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Updated: 1 hour 25 min ago

Australian Assistant Minister Visits Thai-Myanmar Border Refugee Camp

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 08:19
Language English

Thailand - On 27 April, Australian Assistant Minister for Social Services and Multicultural Affairs, Zed Seselja, visited the Mae La refugee camp on the Thai-Myanmar border, which hosts over 42,000 mainly Karen refugees from Myanmar.

Seselja, who was accompanied by officials from the Australian Department of Social Services and the Australian Embassy, toured the camp, visiting a vocational training school, a monastery and a library, and met an Australia-bound refugee family in their home.

Australia, which has the third largest refugee resettlement programme after the United States and Canada, accepted 13,049 refugees for resettlement in 2016 – 1,310 of them from Thailand.

Since 2004, it has received nearly 13,000 refugees from Thailand, almost all of them from camps on the Thai-Myanmar border.

The Assistant Minister also took part in an Australian Cultural Orientation (AUSCO) class with 18 Karen refugees at the IOM Refugee Processing Centre in the neighbouring town of Mae Sot. The five-day AUSCO programme, which is run by IOM, provides refugees with practical knowledge of Australian culture and society and prepares them for life in their new country.

“As a multicultural society with a long history of immigration, Australia is proud to be a global leader in providing humanitarian assistance to refugees. The course you just completed will help you settle into new lives in Australia,” he told the refugees.

AUSCO was established in 2003 and classes are held for all Australia-bound refugees worldwide prior to their departure. Its Global Office is hosted by IOM Thailand and to date the programme has assisted close to 80,000 people worldwide.  

For further information, please contact Constanze Voelkel-Hutchison, IOM Thailand, Tel: +66 2 343 9360, Email: cvoelkel@iom.int or Reuben Lim, Tel: +66 2 343 9370, Email: rlim@iom.int.

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:28Image: Region-Country: AsiaThailandThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesResettlementDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM, EU Experts Train Chinese Police, Officials to Aid Victims of Human Trafficking

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 08:19
Language English

China - A two-day workshop on international standards for identifying and assisting victims of trafficking took place in Nanning, China, this week. It targeted Chinese police officers and officials and was organized by IOM, the UN Migration Agency under the framework of its European Union-funded EU-China Dialogue on Migration and Mobility Support Project.

The workshop, which followed a similar training in Nanjing in November 2016, was attended by approximately 85 Chinese police officers and provincial officials from the Ministry of Public Security and other ministries.

The training aimed to enhance the capacity of Chinese officials to identify, protect and assist victims of trafficking and to further strengthen working-level cooperation between EU and Chinese counter-trafficking stakeholders.

Topics addressed included the international legal frameworks on counter-trafficking; the principles, guidelines and screening tools for the identification of trafficked victims; and Chinese and European perspectives on protection and assistance to victims.

The trainers included experts from EUROPOL and EU Member States (Belgium, Cyprus, Italy, the Netherlands and Sweden) and IOM in China.

Nicole Voorhuis, a Senior Public Prosecutor from the Netherlands and one of the trainers, highlighted the importance of this kind of international cooperation in combating trafficking, “Human trafficking is a complex crime that is both domestic and transnational in character. Consequently we need international cooperation to tackle it as we are stronger, smarter, and have greater capacity when we work together,” she said.

The workshop also provided an opportunity for participants to discuss case studies and international best practices in the identification of victims, protection, direct assistance and the management of shelters.

For further information, please contact Etienne Micallef at the IOM Liaison Office to China, Tel: + 86 138 1120 9875   Email: emicallef@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:27Image: Region-Country: AsiaChinaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: 
Categories: PBN

Kenya Launches Revised Immigration Border Procedures Manual

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 07:59
Language English

Kenya - On 27 April, the Government of Kenya, with the support of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, launched the revised Immigration Border Procedures and Operations Manual reflecting new immigration laws, policies and procedure. The Manual was first developed in 2006 and later revised in 2010 to accommodate further changes.

Instability, radicalization and armed conflict in neighbouring countries have also influenced recent immigration policy in Kenya. Since 2010, the Government has enacted new immigration laws and policies, key among them: the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act 2011, the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act Regulations 2012, the East African Community (EAC) Common Market Protocol in 2010, and the EAC One Stop Border Posts Act 2016.

In 2014, the Government amended the Kenya Citizenship and Immigration Act, under Section 75 of the Security Laws (Amendment) Act by adding Section 5A-5D to establish Border Control and Operations Co-ordination Committee (BCOCC) to enhance border efficiency and inter-agency coordination in border management.

“The revised Manual will aid border officials in tackling a myriad of migration challenges facing Kenya,” said Gordon Kihalangwa, the Director of Immigration Services, speaking at the launch in Nairobi. “Human trafficking, terrorism, and document fraud are some of the complex challenges we are currently facing at our border posts,” he said.

“The Manual is a result of reassessing immigration and border management against a backdrop of evolving migration trends, policies, profiles, legislations and regulations,” said Mike Pillinger, Head of IOM Kenya. “It pools pertinent up-to-date policies and procedures for the guidance of immigration officers in their daily work at the border posts across Kenya and headquarters in Nairobi,” he continued.

“The revised Manual is a significant step towards the enhancement of border management in Kenya,” said Yoshihiro Katayama Minister-Counsellor, Embassy of Japan, speaking at the launch. “Enhancement of better border management in Kenya means it will help the country mitigate security risks and reduce anxiety,” he said.

The revision of the Immigration Border Procedures and Operations Manual is an activity under the Immigration and Border Management (IBM) project that IOM is implementing in partnership with the Department of Immigration Services of the Government of Kenya, supported by funding from the Government of Japan.

For further information, please contact Etsuko Teranishi-Inoue, Tel: +254708988903, Email: eteranishi@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:26Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastKenyaThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: 
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IOM Distributes Aid to Displaced in Far North Region of Cameroon

Fri, 04/28/2017 - 07:58
Language English

Cameroon - On 25 April 2017, IOM, the UN Migration Agency and its implementing partner Saheli, a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO), began a week-long distribution of core relief items and shelter kits to displaced people in the Far North Region of Cameroon. This activity took place within the framework of an ongoing emergency assistance programme under USAID/OFDA funding. 

The operation began with a ceremony, presided over by Alifa Abba Abakoura, the Head of Saheli. The traditional leader or ‘boulama’ and representatives of the displaced communities in Maladock and Ngaga also made remarks. 

During the ceremony, Abakoura explained that the selection of beneficiaries for distribution was based on a vulnerability evaluation conducted in the region. As such, preference was given to the most vulnerable members of the communities, including pregnant and breast-feeding women, widows/widowers, female- and child-headed households and elderly persons.

Some 726 women and 671 men were reached on the first day of distribution, which took place in Maladock and Ngaga villages in the Logone Birni District in Cameroon’s Far North Region. The distribution was followed by a training session given by Saheli representatives for the recipients on tent construction, hygiene and water purification tactics.

“These people are exposed to all the elements and to all kinds of disease. They are finally receiving some crucial items to help protect themselves,” said Emet Hassen, ‘boulama’ of the area.

By 30 April 2017, 1,390 out of 1,600 kits will have been distributed in Fotokol, Waza and Makary.

For further information, please contact Cecilia Mann in IOM Cameroon, Tel: +237 69 179 40 50, Email: cmann@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 28, 2017 - 16:29Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastCameroonThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categories: PBN

Humanitarian Catastrophe Looms in Yemen with Over 3.3 Million Displaced Since Crisis Began

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:21
Language English

Yemen - Yemen has become the world’s largest humanitarian crisis. In total, 18.8 million people need humanitarian or protection assistance. Since 2015, of the 3.3 million people who have been forced to flee their homes to seek safety, two million remain displaced and nearly 1.3 million have returned to the governorates they originated from. With no end in sight for the conflict, displacement is set to continue to increase.

Today (25 April), the United Nations and the governments of Switzerland and Sweden host a High-level Pledging Event in Geneva, Switzerland, for the Humanitarian Crisis in Yemen. Laura Thompson, the Deputy Director General of the UN Migration Agency, is attending this event.

“We cannot close our eyes to the mobility dimensions of this crisis. IOM has, since the escalation of violence in 2015, scaled up its response in Yemen to assist displaced populations and host communities,” said Ambassador Thompson. “In 2017, IOM is committed to doing more and will continue to deliver life-saving humanitarian aid, with a specific focus on the immediate and longer-term needs of migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and the conflict and natural disaster affected communities in Yemen,” she continued.

Years of poverty, underdevelopment, environmental decline, intermittent conflict, and weak rule of law – including widespread violations of human rights – have contributed to over five years of crisis. The breakdown of basic services and institutions, such as hospitals, galloping poverty, environmental decline and collapse of the agricultural sector have all further compounded the situation. The conflict and its economic consequences are also driving a food crisis. Over 17 million people are currently food insecure, of whom 6.8 million require immediate food assistance.

The crisis in Yemen is not only characterized by conflict but also by natural disaster-induced large-scale displacement and complex external migration flows and mobility patterns.

Yemen has a complex migratory status, as a country of origin, transit, and destination. Regular migration flows between the Horn of Africa and Yemen have surged, with 10,000 migrants entering the country each month, as a result of the complex realities of political and economic dynamics in the region. The number of migrants has overwhelmed available resources. In addition to those staying in Yemen, many migrants transit under alarming conditions through war-torn Yemen to Saudi Arabia in search of work, and are often victims of smuggling rings and other criminal networks.

The co-hosts and participants in the High-Level Pledging Event aim to avert a humanitarian catastrophe by raising USD 2.1 billion needed to deliver crucial food, nutrition, health and other lifesaving assistance in Yemen.

As part of the inter-agency humanitarian response plan, IOM is seeking USD 76.3 million in funding to carry out migrant assistance and protection, child protection, shelter support, water and sanitation activities, health and mental health support, food assistance, displacement tracking, efforts to combat gender-based violence and victim support and early recovery activities. IOM has the highest coverage of any UN organization in Yemen with operations in 20 of the 22 governorates and over 600 staff. Read IOM’s strategy for Yemen 2017-2018 here.

“We therefore commit and call on partners to unite behind a holistic and robust humanitarian response; for governments to support and commit to political dialogue towards ending this crisis, and for the parties to the conflict to facilitate immediate, timely and unimpeded humanitarian access,” continued Ambassador Thompson. “More needs to be done before the situation in Yemen reaches a point of no return,” she concluded.                     

For further information, please contact Laurent de Boeck, IOM Yemen, Tel: +967 736 777 915, Email: ldeboeck@iom.int or Olivia Headon at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 403 53 65, Email: oheadon@iom.int

 

Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 17:18Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastYemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categories: PBN

D.R. Congo: Kasai Emergency Response Benefits from Initial UN Migration Agency Funding

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:17
Language English

Democratic Republic of the Congo - The UN Migration Agency Director General William Lacy Swing has approved the release of USD 100,000 from the agency’s Operational Support Income budget to kick-start relief operations for more than 1.1 million people displaced by widespread hostilities to the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s south central Kasai region. 

An upsurge in the fighting between Government forces and tribal militias in the provinces of Kasai, Kasai Central, Kasai Oriental, Lomani and Sankuru has affected up to 2.4 million people with more than 11,000 Congolese having fled to neighbouring Angola. 

“This internal funding allows us to cover a crucial period between the start-up of our emergency operations for the Kasais and the donor response,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s DRC Chief of Mission. “We continue to work with our UN, Congolese and Angolan counterparts to see whether it is possible to launch a cross-border emergency relief operation to reach southern areas of the Kasai, which until now remain inaccessible because of widespread insecurity and a poor network of roads.”

IOM is also coordinating with CARITAS and other Congolese humanitarian actors that have a presence on the ground to see whether they can help with the distribution of shelter and non-food items, some of which might be procured in Angola.

The IOM mission in the DRC is also preparing to position Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) experts in its Mbuji Mayi Office in Kasai Oriental to help track and monitor displacements and population mobility, including returnees from Angola. The mission is also planning to deploy additional specialists in shelter and camp coordination and camp management to support the nascent international humanitarian response.

The UN Migration Agency is also looking at ways to build on an on-going Japanese-funded programme that strengthens and improves local capacities to prevent, detect and respond to disease outbreaks and other public health occurrences along the border with Angola. 

“The challenges that we and other humanitarians are facing in the parts of the Kasai bordering Angola are considerable,” said Chauzy. “Internal displacements and the return of more than 11,000 Congolese from Angola are exacerbating existing vulnerabilities, including the risks of epidemic outbreak.”

The conflict in central Kasai broke out in 2016 following the refusal of the central Government to recognize the customary authority of Chief Kamwina Nsapu – later killed in a clash with soldiers. Since then, the crisis has spread to seven of the 16 territories in the region, with all sides to the conflict committing indiscriminate acts of violence against the civilian population.

For further information, please contact Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM Kinshasa, Tel: +243 827 339 827, Email: jpchauzy@iom.int.

 

Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 17:10Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastDemocratic Republic of the CongoThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency, Partners Redouble Efforts to ‘End Malaria for Good’

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:09
Language English

Switzerland - Today (25 April), IOM, the UN Migration Agency joins the World Health Organization (WHO), the Roll Back Malaria Partnership and other partners to End Malaria for Good, and bring attention to how the burden of malaria continues to be greatest in the least developed parts of the world and among those with low socioeconomic status.

According to WHO, at the start of 2016, nearly half the world’s population was still at risk of malaria. There is, therefore, an urgent need to pursue multi-sectoral efforts to achieve by 2030 such targets as reducing the rate of new malaria cases by at least 90 percent, eliminating malaria in at least 35 countries, and preventing a resurgence of infection in malaria-free countries.

As the global health community renews its commitment to action against malaria, it is important to bear in mind that several groups of migrants, mobile populations and travellers remain at disproportionately high risk for malaria, including drug and insecticide resistance.

Countries aiming for malaria-free status cannot do so without addressing equitable provision of health services, including health education, accessible diagnosis and effective treatment for migrants, especially those living or working in endemic areas.

In this regard, the Director of IOM’s Migration Health Division, Dr. Davide Mosca said: “Goals, milestones and targets of the Global Technical Strategy for Malaria 2016–2030 cannot be achieved if migrants and mobile populations are left behind in malaria prevention, treatment and care programmes.”

Artemisinin-based combination therapy (ACT) resistance is also a growing concern. According to the WHO World Malaria Report of 2016, parasite resistance to artemisinin – the core compound of the best available antimalarial medicines – has now been detected in five countries of the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), namely Cambodia, Thailand, Laos, Viet Nam and Myanmar. In these countries, IOM missions are engaged in malaria programmes with funding support from donors such as the Asian Development Bank, the Global Fund and the IOM Development Fund.

Any regional elimination efforts will need to provide continuous, coordinated and comprehensive malaria services to all populations throughout the GMS regardless of their immigration status, rather than a piecemeal approach to geographical borders and local populations that reside within. 

Similarly, in the context of crises due to conflicts or natural disasters, there is often an urgent need to provide outbreak response services. For example, in South Sudan in 2016, IOM scaled up resources to respond to an upsurge in malaria cases at the UN protection of civilians (PoC) site in Bentiu, South Sudan. 

During June 2016, malaria cases had more than doubled, accounting for at least 50 percent of all health consultations at IOM’s two primary health care clinics in the site and its mobile clinic in nearby Bentiu town. IOM worked in coordination with the Health Cluster and Population Services International (PSI) and registered all households in the site to receive mosquito nets (49,342 nets distributed to 18,010 households) to prevent further malaria transmission.

“Member States and the international community are collaborating to advance the global refugee and migrant agenda through the Global Compacts, and working together on the health and migration targets in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). IOM stands ready to cooperate closely with partners, as well as migrant communities and affected populations, to ensure that the needs and vulnerabilities of migrants and mobile populations are well addressed in reaching the ambitious goal to end malaria for good,” said Dr. Mosca.
 
You can read or find out more about IOM’s work with malaria-affected migrant communities at: health.iom.int/migration-human-mobility-malaria.  
 
For further information, please contact Dr. Poonam Dhavan at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 9546, Email: pdhavan@iom.int

 

Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 17:05Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Migration HealthDefault: 
Categories: PBN

Humanitarian Needs Spike for Thousands Displaced in Wau, South Sudan

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 11:04
Language English

South Sudan - IOM, the UN Migration Agency and partners are responding to an influx of more than 22,000 displaced persons in and around Wau town, South Sudan, since the upsurge of violence on 10 April 2017. The influx is stretching existing humanitarian resources and space to shelter displaced families is running out. Needs in the area have remained high since clashes in mid-2016 displaced more than 42,000 people.

A population count on 21 April identified over 16,400 new internally displaced persons (IDPs) sheltering at the UN protection of civilians (PoC) site adjacent to the UN Mission’s South Sudan base, bringing the site’s total population to over 41,700 people. New arrivals are living in very crowded conditions in service areas, along roads and near drainage and sanitation facilities.

Over the weekend, the IOM constructed emergency shelters in a contingency area to relocate families living in the most vulnerable areas. Additional water points and emergency shelters will be constructed in an area previously designated for food distributions, where most new arrivals have settled and built makeshift shelters.

Asunta and her family of five, including three children and her disabled mother, are one such family who, since last week, live in a shelter covered only by a bed sheet and along a crowded access road. “It took us two hours to walk here, carrying only a few things with us as we fled from our house,” she said.

Asunta’s family had been living in the PoC site from the beginning of fighting in late June 2016 until February 2017 when they decided to return to their house in town. However, fearful of the violence that occurred on 10 April, they once again left their home to seek protection at the PoC site.

The Cathedral collective centre also saw a large influx of IDPs over the past two weeks, with as many as 5,000 to 7,000 new arrivals moving to the site. An estimated 15,000 people are currently sheltering in the site.

Amid increased levels of need, relief agencies continue to provide safe drinking water, sanitation facilities, health care and psychosocial support across the six displacement sites in Wau town. IOM’s primary health care clinics at the PoC site and Cathedral and Nazareth collective centres have seen a 46 percent increase in consultations over the past week alone.

Of the more than 7.5 million people in South Sudan in need of humanitarian assistance, more than 4.9 million of them face severe food insecurity due to displacement, conflict and economic decline. Since the crisis erupted in December 2013, 3.4 million people have been displaced from their homes, including an estimated 1.9 million IDPs across the country.

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

 

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Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:59Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth SudanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: 
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Top 43,000 in 2017; Deaths: 1089

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:56
Language English

Switzerland - IOM, the UN Migration Agency reports that 43,204 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 23 April, over 80 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece. 

IOM Greece reported Monday the deaths and disappearances of 23 migrants or refugees over the weekend off the island of Lesvos in waters between Greece and Turkey. Hellenic authorities reported finding the remains of nine people while Turkish officials reported finding the remains of seven others. There were two survivors and indications of at least seven more people missing. One of the survivors was an expectant mother who was taken to a local hospital.

These deaths nearly tripled the number – from 14 to 37 – of men, women and children known to have died this year on the Eastern Mediterranean route. That figure is barely 10 percent of the total recorded at this time last year, when 376 migrants or refugees were known to have died trying to enter Greece by sea from Turkey. Arrival numbers for the Greek islands also was much higher last year: more than 154,000 through 23 April, compared to just 4,843 this year.

These new deaths on the Mediterranean bring to 1,089 the total number of deaths on the Mediterranean where passage from North Africa to Europe continues to be the deadliest route migrants ply anywhere on Earth, according to data prepared by IOM’s Missing Migrants Project. Over the past week IOM has recorded the deaths of over 100 migrants trying to reach Europe through Spain or Italy after sailing from the North African coast.

So far this year, 36,851 migrants or refugees entered Italy by sea, a nearly 45 percent increase over the total number of arrivals coming to Italy by the Central Mediterranean route last year at this time (see chart below).

Over the weekend IOM also responded to allegations from some quarters that governments and private humanitarian groups, by supporting rescue vessels to assist migrants and refugees, were inadvertently abetting irregular migration by acting as a “pull factor” for people seeking opportunity in Europe. Others have raised the specter of rescue ship operators working in collusion with smuggling groups. 

“We know for a fact that the presence of ships in the Mediterranean does not constitute a ‘pull factor’ that incites migration. Such criticism reminds us of the comments made against the Mare Nostrum Operation – led by the Italian Navy in 2014 – which also was attacked as a ‘pull factor.’ In fact, when the Operation was ended, without being substituted by any other rescue mission, we registered an increase of migrant departures from Libya, and sadly an increase of deaths at sea, too,” said Federico Soda, chief of IOM’s Mediterranean mission.

He added: “The intervention of rescue operators, the great work and combined efforts that NGOs have brought forward in the Central Mediterranean was essential to save thousands of lives.”

NGOs came into play in 2014, first with the Migrant Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) that started to patrol the water zone between Libya and Italy, carrying out its first rescue operations. The presence of NGOs in the Central Mediterranean then expanded throughout 2015 and even more so in 2016, thanks to the interventions of organizations such as Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), SOS Mediterranée, Jugend Retter, Proactiva Open Arms, Save the Children, Sea Watch, and Boat Refugee.

IOM Rome spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo reported that the most extensive search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean today occur close to Libyan waters, and are carried out by the many NGOs patrolling the Central Mediterranean area with their ships. The second largest rescue entity is the Italian Coast Guard, and its rescue ships under Triton. Then there are the vessels operating under EUNAVFOR MED and, lastly, commercial ships that sometimes are called on for help in rescuing migrants on dinghies that are adrift or sinking.

Di Giacomo said that in 2016 alone, of a total of 181,436 rescued migrants who were brought to safety in Italy, NGOs saved the lives of 49,796. The Italian Navy rescued 36,084 migrants, followed by the Italian Coast Guard and the ships financed by Frontex (35,875 rescued migrants), EUNAVFOR MED (22,885 rescued), the Frontex agency – except Italian vessels – (13,616 rescued), the commercial ships with 13,888 and, lastly, foreign military ships with 7,404 rescued migrants.

In the first months of 2017, the Libyan Coast Guard also increased its life saving activities compared to the same period last year. Their interventions, also aided by emergency rescues carried out by local fishermen, saved the lives of well over 4,000 people.

“Pointing at rescue ships as a ‘pull factor’ is thus very misleading; we should focus on the ‘push factors’ that keep sending thousands of migrants away from their lands,” Soda said. “We should focus on the worsening of life conditions in Libya, where there is an increasing number of people fleeing for their lives after being targets of violence and abuse.”

Eugenio Ambrosi, IOM Regional Director for the EU based in Brussels, backed those comments and touched on the debate around allegations of collusion between NGOs and smugglers. “IOM believes the discussion should be put back on track: Saving lives is the paramount consideration and responsibility of all actors involved, and we are worried that this has taken a back seat to other concerns,” Ambrosi said. “That deaths at sea are trending at record levels this year indicates that something is very wrong.”

Ambrosi added: “We are not aware of any proven case of collusion between smugglers and NGO rescue-at-sea operators and we feel it is unhelpful to fuel perceptions that equate or conflate profit-seeking criminal interests who put lives at risk with non-profit entities working to saves lives at sea.” 

He concluded: “However, we cannot be naïve. The fact that NGO rescue vessels operate so close to Libyan waters may be exploited by smugglers. This does not however constitute deliberate collusion, but draws attention to the need to better define the role and rules of NGOs and EU assets in the overarching goal of making sure that no one dies at sea.”

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project reports that there have been 1,616 fatalities through 23 April (see chart, below), with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – about two thirds of the global total. Nonetheless this comes to 637 fewer fatalities than were reported up to the same point in 2016. However, these data do not account for full reporting from North Africa and the Horn of Africa, two migration corridors where data collection tends to be slower than in other regions. 

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic: http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170425_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 Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17, Email: sschneider@iom.int
IOM Yemen, Saba Malme, Sana’a, Tel: + 967 736 800 329 (mobile), Email: smalme@iom.int
IOM Greece, Alexandra Flessa, Tel: +30 210 99 12 174  Email: aflessa@iom.int or Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int, or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey, Tel. (Direct): +90 (0)312 454 3048,  Mobile: +90 (533) 698 7285, Email: adwommoh@iom.int or Mazen Aboulhosn, Tel: +9031245 51202, Email: maboulhosn@iom.int
IOM Libya, Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int  or Christine Petré, Tel. (Direct):  +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int or Ashraf Hassan, Tel: +216 29 794707, Email: ashassan@iom.int
IOM Niger, Alberto Preato, Tel: +227 8053 5933, E-mail: apreato@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int

For information or interview requests in French:

Florence Kim, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:50Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Director General Commends South Africa’s Progressive Approach to Migration

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:50
Language English

South Africa - IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s Director General, William Lacy Swing arrived in South Africa on 20 April, for a two-day visit during which he met with ministers, donors and colleagues from United Nations agencies in South Africa.

On Thursday morning (20/04), Ambassador Swing met with the Minister of Home Affairs, Prof. Hlengiwe Mkhize, to discuss IOM’s support to South Africa’s Border Management Authority, migration data management, collaboration on Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR), regional cooperation on issues related to migration, including the recent White Paper on International Migration for South Africa.

“South Africa’s White Paper is very progressive and sets an example for a comprehensive approach to migration, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals and the Migration Governance Framework adopted by IOM Member States in 2015 and of which South Africa is part,” Ambassador Swing said.

The White Paper acknowledges that migration has an impact on most sectors of government and society and therefore needs to be managed from what IOM terms both “whole-of-government” and “whole-of-society” perspectives that encourage South Africans to embrace international migration as a tool for development while also safe-guarding the nation’s sovereignty, peace  and security.

In addition, Ambassador Swing emphasized that the labour market remains a driving force behind both regular and irregular migration to South Africa.

“There are tremendous opportunities associated with coherent labour migration management,” Ambassador Swing said. “So it’s encouraging to see that the White Paper emphasises the need to attract highly qualified and skilled migrants to increase South Africa’s international competitiveness for critical skills and investment.”  

The UN Migration Agency has been working with Member States of the Southern Africa Development Community (SADC) to support the implementation of key recommendations emanating from the SADC Labour Migration Action Plan, which was adopted in 2013. Through its regional labour migration programme, Developing a Roadmap to Facilitate South-South Labour Mobility in Southern Africa, IOM has supported Member States to formalize intra-regional migration schemes that strengthen the protection of the rights of migrant workers while promoting regional integration.

Ambassador Swing began his final day in Pretoria with a breakfast meeting with the UN Country Team, which includes all heads of UN agencies in South Africa. Later in the day, he met with the Deputy Minister of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (DIRCO), Luwellyn Landers, and the Chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs, Lemias Mashile.

In his meeting with Deputy Minister Landers, Ambassador Swing touched on the bold commitments made by the 2016 New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants and encouraged South Africa to participate in national and regional consultations to enrich the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

Global consultations are underway for the Global Compact, with the aim of it being adopted in 2018, and which offers a major opportunity to improve governance of migration, address the challenges associated with today’s migration, and strengthen the contribution of migrants and migration to sustainable development.

During his meeting with Mashile, Ambassador Swing took the opportunity to inform the Portfolio Committee on Home Affairs about IOM’s approach to AVRR and its newly launched regional project funded by the European Union. “This project offers an unprecedented opportunity for South Africa to work with IOM to promote a more humane and cost-effective way to manage the return and reintegration of migrants,” said Ambassador Swing.

For further information, please contact, Chiara Frisone, IOM Regional Office in Pretoria, Tel: +27 (0)79 520 4696, Email: cfrisone@iom.int

 

Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth AfricaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationIntegrated Border ManagementDefault: 
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Organizes ‘Migration and Displacement in Iraq’ Conference in Erbil

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:44
Language English

Iraq - In a joint effort, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the University of Kurdistan Hewlêr (UKH) and Georgetown University's Center for Contemporary Arab Studies and the Institute for the Study of International Migration (ISIM) organized a conference on Migration and Displacement in Iraq: Working Towards Durable Solutions. Hosted by UKH, the conference, which focused on multiple aspects of forced migration, ran from 19 to 21 April in Erbil, Iraq.

Sessions included: Internal Displacement and Durable Solutions; Returning IDPs and Obstacles to Return; International Migration, Identities and Protection; Social Cohesion, and a special section on Insider Stories on Displacement. The event was funded by the US State Department, Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration.

The conference provided a platform to discuss research outcomes and next steps in humanitarian action and early recovery, with a view to rebuilding communities affected by conflict and finding durable solutions for the nearly 5 million Iraqis, who have been displaced across the country. More than 3 million are currently still displaced but more than 1.7 million have returned to their areas of origin.

“Despite many difficulties and the continuation of the war to this day, with the cooperation and extraordinary efforts exerted by the regional government and the international and local organizations working in Iraq and Kurdistan, and with those of civil society organizations and the local efforts of good people, we have been able to provide basic services for the displaced, but this does not mean that there are no other problems facing IDPs,” said Jasim Aljaf, Iraq’s Minister of Migration and Displacement, at the conference reception. “The displacement on its own is a crisis and we are tempering the pace of it, as we cannot solve all the problems,” he continued.

“We view this conference as an important and timely effort to study the issues, obstacles and challenges pertaining to displacement from all perspectives,” said Kareem Sinjari, Minister of Interior of the Kurdistan Regional Government. “We hope the displacement crisis is thoroughly and scientifically studied, and we hope that practical and realistic suggestions are put forward that can be implemented in reaching a permanent and durable solution that contributes to restore peace, stability and prosperity for all communities,” he said.

“The pace of displacement in Iraq since the rise of ISIL in 2014 is unprecedented. The problems people will face when they return cannot be underestimated, from communities facing the destruction of schools, health clinics and water systems, to the threat of collective punishment,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq. “A conference like this is critical, as it brings together the very best minds from Iraq and all around the world who understand these issues, to discuss the challenges and chart the way forward together,” she continued.

“The United States is pleased to have supported this conference that has brought together more than 40 researchers from Iraq and overseas,” stated Henry Haggard, Acting Consul General of the United States Consulate in Erbil. “We look forward to working together with all of you to find greater common understanding of the challenges we face and to develop solutions that work,” he said.

“By presenting solid academic research, this conference provides an opportunity to share knowledge and findings on displacement,” stated Thomas Lothar Weiss, IOM Iraq Chief of Mission. “The conference has brought together humanitarian organizations and stakeholders, so we can all work together to apply this knowledge and use our limited resources effectively to assist the most vulnerable Iraqis affected by the current crisis,” he continued.

“We are pleased to have put on this conference in collaboration with IOM and Georgetown University to disseminate valuable research on displaced people in Iraq and the Kurdistan Region,” said Hemin Hussein Mirkhan, Director of the University of Kurdistan-Hewlêr, Center for Regional and International Studies (CRIS).

“The findings and conclusions from the research presentations provide new and insightful material for policy and programming, and give voice to the experience and needs of Iraqi IDPs,” said Rochelle Davis, of Georgetown University’s Walsh School of Foreign Service.

IOM presented several studies on migration and displacement, which it researched or supported, on topics including locations of displacement in Iraq, social cohesion, IDP identities, durable solutions for displacement, and migration flows from Iraq to Europe and vice versa.

Research presentations were also given by academics from several universities in Iraq: Kurdistan-Hewlêr, Basrah, Dohuk, Erbil Polytechnic, Kirkuk, Nahrain, Raparin, Salahaddin; and universities abroad: Exeter, Georgetown, London School of Economics and McGill.

Local and international organizations presenting their research included: AMAR Charitable Foundation, Center for Victims of Torture, Danish Refugee Council, Ejaab Organization for Youth Development, International Federation of Iraqi Refugees, Joint IDP Profiling Service, Mercy Corps, Middle East Centre, Middle East Research Institute, and Mixed Migration Platform. UN agencies presenting included: IOM, UNDP, UNHCR and UNESCWA.

Videos of the presentations are available on the IOM Iraq website:

http://iomiraq.net/article/0/%E2%80%ACmigration-and-displacement-iraq-co...

For further information, please contact Sandra Black at IOM Iraq, Tel. +964 751 234 2550, Email: sblack@iom.int

 

Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: 
Categories: PBN

USAIM for IOM Expands Board of Directors

Tue, 04/25/2017 - 10:40
Language English

United States - USAIM for IOM, the United States based non-profit partner of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, convened on 21 April, its first board meeting of the year during which two new members, Tolu Olubunmi and Gregoire Goodstein, were welcomed.

Olubunmi, was recognized by the World Economic Forum (WEF) as one of 15 Women Changing the World in 2015. Born in Nigeria and a US resident, she is the co-founder of Welcome.us and Immigrant Heritage Month. She also currently serves on WEF’s Global Agenda Council on Migration and co-chairs the Mobile Minds Project.

Goodstein is Head of IOM’s Donor Relations Division based in Geneva. Previously, he was Chief of Mission in IOM’s missions in Haiti, Serbia and Croatia.

“Globally, progress on migration policies that allow for the free movement of people has stalled as business, government, and civil society continue to struggle to find a balance between the need for skilled labor, preserving national interests, and protecting the rights of workers. I am honored to support the decades-long work of USAIM for IOM and offer my unique perspective as a migrant in encouraging more inclusive and diverse societies,” said Olubunmi.

In addition, the board of directors agreed to pursue their efforts to increase its number of women and migrants from the civil society and the private sector.

“We have the strong conviction that we have to listen more to those we serve in order to increase the impact of our work. This means listening to the migrants while also ensuring there is a gender-balanced representation around the table,” said Luca Dall’Oglio, CEO of USAIM for IOM.

Dall’Oglio also introduced new projects that USAIM for IOM will be supporting such as the production of a pilot podcast series, telling the moving story of an 18-year-old Iraqi from Bagdad to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. The pilot podcast series will be produced in close collaboration with IOM’s Media and Communications Division based in Geneva. 

The board meeting was attended by IOM’s Deputy Director General, Laura Thompson. The next meeting will take place in October 2017.

Visit USAIM for IOM’s website: www.usaim.org

For further information, please contact Hajer Naili at USAIM for IOM, Tel: +1 202 568 3757, Email: hnaili@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, April 25, 2017 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: AmericaUnited States of AmericaDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM’s International Dialogue on Migration Sets Stage for Global Compact on Migration Consultations

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:48
Language English

United States - IOM’s first International Dialogue on Migration (IDM) at the United Nations (UN) Headquarters in New York, since joining the UN last year, took place on 18 and 19 April.

Under the theme Strengthening International Cooperation on and Governance of Migration towards the Adoption of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration in 2018, the IDM gathered over 300 representatives of States, civil society and other key actors from all relevant sectors.

Participants discussed recommendations to build coherence within and between the various levels of migration governance, promote cooperation mechanisms on migration, and identify concrete elements for a comprehensive global migration framework.

The two-day workshop was also an opportunity for States and all relevant migration actors to frame the core objectives for the global compact, and ground it in the existing normative structures and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

“The Global Compact presents an historical opportunity to achieve a world in which migrants move as a matter of genuine choice rather than necessity; a world of opportunity to migrate through safe, orderly and regular channels; and a world in which migration is well governed and is able to act as a positive force for individuals, societies and States,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing in his opening remarks.

Ambassador Swing added that “IOM envisions a global compact, therefore, that will place the needs, capacities and contributions of migrants at its core, with a view to ensuring their safety, dignity and human rights”.

Joining Ambassador Swing at the opening session was Louise Arbour, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on International Migration (SRSG), who highlighted that the international community now has “important responsibility to deliver on safe, orderly and regular migration in a manner that is principled and practicable, designed to improve the lives of millions of people on the move, of those they leave behind, and of those who will receive them throughout and at the end of their journey.”

“It is up to all of us to embrace human mobility, and recognize that good migration governance requires a commitment to genuine cooperation. People in transit and destination countries should not be made to look at migrants as burdens, or even worse as threats to themselves or their way of life,” Arbour said in her opening remarks.

The two-day workshop was divided into six panels which featured high-level representatives of States and civil society.

“We need to recognize the significant contributions of many of the migrants who move regularly, filling labour force gaps; building the economy and creating jobs through their entrepreneurship; adding young people to countries with low birth rates; and sharing their cultures with those in the countries of adoption,” stressed Ahmed Hussen, Canada’s Minister for Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship.

“The strategy that we foresaw is a comprehensive one: it takes into account the emerging attitude of public opinion, linked to the sense of insecurity of our citizens, and called for a better border management. It also takes into account the necessity of changing the narrative about migration, valuing its positive aspects and valuing the contribution of migrants to a diverse and thriving society,” said Luigi Maria Vignalli, Principal Director for Migration Policies at Italy’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Msgr. Robert J. Vitillo, Secretary General of the International Catholic Migration Commission, advocated for an ‘SDG-like approach’. “Two years could be allocated for the goals and targets most urgent and immediately achievable, including more systematic implementation of best interest determinations for children, reform of migrant worker recruitment practices, alternatives to detention, and orderly departure programmes. Five years for goals more difficult to be achieved, such as return and reintegration; and 15 years for full achievement,” said Msgr. Vitillo.

Amina Mohamed, Deputy Secretary General of the United Nations in her closing remarks noted, “The global compact should therefore be framed in a way that is consistent with, and supportive of the migration elements of the 2030 Agenda. In practice, this is going to mean that one of the objectives of the Global Compact should be to provide us with a practical roadmap on how to achieve target 10.7.”

Participants also widely welcomed IOM’s central role and expertise in the global compact process. In his closing remarks, Peter Thomson, President of the 71st General Assembly, noted that IOM’s support to the intergovernmental process will continue to be vital as the process evolves, particularly in extending to Member States the required technical and policy expertise. He also acknowledged the ongoing close collaboration between IOM, the Office of the PGA, and the office of SRSG.

IOM’s vision for a Global Compact encompasses four core elements: protecting the rights of migrants; facilitating safe, orderly and regular migration; reducing the incidence and impacts of forced and irregular migration; and addressing mobility consequences of natural and human-induced disasters.

The outcomes from the first IDM and the second one scheduled for 18-19 July in Geneva, will feed into the consultation phase of the Global Compact on Migration which will culminate in the stocktaking preparatory meeting in Mexico in December.

For further information on the agenda and meeting documents, please check the International Dialogue on Migration webpage: https://www.iom.int/idm-2017-global-compact-migration

Or contact Azzouz Samri, Governing Bodies Division, at Tel: +41 22 717 9468, Email: asamri@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 - 17:28Image: Region-Country: AmericaUnited States of AmericaDefault: 
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Approach 43,000 in 2017; Deaths: 962

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:48
Language English

Switzerland - IOM reports that 42,974 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 19 April, over 80 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain and Greece. This compares with 205,613 through the 19 April 2016.

Mediterranean Developments  

TOTAL ARRIVALS BY SEA AND DEATHS IN THE MEDITERRANEAN 2016-2017

 

1 JANUARY – 19 APRIL 2017

1 JANUARY – 19 APRIL 2016

Country of Arrival

Arrivals

Deaths

Arrivals

Deaths

Italy

36,703

898 (Central Med. route)

25,353

853 (Central Med. route)

Greece

4,761

14 (Eastern Med. route)

179,585

376 (Eastern Med. route)

Cyprus

n.a

27

Spain

1,510

50 (Western Med. route)

648

34 (Western Med. route)

Estimated Total

42,974

962

205,613

1,263

IOM Rome spokesperson Flavio Di Giacomo reported Thursday (20 April) that over 8,360 migrants have been rescued and brought to Italy since rescue operations were carried out on the high seas between Friday and Sunday (14-16 April). He reported migrants had been traveling on 55 separate rubber dinghies – each carrying anywhere from 110 to 150 people – as well as at least three large wooden vessels, carrying 200, 250 and 500 people respectively.

Di Giacomo notes that the 36,703 migrant arrivals to Italy by sea so far in 2017 surpasses by more than 10,000 the number of arrivals at this point during each of the past two years. (See chart below.)
                                                     

Italy’s Ministry of Interior released figures on nationalities of migrants arriving so far in 2017, reporting that the countries of Guinea (Conakry), Nigeria, Bangladesh, Cote d’Ivoire and The Gambia heave each sent at least 2,000 migrants through the first three months of 2017. The statistics are striking in the case of Bangladesh, which recorded just a single arrival by sea from Africa during the first three months of 2016, compared with 2,831 this year.

Arrivals are also up sharply from Guinea, Cote d’Ivoire and Morocco, compared with the similar period last year. Arrival numbers from Somalia are down significantly from the first quarter of 2016. (See chart, below.)

 

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré said Libyan fishermen on Tuesday found the bodies of 28 migrants in a boat off the coast of Subratah, as reported by Libya’s Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM). She added so far this year 4,129 migrants have been rescued off the Libya coast with remains of 205 migrants retrieved.

Worldwide, the IOM Missing Migrants Project reports that there have been 1,486 fatalities through 19 April (see chart, below), with the Mediterranean region accounting for the largest proportion of deaths – over half of the global total. This comes to 734 fewer fatalities than were reported up to the same point in 2016. However, these data do not account for full reporting from North Africa and the Horn of Africa, two migration corridors where data collection tends to be slower than in other regions.

Since Monday, Missing Migrants Project has added the most recent drowning (Wednesday, 19 April) reported along the Rio Bravo that separates Mexico from Texas. IOM has recorded 26 drownings on the Texas-Mexico border so far in 2017, compared with nine at this time last year. Throughout all of 2016 Missing Migrants Project recorded 61 river drownings of migrants on the Texas-Mexico border. 2017’s 26 drownings through April 19 are three times the 2016 total to this point and nearly half the total for all of last year.

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:
http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170421_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 Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17 Email: sschneider@iom.int
IOM Yemen, Saba Malme, Sana’a, Tel : + 967 736 800 329 (mobile), Email: smalme@iom.int
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey, Tel. (Direct): +90 (0)312 454 3048 , Mobile: +90 (533) 698 7285, Email: adwommoh@iom.int, or Mazen Aboulhosn, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email: maboulhosn@iom.int
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int  or Christine Petré, Tel. (Direct):  +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int or Ashraf Hassan, Tel: +216 29 794707, Email: ashassan@iom.int
IOM Niger: Alberto Preato, Tel: +227 8053 5933, E-mail: apreato@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 - 17:27Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM, EU Aid Victims of Human Trafficking through New Online Platform

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:48
Language English

France - IOM, with support from the European Union (EU), has launched an online platform featuring a transnational referral tool designed to strengthen professional response to the needs of victims of human trafficking.

The tool, known as a Transnational Referral Mechanism (TRM) model, links up experts and professionals from different countries involved in the identification, referral, assistance, return, and monitoring of assistance to victims of trafficking. It defines the roles of each stakeholder participating in national referral mechanisms (NRM) and serves as a platform to inform and connect counter-trafficking practitioners in countries of origin and countries of destination.

The model is an output of the EU-funded Transnational Action (TACT) project as part of the EU Strategy towards the Eradication of Trafficking in Human Beings, which ran from 2012 to 2016.

Myria Vassiliadou, the EU’s Anti-Trafficking Coordinator, touted the TRM’s role in linking up national referral mechanisms to better identify, refer, protect and assist victims, and noted its importance through consistent recognition and funding.

“While the EU Anti-Trafficking Strategy has come to an end, the European Commission will continue working towards the early identification of victims and this platform contributes to ensuring victims’ access to rights throughout the process, and especially in a situation of cross-border referral,” she said.

The TACT TRM also outlines internationally compliant procedures to ensure the protection of the victims’ human rights through every step of the assistance process.

It is focused in particular on safe and sustainable return and reintegration for victims of trafficking returning from France, Greece, Italy, Poland and Spain to priority countries such as Albania, Morocco and Ukraine.  

“The TACT TRM platform is a unique tool for gathering a variety of resources, providing professionals with standards and hands-on guidelines on direct assistance to victims of trafficking,” said Fanny Ruinart, IOM’s TACT project manager.

“Its tools, established best practices and experience can be duplicated for the benefit of any interested practitioner in another country and/or regional context,” she added.  

The platform contains four key elements:

  • Standard Operating Procedures for the Safe Return and Reintegration of victims of trafficking;
  • The Counter-Trafficking Directory dedicated to consular and diplomatic staff, currently containing profiles of the status of trafficking of 50 countries;
  • A resources database, hosting over 60 documents covering broad range of thematic areas;
  • A tools application, which contains eight practical tools for practitioners.

For further information, please contact Fanny Ruinart, IOM Paris. Tel: +33 1 40 44 06 91, Email: fruinart@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 - 17:26Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaFranceDefault: 
Categories: PBN

Uganda Opens Training Academy for Immigration Officials

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:48
Language English

Uganda - IOM has formally handed over a facility for training immigration officers, to the Government of Uganda. The Immigration Training Academy in the central district of Nakasongola was built by IOM, as part of the USD 1.8 million project, Strengthening Border Security in Uganda, funded by the Government of Japan.

Speaking at the inauguration ceremony earlier this month, the Prime Minister of Uganda, Dr. Ruhakana Rugunda, said: “The establishment of the Academy is a timely addition to government efforts to combat transnational crimes, which include terrorism, human trafficking and irregular migration.”

After cutting the ribbon and signing the visitors’ book, Dr. Rugunda toured the facility. He was accompanied by the State Minister of Internal Affairs, Obiga Mario Kania; the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, Dr. Benon Mutambi; the UN Resident Coordinator, Rosa Malango; the Japanese Ambassador to Uganda, Kazuaki Kameda; the IOM Uganda Chief of Mission, Ali Abdi, and other senior officials from the central and local governments.

The Academy will cater for the training needs of the Directorate of Citizenship and Immigration Control (DCIC) of Uganda and possibly other government institutions. Moreover, the Government of Uganda intends to invite other countries in the region to train at this facility particularly on issues of immigration and border control.

With a residential capacity of 50 trainees, the solar-powered facility sits on three acres of land which will allow trainings that require an extended outdoor space, such as border patrolling. The Academy was designed to allow for future expansion that would ensure that it can host up to 300 trainees. Presently it comprises an administration block, training hall, two dormitories, a kitchen shed, staff quarters, as well as three latrine blocks and boreholes. The hall includes a training room specifically for the Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS). MIDAS is an electronic traveller registration system developed by IOM and is currently operational in eight border crossing points in Uganda.

Abdi told guests: “Comprehensive and continuous training is necessary to ensure that immigration officials can carry out their duties in accordance with international standards. We are confident that this Academy will help DCIC achieve this goal.”

The UN Resident Coordinator, Rosa Malango, highlighted that this Academy and IOM’s work in Uganda contributes to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). To achieve reduced inequality (SDG 10), it is necessary to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.

For his part, Ambassador Kameda placed the training academy in the context of the Nairobi Declaration adopted at the Sixth Tokyo International Conference on African Development which took place in the Kenyan capital in August 2016. He said the Academy would help boost the Government’s capacity to tackle radicalization, terrorism and armed conflict, three of the challenges identified in the Nairobi Declaration.

For further information please contact Richard Mulindwa Kavuma, IOM Uganda. Tel: +256 312 263 210. Email: rmkavuma@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 - 17:25Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastUgandaDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM Rehabilitates School, Constructs Biggest Cattle Market in Darfur

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:48
Language English

Sudan - To support communities in East Darfur State, IOM, with support from the European Union, has rehabilitated Al-Sadaga Primary Girls’ School in the Abu Karinka locality and constructed and rehabilitated the Abu Matarig Cattle Market in the Bahr El Arab locality (bordering South Sudan).

These interventions seek to foster relationships among communities by improving access to education and facilitating cross-border trade and commerce to help revitalize economic activity and prevent conflict.

Attending the opening ceremonies on 12 and 13 April 2017 of the Abu Matarig Market and the Al Sadaga Primary Girls’ School were state and local authorities including the Humanitarian Aid Commission, the Ministry of Finance, and Project Community Improvement Committees as well as pastoral and sedentary community members.

The Director General of the State Ministry of Finance, (a national government counterpart of the project), Mohamed Ibrahim, said at the Abu Matarig Market opening ceremony, “This is the biggest market in Darfur, we should work on conserving and maintaining it. Through conserving the environment, we conserve our resources. So many traders from many tribes come here which is a proof of the social coexistence concept existing in this locality, and a main driver towards economic development.”

The construction and rehabilitation of the Abu Mararig Market includes new offices, police check points, latrines and fencing which were all built by IOM with the in-kind contribution from the State Ministry of Finance, particularly in extending the fences surrounding the market area.

In Abu Karinka, the students of Al Sadaga Primary Girls’ School planted trees in the school yard instilling ownership and giving an environmental conservation aspect to their school. A charter, quoting a local peace-promoting proverb, was also signed and hung on the school walls using local material, serving as an informal agreement that upholds the students, teachers and committees to social cohesion and peaceful coexistence.

These interventions are part of the Cross-Border Peace and Cooperation (CBPC) programme funded by the European Union. The project, valued at 2 million Euros and with a duration of 24 months, aims to contribute to Sudan’s development priorities by promoting a conducive environment for community stabilization and peaceful coexistence amongst communities in South and East Darfur States, in areas bordering South Sudan. Pastoralist and sedentary communities have long coexisted in these areas, in an interdependent relationship traditionally facilitated by trade and commerce.

For further information, please contact Dalia El Roubi, IOM Sudan, Tel. (Mobile): +249 9121 54652, Email: delroubi@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 - 17:24Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSudanDefault: 
Categories: PBN

First Human Rights Trainings Held Inside Libyan Detention Centres Since 2014

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:48
Language English

Libya - IOM is currently providing human rights training sessions in five Libyan detention centres, the first such trainings since 2014.

In this pilot project, IOM is targeting five centres (Abu Salim, Tariq al Sekka, Al Khums, Gharyan Alhamra and Triq Al Matar) to enhance the capacity of the staff and help improve the living conditions of the migrants.

The first two of the five trainings, inside Tripoli’s Tariq Al Sekka and Abu Salim detention centres, on 14 April and 18 April respectively, focused on the promotion and protection of the human rights of migrants inside the detention centres and was delivered to 24 of the Abu Salim management and 28 of Tariq Al Sekka personnel. The trainings were conducted by the management of the centres, after having attended an intensive five-day course in Tunis in February 2017, with the assistance of IOM staff.

“It is a great step to be able to restart the trainings inside detention centres in Libya,” explained Programme Manager Maysa Khalil.

Some of the topics that were discussed included identification of vulnerable cases, the needs of the migrants, protection and prevention of diseases, and smuggling and human trafficking.

“It is important to build a good relationship with the migrants who are residing in the centres for them to feel safe,” said Mohamed Salem, one of the participants from Tariq Al Sekka following the training sessions. For him the training increased the understanding of the migrants’ needs and their vulnerabilities.

Challenges identified during the session involved communication difficulties due to language barriers and the struggle of handling health cases, such as providing ambulances for urgent cases, and of coordination with clinics for patients such as pregnant women, and those with psychological and mental problems.

“The attendees were excited to participate and tried to give solutions and share suggestions to facilitate the stay of migrants inside the centres by, for example, having a space for children to have fun and play away from their rooms for most of the day,” explained IOM’s Moad Ayad who believes, that the training will have an impact when it comes to the treatment of migrants in detention.

Other issues that were raised were the importance of separating minors and women from other detainees, as well as the right of all migrants to practice their religion freely.

“Even though IOM advocates for the release of detained migrants, this type of human rights trainings aims at long-term improvement of the living conditions for migrants currently inside detention centres,” added Khalil.

The trainings are part of a wider IOM intervention which is focusing on building the capacity of detention centre authorities to ensure that migrants are treated in a way that upholds their dignity and fully respects their human rights.

“The hope is to be able to provide as many detention centre personnel with the training as possible,” added Khalil.

This pilot is part of project, Support and Provide Assistance to Authorities and Migrants in Detention Centres and Contribute to Addressing the Migration Flow through Voluntary Repatriation in Libya, funded by the Government of the United Kingdom.

Under the same project, four detention centres were rehabilitated to meet the basic needs of migrants, particularly when it relates to water and sanitation facilities.

For further information, please contact IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Maysa Khalil, Tel: +216 29 600388, Email: mkhalil@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 - 17:23Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastLibyaDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM Assists 462 Stranded West African Migrants to Return Home from Libya

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:48
Language English

Libya - On 13 April, IOM helped 156 stranded migrants – 145 men and 11 women – return home to Cote d’Ivoire from Libya. The group included two unaccompanied children, both of them female.

During the same week (18 April), 152 Malians – 14 women and three unaccompanied children — returned home via a charter flight. Of these, 83 had been detained in Tariq Al Sekka detention centre. The following day (19 April), IOM assisted 154 men, women and children in returning to Burkina Faso.

All three return charter flights were part of IOM’s assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) programme.

The charter flights, which departed from Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport, were coordinated with the Libyan and Ivorian authorities, the Malian Embassy, as well as IOM colleagues in the countries of origin.

IOM performed pre-departure interviews, medical check-ups and facilitated exit visas for all passengers. Prior to departure the migrants also received further assistance.

One of the passengers was Issa*, a 49-year-old from Burkina Faso. He left his four children with their grandmother three years ago and travelled to Libya with his wife to search for work. He started working as a farmer in the coastal city of Az Zawiyah but due to health problems he was not able to continue. After suffering from a stroke, Issa’s arm was paralyzed. He contacted IOM and sought help to return home to his children.

Twenty-year-old Ousmane*, previously an economics student at Bamako University, failed to pay his school fees and was persuaded by a friend in Europe to come there. Unfortunately, Ousmane faced the brutal reality of being kidnapped but managed to pay for his release. He is now relieved to return to Mali.

Sixteen of the most vulnerable cases on the Ivorian flight were considered eligible for reintegration support once back in Cote d’Ivoire. Furthermore, 29 of the most vulnerable Malian migrants and 12 of the migrants from Burkina Faso were also allowed the same assistance. This provided the returnees with an opportunity to start afresh once back home, for example, by opening a small business or continuing with their education.

Another migrant, Drissa* – a 24-year-old Malian – reached Libya six months ago. He crossed the desert linking Mali to Algeria and arrived in Tripoli where he sought work. Drissa, who used to work as painter in Mali, fell off a ladder in Libya and became paralyzed from the waist down. Unable to walk, he was assisted by IOM doctors and returned safely to Mali.

So far in 2017, IOM Libya has helped 2,463 stranded migrants return to their countries of origin. Of these, 508 were eligible for reintegration assistance.

*Migrants’ names have been changed to protect their identities.

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

Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 - 17:22Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastLibyaDefault: 
Categories: PBN

IOM Egypt Marks World Health Day with Awareness-raising Sessions on Depression

Fri, 04/21/2017 - 11:48
Language English

Egypt - IOM Egypt organized a series of awareness raising sessions on depression from 9–20 April to mark World Health Day (7 April), which this year, had the theme: Depression: let’s talk.

IOM kicked off the sessions with a peer educators’ workshop on 9 April targeting 20 representatives of different migrant communities in Egypt including community health workers and community leaders. IOM physicians moderated the workshop and provided the participants with information on depression, including means of prevention as well as treatment. The participants would then in turn disseminate the knowledge they had gained to their respective migrant communities and guide fellow migrants to the relevant service providers.

Following that workshop, two awareness-raising sessions were carried out on 20 April targeting approximately 250 migrants – invited by the trained peer educators – representing eight migrant communities. The migrants were briefed on depression, its symptoms, and available means of treatment followed by a question and answer session.

“Migrant communities are among those vulnerable populations that are affected by depression and anxiety, mainly as a result of experiencing humanitarian crises, conflict and displacement. Our aim is to reduce the stigma associated with depression and encourage people to talk as a first step towards seeking help,” said Dr. Heidi Goubran, Programme Officer at IOM Egypt’s Migration Health Division.

According to the latest estimates from the World Health Organization, around four percent of the world population lives with depression, an increase of more than 18 per cent in the last decade.

The series of events were organized within the framework of the regional project Promoting Health and Well Being amongst Migrants in Morocco, Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Yemen (TRANSIT II) with the generous support of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs of Finland.

The project seeks to improve the health and well-being of migrants; support governmental and non-governmental health structures in delivering quality, migrant-friendly and psychosocially aware health-care services; and raise awareness among migrants on available health care (including psychosocial support) and health issues of concern.

For further information, please contact Dr. Heidi Goubran at IOM Egypt, Tel: +20 2273 65140, Email: iomegypt@iom.int

Posted: Friday, April 21, 2017 - 17:21Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastEgyptDefault: 
Categories: PBN

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