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Updated: 27 min 56 sec ago

UN Migration Agency Trains Burundi Law Enforcement Officers on Combating Human Trafficking

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:28

Burundi - The UN Migration Agency (IOM), in partnership with the Government of Burundi, has conducted a series of training sessions for 100 law enforcement officers on understanding, investigating and preventing human trafficking and on identifying and supporting victims.

The three training sessions, in Burundi’s capital, Bujumbura, aimed to equip frontline police officers with essential counter-trafficking knowledge and skills. Led by the IOM African Capacity Building Centre (ACBC), the trainings covered trafficking and smuggling and how they differ, and provisions of international and national laws on human trafficking. They also focused on investigation techniques, including the detection of fraudulent documents, and victim identification, referral, protection and assistance.

Burundi is a source country for trafficked persons, including adults and children who are coerced into forced labour, domestic servitude, prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation throughout the region and elsewhere in the world. Internally, children and young adults have been forcibly recruited into armed groups.

“Poverty, unemployment, instability, severe climate events and displacement in Burundi and throughout the region, have contributed to opportunities for traffickers to exploit vulnerable people,” said Kristina Mejo, IOM Burundi Chief of Mission. 

The police officers at the training were briefed on an ongoing IOM awareness-raising campaign aimed at informing vulnerable populations about the risks of human trafficking and how to avoid being lured into exploitative situations. IOM trainers distributed communication materials to participants, including posters and flyers for use at 17 border posts, police stations and other law enforcement offices.

The recent training sessions for law enforcement officers in Burundi build on a first round of counter-trafficking training for government officials last year.

“IOM is pleased to continue working with the Government of Burundi and partners on the fight against human trafficking and helping to inform Burundians of the ills of irregular migration,” said Mejo.

The training sessions were carried out with funding from the Government of Belgium as part of a larger project to promote peace and community dialogue and prevent violent conflict and irregular migration.

For further information, please contact IOM Burundi, Niamh McEvoy, Tel: +257 7540 0339, Email: nmcevoy@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:26Image: Region-Country: BurundiThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Burundi law enforcement officers receive certificates of completion for the IOM human trafficking training sessions. Photo: IOM 2017

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500,000 Reached in Ethiopia by UN Migration Agency’s Awareness Raising on Irregular Migration

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:26

Ethiopia - From an original goal of 200 kebeles (districts) in Ethiopia, Community Conversation (CC) – a pilot community-based awareness-raising project – has now reached 519 kebeles, or 500,000 members, in Ethiopia over the past three years. The project aims to reach a wide range of areas known to be prone to for irregular migration from Ethiopia.

Launched in 2014 by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) in Ethiopia and the Government of Ethiopia, the CC outreach programme is one of the different awareness-raising tools that IOM uses alongside forum theatres and peer education. These approaches are deemed effective, as they have the capacity to reach remote areas that would not have had access to information through normal media channels.

At a recent workshop in Adama, Ethiopia, government partners and Community Conversation facilitators affirmed that the CC programme has indeed been successful in reaching out to communities. They reported that the initiative is helping communities reflect deeply on the social norms that perpetuate irregular migration, in addition to challenging misinformation on the topic.

Among the participants were CC facilitators, staff from the Bureau of Labour and Social Affairs, Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs officials, as well as regional administrators. The participants explained the effectiveness of the programme and minor challenges they faced while implementing it. According to them, the pilot CC programme has been very effective in reaching out to more than 500 kebeles in a short period of time, in different remote areas in Ethiopia. The programme has also been branded as an all-inclusive approach by involving religious leaders, elderly figures and returnees.

In addition to bringing awareness and altering risk-taking behaviour among youth in the target communities, the initiative has significantly contributed to a decrease in school drop-out rates. It has also led to increased prosecution of human traffickers and smugglers, now that community members have started to see clearly the negative impact of human traffickers. Regional administrators from the Tigray, Amhara and Oromia regions stated that in the areas where CC was carried out they have seen a change in perception of irregular migration.

“We have seen a change in the community,” one administrator said. “We have a society that discourages irregular migration. Community Conversation has now become the norm for many kebeles.”

Despite these good experiences in the three regions, however, Getachew Mulgeta of the Southern Nations, Nationalities, and People’s Region stated that the number of irregular migrants has increased. “One of the challenges is that partners do not recognize irregular migration as a major problem, while another challenge is not being able to move as fast as the challenge,” a representative from the region explained.

The National Consultative Workshop on Community Conversation was held to assess the progress of the unique CC awareness-raising approach and to learn from previous experiences.

For further information, please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at the IOM Special Liaison Office in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, Tel: +251 911 63 90 82, Email: salemayehu@iom.int

 

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:22Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Capacity BuildingIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

A Community Conversation (CC) outreach programme at Butajira, Ethiopia. Photo: IOM 2017

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European, Chinese Officials Share Knowledge on Identification Techniques

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:22

China - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) Liaison Office to China this month organized a seminar on identification techniques relating to the return of irregular migrants.

The seminar in Hangzhou targeted 37 Chinese officials from the Bureau of Exit and Entry Administration (BEEA) of the Ministry of Public Security (MPS) and 20 provincial public security departments.

China, an increasingly important destination for international migrants, is faced with the challenge of a growing presence of irregular migrants within its borders. Ascertaining the identity of each migrant is an essential part of managing their return and reintegration.

IOM invited experts from Belgium, Portugal, the Netherlands, Norway and Spain to share their practical knowledge on identification techniques. Chinese and IOM experts also facilitated discussions on practical issues related to returns of irregular migrants.

Identification techniques currently used by national authorities include biometrics, information and communications technology (ICT) systems and background checks, specialized interviews, language tests and scientific tests.

Opening remarks were made by Ministry of Public Security Deputy Director General Liu Shibin, EU Delegation to China and Mongolia Counsellor Marcin Grabiec, and IOM Liaison Office to China Head Pär Liljert.

The seminar was part of the EU-China Migration and Mobility Support Project funded by the European Union Partnership Instrument.

For further information, please contact Etienne Micallef at the IOM Liaison Office to China, Tel: 13811209875, Email: emicallef@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:16Image: Region-Country: ChinaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Chinese and European delegates discuss techniques used in the identification of irregular migrants. Photo: IOM 2017

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UN Migration Agency’s Senior Regional Advisor for Asia Receives Honor from Japanese Government

Tue, 06/20/2017 - 10:16

Switzerland - Akio Nakayama, the UN Migration Agency’s (IOM) Senior Regional Advisor for Asia received an award from the Japanese Government for his significant achievements in contributing to the mutual understanding, friendship and goodwill between Japan and IOM. Nakayama was presented the award by representatives of the Japanese Government at a specially organized dinner at the residence of Junichi Ihara, the Japanese Ambassador to Geneva, Switzerland, on 19 June.

When receiving the award, Nakayama noted that he “would like to give all credit to our hard-working field colleagues for any accomplishment we have made to date, particularly those working in the crisis situation in support of vulnerable people.”

“Having served as Senior Regional Adviser for Asia in the last six years, I have had great opportunities to participate in the development of institutional policy at global and regional levels. Policy must be implemented in the field and must be constantly reviewed based on feedback from the field. I am happy to switch the role from the one seeking feedback from the field to the one providing it to HQs now,” continued Nakayama.

“As we are striving for common goals under SDGs, and the development of Global Compact on Migration, we all should work harder than ever to uphold our coherence, and I am happy to make my contribution to this endeavor from the field,” said Nakayama.  

In two weeks, Nakayama will start a new assignment in IOM as Chief of Mission for IOM Myanmar. It will be his eighth assignment within IOM since 1996, including the Philippines, Serbia, Kosovo, Pakistan, Japan, and Headquarters.

“It is a great pleasure to be assigned to Myanmar at this critical juncture where IOM is running a wide range of migration and humanitarian projects in close partnership with the Government and people of Myanmar through 12 sub-offices with over 700 staff members,” said Nakayama on his new appointment.

For further information, please contact Olivia Headon at IOM HQ, Tel: +41794035365, Email: oheadon@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 20, 2017 - 16:14Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

The UN Migration Agency’s (IOM) Senior Regional Advisor for Asia Akio Nakayama (left) receives an award from the Japanese Government for his significant achievements in contributing to the mutual understanding, friendship and goodwill between Japan and IOM. Photo: IOM 2017

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IOM Joins Major Global Brands Commit to Preventing Forced Labour in Supply Chains

Mon, 06/19/2017 - 08:15
Language English

Germany - The International Organization for Migration joins leading global brands, government officials, trade associations, recruiters and other expert organizations in Berlin to tackle forced labour in supply chains and encourage international companies to commit to the ethical recruitment of migrant workers.

Participants at the Annual Leadership Forum for Responsible Recruitment, including companies such as IKEA and Hewlett Packard, are sharing best practices on effective approaches to ensure that migrant workers in their supply chains are recruited ethically, including strategies to promote and implement the Employer Pays Principle.

“Finding work overseas can be a complicated process. Because jobseekers need job matching and migration assistance, they often end up paying extortionate fees and face other forms of exploitation when dealing with unlicensed or unvetted middle men” said Lara White, a senior labour migration specialist with the UN Migration Agency, a member of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment.

“Ethical recruitment and hiring practices, where employers pay recruitment fees rather than workers, is at the core of the Employer Pays Principle and is key to combatting forced labour and modern slavery,” she told the forum. “Ethical recruitment is not only the right thing to do, it’s also good for business.”

The conference in Berlin opened today with an announcement by the Institute for Human Rights and Business that four more international brands, General Electric, Mars Inc., Tesco and Vinci, joined seven other global companies in the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment.  In doing so, they join The Coca-Cola Company, HP Inc., Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IKEA, M&S, Unilever and Walmart in committing to the Employer Pays Principle and working toward broader adoption of ethical recruitment practices in the business community.

“We welcome the growing momentum among major global companies and recruitment agencies to change the way that migrant workers are recruited, and to help eliminate exploitation and abuse in supply chains,” said White.

The conference is co-hosted by the Institute for Human Rights and Business, Humanity United, and the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment. 

 

Posted: Monday, June 19, 2017 - 14:12Image: Region-Country: GermanyThemes: Global Compact on MigrationLabour MigrationDefault: 
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UN Migration Agency Briefs UN’s Libya Country Team on Migrants Held by Smugglers for Ransom

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 12:06

Libya - The UN Migration Agency (IOM), on Thursday with representatives of UNHCR briefed members of the UN’s Libya country team on the ongoing efforts to rescue what are believed to be up to 200 victims of kidnapping and torture in Libya.

The victims, whose plight came to IOM’s attention through contacts in Africa who had discovered video of the migrants in captivity via social media, are known to be Somali and Ethiopian nationals – both men and women – whose families in the Horn of Africa have received ransom demands based on short video clips depicting scenes of active torture. This tactic, which is not new, has been reported for several years across the northern Sahara region and even in parts of Latin America. IOM believes the video is authentic.  

“IOM is currently working closely with all partners in trying to locate the migrants. IOM supports the Libyan efforts in the fight against the smuggling networks and we are very concerned about the current situation,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Libya.

IOM will continue to use its staff in the region – in coordination with authorities in Libya – to assist in tracing and potentially aiding in the rescue of these victims, added Belbeisi. “IOM is currently working closely with all partners in trying to locate the migrants,” he said.

In a video posted on Facebook on 9 June, hundreds of emaciated and abused Somalis and Ethiopians are seen huddled fearfully in a concrete room. Other nationalities may also be present.

Speaking on video to a Somali journalist based in Turkey (who recorded the call he received from the criminal gang), the migrants and refugees, who are sitting on the floor in a crowded space, say they have been beaten and tortured. Some report that their teeth have been removed, their arms broken and that none had been given any food. They explain that women have been isolated in separate cells.

“I have been here one year. I am beaten every day. I swear I do not eat food. My body is bruised from beating,” said one of the captives in the video. “If you have seen the life here you wouldn’t stay in this world any more. I didn't eat the last four days but the biggest problem is beating here. They don’t want to release me.”

Throughout the video there are exchanges between the journalist and the person moderating on site in Libya. In one instance, he introduces the journalist to a young visibly starving man with a large concrete block weighing down on his back, as punishment for his family not paying his ransom.

“I was asked for 8,000 US dollars,” said the young man, when asked by journalist why the criminal gang were punishing him. “They broke my teeth. They broke my hand. I have being here 11 months… This stone has been put on me for the last three days. It’s really painful.”

“Seeing a Facebook video of innocent migrants and refugees who have been abused and tortured is deeply concerning,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies, after learning of the situation. “IOM condemns the way that criminal gangs use social media in their shocking abuse of people held against their will and to extort money from their families back home.”

Abdiker added: “This is a global problem where a smuggler or a criminal gang can easily use digital platforms to advertise their services, entice vulnerable people on the move and then exploit them and their families. It is high time that social media and tech companies recognize the extreme harm that is occurring because of their failure to monitor and react to situations of grave human rights abuses – leading ultimately to murder – that are being shared through their channels.”

Leonard Doyle, chief spokesperson for IOM in Geneva, said: “Social media, including Facebook, has a duty to better police content on its channels. It’s not a new argument and we are not accusing Facebook of complicity in murder. Rather we are saying that these channels are being abused by criminals.”

For further information, please contact:

Othman Belbeisi at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 600 389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int
Leonard Doyle at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 285 7123, Email: ldoyle@iom.int
Or Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 18:02Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigrant AssistanceMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

Images from the Facebook video depicting hundreds of Somali and Ethiopian migrants and refugees held against their will. Faces have been blurred to protect the people depicted. 

Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 77,004 in 2017; 1,828 Deaths

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 12:01

Swtizerland - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) reports that 77,004 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 14 June, with almost 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 214,427 arrivals across the region through 14 June 2016.

Mediterranean Developments

IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo reported that when IOM last released figures (13 June), over 3,000 migrants arrived in Italy after having been rescued since last weekend. He said new rescues took place on Thursday and were continuing Friday morning, although details of these operations were still not available to IOM teams on the ground.

IOM Rome this week also reported the breakdown of main arrivals to Italy by nationality through the end of May (see chart below). Nigerians (9,286 men, women and children) comprised the number one nationality – as they had a year ago – with Bangladeshis (7,106) in second place. The next eight countries were: Guinea (5,960), Cote d’Ivoire (5,657), the Gambia (4,011), Senegal (3,935), Morocco (3,327), Mali (3,150), Eritrea (2,344) and Sudan (2,327).

The arrivals from Eritrea, Sudan, and the Gambia are down from 2016 – despite the fact that overall arrivals to Italy by sea have risen – while those from Nigeria, Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Morocco, Mali and Guinea are all up. In the case of Bangladesh, the increase is from 20 recorded arrivals at this point in 2016 to over 7,000 this year. Through all of 2016, just over 8,000 Bangladeshis made this same journey to Italy from Africa – a level nearly reached this year after only five months.

 

Christine Petré, IOM Libya, reported on 13 June that the Libyan Red Crescent retrieved four bodies west of Azzawya while on the same day one body was recovered in Subratah.

So far this year, 251 bodies have been retrieved from the Libyan shores, not including three bodies IOM Libya has received information about on 15 June, which the Libyan Red Crescent were collecting from the area west of Tripoli known as Janzour. So far this year 9,111 migrants have been rescued in Libyan waters.  

IOM Guinea Conakry reported that on Tuesday (13 June), at 18:20 the special flight chartered by IOM Libya landed at the airport of Conakry-Gbessia, carrying 161 Guinean migrants – including four unaccompanied minors, five women and six infants. These migrants, who were seeking a humanitarian voluntary return to Guinea, are among the many Guineans living in irregular situations in Libya, often in very difficult conditions.

Some of these migrants were held in the Ghreian and Alsika detention centres.

Among the passengers was Alpha*, 15 years old. He recounted being a taxi driver in Abidjan before deciding to leave, taking the desert route towards Algeria, then Libya where he was arrested and detained for 11 months. Moussa*, another passenger, 17 years old, left Guinea with three high school friends. Sona*, a clothing saleswoman, left Guinea alone with her child without informing her husband. She found herself imprisoned in a detention centre for several months before IOM assisted her return home. (*The names of migrants have been changed to protect their privacy.)

IOM Guinea, SENAH (National Service of Humanitarian Affairs) and representatives of the Ministry of Guineans Abroad and the Ministry of Social Actions welcomed the returnees, who were fed before being registered and profiled in a survey. The questionnaires are designed to enable IOM to better understand the profile of returnees, and learn more about the reasons for their departure, their migratory path and their living conditions in Libya.

After this profiling step, IOM gave each migrant the equivalent of EUR 50 for secondary transport fares to reach their final destinations. Within the next three months, as part of the programme "Strengthening Governance of Migration and Supporting the Sustainable Reintegration of Migrants in the Republic of Guinea" arising from the initiative of the European Union Trust Fund, IOM will study their cases to help them find alternatives that ensure sustainable reintegration in Guinea. At the same time, IOM is providing psychosocial support to vulnerable migrants and, where necessary, additional support to address more immediate needs.

Since early 2017 (to 6 June), IOM Libya has assisted 4,443 stranded migrants to return to their countries of origin. Tuesday’s flight is the fourth one chartered by IOM to facilitate the return of Guinean migrants from Libya; the first three involved 298 voluntary returnees. This is in addition to other voluntary returns of Guinean nationals coming from Benin, Cameroon, Egypt, Morocco and Niger, also stranded in their migratory path.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project (MMP) reports that there have been 2,545 fatalities through 14 June (see chart below) with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – over 70 per cent of the global total.

In the last two days, MMP has recorded one death reported by IOM Niger (after 92 migrants were rescued from the desert near Dirkou last Friday, one Nigerian migrant died shortly after) plus the incidents reported by IOM Libya of bodies retrieved on the Libyan coast (19 since Friday, 9 June).

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic: http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/160617_Mediterranean_Update.pdf

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For further information, please contact:|
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Kelly Namia at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Christine Petré at IOM Libya, Tel: +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Lucas Chandellier at IOM Guinea, Tel: +224 628 33 86 53, Email: lchandellier@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:52Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 
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EUR 20 Million EU Project in Support of Turkish Coast Guard Seeks to Save More Migrant Lives

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:51

Turkey - On 15 June, the Turkish Coastguard (TUR CG) received in Antalya two search and rescue vessels. The vessels are part of a EUR 20 million agreement between the European Union and the UN Migration Agency (IOM).

The Turkish Government responded to the increase in irregular migration by rescuing, since the beginning of 2015, nearly 135,000 migrants and refugees as they tried to make their way to Greece. On land and at sea, Turkish law enforcement authorities have taken effective measures.

The vessels, specifically designed for search and rescue operations, will help maintain the coverage and frequency of coastguard patrols. The vessels are fast and can operate under harsh weather conditions, as they have the capability to right themselves when capsized. In addition, a hydraulic platform makes it easier for the TUR CG to rescue people from the water.

“The vessels provided today to the Turkish Coastguard are the first installment of six highly sophisticated search and rescue boats funded by the European Union that IOM will deliver by the end of 2017,” said Lado Gvilava, IOM Turkey Chief of Mission.

“While the Turkish Coastguard should be applauded for its efforts to rescue migrants and refugees, we must recognize that the underlying cause of what is driving people to make this risky journey continues to exist.  The international community must come together to root out the drivers of irregular migration. In this context, it is conflicts,” Gvilava added.

In addition to the six search and rescue vessels, the agreement with the IOM will support TUR CG staff carrying out search and rescue operations and dealing with tragic events.

The Head of the EU Delegation in Turkey, Ambassador Christian Berger, said: "The strenuous efforts by the Turkish Coastguards have been crucial in saving human lives in the Aegean Sea and the Mediterranean. The EU is proud to be able to contribute to the efforts of the Turkish Coast Guards through these first two state-of-the-art search and rescue vessels delivered today. Here, today, this project is a good example among many of what the EU and Turkey can achieve when we work together, and shows that we are stronger when we are together," Ambassador Berger added.

Commander of the Coastguard Command, Rear Admiral Bülent Olcay, said: "As the vessels of the Coastguard Command have far exceeded their annual average navigation time in the fight against irregular migration, their breakdown ratio and the frequency of planned maintenance intervals have increased. Therefore, the machine lifespans have begun to expire rapidly. The most evident example of such invisible costs incurred in the process of stemming irregular migration are the nine Coastguard vessels whose lifespans expired early due to overuse. These vessels had to be decommissioned at the end of 2016, two to three years earlier than expected. In brief, the new vessels supplied in the framework of EU-funded projects provide 'a partial compensation of losses' rather than 'a capacity increase'."

With this EUR 20 million project, the European Union further strengthens its co-operation with the Turkish Coastguard in the area of migration management. The project is being implemented by IOM and foresees the production and supply of six search and rescue vessels for the Turkish Coastguard.

The project also includes training on several topics such as international migration law, sensitive interview techniques, protection and assistance to vulnerable migrants, counter-migrant smuggling, and human trafficking. Furthermore, the project also offers support to TUR CG frontline officers to alleviate the psychological impact they face in their daily search and rescue operations at sea.

For further information, please contact Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email: MediaIOMTurkey@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:45Image: Region-Country: TurkeyThemes: Capacity BuildingHumanitarian EmergenciesMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Chief of Mission Lado Gvilava signs handover documents with Turkish Coast Guard Captain Ahmet Arslan. Photo: IOM 2017

A Turkish crew is saluting the flag during the national anthem as they board the vessel for first time. Photo: IOM 2017

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IOM Launches First Online Consular Service for Stranded Migrants in Libya Hoping to Return Home

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:45

Libya - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) has launched an online consular service to make the consular process easier to access and navigate for vulnerable migrants hoping to return home. 

The first online consular session was conducted on 5 June via Skype in close cooperation with the Ghanaian Embassy in Tripoli. The remote consular service connects the migrant to his or her embassy’s representative online in order to receive the necessary information ahead of IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Repatriation and Reintegration (AVRR) service.

Thanks to the service, one Ghanaian migrant in the Shahat Detention Centre in the city of Shahat, 250 km from Benghazi, was able to receive travel documents. The session was organized by IOM’s team on the ground in Benghazi and the consular staff of the Ghanaian Embassy in Tripoli, who support IOM’s new remote consular initiative. 

“We thank the Ghanaian Embassy for their cooperation and flexibility. We hope that more Embassies will come on board this new innovative initiative,” explained Ashraf Hassan, IOM Libya Project Manager.

Recognizing the vast demand for the AVRR, IOM identified a need for a more functional approach, not only optimizing the duration of the travel documentation process, but also reaching a larger number of vulnerable migrants. 

IOM conducts field visits with the relevant embassy representatives to migrant detention centres in Libya to facilitate the procedure of issuing proper travel documentation to migrants preparing for voluntary return to their countries of origin. These consular visits require significant coordination with the detention centres, local authorities and embassies. These visits are also only possible within Tripoli and with some difficulties in Gheryan (90 kilometers south of Tripoli) and Misrata (around 200 kilometers east of Tripoli). They are not possible in other major cities such as Al Zawia, Subarata, Surman, Benghazi and Sebha, where IOM has identified a high demand among migrants to return home.

This operational constraint has notably affected IOM’s assistance to stranded migrants as up until now these visits have been crucial to the voluntary return operation. The longer they get delayed, and sometimes cancelled due to security or operational challenges facing the embassies, the longer migrants are detained in the detention centres or stranded in urban settings in Libya. This new online service will save both embassies and IOM time and resources that are required in coordinating and arranging the escorted field visits of embassy personnel to the detention centres, as well as ensure that they can reach migrants outside of Tripoli.

“Due to security issues and no means of transportation, migrants in remote areas have difficulty getting their papers processed. We hope this service will give many more stranded migrants an opportunity to return home, if they wish to do so,” Ashraf Hassan added. 

For further information, please contact IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600 389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Ashraf Hassan, Tel +216 29 794 707, Email: ashassan@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:41Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Libya launches first online consular service to increase support for stranded migrants wishing to return home. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Joins Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:41

United States - ­More than 300 participants are attending the Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development (GFRID), an initiative organized by the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), the Population Division and the Financing for Development Office of the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the World Bank. This year, the Forum focuses on the role of remittances in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and opportunities in the global marketplace.

Every year migrants send over 400 billion dollars in remittances to developing countries, far exceeding the amount of overseas development assistance (ODA). These remittances contribute to basic needs such as food, health care, education and housing in migrants’ countries of origin. However, remittance transfer costs are uneven and remain high for many migrants sending money to certain parts of the world.

Representing IOM at the Forum, Ashraf El Nour, Director of IOM’s Office to the United Nations in New York, highlighted the important role remittances play in improving the lives of migrant families. He noted: “Remittances undoubtedly lift the families of many migrants out of poverty and enhance their ability and resilience to withstand risks due to unemployment, illness, or even the adverse impacts of climate change.”

He also mentioned, however, that remittances, “on their own will not necessarily result in development if governments are not fully engaged in the provision of basic services such as social security, health and education systems.”

The Forum provides an opportunity for participants to share policy recommendations that will lead to greater impact on local development. IOM’s recommendations include: 1) enhancing the financial literacy and inclusion of families receiving remittances; 2) empowering women to have control over productive assets and participate in decision making; and 3) facilitating the transfer of migrants’ social capital such as skills and knowledge.

Furthermore, IOM is currently exploring innovative ways to make money transfers easier and cheaper. A remittance survey will be launched today (16 June) in collaboration with MONITO to show evidence of the impact of remittances and the ways in which migrants send money home, from traditional means such as through banks and post offices to mobile applications and online money transfer companies.

IOM Statement on the International Day of Family Remittances

The hard-earned money that migrants send every day to their loved ones back home represents a vital economic lifeline for millions of struggling families around the world. These remittances improve standards of living in countless ways and help to make vulnerable communities more resilient to shocks, such as economic downturns and natural and man-made disasters. Remittances increase household income and pay for basic needs such as food, education, housing and medical services. The global scale of remittances is staggering. The World Bank estimates that USD 465 billion in remittances is expected to flow into developing countries in 2017.

Recognizing the many potential benefits of remittances for those who receive them, IOM is pleased to support the International Day of Family Remittances on 16 June 2017.

1) High Remittance Costs

Remittance transfer costs remain high, particularly between countries in the global South. Intra-African transfers are the most expensive, with transfer costs averaging 9.5 per cent in Sub-Saharan Africa, compared to 5 per cent or below in some remittance corridors between the Gulf and countries in South Asia. Many migrants resort to informal channels to send money, rather than banks or authorized money transfer operators, because they are cheaper or more convenient.

Migrants who send money home need more accurate information on the remittance services available to them and their respective costs, so they can choose the most cost-effective option. Investments need to be made in new technologies for transferring money. IOM seeks to combine its knowledge of migration and remittances with the different but complementary expertise of other organizations, including the private sector, to enable improved money transfer service provision, including through mobile technologies or postal services. Better partnerships are required at a global level, between financial industry representatives and regulators, to create an enabling regulatory framework that breaks the monopolies of larger money transfer operators, promotes the use of new technology, and facilitates the transfer of smaller amounts without the restrictions imposed by anti-money laundering/counter financing of terrorism regulations.

2) Financial inclusion

Financial education initiatives for migrant workers and recipient households play a valuable role offering options to senders and recipients of low-cost transfer facilities. They also enable them to use the remittances most effectively for the benefit of their families and their communities of origin. Migrants who send and receive money need to have effective access to affordable and sustainable financial services from reliable and formal providers. This involves making financial systems more inclusive and responsive to the needs of different groups. IOM advocates the improvement of access to duly regulated, reliable and efficient financial services and products, for improved financial infrastructure, and for financial literacy opportunities for remittance senders and recipients.

3) Improving the conditions under which remittances are earned

High transfer costs typically impact low-skilled migrant workers opting to live in precarious conditions to maintain remittance flows to their families back home. The well-being of these migrant workers through decent work conditions needs to be ensured for their remittances to have a positive impact on development. The remittances that they send to their loved ones are often a significant proportion of their earnings. We should not forget the commitments that we have made as an international community under the Sustainable Development Goals to improving the conditions that migrant workers face both along the migration journey and at work. Employers and governments have a role to play in reducing these social costs, to ensure that remittances are earned under fairer conditions.

IOM is at one with the international community in celebrating the International Day of Family Remittances as an opportunity to recognize the contributions of migrants globally and to strengthen current partnerships to promote the development impact of remittances worldwide.

The two-day GFRID coincides with the third annual International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR), which celebrates the significant financial contribution migrant workers make not only to their families but also to the sustainable development of their countries of origin. On this occasion, IOM emphasizes the importance of readily available, accessible and accurate information for migrants on remittance services available to them so they can choose the most cost-effective option.

The GFRID also presents an opportunity for the international community to link issues of remittances and development with the upcoming fourth thematic session of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, “Contributions of migrants and diasporas to all dimensions of sustainable development, including remittances and portability of earned benefits”, to take place in New York on 24 and 25 July.

For further information, please contact:

Jorge Galindo, Labour Mobility and Human Development Division, IOM HQ, Geneva. Email: jgalindo@iom.int

Lanna Walsh, IOM Office to the United Nations in New York, Tel: +1 212 681 7000, Ext. 263, Email: lwalsh@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:39Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

Japan Supports IOM Emergency Response in Food-Insecure South Sudan

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:39

South Sudan - An estimated 5.5 million people in South Sudan are facing severe food insecurity and malnutrition due to conflict and a collapsing economy. Families’ coping mechanisms are declining as many communities face multiple displacements and reduced access to crops, markets and basic services.

The Government of Japan is providing USD 1 million to support IOM’s efforts to mitigate the impact of severe food insecurity on families across South Sudan through lifesaving health and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) assistance.

The crisis is particularly severe in Unity, where an estimated 100,000 people are facing famine conditions. However, people are affected in parts of every state and many are extremely vulnerable. More regions in the country are at risk of conditions deteriorating into emergency or famine conditions.

Widespread lack of safe drinking water, limited access to sanitation and health care facilities and poor hygiene practices have left these already vulnerable, food-insecure populations at greater risk of preventable diseases.  

“Lack of access to safe drinking water is one of the causes of malnutrition,” explains IOM WASH Coordinator Antonio Torres. “Individuals living in areas facing acute food insecurity often endure weakened immune systems due to poor nutrition. IOM undertakes efforts to both increase access to safe water and ensure the promotion of good hygiene and sanitation practices to safeguard these communities against further health risks, including the spread of waterborne diseases.”

Through Japanese support, IOM is procuring critical basic household items to ensure that relief agencies have access to humanitarian WASH supplies. In food-insecure and famine-affected areas, IOM aims to help partners reach an estimated 50,000 people with water storage and treatment supplies, 21,000 women and girls with menstrual hygiene management kits, and 20,000 people through improved sanitation facilities.

The project also supports IOM’s emergency response and preparedness teams, which are currently in Kapoeta, Eastern Equatoria, where thousands are vulnerable to a cholera outbreak that began in late April. As populations in Kapoeta are facing severe food insecurity, a cholera outbreak can be catastrophic in areas where individuals already experience malnutrition, poor WASH conditions and limited access to health facilities.

IOM’s team on the ground is working to increase communities’ access to safe drinking water through borehole repairs and distribution of water treatment supplies, as well as improving hygiene and sanitation through hygiene promotion activities.

The Government of Japan funding has also provided a boost to IOM’s rapid response health teams, which are able to react quickly to health emergencies and disease outbreaks across the country. The team most recently responded to a cholera outbreak and acute primary health-care needs in Jonglei’s Ayod County, where families face crisis-level food insecurity. Over three weeks, the team conducted over 3,300 consultations and reached over 8,400 people with health and hygiene promotion messages.

IOM’s emergency health and WASH responses are also generously supported by USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the EC European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the UN Central Emergency Response Fund and the South Sudan Humanitarian Fund, as well as additional funding from the Government of Japan. 

For further information, please contact: Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 912 379 793, Email: amclaughlin@iom.int.

 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:36Image: Region-Country: South SudanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM conducts hygiene promotion session in Kapoeta, South Sudan. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

IOM, EU Launch First Comparative Report on Environmental Change Migration

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:36

Belgium - The  International Organization for Migration (IOM) Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) and the European Union launched in Brussels today (16 June) the report, “Making Mobility Work for Adaptation to Environmental Changes: Results from the MECLEP Project’s Global Research”.

The ground-breaking research was conducted in six pilot countries: Dominican Republic, Haiti, Kenya, Mauritius, Papua New Guinea and Viet Nam. A major finding of the study is that migration often has a positive impact on adaptation as it allows households affected by environmental and climate change to diversify income, to improve their employment, health and education opportunities and to increase their preparedness for future hazards. Moreover, the study suggests that at least 40 per cent of the migrant households surveyed learnt new skills through migration. On the other hand, displacement due to natural hazards poses more challenges to adaptation, often linked to increasing vulnerability of those displaced.

The report is the final publication of the European Union-funded “Migration, Environment and Climate Change: Evidence for Policy” (MECLEP) project, a three-year research project which aimed at contributing to the global knowledge base on the relationship between migration and environmental and climate change. MECLEP was implemented by IOM in a consortium of six universities.

The final comparative report builds on desk reviews, household surveys and qualitative interviews conducted in the six project countries to assess the extent to which migration, including displacement and planned relocation, can benefit or undermine adaptation to environmental and climate change.

“Data analysis allows for a proactive, coherent and informed approach to policy development,” stated Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Data Analysis Centre. “By assessing in which ways migration can represent an adaptation strategy to environmental and climate change, the MECLEP data facilitates the development of informed policy responses,” he stressed.

Many policy implications emerge from this unique comparative study. Among others, the importance of integrating migration into urban planning to reduce challenges for both migrant households and the communities of destination and the need of paying particular attention to gender issues and to the needs of vulnerable groups, such as the elderly and trapped populations that cannot move.

The report is launched jointly with the European Commission Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO) at the IOM Regional Office in Brussels. The conceptual approach that guided the study and the research methodology were also presented during the launch event.

In addition to this final comparative report, the MECLEP project produced other publications focusing on the migration and environment nexus: six national assessments, six country survey reports, 20 policy briefs, a training manual in five languages, a methodology paper and a glossary in three languages. All the publications are available on the Environmental Migration Portal, the knowledge platform developed in the context of the MECLEP project.

For further information, please contact Susanne Melde at IOM GMDAC in Berlin, Tel. +49 171 5474 165, Email: smelde@iom.int 

 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:32Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeMigration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

IOM, Foreign Trade Association Sign Agreement on Protecting Migrant Workers

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:32

Belgium - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to boost cooperation in promoting ethical recruitment, protecting migrant workers and combating human trafficking in global labour supply chains.

“IOM recognizes the critical role that private sector employers and brands play in migration management and safeguarding the rights of migrant workers,” said Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM Regional Director for the EU, Norway and Switzerland, at an MOU signing event in Brussels today.

“We believe this new partnership between IOM and FTA will bolster joint efforts to improve conditions for migrant workers and provide strong public-private leadership in promoting sustainable supply chains,” he added.

FTA represents nearly 2,000 retailers, importers and brands and works to advance their international trade in conjunction with corporate responsibility. In doing so, FTA helps member companies develop systems and supply chains that respect workers, the environment, human rights and core labour standards.

IOM began working with FTA last year, in support of its work to reduce forced labour and human trafficking in South East Asian food and fisheries supply chains. Cooperation continued in the form of joint training sessions for FTA member companies on issues including labour rights, supply chain monitoring and responsible recruitment practices.

The new MOU provides a framework for further collaboration to protect migrant workers. This includes the enhanced use of IOM’s International Recruitment Integrity System, IRIS, which helps job seekers find ethical recruiters, certifies recruiters committed to ethical standards and helps employers assess the recruiters they use and improve transparency in the hiring process. It also includes support for FTA’s Business Social Compliance Initiative, training for employers and employees on trafficking and modern slavery issues, pre- and/or post-orientation training for labour migrants and support to companies to improve recruitment and map supply chains.

For further information, please contact Melissa Winkler at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 766 8230, Email: mwinkler@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:21Image: Region-Country: BelgiumSwitzerlandThemes: Counter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingMigrants RightsDefault: Multimedia: 

FTA Director General Christian Ewert and IOM Regional Director Eugenio Ambrosi at the MOU signing event in Brussel. Photo: FTA/2017

FTA Director General Christian Ewert and IOM Regional Director Eugenio Ambrosi at the MOU signing event in Brussel. Photo: FTA/2017

Categories: PBN

Thousands of Georgian Youngsters at Risk of Substance Abuse Reached with IOM’s “Life is Better” Campaign

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:18

Georgia - In response to high rates of substance abuse among Georgian youth, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) has implemented a pioneering information campaign on prevention of substance abuse among internally displaced and ethnic minority youth.

The Campaign, “Life is Better”, was implemented in public schools selected by the Ministry of Education and Science (MoES) of Georgia. Almost 500 children aged 13–14 years old created artistic projects, including essays, poems, video and songs on the theme, “Life is Better”. The initiative reached over 4,000 school children and 377 staff.

“How you deal with substance abuse, and how your school deals with substance abuse, and how your government deals with substance abuse will determine whether your country succeeds or fails,” said Mike McMahon of the United States Embassy, while addressing school children, their teachers and parents during the concluding event of the campaign in the city of Gori.

“’Life is Better’, it is indeed yours, the choice is in your hands and it is up to you to achieve all your goals,” added Ilyana Derilova, IOM Georgia Chief of Mission.

IOM’s campaign was designed not solely to prevent substance abuse but also to reduce its intensification and to deal with child and adolescent development.

For further information, please contact Ilyana Derilova at IOM Georgia. Tel. +995 32 225 2216, Email: iderilova@iom.int

 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:03Image: Region-Country: GeorgiaThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Mr. Mike McMahon taking part in the chemical experiment prior to the Award Ceremony. Photo: IOM 2017

Sport competition at the school yard in Gori. Photo: IOM

From left: Mr. Mike McMahon, parent of awardees, Ms. Ilyana Derilova, Gvantsa Shubitidze and Giga Shubitidze Awardees of "Life is Better" School Competition for the production of an art video "The Way Towards Bright Future", Director of the Gori Public School no.12 Ms. Rusudan Lomidze. Photo: IOM 2017

Ms. Rusudan Lomidze hands over to Mr. Mike McMahon the Certificate of Appreciation for the implementation of "Life is Better" Campaign project. Photo: IOM 2017

Ms. Ilyana Derilova and Mr. Mike McMahon are planting tree saplings in the school yard in Gori. Photo: IOM 2017

Categories: PBN

IOM, Guests Discuss Challenges to Protection of LGBTI Migrants

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:03
Language English

Guatemala - More than 50 LGBTI activists, government officials and representatives of non-governmental organizations from the seven countries in Mesoamerica met this week in Guatemala to strengthen their capacities and discuss joint strategies for the defense and promotion of the human rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender migrants.

The Regional Workshop on Migration and the LGBTI Population included trainings on the normative framework and the actions for the protection of LGBTI migrants. It also served to jointly analyze the advances and challenges in the region to promote cooperation to improve the protection of this part of the population.

The increase in cases of violence against persons from this community during the past years is noticeable. According to the Inter-American Commission of Human Rights (CIDH), during the first month of 2017 at least 41 crimes against LGBTI persons have been reported in the Americas; 19 of these only in El Salvador.

The risks and discrimination LGBTI persons face increasingly drives their migration in search of protection and opportunities. In addition, gender identity and sexual orientation usually have a negative impact over migratory experiences.

The attention to the specific needs of LGBTI persons during their migratory cycle remains a challenge, since diverse factors hinder the upholding of their rights as migrants in Mesoamerica. One of these factors is the lack of information and capacity-building efforts on the subject.

“This topic is of special importance for IOM since we are conscious of the homophobia and transphobia climate present in our countries, which sometimes translates into family, community and even institutional violence. We also know that within this group, transgender women are exposed to the most risk. All violence patterns, which extend from threats to insults – and up to death – incentivizes thousands of LGBTI persons to seek protection in other countries through irregular migration. That increases their vulnerability in relation to Trafficking in Persons networks and other types of criminal organizations,” explained IOM Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras, Jorge Peraza Breedy.

This is the second regional workshop of its kind that IOM implemented under its Mesoamerica Programme. Its first edition (2016) led to the formation of the Mesoamerican Network for the Protection and Assistance of LGBTI Migrants, a project that seeks to link the efforts of organizations that defend human rights to develop an articulated regional response to the attention of the multiple needs of this part of the population.

The Mesoamerica Programme “Strengthening the Capacities to Protect and Assist Vulnerable Migrants in Mesoamerica” is financed by the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the Department of State of the United States of America. 

For further information, please contact Melissa Vega at IOM Guatemala, Tel: +502 2414-7405, Email: mvega@iom.int

 

Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 17:01Image: Region-Country: GuatemalaThemes: Capacity BuildingGender and MigrationDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM, Panama Government Strengthen Cooperation for Protection of Migrants

Fri, 06/16/2017 - 11:01

Panama - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and Panama’s Ministry of Public Security have signed an agreement which will enable closer cooperation against smuggling and trafficking in persons, as well as on border management, emergency preparedness and crisis response resulting from migration flows.

The agreement seeks to provide training for government officials, establish work sessions with institutions involved in migration matters, and the exchange of information on the development and implementation of migration policies between IOM and the Ministry of Interior technicians and specialists.

This is a highly important issue for Panama, because over the last few years the economic growth and employment expectations caused by major infrastructure projects have increased migration flows and the consolidation of Panama as a destination country, in particular for South American countries such as Colombia, and more recently, Venezuela.

In addition, there has been a substantial increase of irregular migrants not only from Asia and Africa, but also from Cuba and Haiti, who are trying to reach North America. In 2015, according to the State Border Service (SENAFRONT), 31,749 migrants, mostly Cubans on their way to North America, entered Panama through Darien Province. However, of the 25,438 irregular migrants who entered the country in 2016, most were Haitians and the rest from Asia, Africa and Cuba.

Santiago Paz, Chief of Mission of IOM Panama signed the agreement with Alexis Bethancourt Yau, Panama’s Minister of Public Security. During the ceremony, the head of the Ministry pointed out that IOM has always provided technical assistance to the Government of Panama and this deal will formalize the cooperation on migration issues.

Paz said that the UN Migration Agency “can provide its capabilities to the Government of Panama to actively support the implementation of strategies and initiatives that will contribute to a safe, orderly and regular migration management and ensure the human rights of migrants.”

For further information, please contact Gonzalo Medina at IOM Panama. Tel: +507 3053350 Email: gmedina@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 16, 2017 - 16:57Image: Region-Country: PanamaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

Panamanian authorities host a group of extra-regional migrants at a temporary humanitarian assistance station on the border with Colombia last January. Photo: IOM / Gonzalo Medina

Categories: PBN

IOM, Foreign Trade Association Sign Agreement on Protecting Migrant Workers

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 14:36
Language English

Belgium — The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to boost cooperation in promoting ethical recruitment, protecting migrant workers and combatting human trafficking in global labour supply chains.

“IOM recognizes the critical role that private sector employers and brands play in migration management and safeguarding the rights of migrant workers,” said Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM Regional Director for the EU, Norway and Switzerland, at an MOU signing event in Brussels today.

“We believe this new partnership between IOM and FTA will bolster joint efforts to improve conditions for migrant workers and provide strong public-private leadership in promoting sustainable supply chains,” he added.

FTA represents nearly 2,000 retailers, importers and brands and works to advance their international trade in conjunction with corporate responsibility. In doing so, FTA helps member companies develop systems and supply chains that respect workers, the environment, human rights and core labour standards.

IOM began working with FTA last year, in support of its work to reduce forced labour and human trafficking in South East Asian food and fisheries supply chains. Cooperation continued in the form of joint training sessions for FTA member companies on issues including labour rights, supply chain monitoring and responsible recruitment practices.

The new MOU provides a framework for further collaboration to protect migrant workers. This includes the enhanced use of IOM’s International Recruitment Integrity System, IRIS, which helps job seekers find ethical recruiters, certifies recruiters committed to ethical standards and helps employers assess the recruiters they use and improve transparency in the hiring process. It also includes support for FTA’s Business Social Compliance Initiative, training for employers and employees on trafficking and modern slavery issues, pre- and/or post-orientation training for labour migrants and support to companies to improve recruitment and map supply chains.

For further information, please contact Melissa Winkler at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 766 8230, Email: mwinkler@iom.int 

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 20:32Image: Region-Country: BelgiumDefault: 
Categories: PBN

Belgian Government, City of Mechelen Host Global Conference on “Cities and Migration”

Thu, 06/15/2017 - 11:14

Belgium - The Belgian government and the city of Mechelen will host a “Global Conference on Cities and Migrants” on the 16th and 17th of November 2017, together with IOM, UN Habitat and UCLG as institutional partners.

The Belgian Development Cooperation, one of the Conference’s co-sponsors, puts great emphasis on the importance of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration as outlined in the Sustainable Development Goals. Alexander De Croo, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Development Cooperation (Belgium) says: “This conference comes at a time when there is an all-time high of more than 250 million migrants worldwide. This number of migrants is expected to continue to grow. If we want this evolution to contribute to human development, we need coherent and inclusive approaches.”

Bart Somers, mayor of Mechelen, is enthusiastic about hosting this conference: “Migration is often a story of urban challenges but also urban opportunities. I feel it’s important the voices of mayors become a part of the UN Global Compact on Migration.”

In October 2016, UN Member States adopted the New Urban Agenda (NUA), at the Habitat III Conference, establishing that migration is one of the key governance areas that requires policy coherence and coordination mechanisms at central, local and regional levels, in order to ensure the proper management of diversity necessary for social cohesion and indispensable for sustainable urban development.

In 2018, UN member states will gather at a conference to endorse the first Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM). The GCM is intended to present a framework for comprehensive international cooperation on migrants and human mobility and set out a range of actionable commitments, means of implementation and a framework for follow-up and review among Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions.

This is an opportunity for states to commit to a unifying framework on all aspects of international migration, integrating humanitarian and development work, and based on human rights. Local authorities can make important contributions towards the preparation of this agreement, particularly through innovative and more effective approaches to urban governance that accounts for greater diversity, including migration policies for inclusive growth.

The Conference will aim to facilitate key decision makers’ views on actionable recommendations on cooperation for migration governance and local and national levels in follow-up to Habitat III and as input to the stocktaking meeting for the GCM, hosted by the Government of Mexico (December 2017).

For more details about the conference, please contact the focal points at decorte@un.org or ipopp@iom.int

Language English Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 17:01Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: IOMMigration and DevelopmentOthersDefault: Multimedia: 
Categories: PBN

Facebook Video Circulates Showing 260 Somali and Ethiopian Migrants and Refugees Abused, Held Against Their Will by Gangs in Libya

Wed, 06/14/2017 - 19:34
Language English

Switzerland - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) is deeply concerned by the situation of approximately 260 Somali and Ethiopian migrants and refugees, including many children, held captive by smugglers and/or criminal gangs in Libya. In a video posted on Facebook on 9 June, hundreds of emaciated and abused Somalis and Ethiopians are seen huddled fearfully in a concrete room. Other nationalities may also be present.

Speaking on video to a Somali journalist based in Turkey (who recorded the call he received from the criminal gang), the migrants and refugees, who are sitting on the floor in a crowded space, say they have been beaten and tortured. Some report that their teeth have been removed, their arms broken and that none of them have been given any food. They explain that women have been put in different cells, where they are afraid that they are being further abused both sexually and physically. Parents and other relatives of the captive migrants and refugees are also receiving short video clips via social media, where they are being asked to pay between USD 8,000–10,000 or their child or relative will be killed. Some of the individuals in the videos have been missing for up to six years according to their families in Somalia. The exact location where they are being held is not yet known.

“I have being here one year. I am beaten every day. I swear I do not eat food. My body is bruised from beating,” said one of the captives in the video. “If you have seen the life here you wouldn’t stay this world any more. I didn't eat the last four days but the biggest problem is beating here. They don’t want to release me.”

Throughout the video there are exchanges between the journalist and the person moderating on site in Libya. In one instance, he introduces the journalist to a young visibly starving man with a large concrete block weighing down on his back, as punishment for his family not paying his ransom.

“I was asked for 8000 US Dollars,” said the young man, when asked by journalist why the criminal gang were punishing him. “They broke my teeth. They broke my hand. I have being here 11 months… This stone has been put on me for the last three days. It’s really painful.”

“I was here one year,” said one captive on the video from Ethiopia pleading with the journalist for help. “We want help. My brother, my brother, we are dead! We are beaten 24 hours a day, brother I am begging you! Brother I beg you, do whatever you can do. I can’t sleep, my chest hurts so much because they beat me with big pieces of steel every hour. They put us out in the sun. They do not give us food for days. Brother, we want you can take us back to our country!”

“Seeing a Facebook video of innocent migrants and refugees who have been abused and tortured is deeply concerning. IOM condemns the way that criminal gangs use social media in their shocking abuse of people held against their will and to extort money from their families back home,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies, when learning of the situation. “This is a global problem where a smuggler or a criminal gang can easily use digital platforms to advertise their services, entice vulnerable people on the move and then exploit them and their families. It is high time that social media and tech companies recognize the extreme harm that is occurring because of their failure to monitor and react to situations of grave human rights abuses – leading ultimately to murder – that are being shared through their channels.”

“The cruelty of the human traffickers preying on vulnerable refugees and migrants in Libya does not seem to have a limit,” said Amin Awad, UNHCR Director for the Middle East and North Africa. “UNHCR is concerned about the plight of these asylum seekers and calls for their immediate release in collaboration with the Libyan authorities. We abhor the graphic images circulated widely and the heinous abuses perpetrated by these groups.”

Migrants and refugees travelling to Libya from the Horn Africa are frequently abducted in the Raybana area on the country’s southern border after crossing from Sudan. The area is very insecure with smuggling gangs from across the region preying on vulnerable people.

The relevant authorities are aware of this inhumane situation and are working to locate and assist the individuals in the video. IOM and partners will work with the government authorities to urgently secure the release of these migrants and refugees and provide critical support, including medical and psychosocial, as well as transport if they want to return home.

*Please note that IOM has not shared the Facebook video to protect the migrants and refugees from retaliation by their captors

For further information, please contact Leonard Doyle, IOM, Tel: +41 79 285 7123, Email: ldoyle@iom.int  

Posted: Thursday, June 15, 2017 - 01:28Image: Region-Country: LibyaDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM Provides Psychosocial Support for Children from Mosul

Tue, 06/13/2017 - 10:29
Language English

Iraq - According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Emergency Tracking over 25,000 individuals have been displaced from west Mosul in the last five days alone as fighting between ISIL and Iraqi forces draw closer to the old city where an estimated 118,000 people are believed to be entrapped.

A large percentage of those escaping are children.

In IOM’s constructed emergency site in Qayara’s airstrip, of the 49,564 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 28,387 are children (14,336 boys and 14,051 girls).

In IOM’s second constructed emergency site, Haj Ali, of the 34,561 IDPs, 20,390 are children (10,368 boys and 10,022 girls).

Humanitarian organizations estimate that nearly 55 per cent of Mosul’s IDPs are children.

Most children have gone through a perilous journey when escaping from ISIL reign under which they witnessed horrific acts, from beatings, to executions and displays of violence by the group, against those they deemed sinners.

A mother in East Mosul spoke of how ISIL flogged her 11-year-old boy every time she refused to return to her husband, who had joined ISIL.

Though she was granted permission to separate from her husband by a sharia court as long as she forfeited all rights to financial support or help from him, he continuously tried to force her back to him.

Each time she refused to go back, she said, ISIL would take her son and flog him as punishment.

As battles intensified between the Iraqi military and ISIL, many children have seen their parents, or members of families killed by the militant group while escaping or from improvised explosive devices (IEDs) set to prevent civilians from leaving their homes.

Two children from Mosul recently saw their mother and brother killed when ISIL fired mortar at their house.

The children were trapped alone for hours in the house before neighbors came to their rescue and were able to remove the rubble that blocked the doorway.

With the children now safely reunited with their extended family members, the process of applying for and getting new identification documents to allow them back to school and life in general needs to be sorted, as most of their documents were destroyed in the house.

Infants born under ISIL reign also have to have new documents re-issued by the Iraqi government to replace those issued by ISIL and which bear the group’s registration branding.

Thousands of children have also missed school for the best part of the last four years while living under ISIL.

Many schools had been closed by ISIL, some transformed into and used as training grounds for children, with girls largely banned from getting an education.

Most families stopped their children from attending ISIL-led schools, where the group imposed a rigid and extremist curriculum.

IOM is providing psychosocial services at seven centres in five sites which serve displaced people from Mosul: Qayarah Airstrip and Haj Ali emergency sites, and Hasansham, Nergizilya 1 and Chamakor camps.

Activities especially designed for children to help them process and move on from the past include: expressive and creative poetry and singing, collaborative game playing expressive drawing, group support sessions, awareness sessions, relaxation sessions, running and jumping competitions (with psychosocial adjustments), hand crafting, storytelling, tree planting, football, volleyball and teambuilding games.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “Children affected by the Mosul conflict have suffered greatly – they have lost family members, had their education interrupted, and been exposed to horrific violence. Despite the traumas they have endured, children from Mosul have shown admirable resilience coupled with an urgency to embrace life and move on. IOM and our humanitarian partners in cooperation with the Government of Iraq, are determined to continue to provide comprehensive assistance and support to help children recover and move on to the next brighter chapter of their lives.”

Last week the United Nations children’s agency warned that Mosul’s children are bearing the brunt of the intensified fighting between the US-backed government forces and ISIL in the city’s western sector.

According to the Government of Iraq’s Ministry of Migration and Displacement (MoMD), a total of 630,039 people have fled west Mosul since the start of the operation on February 19th and cumulatively, 806,189 people have been displaced since the start of the military operations to retake Mosul city began.

IOM’s DTM actively monitors displacement across Iraq. The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement across Iraq are available at: http://iraqdtm.iom.int.

Cumulatively, from 18 October 2016 to 8 June 2017, IOM Iraq’s DTM has tracked and confirmed the location of more than 548,000 displaced individuals (91,336 families) from Mosul. Of these, more than 411,000 are currently displaced and more than 145,000 have returned.

For further information, please contact IOM Iraq: Hala Jaber, Tel. +964 751 740 1654, Email: hjaberbent@iom.int or Sandra Black, Tel. +964 751 234 2550, Email: sblack@iom.int 

 

Posted: Tuesday, June 13, 2017 - 16:16Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsMigration HealthMigration and YouthDefault: 
Categories: PBN

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