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Updated: 25 min 3 sec ago

IOM Launches Training Series for Private Sector Partners in Brazil

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 06:17

Brasília – A series of workshops to support private sector companies in the implementation of policies focused on vulnerable migrants was launched by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Brazil.

The first training took place on Tuesday at the UN House in São Paulo, in partnership with the UN Global Compact Network in Brazil.

The workshop series is part of a project funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF), with two main objectives: Improving legal assistance to migrants in Brazil, in partnership with the Office of the Federal Public Defendant (DPU, in Portuguese) and, promoting migrants’ early labour insertion in partnership with private partners. The training sessions are important for guiding partners and private companies to reassess existing policies and develop new initiatives to support international migrants’ insertion in the Brazilian labour market, thus building a cooperative system.

During the first semester of 2018, IOM and the UN Global Compact Network in Brazil interviewed 79 companies regarding their policies concerning international migrants. The outcome of this research (available here) led to the development of three training modules.

Module 1 works on sensitization regarding international migration, while Module 2 focuses on corporate human resource processes and how they can be redesigned to support migrants’ insertion and integration. Module 3 explores how social responsibility policies can improve a company’s performance and widely contribute to society as a whole.

“The double approach of this IDF project, focusing both on migrants’ legal protection and early insertion in the labour market, impacts the society’s reality deeply by targeting two of the migrant community’s main problems in a coordinated way,” said IOM Brazil Chief of Mission Stéphane Rostiaux.

The workshops are part of the IOM’s activities in line with the UN’s 2030 Agenda. The project is related to four of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals:

  • Goal 8. Decent Work and Economic Growth
  • Goal 10. Reduced Inequalities
  • Goal 17. Partnerships for the Goals

Between now and February 2019, IOM will deliver five trainings in partnership with Integra Diversidade and with the support of multiple local actors. The next training will take place in Boa Vista, Roraima – the main point of entry for Venezuelans coming to Brazil.

For more information, please contact Marcelo Torelly, IOM Brazil, Tel. + (55) 61 3038 9065, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, December 7, 2018 - 13:16Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Supports Governments of Burundi, D.R. Congo in Strengthening Health and Border Management

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 06:16

Bujumbura – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) conducted a joint training last week (26 November – 1 December) for border officials from Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). The training, held in the capital Bujumbura, aimed to strengthen the capacity of border officials to enhance public health preparedness and response at points of entry in both countries.

Participants included representatives drawn from various departments including health, immigration, border police, customs and quarantine services, working at the Gatumba/Kamvivira border or providing support in times of need.

The training, supported by the IOM Development Fund, is part of an 18-month project which aims to address cross-border mobility and public health implications, through promotion of effective public health measures in humanitarian border management.

Capacity strengthening of both health and non-health border officials is expected to enhance response to potential disease outbreaks and other health threats.

“This training is not only an opportunity to strengthen the capacity of frontline border officials on health and border management, it also complements the efforts already being undertaken by the respective governments to enhance health surveillance at points of entry to prevent, prepare for and respond effectively to any public health emergencies that may arise at points of entry,” said AJ Morgen, IOM Burundi Chief of Mission.

The training focused on migration and the right to health; humanitarian border management; protection of migrants in vulnerable situations; communicable diseases; healthy practices; and self-protection. It also addressed international health regulations with a focus on points of entry (POE); infection prevention and control; Integrated Disease Surveillance (IDSR) and first aid.

Trainers were drawn from IOM, the Burundi and DRC Ministries of Health, as well as Burundian Migration Services.

This week (3/12), aside from the training, IOM also provided basic equipment and material to support health surveillance at the border at the request of the district-level Ministry of Health in Isale.  IOM had conducted a prior validation meeting with the border officials to agree on a final list of the required equipment. Some of the equipment provided included first aid kits, observation beds, examination tables, stethoscopes, thermometers and various personal protective equipment.

“We are very happy to receive this equipment and material,” said Dr. Joël Nibigira, Medical Director of the Bujumbura Health Province. “They will go a long way in helping the border officials do their work more effectively.”

In the coming months, IOM will work with officials from both sides of the border to develop joint standard operating procedures and carry out a simulation exercise on public health emergency preparedness at the Gatumba/Kamvivira border.

While this project focuses on the Gatumba/Kamvivira border, IOM hopes to be able to scale up similar cross-border joint projects to other points of entry in the country in the future.

For more information please contact: Kerry Kyaa at IOM Burundi, Tel: +257 75400665, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, December 7, 2018 - 13:16Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM delivers equipment and material to support border health surveillance at the Gatumba border, Burundi. Photo: IOM / Kerry Kyaa 

Participants re-enacting proper handwashing techniques during the training. Photo: IOM / Kerry Kyaa 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Carries Out Displacement Simulation Exercise at Mauritania-Mali Border

Fri, 12/07/2018 - 06:15

Nouakchott – This week (04/12), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mauritania facilitated a mass displacement border crisis simulation exercise in Bassikounou, South-Eastern Mauritania, at the border with Mali. The exercise was designed to strengthen border management and coordination mechanisms between border communities and local stakeholders during a crisis.

The activity aimed to prepare over 300 key national actors and community members along the Mauritania-Mali border to respond to a potential humanitarian emergency. It was followed by an analysis of existing response mechanisms, and the resulting feedback will lead to the development of an emergency plan for rural communities along the borders.

This preparedness activity and simulation exercise are part of the project Enhancing the Collective Operational Preparedness for Cross Border Migration and Humanitarian Crises between Mauritania and Mali funded by the Japanese government; it is the second exercise organized this year.

IOM facilitated the exercise in close coordination with national administrative and border security authorities as well as their monitoring centres. The Ministers of Interior and Decentralization, Foreign Affairs and Health; the local police and gendarmerie; as well as UN agencies and local NGOs present in Bassikounou (including UNHCR, WFP and UNICEF) actively participated in the exercise. 

Millions of people are displaced in West Africa due to the security situation and instability in the region.

For more information please contact Yohei Komura at IOM Mauritania, Tel: +22249383790, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, December 7, 2018 - 13:15Image: Region-Country: MauritaniaThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM facilitated a mass displacement border crisis simulation exercise in Bassikounou, South-Eastern Mauritania.

IOM facilitated a mass displacement border crisis simulation exercise in Bassikounou, South-Eastern Mauritania.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM responds to latest humanitarian tragedy off the coast of Libya

Wed, 12/05/2018 - 17:48

Tripoli – At least a dozen people are dead after a rubber boat which spent more than 10 days at sea capsized off Misrata, Libya, on Monday.

Ten survivors were rescued and returned to Libya where they were treated by IOM medical staff. Three other passengers remain missing.

“The survivors were all suffering from complete dehydration and exhaustion after being stranded at sea for days,” said IOM physician Dr. Mohamed Abughalia.

“People suffered from trauma, severe malnutrition and burns sustained from the boat’s engine fuel.”

Four cases in need of emergency medical care were transferred to a private hospital in Tripoli.

Six others were moved to detention centres by Libyan authorities, where IOM continues to provide medical care.

“We continue to advocate for alternatives to detention for migrants returned to Libyan shores, specifically for those most vulnerable," said IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi, who also expressed concern about the lack of search and rescue capacity as the weather worsens with the onset of winter.

“The absence of mechanisms to better manage returns coupled with reduced search and rescue capacity at sea is making the crossing increasingly dangerous for migrants. There are more possibilities to die at sea now than one year ago. This is not acceptable. Saving lives at sea should be the number one priority, and search and rescue operations clearly need to be reinforced."

Media accounts of the migrants’ ordeals differ, but it appears the boat, which was attempting to travel to Italy, was blown hundreds of kilometres off course. Red Crescent spokesman Baha al-Kawash told Agence France-Presse the migrants left for Italy from the city of Sabratha, west of Tripoli, but their vessel was blown 270km east and later overturned.

IOM is following up on the current humanitarian and medical needs of migrants in the detention centre and hospital to ensure they receive adequate assistance. The Organization will provide mental health and psychosocial support to the survivors.

For more information please contact Maya Abu Ata at IOM Libya, Tel: +218910024839, Email: 

Language English Posted: Wednesday, December 5, 2018 - 17:36Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Libya medical staff escort a survivor of Monday's tragedy to a Tripoli hospital for emergency treatment. Photo: IOM Libya 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM and Partners Launch ‘Mirage’ TV Series in Ethiopia

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 10:33

Addis Ababa — The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Government of Ethiopia and the National Theatre, launched a TV drama series called Mirage last Friday (30/11).

Mirage artistically depicts the intricate deception ploys employed by smugglers, and the exploitative techniques they use to deceive young vulnerable Ethiopians into taking irregular journeys in search of better opportunities.

The 13-episode TV series, which will start airing on Fana TV at 6:00 PM as of 8 December, features popular Ethiopian artists who were also engaged in script development, acting and directing.

The Government of Ethiopia has extended unwavering support in realizing the project, which is a part of an effort to prevent irregular migration within the country.

In Ethiopia, IOM is engaged in extensive awareness raising and behaviour change initiatives at grassroots level through community conversation, forum theatre performances and peer education, as well as community and school outreach. Mirage, while complementing the efforts of various stakeholders to prevent irregular migration, aims to foster better understanding of irregular migration by contributing to policy decisions and strengthening the response at various levels.

With a large number of Ethiopian returnees registered from the Middle East every month, it is clear that further steps should be taken to curb irregular migration. IOM and the Government of Ethiopia have stepped up their efforts in this area.

In addition to soft support through awareness raising efforts, the organization also provides reintegration assistance to vulnerable returnees through vocational skills training, education, psychosocial support and small business grants.

The project is financed by the Agency for Italian Development Cooperation.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 15:35Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Launch of ‘Mirage’ at the Ethiopian National Theatre in Addis Ababa. 

National Theatre dancers performing the Traditional Gofa dance before the launch of ‘Mirage’ in Addis Ababa.   

Launch of ‘Mirage’ at the Ethiopian National Theatre in Addis Ababa. 

National Theatre dancers performing the Traditional Gofa dance before the launch of ‘Mirage’ in Addis Ababa.   

Launch of ‘Mirage’ at the Ethiopian National Theatre in Addis Ababa. 

National Theatre dancers performing the Traditional Gofa dance before the launch of ‘Mirage’ in Addis Ababa.   

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Raises Protection Concerns as 2018 Migrant Arrivals to Yemen Approach 150,000

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:52

Geneva/Djibouti City – The International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) forecasts a 50 per cent year-on-year rise over 2017 in migrant arrivals to Yemen – with nearly 150,000 migrants expected to enter the country in 2018. This, despite the ongoing conflict in Yemen and deadly perils along migration routes across the Horn of Africa and the Red Sea.

IOM recognizes the challenges facing the region’s states in protecting and responding to this dire humanitarian situation. Therefore, tomorrow (05/12) IOM will bring together seven countries – Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Somalia and Yemen – for a conference in Djibouti: Drawing on Peace Dividends in the Horn of Africa to Ensure Urgent Enhancements in the Management of Migratory Flows to Yemen and the Gulf Countries.

In July, IOM, together with key UN and NGO partners, launched the Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen, a three-year multi-partner strategy to address humanitarian and development needs tailored to this migration corridor.

Located at the cusp of two continents, Yemen historically has been an origin, transit and destination country of migrants. Today, an estimated 92 per cent of its incoming migrants are Ethiopian nationals, with Somalis accounting for the rest. In 2017, an estimated 100,000 migrants reached Yemen.

Migrants reaching Yemen travel first by land, primarily through Djibouti, and eventually undergo perilous boat journeys across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, now one of the busiest maritime migration routes in the world. A smaller number sails from Somali’s coastline.

Both routes are also among the world’s most “youthful,” in the sense that minors account for an estimated 20 per cent of the migrants. Many are unaccompanied.

The upsurge in Yemen’s migrant arrivals exceeds 2018 arrivals to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea (107,216 arrivals this year).

“These migrants dream of a better life for themselves and their families, they seek work, security and new opportunities, and most are too young to understand the difficulties ahead,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies. “Instead, they face risk and abuse on the way, including human trafficking. Most who make it to Yemen then find themselves stuck in a conflict, exposed to further violence and danger.”

The Drawing on Peace Dividends conference will foster dialogue between IOM, its humanitarian partners and representatives of the seven countries.

IOM hopes, because of the discussion, these states will take tangible actions to strengthen immediate humanitarian assistance for the protection of migrants; address the root causes of dangerous migration; and encourage more robust legal mechanisms for migration while opening opportunities for transiting migrant populations, as well as sending and host communities.

In his prepared welcome remarks IOM Director General, António Vitorino said: “We are here today to put measures in place to protect people on the move, prevent future loss of life, and address the root causes and drivers of irregular migration in the region. Orderly, safe and dignified migration is not possible without the pursuit of sustainable peace and development in countries of origin, transit and destination for migrants.”

“I invite you to engage in meaningful discussions devoted to ensuring the immediate humanitarian and protection needs of migrants and host communities,” added DG Vitorino.

DG Vitorino urged participants to not lose sight in 2019 of the continued peril migrants face on this route. Since the beginning of 2014, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded more than 700 deaths in the Gulf of Aden. 

The conference is being generously supported by Djibouti and the King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre.

Recent IOM data is based on the assessment of DTM flow monitoring points in Somalia, Djibouti and Yemen.

For more information, please contact Angela Wells at IOM Headquarters in Geneva, Tel: +41 7940 35365, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 15:51Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiSwitzerlandThemes: Migration ResearchDefault: Multimedia: 

Madina, an Ethiopian migrant, is one of the hundreds of thousands who travel within the Horn of Africa and the Gulf regions every year to find better opportunities. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Bangladesh’s ‘Longest Beach in the World’ Gets Winter Clean

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:51

Cox’s Bazar – The ‘world’s longest beach’ got a winter clean this weekend, when hundreds of UN staff, local volunteers and district authority representatives took to the sands in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, to pick up rubbish, in an event sponsored by IOM.

Cox’s Bazar district became the centre of the world’s fastest growing refugee crisis last year when over half a million Rohingya refugees fled across the border with Myanmar in just a few weeks. Almost a million refugees now live in camps outside the main town – in what has become the world’s biggest refugee settlement.

But the area – long considered one of Bangladesh’s top tourist destinations –  is also an important wildlife habitat. Sections of the 120km-long stretch of beach, often hailed as the longest unbroken sea beach in the world, are important breeding ground for turtles.

The weekend cleanup was organized by staff from IOM and other UN organizations who volunteered their time and encouraged others to come and remove plastic and other rubbish from the beach, and to raise the awareness of the environmental damage it causes.

Two of the key organizers, Carlos Fayolle and Miriam Klinkenberg said they were amazed and delighted by the turnout, after over 300 people – of all different ages and backgrounds – turned up to take part and collect dozens of bags of rubbish, despite the intense heat. The success of the event means similar initiatives are expected to take place in the New Year.

IOM Emergency Coordinator Manuel Pereira said the Organization was very pleased to support the event. “IOM and our local and international partners are committed to working together with the Bangladesh authorities to redress the environmental impact of the refugee crisis on Cox’s Bazar. It’s inspiring to see so many people give up their free time and come together for this important event to support environmental protection and raise awareness,” he said.

S.M. Sarwar Kamal, Assistant Director with the Department of Environment in Cox’s Bazar, who took part in the event, noted that the beach has been declared “an ecologically critical area” and now hosts several important environmental projects, including turtle hatcheries. He praised the commitment shown by the volunteers and said that more support would always be welcome, due to the limited resources available to protect such a large area.

Syful Asrab, Additional Deputy Commissioner for Tourism in Cox’s Bazar, who also took part, said around 30 local women were employed to help clean the beach, but Cox’s Bazar had never seen a beach clean on the scale of this weekend’s event. He added he hoped it would also raise awareness among tourists about the damage caused by littering.

While the beach clean-up was a voluntary event, IOM and other UN organizations are working on a wide range of official projects to help the Bangladesh authorities to address the environmental impact of the refugee crisis.

The arrival of so many people in such a short period of time, led to the destruction of vast swathes of forest by people desperate for land to build their shelters. Further large-scale deforestation has continued due to the need for firewood.

Under the joint Safe Plus initiative, IOM, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) are planting tens of thousands of trees and supporting alternative fuel projects for refugees and members of the local community in Cox’s Bazar to help redress deforestation.

For more information please contact Fiona MacGregor at IOM Cox’s Bazar. Tel: +88 0 1733 335221, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 15:50Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Volunteers help to clean up the longest sea beach in the world in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh - an event sponsored by IOM. Photo: IOM/Fiona MacGregor  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Ukraine Showcases Its Support for People with Disabilities

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:50

Kyiv – IOM Ukraine has been supporting the Weekend of Unlimited Opportunities, an initiative of the United Nations and local activists, which draws attention to the rights of over 2.6 million people with disabilities residing in the country. About 240,000 of the most vulnerable among them face daily challenges in basic tasks like getting out of their flats, accessing public transport, visiting a shop, a bank branch or even a social institution which does not have a ramp.

From 30 November until yesterday (03/12), dozens of cinemas, museums, bookshops and restaurants in Ukraine either provided free access to the visitors – including people with disabilities and families with children – or offered master-classes and excursions for people with hearing or sight issues.

While UN Migration currently provides winterization assistance to the most vulnerable people with disabilities residing in the conflict-affected east of the country, IOM Ukraine has focused on the issue of inclusion for quite some time.

“As of today, almost 800 people with disabilities among internally displaced or members of IDP host communities received IOM grants for micro-entrepreneurship, self-employment and vocational training,” said IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Mission, Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss. “IOM also promotes inclusion within its social cohesion projects: 26 libraries, culture centres and other social institutions we have renovated in the communities hosting IDPs are usable by people with disabilities. Since 2015, over 5,500 persons with disabilities joined social cohesion events organized in IDP host communities with our support,” added Dr. Weiss.

The latest IOM survey about internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine – which will be published later this month – examined, as well, issues faced by people with disabilities (about eight per cent of those surveyed). Another nine per cent reported having a chronic disease which affects the quality of their life. Over half of the surveyed displaced persons of working age with disabilities stated stated they cannot find jobs.

In many cases, self-employment becomes the only option. Dmytro Berezhnyi worked at a mine in Luhansk Region for most of his life. In 2011, he suffered an occupational injury and due to the resulting disability was not allowed to return to work there. He learned how to build stoves, and this skill proved to be very useful when the conflict in eastern Ukraine started in 2014.

He and his family relocated to Mykolaiv Region in the south of Ukraine where he continued working as a stove-maker and joined a local NGO, volunteering as a consultant for IDPs and veterans with disabilities. Last year Dmytro took part in IOM’s economic empowerment programme and received equipment which allowed him to start a new business constructing ramps for people with disabilities. “As I was supported by IOM, now I want to help my new community become a progressive and friendly space for all,” he said.

For more information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38067 447 97 92, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 15:50Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM supports disability-inclusive development of Ukrainian communities. Pictured: participants of a conference organized in June 2018. Photo: IOM 

IOM supports disability-inclusive development of Ukrainian communities. Pictured: participants of a conference organized in June 2018. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

2018 Global Migration Film Festival Round-up

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:49

Geneva – Abuja, Ankara, Baghdad and London are some of the locations where Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) screenings have already been held across the world. The 2018 edition of the Film Festival began on 28 November and will run until 18 December – International Migrants Day – in over 100 countries.

Launched in 2016, the GMFF celebrates the connection between cinema and migration. Professional and emerging filmmakers are invited to submit films about the migrant experience according to the established theme. Most of the chosen films reflect the complexity of migration between dreams and realities, social pressure and search for freedom.

Find GMFF updates below:

From a Foreign Land to an Adopted Home: Sport and Integration Headline London Film Event

London – Fear and stubborn prejudices lent tension to a life-affirming story on the themes of football and migrant integration at a film event hosted by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) at London’s iconic Somerset House over the weekend (01/12). The film was screened as part of IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival and in partnership with the London Migration Film Festival.

Marking the run up to International Migrant’s Day (18/12), the event featured a screening of Australian director Mark Grentell’s film The Merger, an emotional rollercoaster ride featuring a team of local and refugee footballers as they struggle to band together and rescue their team from the brink.

“One of the best ways to overcome prejudice is to actively build understanding. When we speak about integration, this means building a better understanding between the host community, migrants and refugees,” said Dipti Pardeshi, IOM Chief of Mission for the United Kingdom. “Shared interests – like sport, music and art – are wonderful catalysts to bring people together. They cross cultural and socioeconomic backgrounds and are activities that we all can participate in and enjoy.”

Pardeshi explained that confronting tough subjects in open discussion is an important way to reduce tensions and foster closer ties within diverse communities. In that spirit, IOM organized a panel discussion led by Mark Doidge (University of Brighton) which included panellists Ahmad Al Rashid (Syrian refugee and IOM UK staff), Kevin Coleman (The Football Association) and Shaista Aziz (The Diversity Football League and Oxford City Council) who shared their own experiences and stories of how sports bring people together.

“The word integration has become very loaded. It has to be a two-way street where everybody genuinely listens to each other,” said Shaista Aziz, Oxford City Councillor. “We connect through stories, and they don’t have to be incredible stories. Refugees and migrants should be allowed to be as mediocre as the average person. They shouldn’t have to do incredible tasks to be welcomed into a country.”

Ahmad Al Rashid, from Aleppo, explained that football helped him to feel a sense of belonging as he settled into a new community.

“Life in the UK [is] very different from Syria. I spoke English so at least I didn’t have that barrier, but it was the little things that were isolating. I joined a team with people from all over the world, including from England,” he said. “It was through sport that the UK gradually went from being a foreign land to being my adopted home.”

As part of its work on integration, IOM, in partnership with England’s Football Association (FA) has undertaken initiatives such as bringing refugees and migrants to watch the England National Football Team play at Wembley Stadium. The partnership has provided an exciting experience for people forced to flee their home as refugees and has helped to foster a sense of belonging for both migrants and refugees as they cheer alongside British nationals. IOM also supports integration through the arts, including the annual “Singing Our Lives” concert that was held in June to mark Refugee Week.

WATCH IOM Reporter: Syrian refugee and IOM UK staffer Ahmad Al Rashid

For further information, please contact Abby Dwommoh at IOM UK, Tel: +44 (0)7873301193, Email:

Global Migration Film Festival Kicks off Across Turkey

Ankara – December 18th will mark International Migrants Day, first proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2000 to recognize the scale of the global migration phenomenon. Celebrated internationally, it provides an opportunity to acknowledge the positive contributions of migrants and their fundamental role in sustainable development.

IOM Turkey will mark the occasion through a Global Migration Film Festival with 10 events across seven cities during 12-18 December. The festival will kick off on 12th December at Gaziantep Municipal Auditorium with a public screening of A Walk on the Tight Rope.

A documentary by German producers Sandra Budesheim and Sabine Zimmer, it tells the complex story of four asylum seekers navigating the asylum application process in Germany.

On 14th December in Ankara, IOM will host a photo exhibition, film screening and panel discussion at the French Institute. Films from around the world will be screened followed by an interactive panel featuring Fariba Nawa, journalist and author of Opium Nation; Abdi Deeq, Somali migrant and artist; Tayfun Sargin of the Turkish Coast Guard; and Ege Yigit of IOM Izmir.

Film screenings will continue at the French Institute on Saturday, 15th December in the afternoon and evening, and are open to the public. Download the schedule here.

The photo exhibit, curated by IOM photographers in line with this year’s theme for International Migrants Day – Migration with Dignity – will be on display and open to the public during 15-18 December at the French Institute.

It illustrates the challenges migrants face and celebrates their contributions to host communities in Turkey, reaffirming migration as a driving force for progress and development. The exhibit tells the story of how migrants and refugees – whether on the move or living locally, from Sanliurfa to Izmir – find peace and a stable life.

Events throughout south-eastern Turkey will take place in Sanliurfa, Iskenderun, Adana, and Gaziantep in partnership with local municipal community centres, the Turkish Red Crescent and Kirkayak Cultural Center.

“Films have the power to show different facets of life and help audiences cultivate deeper empathy for migrants. Our events will aim to create a better understanding of migrants’ realities, needs, perspectives and capacities,” said Lado Gvilava, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Turkey.

For more information, please contact Lanna Walsh at IOM Turkey, Tel: +90 533 698 7285, Email:

Thailand Welcomes Third Global Migration Film Festival

Bangkok –  The Third Global Migration Film Festival will open in Bangkok on Friday 14th December ahead of International Migrants Day on 18th December. The three-day event marks IOM´s third year of screening documentaries, features and short films that explore the themes of migration and human mobility in Thailand.

Supported by local partners Save the Children Thailand, the Embassy of Canada, IOM X and the Bangkok Screening Room, the Festival will feature seven award-winning films that capture the promises and challenges of migration, and the unique contributions that migrants make to their new communities.  

Three critically acclaimed international films – A Thousand Girls Like Me, Fremde Tochter (Strange Daughter) and The Merger – will premiere in Thailand for the first time.

A Thousand Girls Like Me follows the story of 23-year-old Kathera from Kabul, a victim of sexual abuse, who battles against cultural, family and legal pressures in Afghanistan in her attempt to seek justice.

German feature Fremde Tochter (Strange Daughter) tells the tale of a young couple destined to be together, but stuck between traditions, religion, contradictions and prejudices.

Australian comedy The Merger showcases one man’s attempt to revive a struggling local football team with the help of refugees.

The Bangkok premiere of the long-awaited 2018 Danish documentary Heartbound will also take place at the Festival. The documentary follows the lives of four Thai-Danish couples over ten years in an intimate chronicle that explores universal questions of love and romance, dreams and everyday hardship, life and death, and the nature of family.

Following its screening on 16 December at 14.00, a 30-minute question and answer session with film director Sine Plambech will take place.

Also to be screened are Academy Award nominee Monsieur Lazhar, short film The Other Side of Dooman River and LGBT documentary Sidney & Friends.

The diverse film line up aims to provide a variety of perspectives and celebrate cultural diversity. The overall goal of the Festival is to open audiences to a broader discussion about migration.

“The Global Migration Film Festival is IOM’s premiere event in engaging the Thai public on migration issues,” said Dana Graber Ladek, IOM Thailand Chief of Mission. “Challenging negative stereotypes and promoting a positive narrative of migration in extremely important in this day and age where anti-migrant sentiment is on the rise globally.”

The Festival will run from 14-16 December at the Bangkok Screening Room. Admission is free. Tickets will be distributed on a first come, first served basis on the day of each film’s screening.

For further information please contact Reuben Lim at IOM Thailand. Email:, Tel: +66 2 343 9370.

IOM Iraq and Partners to Hold 11 GMFF Events

Iraq – The Global Migration Film Festival in Iraq opened on 28 November with a showing of The Merger and Abu Adnan, in the auditorium of the UN compound in Baghdad, in partnership with the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI). The festival will continue with 10 additional events, hosted by partners including the University of Basra and the University of Mosul.

Films will be screened for displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees in selected camps, and for returnee and displaced Iraqis at the Community Resource Centres (CRCs) in both East and West Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city that was only fully retaken from ISIL in July 2017. 

This is the third year in a row that Iraq is participating in the GMFF.

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


Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 15:49Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia: 

Bindu Isaac, IOM Integration Team Leader, introduces Global Migration Film Festival in London. Photo: IOM 2018 

Syrian refugee and IOM UK staffer Ahmad Al Rashid shared his thoughts about Australian director Mark Grentell’s film "The Merger", following Saturday’s Global Migration Film Festival event at London’s iconic Somerset House.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Hosts Strategic Planning Workshop of Alliance 8.7 Migration Action Group

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:43

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) facilitated a two-day planning workshop of the Migration Action Group from 29 to 30 November, in collaboration with UNICEF, ILO and the Walk Free Foundation.

The workshop, which gathered 30 participants representing UN agencies, NGOs, trade unions, employers’ groups, coalitions, governments, academics and think tanks, provided a forum for stakeholders to strategize on how to tackle the issues addressed under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) Target 8.7 – the elimination of forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and all forms of child labour.

Participants exchanged perspectives, practices and priorities for advancing the objectives of Alliance 8.7 – a global initiative committed to achieving Target 8.7 – by providing a platform for partners to share information and best practices, and to demonstrate progress. Focusing specifically on migration, partners discussed ways to maximize unique institutional advantages and combine efforts to achieve the ambitious commitments of Target 8.7.

To establish a work plan through which practical activities can be supported at global, regional, and country levels, the workshop covered the following components:

  • An overview of Alliance 8.7 to date, with the evolution of thematic action groups and concept of Pathfinder Countries;
  • Presentation of findings from the research into migrant vulnerabilities through the lens of crime prevention, undertaken by the Walk Free Foundation during 2018;
  • Presentation of key findings from a desk review of child labour in the context of migration;
  • Discussions on recommendations for policy as well as support to practical implementation;
  • Prioritizing key activities and a subsequent research agenda.

“I am excited to be engaged in this initiative as this is the kind of evidenced-based, coordinated and multi sectorial approach that the will lead to impactful change,” said Anh Nguyen, Head of IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance Division, after the event.

The workshop was organized under the DFID-funded project Advancing the Alliance 8.7 Action Group on Migration. Thematic Action Groups were established under the Alliance to ensure targeted, specialized expertise would be dedicated to addressing issues of modern slavery, trafficking, forced labour and child labour.

The Migration Action Group, co-chaired by IOM and UNICEF, consists of over 50 organizations who are also partners to the Alliance.

For more information, please contact Andria Kenney at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 22 717 9744, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 15:42Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Human SmugglingLabour MigrationMigration and YouthDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 107,583 in 2018; Deaths Reach 2,133

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:42

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 107,583 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 28 November. This is the fifth straight year during which the arrival of irregular migrants and refugees has topped the 100,000 threshold – although 2018’s total is low compared to those recorded at this time in 2017 (164,908) and 2016 (351,076).

See Table Here

IOM Italy

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo on Monday noted that all seaborne irregular arrivals in the Mediterranean region remain lower – by almost 10,000 people – than arrivals last year at this time only to Italy, which recorded 117,042 through this date (see chart below). Di Giacomo noted that official Ministry of Interior (Italy) figures indicate the 23,011 migrants and refugees arriving by sea to Italy this year represent a decline of 80.35 per cent from last year’s total in the same period.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 2,133 people who have drowned or gone missing on migratory routes across Mediterranean in 2018.

The Mediterranean continues to account for almost two thirds of 3,341 deaths recorded globally (see chart below), recorded in 2018. However, the MMP team notes it is crucial to bear in mind that any comparison between regions is hindered by variations in data quality, which mean that data for some regions may be highly incomplete.

At least 114 people lost their lives in the Western Mediterranean during the month of November, making November the year’s deadliest month on this route. Four large shipwrecks were documented by the team. On 5 November, there were two shipwrecks in which 54 people lost their lives: 31 people drowned in waters near the Spanish enclave of Melilla, while 23 others died in a shipwreck off the coast of Cádiz.

On 22 November, 13 people went missing and the remains of a woman, who was pregnant when she died, were recovered from a sinking boat off the coast of Almería. A few days later, 29 people drowned off the coast of Nador, Morocco. Besides these four large incidents, the bodies of 17 people were recovered from different locations throughout the month.

Most recently, three people drowned in the Western Mediterranean. Spanish rescue services recovered the body of a woman and rescued 56 others from a boat in the Albor­an Sea on 29 November. The remains of the woman were brought with the survivors to the Port of Málaga. Unfortunately, no further details on her age, nationality or identity have been made available.

Across the Mediterranean, on Algeria’s coastline, the bodies of two young men, both Algerian nationals, were retrieved by Algerian civil protection authorities at Arzew, near Oran, on 2 December. The pair had been trying to reach southern Spain with 32 others, who survived.

See Table Here

The Missing Migrants Project team also received information about a shipwreck which occurred off the eastern coast of Algeria, where boats depart from Annaba with the aim of covering the 350km stretch of sea to the Italian island of Sardinia. On 22 November, 19 Algerian young men, between 18 and 35 years old, boarded a boat with the aim of finding a better life in Italy. However, the boat capsized amid severe weather conditions, and only 11 men managed to swim back to the shore near Oued El Agueb.

The Algerian Navy and Civil Protection authorities launched a search and rescue operation. However, to date only one body has been recovered and six people remain missing.

The parents of 27-year-old “L.S.”, whose remains were recovered on 30 November, were able to identify their son at the Ibn Rochd hospital in Annaba. During the search and rescue operation, the highly decomposed body of another man was recovered. He is believed to have drowned in a shipwreck which took place over two months ago.

IOM Spain

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that through Sunday (2 December) 53,512 men, women and children have arrived as irregular migrants this year. For the month of November Dodevska reported 4,912 arrivals or about 163 men, women and children per day, more than arrived in Spanish waters in April and May, but considerably fewer than the rate of arrival during the busy June-October period, when over 40,000 migrants arrived, a rate of just over 263 per day.

IOM Greece

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported on Monday that from Friday (30 November) up to date, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported five incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Samos, Chios, Farmakonisi and Symi. The HCG rescued a total of 160 migrants and transferred them to those respective islands.

Those 160 – plus 205 more arriving in Kos, Rhodes, Lesvos and elsewhere – bring to 29,782 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year through 2 December. That surpasses the total (29,595) arriving by sea through all last year (see chart below). Additionally, over 15,000 irregular migrants have arrived this year in Greece by land.

See Table Here

Missing Migrants Project

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 3,341 people who have died or gone missing on migratory routes across the globe in 2018.  Beyond the Mediterranean, the MMP team recorded in the Americas since its last report (29 November) six people who had left their homes to migrate north lost their lives.

On 29 November, remains of a 30-year-old Mexican national were found on the banks of Río Bravo in Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas. His parents identified him at the local morgue, saying he had attempted to cross the border into the United States in search of a better life. On the same day, 29 November, US Border Patrol agents retrieved the remains of a migrant from a ranch near Freer, Texas. The remains were transferred to the Webb County Office of the Medical Examiner to start the identification process.

Almost 2,000 miles away, in San Diego County (California), MMP researches reported three people died and another eight were injured after a high-speed chase ended in a car crash on Interstate 8, less than 10 miles from the border with Mexico. No further details regarding the country of origin, sex or age of the deceased were available. Also, near the Mexico-California border, on 30 November, a 45-year-old man from El Salvador – believed to be part of the caravan of migrants who arrived in Tijuana earlier this month – was hit by a vehicle near the temporary migrant shelter known as El Barretal.

Witnesses say he was walking with his partner, who also was injured in the accident.

In Eastern Europe, the MMP team recorded the death of a man in the Dobra river, Croatia on 30 November. The day before, three migrants who were apprehended by local police in Karlovac county had reported that another migrant had fallen and gone missing when crossing the river between the towns of Lipa and Protulipa, near the border with Slovenia.

See Table Here

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.

For further information see contacts here.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 15:41Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Burundi Trains High Ranking Judicial Police Officers to Combat Trafficking in Persons

Tue, 12/04/2018 - 08:41

Bujumbura – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the Judicial Police of Burundi and with support from the Government of Netherlands, last week (26-30/11) trained judicial police officers in investigating trafficking in persons and assisting victims.

The training, held in the capital city Bujumbura, covered both international and national legal frameworks, investigation techniques (including both financial and proactive investigations) as well as evaluation of risks. Participants also were trained on victim identification, referral, protection and assistance.

UNICEF facilitated the session on child protection and assistance while Bridges to Justice Burundi provided a module on the rights of suspects.

Burundi is primarily “a source country” for trafficked persons, where adults and children are coerced into forced labour, domestic servitude, prostitution and other forms of sexual exploitation throughout the region and elsewhere in the world.

Internally, children and adults are also trafficked for forced labour and sexual exploitation.

“Trafficking is a crime that preys on vulnerability. In Burundi, factors including poverty, displacement, unemployment and climate change all contribute to opportunities for traffickers to exploit extremely vulnerable people,” said AJ Morgen, IOM Burundi Chief of Mission.

Morgen added, “The work of the Judicial Police is essential to effectively fight against trafficking, not only to dismantle international criminal networks, but also to identify and refer victims. IOM is extremely grateful for the ongoing strong collaboration with the Judicial Police of Burundi. We look forward to continuing our partnership in the future to prevent and suppress trafficking in persons.”

Emile Manisha, General Commissioner of the Judicial Police, said “Almost every country in the world is affected by this crime against humanity. Trafficking can be a lucrative enterprise and those responsible are often linked to organized criminality.”

He added: “The National Police of Burundi is working hard daily to fight against this scourge. This training will assist officers of the Judicial Police to reinforce their capacities to in turn support the Government of Burundi in their efforts to effectively fight against trafficking in persons.”

The training sessions were carried out as part of a larger project to support the Government of Burundi and civil society partners to tackle human trafficking.

For further information, please contact Niamh McEvoy at IOM Burundi, Tel: +257 75400339, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 4, 2018 - 15:40Image: Region-Country: BurundiThemes: Counter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the high ranking Judicial Police officials who received IOM training on combatting human trafficking. Photo: IOM/Samantha Sindaka 

The training covered the international and national legal framework, investigation techniques including both financial and proactive investigations, as well as evaluation of risks. Photo: IOM/Samantha Sindaka 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

One Year On: IOM’s World Migration Report 2018 Provides Vital Information and Analysis

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 10:57

Geneva — Migration is one of the most polarizing public policy issues of our time. As the subject continues to dominate news cycles and public policy debates, misinformation on migration and migrants has become widespread, making it harder to separate facts from fiction.

IOM, the UN Migration Agency, launched the World Migration Report 2018 one year ago. Since then, the report has played a significant role in providing much-needed information and analysis on various migration issues. With nearly 200,000 downloads in the last 12 months, the report has not only become the most downloaded IOM publication of all time, but has also been key to debunking many myths associated with migration.  

Available in English, French, Spanish, Chinese and Arabic, WMR 2018 has garnered extensive global coverage. A wide range of media outlets such as The Guardian, The Times of India, Radio Canada, El Espectador in Colombia and Australia’s Special Broadcasting Service, among others, have covered or cited the publication, underscoring the ever-growing need for evidence-based information on migration.

But the report’s reach is not limited to the media. Leading think tanks and international institutions such as the Council on Foreign Relations and the World Economic Forum have also engaged with its contents. It has also attracted significant attention from policy makers, migration practitioners, academics, students and the general public. Various themes covered in WMR 2018 such as media and migration, migration statistics, migration journeys, irregular migration and migration governance have proven highly pertinent at a time when the need to cut through inaccurate or ‘fake news’ on migration has never been more urgent.

WMR 2018 is “a great starting point to try and understand population movements from a balanced point of view,” said Ronald Skeldon, Professor of Human Geography at Maastricht University. He added that the report is a first port of call for many people working on migration.

Similar sentiments were echoed by Jaqueline Bhabha, Professor at Harvard University, who recently highlighted the significance of WMR 2018 to her teaching; she spoke of several chapters of the report as “perfect” for introducing her students to new topics.

The extensive use of WMR 2018 in the academic environment was further highlighted by Binod Khadria, Professor of Economics at Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi, who said he often recommends the report to his doctoral students working on migration-related topics. Part I of the report, which provides an overview of current migration dynamics, has become invaluable to students and researchers as a source of reliable migration data and information on both global and regional migration trends.  

WMR 2018 remains the most sought-after publication produced by IOM; the Organization is committed to continuing to publish WMRs that are timely, relevant and of the highest quality to further contribute to more evidence-based analysis and policy debates on the most salient migration issues of our time.

The next World Migration Report, WMR 2020, is scheduled for release at end of 2019. It is again a collaboration between IOM experts, academics, and migration practitioners.  

For more information please contact Marie McAuliffe at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 22 717 9371, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 - 16:55Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency to Conclude 109th Council Session Today

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 10:00

Geneva – IOM Director General António Vitorino this week (27-30/11) addressed a gathering of the Organization’s member 173 states and welcomed IOM’s newest member – Uzbekistan – while presiding over a range of panels and programmes at his first IOM Council Session since assuming his position at the beginning of October.

“Size alone does not determine the strength of an organization,” DG Vitorino explained in his welcoming remarks to the Council. “It is the commitment and skills of its staff that has enabled IOM to respond to complex emergencies, to provide advice to governments on diverse issues, and to thereby help to foster greater space for common ground.”

He spoke on the upcoming programme in Marrakesh, Morocco, where IOM states will discuss adoption of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

“The process of negotiating the Global Compact has been a milestone for States, coming together to find compromise on an issue that divides more frequently than it unites,” IOM’s Director General said, emphasizing the Global Compact “will be a guiding influence on those States that have chosen to endorse it as a voluntary, non-legally binding platform for cooperation.”

Venezuela, Yemen and the Rohingya emergency impacting Myanmar and its neighbour, Bangladesh, were each addressed during the four-day session.

DG Vitorino described the situation in Libya as “fiendishly complex,” calling it a source of deep concern and distress, “particularly regarding the significant number of migrants and refugees still held in detention” in Libya. He pointed out that already in 2018 IOM has provided voluntary humanitarian return to 15,000 migrants there to countries like Mali, Niger and Nigeria.

He also raised the broader challenges of maritime migration across the Mediterranean, and the political response to mixed migration within the European Union. “IOM must work with all States to reduce uncertainty and suffering among the migrant population,” he concluded, “while recognizing that these are symptoms of a deeper vacuum of governance that urgently needs to be addressed.”

On Thursday (11/29) IOM Director General Vitorino convened a high-level dialogue entitled “Responding to Internal Displacement” with panelists including Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees; Christos Sylianides, EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management; Jos Verbeek, Manager and Special Representative of the World Bank Group; Alexandra Bilak, Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre Director, and H.E. Mitiku Kassa, Commissioner for National Disaster Risk Management (Ethiopia).

DG Vitorino opened the session by emphasizing that while dealing with internal displacement is a sovereign national responsibility, states should exercise political leadership regarding the severe plight facing the world’s 40 million people internally displaced by conflict and tens of millions more displaced by climate-related disasters.

Similarly, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi noted that “while we are at a moment of crisis, we also find ourselves with renewed opportunity for deeper commitments” as the international community marks the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

Panelists collectively called on governments and humanitarian agencies to scale up humanitarian assistance and protection for IDPs, and to invest in more comprehensive responses to meet the development, peacebuilding and environmental dimensions of internal displacement, including disaster risk reduction and mitigating the impacts of climate change among other forms of prevention.

The panel ended with a trailer of IOM’s Holding On virtual reality exhibition on internal displacement.

On Wednesday (28/11), Louise Arbour, UN Special Representative of the Secretary General for International Migration, participated in a panel entitled “United Nations Network on Migration: An Overview”, which IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson moderated.

The Network on Migration was established to secure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States in ensuring the implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Migration and in other migration-related issues. IOM was designated as the network’s coordinator and secretariat by UN Secretary General António Guterres.

DG Vitorino’s remarks to the Council can be accessed here: Watch video | Read official transcript

For more information, please contact Joel Millman at IOM Headquarters in Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 - 17:00Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migrants from the Caravans Receive IOM Support to Return to their Countries

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 10:00

San José – Since 4 November 2018, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) has facilitated the voluntary and safe return of hundreds of Central Americans who were part of the caravans of migrants traveling US-bound through Mexican territory.

As of Wednesday (28/11), 453 migrants (84% men) who were part of the caravans requested and obtained IOM support to return to their countries of origin or residence: Honduras (57%), El Salvador (38%) and Guatemala (5%). Twenty-five unaccompanied migrant children returned by plane. 

Information and registration booths have been opened in Tecún Umán (Guatemala), Tapachula, Mexico City, and Tijuana (México). Over 300 Central American migrants have expressed their interest in returning from Tijuana, and IOM is coordinating safe and dignified means of transport for them. Migrants wishing to return are counselled and screened by IOM to evaluate their options prior to making the decision to return. 

As part of this programme, funded by the US State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM), IOM also coordinates with the governments of all involved countries for the regular and safe return of the migrants.

During their return trip, the migrants receive food and psychosocial support in border crossings, and when arriving at receptions centres in El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala, the migrants receive hygiene kits and, in many cases, transportation money to get home.

Migrants who arrive at reception centres in the countries of the northern triangle are also referred to government institutions that can address vulnerabilities related to health, protection against intra-family violence, and access to employment exchanges.

"Many of the migrants I interviewed as part of the return process said that they learned about the caravans being organized through social media and TV," recounts Maritza Matarrita, an IOM protection officer. "Many of them said it was almost an impulse; they didn't stop to think about the risks and the exhausting days of walking. They just joined a group of friends or neighbours and joined the caravan."

"My destination was the US. I was looking for a job. Working is what I've done since I was eleven," says Dennis Javier, one of the migrants who requested IOM support to return. "But seeing things as they are, I changed my mind. I think it’s best for me to return to El Salvador."

"Since 1979, IOM has helped 1.5 million migrants return to their country of origin or residence through its Assisted Voluntary Return programmes," says Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America, and the Caribbean. "For IOM, a voluntary return programme is an indispensable part of a comprehensive approach to migration management aiming at orderly and humane return and reintegration of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host or transit countries and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin."

Download the latest IOM Assisted Voluntary Return report here.

For more information please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Tel: +506 2212-5352, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 - 16:59Image: Region-Country: MexicoThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Migrants wishing to return are counseled and screened by IOM to evaluate their options prior to making the decision to return. Photo: IOM/Alexis Moreno

Information and registration booths have been opened in Tecún Umán (Guatemala), Tapachula, Mexico City, and Tijuana (México). Photo: IOM/Alexis Moreno

As of Wednesday (28/11), 453 migrant, 84 percent men, who were part of the caravans, requested and obtained IOM support to return to their countries of origin or residence. Photo: IOM/Alexis Moreno

As of Wednesday (28/11), 453 migrant, 84 percent men, who were part of the caravans, requested and obtained IOM support to return to their countries of origin or residence. Photo: IOM/Alexis Moreno

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Live life positively: Let Migrants Know Their HIV Status

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 09:59

Switzerland – On this World AIDS Day, 2018, the UN Migration Agency, reflects on how accessible HIV testing is for migrant populations. Migration does not equal HIV vulnerability, and not all migrants are at increased risk for HIV.  However, in many contexts migrants are exposed to a unique set of socio-cultural, economic and environmental factors that make them more vulnerable to HIV.  For example, they may be at high risk of HIV infection as they often face marginalization and exclusion, and various barriers to accessing health promotion and care.

As mentioned in the 2018 UNAIDS Report - Knowledge is Power, “migrants have specific legal and administrative impediments to accessing HIV testing and other services (particularly where they are undocumented and, as a result, are not entitled to health care), and they face cultural and linguistic barriers, racism and xenophobia that serve to restrict access. They also have a higher frequency of delayed HIV diagnosis than people among the general population”.

Around the world, IOM works with governments and national/international partners to deliver programmes that adopt a rights-based approach to decrease HIV vulnerability and risk among migrants by ensuring equal access to HIV prevention, care, treatment and support, and countering misinformation and stigmatization surrounding migration and HIV. For instance, as a component of IOM’s pre-departure health assessment programmes, IOM offers counselling and testing for HIV for refugees and migrants traveling to over fifteen host countries. In 2018 to date, IOM provided over 70,000 voluntary HIV tests, including pre- and post-test counselling, in more than 50 IOM operations worldwide. Where necessary, IOM provides referrals for follow-up care to local or national health systems.

Mrs. Jacqueline Weekers, Director, Migration Health Division said “In order to achieve the 90-90-90 targets by 2020, all countries need to accelerate their testing and treatment programmes, and this can’t be done without the inclusion of migrant populations in order to reach the goal of leaving no one behind”.

All HIV testing needs to be voluntary, confidential and with counseling support.  If positive, all persons without any regards on their nationality or migration status should have access to adequate high-quality healthcare, treatment and support.  IOM urges governments and partners to move forward the Universal Health Coverage Agenda, the revision of policies related to restrictions on entry-based on HIV status and the development of migrant-friendly policies, adapted towards inclusive health systems and stigma free societies.


As mentioned by Michel Sidibé, UNAIDS Executive Director, “HIV testing gives people the knowledge they need to make choices—choices on the right options for treatment and prevention. Knowledge really is power. The power of people to determine the right options to keep healthy. And the power to stay well and live long and productive lives. Let’s ensure that everyone has that power”.    

On this World AIDS Day, IOM enhances us to include access for HIV testing for migrant populations as a topic to discuss in every HIV dialogue, allowing the development of inclusive policies which would decrease their risk to HIV and improve their access to migrant friendly health services.

For more information please contact IOM’s Migration Health Division: (

For further information, please contact Jorge Galindo GALINDO at the Migration Communication Division or Carlos Van der Laat at the Migration Health Division in HQ.

Related information

Language English Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 - 16:59Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

An IOM nurse draws blood for laboratory examinations at the IOM Migration Health Assessment Centre in Manila, Philippines

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migrants Urged to “Know Your Status” on World AIDS Day

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 09:58

Tbilisi/Minsk – Stigma and lack of awareness are two of the major factors preventing migrants from knowing their HIV status, making them more vulnerable to AIDS. That’s the conclusion of two new IOM studies released this week in Belarus and Georgia to mark World AIDS Day on 1 December. The theme this year is “Know Your Status” and the IOM reports underline the extra risks to which migrants are exposed.

The IOM/UNAIDS study into the nexus between migration and HIV in Belarus concentrates on the dynamics between the risks of exposure to HIV and the mobility of people.

It revealed a low level of awareness of HIV and its routes of transmission among international drivers, foreign students, and working migrants, leading to higher behavioral risks.

“People have a negative perception of migrants, so I prefer not to get tested for HIV in Georgia,” said one labour migrant, taking part in a focus group on HIV and tuberculosis in that country.

Meanwhile, in Belarus, a lack of knowledge was revealed by IOM’s research: “When I was in school, we were taken to the cinema to watch a film about AIDS, that is it," recalled one of the international workers, a truck driver, who participated in the Belarus survey.

Another participant said, “I heard that you could die from HIV infection.”

The way forward, explained Dr. Jaime Calderon, IOM’s Regional Health Advisor, is better health promotion for migrants. He was speaking at an event in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, this week, and added: “They are often not aware of their risks, and face barriers in accessing services. Gathering evidence on migrants’ perceptions on their risk regarding HIV and TB, but also their experiences with access to services, is very valuable.

“HIV does not stop at national borders, so policies to address it for migrants should go beyond national contexts,” he explained.

The results point to the necessity of large-scale innovative preventive activities to inform the target groups about the risks and safety measures. The study also showed that migrants face difficulties in accessing HIV testing and anti-retroviral treatment. It will be continued to cover other groups of migrants and get the full picture of the situation and measures needed to be taken.

The studies were made possible with the support of UNAIDS and the IOM Development Fund. The Belarus survey can be accessed here, while the Georgia report will be officially launched in January.

For more information please contact Joe Lowry at the IOM Regional Office in Vienna, Tel: +4360 3776404, Email

Language English Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 - 16:58Image: Region-Country: GeorgiaThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Rising to the Challenge: New IOM/IDMC Global Partnership to Address Internal Displacement

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 09:58

Geneva – Efforts to provide solutions to the tens of millions of people displaced within their own countries by conflict and disasters will be enhanced by the new partnership announced today between the UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC).

The number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) has nearly doubled since 2000, increasing sharply over the last five years. In addition to the estimated 40 million people internally displaced by conflict, a further 18.8 million people were internally displaced in 2017 due to climate-related disasters and natural hazards, according to IDMC.

The partnership links IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), the world’s largest source of primary data on internal displacement, and IDMC’s leading expertise in internal displacement data analysis, research and policy development. 

Ultimately, the two organizations endeavour to advance national and global policies to improve the lives of internally displaced persons across the world. 

“IOM’s interventions in favor of IDPs, in support of our Member States, make up a significant share of our work globally. This partnership will take us to new levels of quality and consistency and allow us to mobilize attention on an issue that has not been given sufficient consideration,” said António Vitorino, IOM’s Director General.

“IDMC has been a long-standing partner of IOM’s and we are delighted to be formalizing and expanding the breadth of this collaboration,” he added.

Internal displacement continues to grow, driven by instability, conflict and disasters, even as the international community marks the 20th anniversary of the UN Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement.

“There are still many gaps in how we understand and address this issue,” said Alexandra Bilak, Director of IDMC. “The challenges and opportunities of the current global landscape of internal displacement require a strategic approach, and this partnership provides us with the political leverage we need to scale up our work, to develop new approaches and to help governments find lasting solutions to this issue.”

Moving forward, IOM and IDMC will develop a joint resource mobilization strategy to finance their mutual efforts, and work hand-in-hand to achieve more comprehensive approaches, across the entire continuum of displacement.

For more information, please contact Angela Wells at IOM Headquarters in Geneva, Tel: +41 7940 35365, Email:

Frankie Parrish, Interim Head of Communications, IDMC, Tel: +41 22 552 36 45, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 - 16:57Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

AU, EU, UN Discuss Sustainable Reintegration of Migrants

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 09:57

Addis Ababa – On 27 and 28 November 2018, the African Union and the European Union held a Technical Workshop on Sustainable Reintegration of Migrants in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, with the support of IOM, the UN Migration Agency.

As part of the work of the AU-EU-UN Taskforce on the Situation of Migrants in Libya, participants exchanged good practices, identified challenges and lessons learned, and looked at what more can be done to achieve sustainable reintegration of migrants returning to their home countries from various regions.

European Commissioner for International Cooperation and Development, Neven Mimica, commented: "The EU’s migration agenda is comprehensive, balanced and broad. Our support for sustainable reintegration must be well-devised and meet returnees’ needs, so they can start afresh. Through the EU Trust Fund for Africa, the EU has invested EUR 345 million in the protection, return and reintegration of migrants in Africa, so that they can rejoin economic, social, cultural and political life at home. And these activities are producing results. So far, through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, we have helped more than 55,000 migrants rebuild their lives."

"Our focus must be on ensuring that returnees are sustainably reintegrated into their communities with both community-based approaches and sensitivity to individual specificities and needs,” noted Amira Elfadil, the Commissioner for Social Affairs of the African Union Commission. “From experience, I know this can only be sustainably achieved with all those involved in migration management. Reintegration is a complex and multidimensional policy issue affecting people’s lives. It requires structured cooperation among us all, so that we respect the dignity of refugees and migrants and protect their human rights, while respecting the sovereignty of the countries involved. Working for effective and sustainable reintegration requires cooperation and mutual understanding between countries of origin and destination."

"While individual assistance already is a part of the reintegration landscape, this event is an opportunity to develop a technical dialogue and exchange about the more novel elements of practice at community and structural levels, ensuring a more comprehensive, integrated approach to sustainable reintegration," underlined Renate Held, Director of IOM’s Department of Migration Management.

To respond to the rise in irregular migratory flows over the recent years, the EU, the UN and the AU have put in place concrete measures to assist people on the move, address underlying reasons for migration and assist migrants returning to their countries of origin. Sustainable reintegration is a key aspect of the migration process. If it is to succeed, it must be comprehensive, joined-up and needs-based. In this context the workshop brought together participants from AU and EU Member States, the UN, civil society and returnees to discuss the economic, social and psychosocial dimensions of reintegration, as well as the different levels of intervention – individual, community and structural – needed for the sustainable reintegration of migrants.

The workshop’s outcomes will feed into the African Union’s future Return, Readmission and Reintegration Guidelines for Africa and the forthcoming IOM Reintegration Handbook, supported by the UK’s Department for International Development.

For more information please contact Ryan Schroeder at IOM’s Regional Office for the EU, Tel: +322 287 7116, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 - 16:57Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Stefano Signore (EU), Commissioner Elfadil (AU) and Maureen Achieng (IOM) speaking at the AU-EU-UN workshop on the sustainable reintegration of migrants in Ethiopia. Photo: IOM 2018 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Sheltering Over 1,000 Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Greece

Fri, 11/30/2018 - 09:57

Athens – IOM, the UN Migration Agency announced today (30/11) that it has provided a protective environment and tailored services for 1,114 unaccompanied migrant children in Greece since the beginning of the year.

Under an EU-funded project, the children are now being accommodated in 13 hotels – which are operating as temporary accommodation in northern and central Greece – after having left protective custody or reception and identification centres located on the islands and the Greek mainland. A multidisciplinary team of 24 IOM staff is assigned to each of eight of these facilities, while implementing partners ARSIS and Iliaktida run the other three and two facilities, respectively, with five IOM staff at each facility.

“Providing adequate accommodation and living conditions for unaccompanied children arriving in Greece is one of the priorities of the Government of Greece. IOM, supported by the European Commission, has set up this project to provide temporary accommodation for those who cannot be immediately accommodated in the shelters,” explained Gianluca Rocco, IOM Chief of Mission in Greece.

“Shelters are being set up in Greece, but adequate numbers are still lacking. With this project there is a possibility to ensure that proper accommodation is provided for these children,” he added. 

Through 31 October, most of the children came from Afghanistan (453), Pakistan (395), Syria (104), Iraq (36) and Morocco (20), from a total of 27 countries including Sudan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia and Yemen.

IOM is taking urgent action to ensure that the children are receiving psychosocial support, mental health counselling, legal counselling and support accompanied by interpretation. IOM staff is also responsible for distribution of clothing and hygiene kits, provision of pocket money and monthly cards for the public means of transportation.

Along with the services provided, IOM together with the Greek Ministry of Education is ensuring the children’s enrolment in the public education system. Since September 2018, 220 unaccompanied migrant children accommodated in the hotels have been enrolled in Greek schools – 96 in Northern Greece and 124 in Southern Greece.

Médecins du Monde-Greece (MdM-Greece) in close partnership with IOM has carried out 13,900 medical interventions between 1 January and 31 October. MdM staff conducted 587 vaccinations, 1,568 referrals, 4,443 prescriptions and 7,302 consultations.

“MdM is working at maximum capacity to assess the health needs of the unaccompanied migrant children, that have been trapped in a permanent situation of temporality and uncertainty in our country,” said Joanna Nikolaidou, MdM’s Assistant Field Coordinator in Greece.

The “Pedia” project is being implemented in close coordination with National Centre for Social Solidarity (EKKA) and the Greek Ministry of Labour. To learn more, please visit the web page of the PEDIA project, which is funded by the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund of the European Union, directly managed by the European Commission’s Directorate General Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission (DG HOME).

For more information please contact Christine Nikolaidou at IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 9040, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 30, 2018 - 16:56Image: Region-Country: GreeceThemes: Migration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

Unaccompanied migrant children currently living in Athens visit the Attica Zoo Park. Photo: IOM 2018 

Unaccompanied migrant children visit the National Museum of Athens. Photo: IOM 2018 

Unaccompanied migrant children in classes learning the Greek Language: Photo: IOM 2018 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN