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Updated: 14 min 37 sec ago

Bamboo Treatment Plant Races to Repel Beetles Attacking Bangladesh Refugee Camps

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 06:36

Cox’s Bazar — Work has begun on one of the largest bamboo treatment plants ever installed in an emergency response, as IOM experts tackle a tiny insect that is devastating structures in the world’s biggest refugee settlement.

An infestation of “boring beetles” means the bamboo in almost every shelter in the Rohingya refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar – home to around 240,000 families – needs to be replaced. With just over four months to go until the beginning of the next monsoon season, the race is on to provide families living in the worst-affected shelters with new, more-durable bamboo.

To help meet the challenge, IOM has launched a new treatment facility in the south of Cox’s Bazar, which will be scaled up over coming weeks until it has the capacity to treat around 40,000 pieces of bamboo per month – sufficient to upgrade between 6,000 – 7,000 shelters.

“This is a major project, and one which will help ensure that the refugees do not have to live with the constant threat their shelters will collapse due to damaged bamboo,” said Manuel Pereira, IOM’s Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

Treatment at the plant relies on boron – a natural substance which will be filtered and recycled on site then reused to minimize environmental impact. Plant residue from the treatment process can be used as a fertilizer by nearby farms.

“We use bamboo because it’s cost effective and grows naturally in Bangladesh,” said Yoga Sofyar, a bamboo expert working with IOM, who helped establish the treatment plant. “But once the infestation became apparent, something had to be done. This affects many people and involves a significant amount of money, so we need an effective durable solution. But no one has done anything on this scale before. That has been the challenge.”

Almost a million Rohingya refugees are currently sheltering in Cox’s Bazar. They live in a rapidly constructed city of bamboo and tarpaulins built on the hills of a forested nature reserve in late 2017 after violence in Myanmar drove hundreds of thousands of people across the border into Bangladesh in just a few weeks.

During the emergency response in the weeks and months that followed, millions of pieces of bamboo were brought in from across the country to help build life-saving shelters and medical facilities. Bridges, steps and handrails were also built with bamboo to keep vital access ways open and to shore up vulnerable slopes.

But the scale and urgent need for supplies to upgrade shelters ahead of monsoon, meant organisations were forced to rely on young bamboo that is more susceptible to attack by insects.

“Even with the untreated bamboo IOM used, we would normally have expected the material to last between one to three years. But the infestation is so large and spread so quickly that within six months major damage had already taken place,” said Sofyar.

While the infestation was evident in the dusty residue that covered the bamboo under attack, identifying a solution was less easy. According to Sofyar, bamboo is a traditional construction material in Bangladesh, but its popularity has declined in recent years and there was not sufficient, high quality treated bamboo available.

The answer, IOM experts decided, was to treat the bamboo themselves. But first a suitable site had to be found, as well as a treatment method, that could practically be scaled up to meet the immense demand, with minimal environmental impact.

Following the identification of a site in the south of Cox’s Bazar – close enough to the camps to allow easy transportation, but outside the already overcrowded refugee settlement, a pilot project construction of the treatment facility was launched with funding from the UK, USA and Sweden. With the first four treatment tanks now operational, and a pilot project undertaken, expansion work is now underway.

Installation costs for the plant will be USD 500,000. Operational costs for the next 12 months to allow 100,000 families to upgrade the six core structural poles in their shelters will total USD 2 million.

The treatment extends the bamboo’s durability from months to many years. If shelters are taken down or moved, the treated bamboo can be reclaimed and reused for other purposes, according to Sofyar. “Once it is completed, this will be one of the largest bamboo treatment plants ever installed in an emergency response and we will share the knowledge and experience we have gained here with our partners in Bangladesh and other organisations around the world,” he noted.

The project has also been boosted by the efforts of Rohingya refugees working in a cash for work project. Many were skilled in bamboo craftmanship in Myanmar and are happy to be able to use techniques passed down to them through generations to use in their current situation.

“My father and grandfather used to work with bamboo and wood. In Myanmar I worked with my father and that is how I learned my skills,” said Mohammed Younus, one of the refugees working at the plant. “I feel good being able to do this work here and use my skills to earn some money for my family,” he added.

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel. +88 0 1733 335221, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, December 21, 2018 - 13:25Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Bamboo becomes insect-resistant when soaked in a chemical solution for 12 -14 days. Photo: IOM/Abdullah Mashrif

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

GMDAC Study: Better Evidence Needed to Inform Design and Implementation of Information Campaigns on Migration

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 06:34

Berlin A new report by IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) reveals the limited evidence base for information campaigns related to migration.

The report Evaluating the Impact of Information Campaigns in the Field of Migration reveals rigorous assessments of the effects different types of information campaigns may have on distinct target groups are rare – despite the widespread use of such campaigns targeted at potential migrants.

A 2017 IOM study revealed that over half of the migrants interviewed in IOM Niger transit centres in 2016 declared they did not collect information about migration before they left. Of those who did, 74 per cent reported that they were ill informed about the risks and, more generally, the conditions of the journey, and that they mostly relied on information from family and friends.

Migrants often start their journeys with little or biased information. They often end in vulnerable situations by becoming victims of smuggling or trafficking.

This new GMDAC report is based on a systematic literature review of 60 studies from four continents (Africa, the Americas, Asia and Europe), targeted at potential migrants and traffickers, as well as communities at large. GMDAC reviewed 60 evaluation reports of which approximately half were published.

Workshop-type activities and cable TV programmes or advertisements were the most popular communication tools for the campaigns featured in the 60 studies, GMDAC learned. Many of these evaluations reported the number and profiles of campaign recipients or beneficiaries; in most cases, however, impact was not directly measured. Much of available evaluations were based on anecdotal evidence or cross-sectional surveys of a small number of participants, sampled at convenience, meaning the results cannot be generalized.

The lack of a clearly defined objective and/or target group for the information campaigns is one of the most common issues limiting evaluation attempts.

Assessing the impact of information campaigns can be methodologically difficult and costly, due to the intensive data collection required. However, robust evidence and systematic data collection are crucial to helping policy makers design more effective information campaigns on migration that meet the information needs of relevant target groups and, as such, reduce risks and vulnerabilities for migrants during their journeys.

Rigorous and transparent impact evaluations are needed to promote shared learning in this field. “Improving the evidence on the impact of information campaigns should be incentivized and more evaluations should be made public, regardless of their results,” said Jasper Tjaden, co-author of the study.

More rigorous impact evaluations are in line with Objective 3 of the recently adopted Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, which stresses the importance of providing “accurate and timely information at all stages of migration” and calls for more “evidence-based information campaigns.”

This report is part of the Central Mediterranean Route (CMR) Thematic Report Series, launched by IOM’s GMDAC with the aim of providing accurate, comprehensive and policy-oriented information on key issues related to migration on the Central Mediterranean Route.

The series is published as part of the Safety, Support and Solutions programme implemented by IOM, funded by the UK’s Department for International Development (DfID).

For more information please contact IOM GMDAC’s Jasper Dag Tjaden, Tel: +4930 27877822, Email: or Stylia Kampani, Tel: +493027877816, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, December 21, 2018 - 13:15Image: Region-Country: GermanyThemes: Migration ResearchDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, UNICEF, Release Results of New Flow Monitoring Exercise of Venezuelans in Perú

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 06:26

Lima – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) released the results of the fourth round of the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) about refugees and migrants from Venezuela in Perú this week (18/12).

The DTM, which was implemented between September and October this year, has information about the profile of the Venezuelans, their level of education and work experience, migratory routes and documentation, as well as a protection analysis.

The survey was implemented in the main official border points of arrival and departure: Tumbes, border with Ecuador, and Santa Rosa, in the border with Chile, where 2,148 people were surveyed.

Thanks to the technical collaboration of the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), this survey included a section to learn about the characteristics of children and adolescents under 18 who are in transit. In addition, the interviewees were asked about the minors they left in Venezuela.

Among its main results, the survey shows that there is a slightly higher representation of males (53%) over females (47%) in the group of Venezuelans. The majority are young adults of active working age who have completed higher education levels in the areas of administration, science and engineering, and education.

The time spent on the routes of Peruvian cities before leaving Tacna ranges between 3 and 12 months. During their stay, most of the people surveyed perform some work activity, with an average salary of 309 US dollars, which varies by sex. Women earn 17 per cent less than men do.

Regarding the Venezuelans who stayed in a city for more than 30 days on the route, 46 per cent in Tumbes stated they had been discriminated, while in Tacna it was 39 per cent. The main reason for discrimination was their nationality.

According to the analysis carried out, the Venezuelans who arrive in Perú through Tumbes region are in an increasingly vulnerable situation. That is why they need assistance to cover their basic needs regarding food, hygiene, temporary accommodation and transportation to the cities of destination.

Additionally, according to the survey, Venezuelans need information about migration procedures, asylum application processes, access to health, education and work.

Almost a quarter of the groups of the Venezuelans surveyed travelled with a girl, boy or adolescent. The 38 per cent travelled with two or more minors, half of which were under 5 years old.

The possibility of presenting different documents to enter Perú has been a protection measure for minors, guaranteeing the preservation of union of the family, according to the people surveyed.

Perú is considered both a transit and a permanent country. The main cities of destination are Lima, La Libertad, Arequipa, Ancash and Tumbes.

The DTM activity was funded by the US State Department Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and the United Nations Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

Download the full DTM report: here.

For more information please contact Inés Calderón, IOM Perú, Tel: +51 997 580 915, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, December 21, 2018 - 13:10Image: Region-Country: PeruThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

World Renowned Film Director Sissako Joins IOM Mauritania For International Migrants Day

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 06:24

Nouakchott – On 18 December, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mauritania commemorated International Migrants’ Day in four transit migration-prone cities simultaneously. Distinguished guests at the Institut Français in Nouakchott included the internationally-acclaimed director of Timbuktu Abderrahmane Sissako, as well as representatives of IOM’s implementing partners, national authorities, migrants and members of the international community.

The evening started in Nouakchott with the screening of three short films – Integration, Yacine and Welcome –produced by local youth aged between 10 and 18 years old.

“Migrants are humans and they have the same rights as we do,” said Fatima, one of the young film makers whose movie was part of the official selection. Fatima took part in a three-week training on filmmaking around the theme Vivre Ensemble (“live together”) funded by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

Mauritania, situated along the Western Mediterranean Route, is increasingly considered as a transit country for migrants hoping to reach Morocco and Europe. In this context, Sissako’s 2002 drama Heremakono (Waiting for Happiness) was also screened and followed by a debate among the 250 participants.

The film depicts stories of young migrants in Nouadhibou, one of the key transit points along the Western Mediterranean route. Sissako, a migrant himself, engaged the audience in a rich debate around the concepts of exile, homeland, return and reintegration into one’s society.

“These workshops are an innovative way of engaging students in the subject of migration and are part of IOM Mauritania’s broader awareness-raising campaign,” said Laura Lungarotti, IOM Mauritania Chief of Mission.

In Sebkha, on the outskirts of Nouakchott, a movie screening and a discussion on migration were also organized with local partners at a cultural youth centre where more than 300 young people were present.

“Mauritanian youth should invest in vocational training and education as well as have confidence in their future in the country,” said the Inspector of the Ministry of Youth and Sports of Sebkha.

Aside from Nouakchott, IOM celebrated International Migrants Day in Nema, Selibabi and Nouadhibou – where the organization has sub-offices. Each town hosted a film screening as well as cultural and social activities, with an average of 200 participants among migrants, national authorities and key stakeholders working on migration.

For more information please contact Alexandra Schmitz at IOM Mauritania:

Language English Posted: Friday, December 21, 2018 - 13:05Image: Region-Country: MauritaniaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Teenagers attended a three-week filmmaking training in Mauritania. Photo: Ciré Ly

Teenagers attended a three-week filmmaking training in Mauritania. Photo: Ciré Ly

Film Director Sissako celebrated International Migrants Day in Mauritania. Photo: Ciré Ly

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 16,000 Cinephiles Visit CinemArena in Nigeria

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 06:21

Benin City – Wednesday (19/12) marked the official end of the CinemArena movie caravan in Nigeria. A total of 16,700 people attended 28 shows across the country, in Lagos, Benin and Delta States – the first-ever screenings organized by the caravan in Nigeria.

CinemArena is an itinerant education and information programme that aims to raise awareness of the risks of irregular migration and share information about opportunities for potential migrants in their home countries. The project is supported by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Development (AICS). Currently the caravan is in Nigeria carrying out its activities before it tours The Gambia, Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Sudan in 2019.

This year’s theme for the CinemArena is ‘irregular migration’. In Nigeria, over 11,500 stranded migrants have voluntarily returned home since April 2017, predominantly from Libya and Niger, under the auspices of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. Events also included workshops, theatre, dancing and other performances in both rural and urban settings.

The grand finale had 550 attendees including 15 stakeholders from Edo State Taskforce against Human Trafficking, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment. Attendee Okojie Joy urged IOM not to relent in the enlightenment campaign on the risk of irregular migration. “To reduce the occurrence of irregular migration, government should provide basic amenities for Nigerian citizens and returned migrants should not be left to roam the streets,” she said. "Jobs should be created for people.”

“[NAPTIP] and IOM are coming to deepen your understanding of the issues, to let you see the dangers inherent in you travelling irregularly and equally give you information on the right and correct way of migrating if you must,” said Muhammed Momoh, National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) Coordinator of Lagos State, in his opening address.

During the launch in Benin City Chylian Azuh and Samuel Akanni, two Nigerian returnees from Libya, shared their testimonies with the audience. As part of the CinemArena activities in Lagos, close to 130 participants watched Granma, a short film produced by the Aware Migrants project.

CinemArena’s journey was followed by Overland, a production company based in Italy contracted by IOM to provide technical support throughout the implementation period.

The caravan arrived in Nigeria during the third edition of the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF), which featured documentaries and films that capture stories of migration, and the unique contributions that migrants make to their new communities. In Nigeria, the GMFF held screenings of Bushfallers – A Journey of Chasing Dreams in Abuja, Benin City and Lagos. The documentary, directed by Nils Benjamin Keding, tries to elucidate the motivations of young Africans to migrate. The film festival was in line with the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, which aims to promote safe migration through community sensitization on irregular migration and human trafficking.

The 2018 edition of CinemArena is the result of a new collaboration between AICS, the Italian Ministry of Interior and IOM; it creates synergies with the Aware Migrants project which aims to inform migrants of the potential risks of the journey across the desert and the Mediterranean Sea.

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo, IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 803 645 2973, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, December 21, 2018 - 12:55Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Attendees at the CinemArena. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 113,145 in 2018; Deaths Reach 2,242

Fri, 12/21/2018 - 06:21

Geneva IOM, the International Organization for Migration, reports that 113,145 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 19 December. This year is the fifth straight during which the arrival of irregular migrants and refugees has topped the 100,000 threshold – although 2018’s total is low compared to those recorded at this time in 2017 (168,258) and 2016 (359,160). See Table 1

IOM Italy

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Thursday noted that all seaborne irregular arrivals to Italy through almost three weeks of December total just 115 men, women and children – indicating arrivals this month will likely be the lowest of any month since 2013. Arrivals for the entire Mediterranean region remain lower – by almost 7,000 people – than all arrivals last year to Italy alone. Through this date in 2017, Italy recorded 118,914 irregular arrivals of sea-borne migrants and refugees. Arrivals to Italy from North Africa this year are 23.126. 

IOM Spain

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday 56,480 irregular migrants have reached Spain’s Mediterranean coasts through 19 December – a rate exceeding 1,000 per week through the year. Arrivals to Spain this year through 19 December account for 49.93 per cent of all Mediterranean irregular arrivals to Spain, Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Malta. With 12 days remaining in December, and arrivals this month to Spain averaging almost 160 persons daily, Spain may well surpass 58,000 arrivals for the year and likely account for over 50 per cent of all irregular arrivals in the region in 2018.

IOM Greece

IOM Greece reported Thursday (20/12/2018) that from Tuesday 18 December up to yesterday, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least one incident requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Samos. The HCG rescued a total of 44 migrants and transferred them to that island.

Those 44 – plus 243 arriving in Symi, Kos, Samos and Lesvos – bring to 31,310 the total number of irregular migrant sea arrivals to Greece through 19 December this year. That surpasses the total (29,501) arriving by sea through all last year (see Table 8.b). Additionally, over 16,600 irregular migrants have arrived this year in Greece by land.

IOM Cyprus

IOM Cyprus’ Dimitrios Tsagalas reported the arrivals last Thursday (13 December) of four migrants, all adult males from Syria, who turned themselves in at a Nicosia police stations. This week he reported two more arrivals. On Monday (17 December) 13 people – a Somali family described as “one female and 12 children|” was reported in Larnaca. On Wednesday (19 December) IOM Cyprus reported none males – eight Syrians, one from Iran) were reported at a police station in Nicosia. These latest arrivals bring to 1035 the number of irregular migrants arriving on the island from elsewhere in the Mediterranean. This is the second consecutive year such arrivals have surpassed 1,000 individuals (See chart below).

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported Thursday the Mediterranean region continues to account for most deaths recorded globally, with 2,218 migrant deaths and disappearances recorded through 19 December 2018. However, MMP researchers insist any comparison between regions must take note of variations in data quality, and the caveat that data for some regions are highly incomplete.

Missing Migrants Project

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 3,456 people who have died or gone missing on migratory routes across the globe 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.

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 21, 2018 - 12:48Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

GMDAC: Over 6,600 Migration Deaths Recorded in Africa Since 2013 ‘Just the Tip of the Iceberg’

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 09:28

Berlin – Today (18/12) IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) will publish records from hundreds of eyewitness reports of deaths during migration in Africa, bringing the total number of deaths recorded on the continent to 1,386 this year.

MMP researchers explain that with these latest data, the total number of deaths of migrants confirmed on the continent is an estimated 6,615 in just the last five years.

The new records added today to 2018’s total – amounting to information on 1,014 previously unknown fatalities – are based on surveys conducted by the Mixed Migration Centre’s Monitoring Mechanism Initiative (4Mi). However, 4Mi’s surveys represent only a small fraction of the overall number of people on the move in Africa – meaning that these thousands of deaths are likely a substantial undercount of the true number. 

In the absence of official, systematic and intraregional information sources on migration flows in Africa, surveys such as those conducted by 4mi reveal important information about the experiences – including significant risks – that people face on routes within the continent.

Though much African migration is regular and takes places within Africa itself, the newly published evidence underscores the monumental risks that migrants can face on their journeys, and just how little we know about them.

“When people don’t have access to legal migration routes and few reliable records exist, would-be migrants face vulnerability at the hands of human traffickers and smugglers,” said Dr. Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Data Analysis Centre in Berlin, where the Missing Migrants Project is based.

Many of the deaths recorded by the Missing Migrants Project are concentrated on routes used by smugglers. Most migration deaths reported within Africa appear to have occurred while migrants are en route to Libya: deaths recorded since 2014 are predominately in the Sahara Desert, northern Niger, southern Libya, and northern Sudan.

The main causes of death recorded indicate that many migrant deaths in Africa are preventable. Starvation, dehydration, physical abuse, sickness and lack of access to medicines are causes of death frequently cited by the migrants who reported deaths on routes within Africa. Involvement with human smugglers and traffickers in human beings can put people in extremely risky situations in which they have little agency to protect themselves, let alone fellow travellers they see being abused.

It is nearly impossible to verify the identities of those who reportedly died or where they intended to migrate.  Missing Migrants Project data identify the deaths of 1,275 men, 534 women and 336 children and teens – which is less than one third of the 6,615 fatalities recorded in Africa in the last five years.  Beyond the age and gender of this small proportion of the dataset, little more is known about the deceased.

What is known is that the proportion of migrants who reportedly witnessed the death of a fellow traveller is alarmingly high: 16 per cent of migrants interviewed by 4Mi in East Africa in 2018 reported having done so, as well as 12 per cent of those surveyed in North Africa. Just under 6 per cent of those surveyed in West Africa had similarly witnessed a death.

Multiple interviewees reported witnessing the deaths of their fellow migrants on several occasions. Very little support is provided to migrants who have witnessed such traumatic events.

“People who witness fellow migrants die often have no way to report what they have seen, not to mention experiencing significant psychosocial stress,” said Dr. Laczko.  “When you consider that survey results may be the only evidence of these deaths, it is clear that these records represent the tip of the iceberg and that the human loss of life is of unknown proportions.”

While survey data represent one of the few sources of information on deaths during migration in Africa, they are largely unverifiable. However (as IOM recommends in its most recent volume of the  Fatal Journeys report series), in areas where few institutions collect data on missing migrants – or where access is an issue – surveys can provide crucial data on deaths and the risks people face during migration.

The Missing Migrants Project records migrant deaths that take place during migration journeys, which means that the deaths of people in detention centres, those who are displaced in their own country or whose deaths may be connected to their irregular status in other countries, are not included.  Reports of missing people are also not included. To avoid double counting the same incidents, IOM staff do not record reports that may be duplicates.

However, the lack of official and unofficial reports on deaths during migration and the relatively small number of migrants surveyed in Africa indicate that MMP data in Africa represent a minimum estimate of the true number of migrant deaths. 

For the latest data on migrant deaths in Africa, visit the Missing Migrants Project website here. Anonymized Missing Migrants Project data can be downloaded from

For more information please contact:  Julia Black, Missing Migrants Project. Tel: +49 3027-8778 27. Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 15:25Image: Region-Country: GermanyThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

An estimated 6,615 deaths during migration reported in Africa in the last five years. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Star-studded Award Ceremony for Global Migration Film Festival in Cairo

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 09:24

Cairo – Today, on International Migrants Day, the Global Migration Film Festival draws to a close at the historic Al-Manial Palace in Cairo, Egypt, culminating the most successful edition held so far. 

A truly worldwide festival run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in partnership with United Nations Information Centres worldwide, it has already seen 558 screenings take place in 161 cities and over 103 countries, a number that is up 50 per cent from last year. 

Drawing on volunteers from the IOM and its partners wherever it takes place, this year’s festival showcases dramas, comedies, as well as gritty documentaries that bring the reality of the migrant experience to the silver screen. Over 800 films were submitted for possible inclusion in this year’s festival, IOM’s third. 

IOM’s regional office for the Middle East, one of nine such offices globally, hosts this year’s festival under the auspices of Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA).

 “We selected Cairo to be the first capital outside IOM’s Geneva headquarters to host the closing awards ceremony of this important festival in recognition of Egypt’s leading cultural and political role in the Middle East and North Africa region as well as in the African continent, and in particular its leadership in migration governance,” said Carmela Godeau, IOM Regional Director for MENA. 

Opening the ceremony in Cairo is a live music show, followed by welcoming addresses by high-level governmental and IOM representatives, and the award ceremony. 

The event’s Guest of Honour will be Egyptian superstar and UN Goodwill Ambassador Yosra. “I am proud to support such a great initiative highlighting the important role cinema plays in building bridges through telling stories that give viewers a glimpse into the lives, circumstances and feelings of others.” said Yosra.  

The evening will also include side photo exhibitions by IOM and the United Nations Information Center (UNIC). 

Al-Manial Palace is said to have been built for Prince Mohammad Ali between 1899 and 1929. He had the Palace designed in a style integrating European Art Nouveau and Rococo with many traditional Islamic architecture styles including Ottoman, Moorish, and Persian. Historically, the Prince’s family had hosted lectures, concerts and poetry readings in the vast venue and gardens.  

The palace and estate have been preserved by the Antiquities Council, as a historic house, museum and estate, reflecting the settings and lifestyle of the late 19th- and early 20th-century Egyptian royal family. 

“We’re pleased to host the GMFF closing ceremony at such a historic and culturally vibrant venue; and to honour the aesthetic of the place we’ve tailored a lively and culturally bound evening. Our ceremony will bring together a big number of celebrities with governmental representatives, diplomats, United Nations representatives, international partners, and the private sector,” said Laurent De Boeck, IOM Egypt’s Chief of Mission. 

Updates will be provided throughout the day on the following platforms: 

  • RO Cairo’s Social Media Pages: Twitter: @IOM_MENA; Facebook: @IOM.MENA
  • IOM Egypt’s Social Media Pages: Twitter: @iominegypt; Facebook: @IOMEgypt 

For more information, please contact Farah Abdul Sater, Tel: +201060351567, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 15:50Image: Region-Country: EgyptThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Bangladeshi Survivors of Andaman Sea Crisis Find New Livelihoods in Hydroponic Farming

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 09:18

Dhaka – IOM has established three large-scale vegetable farms equipped with hydroponic farming technologies to support the sustainable economic reintegration of a group of Bangladeshi migrants who returned home after the 2015 Andaman Sea crisis. 

During the crisis, thousands of young Bangladeshis left the country by sea in search of better job opportunities in Malaysia. Many fell into the hands of traffickers and smugglers and suffered terrible exploitation and abuse. Eventually, IOM, in partnership with the Bangladeshi, Malaysian, Thai and Indonesian authorities, managed to help 2,813 of them to return home. 

IOM then supported 200 returnees with psychosocial counselling and reintegration assistance, which led to the creation of a community-based social enterprise model called Returnees Economic Development (RED). 

The hydroponic vegetable farms were established through RED and operate in a shared ownership business model, jointly owned by the returnees and a managing local entity. While the local partner organizations serve as a managing body, over 80 per cent of the shares are held by the returnees, giving them ownership and the stability needed to sustain the project in the long run. 

“One particular issue returnees face is the lack of sustainable solutions that help them to become more resilient and self-dependent,” said Sharon Dimanche, IOM’s Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh. “Through RED, these returnees are brought into a business cycle that increases their accountability and efficiency in the long run due to its unique structure.” 

Hydroponics, which allow farmers to grow crops in greenhouses faster than traditional methods, without using soil or chemical fertilizers, is relatively new to Bangladesh. Each farm involved a capital investment of approximately USD 8,300 and is expected to break even within three to four years.  

Despite efforts to promote safe, orderly, demand-driven migration, many poor Bangladeshis continue to opt for irregular land and sea routes. The reasons often include lack of information and exploitation by unscrupulous middlemen.   

For more information please contact Chowdhury Asif Mahmud Bin Harun at IOM Bangladesh, Email:, Tel. +880 1755509476

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 15:45Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

A hydroponic vegetable farm in Narshingdi, Bangladesh produces 4.2 tonnes of vegetables every three months. Photo: IOM 2018 

A hydroponic vegetable farm in Narshingdi, Bangladesh produces 4.2 tonnes of vegetables every three months. Photo: IOM 2018 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Help Us Help More Lets IOM Supporters Assist Vulnerable Venezuelans

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 09:16

Geneva – In line with the global theme for International Migrants Day 2018, Migration with Dignity, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) calls on the public to take action and help support vulnerable migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean.

With rising demands of the global migration crisis, IOM is reaching out to sympathetic and motivated allies of migrants to be part of the solution. First of a series of IOM’s call-to-action campaigns, Help us, Help more will share stories of dignity, strength and resilience of migrants on the move, and will encourage individuals to support vulnerable migrants along their journeys through online donations.

There are three million refugees and migrants from Venezuela, of which 2.4 million have left their homes and livelihoods behind, in the last three years, in search of a better future. Traveling by air, road or on foot, on average 5,500 Venezuelans have been leaving the country every day in 2018.

Emily Durán, 39, from Valencia, Venezuela, travelled over 1,700 kilometres to Cali, Colombia, where she was making a temporary stop before heading to the Colombia-Ecuador border town of Ipiales. There IOM spoke to her about her six-week long journey. Her story is one of many thousands:

“There were many difficult times on the way,” she explained. “I walked from Cúcuta to Cali… We had to sleep on the streets and had to keep walking for kilometres. It felt like we would never arrive.”

Watch the full interview here

Most of the refugees and migrants from Venezuela have opted to stay in Colombia. Nonetheless, many are like Durán, and are making plans to move onward to Ecuador, Perú, Chile or Argentina. Brazil, México, and select Central American and Caribbean countries also have received Venezuelans. These trends are likely to continue in 2019.

“Some days I wish I hadn’t left my country, just to face even more troubles,” adds Durán about her hardship due to her displacement. IOM missions in the field provide lifesaving assistance to Venezuelan refugees and migrants through distribution of food, medicine, and emergency kits. In some countries IOM works to assist Venezuelans seeking temporary housing, in other countries IOM operates transit shelters. Family reunification and cultural integration of Venezuelans, also part of IOM’s mission, help ease the transition into their new lives.

Host communities and government have been generous with their support. But we need to do more: Help us, Help more

For more information please contact Deepika Nath at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41766302529, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 15:40Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM encourages individuals to support vulnerable migrants along their journeys through online donations. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Afghanistan Launches National Referral Mechanism and Online Database to Combat Human Trafficking

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 09:14

Kabul – Afghanistan, with support from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and IOM, has launched a National Referral Mechanism and Trafficking in Persons (TIP) Online Database to strengthen counter-trafficking protection measures in the country. Participants at Sunday’s (16/12) Kabul launch included Afghan government officials from the High Level Trafficking in Persons Commission, representatives of counter-trafficking-related national and international NGOs, UN agencies and media. 

“By passing a new trafficking law, finalizing the national referral mechanism and developing an online database of victims, we have created a good foundation to respond to human trafficking in a more comprehensive way. I hope this will assist victims of trafficking with services they deserve,’’ said Afghan Justice Minister and the Chair of the TIP High Commission Dr. Abdul Basir Anwar. “All stakeholders in Afghanistan need to work together to protect victims and prosecute traffickers,” he noted. 

USAID Acting Deputy Mission Director Elizabeth Chambers told delegates that women, men and children from economically marginalized communities are at the greatest risk of trafficking in Afghanistan. 

“Trafficking in persons affects the most vulnerable in our societies, particularly women and youth.  USAID and the US government will continue to stand with the Afghan people against these horrific practices that undermine the rule of law, corrupt global commerce, foster gender inequality and threaten global security,” she said. 

IOM Afghanistan Chief of Mission and Special Envoy Laurence Hart noted that due to the absence of a centralized national database and referral mechanism, counter-trafficking stakeholders in Afghanistan are often not able to identify, refer and assist the victims of trafficking properly. 

“This national referral mechanism and online database will help the Afghan government strengthen protection measures and effectively implement the new law to combat the trafficking and smuggling of people,” he said. 

The US State Department’s Trafficking in Persons Report 2018 noted that Afghanistan is a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sexual exploitation. More internal than cross-border trafficking occurs in Afghanistan. But in recent years IOM has observed a steady increase in young women trafficked to Afghanistan from neighboring countries, notably Pakistan. 

Most Afghan victims of trafficking are women and children. While women are subjected to sexual and non-sexual exploitation, children are largely trafficked to work in carpet weaving and brick factories, domestic servitude, as bacha bazi (dancing boys) or for forced begging. Victims are often sold by economically desperate families or kidnapped. As elsewhere, traffickers frequently subject their victims to coercion, violence and emotional abuse. Once abroad, traffickers usually confiscate their victims’ travel documents, highlighting the importance of trans-border cooperation to identify and assist victims. 

For more information please contact Eva Schwoerer at IOM Afghanistan. Tel: + 93 729 229 129.  Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 16:13Image: Region-Country: AfghanistanThemes: Human SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

Afghan, USAID and IOM officials launch the National Referral Mechanism and TIP Online Database in Kabul. Photo: IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 111,558 in 2018; Deaths Reach 2,217

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 09:13

Geneva – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, reports that 111,558 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 16 December. This year is the fifth straight during which the arrival of irregular migrants and refugees has topped the 100,000 threshold – although 2018’s total is low compared to those recorded at this time in 2017 (167,916) and 2016 (358,018)  (See Table 1). 

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 2,217 people have died this year crossing the Mediterranean on one of three major sea routes. The Mediterranean continues to account for the clear majority of deaths recorded globally. However, it is important to note that there are few reliable sources of information on deaths during migration, which means that data for some regions – including the Mediterranean – are likely incomplete.

In the Western Mediterranean, Spanish rescue services retrieved the body of a man 28 miles off the coast of Ceuta, Spain on 6 December. The Missing Migrants Project team has documented the deaths of 744 people in the waters between North Africa and Spain, compared with 224 on this route through the full year 2017. The team reports that there has been a consistent increase in the number of migrant deaths recorded in the Western Mediterranean each year since IOM began keeping track.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 4,476 people who have died or gone missing on migratory routes across the globe in 2018 (see Table 3).

In the Americas, two deaths have been added to the MMP data base since last week. On 8 December, a seven-year-old girl from Guatemala died shortly after crossing the border into New Mexico. She had travelled through Mexico to the US southern border with her father, with the aim of seeking asylum in the US. She died in a hospital in El Paso, Texas of dehydration and septic shock. On 12 December, the body of a man was found on the Río Bravo near Miguel Alemán, in Mexico’s state of Tamaulipas.

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

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

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 15:30Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Nepali Local Government Partner to Build Multi-Purpose Evacuation Centre

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 09:01

Kathmandu – IOM and Changu Narayan Municipality in Bhaktapur District in the Kathmandu Valley have begun work on a multi-purpose evacuation centre to accommodate displaced people in the event of a disaster.

The initiative is part of an IOM project: People to People Support for Building Community Resilience through Recovery and Reconstruction in Nepal (P2P) funded by the Royal Thai Government.  

Earthquakes strike with special ferocity in this mountainous country. The 2015 earthquakes in Nepal displaced approximately 2.8 million people. Some 117,700 people in the 14 worst affected districts were forced to find shelter in makeshift camps. The year before, in August 2017, incessant rainfall resulted in flooding across 35 of Nepal’s 77 districts. More than 190,000 houses were destroyed or partially damaged, displacing tens of thousands of people and rendering many homeless.

In August 2008, Nepal was hit by floods that affected 42,765 persons within 7,563 households in the eastern districts of Sunsari and Saptari, following the collapse of the Koshi River embankment – Asia's largest river basin.

Thai Ambassador to Nepal Bhakavat Tanskul, IOM Chief of Mission Paul Norton and Changu Narayan Municipality Mayor Som Prasad Mishra attended the ground-breaking ceremony, which took place last Friday (14 December) at Helmet Danda, Bhaktapur. District officials and representatives of the Ministry of Urban Development, the Armed Forces and the community also participated.

Addressing the event, Ambassador Bhakavat said: “Today’s ground-breaking ceremony is an auspicious moment for our two countries. It represents Thailand’s support to strengthen disaster risk reduction and empower Nepali people in (this) disaster-prone area… The funds for this project came from the Thai people under the Thai Heart for Nepal programme to help Nepal recover from the 2015 earthquake."

“Post-earthquake reconstruction work in Nepal is an opportunity to incorporate risk reduction measures, while rebuilding damaged infrastructure to eliminate pre-existing vulnerabilities. We have to increase resilience to future hazards in this highly disaster-prone country,” said IOM Chief of Mission Paul Norton.

“This pre-designated, multi-hazard resistant community centre will be used to host displaced people, giving priority to the most vulnerable, including pregnant women, children, people with special needs and the elderly,” he added.

The centre will also serve as a venue for community activities, including women’s and youth groups, community-based training, recreational pursuits, adult literacy classes, information dissemination and income generating activities.

In the Kathmandu Valley open spaces previously identified by the authorities with support from IOM immediately became camp cities. Some remaining infrastructure such as schools and community buildings were also used for immediate shelter, medical and humanitarian assistance.

Changu Narayan Municipality Mayor Som Prasad Mishra said that the evacuation centre would be another stepping stone towards his municipality’s commitment to build a disaster-resilient community. He thanked Thailand and IOM for their support for the municipality’s disaster preparedness, disaster risk reduction and resilience efforts.

IOM plans to build similar multi-purpose structures in seven other municipalities in earthquake affected districts – Kathmandu, Lalitpur, Gorkha, Dhading, Rasuwa, Sindhupalchowk and Dolakha. UNDP and other humanitarian agencies have agreed to provide water, sanitation and hygiene facilities.

For more information please contact:
Paul I. Norton at IOM Nepal, Tel: +97714426250, Email: Or Ministry of Urban Development, Department of Urban Development & Building Construction, Tel: +977 1 4211673, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 15:59Image: Region-Country: NepalThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM, Thai and Nepali officials take part in the groundbreaking ceremony for an evacuation center at Changu Narayan Municipality in Bhaktapur District, Nepal. Photo: IOM 2018 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Holds Workshop on Alternatives to Detention in Libya

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 08:59

Tripoli – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), with technical support from the International Detention Coalition (IDC), ran a workshop, Practices and Procedures of Alternatives to Detention in Libya, last week in Tripoli. 

Stakeholders from the Ministry of Social Affairs, Ministry of Interior (DCIM), the Libyan Coast Guard and embassies of countries of origin of migrants in Libya discussed alternatives to detention (ATD) in Libya to enhance early identification and protection of vulnerable migrants, particularly for unaccompanied and separated children. 

In a context where migrants residing in or transiting through Libya are frequently transferred to detention centres, IOM seeks to promote and operationalize alternatives that allow for a more rights-based and protection-sensitive management of migration flows. 

Officials from the Ministry of Social Affairs shared IOM’s concern about the continued detention of children and encouraged a closer collaboration with IOM and the Ministry of Interior to end the detention of children. 

‘’It is important to uphold basic child protection principles, such as the right to a safe learning environment,” said Mabrouka al-Ouzoumi, Head of the Women Welfare Department in the Ministry of Social Affairs. She called on the humanitarian community to work with Libyan authorities to establish alternatives to detention for children. 

During the workshop, participants discussed practical procedures for identifying and transferring migrants from disembarkation points and detention centres to alternative housing. They put forward concrete recommendations to a draft strategic roadmap on alternatives to detention. 

IOM Libya and IDC began co-drafting this roadmap in 2018 to address the arbitrary detention of migrants and identify alternatives to detention. 

‘’Complementing our ongoing work, the new strategy includes advocacy and coordination, capacity building and technical support and operationalising alternatives to detention on the ground. It is designed to support the most vulnerable migrants in extremely challenging situations,’’ said Insaf Mounadi, IOM Libya’s Protection Officer on Alternatives to Detention. 

In partnership with IDC, IOM also briefed the participants on the six-month capacity-building plan on alternatives to detention for Libyan officials and consular authorities. A series of courses will train frontline staff to conduct vulnerability assessments and screen migrants eligible for alternatives. 

This workshop, funded by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development, makes way for the increased focus IOM will place on alternatives to detention in 2019. 

For more information please contact Maya Abu Ata at IOM Libya, Tel: +218 91 002 4839, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 15:20Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

Karolina Edsbacker, IOM Libya’s Protection Officer, facilitating the workshop. Photo: IOM/Elnakua 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Norway Supports Voluntary Return and Reintegration of Stranded Migrants in Morocco

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 08:58

Marrakech – Merethe Nergaard, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Norway, and Ana Fonseca, Chief of Mission of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Morocco signed an agreement to award a grant of NOK 4,000,000 (approx. EUR 400,000) to IOM as a contribution to the ‘RAISE’ programme (Voluntary Return and Reintegration for Stranded Migrants in Morocco). 

“We are pleased to continue our support to RAISE, contributing to IOM and Morocco's efforts to assist stranded migrants who wish to return to their home country,” said Marianne Hagen, State Secretary at the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. She headed the Norwegian delegation to the intergovernmental conference to adopt the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). Hagen, together with António Vitorino, Director General of IOM, attended the signing of the agreement. 

Morocco has over the years become a key location on the perilous journey of thousands of migrants, mostly from sub-Saharan countries, to Europe. Migrants fleeing poverty, lack of opportunities or increasing violence continue to arrive in Morocco, making the North African country both a destination and transit country. However, many of these migrants end up being stranded in Morocco, leaving them vulnerable to becoming victims to abuse and exploitation at the hands of smugglers and traffickers. 

Consequently, Morocco and IOM launched an Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration programme in 2005 to offer the possibility of a dignified return through provision of administrative, logistical, financial support – including reintegration assistance – to migrants unable or unwilling to remain in Morocco, and who decide to return to their country of origin. 

For more information, please contact: Myriam Massaia, IOM Morocco, Tel: +212 (0) 537 65 28 81, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: MoroccoThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Kenya Launches First Migration Studies Institute

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 08:56

Nairobi – The Kenya Institute of Migration Studies (KIMS) last week launched its flagship course, the Post-Graduate Diploma in Migration Studies, with the first intake expected in 2019. KIMS – the first of its kind in Kenya – will be hosted at the University of Nairobi’s Population Studies and Research Institute.

The East African region remains a major source, transit and destination for migrants. The aim of the course is to improve national and regional migration management to strengthen the capacity of institutions responsible for migration and border management in Kenya, as well as in neighbouring states. 

The development of the diploma course on migration was part was of the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme which aims to improve migration management in the Horn of Africa. BMM is funded through the EU Emergency Trust Fund (EUTF) for Africa by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ). 

KIMS’s journey started in 2016, with the assessment of gaps in migration management in Kenya. BMM implementing partners, IOM and the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) have been supporting the Department of Immigration Services with benchmarking and technical advice, as well as facilitating the National Coordination Mechanism on Migration (NCM). 

The post-graduate diploma will be open to mid-level managers from the Department of Immigration as well as other government officials from Kenya and other parts of Africa. 

“Kenya will open up the post-graduate course to other African countries because better migration management can be achieved through cross-border and inter-country cooperation,” said Dr. Fred Matiang’i, the Cabinet Secretary for Interior and Coordination, speaking at the launch ceremony. “Everyone from Principal Immigration Officer upward must go through this course before they are promoted.” 

Dr. Matiang’i also requested the inclusion of a public relations course in the curriculum, saying this would help improve service delivery to Kenyans and other migrants at ports of entry and exit. 

The Chief of Mission for IOM Kenya, Michael Pillinger, said: “IOM is honoured to be a partner of the Government of Kenya and the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government in addressing key migration management challenges.” 

He also expressed “a special thanks” to the Department of Immigration Services and the NCM for taking the step to launch KIMS, describing it as the first-ever post-graduate diploma course in Kenya focused on Migration Studies. “Kenya continues its tradition of being first in the region. Kenya was the first African nation to be an IOM Member State in 1985,” he said. 

KIMS’s launch follows nine study visits, three of which involved other countries – Ghana, Sudan, and South Sudan – whose governments sought to learn from Kenya and its NCM. 

Pillinger added: “It has been a privilege to support and learn with NCM on harnessing stakeholders’ varied expertise and views for the benefit of Kenya, and the inclusion of migrants and diaspora in these processes. Being a key partner from the conceptualization of the KIMS, and now seeing KIMS a reality, is like a parent seeing its child become a better person at a particular time.”

IOM is one of the main BMM implementing partners alongside UNODC, Expertise France, the Italian Department of Public Security, CIVIPOL, GIZ and the British Council. Apart from Kenya, BMM also covers Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Uganda. 

IOM Kenya will support KIMS in establishing a document examination laboratory which will help officers gain practical knowledge and skills in the appraisal of passports and other enabling documents to detect fraud, thus contributing to safe, orderly and regular migration in the region. This will also add to the efforts to prevent trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants. 

The post-graduate diploma course will cover an introduction to migration studies; legal issues on migration; forced migration; irregular migration; diaspora; and diaspora engagement. Also, on the course will be security and border management; research methods on migration; the effects of migration in countries of origin and destination; data and information management; migration policy; and migration governance, together with leadership for migration practitioners. Students will also be required to embark on a research project. 

For more information please contact Etsuko Inoue at IOM Nairobi, Tel: +254204221000, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 18, 2018 - 15:10Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Dr. Fred Matiangi, Cabinet Secretary at the Kenyan Ministry of Foreign Affairs, giving his keynote address. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Chile Organizes Highest Number of Screenings in IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 12:05

Chile Organizes Highest Number of Screenings in IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival 

Santiago – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Chile’s Ministry of Culture, Art and Heritage joined efforts to host the Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) in different venues across the country.  

Out of over 100 participating countries, Chile has taken the top spot in terms of both the number of screenings and the number of cities where screenings will take place, reaching 43 and 10 respectively. These cinematic experiences have taken place across country in Valparaíso, Quillota, Santiago, Lo Barnechea, Paine, Rancagua, Curicó, Tomé, Hualpén y Talca. 

“The Ministry of Culture’s support, including 12 locations of its Network of Cultural Centres across the country, has been key in reaching the success of the GMFF in Chile,” said IOM Chile Chief of Mission Norberto Girón.  

Of the films to be shown in Chile, a selection of those available in Spanish or with Spanish subtitles was made; the shortlist includes Gurs, History and Memory, Sidney & Friends, Deal, Día de la Virgen, The Migrating Image, The Kitchen of Las Patronas and Together Apart.  

“Migrants make a cultural contribution to the community that receives them and for this reason we have joined the organization of the IOM GMFF in Chile,” said the Coordinator of the Ministry of Culture’s Interculturalism and Inclusion of Migrants Programme, Manuel Guerra. “This Festival also contributes to and enriches the migration experience through the artistic point of view of both producers and filmmakers globally,” he added.  

Many people are interested in attending the GMFF and it is considered a success at the national level, according to information provided by the Ministry of Culture. 

“I invited my exchange student friends and we saw the migrant representation, so I very much appreciate this free cultural opportunity that opened my eyes to see that the migration issues that I know from my country are also happening in other contexts,” said Nikita Kent, a student from New Zealand living in Santiago, who attended one of the GMFF events. 

Screenings of various productions will continue over the next few days in Chile. The Festival agenda is available at 

For more information please contact Carolina Fuentes at IOM Chile, Tel. + (56) 2 2963 3710, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 15:10Image: Region-Country: ChileThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Photo caption: Screening of Talca with support of Universidad de Talca and National Institute for Human Rights of Chile. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Emergency Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela Launched

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 10:47

Geneva, 14 December - Faced with the largest population outflow in Latin America of recent years, 95 organizations covering 16 countries have been working together to establish a comprehensive response to the urgent needs of millions of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, and host communities. This effort is coordinated by UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration.

Launched today in Geneva, the regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) is the first of its kind in the Americas: an operational blueprint, coordination template and strategy for responding to the needs of Venezuelans on the move and securing their social and economic inclusion in the communities receiving them.

The RMRP, which is also an appeal for funding, focuses on four key areas: direct emergency assistance, protection, socio-economic and cultural integration and strengthening capacities in the receiving countries.

“This plan is a call to the donor community, including international financial institutions and development actors who can play a key role in this situation, to increase their support to refugees and migrants in the region and the host communities which have kindly opened their arms to them,” said Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants.

“Venezuelans I met during my visits spoke of hunger, lack of access to medical care, insecurity, threats, fear. They are families, women alone, children, young boys and girls, all in conditions of extreme vulnerability. All of them saw no other option than to leave their country – sometimes walking for days –   seeking to live in dignity and to build a future,” Stein said, adding that this critical situation is exacerbated by the lack of livelihoods, which exposes refugees and migrants to all forms of exploitation.  

Although Venezuelans have been leaving their country for several years, these movements increased in 2017 and further accelerated in 2018. According to available estimates, during 2018 an average of 5,500 people have been leaving the country every day.

“The solidarity of Latin American countries with Venezuelans has been humbling. It is now vital that we stabilize the dire humanitarian situation affecting the millions of Venezuelans seeking protection and shelter across the continent,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “The appeal launched today underscores the urgency of this complex and fast-evolving situation and the need to support the host communities.”

RMRP funding requirements in 2019 amount to USD 738 million. Interventions will target 2.7 million people in 16 countries, 2.2 million of them Venezuelans and 500,000 people in host communities.

“IOM is committed to expanding its support to governments across Latin America and the Caribbean who have extended assistance and solidarity to Venezuelan migrants over the past year,” IOM Director General António Vitorino said. “We call on the donor community to generously support this regional plan.”

Solidarity and responsibility-sharing from the international community are desperately needed, not only for Venezuelan nationals, but also for the governments and citizens of destination countries. They have been at the forefront of the response to the outflow, including through regional initiatives such as the Quito Process, and have demonstrated extraordinary generosity towards the refugees and migrants, in some cases for years. Their ability to cope and their infrastructure are being stretched beyond capacity.

“There are significant gaps and challenges, particularly regarding documentation, regularization, capacity of asylum systems, and access to basic services such as health and education, shelter and protection,” said Mr. Stein.

To date, most Venezuelan refugees and migrants have arrived initially in neighbouring Colombia. While some remain there, many have moved onwards, mainly to Ecuador, Peru, and to a lesser extent Chile and Argentina. Meanwhile Brazil has become another major destination. Mexico, Caribbean and Central American countries have so far witnessed a smaller number of arrivals, either directly or through secondary movements. These trends are likely to continue in 2019.


Download the RMRP document here

Download high resolution photos.

For more information contact:

Juliana Quintero, IOM ( +54 1132488134)

William Spindler, UNHCR ( +507 63827815)

For background information please consult the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform website

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 10:23Image: Region-Country: VenezuelaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Pacaraima, border of Brazil with Venezuela. Arrival of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. ©IOM/ Amanda Nero

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Boosts Protection and Economic Integration of Migrants in Costa Rica

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 10:09

San José – This week (12/12) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Development Banking System (SBD), agreed to create the Guarantee Fund for migrants in Costa Rica, which will adequately cover loan guarantees and other requirements requested by banking institutions. Migrants regularizing their situation generally face challenges when trying to access loans and banking products.   

The initiative is promoted by the private sector and their contributions will be multiplied by five thanks to the contribution of SBD. Around 25 credit operations for migrants will be granted initially. 

Additionally, IOM Costa Rica officially launched the Business, Migration and Prosperity Program (EMPRO, by its initials in Spanish), which will provide, facilitate and certify companies that offer ethical working conditions for their migrant workers, reducing the risk of labor exploitation in their operations and supply chains.  

EMPRO will focus on four lines of work: legal training for employers on the protection of migrants; orientation for labor migrants before and after their journeys; mapping of the supply chain; and the certification of an Integrity System for International Recruitment for human resources staff. 

“IOM promotes a safe, orderly and dignified migration for the benefit of all, which is reflected in this program by opening a space for young migrants with professional training and work experience, as well as entrepreneurs, to be candidates for the microloans," said Roeland de Wilde, IOM's Chief of Mission in Costa Rica. 

More than 70 persons from various sectors attended the launch of these programs, including Vencr, a civil association that ensures the insertion of migrants in Costa Rica, State ministers, private sector, and ambassadors, among many others. 

Both the Guarantee Fund and EMPRO have the support of the Ministry of Labor and Social Security, the General Directorate of Migration and Aliens (DGME for its acronym in Spanish), and various business chambers in Costa Rica. 

For more information, please contact Francisco Furlani at OIM Costa Rica, Tel: +506 2212 5300, Email   

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 14:45Image: Region-Country: Costa RicaThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Policy Framework for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration

Fri, 12/14/2018 - 08:44

Geneva — Today (14/12), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is releasing A Framework for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) to guide policymakers and practitioners’ work in this important field.  

AVRR programmes help migrants who are unwilling or unable to stay in their host countries return to their countries of origin. IOM started implementing AVRR programmes in 1979 and has since then provided return and reintegration support to over 1.6 million people.  

Throughout the years, AVRR concepts and practices have undergone major changes. AVRR programmes have progressively expanded beyond Europe (where they have long been in place) to become embedded in national policies across Africa, Asia and the Pacific, and the Western Balkans. The number of stakeholders involved in the organization of voluntary returns has grown, as has the interest among development players in supporting sustainable reintegration. Dangerous migration routes continue to place migrants in vulnerable situations, therefore strengthened protection standards are necessary in the context of return and reintegration.  

In recognizing this evolution, and based on IOM’s longstanding experience, the framework was designed to reaffirm the key tenets of assisted voluntary return and reintegration in an increasingly interconnected and interdependent world; to guide decision-makers and practitioners in the design and implementation of AVRR-related policies and programmes; and to propose a roadmap to address voluntary return and reintegration holistically, based on complementary efforts between migration management and development actors at the international, national and local levels. 

“The framework is an important contribution to the implementation of the Global Compact for Migration, approved this week in Marrakech. It articulates a vision, and a set of principles and objectives to facilitate safe and dignified return, as well as sustainable reintegration in full respect for human rights and regardless of their status,” said Anh Nguyen, Head of IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance Division. “The framework intends to guide any actor involved in the design and implementation of AVRR interventions.”  

A Framework for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration marks an important milestone for the Organization and its partners with regards to AVRR engagement. 

The framework is available in full here

For more information please contact IOM HQ: 
Nicola Graviano, Tel: +41 22 717 9472, Email: 
Noëlle Darbellay, Tel: +41 22 717 9562, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, December 14, 2018 - 15:18Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

A Framework for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN