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Updated: 2 hours 56 min ago

Multi-stakeholder Partnerships on Migration Essential in Face of Labour Mobility Changes: IOM DG

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 18:36

Dubai – Multi-stakeholder partnerships on migration are increasingly important as demographic and economic changes and enhanced mobility redefine the global work force and the nature of labour mobility across countries, IOM Director General António Vitorino stated at the opening session of the Abu Dhabi Dialogue’s (ADD) Fifth Ministerial Consultation last week (16-17 October). 

Established in 2008, the ADD is an inter-State consultation mechanism on migration that provides a forum for dialogue on contractual labour mobility for 18 States in Asia and the Middle East – among them countries of origin, transit and destination. Three other Asian States, IOM, the International Labour Organization and UN Women attend as observers. The Fifth ADD Ministerial addressed the future of work and interregional cooperation on migration.

The impact of demographic change will lead to significant shifts in labour markets, IOM Director General pointed out: countries should anticipate that their competitiveness on the global marketplace will be increasingly predicated upon the wise use of migrant labour. 

“Labour markets themselves are also changing. Employers will need different skill profiles in 2030 than they did in 2010, as technology underpinning key sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing, transport, finance and services rapidly develops,” he said.

Vitorino acknowledged the important role that inter-State consultation mechanisms on migration (ISCMs) have played in the development of a common approaches to migration. IOM convenes at regular intervals, the Global Meeting of ISCMs (known as GRCP).

ISCMs by themselves are indispensable actors in migration governance. But they have also benefited from partnerships with political and economic unions, intergovernmental organizations or non-State actors.

IOM’s Director General specified that inter-State consultation will continue to underpin migration governance as implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration becomes a priority for many States across the globe. 

“New forms of consultation and exchange will inevitably spring up in the next years, as States prepare to report on their progress. This should not be seen as competition or a threat to existing mechanisms,” he said. “Rather, international cooperation is one of the Global Compact’s guiding principles.” 

Formally endorsed by the UN in December 2018, the Global Compact for Migration is a non-binding global agreement on a common approach to international migration.

For more information, please contact Farah Abdulsater at Tel: +202 2736 51 40, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 - 18:26Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General António Vitorino

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Feedback Centre Helps Rohingya Refugees Communicate Needs in Bangladesh Camps

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 12:51

Cox’s Bazar – This year’s monsoon season saw some of the heaviest rain and winds in two years. Gul Faraj and her family were left homeless when their shelter was destroyed in a fierce storm that blew in off the Bay of Bengal. The flimsy roof and walls were smashed, and the family was eventually forced to move in with neighbours. 

Aid groups gave Gul tools and materials to fix her home, but with no carpentry skills – her shelter went unrepaired. “I’m a single widow and I don’t know anything about fixing or carpentry,” she explained from the Rohingya refugee camp, located just a mile from the Myanmar border.

Gul, 50, then learned from friends about IOM’s recently launched Feedback and Information Centre (FIC) at the camp’s Site Management office. So, she visited and told her story. Within six days, an IOM team arrived and carried out the necessary repairs.

Hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees have sought shelter in the Cox’s Bazar’s camps since August 2017 and while conditions on the ground have gradually improved – many have struggled to communicate their needs to the humanitarian community. This has often led to a top-down approach to humanitarian work that has negatively affected service delivery and left beneficiaries under-represented.

A newly designed and upgraded Complaint, Feedback and Response Mechanism at IOM-managed camps is addressing this problem by organizing both individual and group feedback meetings and opening kiosks where residents can make their views known.

Cases are entered into a digital system and referred to the agency responsible for responding to a particular issue. The primary channels for receiving complaints and feedback are community meetings at the block and sub-block levels, and with door-to-door visits by IOM staff.

Beneficiaries receive a response regardless of the category and whether or not it can be resolved. If the complaint time is slow, beneficiaries are given a response that includes the reason for the wait. When the matter is resolved, IOM contacts the beneficiary. If it takes longer than eight days, IOM staff gets in touch with the respective agency to request follow-up.

A total of 63,892 complaints were received between June 2018 and May 2019. Of these, 44,724 were resolved in this period.  IOM Field Assistant Sayadul Amin Himo, who dealt directly with input from the refugees, said that the complaints he handled numbered 10-15 per day on average and most related to infrastructure and damage. 

In addition to providing an outlet for complaints and feedback, the FIC democratizes the relief process and allows refugees to express their views, according to Technical Coordinator Daniel Coyle. “Refugees don’t choose the agencies assisting them, so the FIC process holds us to a higher standard and obliges us to respond. IOM sees this as required practice to ensure our programming is accountable to the needs of Rohingya community and ensures that they have a way to address their needs,” he said.

Other IOM programmes are considering using similar feedback centres to strengthen their programmes. For example, protection specialists looking to expand outreach to male victims of sexual violence say that they may use feedback systems to encourage victims to come forward. Representation in the camps is also set to change in the coming months and stronger communication systems will be needed.

Despite the early successes of the system, challenges remain. Many refugees still need to be made of aware of the FIC, which can be challenging because low rates of literacy. The Rohingya language has no writing system and most refugees are not educated in Burmese. Gender issues also present a challenge, because women are often discouraged from activities outside the home. Coyle says that better outreach will hopefully address these issues in the coming months.

Watch video here.

For more information please contact George McLeod at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +880 18 7071 8078, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 - 16:48Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Hamida, 25, used the feedback centre to get help from IOM to repair her storm-damaged home. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Forty Years of IOM Assistance to Returning Migrants

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 12:46

Berlin – Assisting migrants' return home and reintegrating into their communities has been a pivotal aspect of the International Organization for Migration’s work. For 40 years, IOM has been providing return and reintegration assistance to migrants wishing to return home. 

Since the beginning of the first project in cooperation with the government of Germany in 1979, 1.6 million migrants have benefited worldwide from IOM’s support under the programme now known as AVRR for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration. Under the German REAG/GARP programme more than 700,000 migrants were assisted since then. 

The German project initiated in 1979 became a model for many other countries also implementing   voluntary return and reintegration projects. Over the years, new components have been added to voluntary return in Germany and worldwide, including outreach activities for diaspora communities, counselling and reintegration support. Vulnerable migrants have also become a priority.

“Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) is an indispensable part of a comprehensive approach to migration management,” said Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM’s Chief of Staff.

“Under all circumstances, the rights of migrants must be respected and protected, regardless of their nationality or migration status and without discrimination to preserve their safety, physical integrity, well-being and dignity. IOM is fully committed to facilitate orderly, safe, and responsible migration with the migrant’s wellbeing at heart, in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Global Compact for Migration,” he added.

Return and reintegration policy is still evolving. This week, IOM joined the German Ministry of Interior and the German Ministry of Development to co-host the second European Dialogue on Return and Sustainable Reintegration in Berlin. This event focused on the implementation of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and specifically its Objective 21 to ‘cooperate in facilitating safe and dignified return and readmission, as well as sustainable reintegration.’

“When looking at return and reintegration within the GCM, two elements are crucial: The migrant-centred approach that should be the basis of all initiatives and programmes, as well as the coordination of the involved stakeholders. The coherent government approach of Germany, which combines return and reintegration with development cooperation, is a very positive example,” affirmed Monica Goracci, IOM Germany’s Chief of Mission.

At the European Dialogue, IOM and the German Federal Office for Migration and Refugees offered a preview of a joint study dealing with the German return programme StarthilfePlus. More than 1,300 assisted returnees from Germany to 12 countries provided information on their motives to return, their first steps, and their needs in the process of reintegration. The study will be published in November.

For more information, please contact Sabine Lehmann at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 27877817, Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: GermanyThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Since 1979, more than 1.6 million migrants were assisted in their voluntary return, including these Iraqi returnees. Photo: IOM  

The picture shows migrants returning to Kosovo. Photo: IOM  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Missions Across Europe Mark EU Anti-Trafficking Day

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 12:36

Geneva/Brussels – To mark EU Anti-Trafficking Day (18/10), International Organization for Migration (IOM) offices across Europe mobilized this week to raise awareness and reinforce the tools needed to fight the scourge of trafficking in human beings which has ensnared tens of thousands of victims across Europe.  

Ola Henrikson, Director of IOM’s Regional Office for the EU, said that while much progress has been made in the fight against the crime of human trafficking, the numbers of victims in Europe are still unacceptably high and the resources made available to assist victims are unevenly distributed.  

“Victims of this heinous crime come from within Europe and from third countries. Resources and assistance should be made available to all victims, regardless of their nationality or country of origin,” said Henrikson.  

“We need more awareness-raising around this phenomena, more resources to fight against it, and more research and data to inform and improve our policy response,” he added.   

According to data released by the Counter-Trafficking Data Collaborative (CTDC), between 2002 and 2018 more than 32,000 European victims of trafficking exploited around the world were identified. In Europe, 29,000 victims were exploited, from various European nationalities and beyond. In both these groups, two in three victims were women. Victims were mainly trafficked for the purpose of sexual exploitation and forced labour.

Established by IOM, the CTDC is the first global data hub on human trafficking which publishes harmonized data from organizations working on counter-trafficking around the world, including IOM. CTDC currently combines the three largest case-level victim of human trafficking datasets into one centralized dataset with information on over 90,000 cases spanning169 nationalities exploited in 172 countries.

  • IOM’s United Kingdom (UK) office, in cooperation with the London school of Economics, held an event yesterday (17/10) on the role of data in eradicating human trafficking and modern slavery. The event, Making a difference with data: how is data helping end human trafficking and modern slavery? explored global, national and local data on human trafficking and highlighted the important contribution that data can make to inform policy and programming with the goal of ending human trafficking.
  • Meanwhile in Italy, IOM announced yesterday (17/10) that the number of potential female victims of trafficking across the Mediterranean from the Côte d’Ivoire is increasing. Based on an analysis of migratory flows along the Central Mediterranean route, IOM Italy published a briefing indicating that in the last year, IOM’s anti-trafficking teams have detected an increase in the presence of women and girls from the Côte d’Ivoire at the main landing points in Italy.
  • IOM offices in Switzerland, Romania, Moldova, Malta, Austria, Portugal, France and Ireland also marked this important day through workshops, trainings and awareness-raising activities. 
  • IOM in Bern organized 19 events including conferences, lectures in schools, movie screenings or podium discussions in 8 cantons which will run over the course of 20 days. The teams are also leading an information bus on human trafficking, which is  an itinerant exhibition touring around Switzerland to raise more awareness and provide better access to information on human trafficking.
  • IOM offices in Romania and Moldova organized a regional workshop on counter-trafficking with border police officials and experts from various countries, together with representatives of FRONTEX and SELEC, to discuss challenges and good practices on cooperation with law-enforcement and prosecution. In Malta, IOM organized a training session on trafficking in persons for government representatives, migrant-led NGO’s and other stakeholders in the context of the EU-funded regional project PROTECT.

IOM has been working to counter trafficking in persons since the mid-nineties and has assisted over 100,000 victims of trafficking globally. To ensure freedom and a chance at a new life, IOM offers comprehensive direct assistance packages to victims of trafficking in collaboration with our partners. This may include accommodation in places of safety, medical and psychosocial support, skills development and vocational training, reintegration assistance, the options of voluntary, safe and dignified return to countries of origin, integration in the country of destination or resettlement to third countries when needed.

For more information, please contact Safa Msehli in Geneva: Tel +41 766 133 175, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: BelgiumSwitzerlandThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

For two years, Khadijetou, a victim of trafficking, was exploited, tortured, deprived of her income and her family. Photo: IOM/Sibylle Desjardins 2018


Between 2002 and 2018 more than 32,000 European victims of trafficking exploited around the world were identified. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Entrepreneurship and Waste Management in Sierra Leone to Fight Unemployment and Clean Cities

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 12:28

Freetown – With a 60 percent rate of youth unemployment, Sierra Leone suffers among West Africa’s highest levels of joblessness. One result: youth migrate, often irregularly.

To address this, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Sierra Leone, in partnership with the Freetown City Council, organized a 5-day training on entrepreneurship and sustainable waste treatment for 200 youths from Freetown in early October. 

The training aims at providing youth with skills to collect and manage domestic waste while providing them with money to meet their daily needs. 

“This will not only help in cleaning the city, reducing health hazards associated with waste but also contribute to generating the much-needed income, and sustainable livelihoods for youth,” explained Dr. James Bagonza, Project Coordinator at IOM Sierra Leone.

Participants were divided into groups to manage 20 different door-to-door waste collection businesses. As part of the process, IOM and partners will also provide them with a 15-months business development support, as well as waste collection equipment and motorized tricycles. 

“I am interested in the waste management business. The knowledge gained through this training will empower me and help us combat the problem of waste in our community,” said Lovina Margret Moseray, one of the trainees. 

The youth groups will move from door to door to collect household waste including plastic, water sachets, empty bottles and miscellaneous garbage, getting less than a US $1 per bag collected.

Using motorized tricycles, members of these garbage brigades transport wastes to collection points within their communities, where employees designated by the Freetown City Council move the material into recycling or disposal channels.  

“Our Ministry is prepared to support young people in the coming months get the appropriate training and skills that will enable them to tap local opportunities rather than risking their lives to go to Europe through irregular means,” said Hon. Luseni Kallon, Deputy Minister of Youth Affairs.

This training was organized within the framework of the project ‘Reducing the Risk of Irregular Migration through Promotion of Youth Employment and Entrepreneurship in Sierra Leone’ implemented with funding from the Government of Japan. IOM and the Government of Sierra Leone through this youth empowerment project have plans to roll out other programmes to provide employment and more job opportunities for youths in the country. 

At a graduation ceremony here, His Excellency Tsutomu Himeno, Japan’s Ambassador to Sierra Leone, said “You will be looked at by other people, and you are showing by doing your work-. Sometimes it may be tough, but you should take pride in the attention you get, and share your knowledge with others.’

IOM’s Dr. Bagonza added: “Today’s certification ceremony is a step towards creating entrepreneurship opportunities for youth, through doing waste management as a micro-business.”

For more information, please contact Dr. James Bagonza at IOM Sierra Leone, Email: or Kunikazu Akao, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 - 16:05Image: Region-Country: Sierra LeoneThemes: Community StabilizationMigration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

200 Sierra Leoneans trained on entrepreneurship and waste management in Freetown. Photo: IOM

200 Sierra Leoneans trained on entrepreneurship and waste management in Freetown. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

First IOM International Charter Flight from Ethiopia Brings 154 Refugees to New Homes in Germany

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 12:00

Addis Ababa – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Ethiopia organized on Tuesday its first international charter flight carrying 154 Somali refugees to be resettled in Germany. 

The group had been residing in Jijiga and Dolo Ado refugee camps in southern Ethiopia. They included 63 males and 91 females, 47 of whom are minors. 

IOM has supported the German Resettlement Programme in their efforts to resettle 500 refugees living in Ethiopia to Germany since March. These efforts are closely coordinated with the Ethiopian Government’s Agency for Refugees and Returnee Affairs (ARRA), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Federal Government of Germany. 

An additional 220 refugees will depart for Germany on a second IOM-chartered flight in mid-November. The majority of these people have already undergone the necessary interviews and health assessments. 

“It is important that we facilitate the smooth resettlement of refugees by providing safe transportation,” said Milun Jovanovic, Operations Officer with IOM Ethiopia. “We are happy that refugees enjoyed this facilitated charter flight from departure to destination, with no hassles faced.” 

For the past 15 year, IOM Ethiopia has been involved in relocating refugees to more than 16 countries, including the USA, Canada, Australia, Norway and the European Union through resettlement, family reunification and humanitarian admission programmes. Since 2016, the Organization has arranged 36 domestic charter flights for refugees travelling to Addis Ababa from camps throughout Ethiopia.  

In 2019 alone, IOM has assisted 4,000 refugees to resettle to new countries together with UNHCR. The Organization facilitates case selection and processing, health assessments, movement from camps and departure logistics. IOM teams also conduct pre-departure orientation to ease integration of refugees.  

Resettlement provides millions of refugees worldwide with protection and the opportunity to build new lives for themselves and their families – particularly for those whose life, health or fundamental human rights are at risk in the country where they first sought refuge.  

For more information, please contact Mr. Milun Jovanovic at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251- 911 229 752, or +251-11 557 1707 (Ext. 1200), Email:  or Eric Mazango, Tel: +251-11 557 1707 (Ext. 1456), Email:  


Language English Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

More than 150 Somali refugees were resettled to Germany on Tuesday on IOM Ethiopia’s first chartered flight. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Award-Winning Actress Julia Ormond, Egyptian Actor Asser Yassin Join Global Migration Film Festival 2019 Jury

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 11:40

Geneva – Emmy-award winning British actress and activist against human trafficking, Julia Ormond, and Egyptian actor, writer and film producer Asser Yassin have added their marquee names and expertise in migration, film-making and visual storytelling to IOM’s 2019 Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF).  

There’s a saying often attributed to the great Russian writer Leo Tolstoy that there are really only two stories: “A person goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.”  Migration is thus the lens through which so many of the world’s greatest filmmakers have told their stories.  

It was with this spirit that IOM launched the first Global Migration Film Festival in 2016 starting with just 30 film submissions. Last year, the 2018 Festival took place in 100 countries where there were 545 screenings before a total of 30,000 people.   

This year over 600 films have been submitted for acceptance by the festival. Over the next two months these films will go through a rigorous screening and selection process by the festival jury to select the finalists for the Festival.   

Nominated as Best Actress by Australia’s Academy of Cinema and Television for Ladies in Black, Ormond was the first UNODC Goodwill Ambassador Against Trafficking and Slavery and is the Founder of Alliance to Stop Slavery and End Trafficking (ASSET).  Among her film work, Ormond starred in Legends of the Fall, Sabrina, and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.   

Ormond also is a Founding Chair of FilmAid International and Executive Produced Emmy-award winning Calling the Ghosts: A Story of Rape, War and Women.   

Ormond will be accompanied by Asser Yassin. The Egyptian film and television actor, writer and producer earned his degree in Mechanical Engineering from the American University in Cairo but chose to pursue a career in acting. Asser has received many distinguished awards as best actor from Festival International Cinema Mediterranean Tetouan in 2015, Malmo Arab Film Festival in 2011, and Carthage Film Festival in 2010. Aside from his acting career, Asser has also stepped behind the camera to direct music videos for some of the top local acts/performers in Egypt. Earlier this year, Yassin was appointed as goodwill ambassador for IOM.   

Ormond and Yassin will be joined by other distinguished members of the jurors’ panel including Amelia Hanibelsz, a two-time Primetime Emmy-nominated, Genesis Award-winning, producer-director, and award-winning visual artist, documentary filmmaker and educator Fatou Kandé Senghor.  

Hanibelsz’ career began in Sri Lanka, aged 17, with a UN-supported Norwegian media NGO, producing and presenting segments on sustainable development, women, the environment, and human rights. Over a six-year period in Singapore she worked for Fremantle Media, The Discovery Channel, and TVE-Television Trust for The Environment. Based in New York since 2005, she has developed, produced and directed content for National Geographic, Animal Planet, the History Channel, A&E, and OWN – The Oprah Winfrey Network.  

Senghor is based in Dakar, Senegal. Her most recent film Donner Naissance (Giving Birth), a profile of Senegalese sculptor Seni Camara, was selected for the 56th Venice Biennale. Senghor has written widely on gender, culture, history and African cinema, and is the founder of Waru Studio, a space for young artists and filmmakers to explore the intersection of art-science-technology and politics in Africa. Significant collaborations include working with renowned director Ousmane Sembène, considered as the founding father of cinema in Africa, and with Wim Wenders on The Invisible (2007).  

The last member who joined the jury board is Sherif Elbendary, an Egyptian film director of short films and documentaries that have screened at film festivals around the world including Tribeca and Cannes.  Sherif Elbendary founded “Africa Films”, a film production company mainly focused on the production of short and feature films for promising and upcoming directors making their first and second films. He is also currently producing his second feature film Spray.  

“We have worked hard with the programmers of the Festival Jasmin Basic and Brian Brown to create an Official Selection with movies which can bring into light diverse aspects of migrations and trigger empathy in the audience. We have an impressive and talented jury board this year and I am curious to find out the movies they will select as the winners,” explained Amanda Nero, the Festival’s director.  

The jury will evaluate films in the Official Selection and select a winner from each category: full-length features and short films. Each winner will receive a cash prize. All selected films from the short films category also are eligible to win a cash prize, and eight films from the Feature Films category are in the running for a USD 1,500 cash grand prize.   

Click here to access the official Global Migration Film Festival portal.  

For more information, please contact Amanda Nero, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 227 179 482, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 - 17:36Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Farm Slaves Rescued in Ukraine

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 11:35

Kyiv – On EU Anti-Trafficking Day, 18 October, the Ministry of Social Policy and the National Police of Ukraine revealed the details of a shocking case of mass trafficking during a press conference in the capital Kyiv. The International Organization for Migration is helping the Government to provide immediate assistance to the victims. 

Over 80 jobless Ukrainians from the Odessa and Dnipropetrovsk regions were lured to work at a farm by promises of free accommodation and meals, as well as salaries of USD 170 per month (well below the average salary in Ukraine which is equal to USD 400).  

“Two suspects have been apprehended – a man and a woman who were recruiting victims and supervising their work. We are working to prosecute the rest of the criminal group,” said Artem Kryschenko, the Head of Counter-Trafficking Department of the National Police of Ukraine at the press conference. According to him, the suspects face up to 12 years in jail.  

“The Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine as the National Counter-Trafficking Coordinator is working to provide the victims with official status, assess their needs and give them psychosocial, medical and financial assistance in partnership with civil society and international organizations,” said Serhii Nizhynskyi, Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine. 

This week IOM provided food, hygiene items and clothing to 22 people among the case victims – those who were recruited in Dnipropetrovsk Region and returned to their homes with help of the authorities. 

“Forced labour has been the prevailing human trafficking trend in Ukraine, making up over 90 per cent of the victims we assist,” said Anh Nguyen, Acting Chief of Mission at IOM Ukraine. 

From January to June 2019, the IOM Mission in Ukraine identified and assisted 600 victims of trafficking. Almost 70 per cent of them were men. The total number of trafficking survivors assisted by IOM since the start of its reintegration activities in Ukraine 19 years ago is close to 16,000. IOM has been also supporting the Ukrainian State and non-governmental organizations in building their capacity to raise public awareness, assist the victims and prosecute the criminals. 

“The Government and civil society of Ukraine have made a number of steps towards the establishment of a viable national counter-trafficking response. At the same time, with Ukrainians being susceptible to many risks, IOM stands ready to further support efforts to combat modern-day slavery,” said Nguyen.  

Oksana* lived in a village in the south of Ukraine with no work available in the district. She needed money for surgery on her arm, so when a friend told her about a job opportunity with an agricultural enterprise in the Odesa region, she decided to take it despite her poor health condition. Oksana had to work in the field and at a canning plant.  

The working day started at 7 a.m. and lasted until late evening. Living conditions were extremely poor. The food provided by the employer was insufficient and of a low quality, so Oksana started having more health problems. 

For six months Oksana received no salary – the woman who was supervising the workers said everything they earned was spent on their food. The workers were under guard 24/7, and those who tried to escape from the fields were caught and beaten.  

*Name changed to protect privacy 

National Police video showing the awful conditions in which trafficking victims were kept: 

For more information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15, +38 067 447 97 92, Email: 



Language English Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 - 17:23Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Vulnerable resident of Odesa looking at IOM counter-trafficking installation. File Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Arrivals Reach 79,350 in 2019, Deaths Reach 1,077

Fri, 10/18/2019 - 11:23

Geneva – IOM reports that 79,350 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 17 October, roughly a 13 per cent decrease from the 91,094 arriving during the same period last year.  

Arrivals this year to Greece and Spain are at 43,020 and 19,637 respectively, (62,657 combined) accounting for almost 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 70 per cent ahead of 2018’s totals from this time. Arrivals to Spain are more than 50 per cent lower.  

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through nine and a half months of 2019 are at 1,077 individuals – or about 55 per cent of the 1,965 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).  

In recent weeks, the deaths of several dozen people were documented on sea routes across the Mediterranean.  

Most recently, a boat capsized off the coast of Lampedusa on 7 October, killing at least 28 people. The remains of 13 women (including those of a young teenage girl, aged 12) were recovered from the water on 7 October, while 12 more bodies were located a week later, on 15 October, by a diving team. At least three people remain missing. Additionally, 89 migrants who departed from Zwara, Libya were rescued off the coast of Tunisia over the weekend. Survivors told IOM staff that four people had drowned during the journey. 

In the Eastern Mediterranean, a boat capsized Off the coast of Altınova, Ayvalık, Turkey on 14 October. Two Syrian girls (a 3-month-old baby girl and a 13-year-old girl) drowned before they could be rescued. The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 33 survivors, including 17 women and 16 men, and brought them to shore. 

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported on Thursday (17/10) that from Friday (11/10) up to date, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least 21 incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Chios, Lemnos, Ikaria, Farmakonisi, Samothrace and the port of Alexandroupoli. The HCG rescued a total of 824 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports.  

Those arrivals, others arriving between 9 and 15 October, bring to 43,020 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year  (see chart below). Greece’s 2019 arrivals now have surpassed arrival totals for 2014, 2017 and 2018. 

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 33,682 people, including 2,520 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. 

Several deaths were recorded in North Africa recently: on 9 October, a 17-year-old Moroccan teenager died in a car accident near Béni Ensar, in Nador, Morocco near the border of the Spanish enclave, Melilla.  

On the Niger-Algeria border, the remains of 24 people, including several women and children, were found in the desert near In Guezzam, Algeria between 30 September and 2 October. Two survivors, a man and a woman, were found alive and taken to the hospital where they received medical assistance. All the victims were nationals of Niger. 

In Somalia, a truck in which 27 Ethiopian migrants were travelling to Bossaso crashed near the port city of Berbera on 11 October, killing 11 people and injuring 16. The deaths of 87 people have been documented on routes across the Horn of Africa since the beginning of 2019.  

In Europe the remains of two Iraqi young men (a 17-year-old teenager and a 22-year-old young man) were found on a beach in Touquet, Pas-de-Calais, France on 14 October, after they apparently tried to cross to the UK in a small boat. At least four people had died in attempts to cross the Channel in 2019. 

On the US-Mexico border, two men drowned in the Río Bravo on October 12 and 14 when attempting to reach Texas from Reynosa, Tamaulipas – their bodies were recovered on the Mexican riverbank. Since the beginning of 2019, the deaths of 104 people have been documented in the Río Bravo. This figure is already higher than the total number of drownings (87) recorded in the Río Bravo for all of 2018.  

The deaths of four people were recorded on the border between Mexico and Guatemala. On 11 October, a boat in which at least 12 people from Cameroon were travelling capsized off the coast of Tonalá, Chiapas. Eight survivors were brought to shore, while four people drowned in the Pacific. The remains of three of them have been recovered, but at least one person remains missing.  

In total, at least 615 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 481 recorded through this point in 2018 – an increase of over 28 per cent.  

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 Journeys 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. 

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, October 18, 2019 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Forced Movement of Migrants in Bosnia Sparks Warning of Humanitarian Emergency

Thu, 10/17/2019 - 13:08

Sarajevo - Serious concerns have been expressed in Bosnia at the forcible transfer of large numbers of migrants to an already overcrowded and dangerous accommodation centre.

News Video of Forced Movement

The Vucjak centre, near Bihac on the Bosnia-Croatia border has been repeatedly slammed by UN Agencies as “inappropriate and inadequate for accommodating human beings” yet in recent days over 1,000 people have been forcibly moved to the site by Bosnian police.

A joint UN Bosnia Country Team statement released late yesterday noted “significant safety and health risks at Vucjak; the location falls well short of international humanitarian standards.”

IOM’s sub-regional coordinator of the Western Balkans, Peter Van Der Auweraert says the clock is ticking.

“With winter around the corner, humanitarian conditions for migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina are getting dire for those staying outside the official accommodation centres,” he said.

Local authorities claim that 150 people are arriving every night in Bihac, ready to attempt the risky crossing into EU member state Croatia. Their spokesman described the forced removal of as a measure “to regulate, as much as possible, the normal life of citizens and prevent any negative activities we have had from begging, vagrancy, criminal offences and burglaries of private buildings.”

The Vucjak site is located close to areas infested by landmines, with a high risk of fire and explosions due to possible underground pockets of methane gas. Vucjak lacks electricity, running water and medical care, and has very few sanitation facilities.

The recent declaration of the Mayor of Bihac that the Municipality and local Red Cross will cease all assistance to the migrants forcibly relocated to the Vucjak site was described in the UN statement as “especially alarming” as assistance was already insufficient before the latest group of migrants was transferred.

“This decision, if implemented, together with continued relocation efforts, risks a possible humanitarian emergency at the Vucjak site”, warned the UN.

The statement called on the authorities to identify – at the earliest opportunity – alternate, safe and secure accommodation in line with national and international laws and obligations; humanitarian principles and practices; and with the full guarantee of rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers.  

This was, the statement noted, critical in order to reduce the pressure on local communities posed by the growing number of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees.

“IOM and partners stand ready to act but political decisions on where migrants can be accommodated are urgently needed,” stressed IOM’s Van der Auweraert.

For further information please contact Peter Van der Auweraert at IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina, Tel: +41798336424, Email:; Edita Selimbegović, Tel: +387 33 293 713, Email:; Joe Lowry, +43 660 3776404, Email:

For the latest population movements please see IOM’s Flow Monitoring Europe website

Language English Posted: Thursday, October 17, 2019 - 13:01Image: Region-Country: Bosnia and HerzegovinaThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

Concern is rising for the welfare of migrants in Bosnia with winter just around the corner. Archive/IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Right to Migrant Health Key to Sustainable Development, IOM tells IPU

Tue, 10/15/2019 - 10:05

Belgrade – The right to health is a fundamental right of all human beings, irrespective of their legal status, IOM’s Senior Migration Health Advisor for South-eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia told the 141st Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) yesterday. 

“We welcome the approval on the landmark political declaration on universal health coverage and above all the explicit mention of the needs of migrants,” said Dr. Jaime Calderon at the Belgrade gathering, which brought together over 1700 parliamentarians and UN and civil society partners from around the world.  

However, Dr Calderon warned that there was a vital step that needed to be taken before universal health coverage, and with it, Sustainable Development Goals 3.8 and 10.7, could be fully realized. 

“This cannot be achieved unless health service coverage and financial protection measures in all countries include migrants and all other people on the move, especially those who are stigmatised, marginalised and in vulnerable situations,” he stressed. 

Dr Calderon called on States to provide the same rights and entitlements to migrants as they do for their nationals.  “The progressive realization of the rights of migrants to health should avoid parallel structures, as was pointed out in the draft of the Global Action to Promote the Health of Refugees and Migrants by the World Health Assembly this year,” he said.  

Dr Calderon also pointed out that migration can be a path to development with effective labour agreements, diaspora engagements and ethical and well-managed international recruitment of health workers who are critical in making UHC successful in countries of origin. 

The IPU was founded 130 years ago, to facilitate parliamentary diplomacy and empower parliaments and parliamentarians to promote peace, democracy and sustainable development around the world. Its 141st Assembly focussed on strengthening international law, gender equality, young people, human rights, and achieving universal health coverage. 

For more information please contact Joe Lowry on Tel: +43660 3776404, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 15:55Image: Region-Country: SerbiaThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

UN Secretary-General António Guterres opens the IPU assembly in Belgrade via video link. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Organizes First Humanitarian Charter Flight from Algeria to Niger

Tue, 10/15/2019 - 10:05

Algiers, Niamey – This week (15/10), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized its first flight for voluntary return from the southern Algerian city of Tamanrasset to Niger’s capital, Niamey, carrying 166 Nigerien nationals, in close collaboration with the Governments of Algeria and Niger. 

This is the first movement of its kind for vulnerable Nigerien migrants through IOM voluntary return activities facilitated by the governments of Algeria and Niger and in close cooperation with Air Algérie. This flight was organized to avoid a long tiring journey for migrants in transit by using a shorter way to go home. 

For the first flight, 18 per cent of the returnees, including women and children were selected for their vulnerabilities, including medical needs.  

“The successful return of over 160 vulnerable Nigerien migrants through this inaugural voluntary return flight ensures, safe and humane return of migrants who are in need of assistance to get to their country of origin,” said Paolo Caputo, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Algeria. “This movement is the result of the combined efforts of both IOM missions and the Governments of Algeria and Niger.” 

IOM staff in Algeria provided medical assistance to more than 10 migrants prior to their flight and ensured that all their health needs were addressed during their travel and upon arrival in Niger. 

IOM also provides technical support to the Government of Niger in registering the returned Nigeriens upon arrival in Niger and deliver basic humanitarian assistance before they travel to their communities of origin.  

Since 2016, IOM missions in Niger and Libya have assisted over 7,500 Nigerien migrants with their return from Libya through voluntary humanitarian return operations. 

Upon arrival, the groups of Nigerien migrants returning with IOM-organized flights from both Algeria and Libya receive assistance, such as food and pocket money, to cover their immediate needs, including in-country onward transportation. 

After the migrants have returned to their communities of origin, IOM offers different reintegration support depending on their needs, skills and aspirations. This can include medical assistance, psychosocial support, education, vocational training, setting up an income generating activity, or support for housing and other basic needs. 

“This movement today represents a big step in the right direction for the dignified return of migrants in the region,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “We are grateful for the financial support of the Governments of the United Kingdom and Italy who have made this possible,” she added. 

For more information, please contact Paolo Caputo, at IOM Algeria, Tel: +213661992302, Email: or Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email:   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 16:05Image: Region-Country: AlgeriaNigerThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

The first flight from Algeria to Niger carrying 166 migrants arrived in Niamey on October 14. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

IOM Ethiopia marked World Mental Health Day with the message, Anyone Can Be Affected, But Everyone Can Heal. 

IOM Ethiopia marked World Mental Health Day with the message, Anyone Can Be Affected, But Everyone Can Heal. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Men Require Psychosocial Support Too, Just Like All Other Affected Populations

Tue, 10/15/2019 - 10:03

Addis Ababa—In the aftermath of a crisis, it is common for the humanitarian community to focus on vulnerable persons of concern, and typically they are children, women, and persons with disabilities. Men are often thought of as not needing any psychosocial support. Often community centres like child friendly spaces are designed to welcome females and children.  

On a fateful night in October 2018, Motuma*, a married 50-year old and father of six, was at his home in Eastern Wollega (central Oromia Region of Ethiopia) when internal conflict broke out in the adjacent Benishangul Region and soon spread to his town. It all happened suddenly and was extremely violent. Motuma witnessed people getting killed as he – along with his family – were escaping the area hoping to leave the violence behind. 

Once in the relative safety of a nearby town, and he thought the situation had calmed, Motuma decided to venture back to his village. He was planning to retrieve some of his family’s belongings and check in on his herd of 20 cattle.  

Motuma was frozen in shock seeing his house burnt to the ground and all his belongings gone. To make matters worse, some of the perpetrators were still on his property. Motuma ran for his life and managed to outrun his pursuers, reaching a nearby forest, where he hid for several days without food or water. When he thought it was safe to leave the forest, Motuma found his way to an internally displaced persons (IDP) site where he was eventually reunited with his family.  

Motuma is among the 390,000 adult men who were displaced during the conflict which displaced more than 2.3 million people last year. Since then, he has struggled to recover from the distress he suffered.  

“I felt completely destroyed, and even though I’m doing much better now, I doubt my life will ever be the same after what we went through as a family.” Even in the relative safety of living in a collective site, food was scarce, land, livelihoods, and all belongings were forever lost, and the pain of not being able to provide for his family – which he did before – was almost unbearable for Motuma. There were even times when his family had to live under an open sky and fell severely sick under harsh weather conditions.  

After the incident, Motuma had become overwhelmed by the situation, had practically no energy left, became isolated and restless with poor sleeping patterns, and even attempted suicide to end the feeling of helplessness. “I felt like I was carrying the whole world on my shoulders for not being able to support my family the way I wanted to. I felt useless, ashamed and guilty for not addressing their needs.”  

Melat* – Motuma’s wife – talked him out of his suicidal thoughts and upon attending an awareness session organized by IOM – for people with psychosocial needs, he was referred for additional counselling for seven weeks.  

As weeks went by, Motuma gradually regained his hope and mental strength, started to lose the feeling of always being negatively judged by his family and surroundings, and started to focus on what he could do instead of what he couldn’t. Following sessions with the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s trained counsellors using their survivor-centred approach, Motuma is now in a much better mental space and has recovered sufficiently without having to resort to psychotropic medication, a treatment that he declined. He has started working again in the fields using the support of IOM’s other emergency relief projects. 

Slowly but surely, the psychosocial support counselling sessions helped restore his desire to live fully again by reactivating his personal resilience and by helping him dig deeper to find his inner strengths. As Motuma pieces his life together with his regained belief, he serves as an example how it is important to recognize that there is no gender or age divide in requiring or providing psychosocial support.  

“The need for psychosocial support for men, and appropriate services for them is often undermined by humanitarian organizations and donors, but men are as mentally affected as the rest of the community when it comes to displacement, and services should be inclusive,” said Marie Stéphanie Duvergé, Mental Health Psychosocial Project Coordinator for IOM Ethiopia.  

“In October, to mark World Mental Health Day, we shared the important message in our communication materials that Anyone Can Be Affected, But Everyone Can Heal," said Stéphanie Duvergé  adding that this year’s global message Working Together to Prevent Suicide rightly highlighted this concern. 

 *  Names and identifying details have been changed to protect the privacy of individuals. 

For more information, please contact Marie Stéphanie Duvergé  at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 6611117, or Alemayehu Seifeselassie, Tel: +251 11 6611117 (Ext. 1455), Mobile: +251 91 163 9082, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 15:51Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Ethiopia marked World Mental Health Day with the message, Anyone Can Be Affected, But Everyone Can Heal. 

IOM Ethiopia marked World Mental Health Day with the message, Anyone Can Be Affected, But Everyone Can Heal. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Humanitarian Aid Urgently Required in Areas Affected by Conflict in Syria: IOM Director General

Tue, 10/15/2019 - 10:02

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is deeply concerned by the rapidly deteriorating humanitarian situation in northern Syria, where heavy fighting is displacing hundreds of thousands of civilians. 

According to humanitarian partners, an estimated 190,000 people have fled their homes in northeast Syria since the latest round of military operations began last Wednesday.  

“All parties to the conflict must adhere to International Humanitarian Law. Humanitarians must be allowed access to the displaced in order to provide urgent medical and lifesaving assistance,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino. 

On Monday, IOM’s Rapid Assessment and Response Teams (RART) deployed to Sahela, in Iraq’s Kurdistan Region, and attended to a group of 182 people who fled the fighting across unofficial entry points. Two doctors and a psychologist were also present, to provide emergency medical and psychosocial care. The group was transported to existing camps where they said family and friends are already living.  

The Organization is prepared to scale up its humanitarian response in the region should more people become displaced and need assistance and safety. 

Many of Syria’s 6.1 million internally displaced have been repeatedly forced from their homes, in some cases after they have returned to their communities. Between May and August of this year, fighting displaced an estimated 400,000 Syrians in the northwest of the country. 

“The cycle of successive displacement is particularly concerning. Continued military operations will have devastating consequences for the seven million people living in Northern Syria,” DG Vitorino added. 

IOM has been supporting displaced Syrians and their host communities since the beginning of the crisis in 2011 and will continue to provide lifesaving assistance to those most in need. 

For more information, please contact: Paul Dillon, IOM Geneva. Tel.:  +41 22 717 94 31, Email: or Angela Wells at IOM Headquarters in Geneva, Tel: T. +41 22 717 9 435 +41 7940 35365, Email: 



Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 15, 2019 - 16:10Image: Region-Country: Syrian Arab RepublicThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

On Monday (14 October) at a processing centre in Sahela Village,182 Syrians who had crossed the border into Iraq were assisted by IOM. Photo: IOM/Vanessa Okoth-Obbo 

On Monday (14 October) at a processing centre in Sahela Village, IOM Iraq registered 182 Syrians who had crossed the border into Iraq. Photo: IOM/Vanessa Okoth-Obbo 

On Monday (14 October) at a processing centre in Sahela Village, IOM Iraq registered 182 Syrians who had crossed the border into Iraq. Photo: IOM/Vanessa Okoth-Obbo 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches USD10 Million Appeal to Respond to Hurricane Dorian Damage in The Bahamas

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 10:43

Nassau – A month after the landing of Hurricane Dorian, IOM has launched a USD 10 million appeal as the funding requirement from September 2019 until April 2020 to enhance its support to the government of The Bahamas related to the recovery efforts. The death toll after the Category-5 storm has increased to 61 persons and over 600 are still missing.

These funds would support IOM operations focusing on Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM); shelter and Non-Food Items (NFI); Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM); Integrated Registration System (SIRA); counter-trafficking; emergency evacuations; protection; disaster risk reduction; livelihoods, and public works. IOM has established already two offices in The Bahamas: Nassau (New Providence) and Marsh Harbour (Abaco), and plans to open a third one in Freeport (Grand Bahamas).

IOM is already supporting The Bahamas with funding from the Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA) of the US Agency for International Development (USAID), and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), representing USD 1.9 million of the appeal. These grants have enabled IOM to start debris removal in Abaco partnering with the NGO Community Organized Relief Effort (CORE).

“Hurricane Dorian caused widespread devastation on the islands of Abaco, from Marsh Harbour to the North, and Grand Bahama, from Pelican Point east to McLean’s Town, leaving behind a trail of destroyed infrastructure and clogged with debris from devastated houses, domestic goods, vehicles and natural debris like trees and mangroves uprooted by the storm surge,” said Nazif Aliu, IOM officer in Abaco. “We are removing over 100 cubic meters of debris daily. This operation is coordinated with the government of The Bahamas, through its emergency response agency NEMA, which is leading the organized planning of debris removal.”

The Government of The Bahamas has formally requested IOM support to relocate Bahamian citizens stranded in the United States after their evacuation following Hurricane Dorian.

Download the appeal here.

For more information please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 7203 6536, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: BahamasThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

In coordination with the Bahamas emergency response agency NEMA, IOM is removing over 100 cubic meters of debris daily. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Honduran Migrants Return from Mexico with IOM support

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 10:41

Matamoros The International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized a charter flight for 126 migrants who expressed their decision to return voluntarily to their country of origin. Fifty-three family groups comprising 33 men, 29 women and 64 children flew on Wednesday (09/10) from the city of Matamoros (Tamaulipas, Mexico) to San Pedro Sula (Honduras).

IOM deployed all efforts and collaborated closely with the Honduran Embassy in Mexico and with the National Migration Institute of Mexico to arrange for this first charter flight in its Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme.

In the days preceding departure, with the support of its Shelter Support programme and local partners, IOM provided migrants with accommodation and food. According to its internal protocols, IOM ensured that all migrants were made aware of all processes so that all decisions could be taken based on complete information. Further, IOM verifies that persons who express a desire to return do not face any immediate risks upon arrival.

“I made the decision to return to my country because of the situation I faced with my son; because promises made to us by the ‘coyotes’ are not fulfilled, and we risk our lives along the way,” said a young mother on board the flight. “When we finally crossed the border into the USA, they took us back to Matamoros in Mexico, where I spent eight days in a shelter. There, we saw IOM and we learned about different options. But I want to see my other daughter now, so I decided to return home.”

“Something I want to say is that if I ever migrate again, I will look for information before leaving, because many people simply give money which we do not really have to ‘coyotes’ or guides, who takes advantage of us,” said another Honduran migrant who decided to return due to the difficult conditions in the Mexican border city. “After considering our options, we found the shelter supported by IOM who helped us out by giving us food and a place to stay, and the possibility of return.”

“IOM has been providing support to shelters to increase their capacity along with the option of assisted voluntary returns by bus and commercial flights over the last months,” explained Christopher Gascon, IOM Chief of Mission in Mexico. “This is the first return by charter flight, which offers a better service to migrants who want to return home. We hope to provide many more charter flights in the weeks to come.”

The IOM Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme offers an alternative for an orderly, safe and dignified voluntary return for migrants. IOM offers humanitarian assistance to those who cannot or do not wish to remain in Mexico. Voluntariness is a key principle of IOM AVR programmes worldwide.

For more information please contact Cesia Chavarria at IOM Mexico, Tel: +52 1 55 1470 6379, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 - 16:50Image: Region-Country: MexicoThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Fifty-three family groups flew on Wednesday (10/09) from the city of Matamoros (Tamaulipas, Mexico) to San Pedro Sula (Honduras). Photo: IOM / Cesia Chavarria

IOM ensured that all migrants were aware of all processes so that all decisions could be taken based on complete information. Photo: IOM / Cesia Chavarria

IOM verified that migrants who decide to return do not face any immediate risks upon arrival. Photo: IOM / Cesia Chavarria

The IOM Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) programme offers an alternative for an orderly, safe and dignified voluntary return for migrants. Photo: IOM / Cesia Chavarria

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Career Changes Help Ukraine Displaced Survive – New IOM Survey

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 10:39

Kyiv – A trumpet player who became an industrial climber and a tech specialist now producing felt footwear – the conflict and related economic crisis in Ukraine steer people to make unexpected choices to earn their living.

This fact, and much more, were revealed in a new IOM survey on displacement, presented on this week (10/10) in Kyiv.

Six years on, the conflict in the east of the county has displaced over 1.4 million people. Most of them have found some paid work, and while only seven per cent of the economically active displaced population are unemployed, more than half of those who did find work were unable to find a job for a year or longer. Many have had to make drastic career changes to survive.

Maksym played the trumpet in the Kharkiv Philharmonic Orchestra, but the salary wasn’t enough for his needs. Returning to his native town of Hirnyk in the Donetsk Region was not an option due to lack of work and the general insecurity in the conflict-affected area. Maksym’s hobby was alpinism, so he decided to try his luck as an industrial climber. After receiving climbing safety equipment as a grant from IOM, he now paints and repairs buildings.

Nataliia came to Kharkiv from Donetsk, where, up to 2014 she was a successful website developer, specializing in search engine optimization. When she got to Kharkiv she knew no one, she had no work, and had to rent an apartment and provide for her elderly mother, and for a daughter who suffers from a heart disease.

Working with wool felt became a solution for Nataliia: first as therapy, then as a business. Nataliia took classes to improve her skills, and IOM granted her a professional sewing machine. Now she produces felt boots, shoes and slippers, selling them worldwide on the Internet.

The general situation with Internally Displaced Persons’ (IDPs) well-being in Ukraine remains complicated. One third of IDPs surveyed by IOM stated that they have funds enough only for food. Only 11 per cent reported having enough funds for basic and other needs and said they were able to save.

The average monthly income per IDP household member has increased from UAH 2,667 (about USD 97) in March to UAH 3,039 (about USD 115) in June 2019. However, it is still lower than the national Ukrainian average at UAH 4,895 (USD 186) and the actual subsistence level of UAH 3,761 (USD 143).

About 10 per cent of unemployed IDPs reported that when they had tried to get a job, they had ended up unpaid or working in conditions significantly worse than promised.

Government support remains the second most frequently mentioned source of income for IDPs. It has crucial importance for the economically inactive IDP population: pensioners, home managers, carers, students and people with disabilities.

“Reintegration of IDPs is one of the priorities of the Government of Ukraine,” said Oksana Koliada, Minister of Veterans Affairs, Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, at the presentation of the IOM report. “The new IOM survey will help us to identify what kind of support and services for IDPs we need to ensure in the near term.”

Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine Serhii Nizhynskyi noted that gaps in IDP integration remain a challenge. “Knowing the unemployment rates and understanding the obstacles to employment is an important precondition for an effective integration and for countering human trafficking and exploitation,” he said.

IOM has been conducting national surveys on the situation of IDPs in Ukraine since March 2016. In the latest, the 14th round, conducted in April–June 2019 with funding from the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), a total of 2,401 respondents were interviewed face-to-face, and 4,073 by telephone.

The full report is available here:

For more information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15, +38 067 447 97 92, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Former SEO specialist Nataliia became a successful craftswoman. Photo: IOM/Volodymyr Shuvayev

Industrial climbing is the second profession for trumpet player Maksym. Photo: IOM/Volodymyr Shuvayev

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Assists 142 Ethiopians Stranded in Djibouti to Return Home

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 10:39

Addis Ababa –The UN Migration Agency (IOM) assisted 142 stranded Ethiopians to safely return home from Djibouti on Tuesday 08 October 2019.

The returnees who were en-route to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia were stranded in Djibouti where smugglers abandoned them after robbing them of their money, leaving them with no means to continue their journey or return to Ethiopia.

“I worked as an assistant loader for a truck for two years to save four thousand birr (USD 135),” Edris Ahmed (name changed) told IOM. “We paid 2,000 birr (USD 70) for the smuggler to get us to Djibouti and we spent another 2,000 birr in Djibouti for food.”

This 17-year-old was traveling with fellow teenage Ethiopians from the Tigray Regional State. They were planning to go to Yemen, hoping to continue their journey to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to look for work.

“In Djibouti, we suddenly found ourselves with no means to get to Yemen: There was no boat to collect us as promised, and we had no idea where the smuggler was,” he added, explaining how he and five fellow teens ended up stranded.

So far in 2019, IOM has assisted 8,987 returnees who were stranded, an increase of 3,605 compared to the 5,382 returnees assisted in 2018. This year, IOM has assisted 1,897 unaccompanied migrant children to safely return home, including many whose treacherous journeys brought them into the middle of the conflict in Yemen. 

“I know of the hardships that the trip involves and about mishwar (being held for ransom) but I was not aware of the war in Yemen,” said  20 year-old Mohammed Jebel, a young man stranded in Djibouti for months.

Brought up in a family of five children in Wollo (Amhara Regional State), Moahmmed believed he had a  better chance for a prosperous future working in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, rather than work on the family’s farm or continue his education. Instead he was stuck in Djibo­­­uti. “I quit school at grade five; perhaps I will go back to school or find work back home,” he said, explaining his hopes for the future.

These returnees were assisted with accommodation at the IOM Emergency Migrant Response Centre in Djibouti and IOM Transit Centre in Addis Ababa, and were provided with transportation allowance so that they could reach their home.

As smugglers continue to target young men in Ethiopia, more and more migrants have been lured to travel through irregular means.

"In addition to the support it gives to vulnerable returning migrants, IOM carries out awareness raising sessions in areas that are prone to irregular migration. In collaboration with the Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, IOM was able to use awareness raising tools such as Community Conversations and reach out to more than five million people over the past five years,” said Malambo Moonga, IOM Ethiopia's Migration Management Unit Programme Head.

Despite these efforts, however, the number of Ethiopian migrants heading through the Eastern route through irregular means continues to increase.

Mr. Moonga added that IOM also implements livelihood support activities in migration-prone communities. “By providing additional livelihood options, we try to ensure that migration occurs as a choice and not as a necessity”. However, he admitted that the lack of funding for more livelihood programmes has rendered these efforts challenging.  

The assistance provided to returnees from Djibouti on October 8 was made possible through financial support from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark.

For more information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 6611117 (Ext. 1455), Mobile: +251 91 163 9082, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Ethiopian returnees from Djibouti playing table foosball at the IOM Transit Centre. Photo: IOM Ethiopia 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

“Supporting Brighter Futures”: IOM Launches Report on Young Women, Girls and Labour Migration

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 10:38

Geneva – On the International Day of the Girl Child, IOM recognizes the over 18 million female international migrants under 20 years of age who have embarked on migration journeys. Within this context, a new IOM report on young women and girls and labour migration in South-East Asia and the Pacific provides a timely contribution to understanding this phenomenon.

The IOM publication, Supporting Brighter Futures: Young Women and Girls and Labour Migration in South-East Asia and the Pacific, aims to give policy makers and practitioners evidence-based research on some of the most pressing and salient issues affecting the migration of young women and girls in these regions.

The report includes papers on various topics, including young women and girls as household providers, intergenerational migration and education, among other themes. Reflecting on his contribution to the report, Prof Roy Huijsmans remarked, “Migration and education are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Rather than having a policy focused on keeping girls and young women from moving, we might want to ask how we can support making this combination work better.”

Made possible through the support of the Gender Equality Branch of the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, Supporting Brighter Futures includes research from some of the leading experts in the field. Fundamentally, the report asserts that the migration of young women and girls must be recognized as a strategic topic, especially considering the increased mobility of the cohort.

To celebrate this day, IOM Senior Research Officer Celine Bauloz urged everyone to “recall the difficulties and the situation of vulnerability that girls may encounter,” before adding, “we need also to recognize their agency, their aspirations, and we need to empower them throughout the migration process.”

For more information, please contact Marie McAuliffe, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 22717 9371, mmcauliffe@iom.intor Adam Sawyer, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 22 717 9394, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Gender and MigrationLabour MigrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Belarus Broaden Cooperation on Voluntary Return

Fri, 10/11/2019 - 10:37

Minsk – This week (09/10) IOM Minsk, the Ministry of Interior and the State Border Committee of Belarus signed a Protocol of Intention on cooperation in the field of assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR).

AVRR is not defined yet in Belarusian legislation, which makes the Protocol a step forward in formalizing cooperation, identifying eligible migrants, describing the procedure and stipulating duties and obligations.

Information materials about AVRR were produced to accompany the signing of the Protocol. These include leaflets in English, Farsi, Bengali – the most common languages among migrants applying for AVRR in Belarus, as well as a video explaining the process.

Since the beginning of the year, 16 migrants have benefitted from AVRR.

“The Protocol we’ve just signed clearly defines the role of each party in the AVRR process and describes the referral mechanism,” commented Zeynal Hajiyev, Chief of IOM Mission in Belarus. “More importantly, the key purpose is to ensure the voluntariness of return. We assist migrants who face difficult situations and we have to make sure that they make well-informed decisions when they choose to return home.”

The Protocol and newly launched information campaign are further milestones in the implementation of the EU-funded project and building a migration management system in Belarus.

For more information please contact Olga Borzenkova at IOM Belarus, Tel: +375 17 2882742. Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, October 11, 2019 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: BelarusThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Zeynal Hajiyev, Chief of Mission IOM Belarus, signs the Protocol on AVRR watched by Nickolai Melchenko, Deputy Minister of the Interior, Republic of Belarus. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN