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Updated: 2 hours 2 min ago

PLURAL+ 2018 Call for Video Entries Now Open: UN Migration Agency

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 08:36

New York – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the United Nations Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) are once again inviting young media makers from around the world to submit original and creative videos on the PLURAL+ themes of migration, diversity, social inclusion and the prevention of xenophobia. Since 2009, PLURAL+ has received more than 1,500 video submissions that touch on global issues and offer creative solutions for developing peaceful coexistence in diverse cultural contexts.

The PLURAL+ organizers, UNAOC and IOM, are committed to promoting the mobility and integration of migrants, with a focus on young people. This partnership was formed to foster socially cohesive, vibrant and resilient societies and to counter discrimination, marginalization and exclusion of vulnerable groups around the world.

“We recognize youth as powerful agents with great potential to address the current toxic narrative around migration in which migrants are seen often in a negative light.” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing. “These vibrant, thoughtful, inspiring videos leave us with an unmistakable feeling of hope for our world and a brighter future in which inclusion is the norm and plurality is celebrated.”

As incidences of discrimination and violence are on the rise worldwide, it is important to create spaces for people to speak out against intolerance and xenophobia. PLURAL+ not only provides young people with an effective platform to raise their voices on key migration and diversity issues, but also reinforces the firm belief of IOM and UNAOC that the powerful expression of youth creativity is a force to be reckoned with.

“PLURAL+ provides youth around the world with the opportunity to submit real stories told by real people which, when widely disseminated, help to foster intercultural dialogue and understanding as well as respect for diversity and tolerance,” said UN High Representative for the Alliance of Civilizations Nassir Abdulaziz Al-Nasser.

Each year, a prestigious international jury selects three PLURAL+ International Jury Award winners in several age categories (U12, 13-17, 18-25). The International Jury Award winners will be invited to New York – with all travel expenses paid – to present their work at the PLURAL+ 2018 Festival Awards Ceremony at the United Nations Headquarters in November 2018. In addition, a video will also be selected for the PLURAL+ Special Award on the Prevention of Xenophobia; the winner of this award will also be invited to PLURAL+ 2018 Awards Ceremony with all travel expenses paid.

PLURAL+ partner organizations will provide other awards and professional opportunities to the makers of at least 20 other submitted videos. Award-winning videos will be screened at film and video festivals, conferences and events around the world.

Further information, including guidelines, rules and regulations as well as an entry form can be found at the PLURAL+ website:
The deadline for submission is 3 June 2018. Early submissions are encouraged.
Submit your video here
Watch PLURAL+ 2017 award winning videos here
Watch a UN in Action television segment on PLURAL+ 2017 here
PLURAL+ is organized by the UNAOC and IOM, with the support of many partners.
Find PLURAL+ on: Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo and Instagram


For more information, please contact Rahma Soliman, IOM New York, Email: and/or PLURAL+, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 15:29Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Migration and YouthUNDefault: Multimedia: 

Plural+ participants at the 2017 Awards ceremony in New York. ©Caroline Biazotto

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

ASOS, British High Commission Convene Business Leaders to Tackle Modern Slavery in Mauritius

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 08:35

Port Louis – ASOS, one of the largest online retailers worldwide, together with the British High Commission, hosted the event Migrant Workers: Driving Collaborative Approaches Towards Responsible Recruitment in Mauritius on 22 February.

The purpose of the event was to agree on a common framework for improving worker protection in Mauritius and beyond. It is part of ASOS’ commitment to end modern slavery, and coincides with ongoing discussions between the Mauritian and Bangladeshi governments on labour migration and workers’ rights.

“The hope is that by sharing experience and expertise, we can encourage efforts to prevent exploitation during recruitment, and engage governments to effectively enforce legislation to protect migrant workers,” said Simon Platts, ASOS Sourcing Director at the event.

Last year, ASOS became the first e-commerce brand to sign a Global Framework Agreement with IndustriALL, the world’s largest sectorial trade union organization (representing 50 million workers), to strengthen the implementation of international labour standards.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, joined a panel about improving protection for migrant workers in Mauritius. Jason Theede, IOM Senior Regional Thematic Specialist in Southern Africa, talked about IOM’s partnerships with the private sector, and expressed optimism over the fact that companies are paying more attention to their supply chains to avoid exploitation of migrant workers.

“More and more companies have turned to policies that address labour and human rights risks in their operations and supply chains,” Theede said. “To this end, IOM continues to promote actions such as the adoption of the ‘employer pays’ principle, in which the employer covers the cost of recruiting new workers.”

The event brought together local and international stakeholders, including executives from fashion brands such as Adidas and Puma that manufacture in Mauritius. Representatives from the International Labour Organization (ILO), the IndustriALL Union, the Ethical Trading Initiative and Anti-Slavery International also attended the event.

ASOS is an online fashion and beauty store primarily aimed at young adults. It sells over 85,000 branded and own-label products, delivering from the UK, US and Europe to almost every country in the world.

For more information please contact Celine Lemmel, IOM Mauritius, Tel: +230 210 4250, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 15:27Image: Region-Country: MauritiusThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM's Jason Theede presents at a panel about improving protection for migrant workers in Mauritius. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Trains Puntland Immigration Officers on Human Trafficking, Irregular Migration, Migrants’ Rights

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 08:34

Puntland – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, conducted a training session last week (19-21/02) for immigration officers based at Somali air and sea ports in Garowe, Galkayo and Bossaso. The training, aimed at raising the officials’ awareness on human trafficking, the risks and potential outcomes of irregular migration and migrants’ rights, was organized with support from the Government of Japan.

In addition to being sensitized about the need to respect and protect migrants, the 15 immigration officers who participated in the training were also trained to detect and respond to cases of human trafficking.

Speaking at the training, IOM project officer Mohamed Abdullahi said: “Identifying cases of trafficking is key because it is the first step towards assisting Victims of Trafficking. Migrants are vulnerable to all forms of exploitation and abuse, and IOM is sensitizing the immigration officers on how to treat migrants in a dignified and humane manner that meets international standards.”

During his closing remarks, the Director of Puntland Immigration and Neutralization Directorate Mohamed Abdi Farah stated: “Through this training, the immigration officers gained knowledge on human trafficking, irregular migration and migrants’ rights which will enable them to detect, identify and provide support to victims of human trafficking that they identify at Puntland entry and exit points.”

IOM has held similar trainings for immigration officers in the past, and in all the trainings the officers were informed of Puntland’s referral mechanism for irregular migrants and victims of trafficking, through which they can report cases of human trafficking.

A referral mechanism was established to coordinate issues of trafficking and now irregular migration in Puntland; it comprises the Puntland Counter Trafficking Board and members of the Child Protection Working Group. The mechanism facilitates provision of direct assistance to victims of trafficking and helps create awareness of both trafficking and irregular migration.

For more information please contact the Programme Support Unit at IOM Somalia, Tel: +254715990600, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 15:23Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

One of the immigration officers asks a question about Puntland’s referral mechanism for irregular migrants and victims of trafficking. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Holds Regional Transnational Crime Workshop for Security Officials from Kenya, Somalia, Tanzania

Tue, 02/27/2018 - 08:34

Somalia – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, last week (20-22/02) facilitated a workshop in Somalia, Transnational Organized Crime and Immigration Risk Analysis, bringing together senior government officials in the security sector including immigration directors, policy makers and intelligence agencies from Somalia, Kenya and Tanzania.

The workshop was organized by IOM’s Africa Capacity Building Centre (ACBC), the region’s hub for border management expertise. Participants were provided with a wealth of experience, knowledge, and examples of real-life scenarios from the complex world of transnational organized crime.

Guest speaker Tuemay Aregawi Desta, Head of the Transnational Organized Crime Pillar from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), provided an overview of the transnational crime context in the region, referencing challenges with human trafficking and smuggling, as well as drug and firearm control. 

“Just because we can’t see it doesn’t mean cooperation between these countries isn’t there,” said Desta. “It exists – between Kenyan and Tanzanian intelligence, between Somalia and Kenya immigration – it just has not been formalized and operationalized.”

Transnational organized crime was described through the analogy of a Hydra, with one participant, the Regional Immigration Director for Jubbaland, Somalia, commenting, “Transnational organized crime functions like the snake whose head is cut off, only for two to grow back in its place. If you’re able to get rid of one threat, another replaces it, how can we eliminate it?”

The workshop provided possible answers, which included a new level of coordination between Tanzania, Somalia and Kenya. Discussions centred on the international, regional and bilateral cooperation mechanisms in place and the gaps that exist to adequately address the phenomenon of transnational crime. It also provided the occasion to build transnational networks amongst intelligence, police and immigration.

As a result of the brainstorming, group work, discussion and debate, IOM drafted recommendations that will be published and shared with the respective governments. Participants gained an understanding of the legal frameworks that can underpin progress toward addressing transnational crime.

The workshop was supported by an IOM regional project funded by the Government of Canada. The project aims to reduce regional security threats by promoting cooperation, dialogue and information sharing, as well as strengthening border management capacities and community awareness.

For more information please contact the Programme Support Unit at IOM Somalia, Tel: +2547159 90600, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 27, 2018 - 15:25Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

ACBC's Marcellino Ramkishun (seated on the extreme left) facilitates a role play with Puntland Regional Director to illustrate a point relating to Organized Crime. © IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Appeals for Nearly USD 194 Million to Help Syrians at Home, in Region

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:40

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, launched an appeal today (23/02) for USD 193,767,960 to help 3 million Syrians displaced and affected by the conflict in Syria; Syrian refugees living in the region; and the communities that host them.

Seven years into the armed conflict in the Syrian Arab Republic, the humanitarian situation continues to deteriorate. Over 13 million people are still in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria, including 6.1 million internally displaced. Nearly 3 million people are living in hard-to-reach and/or besieged areas.

In addition, over 5.5 million Syrians have taken refuge in the five neighbouring countries of Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Iraq and Egypt. Since the crisis began, economic growth within host countries has been severely affected. With high unemployment rates, especially among young people, and limited resource availability, it is challenging for governments and municipalities to provide basic services.

“These interventions are vital to ensuring that Syrians get the life-saving assistance and livelihood support that many desperately need,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing, from the Organization’s headquarters in Geneva.

Some areas of relative stability are emerging. IOM tracked 850,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to their areas of origin during 2017. During the same period, however, a far greater number (2.9 million) continued to flee their homes, illustrating the continuing adverse effect of violence and conflict on the Syrian population.

Access to primary health care has been drastically reduced inside Syria, while agricultural production has been cut in half compared to 2011 levels. Livelihoods have also been severely hampered by the conflict and many areas of the country are contaminated by weapons. In a joint IOM-UNMASS assessment done in November 2017, IOM reported that 33 per cent of all sub-districts in Syria were contaminated by explosive hazards.

In this increasingly protracted situation, refugees continue to need access to durable solutions including resettlement and family reunification. In 2017, IOM organized the transportation of over 37,000 Syrian refugees from Lebanon, Turkey, Jordan, Iraq and Egypt to 23 countries including Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, France, Sweden, Norway, the United States of America and the Netherlands, among others.

With its 2018 appeal, IOM seeks to assist:

  • 1 million people with non-food items and shelter support
  • 800,000 people with access to safe water and services
  • 500,000 people with health services
  • 500,000 people with community-led protection services
  • 200,000 people with livelihood opportunities
  • 135,000 displaced people to receive adequate services in camps
  • 35,000 children to attend school


IOM’s planned activities in Syria and the region are part of the inter-agency Syria Humanitarian Response Plan and the Regional Refugee Response Plan.

Access the full appeal here.

For more details please contact Olivia Headon at IOM Headquarters, Tel: +41794035365, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 - 15:24Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM seeks to assist 800,000 Syrians with access to clean water in 2018. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 10,000 Refugees Resettled in UK Under Flagship Scheme

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:39

London – The United Kingdom is more than halfway towards meeting its commitment to resettle 20,000 people by 2020 through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS), according to new figures revealed yesterday (22/10).

The latest quarterly Home Office immigration statistics show that 10,538 refugees have been resettled under the VPRS – one of the largest global resettlement programmes – since it began.

The VPRS is just one of the ways in which the UK is helping to resettle refugees. In 2017, a total of 6,212 people were resettled in the UK – a 19 per cent increase from 2016 – with 4,832 of these people coming through the VPRS. Some 539 people arrived under the Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS), which will resettle up to 3,000 at-risk children and their families from the Middle East and North Africa region by 2020. The latest figures take the total number of children that the UK has provided asylum or an alternative form of protection to since the start of 2010 to 28,000.

Earlier this week, UK Home Secretary Amber Rudd visited a refugee camp in Lebanon, meeting families who have fled the war in Syria and speaking to officials from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) who are working closely with the Home Office to resettle families to the UK.

“As a country we can be proud that we are over half way towards honouring our commitment of resettling 20,000 of the most vulnerable refugees who have fled Syria by 2020 so they can rebuild their lives here in safety,” Rudd said. “Nearly half are children and more people are arriving every month.” 

“This week I went to Lebanon to see for myself the human impact of the Syrian conflict and talk to refugees about the challenges they face. I met a family who is due to be resettled in the UK and heard first-hand how important the resettlement scheme is and how it helps individuals, who have fled danger and conflict, to rebuild their lives. We are welcoming and supporting some of the most vulnerable refugees and I am grateful to all of the local authorities, charities and other organizations that have made it possible,” the Home Secretary added.

The VPRS is a joint scheme between the Home Office, the Department for International Development and the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government.

The UK works closely with UNHCR; IOM, the UN Migration Agency; and partners on the VPRS to provide life-saving solutions for the refugees most in need of protection, including people requiring urgent medical treatment, survivors of violence and torture, and women and children at risk.

“The UK has embarked on an impressive upscaling of the VPRS in a short period, setting in place structures to welcome highly vulnerable refugees and allowing them to gradually stand on their own feet again,” said UNHCR’s UK Representative Gonzalo Vargas Llosa.

“Collaboration between the central Government, local and devolved authorities and service providers has been commendable. I’ve been up and down the country meeting refugee families and local communities, and the strong support for this programme and refugee integration generally is something the UK should be proud of.”

IOM facilitates pre-departure health assessments, cultural orientation and travel for refugees going to the UK. IOM also supports national and local governments to develop integration programmes as part of a holistic migration management strategy.

“The UK has achieved a significant milestone for the VPRS by resettling over half of the 20,000 committed to be resettled by 2020,” said IOM UK Chief of Mission Dipti Pardeshi. “The generosity and welcome shown by the UK government and the British people to those resettled is commendable.”

“Today, less than one per cent of refugees worldwide have been resettled and the need continues to be dire. Resettlement cannot be viewed as a one-off effort. Countries must step up to resettle more refugees and to view this as part of a holistic process to help vulnerable refugees rebuild their lives.”

The UK’s resettlement schemes are just some of the ways the Government is supporting vulnerable children and adults who have fled danger and conflict. The UK remains the second largest donor in humanitarian assistance and has pledged £2.46 billion in UK aid to Syria and the neighbouring countries, its largest ever response to a single humanitarian crisis.


“I cannot wait to move to the UK,” says 11-year-old Shahed.  Most of her life has been overshadowed by the conflict in Syria. Last week her family arrived at the IOM offices in Beirut, Lebanon for the final preparations to resettle to the UK.

A big smile stretches across her face. She understands that this is an opportunity for a new beginning for her family, and Shahed’s plans are already in full swing.

“I want to study and one day be able to teach Maths, Geography or Philosophy. I also want to help other people.”

Shahed and her family will resettle to the UK under the Voluntary Persons Resettlement Scheme that has provided an opportunity for over 10,000 refugees to rebuild their lives since 2015.



Since 2012, across Syria and the region, the UK has provided at least 26 million food rations, 9.8 million relief packages, 10.3 million medical consultations and 8.3 million vaccines.

For more information please contact Abby Dwommoh at IOM UK, Tel:  +44 20 7811 6000, email:

Language English Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 - 15:23Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Pre-departure orientation in Istanbul. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Six Months on, IOM Praises Joint Efforts, but Warns of New Challenges for Rohingya Response

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:38

Cox’s Bazar – It will be six months, this Sunday (25/02), since almost 700,000 Rohingya refugees fleeing violence in Myanmar started arriving in Bangladesh.

In one of the world’s biggest forced migrations in recent years, around half a million people crossed the border in just two months after 25 August. Early images of tens of thousands of frightened and exhausted families filing through muddy paddy fields or crammed into rickety boats during their flight shocked the world.

The stories the survivors told of what had been done to them in Myanmar, and to the men, women and children who never made it out alive, were even more shocking.

Local and international aid organizations, including IOM – which had been assisting smaller numbers of Rohingya in Cox’s Bazar since 2014 – rallied to support the Bangladesh authorities and host community whose generosity in helping the desperate refugees was widely and deservedly acclaimed.

Most of those early arrivals spent the first days sleeping in the open – unprotected from the rain with no access to food or clean water.

Six months on, the situation is very different. Cox Bazar now hosts what is in effect the world’s largest refugee camp and while conditions remain immensely challenging, people no longer sleep directly exposed to the elements or face imminent starvation.

IOM and partners have reached around 600,000 people with emergency shelters. Other agencies oversee food rations and specific support for children. The joint efforts of IOM and others involved in the emergency response with the Government have provided roads, bridges, drains and latrines – all of which make life safer and a little easier for people in the camps.

Work has started to create wells in the south of the district where water is often scarce, provide new health facilities and support to existing ones, and begin livelihood opportunities around these and other efforts that will bring benefits to the host community as well as the refugees.

But there is so much more to be done.

IOM continues to support those who voluntarily want to return to their homeland and has joined the rest of the UN and much of the international community in calling on Myanmar to ensure a safe, sustainable environment for those Rohingya who wish to go back.

But for now, conditions in the camps remain desperately over-crowded and far below any kind of international standard for acceptable living conditions.

What was once a forested nature reserve is now a vast sea of tarpaulin and bamboo shelters, built on denuded hills that will rapidly turn to mud during the monsoon season.

People in the local community, many of whom live in severe poverty themselves, have had to cope with significant upheaval in their daily lives: From major hikes in food prices and firewood shortages, to over-stretched infrastructure and the loss of schools and other buildings which were co-opted during the emergency.

Between old and recent arrivals, around one million Rohingya now live in the area. Work to support the community that is hosting them, and which shares many of the same challenges as the refugees, is crucial if peaceful and constructive cohabitation is to continue in the months ahead.

Much of the past six months have been spent in emergency mode, trying to ensure people receive the most basic provisions and services they needed just to survive.

Projects are now underway to provide other forms of crucial support. These include tackling human trafficking and gender-based violence; programmes to address environmental degradation and initiatives to support local farmers – generating incomes for people in the host community and helping meet the increased demand for food.

But the threat of another disaster in this ongoing crisis remains ever-present. At the end of last year, a diphtheria outbreak in the camp created an emergency within the emergency. It is testament to the combined efforts of the Bangladesh government, the WHO, IOM and other partners, and the immense dedication of health staff on the ground, that the loss of life was far less than initially predicted.

With the monsoon season starting soon, lives will once more come under threat. Not only from an increase in disease, but also from landslides, flash floods and cyclone conditions.

IOM, along with the government and other agencies are working against time to help people strengthen their shelters, to develop resilience and first aid and search and rescue skills for when the worst conditions hit. Slopes are being shored up, drains and roads constructed, and equipment is being put place to help keep vital access ways open in muddy and waterlogged conditions. Preparations are underway for disease outbreak treatment and medical emergencies.

But given the sheer number of people involved and conditions on the ground it will be impossible to mitigate against all disaster.

In the past six months, those involved in supporting the Rohingya Response have shown their abilities to work together during what became the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis.

IOM, international and local NGOs and donors, the Bangladesh Government and military, the local community and the refugees themselves have all shown their ability to work together during the past six months.

Now, as nature brings yet further challenges in the weeks and months ahead, more than ever a joint approach will be necessary.

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox's Bazar, Tel. +880173333522, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 - 15:22Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM and partners have reached around 600,000 people with emergency shelters. © IOM

A joint photo story from the different agencies in the Inter-Sector Coordination Group. See photos here.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

6,000 Migrant Deaths Recorded in 2017, ‘Only a Fraction of the Real Number’ Worldwide: GMDAC

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:36

Berlin – IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that 6,142 deaths and disappearances were recorded during migration globally last year, the third consecutive year that more than 6,000 fatalities were recorded by the project. Since IOM began tracking migrant deaths in 2014, nearly 26,000 fatalities have been recorded – but this is likely only a fraction of the real number of deaths on migratory routes worldwide.       

IOM’s Director General, William Lacy Swing, has stressed that “not all deaths and disappearances during migration are reported – in many remote regions of the world, bodies may never be found, and many migrants may never be identified.”      

“We have repeatedly emphasized that data from official sources is severely lacking,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Data Analysis Centre, where Missing Migrants Project is based. “This means that we have to rely on news reports and interviews with migrants to collect data in many cases.” He added that even in the Mediterranean, where MMP has recorded more than 3,000 deaths every year since 2014, only a few states publish information on bodies brought to their shores, and none report estimates of migrants lost at sea. Nonetheless, MMP has recorded more than 15,000 fatalities in the Mediterranean since 2014.

MMP recorded 3,139 deaths and disappearances in the Mediterranean last year, more than 90 per cent of which occurred in the Central Mediterranean route between North Africa and Italy. While these numbers are lower than the 5,143 deaths recorded in the Mediterranean in 2016, it is important to note that these figures are minimum estimates.

The remains of more than 300 people were found on the shores of Libya and Tunisia last year that were not directly connected to recorded shipwrecks, which indicates that shipwrecks may occur on the Central Mediterranean route that go unnoticed. “Most of the bodies found on the beaches of North Africa never make the news because they wash up singly or in pairs,” said Julia Black, MMP’s Coordinator. “One or two deaths at a time aren’t usually deemed newsworthy, but in 2017 we recorded over 60 of these cases totalling 371 deaths.”

On the continent of Africa, MMP recorded more than 1,700 migrant deaths, with over 690 reported in the Sahara Desert. IOM’s most recent report on migrant deaths, part 2 of Fatal Journeys 3: Improving data on missing migrants, indicates that thousands of migrants likely die each year as they journey through Sub-Saharan and North Africa.

Experts contributing to the report emphasized that horrific stories of abuse, torture and bonded labour are widespread among migrants that transited through the continent. In Africa, there are no publicly available sources of official data on migrant deaths, and media reports are difficult to track with more than 1,000 languages spoken on the continent.

Because of this, MMP data in Africa rely heavily on eyewitness testimonies collected by survey projects, which are often impossible to verify.

“IOM staff remove any reports that could possibly be duplicates,” said Black, “but only a very small proportion of migrants travelling within Africa are ever surveyed.” Of those who are interviewed, many report witnessing the death of their fellow migrants: for example, in a survey of more than 500 migrants travelling through East Africa between June and December 2017, more than 25 per cent of the respondents said that they witnessed another migrant’s death first-hand.

MMP recorded 208 migrant deaths in the Middle East in 2017, most of which occurred in two border regions: between Syria and Turkey, and between Afghanistan and Iran. However, it is often difficult to distinguish migrant deaths in the Middle East from deaths that are a direct result of active conflicts in the region. 

Nevertheless, NGOs such as the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitor civilian deaths and collect eyewitness testimonies about people who died while trying to cross international borders. Operational data also adds to the scarce evidence on migrant deaths in the Middle East: IOM’s Mission in Afghanistan repatriated 96 bodies of migrants who died while crossing into Iran, 81 of which were due to vehicle accidents.

Across the rest of the world, MMP data reveal the monumental risks that migrants face as they undertake dangerous journeys, often with the help of smugglers, to remain undetected by authorities. While IOM recorded the deaths of 669 migrants in the Americas last year, experts contributing to the Fatal Journeys 3 report emphasize how little is truly known about migrant deaths and disappearances which occur in Central America.

Reliable statistics on migrant disappearances are both hard to come by and contentious, but a study by Mexican-based organization Movimiento Mesoamericano Migrante reported that more than 70,000 migrants disappeared in Mexico between 2006 and 2016.

Evidence of increasing risks undertaken by migrants transiting through the Americas is evident in the MMP data for the border region between Mexico and the United States.  Black explained that “despite a 44 per cent decrease in border apprehensions reported by the US Border Patrol between 2016 and 2017, last year we recorded 415 migrant deaths on this border, compared to 398 in 2016.”

Although the number of apprehensions does not capture the total number of migrant crossings, it is one indication that this border has become more deadly.  Notably, MMP recorded 189 migrant deaths on the Texas border in 2017, a 24 per cent increase compared to the 152 fatalities recorded in the state in 2016. As reported by IOM earlier this month, the number of migrant deaths along the entire Mexico-United States border remained high in 2017.          

Another area of concern is Southeast Asia, where 300 migrant deaths were recorded last year. Experts contributing to IOM’s recent Fatal Journeys report emphasize that this is only a fraction of the true total, as more than 650,000 Rohingya have migrated irregularly to Bangladesh since late August 2017. This year’s figures include 250 Rohingya migrants who died attempting to cross from Myanmar, including 80 women and 81 children. 

Laczko explained, “We find that in some emergency contexts, there is better reporting on the age and sex of migrants who go missing or die because of increased media attention and eyewitnesses willing to provide reports to authorities.  Nevertheless, information on age and gender is simply not available for the vast majority of migrant deaths we record, which makes it extremely difficult to identify thousands of individuals.”     

Despite the higher risks that women and children may face during migration, only 70 per cent of the deaths MMP recorded in 2017 contained information on age or sex. Laczko emphasized that “the lack of data on migrants’ gender, age, and country of origin means that it is difficult to understand who is undertaking risky journeys, and why.”

IOM’s Director General, William Lacy Swing has argued that “improving information on who these missing migrants are, where they come from, and above all, when they are most at risk, is crucial to building a holistic response to reduce the number of migrant deaths.”

IOM’s recent Fatal Journeys  report on missing migrants makes five recommendations to improve data on missing migrants so that migration can become more safe.  One of the most achievable of these recommendations is to improve data sharing. IOM’s data on migrant fatalities across the world demonstrates that information and data are widely scattered across different sources.  Improving communication between governments, NGOs and eyewitnesses working on the issue of migrant fatalities is urgently needed to better understand the true scale of migrant deaths worldwide.

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 - 15:21Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration ResearchMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

Silvia has been searching for her son Edgar who went missing crossing the US-Mexico border in 2013. © Colibrí Center for Human Rights

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

High-Level AU, EU, UN Mission Visits Tripoli to Enhance Co-operation on Migration and Protection Issues in Libya

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:36

Tripoli – A high level mission of the African Union, the European Union and the United Nations visited Tripoli yesterday (22/02) to take stock of progress made and to further enhance cooperation with Libyan authorities in the joint response to migration and protection challenges. The visit to Libya is a direct follow-up to the meeting of the joint African Union – European Union – United Nations Task Force in Brussels, in December 2017.

The mission included Commissioner of the African Union Amira El-Fadil, representatives of the European External Action Service (EEAS) and the European Commission, the UN Support Mission in Libya, the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). They met with the Libyan Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammed Sialla and other Libyan officials including the Deputy Minister of Interior, and the Director of the General Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration. The mission also visited a detention centre for migrants and a shelter for internally displaced people.

The joint mission welcomed progress achieved with the voluntary humanitarian return of 19,370 migrants back to their countries of origin in 2017 and 9,379 since 28th November 2017 to date.  In parallel, 1,211 refugees were evacuated from Libya to Niger in view of their resettlement, since December 2017.

Additional efforts are, however, needed to ensure the protection of refugees, including by allowing the UNHCR to work beyond the seven official nationalities recognised by the Libyan government in the framework of their evacuation out of Libya for their resettlement.

The joint mission also underlined the need to implement a comprehensive and systematic registration at disembarkation points and in detention centres by Libyan authorities, with the support of IOM and UNHCR. This is to ensure the safety and traceability of all refugees and migrants. It further highlighted the importance of improving the conditions of migrants and refugees in detention centres, including by providing unhindered access to UN agencies and humanitarian actors, as well as ensure the protection and release of vulnerable people.

The need to enhance the level of consular services offered by countries of origin, was deemed crucial in order to maximize the potential of humanitarian assistance to vulnerable migrants who may wish to return home. The mission acknowledged that re-opening the IOM shelter for vulnerable migrants must be a priority and the progress in establishing a transit and departure centre for refugees.

Furthermore, the mission underlined the need to progressively put an end to the system of arbitrary detention and avoid detention of children and other vulnerable individuals and work towards the eventual dismantling of detention centres.

The mission also emphasized on the need to de-criminalize irregular migration in Libya, including dismantling of trafficking and smuggling networks, as well as the need to develop a long-term and sustainable approach to migration issues in countries of origin and transit in order to address the drivers of irregular migration.

The mission also requested the Libyan authorities to take pragmatic steps to facilitate the exit of migrants/refugees, including by waiving the requirement of exit visa in these exceptional circumstances.

The joint mission expressed continued support to the Libyan authorities in their efforts to address the challenges of irregular migration. In the coming weeks, the Operational Level of the Task Force will continue to engage and collaborate with the Libyan authorities in order to consolidate the progress made today.


For more information, please contact Ryan Schroeder, IOM Regional Office for the EU,  Tel: +32 2 287 7116, email: or Olivia Headon, IOM Libya at Tel: +41794035365, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 - 15:20Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Women queue for aid in a Libyan migrant detention centre. © Ahmed Eshaebi/IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Sri Lanka Explore Ways Forward on Conflict Victim Reparations

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:33

Colombo – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Sri Lankan Secretariat for Coordinating the Reconciliation Mechanism (SCRM), are today hosting a two-day (22-23/2) international conference on reparations for conflict victims in Colombo, Sri Lanka.  This is the first such conference to be held in Sri Lanka since the end of the country’s long-drawn-out conflict in 2009.

The conference follows a UN Human Rights Council Resolution on the need to promote “reconciliation, accountability and human rights in Sri Lanka” and a government decision, following national consultations in 2016, to actively promote reconciliation, including a system of victim reparations, that will contribute to a lasting peace.

Mano Tittawella, Secretary General, Secretariat for Coordinating Reconciliation Mechanisms, Sri Lanka, noted that “reparations are essential in leading to a process of reconciliation and is should be done in parallel to a process on truth, justice, and non-recurrence.”

UN Resolution 60/147 (2005) upholds the right to reparations for persons who collectively suffered harm through acts or omissions that constitute gross violations of international human rights law, and affirms the obligation of states to provide reparations as imperative on the basis of international law.

Experience from other countries shows that reparations through judicial processes (criminal or civil) are not necessarily feasible for countries with a large and diverse number of cases, for which comprehensive reparations (also known as administrative reparations) often represent the most viable and inclusive option available.

Reparations programmes can be legally anchored in different frameworks: some may result from an international litigation process (e.g., the German Forced Labour Programme), some are reliant on the recommendations of a Truth and Reconciliation Commission (e.g., Sierra Leone), others are founded on dedicated legislation, peace agreements, or a combination of both (e.g., Colombia).

“Transitional justice is a relatively new field which, on a daily basis, is being expanded and enriched through experiences, both positive and negative, from many different societies across the globe. A solution in one country or community does not necessarily work for others, particularly in relation to finding the right balance between what is desirable and what is feasible,” said IOM Sri Lanka Chief of Mission Giuseppe Crocetti.

“It takes a whole of society approach to move from a divided past to a shared future and that is the underlying theme of this conference,” he added.

The conference brought together some 150 participants from the government and non-government sectors, development partners, UN, local and international NGOs, civil society organizations, victim groups, academics, experts and other relevant stakeholders. It aims to provide a platform for mutual dialogue and consultation based on international best practices and lessons learnt from other reconciliation processes.

The key elements of a legitimate, fair, transparent and efficient transitional justice process are inclusivity, victim participation, feasibility and effectiveness. In such a model, the restorative justice mechanisms, such as reparations for human rights violations in conflict, can deliver meaningful benefits to the most affected population, thereby empowering the victims to have more capacity to engage in other aspects of the process, noted Crocetti.

In Sri Lanka, IOM has been working closely with the SCRM in the reparations domain since 2016, initially though Sasakawa Endowment Fund, later with financial assistance from the Government of Australia, and more recently via the UN Peacebuilding Fund.

IOM’s work in reparations in Sri Lanka is guided by, and fits within its country approach to social cohesion and reconciliation click here:

For more information please contact Giuseppe Crocetti at IOM Sri Lanka. Email:, Tel. +94115325354

Language English Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 - 15:19Image: Region-Country: Sri LankaThemes: Community StabilizationDefault: Multimedia: 

This is the first such conference to be held in Sri Lanka since the end of the country’s long-drawn-out conflict in 2009. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Resurgence of Communal, Armed Conflict in Northern Mali Causes Population Displacement

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:32
Language English

Bamako – The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Mali has significantly increased over the past weeks due to the recent resurgence of communal violence and armed conflict in Northern Mali. The number of IDPs dropped down to 38,172 individuals (7,716 households) in December 2017 from 40,743 individuals in October 2017, according to the last DTM report published in December 2017 by the National Directorate for Social Development of the Ministry of Solidarity and Humanitarian Action.

However, due to recent resurgence of communal violence and armed conflict, an additional 8,164 new IDPs have been registered in the regions of Mopti, Menaka, Timbuktu and Gao, bringing the total number of IDPs to 46,336. This has put significant pressure on humanitarian capacity given the fragile security situation in that part of the country. Northern Mali still holds the largest number of IDPs especially due to the deterioration of the security situation.

IOM expected an end to internal displacement in Mali by the end of 2017, provided there was no resurgence of armed conflict or communal violence to complement the provision of adequate humanitarian assistance to IDPs and host communities. Unfortunately, in addition to the tensions in Northern Mali, the international community has struggled to mobilize the necessary financial support to assist vulnerable communities and IDPs.

IOM and its partners intend to respond to the new wave of displacement by assessing the needs of the displaced population and providing the necessary assistance, funds permitting.

In response to the 2012 crisis that spawned the displacement of over 500,000 people, IOM started the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) program in close collaboration with the Government of Mali. The objective was to provide up-to-date information on movements of IDPs and returnees, as well as on the needs of the population affected by the conflict.

While still providing technical support, IOM handed over the management of the DTM to the government in November 2014 – transferring the data collection process and analysis to the National Directorate for Social Development (DNDS), whose staff had supported DTM field operations from the outset. They now collect and analyse the information available on displacement.

DTM activities are now carried out in coordination with IOM and are funded by USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Government of Japan, and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and IOM.

For more information, please contact Seydou Tangara, IOM Mali, Tel: +223 76 42 63 59, Email:

Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 - 15:18Image: Region-Country: MaliDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 9,768 in 2018; Deaths Reach 414

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:29

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 9,768 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first seven and a half weeks of 2018, with just over 53 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided almost evenly between Greece and Spain. This compares with 13,799 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.


On Thursday IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia reported that over six days (15-20 February) the Hellenic Coast Guard reported there were at least five incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos and Samos. The Coast Guard rescued 144 migrants and transferred them to these islands.

Through 20 February, the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory this year is 2,291 (see chart below).

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that total arrivals by sea in 2018 have reached 2,205 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 22 February. That figure is 621 greater than all of the arrivals through the first two months of 2017, and 1,584 through the first two months of 2016 (see charts below).

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Thursday that according to Ministry of Interior figures, 5,244 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy this year – or 51 per cent fewer than last year during the same period. 

With a week remaining in the month, arrivals in Italy are well below those for the previous two Februaries of 2017 and 2016 (see chart below).

On Thursday IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reported 414 deaths have been registered on the Mediterranean so far this year, fewer than the 468 reported at this time in 2017.
Most recently, two deaths were recorded on the Western Mediterranean route between Algeria and Spain. The remains of two migrants were found near Bouzedjar beach in Ain Témouchent, Algeria, on 18 February.
This year, at least 20 people have died trying to reach Spain from the coasts of Algeria. In the Central Mediterranean, the remains of one migrant were found in Awlad Sukr, east of Al Khums, Libya on 19 February.
Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 644 fatalities during migration in 2018, compared with 890 through 21 February last year (see chart below).

In the Horn of Africa, a 20-year-old Ethiopian man drowned off the coast of Brom Mayfa in Yemen on 21 February. The MMP team recorded three deaths in Central America on 21 February: two men and one woman died in a vehicle accident in San Blas Atempa, Oaxaca, Mexico, as they were travelling north to the border with the United States.
MMP data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:  Missing Migrants Project

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email:
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 71 860 312 ext. 109, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 - 15:17Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Contributes to Education of Migrant Children Returned to Honduras

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:29

Tegucigalpa – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) has delivered school kits to 150 returned migrant children in Honduras to facilitate their access to education and reintegration in the country. The kit distribution was part of the launch of the Educational Campaign for returned migrant children and adolescents, held at El Progreso, 234 km northwest of Tegucigalpa.

After being returned from other countries because of their irregular migration status, migrant children have the right to comprehensive education aimed at the full development of their personality, aptitudes, mental and physical capacities, up to their maximum potential. It is the responsibility of government, families, and society to guarantee quality and progressive integral education in conditions of equality and equity for every child or adolescent, avoiding early school dropouts.

"As IOM, we reiterate our commitment to work together in the care of unaccompanied migrant children and adolescents, their families and other groups of vulnerable populations," said Likza Salazar, IOM Honduras National Project Officer.

Of the total number of girls and boys who received the donation, 76 required immediate economic support. The rest are returned children and adolescents who attend different local schools and to which the Local Board of Support for Returned Migrants has followed up since the migration crisis of 2014.

In 2017, a total of 48,022 migrants returned to Honduras. Of these, 3,010 were boys and 1,703 girls, according to data from the Consular and Migratory Observation Committee of Honduras (CONMIGHO). 2018 data reveals that, until 9 February, the total of returnees amounts to 6,049 people. Of these, 647 are children returned from Mexico.

Since 2014, with technical and financial assistance from IOM, support has been provided for more than 43,500 migrants returned from the United States and Mexico. They have received food, clothing, transportation, medical and psychological care and family contact. This has been possible thanks to the interinstitutional work of multiple governmental, departmental and municipal actors, as well as civil society organizations and international cooperation.

Kit distribution is an activity under the framework of the Return and Reintegration project in the Northern Triangle of Central America, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

For further information, please contact Ismael Cruceta at IOM Honduras, Tel: +504 2220 1104, Email: or Alba Amaya at IOM El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, Tel: +503 2521 0511, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 - 15:16Image: Region-Country: HondurasThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

2018 data reveals that, until February 9, 647 migrant children had returned to Honduras. © IOM

The kit distribution was part of the launch of the Educational Campaign for returned migrant children and adolescents, held at El Progreso. Likza Salazar, IOM Honduras National Project Officer, attended the event. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Government Release Border Management Assessment Report in Madagascar

Fri, 02/23/2018 - 08:28

Antananarivo – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, together with the Ministry of Public Security of Madagascar, this week (21/02) held a half day high level session in the capital, to release the first National Border Management Assessment report.

Madagascar has 5,000 kilometres of coastline, a strategic position on the Mozambique Channel and lacks in capacity to control its extensive border effectively. These factors have led to the development and continuation of national and international crime.

Attending the event were officials from various ministries involved with border management, key public institutions, the United Nations and private sector representatives. Minister for Public Security, Mamy Andrianisa attended the event.

The Border Management Assessment aims to provide the Malagasy Government with a thorough picture of border management through its legal framework, administration and operations. The assessment also gives short, medium and long-term recommendations on how to improve border management (IBM) practices in Madagascar.

The adoption of a new IBM approach in 2017 was a turning point for Madagascar’s Security Sector Reform (SSR). This will allow Madagascar to develop the coordination among national actors involved in border management, to foster closer cooperation with the neighbouring states and to achieve borders that are profitable for tourism and for business.

“As the lead agency on migration, IOM is increasingly called upon by its Member States to provide technical expertise and capacity building on border and immigration management,” said Daniel Silva y Poveda, IOM Madagascar Chief of Mission, during the opening session. He further stated that IOM will continue supporting the Government of Madagascar’s efforts towards the implementation of its SSR strategy.

Minister Andrianisa called upon all stakeholders “to engage themselves to the highest level of cooperation to facilitate the legitimate movement of people and goods, while maintaining a high level of border security.”

This national assessment is part of the wider UN Peacebuilding Fund project, "Support to the Security Sector Reform in Madagascar (ARSSAM)”, which works to develop a new vision for national security by strengthening the skills and capabilities of defence and security forces. It additionally strives to improve confidence between security forces and the populations they serve.

For more information, please contact Daniel Silva y Poveda, IOM Madagascar, Tel: +261 32 56 54 954, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, February 23, 2018 - 15:15Image: Region-Country: MadagascarThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Madagascar supports the national Government in the implementation of Integrated Border Management. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM’s GMDAC, European Commission to Create a Big Data for Migration Alliance

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 09:49
Language English

Berlin – The European Commission Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography (KCMD) and IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) are planning to create a Big Data for Migration Alliance (BD4M) to address the challenges of having and exploiting migration data and to increase investments into data innovation in the field of migration.
The BD4M aims to advance discussions on ways to harness the potential of new data sources or “big data,” such as social media user data, for migration analysis and to provide decision-makers easy access to use up-to-date data in policymaking.
The BD4M would do so by:
a) Promoting sharing of knowledge on data innovation in the field of migration;
b) Providing technical support to local and national administrations interested in using new data sources; and
c) Testing new data applications for specific policy needs.

The need to utilize big data was stressed in an expert workshop co-organized by the KCMD and GMDAC at the Joint Research Centre in Ispra, Italy on 30 November 2017.
The international community often talks about a lack of migration data. In fact, an abundance of data that is relevant for migration is being produced in real time, but it is yet to be fully exploited by national statistical offices and policymakers.
Traditional data on migration have their limitations, particularly in terms of costs, coverage and timeliness. Meanwhile, most data today are not collected by national statistical offices but by private companies or international agencies. The opportunities offered by new data sources should not be ignored.
The idea of the mission is to build an alliance to facilitate dialogue and partnerships at all levels. IOM’s GMDAC and KCMD are now soliciting participation in BD4M from representatives of international and non-governmental organizations, national statistical offices, academia, and the private sector interested in contributing, in various capacities, to this mission.

For more information, please see the new Data Bulletin issue on big data and migration, and visit the KCMD-IOM workshop website.

For further information please contact Marzia Rango, IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre,
Michele Vespe, European Commission, Joint Research Centre,

Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 15:39Image: Region-Country: GermanyDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM DRC Assists Returnees, Displaced Families in Tanganyika, Welcomes Additional Funding from Sweden

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:50

Kalemie – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) successfully carried out the first voluntary return operation from Tanganyika Province on 17 February. The return operation was preceded by a survey conducted among the internally displaced persons (IDPs) living in the collective center EP La Gloire, a school located in Kalemie, Tanganyika’s provincial capital. The survey revealed that 30 households intended to return voluntarily to their area of origin, and 891 households wanted to be transferred to another displacement site in Kalemie. 

The operation was carefully planned alongside the humanitarian community and Congolese authorities. The day of the operations, another 71 households expressed their wish to return voluntarily to their area of origin instead of being transferred to another displacement site. IOM, acting swiftly and in close collaboration with the Congolese authorities, was able to finally return 102 households to the Kasanga-Mtoa area, for a total of 230 returnees.

“The returning families received transportation, refreshments and medical assistance and spent the journey from the collective center back to their villages singing with joy,” said IOM Head of Office in Kalemie Amalia Torres. 

However, a majority of IDPs living in spontaneous displacement sites in and around Kalemie City are still pondering whether they should return to areas they left months ago because of insecurity.

“IDPs I met in Kalunga site have told me they will return home once they believe the security conditions are adequate,” Torres added. “We stand ready to help them return home once they tell us the time is right. In the meantime, IOM will continue to provide them with the assistance they need.” Plans to return and transfer the remaining IDPs in EP La Gloire will continue in the coming days.

Following the launch of IOM’s humanitarian crisis appeal for the DRC, Sweden announced on 7 February that it would double its funding for IOM’s emergency operations in Tanganyika and North Kivu.

This announcement follows the recent field visit to Kalemie of Mårten Löfberg from the Swedish Embassy in Kinshasa, who went to displacement sites and met with internally displaced households from 14 to 16 February.    

The humanitarian situation in the DRC has deteriorated dramatically over the past year. The country has witnessed a significant increase in conflict and violence. The violence has also spread to areas and provinces previously considered stable and calm, such as the provinces of Kasai and Tanganyika. Due to the increased conflict, DRC has become the African country with the highest number of IDPs estimated at 4.35 million.

On 11 December 2017, IOM launched an appeal for USD 75 million to urgently meet the growing needs of displaced people and the communities hosting them across the country. IOM’s interventions will focus on the following sectors: Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Displacement Tracking, Shelter and Non-Food Items, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), Health, and Protection, particularly responding to gender-based violence. As of today, IOM DRC has received USD 4.9 million to address the needs of the appeal.

The IOM Humanitarian Appeal for the Democratic Republic of the Congo is available online at

For more information, please contact Amàlia Torres, + 243 811 872 368, Email

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 15:45Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

The return operation was preceded by a survey conducted among the displaced population. © IOM

The families boarding the bus taking them back to their villages. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Reconstruction Needed as Displaced Iraqis Continue to Return: IOM Iraq

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:48

Kuwait – As the recent International Donor Summit for the Reconstruction of Iraq came to a close in Kuwait, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reported that internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Iraq continue to return home by the thousands. 

According to IOM’s latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report, as of 31 January 2018 more than 3.3 million Iraqis have returned to their areas of origin, while nearly 2.5 million people continue to live in displacement. New IOM figures show that return movements are ongoing – in January another 125,000 returns were identified – mainly to the four governorates of Ninewa, Salah al-Din, Kirkuk and Anbar.

Since the start of the crisis in early 2014, with ISIL later holding large parts of central Iraq and the subsequent conflict to retake these areas, nearly six million Iraqis have been displaced. Their communities have suffered widespread devastation and damage.

In January 2018, for the first time in more than three years, there were more returnees than internally displaced people. In the last three years, Anbar Governorate has received the largest number of returnees in the country, due to improved security, rehabilitation of services and rebuilding of infrastructures.

In January 2018, the three governorates reporting the biggest decreases in IDP numbers were Ninewa (- 6 per cent), Baghdad (- 12 per cent), and Anbar (- 17 per cent). Together, they account for almost two-thirds of the nationwide decrease of IDPs (more than 145,000). Of the remaining 2.47 million IDPs in Iraq, only half (51 per cent) are reportedly housed in private settings, while more than a quarter (26 per cent) still live in camps.

Though Ninewa Governorate accounts for two-thirds (nearly 84,000) of the new returnees identified in January, IOM has noted that not all returnees to Mosul city stay there.

Due to lack of security, services and livelihood opportunities in west Mosul, approximately 600 families returned in January to Haj Ali camp.

Returnees living in critical shelters, including informal settlements and unfinished buildings, are concentrated in four governorates – Diyala (21,500 individuals), Salah al-Din (12,400), Ninewa (7,500) and Kirkuk (800). Iraq’s urgent need for fast-track reconstruction to assist the reintegration of IDPs in their areas of origin was also discussed at the recent  Kuwait International Conference for Reconstruction of Iraq this past week.

“As Iraq enters the recovery phase after three years of conflict, we should remember that real reconstruction of the country will not only be based on rebuilding infrastructure,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite. “Provision of specialized support to all who survived the conflict is also needed, alongside reconstruction of infrastructure.”

During the Kuwait conference, the UN launched a two-year Recovery and Resilience Programme, in which IOM Iraq takes part, to assist the Iraqi government in addressing the multiple needs for rebuilding and reconstruction in the country. The UN Secretary General spoke about the programme in his speech at the conference.

IOM Iraq, in partnership with the Government of Iraq, is focusing its recovery assistance on areas of return. This assistance includes mobile community information centres, light infrastructure projects, housing rehabilitation, strengthening health facilities, relief kit distribution and livelihood support.

For more information on displacement across Iraq, visit the IOM Iraq DTM Portal:

The latest DTM report, with data through 31 January is available at:

For more information please contact Sandra Black at IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 15:44Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM reports that thousands of Iraqi internally displaced persons (IDPs) continue to return home. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Partners with Americares to Provide Lifesaving Medical Supplies in Somalia

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:47

Somalia – IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, has partnered with Americares to donate more than eight tonnes of medical supplies, for distribution across IOM project locations in Somaliland, Puntland, Lower Juba, Gedo and Banadir regions. The supplies will immediately be dispatched to IOM’s static and mobile clinics, to increase local access to life-saving primary healthcare services.

Inadequate funding for healthcare continues to hinder the delivery of life-saving health services to populations in need across Somalia. The situation is further exacerbated by ongoing disease outbreaks including Acute Watery Diarrhoea (AWD)/cholera and measles.

In 2017, IOM provided emergency primary healthcare to over 470,000 beneficiaries. This is Americares’ seventh major shipment to Somalia to tackle the drought and AWD/cholera outbreak. The shipments include more than 190,000 litres of intravenous fluids, enough to treat 24,000 patients with AWD/cholera and other waterborne diseases.

Americares responds to an average of 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year, establishing long-term recovery projects and bringing disaster preparedness programmes to vulnerable communities.

IOM Somalia Chief of Mission Dyane Epstein stated: “Improving access to medical supplies to ensure health facility stock outs are avoided is of the utmost urgency to alleviate the impact of the current crisis.”

“The crisis in East Africa is one of the worst humanitarian emergencies in decades,” said Americares Director of Emergency Response Kate Dischino. “IOM and Americares are partnering to ensure families have access to basic medicines and medical supplies, including lifesaving cholera treatments.”

More than five million people in Somalia have limited access to healthcare. The situation is worsened by a ravaging drought – the worst in decades. In 2017, more than 60,000 AWD/cholera cases and 800 deaths were reported in 52 districts across 16 regions of the country.

For more information please contact the Programme Support Unit at IOM Somalia, Tel: +254715990600, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 15:42Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

In 2017, IOM Somalia provided emergency primary healthcare to over 470,000 beneficiaries. © IOM

This is Americares’ 7th major shipment to Somalia in response to the drought and acute watery diarrhoea/cholera outbreak. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 8,807 in 2018; Deaths Reach 411

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:47

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 8,807 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through seven weeks of 2018. This compares with 13,156 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

On Monday (19 February) IOM Rome reported official figures from Italy’s Ministry of Interior (MOI) show 4,864 irregular migrants have arrived by sea this year:  51.64 per cent lower than the total last year in the same period, when MOI figures show 10,057 arrived. (See chart below)

IOM’s Flavio Di Giacomo added 276 migrants were rescued on Sunday by the Italian Coast Guard and by the NGO Pro Activa Open Arms in three separate rescue operations. Migrants were being brought to Italian ports late Monday, Di Giacomo said.

IOM Greece’s Kelly Namia reported no landings of irregular migrants by sea during the days 13-14 February, or over the holiday weekend that ended Monday (19/02).

IOM Libya's Christine Petré reported that on Monday (19 February) IOM provided food and emergency medical assistance to 117 migrants, who had been returned to Libyan shores by the Libyan Coast Guard after attempting the journey to Italy across the Mediterranean Sea.

According to testimonies from survivors, she explained, these migrants embarked on their journey in the western coast city of Azzawya; their rubber boat started taking on water after six hours at sea. Among the migrants were five women, 84 men and 28 children (all males), as well as one pregnant woman.
IOM is following up with psychosocial support to the surviving migrants.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that total arrivals at sea in 2018 have reached 2,016 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 18 February, about twice the number arriving through this date in 2017. The 616 arrivals this month already have exceeded all those of the full months of February in each of the last three years (see charts below).

Dodevska also shared the following data from Spain’s Ministry of Interior for Sea Arrivals since 2015:

While arrivals on this western route are even fewer than those IOM is seeing off Greece, the western route is much more deadly. No reports of a migrant dying at sea have been reported on the Eastern Mediterranean route in 2018; the remains of 96 men, women and children have been recorded in the waters between North Africa and Spain this year.
This route is almost three times as lethal for migrants as it has been over the previous three years (see chart below).

Fatalities for all the Mediterranean through 18 February stand at 411 men, women and children – compared with 270 at this time last year, an increase of just over 50 per cent.

Most recently, seven deaths were recorded on the Western Mediterranean route between Algeria and Spain. The remains of three migrants were found off the coast of Ain Témouchent last week: on 14 February, the bodies of two Sub-Saharan young men were recovered in Plage de Sassel and Plage Sbiat, while one day after, on 15 February, another body was found near Plage Bouzedjar.

Remains of three more migrants were recovered west of Oran: on 15 February, two bodies were recovered from Plage des Andalouses; on 16 February another body was found in Plage de Madagh. On Saturday, 17 February, the remains of another migrant were found 10km off the coast of Chlef province, near Mostaganem.

In the past four weeks, 18 of some 96 people who have died trying to reach Spain from North Africa this year were found in or near Algerian coastal waters.

IOM Algeria Chief of Mission Pascal Reyntjens said: “The increase of the number of fatalities recorded and reported on the Algerian shores shows a drastic increase” says Pascal Reyntjens, Chief of Mission of IOM in Algeria. “The reasons behind this growing visibility needs to be further analyzed at this stage. While in the past, sea crossing of “harragas” were mainly taking place from the Eastern side of Algeria, it seems that recently there has been a shift towards the Western shores of the country.”

In terms of type of migrants, it appears that the majority are Algerian citizens, he explained, adding: “We cannot exclude that a new trend of irregular migration organized by smugglers will also allow other nationalities – such as sub Saharans – to attempt this dangerous crossing."

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 637 migrant fatalities in 2018 (see chart below).

The MMP team recorded three deaths on the US/Mexico border over the past few days. On 15 February, US Border Patrol agents discovered skeletal remains in a ranch in Brooks County, near Falfurrias, Texas. On 14 February, a 33-year-old Mexican national was found dead at the bottom of Pump Canyon in Val Verde County, Texas, near the border with Mexico. On 18 February, a young man drowned in the Río Bravo while attempting to reach the United States. His body was recovered from a small island in the river near Guerrero, Tamaulipas, by Mexican civil protection authorities.

In the area MMP designates as “Central America” – Mexico and the republics of Guatemala, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras, Costa Rica, Panama and Belize – one person was killed by a freight train, on 18 February near Atitalaquia, Mexico.
MMP data are compiled by IOM staff but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on missing migrants are collected, click here.

Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Olivia Headon, IOM Libya, Tel: + +216510 84554 Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya. Tel. +216 29 240 448 Email :
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 71 860 312 ext. 109, Mobile: +216 2878 7805, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 15:41Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency to Support 1,000 Dominican Families Rebuild

Tue, 02/20/2018 - 08:47

Roseau – The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is supporting the Government of Dominica to improve the conditions of people living in emergency shelters around Dominica after Hurricane Maria destroyed almost 20 per cent and severely damaged another 55 per cent of the housing stock on the island, five months ago.

IOM, with funding from UK Aid, the European Commission humanitarian agency (ECHO) and the Government of Australia, will provide roof repairs and core shelter solutions for over one thousand vulnerable families in affected communities in the north east, west central and north west of the island. Core shelters are small basic structures, built in accordance with the Government of Dominica´s Building Guidelines, and designed in such a way that they can be expanded on.

Currently, assessment of potential beneficiaries is taking place in Woodfordhill, and roof repair works are at different stages for close to 20 households so far in that community.  In total, IOM intends to provide shelter solutions for almost 150 households in Woodfordhill. IOM will also be undertaking similar work in Marigot, Wesley, Calibishie, Bense and Anse de Mai in the north east.

On the West Coast, IOM is collaborating with village councils and other community leaders to choose beneficiaries. “All households in the affected communities cannot be assisted and so key groups have been identified in line with criteria endorsed by the Ministry of Social Services, Gender and Family Affairs as having the least capacity to recover without support,” explained Jan-Willem Wegdam, head of the IOM team deployed in Dominica since the hurricane hit the island. 

Households with elderly members, pregnant and lactating women and members who have disabilities or chronic illness that affect their mobility and ability to provide for themselves, will be prioritized. Single male or female headed households, large households with many children who are not able to work for income, poor households living in unsafe structures or an uninhabitable house due to the impact of the hurricane, and with low self-recovery capacity (including loss of livelihoods) will also be prioritized.

IOM is recruiting local engineers, architects, carpenters and contractors in these areas for training them in techniques for building back better, and to work for pay on community recovery programmes.

For further information please contact Maxine Alleyne-Esprit at IOM Dominica, Tel: + (767) 285-0794, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 20, 2018 - 15:40Image: Region-Country: DominicaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesShelterDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM is recruiting local engineers, architects, carpenters and contractors who are then trained in techniques for building back better. © IOM

Core shelters are small basic structures, built and designed in such a way that they can be extended. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN