drew 93 participants, including returning migrants in Benin City and Ikeja. Photo: IOM/Barinedum Agara

The Google-IOM training drew 93 participants, including returning migrants in Benin City and Ikeja. Photo: IOM/Barinedum Agara

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM and H&M Group Sign MoU to Promote Ethical Recruitment and Protect Migrant Workers

Mon, 12/09/2019 - 13:03

Geneva —The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and H&M Group today (9 Dec) signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote cooperation and mutual assistance in relation to ethical recruitment and protection of migrant workers in global supply chains. 

The MOU was signed by the Head of IOM’s office in Finland Mr. Simo Kohonen and H&M Group’s Head of Sustainability Ms. Anna Gedda. IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and combats all forms of exploitation and abuse of migrant workers, while H&M Group is a public company that operates retail stores in more than 70 countries and partners with suppliers in over 30 countries. 

Unethical recruitment practices and gaps in the governance of labour migration are leading risks that face migrant workers in the global economy. Fee-charging to workers, fraud during the hiring process, the confiscation of personal documents: these are all-too-common abuses that migrants encounter during the hiring process. There is no better time than now to address these challenges. Sustainable Development Goal 10, Reduce Inequality Within and Among Countries, highlights safe migration and migrant workers as priorities for engagement, and IOM and H&M Group are committed to contribute to its realization. This MOU will leverage the strengths, expertise and global footprint of IOM and H&M Group to enhance migrant protections and improve the recruitment, employment and livelihood opportunities for migrants. 

IOM Deputy Director Laura Thompson said: “IOM is delighted to enter into this partnership with H&M Group today. With this MOU, the company shows its true commitment and leadership in the fashion industry. We look forward to bringing our mutual strengths to tackle the complex challenges facing migrant workers in supply chains.” 

H&M’s Anna Gedda said: “The partnership with IOM will strengthen our work to ensure fair working conditions for migrant workers in our supply chain. By joining forces, we can more efficiently address the systemic challenges migrant workers face. We see a need to collectively advocate for improved legislation and cross-border regulations at the same time as continuing the work on the ground, together with our business partners and other brands.” 

IOM’s Labour Mobility and Human Development Division focuses on the protection of migrant workers and seeks to enhance the benefits of labour migration for all parties involved. The Division operates the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS) — a global initiative designed to promote ethical recruitment with the support of governments, civil society, the labour movement, private sector and ethical recruiters. IOM also implements the Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST) programme, which works collaboratively with companies to tackle the vulnerabilities of migrant workers in supply chains. 

H&M Group, with its newly launched Migrant Workers Fair Recruitment and Treatment Guideline, seeks to contribute to address the working conditions of migrant workers on the ground in its sourcing countries and collaborate with IOM to address the systemic and governance challenges ahead. 

For more information please contact Philip Hunter (IOM), Tel: +41 22 717 92 15, Email: or Katarina Kempe (H&M Group), Tel: +46 796 53 00, Email:

Language English Posted: Monday, December 9, 2019 - 13:01Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Finland Chief of Mission Simo Kohonen and H&M Group Head of Sustainability Anna Gedda sign an MoU to Promote the Ethical Recruitment and Protect Migrant Workers. Photo: IOM

IOM Finland Chief of Mission Simo Kohonen and H&M Group Head of Sustainability Anna Gedda sign an MoU to Promote the Ethical Recruitment and Protect Migrant Workers. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ethiopia Launches National Durable Solutions Initiative for Internally Displaced Persons

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 10:18

Addis Ababa – Ethiopia’s national Durable Solutions Initiative (DSI), which will promote conducive conditions for internally displaced persons (IDPs) to rebuild their lives, was launched in the capital city today (06/12) at an event organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  

The Initiative – developed by the Government of Ethiopia, the United Nations, international and national non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and donors – seeks to ensure internally displaced communities in the country are supported to either return, integrate or relocate voluntarily. 

Opening the meeting, Ethiopia’s Minister of Peace, Muferihat Kamil said: “Those of us who have solutions at stake cannot simply rely on a project-based approach. We need development actors to systematically integrate the concerns of displaced persons and affected communities as active participants in programmes.”   

The DSI will support interventions across national development policy, legislative reform, institutional strengthening and mainstreaming of IDP-friendly solutions in spatial and town planning.  It also supports area-based, government-led and community driven programmes in areas of voluntary return, relocation or local integration, additionally ensuring that internally displaced households and individuals have access to livelihoods.  

The initiative comes at a critical time when ethnic-based tensions and communal violence in some regions of Ethiopia have forced millions of people to flee their homes over the past two years, leading to a complex crisis of population displacement in the country. This has driven the government, in collaboration with humanitarian and development partners, to increase its focus on an approach that cultivates long-lasting solutions to the situation of IDPs in the country.  

More than 200 delegates from government and partner agencies discussed how the DSI will be implemented in the country, highlighting the ongoing development challenges and peacebuilding agenda in Ethiopia. Participants also identified opportunities for support, partnership and financing under DSI platforms.  

UN Resident Coordinator and UN Humanitarian Coordinator in Ethiopia, Steven Were Omamo, said the Initiative is a vital step in fulfilling and restoring the rights of citizens in distress, and in assisting them to rebuild their lives. He added that much more work needed to be done to ensure those in search of durable solutions will be able to access basic rights.  

According to the Switzerland-based Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), a ‘durable solution’ is said to be achieved when internally displaced persons no longer have any specific assistance and protection needs linked to their displacement.   

Reflecting relevant governmental plans and strategies as well as international standards, the DSI will provide an operational framework or platform to design and implement solutions in support of IDPs and host communities.  

“We need to see both internally displaced communities and those receiving them as people who can use their capacities and skills to drive solutions forward and enhance peaceful co-existence in affected areas,” said IOM Ethiopia’s Chief of Mission Ms. Maureen Achieng at the launch.

The Korean International Cooperation Agency (KOICA) is looking to fund programmes under this initiative and is currently undertaking a feasibility mission in the Somali and Oromia regions of Ethiopia, where IOM has ongoing initiatives in this area and is looking to scale up its programming to reach  thousands of more IDPs and returnees that could benefit from the DSI.  

Find out more about the Durable Solutions Initiative here.

For more information, contact David Coomber, at IOM Ethiopia, Email: or Eric Mazango, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 6, 2019 - 15:00Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Religious leaders attending launch of the DSI in Addis Ababa. Photo: IOM

Ethiopia’s Minister of Peace, Muferihat Kamil making opening remarks at the launch of the national Durable Solutions Initiative. Photo: IOM

Some of the dignitaries at the launch of Ethiopia's DSI. Photo: IOM

Some of the delegates at the DSI launch. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Death Toll from Mauritania Ship Sinking Mounts as Support to Survivors Gathers Momentum

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 10:04

Nouadhibou – The death toll from Wednesday’s tragic sinking of a fishing boat carrying migrants to the Canary Islands rose to 62 late yesterday with the recovery of four bodies as IOM’s efforts to help survivors gathered momentum. The captain of the vessel is thought to be among the death and based on witness testimonies there are concerns the toll will continue to mount. 

IOM is now focusing on helping migrants recover from shock, receiving appropriate medical treatment and that specific health vulnerabilities are identified.  

An IOM doctor is now working alongside Mauritanian authorities in Nouadhibou, the second largest city in northern Mauritania to assess cases, and two of the Organization’s psychologists will arrive today to offer psychosocial assistance to the 85 men, women including at least ten minors who managed to swim to shore after the vessel sank in rough seas.  

At least 150 people were thought to be aboard the vessel, which began its journey last Wednesday (27/11) in The Gambia. The Organization is now working with the ICRC in Mauritania to link families who believe their loved ones were aboard the boat, with consular officials who began conducting interviews with the survivors on Thursday. Seventy-nine of the survivors are from The Gambia and six are Senegalese. 

“We have been receiving calls from families in The Gambia who believe their loved-ones were on the boat,” said IOM Mauritania Chief of Mission Laura Lungarotti. “This is one of our priorities at this time.” 

IOM’s Missing Migrant’s Project reports 158 people have died in 11 confirmed fatal shipwrecks this year along the 1,400km-long Western Africa migration route which runs from Cabo Verde to the Canary Islands. Eight of the earlier fatal trips began in Morocco and two in Mauritania. At least 43 people died in five reported tragedies at sea in 2018. 

The Project reports that collecting reliable data along this largely unpatrolled route is challenging and vessels may be disappearing without a trace. 

IOM will work with the Mauritanian and consular authorities to assist the survivors with potential family reunification and return to their countries of origin. 

For more information, please contact Laura Lungarotti at IOM Mauritania: Tel: +222 41 74 82 73, Email: or Florence Kim at IOM Dakar: +221 78 620 62 13, Email: or Paul Dillon at IOM Geneva: +4179 636 9874, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 6, 2019 - 15:28Image: Region-Country: MauritaniaThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the 85 survivors from Wednesday’s tragic sinking of a fishing boat off the Mauritanian coast. Photo: IOM 

Some of the 85 survivors from Wednesday’s tragic sinking of a fishing boat off the Mauritanian coast. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Chief Appeals for Solidarity and Support to Ease Migration Pressures in Greece

Fri, 12/06/2019 - 08:18

Athens – International Organization for Migration (IOM) Director General António Vitorino said today (06/12) in Athens that the significant migration pressures facing Greece should be met with greater political and practical support from the European Union (EU).   

During his one-day visit to Greece, DG Vitorino met with Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias, for discussions focused on the need for a comprehensive, balanced and durable way forward to address the current migration situation.   

DG Vitorino welcomed the government’s policy initiative to protect and assist unaccompanied migrant children and efforts to ease overcrowding on the islands. Here, he offered IOM’s steady support to the Greek government through the continued provision of humanitarian services to migrants and refugees in need, the movement of vulnerable people from the islands and their accommodation on the mainland. 

“The transfer of migrants and refugees from overcrowded, very poor conditions on the islands to the Greek mainland is a humane and practical demonstration of solidarity within Greece itself,” Vitorino said following the meeting.  

“Likewise, Greece needs continued solidarity and support from fellow EU member states to share the responsibility and to buffer against any future shocks,” he continued.  

Irregular migrant crossings to Greece have increased in the second half of this year, adding stress to already overburdened structures and communities, particularly on the islands.  

The Director General stressed that a balanced approach to migration management will be more effective in the longer term.  

“We are convinced that the dangers and the pressures of irregular migration facilitated by pervasive smuggling networks can be alleviated by improving and increasing channels for orderly and legal migration, including resettlement and complementary pathways and responsibility-sharing mechanism among EU member states,” he said.   

“There needs to be greater urgency in the ongoing discussions, but after today I’m confident that migration management and cooperation will receive new impetus,” he said. 

DG Vitorino also met with the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyannis. Together they visited the Elaionas open facility in the centre of Athens which currently hosts some 1,800 refugees and asylum seekers. Elaionas is one of the 30 long-term accommodation facilities active in the Greek mainland, where IOM ensures dignified reception and protection standards for some 24,000 migrants and refugees with the support of the European Commission. 

Note for Editors 

Greece is a founding Member State of IOM.  IOM has been present in Greece since 1952 where it has established a long-standing network of cooperation with the Greek Government and civil society.   

IOM’s mission in Greece supports the refugee and migrant community through a wide range of projects and activities which include accommodation, integration, interpretation, transportation, protection and non-formal education services, with special care provided for unaccompanied migrant children.  

IOM also facilitates assisted voluntary return and reintegration of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in Greece and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin. 

For further information, please contact Christine Nikolaidou, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 99 19 040, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 6, 2019 - 15:30Image: Region-Country: GreeceThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Visit of IOM DG António Vitorino to the camp of Elaionas in Athens with the Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyiannis.  Photo: IOM

IOM DG António Vitorino and IOM Chief of Staff meet the Greek Prime Minister, Kyriakos Mitsotakis.  Photo: IOM

IOM DG António Vitorino is meeting the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Nikos Dendias.  Photo: IOM

IOM staff in a town hall meeting with IOM DG António Vitorino.  Photo: IOM

IOM DG António Vitorino meets children currently residing in Elaionas open accommodation site in the center of Athens.  Photo: IOM

IOM DG António Vitorino and Mayor of Athens, Kostas Bakoyiannis, attended the Greek courses for refugees conducted in the framework of IOM integration project.  Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN