• English
  • Deutsch
Subscribe to PBN News Germany feed
Updated: 2 hours 49 min ago

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 8,950 in 2019; Deaths Reach 223

Wed, 02/27/2019 - 06:00

Geneva – The International Organization for MIgration (IOM) reports that 8,950 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 24 February, a 10 per cent decrease from the 10,016 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost seven weeks of the new year are at 223 individuals – or about one half the 437 deaths that occurred during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).


Language English Posted: Wednesday, February 27, 2019 - 12:54Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Yemen: Most Dire Humanitarian Crisis in the World Requires Scaled Up Response in 2019

Mon, 02/25/2019 - 23:40

Geneva – After four years of escalating violence and rising displacement in Yemen, the scale of the world’s worst humanitarian emergency cannot be ignored. More than 3.3 million Yemenis are internally displaced and 80 per cent of its 28.6 million people are in critical need of assistance and protection.

Throughout the country, a man-made food security crisis has pushed millions to the brink of famine while nearly half of the country’s medical facilities are no longer functioning.

To address these critical, life-threatening gaps the International Organization for Migration is appealing for USD 142 million to provide humanitarian assistance to more than four million Yemenis.

The Organization joins its United Nations and other humanitarian partners at the High-Level Pledging Event for Yemen today (26/02) in Geneva. The event aims to secure support for the 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan for Yemen, a joint USD 4.2 billion appeal to assist 19 million people in need this year.

“The needs throughout the country are overwhelming,” said IOM Yemen Chief of Mission, David Derthick. “Yemenis are being displaced repeatedly. Resources are scarce and communities struggle to cope as the crisis drags on. Building on our 2018 response, IOM will expand to work in more communities and increase services in 2019.”

Since the conflict began in 2015, nearly 15 percent of its population —4.3 million people— have been forced to flee their homes: more than 685,000 were newly displaced in 2018 alone.

Last year, IOM served more than 5.5 million Yemenis —some in their homes, or others displaced— in districts across the country. IOM’s Health, Water and Sanitation, Shelter and Camp Coordination and Camp Management teams provided efficient and timely responses to those in need.

IOM enhances the broader humanitarian response by maintaining a network of 1,000 Displacement Tracking Matrix enumerators who work with partners to help define the population in need and provide verified data and analysis of displacement and migration trends. 

While the vast majority of IOM’s response targets Yemenis, the Organization also provides ongoing support to migrants trapped by the crisis, Yemen was and remains an arrival, transit and destination country for migrants from the Horn of Africa.

For additional information, please contact:

Joel Millman, IOM Senior Press Officer, Spokesperson Tel: +41 22 717 9486 Mobile: +41 79 103 87 20 Email:; Angela Wells, IOM Public Information Officer in Geneva, Tel: +41 7940 35365, Email:; Saba Malme, IOM Yemen Communications Focal Point, Email:

Support IOM’s work in Yemen; Donate now.


Language English Posted: Monday, February 25, 2019 - 23:32Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Yemen: Most Dire Humanitarian Crisis in the World Requires Scaled Up Response in 2019.  Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Latest Voluntary Humanitarian Return Charter from Libya Brings Total Returnees to Over 40,000 Since 2015

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 10:24

Sabha – More than 160 Nigerian migrants stranded in southern Libya voluntarily and safely returned home to Nigeria yesterday (02/21) on the second International Organization for Migration (IOM) Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) charter this year. This operation brings the total number of voluntary returnees from Libya to 40,000 since 2015. 

In 2019 alone, 343 Nigerian returnees have participated in the VHR programme. Among those who boarded yesterday’s charter from Sabha, Libya to Lagos, Nigeria were 37 children and 70 women, some pregnant. 

Prior to departure, IOM conducted protection screenings and medical check-ups to ensure all migrants were fit for the journey.  As an estimated 90% of the irregular migrants in Libya have no travel documents, the migrants also received consular support in order to process their documents and exit visas to facilitate safe and orderly travel.  

"I reached out to the VHR team in Sabha two months ago because I wanted to return to Nigeria. A few days later, I got sick and I could not afford treatment here. The team took me to a hospital and made sure to follow up on everything,” said 28-year-old Aisha. 

“I was scared that I will not be going home to my family, but standing in the airport today, in good health and spirits, I'm very grateful I will be seeing my family soon," she continued before boarding the flight to Lagos. 

This VHR operation was funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa in the framework of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, implemented by IOM in 26 African countries. 

The operation results from close collaboration between IOM, the Nigerian Embassy in Tripoli, Libyan airport authorities, and the Directorate for Combatting Illegal Migration (DCIM). The team also worked closely with Nigerian community leaders to make sure all migrants seeking a safe return home are provided with the needed support.   

Despite security challenges, the IOM team in Sebha conducted interviews with migrants and meetings with the local authorities to arrange for the flight and ensure the continuity of VHR activities in the South of Libya.  

“We are happy to have succeeded in providing a safe option to all those who wanted to be reunited with their loved ones, and grateful for the support we received from the authorities and community leaders here,” said Mohamed Hmouzi, IOM’s VHR Operations Assistant in Sabha.  

Nigerian community leaders in the region help IOM spread the word about IOM’s VHR programming, as well as track and refer migrants in need of assistance. IOM’s VHR hotline, launched in 2018, allows migrants direct access to IOM counsel.  

Upon arrival, IOM colleagues in Nigeria provided the returnees with post-arrival assistance including onward transportation allowance. Returnees with protection concerns were assisted by IOM’s protection and mental health and psychological support teams. All migrants are also eligible for reintegration support which will assist them to re-establish their livelihoods in Nigeria.   

Since January 2018, IOM Libya has assisted more than 17,500 stranded migrants to return to 32 countries across Africa and Asia. 

For more information please contact IOM Libya: Safa Msehli, Tel: +216 22241842, Email: or Yahya Chalank, Tel: +216 58 601 055, Email:  

Florence Kim at IOM Regional office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221786206213, Email:  


Language English Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 17:18Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Aisha, 28, moments before returning home to Nigeria on yesterday’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return flight from Libya. Photo: Mohamed Hmouzi/IOM

Nigerian migrants prepare to board yesterday’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return flight from Libya. Photo: Mohamed Hmouzi/IOM

Nigerian migrants prepare to board yesterday’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return flight from Libya. Photo: Mohamed Hmouzi/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

“Tell Us About Migration” Côte d’Ivoire’s Magic System music group sits in with IOM to Raise Awareness on Risks of Irregular migration

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 10:18

Abidjan – The internationally renowned Ivorian music group Magic System, through its foundation, is joining forces with the UN’s International Organization for Migration (IOM) to together raise awareness on the risks of irregular migration and promote alternatives for the Ivorian youth. The partners signed a Memorandum of Understanding this week (20/02). 

“Awareness-raising is one of IOM top priorities. We know that music has always been a good channel to reach out to the youth. Key messages must come from young Ivorians themselves and partnering with Magic System today is showing this ownership,” said Marina Schramm, Chief of mission for IOM Côte d’Ivoire. “Our objective is to pool our efforts to raise awareness on the risks of irregular migration and promote positive alternatives,” she added.  

After a successful collaboration during one of the most popular music festivals in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2018, le Festival des Musiques Urbaines d’Anoumabo (FEMUA) organized under the theme « African youth and irregular migration », the two organisations joined forces again to maximize the impact of their awareness activities.  

Ivory Coast, which is home to the highest number of migrants in the region with 2,2 million migrants, is also a country of departure for the Ivorian youth. According to the migration profile in the country  (profiling report (FR)) Ivorians who migrate irregularly are less than 31 years old, come from urban areas and pay a great amount of money for their journey  (1.5 million and 2 million FCFA). 

"The FEMUA is certainly a good platform to sensitize the youth but we want our collaboration to go beyond that. We must work together towards the happiness of Ivorians," said A'Salfo, leader of the Magic System group and general commissioner of FEMUA. 

The signing of this agreement was followed by the launch of the Facebook contest « Racontez-nous la migration» (Tell us about migration) 2019 Edition. Young Ivorians over 18 and 35 can participate by submitting a dance, a song or a theatre play related to migration. The prize-winners will have the opportunity to perform at the 12th edition of FEMUA, which will be held 23-28 April 2019.   

For more information, please contact Marina Schramm, IOM Chief of mission in Ivory Coast; Email:  


Language English Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 17:16Image: Region-Country: Côte d'IvoireThemes: OthersDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Australia Supports Empowerment of Women Victims of Trafficking in Madagascar

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 10:16

Antananarivo – “All I wanted was to go home,” recalls a Malagasy woman here in the capital of the island nation of Madagascar, which lies off southeastern Africa. Trafficking in vulnerable women, especially to go abroad, is a significant issue here – as it is in many low-income countries. 

The problem’s dimensions here are as bad as anywhere. Madagascar is both a source and a destination of victims of trafficking (VoTs). According to research by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and its partners, women are particularly vulnerable and subjected to sex trafficking and forced labour in the domestic sector within the country. Thousands of Malagasy women are employed as domestic workers in Lebanon, Kuwait, and Saudi Arabia. Hundreds of Malagasy women are sent by persons acting as informal placement agents on false pretense of legitimate work to China and end up exploited in forced labour and sold as brides. 

That’s why earlier this month (11 February) IOM launched a six-month initiative to promote human rights and empower Malagasy women victims of trafficking in persons (TiP). 

VoTs in Madagascar are almost exclusively women (95% of identified VoTs), and mostly young women (56% aged 29, or less). When identified, these victims show grave signs of physical and psychological trauma related to the forms of exploitation that constitute the crime of trafficking, with nearly half reporting physical and sexual abuse, as well as economic hardship.  

Since the mid-1990s, IOM and its partners have provided protection and assistance to close to 100,000 trafficked persons globally. IOM takes a comprehensive approach to addressing human trafficking. In Madagascar, this effort complements IOM’s multi-year support programme to the government and civil society organizations aimed at enhancing the criminal justice system’s response through victim-centered investigations and prosecutions of trafficking cases; strengthening coordination of the national anti-trafficking response; and improving data collection and reporting. 

In 2018, upon the request of its partners in the Government of Madagascar, IOM worked with civil society stakeholders to assist close to 140 Malagasy women VoTs, a 400 per cent increase over the previous year, and a record number of victims assisted here in a single year. 

One was a woman now using the name “Red Orchid”, who became a beneficiary of IOM’s assistance. Last year IOM assisted “Red Orchid” to repatriate from China to Madagascar, where she also received reintegration support. Her story was harrowing. 

“I was promised a job in China, and when we arrived, we were sold, and we were forced to marry Chinese men,” she recalled. “I was married to a Chinese man with mental disabilities. At night, the mother of that man would force me to have sexual relations with her son. She threatened me. She would not let me use the phone or buy clothes if I didn’t do it. I was so far from my family in Madagascar, all I wanted was to go home.” 

Through this new initiative, funded by the Government of Australia through its Direct Aid Program (DAP), IOM will be able to provide emergency medical and psychosocial care, in addition to supporting the empowerment of referred VoTs through tailored grants that can cover education or vocational training, or the implementation of an income-generating activity. IOM will also support and engage national TiP stakeholders through a high-level, one-day roundtable to contribute to fill a gap in expertise and know-how on the sustainable social and economic reintegration of women VoTs. 

“We are very grateful for Australia’s commitment, and glad to see more partners and friends of Madagascar joining the fight against trafficking in persons in Madagascar,” noted Daniel Silva y Poveda, IOM Madagascar Chief of Mission. 

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


Language English Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 17:14Image: Region-Country: AustraliaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Visits Earthquake-Affected Papua New Guinea Village Rebuilt with IOM Tool Kits, Build Back Safer Training

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 10:13

Port Moresby – UN Resident Coordinator in Papua New Guinea Gianluca Rampolla, together with IOM, UNDP and UNICEF representatives, this week visited Humbra in Southern Highlands province – one of the communities hardest hit by a 7.5 magnitude earthquake in February 2018.

IOM displacement tracking conducted in March 2018 showed that 289 Humbra households needed shelter assistance due to damage caused by the quake. Based on IOM’s survey findings, IOM provided shelter tool kits and training on techniques for building back safer. UNICEF stepped in with latrines to improve sanitation.

"After the (Build Back Safer) training I realized that where I had previously built my home was not safe. It was at risk of landslide and flooding. I decided to rebuild it on flat land away from the valley. Now it is much safer," said Diana Joel, a Humbra community volunteer.

While the community welcomed support from the UN, they also came together to fundraise among themselves for much needed facilities. "After the earthquake, our classroom was badly damaged. Each family contributed PGK15 (USD 5) and together we rebuilt it," said Topa primary school headmaster Tom Kink.

“People from this community are applying the knowledge received from the training in rebuilding their homes. Such measures, including support provided by the UN, is promoting the increased resilience of local communities,” said UN Resident Coordinator Rampolla. 

People trained in safe shelter construction are passing on the knowledge gained to other community members, including voluntarily participating in shelter reconstruction work in their communities, he added. 

For more information please contact IOM Port Moresby. Lance Bonneau, Tel: +675 3213655, Email: or Peter Murorera, Email:   


Language English Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 17:07Image: Region-Country: Papua New GuineaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

UN Resident Coordinator Rampolla meets “Build Back Safer” trainees in Humbra. Photo: Christine Conway / IOM 2019

A shelter in Humbra constructed using safer building techniques. Photo: Christine Conway / IOM 2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Building States’ Capacity to Manage Legal Identity – Focus on e-Passports, Public Key Infrastructure

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 10:07

Luxembourg – In a world increasingly on the move, technology races to efficiently support the daily management of departures and arrivals of millions of individuals at airports, seaports and land borders. This is a global challenge: facilitate national and international travels while optimizing security checks to adequately address border management risks. 

In order to mitigate some of these risks, it is strongly recommended that travelers use biometric travel documents, such as e-passports and electronic identity cards, to properly verify their identity when needed, and obviously at a border. 

Geneva-based International Organization for Migration (IOM), too, is racing ahead to configure management strategies aimed at migration that will be safe, regular and secure for all. And, thanks to new technology, fast.  

IOM and INCERT, a public agency under the Ministry of the Economy of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, signed an agreement to increase cooperation and support to interested States in the “Identity (ID) Management” field, with a special focus on Public Key Infrastructure (PKI) as a relevant tool for enhanced migration management, cross-border mobility and border management, as well as humanitarian action. 

A PKI is a set of roles, policies, procedures and the related IT components needed to create, manage, distribute, use, store and revoke digital certificates and manage public-key encryption. Understanding and mastering PKI correctly is a prerequisite for States to be able to issue verifiable e-passports and other electronic travel documents to their citizens and other entitled holders, as well as to check foreign e-passports at their borders (air, land and sea).  

At the signing of the agreement in Bangkok during IOM’s Border Management and Identity Conference (BMIC), both sides emphasized the relevance of support by IOM to its member states in this technical field.  

“Being able to properly manage the legal identity of citizens and to issue globally trusted national travel documents, including e-passports, is becoming a necessary precondition for increased safe, orderly and regular cross- border mobility,” explained Florian G. Forster, the Head of IOM’s Division for Immigration and Border Management. “This is a complex undertaking, for which many States do require advice and assistance – an important work field for IOM. The cooperation with INCERT Luxembourg further strengthens IOM’s support to States in this regard.”    

Benoit Poletti is the General Director of INCERT and the Representative of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg in the International Civil Aviation Organization’s (ICAO) Technical Advisory Group (TAG) for the Traveler Identification Programme (TRIP). He added: “Over the years, Luxembourg has worked on developing in-depth know-how and technical expertise regarding ID Management and PKI. The Grand Duchy recognizes the need for international cooperation and support in this field, and we are committed to provide this support within global frameworks such as the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) and the ICAO TRIP Strategy to interested partner states also through multilateral UN agencies such as IOM, of which Luxembourg is a member.”   

Renate Held, IOM’s Director for Migration Management, noted the rapidly growing importance of information and communication technology in general for migration management: “There is a need to embrace the responsible and ethical use of new technology for better migration management. We support our member states in this endeavor, with a focus on developing and middle-income countries.” 

She added: “While it is obvious that technology has become key for travel documents and border management, IOM sees the relevance and impact of new technology also rapidly evolving in other migration management fields such as migration and health, as well as with regard to humanitarian action. IOM thereby follows a collaborative approach, engaging in close partnership with key actors within the UN and from outside. IOM’s strong engagement under the UN’s ICAO TRIP Strategy and related cooperation with its member states are testimony to this collaborative commitment.” 

For more information, please contact Florian Forster, Email:, and Renate Held, Email: at IOM HQ; or Benoit Poletti, Email: at INCERT.  


Language English Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 16:59Image: Region-Country: LuxembourgThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Renate Held (left), IOM’s Director for Migration Management,  and Benoit Poletti, General Director of INCERT, after signing the MoU. Photo: INCERT

Public Key Infrastructure and ICAO Public Key Directory in electronic passport verification

The chain of trust in electronic passports

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 8,269 in 2019; Deaths Reach 221

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 09:59

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 8,269 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 20 February, a 15 per cent decrease from the 9,765 arriving during the same period last year. Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost seven weeks of the new year are at 221 individuals – or about one half the 435 deaths that occurred during the same period in 2018 (see chart below). 

IOM Italy 

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Thursday (21/02) reported a total of 227 migrants and refugees have landed in Italy this year, according to official Ministry of Interior figures. He added that since 1 January 2019, a total of 855 migrants have been returned to Libya by the Libyan Coast Guard – or almost four times the total arriving by sea to Italy. 

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that through 15 February, 4,891 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants since the start of this year – an average of some 106 per day. Through this period, irregular migrant arrivals by sea to Spain are about 60 per cent of all Mediterranean arrivals of this type; moreover, that total through just over six weeks of 2019 is almost 300 more arrivals than Spain saw through the first four months of 2018, a period during which IOM reported 4,627 irregular migrant arrivals to Spain by sea, or just under 40 per day (see chart below). 

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece said on Thursday (21/02) that since Tuesday, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported one incident requiring search and rescue operations off the port of Alexandroupolis. The HCG rescued a total of 29 migrants and transferred them to that port. 

Those 29 arrivals were among some 209 IOM recorded in the three days between 18 and 20 February arriving at the islands of Oinouses, Lesvos, Samos, Symi and Chios, and bringing to 2,972 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year. 

Arrivals by sea 

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the fifth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project (MMP). Since the beginning of 2014, the Project has recorded the deaths of 30,602 people, and yet due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and what happened to them, the true number of deaths during migration is likely much higher.   

So far in 2019, Missing Migrants Project has recorded the deaths of 392 people, 221 of those on one of three Mediterranean Sea routes (see chart below). 

Since the last week, MMP reported that on 14 February, the remains of three people were found by the Libyan Red Crescent west of Sirte, Libya. The boat in which these people were travelling has not been identified; MMP researchers say there have been no other migrants missing at sea recorded off the coast of Libya since 18 January, with none so far in February.  

In Europe, MMP recorded the death of a 34-year-old Algerian man, who died in a hospital in the town of Velika Kladuša, Bosnia and Herzegovina on 2 February from injuries he endured after being hit by a car near the border with Croatia.  

On the US-Mexico border this week, a 30-year-old Guatemalan woman, who was travelling with her children, aged 6 and 10 years, was killed in Tijuana near the border with the US, when she was hit by a truck. The two children also were injured and now are being treated at a Tijuana hospital. Also this past week, two men died in a vehicle accident in Otay Mesa, San Diego County, California.  One man recently crossed the border from Mexico illegally and the other was the driver of vehicle and is believed to be already living in the US.  A 20-year-old-woman, who was also in the car, was severely injured.   

On 14 February, a man around 25-30 years old drowned trying to cross the Rio Bravo from Mexico into the US.  He was found between International Bridge 1 and 2, near Eagle Pass, Maverick County, Texas.  

On 18 February, a young Honduran migrant was killed when he was hit by a car in María del Río in the state of San Luis Potosi, Mexico. He was reported to be travelling with a caravan of migrants along a road when he was hit. The next day, another man, from Guatemala, who was travelling with another caravan, died of cardiac arrest near a border crossing point between Ciudad Hidalgo, Chiapas and Tecún Umán, Guatemala. He was 36 years old. 

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff based at its Global Migration Data Analysis Centre but come from a variety of sources, some of which are unofficial. To learn more about how data on migrants’ deaths and disappearances are collected, click here

See chart below. 

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

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 16:50Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Participates in Historical Meeting Between Pope Francis, Argentine Migrant Communities

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 09:50

Buenos Aires – Representatives from 40 migrant communities living in Argentina were received Wednesday (20/2) by Pope Francis, at a public audience held in the Vatican Paul VI Audience Hall. The meeting was described as historic since it is the first time a national delegation of migrant communities has visited His Holiness.  

The visit was a joint initiative by the National Secretary´s Office of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism (SDH, by its Spanish acronym), the Argentine Federation of Migrant Communities and the Observatory of Migrant Communities. Representatives from the National Directorate for Migration, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) were also part of the attendees.  

 “It is a miracle, you were able to gather all of them,” Pope Francis congratulated the Secretary of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism Claudio Avruj, referring to the communities. “It is an immense honour to be part of this delegation,” replied Avruj. 

At the meeting, the declaration “Argentina: A Mosaic of Identities” was presented to the Holy Father. The document, signed last 8 February by the Secretary´s Office, the Federation and the Observatory, reaffirms the commitment of the SDH towards working with Argentina’s civil society within the framework of the 2017-2020 National Action Plan on Human Rights of Argentina. The declaration also mentions the will to make joint headway with IOM and UNCHR regarding the protection and promotion of human rights of migrants and refugees. 

IOM Regional Director for South America, Diego Beltrand, remarked: “It is always inspirational to listen to His Holiness Pope Francis and his words of support for migrants and refugees, as well as his teachings about welcoming, protecting and integrating them.” 

Beltrand also thanked the Argentine government, especially the Secretary´s Office of Human Rights and Cultural Pluralism and the National Directorate for Migration, for their invitation to participate in this visit to the Vatican with the representatives from migrant communities in Argentina.  

“We are happy to have taken part, with Argentine migrant communities and government representatives, of this emotive visit where the significant contribution of migrants and the importance of intercultural dialogue for their integration were reinforced,” said IOM Argentina Head of Office Gabriela Fernández.  

The SDH and IOM Argentina implement several activities in partnership, among them training sessions for the “Educating in Interculturality” programme managed by the Secretary; the publication “Migration and Interculturality. A Guide for Developing and Strengthening Skills in Intercultural Communication” and the presence of IOM Argentina at events such as the Commemoration Day for Acknowledging, Valuing and Raising Awareness on the historical contribution of Afro descendants to the construction of Argentina, and the First and Second National Meetings of Migrant Communities Authorities. On 30 May 2018, both entities signed an agreement by which their cooperation was officialized, with the purpose of continuing their work toward the promotion and protection of migrants and emphasizing the value of plurality and diversity.  

For more information please contact Débora Taicz at IOM Argentina, Tel: +54 11 48151035, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 16:47Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Venezuelan Outflow Continues Unabated, Population Abroad Now Stands at 3.4 Million

Fri, 02/22/2019 - 09:22


Geneva – The number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela worldwide now stands at 3.4 million, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the International Organization for Migration, announced today. 

According to data from national immigration authorities and other sources, countries in Latin America and the Caribbean are hosting an estimated 2.7 million Venezuelans, while other regions account for the rest. 

On average, during 2018, an estimated 5,000 people left Venezuela every day in search of protection or a better life. 

Colombia hosts the highest number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, with over 1.1 million. It is followed by Peru, with 506,000; Chile, 288,000; Ecuador, 221,000; Argentina, 130,000; and Brazil, 96,000. Mexico and countries in Central America and the Caribbean are also hosting significant numbers of refugees and migrants from Venezuela.  

“The countries of the region have shown tremendous solidarity with refugees and migrants from Venezuela, and implemented resourceful solutions to help them. But these figures underscore the strain on host communities and the continued need for support from the international community, at a time when the world’s attention is on political developments inside Venezuela,” said Eduardo Stein, joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants. 

Latin American countries have granted some 1.3 million residence permits and other forms of regular status to Venezuelans and reinforced their asylum systems in order to process an unprecedented number of asylum applications. Since 2014, over 390,000 asylum claims have been lodged by Venezuelans, over 232,000 in 2018 alone.  

With rising numbers, the needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and the communities hosting them continue to increase. Governments in the region have strengthened their national response and are cooperating – through the Quito process – to enhance the assistance and protection of Venezuelan nationals and facilitate their legal, social and economic inclusion. The next regional meeting of this process will take place in Quito in the first week of April.  

To complement these efforts, a humanitarian Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) for refugees and migrants from Venezuela was launched last December, targeting 2.2 million Venezuelans and 500,000 people in host communities in 16 countries.  

 For more information please contact: 

In Geneva: Joel Millman, IOM, Email:, Tel: + 41 79 103 8720 

In Geneva: Liz Throssell, UNHCR, Email:, Tel: + 41 79 337 7591 

In Bogotá: Olga Sarrado Mur, UNHCR, Email:, Tel: +57 310 202 6029 

In Buenos Aires: Juliana Quintero, IOM, Email:, Tel: +54 1132488134 

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

Language English Posted: Friday, February 22, 2019 - 17:20Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Venezuelan Outflow Continues Unabated, Population Abroad Now Stands at 3.4 Million. Photo: IOM

Venezuelan Outflow Continues Unabated, Population Abroad Now Stands at 3.4 Million. Photo: IOM

Venezuelan Outflow Continues Unabated, Population Abroad Now Stands at 3.4 Million. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Strengthening Venezuelans’ Labour Integration in the Private Sector in Chile

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 10:34

Santiago – Natura, a Brazilian company considered one of Latin America’s leading cosmetics manufacturers, is known throughout the region for its commitment to sustainability and diversity. 

Through its subsidiary in Chile, it’s now known as well for its efforts to support the labour integration of migrants and refugees in that country. 

As part of this engagement, International Organization for Migration delivered on Valentine’s Day (14/02) a training workshop to enhance resilience of migrant workers. The training was carried out for 12 Venezuelans, who currently comprise the largest group of foreign-born employees among Natura workers in Natura’s Chilean unit. 

This activity was developed thanks to IOM's work with UN Women Chile and its Win-Win program to promote integration, quality of life and generate an inclusive environment. 

"We thank the Chileans who receive, welcome and help Venezuelans to position themselves in the labour market, since the main challenge we have is how we adapt to a different culture, contributing with the experience and knowledge that we bring from our country," said María Erminia Mirena, a Venezuelan who has worked for the Natura team for the last three months. 

Chile’s Ministry of the Interior and the National Institute of Statistics of Chile recently revealed that, as of 31 December 2018, 1,251,225 foreigners reside in the country, representing 6.6 per cent of the total population. Of that total, Venezuelans predominate (23 per cent), for the first time in Chile’s history surpassing even the number of migrants from neighbouring Perú (17.9 per cent).  

Natura, present in Chile with more than 230 workers, has operations in the largest countries in Latin America, including Argentina, Perú, Colombia and México, creating job opportunities for more than 6,800 people. Within this context, it seeks to promote flexible work and cultural environments that allow the expression of all types of diversity. 

"The initiative that we are jointly promoting with Natura in Chile is innovative as the workforce includes professionals from Venezuela, Colombia, Argentina, Cuba, Bolivia, France, among other countries. This activity is a good practice that can be replicated to the rest of the countries in our region,” explained IOM Chile Chief of Mission, Norberto Girón. 

Natura Chile's Human Resources Manager, Maria Sol de Cabo, said: "It is very important for us to partner with an international organization such as IOM. We firmly believe that to meet society's needs and achieve changes in it, it is essential to generate partnerships to carry out robust projects to support the migrant population and give them the best tools with experts and references.” 

For more information, please contact: José Estay at IOM Chile, Tel. + (56) 2 2963 3711, Email: or Carolina Fuentes at IOM Chile, Tel. + (56) 2 2963 3738, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 17:30Image: Region-Country: VenezuelaThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Venezuelans are currently the largest group of foreign workers in the cosmetics manufacturer Natura in Chile. Photo: Natura

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

International Remittances Headline ACP-EU-IOM Discussions in Ghana

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 10:25

Accra – In Sub-Saharan Africa, the flow of remittances is on the rise, but the cost to transfer these funds is far higher than the global average, making the region the most expensive place in the world to send money. 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and partners focused on improving the use of migrant remittances, particularly in Sub-Saharan Africa at a three-day regional thematic meeting starting today (19/02) in Accra, Ghana. 

International remittances have been taking on increasing weight in the global policy agenda in recent years according to Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa, who is speaking at the event.  

“This in part reflects the growing understanding that improving and harnessing the flow of remittances can have a substantial impact on development,” he said. 

Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew from USD 34 billion in 2016 to USD 38 billion in 2017, an increase of over 11 per cent. Despite this increase – a trend which is expected to continue through 2019 – Sub-Saharan Africa remains the most expensive place in the world to send money with an average cost of 9.4 per cent of the transfer amount, a figure that was 29 per cent above the world average in 2017. This is far short of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) target 10.C.3 to reduce the transaction costs of migrant remittances to less than 3 per cent by 2030.   

“Almost 75 per cent of remittances are spent on consumption which greatly benefit the receiving households and communities,” said Claudia Natali, Regional Specialist on Labour Mobility and Development at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa.  

“But more could be done to maximize the remaining 25 per cent. Fostering financial inclusion and promoting initiatives that help people manage the funds can go a long way to harness development impacts of remittances,” she added.  

The meeting, which runs through Thursday (21/02), is providing a platform for communication, exchange and learning for 80 participants involved in IOM’s “ACP-EU Migration Action", including migration experts and representatives from African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) governments, regional organizations, the European Union (EU), UN agencies and NGOs working in remittances and diaspora mobilization.  

Given that remittances are at the heart of the joint ACP Group of States and European Union Dialogue’s recommendations on migration, discussions also aim to generate thematic recommendations for the Sub-Saharan region and establish links between the outcomes of the ACP-EU Migration Action programme, and processes relevant to the ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration and Development at the regional and global levels.  

The meeting is organized by IOM’s country office for Ghana and the IOM Regional Office in Brussels in partnership with the African Institute for Remittances (AIR) and Making Finance Work for Africa Partnership (MFW4A).   

IOM’s ACP-EU Migration Action, launched in June 2014, provides tailored technical support on migration to ACP countries and regional organizations. To date it has received 74 technical assistance requests from 67 ACP governments and 7 regional organizations, a third of which directly concern remittances.   

The programme is financed by the 10th European Development Fund (EDF) and supported by the ACP Secretariat and the EU. For more information on the ACP-EU Migration Action, go to:    

The goal of SDG target 10.C is to, by 2030, reduce to less than 3 per cent the transaction costs of migrant remittances and eliminate remittance corridors with costs higher than 5 per cent. By achieving target 10.C and directly benefitting remittance recipients, it could help to reach SDG targets 3 and 4 related to education, health care and development, among others.   

Remittances can help to increase household incomes. Facilitating cheaper remittances could therefore help to meet poverty eradication targets defined under SDG target 1. Improving remittance flows can also lead to higher household savings and investments, which would help to reach SDG target 1.5 and others. Meeting SDG target 10.C could also encourage investment in specialized initiatives and activities that boost local, national regional development.  However, IOM notes that remittances are private monetary transfers, and senders and recipients are free to decide on their use.

For further information, please contact ACP-EU Migration Action at the IOM Regional Office in Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 78 10, Email:, or Benedetta Mangialardo at IOM Ghana in Accra, Tel: + 233 302 742 930 (Ext. 2414), Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 17:22Image: Region-Country: GhanaThemes: Migration PolicyMigration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew from USD 34 billion in 2016 to USD 38 billion in 2017, an increase of over 11 per cent. Photo: IOM

Remittances to Sub-Saharan Africa grew from USD 34 billion in 2016 to USD 38 billion in 2017, an increase of over 11 per cent. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Emphasising Migrant Health at WHO Istanbul Gathering

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 10:19

Istanbul – IOM’s Vienna Regional Office put migration health at the forefront during a three-day high-level technical meeting and ministerial consultation of the World Health Organization European Region in Istanbul last week.  

Ministers from 53 countries shared the platform with technical experts as they discussed a global plan to improve public health preparedness and response for all health hazards. The initiative requires high-level political and financial commitment to address the full cycle of emergency management. 

Dr Jaime Calderon, IOM’s Senior Health Advisor for South-eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia spoke on a high-level panel about the need for migrant health to be included in the global initiative.  

“Health is integrated in the overall humanitarian response of IOM, particularly in natural disasters where IOM is a Camp Coordination and Management cluster lead,” Dr Calderon told the audience of ministers and experts.  

He pointed to Libya, where IOM provides life-saving health care services to more than 15,000 migrants living in and outside of detention centres, as well as countries in Jordan, Syria and across the Middle East. In South Sudan, IOM established and supports delivery of mental health and psychosocial support services for displaced people, he added, also citing examples in Somalia, the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Nigeria.   

In the Europe region, said Dr Calderon, IOM works with the health cluster supporting WHO, governments and other key actors in addressing health needs of migrants since the start of the European migration crisis.  IOM is present in Ukraine, in the Western Balkans, Turkey and countries in Western Europe supporting delivery of health services, including mental health services to migrants and refugees. 

“We provide comprehensive migrant health care and prevention services during the crisis and throughout the movement process – at the pre-departure stage, during travel and transit and upon return based on existing health systems and evidence-based needs assessment,” he concluded. 

Dr Dorit Nitzan, Coordinator for Health Emergencies, WHO Regional Office for Europe was encouraged by the progress made around the issue. “It is clear that the International Health Regulations (2005) are more relevant than ever, and it is encouraging to see that countries are prioritizing and building their national capacities to prevent, detect and respond to all types of health threats.” 

For more information, please contact Joe Lowry at IOM’s Regional Office in Vienna, Tel: +436603776404, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 17:13Image: Region-Country: TurkeyThemes: Capacity BuildingMigration HealthDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Livestock Farming in Burkina Faso: A Reintegration Opportunity for 99 Returning Migrants

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 10:13

Ouagadougou – Livestock equals wealth. It’s the timeless equation of existence in rural Africa, as true today as it was thousands of years ago, when families began their long journey across the planet, always looking for better lands to thrive in.   

Thus, livestock also signifies something deeper: community, culture, a commitment to traditional values and family values – all crucial tools in restoring vulnerable migrants to lives of purpose and dignity after they return to their homes, especially from a failed migration that may leave the returnee hopelessly in debt. 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Government of Burkina Faso, and with funding from the European Union, is supporting the establishment of livestock farmer groups in Burkina Faso. 

In Centre-East and Centre-South of Burkina Faso, the two main regions of origin for migrants leaving this country, IOM has provided about 500 sheep, rams, oxen and donkeys to 99 Burkinabè who returned from Libya and Algeria in 2018 to ensure their socio-economic reintegration in the country. 

To support their sustainable reintegration, the returnees received – in addition to this in-kind assistance – training in business management, cooperative operation and livestock farming techniques. The training sessions, provided throughout the year by the technical partners of the National Employment Agency (ANPE) and the Regional Directorates of Animal and Fisheries Resources, have enabled them to acquire the necessary skills to ensure the sustainability of their activities. 

“The training enabled me to learn the techniques of cattle fattening. Visiting the farms not only allowed us to put in practice farming techniques, but also to see that fattening, if conducted according to the techniques, is efficient,” says Iryassa, from the Centre-South Region.  

“Farmers gave us useful tips,” he added. “Now we can work in our country and, thank God, we will succeed. It is better to have 500,000 CFA in your country than millions abroad.” 

Osseni, another Burkinabé migrant who returned in September 2017, received reintegration assistance. He is from the Central-East Region of the country and had sold everything to go to Libya. 

“I started up my livestock farming activities with the support of IOM, which bought me oxen and equipment. I like livestock farming because I achieve success and it has helped me to build my house. My parents are very happy to see me back home alive,” he explained. 

In 2018, 1249 Burkinabé migrants received reintegration assistance under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. Funded by the European Union, this project aims to contribute to the strengthening of migration governance, protection, assisted voluntary return and sustainable reintegration of returning migrants. 

For more information, please contact Andreas De Boer, at IOM Burkina Faso, Tel: +226 74 93 81 28; Email: 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 17:06Image: Region-Country: Burkina FasoThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationCapacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

The random drawing for the distribution of cattle. Returned migrants had to pick a slip of paper from a bag to find out what cattle they would win. Photo: IOM/Alexander Bee

The random drawing for the distribution of cattle. Returned migrants had to pick a slip of paper from a bag to find out what cattle they would win. Photo: IOM/Alexander Bee

The random drawing for the distribution of cattle. Returned migrants had to pick a slip of paper from a bag to find out what cattle they would win. Photo: IOM/Alexander Bee

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 8,058 in 2019; Deaths Reach 217

Tue, 02/19/2019 - 10:06

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 8,058 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 58 days of 2019, about a 10 per cent decrease from the 8,807 arriving during the same period last year.  

Deaths on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through over eight weeks of the year are at 217 individuals, compared with 432 deaths during the same period in 2018. 

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

See contacts here.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, February 19, 2019 - 16:58Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

United Nations Seeks USD 920 Million for Rohingya Humanitarian Crisis in 2019

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:45

Geneva – United Nations aid agencies and NGO partners launched today (15/02) the 2019 Joint Response Plan (JRP) for the Rohingya humanitarian crisis. The appeal seeks to raise USD 920 million to meet the massive needs of more than 900,000 refugees from Myanmar and over 330,000 vulnerable Bangladeshis in host communities.

Critical aid and services such as food, water, sanitation and shelter represent more than half of the funding needs this year. Other key sectors of the appeal include health, site management, protection activities including child protection and addressing sexual and gender-based violence, education and nutrition.

More than 745,000 Rohingya refugees have fled from Myanmar’s Rakhine State to Bangladesh since August 2017, escaping violence in Myanmar and joining roughly 200,000 others already displaced in the Cox’s Bazar area by previous cycles of violence.

With the generosity and support of the Bangladeshi authorities and local communities, who were the first to respond to the emergency, critical needs were met, and many lives were saved.

“The solidarity shown by the Government of Bangladesh and the commitment of humanitarian partners ensured the successful implementation of the first Joint Response Plan in 2018. Moving forward, we reiterate our commitment to meeting the dire needs of this population and urge the international community to support these efforts,” said International Organization for Migration Director General António Vitorino.

“Our humanitarian imperative today is to stabilise the situation of stateless Rohingya refugees and their Bangladesh hosts. We are hoping for timely, predictable and flexible contributions in order to meet the goals of this year’s appeal,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “But while we tackle these immediate humanitarian needs, we must not lose sight of solutions. I repeat my call to Myanmar to take urgent action to address the root causes of this crisis which have persisted for decades, so that people are no longer forced to flee and can eventually return home in safety and dignity. We encourage countries in this region and beyond to show solidarity with Bangladesh and to support Myanmar to start creating conditions for voluntary, safe and dignified return of Rohingya,” Grandi continued.

The new JRP sets out a comprehensive humanitarian effort shaped around three strategic objectives. By bringing together 132 partners – UN agencies, international and national NGOs and government bodies in a collective effort – the Plan aims to deliver protection to refugee women, men, girls and boys, provide life-saving assistance and foster social cohesion.

The 2019 JRP is the second such appeal and builds on humanitarian achievements made thus far in order to further stabilize the situation of Rohingya refugees.

Over the past 12 months aid agencies have worked to improve the conditions across refugee settlements through the support provided under the 2018 JRP – providing basic assistance, upgrading living conditions in the camps and putting in place disaster risk mitigation measures for monsoon and cyclone seasons.

The environmental impact of the influx has been reduced, through efforts such as reducing the demand for firewood through the provision of liquid petroleum gas (LPG) as an alternative cooking and heating fuel.

The prevalence of Global Acute Malnutrition, at emergency levels in late 2017, has now dropped below the emergency threshold (from 19 per cent to 12 per cent), food security has improved, immunization coverage has grown to 89 per cent, and women delivering their babies in health facilities has risen from 22 per cent to 40 per cent.

Despite these and other achievements, the Rohingya remain in an extremely precarious situation, highlighting the importance of sustained support.  Until root causes of displacement in Myanmar are addressed and refugees are able to voluntarily return in safety and dignity, support must be provided to the Bangladeshi authorities to meet the needs of refugees and the host communities.

For example, the entire refugee population received basic emergency shelter kits to help them cope with the rainy season in 2018, but safer and more robust shelters are now required. Around 860,000 refugees regularly receive food assistance, yet only 240,000 are able to diversify their diet beyond the minimum package of rice, lentils and oil. These resources must be expanded to ensure their nutrition and health. Similarly, continued investments into safe water and sanitation, health and protection services are vital.

For more information, please contact:

For IOM:
Leonard Doyle, IOM Geneva. Tel: + 41 79 285 7123, Email: or
Joel Millman, IOM Geneva. Tel:  +41 79 103 8720. Email:

Andrej Mahecic,, +41 22 739 8347 (desk), +41 79 642 9709 (mobile)

Language English Posted: Friday, February 15, 2019 - 17:43Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM distributes shelter materials to Rohingya refugees in Kutupalong settlement, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: IOM/Olivia Headon 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Containing the Ebola Outbreak at the Crossroads of the Democratic Republic of the Congo

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:43

Kinshasa – The tenth Ebola outbreak in the Democratic Republic of the Congo has taken the lives of more than 500 people and resulted in more than 760 confirmed cases since it was declared more than six months ago. The current outbreak is the second largest in history, developing in the east of the country where long-standing insecurity, armed conflicts and instability challenge the humanitarian and public health response.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is calling on the international community to support its USD 12 million appeal to assist government and humanitarian partners to contain the disease before it claims more lives and spreads across borders.

Since the start of the deadly outbreak, the Organization has supported the government to screen more than 32 million travellers and to operate 80 screening points in areas of high population mobility, such as markets, parking areas and along major key transport routes.

In partnership with the Congolese Ministry of Health, particularly the National Programme of Hygiene at Borders (PNHF), and the World Health Organization (WHO), IOM implements surveillance and prevention activities, utilizing mobility trends to minimize disease transmission to new areas and across borders. IOM also trains frontline workers to detect illness among travellers, provides essential equipment and supplies to screening points and strengthens the capacity of PNHF to oversee screening activities.

Currently, the outbreak is just a day’s drive from Goma, the capital of North Kivu inhabited by over one million people, as well as neighbouring countries: Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan. In areas with such high mobility, screening sites can be the last bastion.

Located throughout North Kivu and Ituri, as well as in other provinces not affected by the disease, screening points are important to prevent the spread of the disease and to strengthen the capacity of other provinces to detect and respond to cases. The Organization has deployed around 800 workers to support these efforts significantly minimizing disease transmission both inside and outside the country. 

“Fighting Ebola is a race against the clock. It is a battle that we cannot lose,” said Fabien Sambussy, Head of IOM Mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

At the screening points, travellers go through a process that includes observation for symptoms of illness, temperature checking, hand-washing and a review of Ebola risk factors, such as traveling to an Ebola-affected zone or attending a funeral for someone who died of Ebola.

As travellers are screened, they receive key messages about the risks of Ebola, how to prevent it, and what to do if travelling while sick. Additionally, at seven priority screening points, IOM assists in finding people who have been in contact with affected cases and might have contracted the disease.

“We are very happy about the work they (IOM) are doing for us towards fighting the Ebola disease. They have set up hand-washing facilities. They have sensitized us on how to protect ourselves from contracting Ebola. They tell us not to eat meat from dead animals in the forest. They tell us not to touch any sick person without protective equipment used by doctors,” said Kabyaura Koleki, a fish trader from Tchomia, Ituri.

With funding exhausted in January 2019, IOM’s critical activities are now at risk. The third Ebola Strategic Response Plan (SRP 3), officially launched by Dr Oly Ilunga Kalenga, Minister of Public Health, on 13 February 2019, presents a strengthened plan to contain the disease within the next six months. IOM remains committed to supporting the government in its efforts to save lives and end the epidemic.

For more information, please contact Charlotte Lepri at IOM DRC, E-mail:

Language English Posted: Friday, February 15, 2019 - 17:41Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

EU, IOM Support Belarus-Ukraine Border Demarcation and Security

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:41

Minsk/Kyiv – Belarus and Ukraine’s common border, which includes the marshes and forests of the zone contaminated by the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, is set to be fully demarcated and improved thanks to a new initiative between IOM and the European Union.

The EUR 6.7 million project announced in Minsk this week will support the border demarcation process, improving infrastructure at the crossing points and strengthen bilateral cooperation and coordination between the two countries.

The demarcation of the 1,084 km border has been pending for over 20 years, since Minsk and Kyiv signed a State Border Treaty back in 1997. Until now, 784 kilometres have been marked with temporary border signs, while about one-third of the boundary still lacks any physical signs.

The Delegation of the European Union to Belarus, assisted by IOM experts, will procure a wide range of assets needed for demarcation works at the Belarus-Ukraine border to be carried out including vehicles, radiation detection and construction equipment, border signs and buoys, other relevant tools and machinery.

“Border demarcation might seem to be a purely technical process, implementing the agreements that were already reached at the political and legislative level; however, the absence of a clearly demarcated border contributes to the vulnerability of the Belarus-Ukraine border, and, in a way, the eastern border of the EU at large,” said Outa Hermalahti, Project Manager at the EU Delegation to Belarus. “It creates the preconditions for trans-border crime, such as drugs, weapons, and migrant smuggling.”

In addition to the border demarcation support, a new X-ray station will be installed at the Novaya Huta border crossing point to mitigate the risks of illegal cross-border movements. Novaya Huta in Belarus, and Novi Yarylovychi in Ukraine, are the busiest adjacent border crossing points in the region, and a part of the Helsinki–Alexandroupolis Pan-European Transport Corridor.

The information obtained by the Belarusian customs authorities via the new X-ray complex will be shared with their Ukrainian colleagues using the existing electronic system of pre-arrival information exchange (PRINEX), launched under a previous EU/IOM project.

The EU and IOM will also facilitate the development of a specialised mobile application, allowing travellers to follow the situation at the border, and get information on crossing procedures.

For more information please contact:
Olga Borzenkova at IOM Belarus, Tel: +375 17 288 27 42, E-mail:
Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15, E-mail:

Language English Posted: Friday, February 15, 2019 - 17:39Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Integrated Border ManagementMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Travelling by car from Kyiv to Minsk through “Novi Yarilovychi” border crossing point, Ukraine, (pictured), and “Novaya Huta”, Belarus, will be facilitated within the new IOM project. Photo: IOM 

IOM Reporter: Outa Hermalahti

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Monitors New Caravans of Central American Migrants in Mexico

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:39

Chiapas – A survey conducted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) between 25-30 January near the border crossing flanked by Tecún Umán (Guatemala) and Suchiate (Mexico) revealed that just over half (51.6%) of approximately 5,000 Central American migrants waiting at that border crossing to receive the humanitarian card of the Mexican government, only left their country as part of the ‘migrant caravans’.

Between January 14 and 16, migrants from Honduras and El Salvador left their homes with the hope of reaching Mexico and the United States of America, in the first ‘migrant caravans’ of 2019.

In response to the situation, the government of Mexico established a migration policy for entry into that country using a card for humanitarian reasons. The survey was applied mostly to people who were waiting for the delivery of this immigration document.

The survey indicates that the main reasons for migration are the search for labour opportunities (68%), education (11.8%) and better living conditions (10%). Additionally, 68.3 per cent of people indicate that in the last 12 months they had to change their residence in their country of origin due to some incident related to violence or insecurity.

The migrants said they needed water, food, clothing, health and accommodation to allow them to continue their journey in decent conditions. The regularization of their immigration status, obtaining a humanitarian visa and access to the refuge or asylum application in Mexico was the last identified need to enable them to continue to their destinations.

Of the people surveyed, 67 per cent said they did not know the procedures and protection requirements in Mexico and 65.3 per cent did not receive information about their rights as migrants. The main nationalities reported are Honduran (72.2%), Guatemalan (12.2%) and Salvadoran (11.7%).

The survey was applied to more than 800 people of this latest migratory flow, using IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) methodology.

"The DTM allows us to know the immediate needs, characteristics and migratory tendencies presented by the people who are part of these migratory movements," said Alexandra Bonnie, Regional Coordinator of the Mesoamerica Program of IOM. "We hope that the findings will be used as a tool to improve the institutional and governmental response in terms of assistance and migration governance," she added.

The DTM survey is carried out within the framework of the Regional Program on Mesoamerican–Caribbean Migration, with the support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the US Department of State.

Other IOM actions in Chiapas include the provision of food supplies to migrants, in collaboration with the Mexican Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE, by its Spanish acronym) and the National Disaster and Emergency Assistance Committee (CADENA). Also, informational materials, monitoring, and accompaniment have been distributed through the Informative Windows network and MigApp with the National Institute of Migration (INM).

The full report is available for download here.

For more information, contact Tatiana Chacón at IOM San Jose, Tel: +506 2212 5304, E-mail:

Language English Posted: Friday, February 15, 2019 - 17:34Image: Region-Country: MexicoThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

Between 25-30 January, over 800 migrants were surveyed while waiting for their humanitarian visit cards to be processed by Mexican authorities. Photo: IOM 

Between 25-30 January, over 800 migrants were surveyed while waiting for their humanitarian visit cards to be processed by Mexican authorities. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 3,500 Returned Migrants; 2,000 Receive Reintegration Assistance in The Gambia

Fri, 02/15/2019 - 10:34

Banjul – The voluntary return of Gambians to their homes is averaging about 143 men and women per month since the start of 2017, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported this week, or the equivalent of one medium-sized charter flight every four weeks.

As of 8 February 2019, 3,668 Gambians have been assisted to voluntarily return home under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration since the start of 2017. Over 70 per cent of these individuals were returned just from Libya, with another 25 per cent coming home from Niger. The remaining 5 per cent came home from Mali, Morocco, Mauritania and Tunisia.

Almost two-thirds of all returnees have already received their reintegration assistance. Jalika is one of the 2,097 Gambian returnees who received reintegration assistance from IOM in The Gambia after she returned from a perilous journey across the desert. Upon voluntarily returning from Niger in March 2018 with her 10-year-old daughter, she received grocery goods which allowed her to open her own shop.

“I am happy to be back home safe and sound,” she said. “After some ups and downs, IOM helped me stabilize my income. I want to expand the shop with more goods and get my son to work in the shop.”

Within six months after the return of many Gambian migrants, counseling sessions with the returnees aim to tailor reintegration assistance to their specific needs, interests and skills based on the available opportunities in the country. Returnees classified as vulnerable cases, such as Jalika, are provided expedited assistance within two to four weeks. Close to 90 per cent of assisted Gambian returnees opt to establish their own microbusiness mainly in retail (39 per cent), construction (31 per cent) and transport (13 per cent).

IOM in The Gambia supports the reintegration of returnees through a holistic approach, addressing both migrants’ and their communities’ economic, social and psychosocial needs. Reintegration assistance may come in the form of medical and psychosocial support, support to set up or strengthen a small business, support to pursue education or vocational training, support for job insertion or referrals to other services available in the country.

This assistance forms part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. Launched in November 2017 with the funding of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, the initial target for The Gambia was to facilitate the voluntary returns and reintegration of 1,500 individuals over a period of three years. Less than two years after the launch, that target has been significantly exceeded.

Voluntary return options are an important protection measure for vulnerable and stranded migrants who are facing exploitation or abuse along the migration routes and who wish to return to their countries of origin but do not have the necessary means to do so. Returns are done at the explicit request of the individual returning, who has the right to pull out at any time of the process.

While IOM is not involved in or does not provide any financial contribution to forced returns, migrants who are forcibly returned may nevertheless find themselves in vulnerable situations and in need of assistance and protection as much as any voluntary returnee. Under certain conditions and safeguards, IOM can provide post-arrival and reintegration assistance to vulnerable migrants who were forcibly returned

“The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in The Gambia serves a threefold purpose: saving lives by assisting those en route, offering voluntary return assistance to those who want it, and providing reintegration support to returning Gambian migrants and their communities,” said Ambassador Attila Lajos, Head of the EU Delegation to The Gambia.

“Essentially, the Joint Initiative is about making sure that the migration process is safer and better managed, and that migrant rights and dignity are respected,” he added. “Personally, I am very proud of the interim results achieved so far by these joint efforts by the EU, IOM and the Gambian government. Saving 3,668 Gambian lives and already assisting almost two-thirds of them to find their way to make it in The Gambia is a great achievement which the country can be proud of.”

IOM also offers returnees the option to venture into collective or community-based projects. The Gambia Returnees from the Backway Association, an organization formed by returnees while in detention in Libya, embarked this year on a collective poultry project for 12 members and was supported by IOM through a two-day training on agribusiness, financial management, conflict management and leadership.

“Facilitating the voluntary returns of over double the initial target is a huge milestone for IOM in The Gambia. Moving forward, we are hoping to diversify the types of industries returnees engage in for their reintegration, enhance referrals to existing vocational training programmes, and further link economic reintegration to psychosocial support,” said Fumiko Nagano, IOM Chief of Mission in The Gambia.

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration is funded by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and implemented in close collaboration with 26 African countries. The Joint Initiative facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration.

For more information, please contact Miko Alazas at IOM The Gambia; Tel: +220 330 3168, Email: or visit

Language English Posted: Friday, February 15, 2019 - 17:30Image: Region-Country: GambiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationEUTFDefault: Multimedia: 

Returnees registering for job placement in The Gambia. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN