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Updated: 15 min 39 sec ago

IOM Teams Up with Azeri Academia to Study Ancient Water Supply Systems

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:13

Ganja, Azerbaijan – The lack of sustainable water supplies has always been a factor in human migration. As the climate changes, this phenomenon has become even more significant, and now IOM in Azerbaijan is embarking on a study of some of humanity’s oldest and most efficient water supply systems.  

The study focuses on the kahriz: a man-made, centuries-old, gravity-fed traditional water-supply system that does not need electricity or fossil fuel to function. This method – very much alive in Azerbaijan and the surrounding region – ensures access to water for current and future generations and contributes to the local communities’ quality of life.  

A Project Implementation Agreement on the establishment of a Kahriz Research and Information Centre and kahriz engineering course was signed last week in Ganja,  Azerbaijan’s second city, between IOM Chief of Mission Vladimir Gjorgjiev, and Ibrahim Jafarov, rector of Azerbaijan State Agricultural University (ASAU).  

The Kahriz Research and Information Centre will be a unique facility for collecting, researching and disseminating information and knowledge on kahriz systems. ASAU faculty members will receive training on kahriz engineering and develop a training curriculum jointly with IOM.   

“We are already implementing a project to renovate 40 kahrizes in selected regions of Azerbaijan close to IDPs communities, but we want to ensure sustainability of this process so that collected experience and knowledge will pass to the next generations,” said Gjorgjiev. 

ASAU rector Ibrahim Jafarov noted that the university has “all the necessary capacity, both human and facility resources, for implementing this project to a high level, and we believe that this partnership will open new research perspectives to sustainability of kahriz engineering.”  

The project is financed by the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), and focuses on improving the water supply in rural areas through the renovation of over 40 kahriz systems in areas which have a high number of internally displaced persons. In addition to renovating the kahrizes, the project includes components of local capacity building, irrigation improvement, support for IDPs’ small business start-ups, among others. 

For more information please contact Ilqar Xudiyev at IOM Azerbaijan, Tel: +994 50 319 6680, Email 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 17:12Image: Region-Country: AzerbaijanThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Chief of Mission Vladimir Gjorgjiev (left), and Ibrahim Jafarov, Rector of Azerbaijan State Agricultural University (ASAU) at the signing ceremony committing the organizations to establishing a kahriz research centre. Photo: IOM

IOM staff working on the kahriz (water supply system) at Chinarli, Azerbaijan. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

LEARN. ACT. SHARE. Helping to Prevent Modern Day Slavery in Belarus

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:11

Minsk – As Belarus continues to be a source and destination country for human trafficking, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) continues to work with the government to educate youth on the phenomenon of modern-day slavery. 

This week, the third annual youth camp, entitled 'LEARN.ACT.SHARE' brought together a group of young people to discuss and react to human trafficking. 

The camp is traditionally organized in mid-July, shortly before the World Day Against Trafficking in Persons, and is led by IOM in partnership with other UN agencies, the Government of Belarus, NGOs and private companies.  

“Belarus continues to face challenges as a source and destination country for human trafficking. It is vital that we continue to engage active people in raising awareness for cascading information into their local communities,” said Tatiana Verigo, Senior Programme Assistant at IOM Belarus. “After the LEARN phase provided during this initiative, our participants will be able to ACT and SHARE.” 

The camp is facilitated using a non-formal education approach and includes a wide variety of methods and activities, from informative lectures to role plays and quests. 

The programme is demanding but also gives a lot of room for creativity and team-building. The 18 participants will explore theory and practical aspects of preventative measures: from introduction about what human trafficking is to national counter-trafficking efforts, and the correlation between HIV/AIDS, refugee streams and domestic violence in human trafficking. 

One of the significant outcomes expected at the end of this week is the development of project ideas by the participants to further refine and implement them in their own communities. The participants will learn tools for project development and participate in creative workshops, for example, on making social videos on the topic. 

“On the first day we learned about what is human trafficking, the scale of the problem, types and safety measures. I am excited to learn more from other guests and speakers and already looking forward to organizing preventive activities at my college,” says Darya Litvyakova, one of the participants. 

As before, IOM will support these young people in refining their project ideas into project proposals or draft plans of action for the implementation in the coming months. 

The youth summer camp is the part of the IOM X Belarus campaign launched together with the Ministry of the Interior of the Republic of Belarus with the support of USAID and the Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 

Daily video and photo updates will be available on

For more information please contact Olga Borzenkova at IOM Belarus, Tel: +375 17 2882742. Email 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 17:10Image: Region-Country: BelarusThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants of the 3rd youth summer camp LEARN.ACT.SHARE in Minsk, Belarus. Photo: IOM

Darya Litvyakova, participant at the 3rd youth summer camp LEARN.ACT.SHARE in Minsk, Belarus. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Technology Allows Migrant Returnees in Somaliland to Access Services

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:09

Hargeisa, Somaliland – Migrant returnees in Somaliland now stand a better chance of accessing critical services, thanks to the creation of a database application for the registration of returning migrants and the issuance of registration certificates. 

In the Horn of Africa, Somalis account for the largest migrant population after Ethiopians. They move both intra-regionally and out of the region, particularly towards the Arabian Peninsula and Europe. Many also opt to return, often approaching IOM when they get stranded in places like war-torn Libya. 

However, like elsewhere, returning migrants often lack valid documents, having had them lost or confiscated during their migratory journey. Without such enabling documents, which may include national registration certificates, basic support services provided by the government can be out of reach. 

The new database, jointly developed between IOM and the Somaliland’s National Displacement and Refugee Agency (NDRA), intends to enhance the capacity for response in this area. Following a capacity assessment that took place in February 2019, IOM internally developed the application which was launched in June. 

Last week (11 July) IOM donated three high-resolution webcams to NDRA that will be used to take photos of the returning migrants upon registration. Presiding over the ceremony was NDRA chairman Abdulkariim Ahmed Mohamed and IOM’s Head of the Hargeisa Sub-Office Sikhulile Dhlamini, who both welcomed the collaboration between the two agencies. 

According to Mohamed: “NDRA now has a registration system that will collect pertinent information from returnees, which is a result of the technical expertise provided by IOM following a request made by NDRA in February 2019.” He added: “We also appreciate that IOM spent time building the capacity of NDRA staff to enable them to use the database software effectively.” 

Funding for the database’s development was provided by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa, which also supports migrants’ voluntary return and reintegration. It is backed by the EU Trust Fund, which covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries. 

The programme facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused procedures and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration.  

Since the launch of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in early 2017, some 288 migrants have safely returned to Hargeisa and the surrounding areas in Somaliland. The new database will support the capture of information upon registration, including migration history, education and skills. 

The system will also provide case management functionalities that in the long run will allow for the tracking of services provided to the registered individuals as well as the possibility of generating a ‘Returnee Registration Certificate’ and extracting reports to analyze trends and common experiences of returning migrants.  

NDRA also plans to deploy the application at its office in Berbera – the biggest port of entry for sea arrivals – where a higher number of registrations are anticipated per month than in Hargeisa.  

Dhlamini said IOM recognizes the importance of data collection in informing understanding of the ever-changing migration flows. “This important step forward, marking our valued partnership with NDRA, means that stakeholders will have accurate information to respond to the most vulnerable,” she said, adding: “The database is a key milestone in ensuring that  returnees to Somaliland are properly registered, which ultimately leads to access to services and enjoyment of rights.” 

For more information, contact Sikhulile Dhlamini at IOM Hargeisa, Email:, Tel: +2522571212 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 17:06Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

NDRA Chairman Abdulkariim Ahmed Mohamed (left) and IOM’s Sikhulile Dhlamini at the official handover of the webcams. Photo: IOM

At the official handover of the webcams provided by IOM. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 34,226 in 2019; Deaths Reach 683

Fri, 07/19/2019 - 11:06

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 34,226 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 17 July, roughly a 34 per cent decrease from the 51,782 arriving during the same period last year.  

Arrivals this year to Spain and Greece are each well over 10,000 individuals (28,356 combined) accounting for almost 83 per cent of the region’s total, with the balance arriving in much smaller numbers to Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Arrivals to Greece are 1,352 ahead of last year’s totals from this time last year. Arrivals to Spain are 6,589 fewer.  

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 199 days of 2019 are at 683 individuals – or around 47 per cent of the total (1,449 deaths) confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below). 

IOM Italy 

According to IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo, who was citing official Ministry of Interior figures, 3,186 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy in 2019. During the same period this year 4,023 migrants or refugees have been returned from the Central Mediterranean route back to Libya since the start of the year.  

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday on a very busy week with arrivals to Spain, through 17 July, now reaching 12,064 men, women and children. (see charts below). 

Based on the latest report published by the Spanish Ministry of Interior on irregular arrivals to Spain, Spanish authorities have registered a total of 11,703 arrivals through the Western Mediterranean and the Western African Route, in the period from 1 January to 15 July 2019.  According to IOM estimates based on publicly available information, the sea arrivals to the Coast of Andalusia in the last two days added another 361 individuals to that total. 

While monthly arrivals to Spain are lower this year over all (see chart below), fatalities on the Western Mediterranean route remain high – with 204 deaths reported through a little more than six months of this year, compared to 296 at this time in 2018.  

The latest fatality was recorded on 17 July. The death of a woman was reported by the NGO Caminando Fronteras, which runs a hotline for people in distress attempting the sea crossing from North Africa. During a search and rescue operation conducted by Spanish rescue services, 73 people – including 23 women – were    saved from a boat sinking in the Alborán Sea. The rescuers also recovered the remains of a woman. In total, 276 migrants were rescued from four boats that same day: three boats reached by Spanish rescue services, who took the survivors to Almería; a fourth boat was reached by the Moroccan Navy.  

IOM Greece 

It was also a busy week on the Eastern Mediterranean route. IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou noted on Thursday (18/07) that the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least 26 incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Chios, Samos, Kos, Samothraki, Symi, Farmakonisi and Limnos and off the port of Alexandroupolis. The HCG rescued a total of 814 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports. 

Those rescues and other landings during the past week bring to 16,292 the total number of irregular migrants and refugees IOM has recorded arriving by sea to Greece this year (see chart below). That’s an increase of over 1,500 irregular migrants over the past seven days. IOM noted that the 349 migrants arriving on Saturday (13 July) – mainly to Lesvos, Samos and Chios – marked the largest single day arrival total since 27 March 2018, when 368 landed. 

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project.  

Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 32,362 individuals, including 1,405 in 2019 (see chart below), although due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography.   

On the US-Mexico border, the Missing Migrants Project team recorded the deaths of five people since last week’s update. On 11 July, a 33-year-old Guatemalan man was reported missing by a group of migrants who were travelling with him in South Bexar County, Texas. According to their testimony, he felt sick and could not continue his journey. A search operation was launched by the Sheriff’s Office, but as of 18 July his remains had not been located. The drownings of four people were reported in the Río Bravo: US Border Patrol agents recovered the remains of two men – one near Brownsville, Texas, and another near Eagle Pass, in Texas. On the south bank of the river, Mexican civil protection authorities located the remains of two young Mexican men.  

In total, at least 455 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 287 recorded through this point in 2018.  

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

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

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, July 19, 2019 - 16:57Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

United Nations Launches New Fund to Support Greater Cooperation on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration

Wed, 07/17/2019 - 04:30

New York – UN Member States and UN entities yesterday (16/07) announced the creation of a new funding instrument to support efforts towards safe, orderly and regular migration.

“The Migration Fund can provide the impetus for all of us to take the next step; to bring the Migration Compact to life, to move us closer to realizing the SDGs, and to effect positive change in the field of migration,” said Amina Mohammed, UN Deputy Secretary-General, at the launch held at the UNICEF HQ in New York.

Crucial to achieve Sustainable Development Goals

António Vitorino, Director General of the International Organization for Migration and chair of the UN Network on Migration compared the positive impacts of safe and regular migration – migrants make up 3.4 per cent of the world population and contribute 10 per cent of global GDP, with 85 per cent of their earnings contributed to their host countries – with the ‘tremendous human and economic losses’ when migration is poorly managed.

According to UN figures, since 2014, over 32,000 migrants worldwide have lost their lives or gone missing along migratory routes. Many have fallen victim to trafficking, arbitrary detention and exploitative or forced labour. Many more are unaccounted for. Migration governance is “one of the most urgent and profound tests of international cooperation in our time”.

From polarization to comprehensive responses

Unfortunately, DG Vitorino added, the social discourse on migration is today too often framed in binary terms: those in favour or against migration. However, research shows that migration is overwhelmingly positive for migrants and communities of origin, transit and destination – when managed in a safe, regular and orderly manner.

The Migration MPTF was called for by the Global Compact on Migration (GCM), adopted by the UN General Assembly in December 2018. Its aim is to provide financing for innovative programmes designed to support States’ migration priorities, ensure the better protection of migrants, foster cooperation, and further the promotion of migration governance that benefits all.   

The GCM objectives are based on existing legislation, policies and practices as agreed by Member States. The Fund represents a commitment to international cooperation on this vital issue and provides on important means by which to open up concrete opportunities to achieve tangible impact on the ground in the pursuit of safe, orderly and regular migration.

Unique instrument for international cooperation on migration

The Fund is now open for contributions, with a target of USD 25 million for its first year of operations and expected to grow. Under the aegis of a representative Steering Committee comprising States, the UN system, and a broad range of partners, the Fund will facilitate the exchange of best practices and evidence-based migration policies.

As a collective endeavour the Fund has the potential to be an important means by which to realise collective commitments towards a world in which no one is left behind.

The event was organized by the Chairs of the Friends of Migration group and the UN Migration Network, which brings together all UN entities working on migration.

Find more information on the Migration MPTF here.

For more information please contact:


Rahma Gamil Soliman, Tel: +1 917 515 7454, Email: or Mohamed Osman, Tel: +1 929 253 5693, Email:

Multi-Partner Trust Fund Office (MPTF)

Raul de Mora Jimenez, Tel: + 6467814254, Mobile : +1 631 464 8617, Email:


Language English Posted: Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - 10:05Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: Global Compact on MigrationMigration GovernanceUNDefault: Multimedia: 

António Vitorino, the Director General of the IOM and the Coordinator of the UN Network on Migration moderating a panel at the event. Photo: IOM

Attendees at the launch of the Start-Up Fund for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration in New York. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

World’s Premiere Migration Film Festival Call for Films

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:54

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week issued a call for films for the Global Migration  Film Festival. The multi-venue festival which takes place annually in over 100 countries in December is the world's premiere cultural event on migration. 

The UN organization’s call for submissions includes Full-Length Feature and Short Films, in all genres: fiction, documentary and animation. Filmmakers have long viewed migration as a rich source of storytelling. This unique festival provides an opportunity for filmmakers and viewers the world over to enjoy films about migration that entertain and educate - be the stories dramatic, sad or funny. 

It is in this spirit that IOM launched The Global Migration Film Festival in 2016 with just 30 film submissions. Last year there were 784 submissions from independent filmmakers in 98 countries making it a truly global filmmaking phenomenon. The Festival’s Official Selection of 42 films for 2019 led to 558 screenings in 104 countries around the world, drawing a global audience of over 30,000 people and inspiring film makers and film lovers alike. 

“What an incredible festival. I highly recommend it. IOM is an incredible organization with an important aim. It was wonderful to see my short film playing worldwide,” said filmmaker Juan Romero. 

Post-screening debates and panels are encouraged, and organizers in each participating country may organize their own side events, prize giveaways and more.  

To select a compelling roster of films to be screened, IOM’s call for films has opened with submissions accepted until Friday, 9 August. To merit consideration each submission must address the challenges and promises of migration as well as the many and unique contributions migrants make to their new communities. Both established and emerging filmmakers are urged to participate. 

A committee of international professionals will determine the Official Selection across two categories as follows: 

Full-length features: filmmakers working in all genres are invited to submit films that address festival themes, with a total running time exceeding 41 minutes. 

Short Films: filmmakers working in all genres are invited to submit films that address festival themes, with a total running time with a minimum of 15 minutes up to 40 minutes.  

Only films submitted through the festival’s designated platform, FilmFreeway, will be considered.  


Rules and Terms 

*Deadline for entry* 

Films of all genres (feature, documentary, animation, etc.) and lengths will be accepted until Friday, 9th August 2019. 


*Festival theme* 

All submissions should portray the challenges and promises of migration, and the unique contributions migrants make to their new communities. Films that tackle negative perceptions of migrants, defy stereotypes and portray positive and welcoming actions by and toward migrants are encouraged. 



Films should be in English or subtitled in English. Subtitles are encouraged, even if the dialogue is in English, to ensure maximum comprehension for global audiences.  

Films in other languages are encouraged but must have subtitles in English.  


*Production year* 

Films completed on or after 1 January 2016 are eligible for consideration. 



Films may only be submitted by individuals with the legal right to negotiate the use of the work. 


*Film selections* 

The festival will inform applicants by mid-October if their film is selected.  

For each selected film, either the filmmaker or the individual responsible for the submission should be prepared to provide relevant still images, a trailer, the filmmaker's biography, a photo of the film’s director and the transcripts for subtitling. 

Films submitted already to previous editions of the Festival are not eligible for submission this year.  

*There is no fee to submit films* 

*Films produced with any financial support from IOM are eligible for the competition, but not eligible for grants* 


Click here to access to the official Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) portal. 

For more information, please contact Amanda Nero at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 227 179 482, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 16:48Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ethiopian Returnees Recall Harrowing Irregular Migration Ordeals

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:47

Addis Ababa — After being stranded in Yemen, a group of 280 Ethiopians returned home on Wednesday and Thursday (10-11 July) with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The returnees are among a large group of Ethiopian migrants from Yemen who have been taken home as part of an IOM Voluntary Humanitarian Return operation that began in May 2019.  

IOM has safely returned 2,742 Ethiopians in the past 50 days with funding from the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) through the Regional Migration Response Plan (RMRP).  

Ahmed* is one of the returnees who have made it back. “When I left my home town of Wollo and decided to migrate to Saudi Arabia, I never thought I would face this much difficulty,” the 16-year-old said when describing his ordeal.  

This teen said he witnessed torture and extortion, which remain strongly imprinted on his mind. Having left home without his parent’s permission, he went on to endure hardships that eventually made him change his mind about continuing with the journey.   

“When the smugglers tell you of job opportunities and the life you could have there, it sounds like a dream, but that is not the reality,” he said, narrating how he left school in the 9th grade to earn a living.  

“I did not know anything about the torture and extortion that was involved. In the end, my family had to take a loan from relatives abroad to pay 30,000 birr (USD 1,000) that was demanded for my release.”  

Despite the hardships he faced, Ahmed is one of the fortunate ones to have come back in good health. Mohammed, 22, was not so fortunate as he came back to Ethiopia having lost one leg, after surviving an almost fatal gunshot wound in Yemen.  

Holding on to crutches as he waited to be registered with other returnees at IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Transit Centre in Addis Ababa, he said he is now more concerned about returning home to be reunited with his family.  

“I have already informed my family of my condition. They have told me that they would like me to come back. But with no money or a source of income, I am not sure how I will be able to make a living. If I could get help to open a small shop that I can run, that would help me,” he said.  

“A prominent challenge we are facing is the limited funding for programmes to sustainably reintegrate returnees and tackle the root causes of irregular migration in hotspot areas,” explained Malambo Moonga, IOM Ethiopia Head of Migration Management.  

“The limited employment and livelihood opportunities at home make irregular migration to the Middle East through war-torn Yemen a viable option for vulnerable youth in Ethiopia,” he said, highlighting one vicious challenge which has made curbing irregular migration from Ethiopia difficult.  

IOM Ethiopia’s Migration Management Unit is using several methods to raise awareness on the dangers of irregular migration and available livelihood options at home through initiatives such as the Community Conversation programme. Yet, many young Ethiopians continue to be lured by smugglers who tell them how they can easily transform their lives by migrating to the Middle East.  

“I was approached by the smuggler and was told that the situation in Yemen is easy. I had to find the hard way that this was not the case,” said Idris, a 23-year-old returnee.  

Born and raised in Asela, this young man decided to leave for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia for work. However, his journey was not so fruitful as he had to ask his wife to sell their cattle to pay for his trip, and now comes back home empty-handed.  

Despite having only bruises to show for his journey, Idris, however, is glad to have returned home alive.  

“I was severely beaten with a stick on my back and it is still aching. They were demanding hawala (ransom). I saw some migrants lose their eyes and three men die. So, I really feel I was fortunate to have made it back alive.”  

*Names of the returnees have been changed to protect their privacy.  

For more information please contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251911639082, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Arrival of migrants at the Bole Addis Ababa International Airport. 

Arrival of migrants at the Bole Addis Ababa International Airport. 

Arrival of migrants at the Bole Addis Ababa International Airport. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Bangladeshi Villagers, Rohingya Refugees Learn to Prepare for Natural, Man-Made Disasters

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:44

Cox’s Bazar — When last year’s rains killed two small boys in her village, Bangladeshi villager Liba Akter decided that she had to do something.  

A storm had blown in off the Bay of Bengal, bringing flood waters three feet deep in some places. A seven-year old boy had been walking home and was swept away and died. In a separate incident, a 10-year-old drowned in his house.  

Since then, Liba has become active in an effort organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) aimed at teaching local communities and refugees disaster-risk-reduction skills and mobilizing people to spread the word. 

She said that her community – which is located close to camps housing almost a million Rohingya refugees – has always lived on a knife’s edge. “Severe winds and rains come out of nowhere and destroy homes and kill people. We can’t change the weather, but we can be prepared,” she explained.  

In 2018 IOM specialists began training groups of 18-20 people – teaching them official warning signals and flags indicating approaching cyclones and tropical storms. Participants also learned how to identify and maintain emergency shelters, and how to avoid the waterborne illnesses that follow disasters. 

The first batches of trainees have since fanned out into the community to gain new ‘recruits’ by spreading the word about disaster preparedness and encouraging attendance at future training sessions. Last week, as heavy monsoon rains again struck Cox’s Bazar, 200 people took part in the latest training.  

Weather-related disasters can bring death and destruction to vulnerable communities. But trainers also point to profound social consequences, including the breakup of families and heightened risk of human trafficking.  

“The reality is that natural disasters can be a tremendous opportunity for exploitation by human traffickers. Disasters cause hardship and make people vulnerable, which allows traffickers prey on them,” said IOM disaster risk reduction specialist Mohammed Ahsan Ullah.  

He noted that Cox’s Bazar district faces numerous socio-economic challenges, and this makes residents particularly vulnerable to human traffickers posing as brokers. “They come in and try to ingratiate themselves with the community. Then they find the weakest and most needy and offer them incentives. The most common being an all-expense-paid journey to Malaysia where a job is guaranteed.”   

When victims arrive in the destination, their passports are often confiscated, and they are held in prison-like conditions. Men can be forced to work long hours on construction sites for little or no pay, and women may be sent into forced abuse and sexual exploitation, he added.  

Anwara Begum, a 30-year-old villager who took part in the training, said that understanding the dangers of human trafficking will have a real impact in her community. “We can now spot fraudulent brokers when we meet them, and we know what permits we need to go and work in another country legally,” she said. 

For more information please contact George McLeod at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +880 18 7071 8078, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 16:43Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Bangladeshi villager Liba Akter says the death of two children in her village caused her to become active in disaster risk mitigation. Photo: IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Venezuelan Migrants Face Risks of Trafficking, Exploitation and Discrimination: IOM

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:43

San Jose – One of every five Venezuelan nationals recently arrived in countries in Central America and the Caribbean has faced a high risk of labour exploitation or trafficking for forced labour, according to a recent International Organization for Migration (IOM) survey, applied to 4,600 respondents in five countries.  

Twenty per cent responded positively to survey indicators of labour exploitation, and male respondents showed higher vulnerability.   

They reported being victims of exploitative practices like working without payment, being forced to work, working to pay a debt, and even being held against their will. 

Between July and December 2018, IOM conducted a series of surveys, using its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) methodology, in Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, Dominican Republic, Costa Rica and Guyana, to enhance the quality of data on this population and their needs.   

The analysis of the data shows there is an association between the risk of labour exploitation and those working in the informal sector: over half of the interviewed said that they work in the informal economy, increasing the risk of becoming a victim of abuse, exploitation and human trafficking.  

The analysis also shows high risk of discrimination based on nationality. Approximately one-third of respondents said that they had experienced discrimination since leaving. 

“Many Venezuelans who come to Central America and the Caribbean support themselves by working in the informal economy, which exposes them to possible exploitation,” said Rosilyne Borland, IOM Senior Migration Protection and Assistance Specialist for Central America, North America and the Caribbean. 

“Our findings show the presence of risks of human trafficking for labour exploitation, and make it clear we must continue to work to increase the capacity of governments, UN agencies and NGOs to respond. Sexual exploitation of Venezuelans in the region is also a serious problem, and it should be part of our efforts, but we must not forget other forms of exploitation,” she emphasized.  

Since the mid-1990s, IOM and its partners have provided protection and assistance to close to 100,000 men, women and children who were trafficked for sexual or labour exploitation, slavery or practices like slavery, servitude or for organ removal.  

IOM will continue to support the efforts of States and civil society to address the most urgent needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela in the region. IOM approaches to counter trafficking in persons and exploitation include actions to reduce risk, such as to regularize migrants, improve their living and working conditions, as well as targeted support to protect and assist victims.    

This analysis and other activities related to the response plan for refugees and migrants from Venezuela are carried out thanks to the financial contribution of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration of the Department of State of the United States (PRM). 

Access full report here

For more information please contact Rosilyne Borland at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 22125300. Email, or Eliza Galos, at IOM Headquarters: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 16:41Image: Region-Country: Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)Themes: Human SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

Over 4,000 people were surveyed in the context of IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), the analysis shows reported needs and gaps in assistance. 

Over 4,000 people were surveyed in the context of IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), the analysis shows reported needs and gaps in assistance. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Basketball Summer Camp in Niger Brings Back Hope to West African Youth

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:41

Niamey – Back in 1993, Yacouba Sangaré was playing for Niger’s national basketball team. A talented student-athlete, Sangaré’s promise was acknowledged with an opportunity to further his education in the US. In 2001, he graduated from Harvard Graduate School of Education with an advanced degree in International Education.   

A few years after settling in the US, Yacouba and his wife, Tracy, launched Hoops4Kids, a basketball summer camp for young Nigeriens. Since 1997, Hoops4Kids has launched programmes in Niger, Benin, the United States and Mexico. In the over 20 years since their programme began, Yacouba and Tracy have launched more than 2,000 young people into better futures through sport.  

“One of the reasons I started this youth programme was because I felt this was the perfect opportunity to go back to Niger and give back to the community,” Yacouba explained. “I feel like there is so much in the US and there is nothing here. Every time I come back, I want to do something to give back to the community because 20 years ago, I was those kids.”   

This month he was back again. From 9 to 13 July, IOM supported a Hoops4Kids basketball summer camp in Niger’s capital, Niamey – its 18th since 1997 – thanks to support from the European Union, within the framework of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism.   

The programme aims to give young people aged 4 to 17 an opportunity to develop their athletic skills, meet peers from other cultures and learn how to take care of their health and enjoy physical activities as they broaden their own horizons. During 2019’s edition of Hoops4Kids in Niamey, each of the 40 participants enjoyed full board and lodging, as well as a full complement of basketball equipment and sport accessories. 

“This basketball camp means a lot to us young Nigeriens. I hope that through experiences like this, I can one day fulfil my dream of playing for the NBA,” affirmed Mahamadou, one of the participants from Niamey. 

The multicultural exchange and social dynamic of the programme have always stood at the core of Hoops4Kids. This year, five migrants from IOM’s transit centre in Niamey also took part in the basketball summer camp. Mohamed has been at the centre for a few weeks now as he patiently awaits to return to the Central African Republic, through the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme, also under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration

“We want to do it in a way that it will represent a lot of people. It will represent girls, it will represent poor kids, it will represent kids who have a lot of means. This is an opportunity for all these people to be together for a week,” Yacouba said. 

“You have to participate in things like this because you don’t know what you can become in life. You can be a basketball player tomorrow, and what we have learned here might help us someday,” said Mohamed, who came from the transit centre. 

By bringing together participants from different nationalities, the camp also provides IOM an opportunity to disseminate messages on safe migration. Throughout the week, IOM’s community mobilizers or ‘MobComs’ organized film screenings, debates and facilitated interactions between participants. 

Hoops4Kids works with multiple partners, including basketball leagues, youth organizations, authorities, embassies and international agencies. Yacouba takes the time each year to meet with relevant authorities and organizations in order to evaluate the programme and discuss the strengths, challenges, and next steps of the programme. 

While the programme hopes to raise enough money to continue to send young Nigeriens abroad, either to study or to attend sport camps, this year's participants were excited to even get to play with professional players.  

Adam, 21, is one of eight coaches training the kids in this year’s edition. Yacouba recognized his talent early on while and did his best to find opportunities for Adam to develop his skills abroad.  

Adam now plays competitively in the USA for Oklahoma’s Murray State College. “Kids today need to know that education is the most important thing for their future,” Adam says. 

Adamou, IOM’s Medical Clerk for the past two years, certainly agrees. He could be seen cheering from the sidelines during the camp’s finale. “I am part of the 1997 Hoops4kids promotion,” Adamou said. “I may not be a professional basketball player now, but the camp did shape me into who I am today.” 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 16:38Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

The 22nd edition of the Hoops4Kids programme brought together 40 participants from the region. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

The 22nd edition of the Hoops4Kids programme brought together 40 participants from the region. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

The 22nd edition of the Hoops4Kids programme brought together 40 participants from the region. Photo: IOM/Daniel Kisito Kouawo 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Malawi, Mozambique Discuss Community-Based Reintegration for Returnees from South Africa

Tue, 07/16/2019 - 10:37

Blantyre, Malawi – “My children are being supported through my projects of poultry, brick construction, and farming. Each project supports the other and, in this way, money is readily available,” says Cryford Nyangulu, a Malawian who returned to his native town of Mzuzu, from South Africa in October 2018.  

Cryford is one of 281 Malawians who have, since June 2018, voluntarily returned from South Africa through IOM’s Pilot Action on Voluntary Return and Sustainable, Community-Based Reintegration initiative. The European Union funded project has also assisted the voluntary return and individual reintegration of 182 Mozambicans over the same period.  

In an effort to expand the beneficial reach of the reintegration initiative from “individual” returnees, to a more “community-based” approach, IOM convened key senior officials from Malawi, Mozambique, and South Africa, from 9-12 July 2019, in Blantyre, Malawi, to exchange experience and ideas on ways to collectively assist Malawian and Mozambican voluntary returnees from South Africa, and achieve community-based growth.  

“The reintegration process is now moving toward a community initiative. Within that structure, we will support the Governments of Malawi and Mozambique in working with local leaderships, to ensure that the driving factors of migration are addressed, thus strengthening citizens’ desire to stay, instead of getting involved in cyclical secular migration,” said Mpilo Nkomo, IOM Head of Office in Malawi.  

The workshop formulated recommendations that include strengthening the reintegration support to those who returned so far and focus on community-based reintegration through participatory approach at the community level.  

Delegates were also able to interact with current reintegrated beneficiaries in Malawi, thus further taking stock of the project’s progress. “It is good for us to see such concrete results of the project. It further helps to encourage Malawians and Mozambicans in South Africa engage in the initiative and return to their places of origin and rebuild their lives with their families, and help their communities grow,” said Armando Pedro Muiuane Junior, National Director of the National Institute of Mozambicans Abroad.  

Millions of Malawians and Mozambicans reside in South Africa, after having migrated in search of opportunities to financially support their families back home, only to often face challenging realities in the destination country. IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme provides them with counselling in South Africa, before facilitating their voluntary return to Malawi and Mozambique, and supporting their reintegration.  

The initiative is implemented in collaboration with the consulates of and Governments of South Africa, Malawi, and Mozambique.  

Watch the workshop recap video here and a reintegration story here

For more information, please contact: Abibo Ngandu, IOM Regional Media Officer, Tel.: +277 124 49291 Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 16, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: MalawiThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Senior officials from Malawi, Mozambique and South Africa interact with a reintegrated Malawian who now owns a furniture and hardware shop in Blantyre. 

Senior officials, civil society partners and IOM AVRR team pose for a group photo in Blantyre, Malawi. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Agencies Assist Thousands as Non-Stop Rain, Winds Pound Rohingya Refugee Sites in Bangladesh

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 11:15

Cox’s Bazar – United Nations (UN) agencies have been working around the clock to repair damage, temporarily relocate affected refugees and activate disaster response plans following eight days of unrelenting rain and wind - the most severe weather since the massive Rohingya refugee influx of 2017. Cox’s Bazar lies in a coastal area especially prone to extreme weather, including cyclones.    

Between 4 and 12 July, 709mm of rain fell in parts of the Kutupalong refugee settlement, out of a July average of about 1040mm for Cox’s Bazar. A combination of landslides, floods and wind has damaged or destroyed hundreds of structures and temporarily displaced thousands of refugees. About 5 percent of the nearly one million residents in Cox’s Bazar were directly impacted.  Although small in percentage terms, its effect on already vulnerable refugees has been significant.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and World Food Programme (WFP) have dispatched staff, partners and refugee volunteers to relocate vulnerable people to safety, provide extra emergency food aid and repair damaged buildings, roads and slope reinforcements.

Under the overall leadership of the Government of Bangladesh, UN agencies and partners have been working year-round with refugees to prepare for the monsoon and cyclone seasons. This includes a large-scale programme to upgrade shelters and infrastructure, distribute and pre-position emergency supplies, and train the community in reducing the risk of disaster.

UN agencies have also focused on training refugees as first-responders through Disaster Management Units under the Cyclone Preparedness Programme and have extended similar support to Bangladeshi host communities.

The refugees and local communities play a central role in mitigating and responding to the effects of the monsoon through awareness-raising, pre-emptive hazard identification and disaster risk reduction work in the camps. While this has significantly reduced the overall monsoon impact, recent developments demonstrate that more resourcing is needed to continue to strengthen capacity.

Efforts throughout 2018 and early 2019 have dramatically improved conditions in the refugee sites and aid organizations are well-equipped to respond. But this is still an emergency affecting vulnerable families living in a difficult, hazard-prone terrain, that requires ongoing support from the international community and constant work by humanitarian actors.

“The current storm system appears to have weakened. But we are only halfway through the 2019 monsoon season and the response to adverse weather conditions has already begun to exceed all that was needed in 2018. With only one-third of funding requirements met for this year, the response to the Rohingya crisis requires substantially more commitment both financially and politically from the international community,” said IOM Deputy Head of Mission for Bangladesh Manuel Marques Pereira.

“With the physical foundations for emergency response in place from 2018, our strategy rests on placing refugee communities at the centre of the response, rooted in trained refugee volunteers’ own capacities, self-reliance, and ability to raise awareness and act as first responders,” said Marin Din Kajdomcaj, UNHCR Head of Operations and Sub-Office in Cox’s Bazar.

“Together with the Bangladesh government, sister UN agencies, and partners, the monsoon response to date has demonstrated that this community-centric approach, underpinned by critical infrastructure improvements and multi-functional Emergency Response Teams, is functioning rapidly and well to keep refugees healthy and safe.”

“WFP has already provided significantly more rapid response food assistance due to the rains than we did for the entire month of July 2018, indicating the impact this monsoon has already had,” added Richard Ragan, WFP Representative to Bangladesh.

“Engineering teams have also been busier this year, responding to multiple landslides and racing to repair slopes. A tremendous amount of engineering work has been done over the past 18 months which has mitigated the impact of this rainfall event. But there is near constant work that needs to be done to make the camps safer and this requires ongoing resourcing and manpower.”


For more information, please contact:

IOM: George McLeod: Tel. +880 18 7070 8078, Email:

UNHCR: Areez Rahman: Tel: +88  17 0657 2715

WFP: Gemma Snowdon: Tel. +880 17 1301 2875

Language English Posted: Monday, July 15, 2019 - 17:11Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Monsoon-related damage to homes and infrastructure in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in 2019 could far exceed that of 2018. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah 

Monsoon-related damage to homes and infrastructure in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in 2019 could far exceed that of 2018. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Outraged By Somalia Terrorist Attack

Mon, 07/15/2019 - 03:32

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has expressed its shock and outrage at Friday’s terrorist attack that claimed the lives of at least 26 people, one of whom worked under the auspices of the UN agency.

In addition to those killed, an estimated 40 people were injured in the seige on Asasey Hotel in the port city of Kismayo, where a high-level political meeting was taking place to discuss pending regional elections.

Islamist group al-Shabab has claimed the attack, described as its worst in Kismayo since the group was forced out in 2012.

IOM director-general António Vitorino said the organization is outraged by the brutal and unprovoked attack and stands with the friends and family of Abdifatah Mohamed. “Our deepest sympathies go to them,” he said in a statement.

Abdifatah was a victim in the attack – which began on Friday evening and ended on Saturday – along with prominent local journalist Hodan Nalayeh and her husband Farid, together with local politicians, Kenyans, Tanzanians, Americans, a Briton and a Canadian.

One of Abdifatah’s IOM contractor colleagues, who was also present, was injured in the attack.

The assault on Asasey which lasted for about 14 hours started when a suicide bomber rammed a car containing explosives into the hotel compound. Gunmen then stormed the building.

Dyane Epstein, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Somalia who worked with Abdifatah for nearly two years, said he made an immense contribution to peace and stabilization in Somalia. “Abdifatah meant a lot to all of us and was amongst the best and brightest.”

Contact Dyane Epstein, IOM Somalia Chief of Mission


Mobile (Somalia): +252 612 777712

Mobile (Nairobi)/WhatsApp: +254 706 949792

Language English Posted: Monday, July 15, 2019 - 09:29Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

“International Approach to Refugees and Migrants in Libya Must Change”: IOM Director General António Vitorino and UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:46

Geneva –  On 3 July, more than 50 migrants and refugees lost their lives in an airstrike on the Tajoura Detention Centre in the east of Libya’s capital Tripoli. This week we appealed to the European Union and African Union to prevent such a tragedy from being repeated. The international community should consider the protection of the human rights of migrants and refugees a core element of its engagement in Libya.  

As a priority, we ask that 5,600 refugees and migrants currently held in centres across Libya be freed in an orderly manner and their protection guaranteed or that they be evacuated to other countries from where accelerated resettlement is needed. For this, countries must step forward with more evacuation and resettlement places. In addition, migrants wishing to return to their countries of origin should continue to be able to do so. Extra resources are equally essential.  

Detention of those disembarked in Libya after being rescued at sea has to stop. Practical alternatives exist: people should be allowed to live in the community or in open centres and corresponding registration duties should be established. Semi-open safe centres can be established similar to UNHCR’s Gathering and Departure Facility.

As of yesterday (11/07), the Tajoura Detention Centre itself is closed, and some 400 attack survivors have been moved to the Gathering and Departure Facility. That centre is now badly overcrowded and work is ongoing to secure the evacuation of these people, particularly the most vulnerable, from Libya. However, many other refugees and migrants remain in detention elsewhere in Libya where suffering and risk of human rights abuses continue. A safe, managed process of release, with proper information on available assistance, is essential for all.

For the approximately 50,000 registered refugees and asylum-seekers currently living elsewhere in Libya, as well as for the estimated 800,000 migrants, more help is required so that living conditions are improved, human rights are better protected, and fewer people end up being driven into the hands of smugglers and human traffickers.

Every effort should be taken to prevent people rescued on the Mediterranean from being disembarked in Libya, which cannot be considered a safe port. In the past European State vessels conducting search and rescue operations saved thousands of lives, including through disembarkations in safe ports. They should resume this vital work and temporary disembarkation schemes should urgently be established to share responsibilities within Europe. NGO boats have played a similarly crucial role on the Mediterranean and must not be penalized for saving lives at sea. Commercial vessels must not be directed to bring rescued passengers back to Libya.  

Any assistance and responsibilities assigned to relevant Libyan entities should be made conditional on no one being arbitrarily detained after they have been rescued and guarantees of human rights standards being upheld. Without such guarantees, support should be halted. 

Another tragedy like Tajoura cannot be allowed to happen again. The protection of human lives must be the overriding priority. 

In Geneva: Leonard Doyle at +41792857123 or Joel Millman at +41791038720 
In Libya: Safa Msehli at +21622241842, Email:  

In Geneva: Charlie Yaxley: +41 79 580 8702, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 - 16:44Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

EU, IOM Support Veterans’ Reintegration in Ukraine

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:43

Kyiv – According to official data, there are about 370,000 veterans of the conflict in Ukraine, many of whom encounter significant challenges attempting to reintegrate into civilian life. As found by a World Bank study, about one-third of the veterans who had a job before mobilization are now unemployed, partially due to negative perceptions of veterans among employers, challenges with post-traumatic stress disorder, disabilities, and general mistrust.  

“My whole mindset had changed, so after I was demobilized in early 2018 I decided not to get back to my old profession of a cash-in-transit guard and tried to find new goals in my life,” said Pavlo, a veteran of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, while warming up before an IOM-organized football match in Kyiv on 10 July.  

Pavlo has been trying to tackle these challenges himself and support other veterans and their families: upon return he engaged in civic activism, and this year applied for the EU-funded vocational training grant from IOM. “With IOM’s support I’ve already started massage therapist courses. These skills will allow me to help other people, other veterans, and  have big plans for the development of my own business,” said Pavlo.  

“Veterans have already shown by their actions that they are willing to defend their country. With support to overcome the challenges they face, this positive energy can be harnessed to bring good for all of society,” said Ambassador Hugues Mingarelli, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine. “That is why the EU believes that providing assistance to veterans and their families is such an important contribution to Ukraine’s safe and secure development,” he added, opening the IOM-organized football match. 

The game, conducted in the format of a match for human rights, brought together 20 players – veterans, activists of non-governmental organizations and community initiative groups, as well as representatives of international organizations. Participants played without referees, chose the captains themselves, composed the first and second teams. The support of women, people with disabilities and less experienced players was encouraged.  

“Over the past 25 years, the International Organization for Migration has become one of the global leaders in supporting former combatants and the communities to which they return with reintegration programmes implemented in over 30 countries. IOM’s experience shows that active involvement of veterans into community life is a guarantee of consolidation and stabilization of the society, and today we share this experience with Ukraine,” said Dr. Lore Szlapak, Officer in Charge at IOM Ukraine.  

IOM’s engagement with veterans builds upon its crisis response programming. Since 2014, IOM has assisted over 400,000 internally displaced and conflict-affected persons with humanitarian, livelihoods and social cohesion support in response to the annexation of Crimea and military actions in the east of Ukraine. 

The EU-funded veteran reintegration project has been implemented by IOM since January 2019 in three pilot regions – Kyiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Lviv. The project includes social cohesion activities, provision of qualified psychological assistance, as well as career development and self-employment support. About 400 veterans who pass the competitive selection will be provided with up to EUR 400 for vocational courses, re-qualification or advanced training. As many veterans will receive grants of up to EUR 1,000 for business development.  

Watch a video about the initiative here.

For more information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko, IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 5015 and +38 067 447 97 92, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 - 16:41Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Disarmament, Demobilization and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

20 players including veterans, activists of non-governmental organizations and community initiative groups, as well as representatives of international organizations came together to play a friendly football match.

Dr. Lore Szlapak, Officer in Charge at IOM Ukraine (fourth from the left), Ambassador Hugues Mingarelli, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine (fifth from the right), and Hryhorii Halahan, First Deputy Minister for the Veterans of Ukraine (fourth from the right), with the participants of the friendly football match to support veterans

Ambassador Hugues Mingarelli, Head of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, kicks off to start the game

Action packed friendly football match for the veterans

IOM Supports Veterans Reintegration in Ukraine

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Innovative Schemes to Facilitate Integration of Resettled Refugees in European Union

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:40

Brussels – Refugees resettling to the European Union (EU) bring diverse skills, and the majority want to find work and improve their language skills, according to a new report launched today (12/07) in Brussels at the closing event of an International Organization for Migration (IOM) project, to improve the integration of resettled refugees.   

Launched in 2018, the project Linking Pre-departure and Post-arrival Support to Facilitate the Socio-economic Integration for Resettled Refugees in the EU (or ‘LINK IT’) was an innovative multi-country initiative that ran over 18 months to provide resettled refugees with the building blocks to start their new life in Europe. 

“Social and economic integration, especially with regard to skills profiling, begins even before leaving for the country of resettlement, and the refugees themselves play an essential role in the process”, said Geertrui Lanneau, Senior Regional Labour Migration and Human Development Specialist for IOM’s Regional Office in Brussels. 

Collecting data for more than 1,000 Syrian refugees, the LINK IT skills profiling tool collected information on education history, work experience, personal skills, digital skills, lingual abilities, aspirations, and other relevant health/caring considerations.  

At the closing event, project partners, national authorities, and representatives from EU and international agencies shared best practices and presented findings from the project report.   

“For years, refugees have told us that the language barrier and a lack of skills recognition were two of the most common barriers to labour market integration,” said Dipti Pardeshi, IOM UK Chief of Mission.  “In the LINK IT project, IOM analysed self-reported skills and qualifications by refugees to have a better understanding of who is resettling.  This can help governments improve policies and the support for refugees to successfully enter the job market and contribute to the economy.” 

Funded by the European Union’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), the LINK IT project aimed to improve social and economic integration by linking pre-departure support for Syrian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey with post-arrival support when resettling in four European countries (Germany, Portugal, Romania and the United Kingdom). This included the development and piloting of a pre-departure skills profiling tool, tailored post-arrival support and products for resettled refugees and information sessions for receiving host communities. 

Project partners were the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC), the British Refugee Council (RC), Asociatia Serviciul Iezuitilor Pentru Refugiatii Din Romania (JRS Romania), Caritasverband Fur Die Diozese Hildesheim E.V (Caritas Friedland) and Conselho Português Para Os Refugiados CPR (CPR). 

“Through LINK IT, we’ve been able to collaborate across four countries, each with quite different experiences in resettlement,” said Petra Hueck, Head of ICMC Europe. “Still, many of the challenges – for both refugees and host communities – are similar when it comes to linking pre-departure and post-arrival phases, preparing host communities, labour market intervention, and so on. Through this project, we’ve been able to develop tools and interventions that address some of those key challenges,” she concluded.  

Please click here for more information on IOM’s LINK IT project. You can also watch the video here

For further information, please contact Abby Dwommoh at IOM UK, Tel: +44 (0) 20 7811 6060, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 - 16:37Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

A husband and wife both complete LINK IT questionaires in Amman March 2019. Photo: IOM/Abby Dwommoh

A Syrian couple are excited to board their flight to resettle to the UK in Amman March 2019. Photo: IOM/Abby Dwommoh

At a child CO in Amman, this Syrian child is excited to resettle to the UK_March 2019. Photo: IOM/Abby Dwommoh

At UKCO in Amman, Syrian refugees are learning about life in the UK March 2019. Photo: IOM/Abby Dwommoh

Syrian couple and their children prepare to resettle in UK. Photo: IOM/Abby Dwommoh

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Humanitarian Actors Establish First Anti-Trafficking Task Force in North-East Nigeria

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:36

Maiduguri – In a bid to better respond to trafficking in persons in Borno State, north-east Nigeria, where 7.1 million people need humanitarian assistance, twenty organizations are joining forces in a new Anti-Trafficking Task Force (ATTF) in humanitarian action. 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), jointly with Heartland Alliance International and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) launched the Task Force on 9 July in Maiduguri, the capital of Borno. The Task Force will advocate for the inclusion of anti-trafficking measures in the regional humanitarian response and will operate under the Protection Sector Working Group (PSWG). 

Humanitarian actors face many obstacles in uncovering violations, identifying victims and quantifying the overall scale of Trafficking in Persons (TiP). Victims of trafficking rarely self-identify or self-report, for fear of stigmatization or lack of access to reporting mechanisms. A fear of repercussions also often deters people who witness trafficking. 

The ongoing conflict and displacement exacerbate the risk of trafficking, especially for female and child-headed households, unaccompanied and separated children and youth. These groups are at high risk of gender-based violence, abduction and recruitment in armed groups. 

More than 130,000 people have displaced in north-east Nigeria since January 2019 in north-east Nigeria, increasing the population of already stretched camps. As thousands of people lack shelter, they are forced to sleep in the open air in overcrowded camps which further increases their vulnerability to protection risks and exploitation. 

“Prevention and response to trafficking in persons are frequently overlooked or not addressed in a comprehensive manner in humanitarian settings. Anti-trafficking measures save lives and should be incorporated in all interventions in areas of conflict,” said Memory Mwale, IOM Nigeria Counter-Trafficking Project Officer, reiterating the Organization’s commitment to tackling this issue alongside the Government of Nigeria.  

The ATTF will be co-chaired by the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Ministry of Women’s Affairs and Social Development. Its 20 member organizations include government, UN agencies, international NGOs and civil society. IOM, together with UNHCR and Heartland Alliance International, will provide technical support. Last year, IOM joined a technical working group on national awareness raising to combat TiP chaired by NAPTIP.  

IOM has a long-standing cooperation with the Borno State government in the response to combat TiP. The IOM Counter-Trafficking Unit strengthens the capacity of stakeholders to provide protection and assistance to identified victims as well as to mitigate and prevent trafficking through raising awareness and mainstreaming anti-trafficking measures into humanitarian interventions. IOM interventions in this area ensure that victims can access essential services including shelter, mental health and psychosocial support, among others. Victims of trafficking are also provided with small-scale livelihood support to rebuild their lives and provide a means of subsistence for their families. 

“The ATTF will foster a collaborative and multi-sectoral effort among the Borno state government institutions, CSOs, INGOs, the relevant UN agencies and affected populations to work together to provide comprehensive services to identify victims of trafficking and respond effectively to trafficking in persons,” said Mafa Mitika, the Zonal Commander for NAPTIP in the north east, at the first meeting of the Task Force. 

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

Language English Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

At the Bakassi IDP Camp in Maiduguri, staff and community members attend a stage play about human trafficking. Photo: IOM/Paulina Odame

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Korean Aid Workers Learn to Cope with Gender-Based Violence

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:34

Seoul – The United Nations estimates suggest that a third of women worldwide have experienced sexual violence at some point during their lives. In crisis settings, where people are often displaced and daily life suffers dislocation, gender-based violence (GBV) is even more commonplace, posing complex human rights and public health challenges for aid workers. 

Displacement, family separation, a lack of livelihood options, collapse of community values and militarization are just some of the elements that contribute to heightened risks of GBV, particularly in camps, according to International Organization for Migration (IOM) emergency specialists training Korean aid workers in Seoul this week. 

The two-day Advanced Workshop on Gender-Based Violence Programming in Crises was jointly organized by IOM and a Korean NGO – Good Neighbors.  A group of 34 humanitarian practitioners took part in the event, which was designed to share information about GBV programming and best practices. Delegates also developed hands-on skills in GBV-sensitive project design, data collection and monitoring. 

In September 2018 IOM launched its first Institutional Framework for Addressing GBV in Crises (GBViC) that details lessons learned and good practices in addressing GBV in IOM crisis operations worldwide. These include major interventions in South Sudan, Bangladesh and Nigeria. 

“Increased awareness of the magnitude and pervasiveness of GBV has led to more interest in GBV-specific programming among Korean aid workers. In light of this, the government recently launched an initiative on “Action with Women and Peace,” which aims to address GBV and assist victims in conflict-affected areas,” said Mihyung Park, Head of IOM’s office in the Republic of Korea (ROK.) 

“This workshop was about helping us to understand how gender factors affect peoples’ lives during crises. It also showed us how to build well-designed GBV response projects in areas including women and girls’ participation, building women and girl friendly spaces, and provision of psychosocial support and health services,” she added. 

Trainers described IOM’s establishment of women and girl-friendly spaces in Bangladesh’s crowded Rohingya refugee camps as an illustration of successful GBV programming. They also discussed referral systems in health and psychosocial services for GBV survivors worldwide. 

The workshop was organized as part of IOM ROK’s capacity-building project for Korean humanitarian actors, funded by USAID’s Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA.) Since 2015, IOM ROK has organized a wide range of humanitarian trainings. 

For more information, please contact Miah Park, Tel: +82 70 4820 2781, Email: or Jumi KIM, Tel: +82 70 4820 0292, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaThemes: Gender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Korean aid workers learn to cope with gender-based violence in crises. Photo: IOM

Through a role play, participants were enabled to apply their acquired knowledge and skills in a survivor-centered approach as a part of GBV-response projects. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Scales Up Distribution of Emergency Materials as Rohingya Camps are Battered by Wind, Rain

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:32

Cox’s Bazar – Unrelenting rain and winds are continuing to batter the Rohingya refugee camps of southern Bangladesh, displacing thousands of people, damaging homes and infrastructure, and increasing the risk of waterborne illnesses. The severe monsoon rains, which have pounded Cox’s Bazar since July 4th are the worst weather the district has experienced for over a year.   

“The rain and wind are causing misery on the ground and our teams are working day and night to provide emergency services and relocations to affected people. While we are grappling with the immediate effects of the storms, we still have to remain focused on long-term disaster management," said IOM Bangladesh Deputy Chief of Mission Manuel Pereira. 

“IOM supported nearly 6,000 people with emergency items and trained 570 in emergency response on 9-10 July 2019. But we recognize that this storm system is having a major impact on people in the camps and we are only half way through the monsoon season,” he added. 

In the past couple of days, IOM teams have distributed 5,079 plastic tarpaulins to families impacted by the storms. A total of 152 mm of precipitation was recorded in the Kutupalong mega-camp in a 24 hour period.  

IOM and its humanitarian partners are continuing to monitor weather and assist affected communities as needed. With rains continuing this morning, IOM engineers are concerned about worsening damage to paths, bridges and drainage systems, if weather conditions do not improve. 

As of last night, 998 individuals and 912 households had been impacted by severe weather in recent days.  

IOM teams reported six landslides, eight wind storms and a total 174 people displaced. 

The Inter Sector Coordination Group – the coordinating body for aid agencies operating in Cox’s Bazar – says that monsoon-related damage this year could be far worse than in 2018. It reports that over 45,000 individuals have been affected since the end of April due to weather-related incidents, compared to 55,000 affected during the whole of last year’s monsoon season. 

5,600 individuals have already been displaced, compared to 6,200 individuals in the 2018 monsoon. 

In the first 10 days of July 2019, 22,000 people were affected by the monsoon compared to 19,000 in the whole of July 2018. 

For more information please contact George McLeod at IOM Cox’s Bazar, Tel: +880 18 7071 8078, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 - 16:31Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Monsoon-related damage to homes and infrastructure in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in 2019 could far exceed that of 2018. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah

Monsoon-related damage to homes and infrastructure in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in 2019 could far exceed that of 2018. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah

Monsoon-related damage to homes and infrastructure in the Cox’s Bazar refugee camps in 2019 could far exceed that of 2018. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Missions to Senegal Visit Kolda, Home to Many Returning Migrants

Fri, 07/12/2019 - 10:30

Dakar – The Kolda region in southern Senegal is the main area of return for 31 per cent of the 4,090 Senegalese stranded in Libya and Niger and who were assisted for voluntary return to Senegal between May 2017 and May 2019, under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrants Protection and Reintegration

On 2-4 July, the Heads of the UN System Agencies in Senegal (IOM, UN Women, UNICEF, UNDP, UNV, UNFPA, UNHCR, WFP, FAO and UNIC), and Senegalese Government representatives conducted a joint field visit in the Kolda region to observe the progress made in the implementation of various projects in the region including those linked to the reintegration of returned migrants in Kolda. 

Through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, some of the returned migrants received reintegration assistance to set up income-generating activities and regained their place in their communities after the stressful experience of irregular migration.  

Migrant reintegration begins with counselling. In Senegal, 48 facilitators were recruited and trained to facilitate counselling sessions, the first step in the reintegration process for the returned migrants.  

So far, 727 returned migrants have participated in counselling sessions throughout the country, 256 of them in the Kolda region.  

“These sessions are the opportunity for returned migrants to consider the entrepreneurial and professional development opportunities they could capitalize on as part of their reintegration,” explained Bakary Doumbia, Chief of Mission of IOM Senegal. 

The counselling sessions help identify the specific needs of the returned migrants, adapt the assistance and create conditions for their sustainable reintegration. Migrants who have opted for entrepreneurship thus benefit from the support of facilitators in the development of their projects, which factors in local needs and the availability of technical support. 

“I am satisfied with and grateful for this training,” said Mouhamadou Boïro, a returned migrant who attended one of the sessions. “Reintegration restores our dignity and gives us hope. In addition, the support we receive considerably reduces the prejudices of those around me and my own feelings of failure,” he added. 

During the joint visit, Doumbia handed over reintegration kits adapted to the areas of activity chosen by migrants such as agricultural equipment, sewing machines, and various tools for cereal and dairy product processing. During the joint visit, IOM’s Bakary Doumbia handed over reintegration kits adapted to the areas of activity chosen by migrants such as agricultural equipment, sewing machines, and various tools for cereal and dairy product processing. 

Funded by the European Union through its Emergency Trust Fund for Africa and launched in May 2017, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration aims to enhance migration management in Senegal, through assisted voluntary return and reintegration of Senegalese migrants.  

In Senegal, the project is implemented by IOM in partnership with the Directorate General of Support to Senegalese Abroad (DGASE), and in collaboration with the project Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Senegal (Protection et réintégration des migrants au Sénégal), implemented by the Spanish Agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID). 

Through this collaboration, regional workshops for joint sharing and information were conducted in Tambacounda, Kolda and Sédhiou, the main Senegalese regions of return.  

For more information, please contact Khady Ngom at IOM Senegal, Email: or visit 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 12, 2019 - 16:28Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Handover of reintegration materials by the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Senegal. Photo: IOM

Handover of reintegration materials by the Resident Coordinator of the United Nations System in Senegal. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN