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Updated: 2 hours 38 min ago

New Funding for EU-IOM Joint Initiative in the Horn of Africa

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:29

Nairobi – The European Union (EU) has committed an additional EUR 18 million to its partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) known as the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa (EU-IOM Joint Initiative). 

The funding brings to EUR 43 million the EU’s total commitment to the EU-IOM initiative in the region, which aims to save lives and improve assistance for migrants along migration routes originating from the Horn of Africa. 

In the Horn of Africa, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative – running from March 2017 to March 2021 – is mainly focused on Ethiopia, Djibouti, Somalia and Sudan. Three of those countries – Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan – combined to account for the largest migrant movement on the continent.  

Backed by the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, it covers and was set up in 2016 in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa and North Africa regions. The programme facilitates safer, more informed and better governed migration for both migrants and their community through the development of rights-based and development-focused procedures and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration.  

Moreover, the initiative allows migrants who decide to return to their countries of origin to do so in a safe and dignified way. It provides reintegration support to enable returning migrants to restart their lives in their countries and communities of origin through an integrated approach, which may include individual assistance as well as community-based support and structural interventions. 

Thanks to these additional resources, the programme is now gearing to scale up its work, especially the provision of tailor-made reintegration assistance. This can include medical help for returning migrants, psychosocial support, links to employment opportunities, and training in entrepreneurship.  

Another service offered is family tracing and reunification for unaccompanied children. The reintegration assistance delivered also involves and responds to the priorities of communities of return.  

Much of the work in the Horn of Africa takes place in Ethiopia, which has a population of over 100 million. The main migration routes in the Horn of Africa are the Northern and Western route to Libya, Egypt, and Europe; the Eastern route to the Middle East and beyond; and the Southern route to South Africa. 

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative assists those who are stranded during their journey or find a hostile reception in the transit and intended destination countries. The programme therefore works closely with governments in the countries of origin in issuing travel documents, providing protection and immediate arrival assistance, as well as facilitating onward travel to the area of origin. Assistance under the programme is voluntary and without obligations. 

From April 2018, the bulk of the 3,804 migrants that the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in the Horn of Africa assisted to return to their countries of origin were Ethiopians on the Eastern Route through Djibouti to Yemen and the Gulf countries.  

To date, the programme has made substantial achievements establishing mechanisms for returnees to benefit from sustainable economic, social and psychosocial reintegration support. Partnerships have been established and support networks created with six state and 23 non-state actors. The aim there is to improve reintegration conditions for returning migrants, to build the capacity of stakeholders and to establish referral networks for returnees. 

The programme has also contributed to increasing the evidence base on migration in the region, publishing a range of migration data products through its Nairobi-based regional data hub. Labour market and service skills assessments for Ethiopia and Somalia were used to shape reintegration strategies, while the findings of a study in Djibouti informed the government’s approach of responding to the situation of street children.  

For more information please contact the IOM Regional Office in Nairobi: Julia Hartlieb, Tel: +254 731 988 846, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 24, 2019 - 16:27Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: EUTFIOMMigrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Returning migrants being assisted by IOM at Obock, Djibouti.

An Ethiopian former migrant who has been assisted to re-start his life.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Human Trafficking Takes Centre Stage in Bangladesh

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:26

Cox’s Bazar – Bangladesh is boosting efforts to combat human trafficking with a 2018-2022 national plan of action to improve enforcement through better inter-agency coordination, improved training of officers and harmonization of existing laws. 

The plan, developed with technical support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), was presented to local officials and counter trafficking specialists at a conference in Cox’s Bazar this week. It follows legislation passed in 2012 to counter human trafficking in this South Asian country of 160 million.   

Limited socio-economic opportunities drive thousands of Bangladeshis to look for opportunities abroad. But many are believed to fall into the hands of human trafficking networks, ending up in forced labour or other exploitative situations abroad. Trafficking in persons also occurs internally within Bangladesh.  

IOM has a multi-pronged approach based on prevention, protection and prosecution of counter human trafficking that includes supporting the government’s efforts for stronger legislation and enforcement and victim assistance.  

The Cox’s Bazar conference: Orientation on Prevention and Suppression on Human Trafficking Act, 2012 and National Plan of Action 2018-2022 was organized by IOM and supported by the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). DFID supports IOM’s Rohingya Refugee Response in the district, including protection activities linked to countering human trafficking. 

IOM Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh Manuel Pereira told delegates that IOM is working hard to combat human trafficking in Bangladesh. “In Cox’s Bazar, IOM has helped 295 victims of trafficking since 2017. Some 60 per cent were female; 40 per cent were male; and 87 per cent of the total were trafficked for forced labour. But the real numbers are much higher – people don’t come forward and say, ‘we are being trafficked,’” he noted.  

In Cox’s Bazar, human trafficking is an ever-present threat to nearly a million Rohingya refugees living in one of the world’s most densely packed camps.  The impoverished community is fertile ground for criminal trafficking syndicates who lure migrants to work abroad under false pretences.  

IOM protection programme manager Chissey Mueller highlighted the fact that the Bangladeshi government is now leading the way in boosting enforcement. “Local authorities are working together to counter human trafficking – with support from IOM, DFID and others. The laws are now in place – the issue now is filling the gaps, better enforcement and cooperation among authorities, as well as supporting prosecutions,” she said.  

Mueller added that human traffickers often violate multiple domestic laws, including ones addressing forced labour and sexual exploitation. Other countries in both the developing and developed world use national plans of action to facilitate implementation and “bring laws to life” through enforcement on the ground, she noted.   

IOM works in partnership with governments, UN agencies, NGOs, the private sector and development partners on all aspects of counter-trafficking responses – prevention, protection, and prosecution. It maintains the world’s largest trafficking victim database, which contains records of over 50,000 trafficked people assisted by IOM. 

For more information please contact George McLeod, IOM Bangladesh, Tel: + +880 18 7071 8078, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 24, 2019 - 16:25Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Counter-TraffickingRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar’s vast, impoverished camps are highly vulnerable to human trafficking. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Nigerian Displaced Communities Prepare for Rains as First Storms Raze Hundreds of Homes

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:25

Maiduguri – Zaynab stands next to the remnants of her home she used to share with her six children before it was destroyed by early season rainstorms that brought strong winds and rain to north-east Nigeria.  

“I was in the market in the afternoon when the storm came but my six children were inside the house,” said Zaynab as she prepares a meal to break the Ramadan fast. “We lost everything except for a mattress we found across the camp and a few cooking pots.” 

As of today (24/05), 395 shelters in camps and camp-like settings in Borno State, including Zaynab’s, have been damaged or destroyed since heavy rains began at the end of April. A total of 41 camps hosting more than 300,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) have been classified as prone to flooding; some in hard-to-reach areas like Monguno, Konduga, Bama and others.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Nigeria will respond to the needs of displaced populations through a multi-sectoral rainy season emergency response plan. The Organization will prioritize its interventions toward households with children under five, pregnant women, elderly people and single female households.  

IOM teams are being deployed to repair or strengthen shelters in case of flooding, sensitize people to flood risks and conduct shelter and infrastructure maintenance. Other small-scale community-driven mitigation measures include waste management in camps and building or repairing drainage canals. 

Zaynab hails from a farming family from Guduf Nagadio in Borno State, the epicentre of ongoing conflict between Nigerian forces and non-state armed groups. Her husband was killed by armed men as they tried to escape violence three years ago. Since then, her family has resided in an IDP camp in Borno State, home to nearly 1.5 million IDPs.  

Storms earlier this month displaced Zaynab’s family yet again. IOM’s Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) team have subsequently relocated them and other families to temporary shelters in the nearby town of Gwoza.  

Borno State is affected by strong winds, storms and flooding on an annual basis. Yearly rains often ravage shelters where IDPs live, and cause blockage of water circulation pathways and drainage systems. 

CCCM teams have constructed water pumps in the affected displacement sites where water ways or drainage systems are non-existent. Sand bags have been used in flood-prone areas to divert water from flowing into shelters or pathways. 

“Preventive measures are key,” said Nadia Tithi, IOM Nigeria Shelter Programme Manager. “Urgent needs remain, and this year, we’re reinforcing more than 3,000 emergency shelters before the strongest rains hit,” she added.  

Staff are also repairing structures where IDPs live and distributing nearly 4,000 emergency shelter kits throughout Borno and Adamawa States. The kits serve as a contingency measure and in some cases, have already been distributed to affected households. 

With seasonal heavy rains come an increased risk of disease outbreak, particularly cholera, in north-east Nigeria. During the last rainy season in late 2018, the area saw nearly 100 cholera-related deaths. As part of the Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) programme, IOM is conducting intensive door-to-door hygiene promotion and awareness raising campaigns to prevent the spread of cholera in communities. 

IOM Nigeria’s rainy season emergency preparedness is supported by the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance, the Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations, the Federal Republic of Germany and the Nigerian Humanitarian Fund. This support enables IOM to attend to the most acute needs of displaced populations. IOM is appealing for further funds to ensure a holistic response to the multi-sectoral preparedness needs in north-east Nigeria. 

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

Language English Posted: Friday, May 24, 2019 - 16:23Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Community members in GSS Camp, Gwoza, are engaged in the reinforcement of shelters through cash-for-work activities. Photo: IOM/David Zimmerman

Community members in GSS Camp, Gwoza, are engaged in the reinforcement of shelters through cash-for-work activities. Photo: IOM/David Zimmerman

Zaynab continues to cook in front of the one remaining timber that held the door of their home. “I like this spot because I know everyone around me”. Photo: IOM/David Zimmerman

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Provides Support to Venezuelans in Brazil

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:22

São Paulo – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week (20 May) provided food assistance to Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Brazil's south-eastern region. Most of the Venezuelans who received the aid live in a temporary shelter in the city, part of Brazil’s Relocation Strategy known as Operação Acolhida, which is supported by IOM along with other UN agencies, partners, and civil society organizations. 

More than 3.7 million Venezuelans have left their country since 2015, according to the latest information consolidated by the Regional Interagency Coordination Platform. The Brazilian Federal Police estimates that around 150,000 of them are currently living in Brazil.  

The relocation strategy has been implemented to support migrants and asylum seekers arriving in the Northern Brazilian state of Roraima, offering better opportunities for integration.  

The strategy, carried out since April 2018, integrates four forms of support: labour relocation, family reunification, temporary shelter, and the support of civil society partners that provide accommodation throughout the country. Over the past 12 months, the programme has relocated more than 5,800 Venezuelans from Roraima to 17 Brazilian states.  

Supported by the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF), both Cáritas Brasileira and IOM implemented a food security and temporary housing project in 12 municipalities in Roraima, reaching more than 3,700 vulnerable Venezuelans.  

“We are very grateful to count on IOM as a great partner in this mission to ensure the basic right of access to food. Working together strengthens us,” said Deyse Brumatti from Cáritas Brasileira. 

São Paulo is one of places where the strategy is being implemented. Some 800 Venezuelans have benefited, with another 100 more migrants and asylum seekers arriving in the city in coming days.  Another programme – Cáritas Brasileira’s Pana Project – also provides social assistance, legal and labour support to the Venezuelans relocating in the city.   

Temporary shelter also is provided as part of the relocation while more permanent solutions are being sought. Venezuelans living in such shelters have received food provided by IOM as part of Operação Acolhida programme. Besides the beneficiaries here, another 270 individuals have benefited in the cities of Porto Velho (Rondônia State) and Palhoça (Santa Catarina State).  

“Since the beginning of the migratory flows, access to food is one of the main demands of Venezuelan families arriving in Brazil. These activities allow us to meet this need and minimize their vulnerable situation,” explained Yssyssay Rodrigues, IOM Brazil Project Coordinator. 

This activity in São Paulo was possible with the financial support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State. 

For more information please contact Vitoria Souza at IOM Brasilia, Email: ; or Tainá Aguiar, E-mail: or Guilherme Otero, E-mail: 

Boa Vista – This month, 400 Venezuelans received professional training in the northern cities of Boa Vista and Pacaraima, State of Roraima, Brazil as part of IOM’s support to Venezuelans seeking assistance launching microenterprises in some 80 self-generated entrepreneurship projects.    

IOM´s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), deployed to support the Brazilian Government and partners with information on most pressing needs, notes that most Venezuelans located in the state of Roraima live in precarious conditions, often in situations of vulnerability. They are characterized as populations that have not continued higher education and are currently facing difficulties to access formal employment.   

IOM´s integration support programme aims to address and improve these conditions to reduce vulnerabilities.  To this end, this initiative focuses in improving Venezuelan migrants and refugees’ self-reliance skills through a series of courses and training workshops in basic Portuguese, entrepreneurship, income generation and professional training.   

Hotel work, gastronomy, child and elderly care, hairstyling and basic business management are among the skills being taught.  Entrepreneurship workshops offer participants opportunities to learn how to design a business plan, to calculate costs and plan profit margins. 

Eighty of the participants with projects deemed worthy of start-up capital received financial support from IOM for the purchase of equipment and materials.  

“Strengthening the skills of migrants facilitates their integration and contributes to local economic development. Those trainings are also opportunities that facilitate better social cohesion,” said Stéphane Rostiaux, IOM Brazil Chief of Mission. “The success of the initiative could be replicated in other cities which are receiving Venezuelans through the Voluntary Relocation Strategy, such as São Paulo. We believe this will enable more Venezuelans to benefit from the process,” Rostiaux added.  

Carlos, a participant of the entrepreneurship workshop and now Creative Director at Overlay Special Events, a company in Boa Vista, Roraima also stated: “Thanks to the trainings, nowadays I work with publicity and special events.  I also inform other migrants who arrive with doubts and questions about the labour market, the culture, and the situation of the country.”  

These activities were made possible with the financial support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, in partnership with the Brazilian National Learning Service (SENAC, in Portuguese) and World Vision. 

For more information please contact Vitoria Souza at IOM Brasilia, Email: Or Guilherme Otero, E-mail: 


Language English Posted: Friday, May 24, 2019 - 16:18Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Migrant AssistanceRefugee and Asylum IssuesShelterDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM is providing food assistance to Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Brazil's south-eastern region.

Venezuelan migrants and asylum seekers during IOM’s training in Roraima, Brazil. IOM/Fábio Fonseca

Venezuelan migrants and refugees receiving certificates in Roraima, Brazil. IOM/Fábio Fonseca

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Improving Migrants’ Access to Justice: IOM Trains Brazilian Judges on International Migration Law

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:17

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) today (24/05) completes a four-day course on International Migration Law held for a delegation of federal judges from the Brazilian judiciary. 

This is the result of active collaboration between IOM Brazil and the International Migration Law (IML) Unit in Geneva.   

The aim of this and similar IOM tutorials are to increase judges’ technical capacity in applying relevant migration legal standards, thereby enhancing migrants’ access to rights. Special attention is paid to women and vulnerable migrants in Brazil.  

IOM courses are organized annually to bring diplomats and practitioners together to discuss legal aspects of migration and governance and the latest trends in migration law. International legal experts present on human rights law, refugee law, labour law, transnational criminal law and the crimes of smuggling and trafficking. Legal issues related to migration detention, internal displacement and environmental migration, also are covered. 

IOM Brazil enjoys a partnership with Association of Federal Judges of Brazil (AJUFE), which represents more than 2,000 federal judges, federal appeal courts judges, and representatives of the High Court of Justice and the Supreme Court.  

The judicial branch is a fundamental player in the protection of individual and collective rights of migrants, explained Stéphane Rostiaux, IOM Brazil Chief of Mission. “The partnership with AJUFE is crucial and it allows us to move towards IOM’s goal of making migration dignified, safe and orderly for the benefit of migrants and society,” he said.   

Since the signing of the Cooperation Agreement in August 2018, several activities strengthening capacities of the Brazilian judiciary have been implemented by IOM Brazil, including an online course taken by 20 federal judges, in addition to a comprehensive training – Migration Law: Enhancing Response Capacities of the Federal Justice in the Context of the Flow of Venezuelans – prepared for 30 judges of the Federal Justice Council. 

“This partnership is fundamental to work on issues related to migrant’s access to justice, particularly when they are vulnerable,” said Fernando Mendes, AJUFE’s president.   

According to Mendes, the partnership with IOM gives tools to train more federal judges so they can understand the issue in detail and improve jurisdictional performance. Improving access to justice for migrants is crucial to secure their rights, and such initiative of IOM certainly contributes to this goal.    

For more information, please contact Anne Althaus at IOM Geneva, E-mail: or Vitória Souza at IOM Brazil, E-mail:  

Language English Posted: Friday, May 24, 2019 - 16:15Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Migration LawDefault: Multimedia: 

One of the IML trainers, Anne Althaus, during a session. Photo: IOM

Some of the participants at IOM’s four-day course on International Migration Law held for federal judges from the Brazilian judiciary.

Some of the participants at IOM’s four-day course on International Migration Law held for federal judges from the Brazilian judiciary.

Some of the participants at IOM’s four-day course on International Migration Law held for federal judges from the Brazilian judiciary.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 19,830 in 2019; Deaths Reach 512

Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:14

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 19,830 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 22 May, roughly a 30 per cent decrease from the 28,325 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals to both Spain and Greece account for 86 per cent of all arrivals, with the balance arriving this year in Italy, Malta and Cyprus.  

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 142 days of 2019 are at 512 individuals – or four-fifths of the 638 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 19,830 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 22 May, roughly a 30 per cent decrease from the 28,325 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals to both Spain and Greece account for 86 per cent of all arrivals, with the balance arriving this year in Italy, Malta and Cyprus.  

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 142 days of 2019 are at 512 individuals – or four-fifths of the 638 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday (23/05) that sea arrivals in the Western Mediterranean are now at 7,666 men, women and children through 22 May. (see chart below).  That is close to the total for this same period last year when, through 2018’s first five months, Spanish authorities tallied arrivals of 8,150 irregular migrants by the Western Mediterranean route.  

With nine days remaining to report arrivals, irregular migration activity in these waters appears to have tapered off significantly after a fast start earlier this year.  May arrivals through three weeks are 950, Dodevska reported, much fewer than the total arriving in May 2018, when 3,523 entered Spain via this same route (see charts below).  

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported on Thursday (23/05) that from Monday (20/05) up to date, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) confirmed at least seven incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands Farmakonisi, Kos, Agathonisi, Lesvos, Samos and Kos. The HCG rescued a total of 238 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports. 

Those arrivals, plus another 40 reported between 20 May and 22 May, bring to 9,430 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart below). Greece’s 2019 arrivals now are nearly 1,000 greater than 2019 arrivals to Spain, yet still trail last year’s Greece arrival totals at this same period in 2018. 

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 31,947 individuals, including 999 in 2019 (see chart below). 

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.  

During the past week in the Western Mediterranean, the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras reported that three women went missing in a shipwreck in the Gibraltar Strait on 22 May. The boat had departed around 4am on Monday morning from Larache, Morocco with the aim of reaching the shores of Cádiz. The Moroccan Navy found the boat in distress two days later, but tragically three women, one of them pregnant, had already fallen overboard. Their bodies could not be recovered. Authorities rescued 69 survivors and brought them back to Morocco.  

Another shipwreck was documented on the route to Spain’s Canary Islands, where a boat carrying 23 migrants capsized off the coast of Arguineguín, Gran Canaria on 16 April. The remains of a mother and her baby have been recovered, while another woman remains missing.  

This past week was marked by several tragedies in different regions of the world. In the Indian Ocean, three people lost their lives on the often-overlooked migration route from the islands of Comoros to the French archipelago of Mayotte, when the boat in which they were travelling capsized on 19 May east of Petite-Terre, Mayotte. Fourteen survivors were rescued by authorities, who also recovered the remains of two people. One person remains missing.  

These are the first deaths recorded on this sea crossing in 2019. This route claimed the lives of at least 18 people in 2018 and 31 in 2017. 

Migrating by irregular means not only to, but also within, the European continent can also be very dangerous for migrants. Recently, two young men, believed to be from Afghanistan, lost their lives while transiting through Serbia.  

On 21 May, a truck driver stopped at a car wash facility in Futog, western Serbia, near the border with Croatia, and discovered four men hiding in the back of his truck who seemed to have lost consciousness. They were immediately taken to the hospital. Tragically, two of them have passed away and the other two remain in critical condition. At least nine migrants have lost their lives on the Western Balkans route since the start of the year. In 2018, 41 of the 116 recorded deaths during migration in Europe occurred in the Western Balkans, higher than figures recorded by MMP in any other year on this route. 

In northern France, a young Eritrean migrant was killed in a vehicle accident on 20 May, when he was walking on the side of the A16 motorway from Calais to Dunkerque. This is the third death during migration recorded in northern France in 2019 and the second documented in the Calais area. 

On the US-Mexico border, a 32-year-old Mexican man drowned in the Rio Grande/Río Bravo on 17 May, near Ciudad Acuña, Coahuila, Mexico. This latest tragedy brings to 38 the number of lives lost recorded by the MMP team in the Río Bravo since the beginning of this year.  

In New Mexico, a man was found dead near the border wall on 19 May, on the side of New Mexico State Road 9. On the Canada-US border, reports emerged of the death of a 32-year-old Dominican man when he was trying to cross the border near Lake Champlain, Québec on 16 April.  

He reportedly was trying to reunite with his 11-year-old daughter, who lives with her mother in Philadelphia.  

Not counting this last death, to date at least 271 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 189 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, May 24, 2019 - 16:06Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Assists Over 130 Yazidis to Resettle from Iraq to France

Wed, 05/22/2019 - 12:24

Erbil – One hundred thirty-two members of Iraq’s Yazidi community left Erbil International Airport today (22/05) for Toulouse, France, the latest resettlement effort by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), part of the Humanitarian Admissions Programme launched by President Emmanuel Macron.

President Macron has pursued this policy with the support of 2018 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Nadia Murad, who has advocated for vulnerable Yazidi women worldwide.  

The initiative was the subject of a signing ceremony between IOM and the French Government attended by Ms. Murad two weeks ago in Paris.

“Today we have come to see you off on your new journey to France,” Dominique Mas, the French Consul General in Erbil, told the Yazidi families as they boarded the aircraft.  

“In France you will receive protection, security, education, as well as medical and social support,” he continued.  

The 28 Yazidi families are moving to France five years after the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, also known as ISIL, swept through Sinjar, the stronghold of Iraq’s Yazidi community. Since those attacks, a significant portion of the community remains displaced, including hundreds of families who fled to Mount Sinjar in 2014. 

“We are grateful for the French government’s support to this vulnerable group of Yazidis, some of whom have gone through a terrible ordeal,” said Gerard Waite, IOM Iraq’s Chief of Mission. “IOM Iraq continues to assist all displaced Iraqi citizens, including Yazidis, both in areas of displacement as well as in their hometowns, to facilitate their sustainable reintegration.”  

Prior to their departure, IOM assisted the families with transportation from Dohuk to Erbil, accommodation in Erbil and medical check ups. The teams also organized cultural orientation sessions and are facilitating their travel to France.  

“As this group of Yazidi families touch down in Toulouse and surrounding areas, local nongovernmental organizations are ready to assist them to facilitate their integration in the host communities,” said Ambassador Eric Chevallier, Director of the French Crisis Center, before boarding the plane alongside the families on their journey. 

For more information, please contact IOM Iraq’s: Giovanni Cassani, Phone: +964 751 740 6870, Email: and Nima Tamaddon, Phone: +964 751 234 2550, Email:  


Language English Posted: Wednesday, May 22, 2019 - 18:21Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM assisted 28 Yazidi families to resettle from Iraq to France today as part of the Humanitarian Admissions Programme. Photo: Nima Tamaddon/IOM 2019

Dominique Mas, the French Consul General in Erbil, visited Yazidi families at the Erbil airport before they boarded their flight to France today. Photo: Nima Tamaddon/IOM 2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 12,000 Vulnerable People to Receive Support to Access EU Settlement Scheme in UK

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:54

London – An estimated 3.5 million EU citizens currently resident in the UK are required to apply to remain in the UK under the EU Settlement Scheme.  

However, there are concerns that some of those required to apply remain unaware of the Scheme, or they may struggle to make an application. These vulnerable applicants may include the elderly, people with disabilities, homeless and rough sleepers, Roma communities, survivors of human trafficking and modern slavery, and young care-leavers. 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) will lead a partnership with three organizations – St Mungo’s, The3million, and Here for Good – to support vulnerable EU citizens resident in the UK as they seek access to the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS), which will allow them to remain after June 2021.  

“Vulnerable and at-risk migrants can be overlooked in traditional support structures,” explained Dipti Pardeshi, IOM UK Chief of Mission. “EU citizens residing in the UK have made significant contributions here, and we are committed to helping ensure that those at risk of being overlooked are aware of their rights, know how to apply and are provided with appropriate support.”    

With the UK’s impending departure from the European Union, EU citizens resident in the UK and their family members wishing to continue living in the UK will need to apply for immigration status under the EUSS or apply for British citizenship in order to exercise their right to work, housing and benefits.   

Added UK Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes: “EU citizens are our friends, family and neighbours, and we want them to stay. I’m delighted that IOM will be working in partnership with us to ensure that everyone has the support they need to apply.” 

IOM, in partnership with The3million, St Mungo’s and Here for Good will work together to reach over 12,000 vulnerable or at-risk people, to raise awareness of the EU Settlement Scheme and to provide direct support to individuals where needed, to address the barriers they may face in completing their applications.  

Under this grant agreement, IOM will work closely with local authorities across the UK, providing additional capacity to help support vulnerable individuals under their care.  The3million will lead an online national-level outreach campaign and work through existing relationships to support Roma populations.  St Mungo’s will support people who are homeless or rough sleeping to access the Scheme, and Here for Good will provide legal support for vulnerable individuals requiring further assistance to access the Scheme.  

“While we expect that the majority of people will be able to successfully register through the Government’s EU Settlement Scheme, it’s important that support exists for those with more complex cases who also tend to be society’s most vulnerable,” said Tahmid Chowdhury, Co-Founder of Here for Good. 

“We’re proud to be working alongside IOM, the3million and St Mungo’s. Citizens’ rights represent the human cost of Brexit – together, we’re committed to supporting the most vulnerable citizens, so they can stay here for good,” Chowdhury continued.  

This grant is one part of a total of GBP 9 million made available by the Home Office for 57 organizations to support a total of 200,000 people access the EUSS who may be marginalised or in need of help.   

“Our vision is that everyone has a place to call home and can fulfil their hopes and ambitions,” said Sylvia Tijmstra, St Mungo’s Head of Migrant Services.  “We are committed to providing inclusive opportunities for people who are homeless or sleeping rough regardless of nationality or immigration status. This partnership will help us to achieve our aims by expanding our resources and linking in with experts in the field of migrant support.” 

“Vulnerable EU Citizens in the UK risk becoming another scandal,” said The3million CEO Nicolas Hatton.   “The3million aims to reach as many as possible and guide and support them through their EU Settled Status applications, so they don't end up living in the country they call home without a valid immigration status when the UK leaves the EU.” 

For further information, please contact at IOM UK: Abby Dwommoh, +44 (0) 020 7811 6060, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 16:51Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

An estimated 3.5 million EU citizens currently resident in the UK are required to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Using Data to Inform Migration Management in Central Asia

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:50

Dushanbe – Reliable and harmonized data are needed to tackle some of Central Asia’s key migration challenges and should be included in the future regional agenda on migration, according to government officials attending a regional consultative forum. 

Around 50 officials from Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Uzbekistan, as well as UN experts, came together in the Tajik capital of Dushanbe from 14-15 May, for the second technical experts meeting of the Almaty Process on Refugee Protection and International Migration, a regional consultative process founded in 2013. 

Key regional challenges discussed at the forum include providing healthcare services to migrants and refugees, brain drain due to emigration of youth and high-qualified workers, and border management. 

Representing IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, Carla Rojas Paz presented IOM’s Migration Data Portal and how it can be used in the field of migration management. The Portal features a dedicated section with more than 200 guidance materials and resources to support the production, quality and reliability of migration data.  

Cristina Tranca, Chief of Mission of IOM Tajikistan said, “The Almaty Process brings together migration professionals towards coordinated action for safer and orderly migration. At this meeting, IOM presented its Global Migration Data Portal and Migration Governance Indicators and informed on a new research initiative on youth migration from Central Asia.” 

Launched in 2017, IOM’s Global Migration Data Portal is designed to help policy makers, national statistics officers, journalists and the general public understand migration data. By making the evidence about migration issues accessible in one place and easy to understand, it contributes to a more informed public debate. 

The Almaty Process promotes sustained dialogue and exchange of information on migration issues and on refugee protection challenges in Central Asia and the wider region. Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, the Kyrgyz Republic, Tajikistan, Turkey, and Turkmenistan are members of the Almaty Process, with the Islamic Republic of Iran and Pakistan holding observer status. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) provide organizational, logistical and expert support. 

The Expert Group Meeting of the Almaty Process is organized in the framework of the IOM project “Asia Regional Migration Programme” and is funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration.  

For more information, please contact Stylia Kampani, Tel: +49 (0)30 278 778 16, Email: or Carla Rojas Paz at IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, Tel: +49 (0)30 278 778 26, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 16:47Image: Region-Country: TajikistanThemes: International and Regional CooperationDefault: Multimedia: 

Victoria Kasabyan, IOM sub-regional representative, addresses the recent Almaty Process meeting in Tajikistan. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

A Third of Afghans Have Migrated or Been Displaced Since 2012: IOM 

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:46

Kabul – One in three Afghans has migrated or been displaced in the past six years, according to a new Displacement Tracking Matrix report published by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Afghanistan.   

The Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) is a system that captures information on the movements and evolving needs of displaced populations, whether on site or en route. In the most recent round of data collection completed in December 2018, IOM covered 11,443 communities in 390 districts of all 34 provinces of Afghanistan.  

The study found that since 2012, 3.2 million Afghan migrants and refugees have returned from abroad. The vast majority (95%) returned from neighbouring Iran and Pakistan. The remaining 5 per cent came mainly Europe and Turkey (170,000).  

While they settled in all 34 provinces, many of them (15% or 49,000) stayed in the eastern province of Nangarhar on the border with Pakistan.  

“Providing these returnees with economic opportunities is a key driver for their successful reintegration,” said Head of IOM Afghanistan Laurence Hart. “This is why IOM, with the financial support of the European Union, has been actively engaging in the creation of self-employment opportunities and private sector support in areas of high return, including Nangarhar.”  

Over the same six-year period, 3.5 million Afghans were internally displaced due to armed conflict, generalized violence, human rights violations or natural disasters. In 2016 and 2017 alone, an estimated over a million Afghans were displaced each year, based on IOM interviews.  

“According to a recent UN report, 2018 also saw a record high in civilian casualties in Afghanistan – another key driver of displacement,” Hart noted. 

Most people who have fled Afghanistan since 2012 went to neighbouring Iran. Out of 2.3 million Afghans in total who left the country, 63 per cent (1.4 million) went to Iran, 22 per cent to Pakistan (500,000) and only 12 per cent to Europe and Turkey (270,000). There is growing pressure on them to return.   

“Given the already high levels of internal displacement in many areas of Afghanistan, the absorption capacities of many provinces are already overstretched. The potential mass return of Afghans in the second half of 2019 due to deteriorating protection space in host countries is a major concern for us,” Hart added. 

For further information please contact IOM Afghanistan. Michael Speir, Tel: +93 72 922 8859, Email: Or Eva Schwoerer, Tel: +93 72 922 9129, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 16:43Image: Region-Country: AfghanistanThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Newly displaced families from Badghis arrive on the outskirts of Herat city. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Returnees Share Harrowing Experiences at Latest ‘Migration Conversation’ 

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:42

Nairobi – In a packed auditorium, two migrant returnees share their experiences: One, a trained professional with a university degree, made do as a school janitor in Morocco. The other survived six years’ imprisonment in Zambia. 

The two met at a gathering here, the third ‘Migration Conversation’ – a platform arising from a partnership between the International Organization for Migration and a private Kenyan university, the United States International University Africa.  

IOM’s reintegration assistance for returning migrants includes medical help for those who need it, psychosocial support, links to employment opportunities, and training in entrepreneurship. Another service offered is family tracing and reunification for unaccompanied minors.  

Since 2017, IOM has adopted a holistic reintegration approach for migrants that also involves communities. Migrants learn to talk about their experiences in ways that help them overcome the shame of failure – or worse. Many find it difficult to face those they feel they may have disappointed – friends, family – or borrowed money from. 

That’s what brought Mary, the Kenyan school teacher, to the podium here. But she was eager to share her story with the audience. 

She discovered upon her arrival in Casablanca that French and Arabic are the main spoken languages in Morocco. She speaks neither, thus, the only job she could get was to work as a cleaner.  “No matter what your problems are at home, sit down,” she told the attentive audience, composed mainly of students. “Think about where you are going and take the right documents.”  

After about two years in Casablanca Mary was moved to try her luck in Europe, when someone persuaded her that “Europe, after all, is only 45 minutes from Morocco.”  

So, she paid USD 500 to agents and travelled to Rabat, where she joined many others who were due to cross the Atlantic for Spain.  

But she changed her mind. “I met people who were still waiting for the chance of going to Europe after six months,” Mary explained. 

And she had another reason: a migrant boat bound for Spain had capsized. She knew some of those who died. “It dawned on me that I might not get to Spain alive,” she recalled.  

Now saddled with an expired tourist visa and unable to buy an air ticket to Kenya, Mary sought help. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration (the Joint Initiative) stepped in and funded her journey home, and her subsequent reintegration. Mary is now back in her village, running a dry cleaner's business. “I’m doing fine, I’m recovered,” she said. 

Ethiopian returnee Biruk narrated how he left his home country for a better life in South Africa, only to spend six years in a Zambian prison. 

The push resulted from a rumour in his village that there was a man who could make anyone rich within a short time. Thus, Biruk’s parents raised money from relatives and paid the smuggler USD 3000 for their son, who had just completed the third grade, to travel to southern Africa. “He said he’d process the visa and take me to South Africa.” 

Biruk was flown to Nairobi. But soon after, the journey took a turn as the trek through Tanzania and Zambia was undertaken mainly at night through the bush, sometimes in packed pick-up trucks and nearly air-less containers. Hunger, thirst and fear were constant companions.   

Arrest followed in Zambia, with Biruk being part of a group of fellow Ethiopians, Pakistanis and Bangladeshis who were sentenced to 15 years’ imprisonment. He was released after six years, thanks to intervention by IOM.  

The Joint Initiative also assisted him to start afresh. He returned home to find that his parents had died and that his siblings had sold or divided their properties, leaving him destitute and living off the kindness of friends and strangers.  

Soon after returning, the Joint Initiative enrolled Biruk in its reintegration programme. As a result, he now employs four people in his two barbershops.  

The platform shared by Mary and Biruk is the second time IOM and the university have collaborated. Established in 2017, the initiative is described by IOM Regional Project Development Officer Julia Hill-Mlati as an example of how the UN can work with academia.  

The university’s deputy vice-chancellor (academic and student affairs) Professor Ruthie Rono says the partnership with IOM “is something very fortunate to have”.  

For more information please contact the IOM Regional Office in Nairobi: Wilson Johwa, Tel:  +254 20 4221 112, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 16:39Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Biruk narrates how he left his home country for a better life in South Africa, only to spend six years in a Zambian prison. Photo: IOM

Mary shares her migration story with the audience. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Egyptian TV Stars Help Launch Counter-Trafficking Awareness-Raising Campaign

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:29

Cairo – Egyptian television stars Asser Yassin and Nelly Karim helped launch a new counter-trafficking awareness campaign being overseen by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Egypt’s National Coordinating Committee for Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons (NCCPIM&TIP) at a Ramadan Iftar celebration in Cairo on Tuesday, 14 May. 

The Iftar is observed during Ramadan. It is the evening break-fast held after the call to prayer.  

“Human trafficking threatens all communities and countries, whether they are developed, developing or least developed,” said Ambassador Naela Gabr, Chairperson of NCCPIM&TIP. “From this perspective, Egypt is keen on protecting its citizens, living inside and outside the country, from this crime. A comprehensive media campaign is therefore being launched to raise awareness about human trafficking and its forms, especially that some citizens can be subjected to exploitation while being unaware of its dangers, ramifications, and consequences.”  

The launch phase of the campaign consists of six animation videos that depict ways traffickers target and exploit victims. The videos will be disseminated on social and other media to raise awareness about the different forms of human trafficking and situations that could lead to exploitation.  

The launch event was hosted by NCCPIM&TIP and IOM Egypt and was attended by 210 members of the diplomatic community, government officials, civil society, businesses, as well as the entertainers Yassin and Karim. Asser Yassin narrated the videos and delivered an impassioned speech on the role of all Egyptians in combating human trafficking. 

As IOM Egypt’s Goodwill Ambassador, the television star Yassin summoned the involvement of all members of Egyptian society: “I call on all of us to be proactive in our communities; to share what we hear and see tonight, to make informed choices as consumers and citizens that bring us closer to a world without human trafficking, to report those abuses that we see, and to work to ensure that every person who migrates may do so safely and with dignity,” he said. 

Laurent de Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission to the Arab Republic of Egypt, opened the Iftar by saying: “One of the first and most effective measures in preventing the crime of trafficking is to raise public awareness on its dangers and repercussions. It is crucial that you and I, we all together pass a positive message on our future, and let doors be open to humanity, generosity, compassion and goodwill. These values are essential in all societies.” 

The campaign and event were developed with the generous contributions of the Government and the People of the Kingdom of The Netherlands.  

This campaign supports the achievement of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), namely Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities; Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions; and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals. It is also in line with the objectives of Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy (SDS) Vision 2030, particularly its Social Justice Pillar, and the National Strategies for Combating Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons of Egypt. 

For more information, please contact Omar Awwad at IOM Egypt, Tel: +20 1032 049 144; Email: 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 16:26Image: Region-Country: EgyptThemes: Counter-TraffickingHuman SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

Egyptian TV star Asser Yassin speaking at the launch. Photo: IOM

Egyptian television stars Asser Yassin and Ambassador Naela Gabr (with Laurent de Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission in Egypt) helped launch a new counter-trafficking awareness campaign. Photo: IOM

Over 200 members of the diplomatic community, government officials, civil society, businesses attended the launch. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Recreational Centre Opens for Children in Zinder, Niger

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:25

Zinder – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) officially handed over last Friday (17 May) the Centre for the Prevention, Promotion and Protection of Children (CEPPP) in Matameye, department of Kantché, Zinder region, to representatives from the Ministry of Women Promotion and Child Protection (MPFPE) in Niger.  

The centre was built and equipped through the project Assistance for Nigerien Returnees in Agadez and Zinder Regions (ANRAZ), funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration (SEM) at the request of the MPFPE, to support local authorities in managing migration and protecting vulnerable persons, particularly children on the move.  

Niger, considered a major migratory hub in West and Central Africa, is a country of origin, transit and destination for numerous vulnerable migrants. Both returnees and communities of origin are affected by migration, most migrants returning home deeply traumatized and ashamed to have caused financial insecurity for their communities.  

Since 2014, beginning of the Algeria-Niger agreement, more than 35,000 Nigeriens have been repatriated to Niger, including close to 27,000 from the Zinder region. The persistence of this migratory phenomenon and the increasing number of repatriations have raised material, financial and humanitarian issues for Nigerien authorities.

To respond to this crisis, IOM started implementing the ANRAZ project in Niger in December 2017 and which is coming to an end in June 2019.  Its overall objective is to contribute to assisting Nigerien migrants returning in Niger. As part of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism (MRRM), the ANRAZ project supported the direct assistance of close to 13,000 Nigerien migrants returning from Algeria. 

The Centre for the Prevention, Promotion and Protection of Children (CEPPP) is composed of two different cells: protection and communication, targeting behavioural change, especially among minors, through a variety of awareness-raising activities on migration risks. CEPPP social workers will also accompany families to ensure the appropriate reintegration of children returnees into their host communities.  

Through the SEM funding, IOM supports the MPFPE by covering the salaries and training of four social workers working in the CEPPP and by covering the maintenance costs of the centre, thus allowing for a gradual transition of capacities from IOM to the MPFPE.  

“We are very happy to have this centre. Before we were sharing an office with other departmental services,” said Abdoulaye, social worker at the CEPPP. “We now have a dedicated centre, where we can ensure the confidentiality of the interviews and services, while also welcoming beneficiaries in a child-friendly environment,” Abdoulaye added. 

Through the ANRAZ project, IOM also organized several trainings in Niamey, Agadez and Zinder to strengthen capacities of local authorities related to migration management, the fight against irregular migration and the smuggling of migrants, as well as in the fight against trafficking in human beings, and the care of survivors of trafficking. 

In Agadez, the ANRAZ project has also contributed to the on-site emergency assistance for Nigeriens returning from Algeria through the distribution of emergency shelters and non-food item kits.  

In Zinder, the project has also supported the establishment of 31 cooperatives comprised of returnees and vulnerable community members. Through this assistance, 98 returned migrants and 156 members of their community have been trained in business management, which allowed them to develop community-based microprojects. 

In spring 2018, two cooperatives were trained in traditional soap making and received the material needed to launch their business. 

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


Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 16:22Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Migration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

Group of schoolgirls in Zinder, Niger. Photo: IOM / Monica Chiriac 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

‘Connecting Communities’ Campaign Seeks Integration of Venezuelans in Mexico

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:21

Mexico City – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), earlier this month, launched the Connecting Communities information campaign which, through the distribution of videos, infographics and fact sheets, will assist Venezuelan refugees and migrants with their integration and regularization in Mexico.  

The campaign arises from the findings produced during the implementation of the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) applied in the last quarter of 2018, which revealed the need for information on accessing education, health, employment and human rights. It also provides tools for the prevention of human trafficking, protection against fraud and exercising rights in the face of possible discrimination. 

The DTM study also indicated that among the people surveyed, 99 per cent are interested in integrating socially and economically into Mexico. Additionally, among the main factors that motivated their mobility were family reunification and obtaining employment. 

According to Yolice Quero, coordinator of the campaign, “The Venezuelan refugee and migrant population wants to integrate and make Mexico its final destination. We want to provide valid data that allows the exercise of their rights and minimizes negative dynamics that may arise due to misinformation between groups with varying degrees of vulnerability.” 

Working under a strategy based on social networks, Connecting Communities seeks to reach groups organized via Facebook and WhatsApp, where the target cohort coexist daily, bringing together hundreds of refugees and migrants seeking guidance on the best options to migrate. It has worked with various associations and groups of Venezuelans in Mexico who support the dissemination of campaign messages to generate greater outreach. 

The initiative hopes to reach 50,000 Venezuelans who are active and exchange migratory information through social networks. Together with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, a strategy will be coordinated to amplify the impact of the messages, using the digital platform “El Jaguar”. 

Among the topics that the campaign will disseminate are the documentation needed to work in Mexico, how to access basic services such as health, education, revalidation of university degrees, and how to avoid falling into trafficking networks, among others. 

This campaign is an effort made within the framework of the Refugees and Migrants Response Plan (RMRP) whose purpose is to provide assistance to this migratory flow throughout the region, and is financially supported by the Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the Department of State of the United States (PRM). 

For more information please contact Yolice Quero at IOM Mexico, Email: or Tel. + 52 55 5536 39 22 Ext. 116 and 118. Or IOM Mexico’s Communications & Media unit at Email: or Tel. + 52 55 5536 39 22 Ext. 119. 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 16:18Image: Region-Country: MexicoThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

‘Connecting Communities’ by sharing secure and timely information on regularization and integration of Venezuelans in Mexico. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Logging Industry in Solomon Islands Puts Women, Girls at Risk: IOM

Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:17

Honiara – A research report commissioned by the Solomon Islands Ministry for Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has found that logging operations and related mobility dynamics, combined with pre-existing localized factors, create risks of human trafficking, sexual exploitation and forced marriage for local women and girls.  

Solomon Islands Minister for Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs Freda Belinda Adeline Tuki launched the report: “Community Health and Mobility in the Pacific: Solomon Islands Case study,” in the capital, Honiara, last week. 

The dynamics created by logging camps in remote areas, combined with limited industry accountability and few formal protective policies, as well as restricted access to service provision and protective services, leads to an environment where the drivers of vulnerability can go unchecked, according to the research. 

Minister Tuki says the report and its recommendations will be used to inform policies and programmes that will be implemented to improve the situation for women and children in the Solomon Islands, particularly those impacted negatively by logging operations. 

“MWYCFA will work with all stakeholders, communities, chiefs, representatives of organizations supporting women and girls, and the whole Government of Solomon Islands, to respond to the findings of this report,” she said. 

“One finding of the research shows that community members are still reluctant to report forms of gender-based violence such as forced marriage and human trafficking to the police. A key area for partnership can be working together to address potential barriers to reporting these crimes,” she added. 

The report, which can be downloaded at, was funded as part of a USD 300,000 regional project supported by the IOM Development Fund. Additional information can be found at: 

IOM is currently also implementing a related project to increase community awareness of human trafficking and gender-based violence in the Solomon Islands through a EUR 600,000 project: “Protecting the Rights of Women and Children, Particularly Girls, in Migration-Affected Communities.”  

The project, which has a particular focus on communities affected by logging and extractive industries, is supported by the European Union and co-funded by the IOM Development Fund. 

For more information please contact Angelica Neville at IOM Honiara. Tel: +677 22536. Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 21, 2019 - 16:10Image: Region-Country: Solomon IslandsThemes: Migration HealthMigration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

Logging operations are bringing social change to remote Solomon Islands communities

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs, IOM Launch Research on Social Impacts of Logging on Women and Girls in Solomon Islands

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 11:09

Honiara – Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs [MWYCFA] Minister Freda Belinda Adeline Tuki today launched a research report: “Community Health and Mobility in the Pacific: Solomon Islands Case study.”  

The research, commissioned by MWYCFA and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), examines how logging operations and related mobility dynamics, combined with pre-existing localized factors, creates particular risks for women and girls in relation to human trafficking, sexual exploitation and forced marriage.

These dynamics, combined with limited industry accountability and few formal protective policies, as well as restricted access to service provision and protective services in parts of the Solomon Islands, leads to an environment where the drivers of vulnerability can go unchecked.

“This report and its recommendations will be used to inform policies and programmes that will be implemented to improve the situation for women and children in this country, particularly those impacted negatively by logging operations. MWYCFA will work with all stakeholders, communities, chiefs, representatives of organizations supporting women and girls, and the whole Government of Solomon Islands, to respond to the findings of this report,” said Ms Tuki.

One finding of the report, which was funded as part of a USD 300,000 regional project supported by the IOM Development Fund, is that community members are still reluctant to report forms of gender-based violence such as forced marriage and human trafficking to the police. “A key area for partnership can be working together to address potential barriers to reporting these crimes,” the Minister added.

IOM is also implementing a related project to increase community awareness of human trafficking and gender-based violence in Solomon Islands through a EUR 600,000 project:“Protecting the Rights of Women and Children, Particularly Girls, in Migration-Affected Communities.” The project, which has a particular focus on communities affected by logging and extractive industries, is supported by the European Union and co-funded by the IOM Development Fund.

For more information please contact Angelica Neville at IOM Honiara. Email:, Telephone: +677 22536.

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:07Image: Region-Country: Solomon IslandsThemes: Migration and YouthDefault: Multimedia: 

Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs Minister Freda Belinda Adeline Tuki. Photo: IOM

IOM project manager summarizes the findings of the research. Photo: IOM

IOM and the Ministry of Women, Youth, Children and Family Affairs launch the research report “Community Health and Mobility in the Pacific: Solomon Islands Case Study" in Honiara. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Indonesian Vice-President Mark 40-Year Collaboration

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:50

The International Organization for Migration marked its 40-year-long collaboration with the Government of Indonesia during a meeting Thursday with Indonesian Vice President Jusuf Kalla. 

“It was a sincere pleasure to be able to extend my personal appreciation to Vice President Kalla for the partnership that has been forged since we were first invited to work in Indonesia in 1979 in response to the Indo-Chinese refugee crisis,” IOM Director General António Vitorino said.    

“We look forward to strengthening this enduring relationship in the years to come.”   

During the meeting at IOM’s Geneva headquarters, the Vice-President expressed his gratitude for IOM’s extensive emergency and reconstruction work in the wake of the 2004 Asian Tsunami and its support to ethnic Rohingya refugees arriving by boat in the sprawling archipelagic nation of 260 million people.   

“Indonesia remains one of our largest missions with more than 300 staff working closely with our government partners to assist migrants around the country. We are also collaborating on a wide range of other issues including combating the scourge of human trafficking and supporting the government’s response to natural disasters,” DG Vitorino added.   

For further information, please contact Paul Dillon, IOM Geneva. Tel.:  +41 22 717 94 31, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:49Image: Region-Country: IndonesiaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Director General António Vitorino (right) welcomes Indonesian Vice-President Jusuf Kalla and Puan Maharani, the Coordinating Human Development and Culture Minister, to IOM’s Geneva headquarters on Thurday. IOM, then known as the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration, began operations in Indonesia in mid-1979.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Skyscraper-depth Well Brings Clean Water to Rohingya Refugees

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:49

Cox’s Bazar – Under clear 36-degree Celsius skies, an exhausted Rafiq leans against his house, surrounded by his five children. Glancing upwards, he ponders another sweltering walk down a steep dirt path to haul clean water for his family. A pump just nearby provides water whose drinkability he views as “unreliable” and requires an arduous hillside trek. Sterilizing water by boiling also is difficult because firewood is hard to come by. 

Despite high wet-season rainfalls and abundant pump stations, getting clean water in Cox’s Bazar is a challenge for many Rohingya refugees. Nearly a million are crammed into the world’s most densely-packed settlement just miles from Bangladesh’s border with Myanmar. In theory, well water is abundant near the surface, but human contaminants can make it undrinkable. In fact, water to be carried to settlements. The duty of collecting and carrying generally falls to women. 

“It isn’t clear how the large influx of people has affected the ground water,” says Alessandro Petrone – Programme Manager at IOM’s Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) team made up of engineers tasked with providing safe water to Rohingya refugees. Conventional lever pumps can only operate up to seven meters depth and digging deeper is only viable if it yields large volumes of water. 

IOM and partner Japan International Development Agency (JICA) confronted this challenge by digging one of the area’s deepest underground shafts. At over three football fields in depth, the recently completed well will spew clean water from safer depths. The well was a heavy engineering project requiring a massive 20-tonne drill shipped from abroad. It is located in Camp 12, which is just miles from the Myanmar border. 

The drilling pushed under an initial 100 meters or so of potentially contaminated water, and then into a web of aquifers – subterranean pools trapped for thousands of years untouched by surface contaminants.  

Because aquifers are sandwiched between impermeable rock, some are highly pressurised and others pressure-neutral. The WASH team used sensors to analyse pressure at different aquifers to determine locations where water could be forced into the well pipe. They then installed ‘screens’, or holes at the defined locations to allow free flow. Now complete, the well pipe taps more than a dozen aquifer hits on its nearly half-mile journey. 

But bringing water up to the surface requires tremendous energy – an expensive proposition in an area as isolated as Kutupalong. IOM installed 187 solar panels, generating 61kW to fully capitalise on the tremendous green energy potential and fuel a powerful pump to suck water to the surface. 

Solar energy also powers an automated chlorination plant to ensure shelf life. Six 95,000-litre storage tanks allow for gravity-fed distribution to inhabitants. When it comes online in late May, about 30,000 people will benefit from the 500 cubic meters of clean water pumped from deep in the earth’s crust. 

“One small hand pump can deliver water for 250 people, so this is like having 120 pumps. It is also a centralised system that offers complete reliability in chlorination. You don’t need to station people at each pump to provide chlorine,” said Petrone. Technicians regularly test water quality to ensure residual chlorine measures 0.2-0.5 mg per litre. 

Petrone has overseen projects in Latin America, Lebanon and Somalia, but says that the well tapping Tipam Sandstone Aquifer is his biggest yet. “This is the largest in terms of litres per hour, length of pipes, solar power installed, number of panels, and water storage. The size of the hole is huge – it’s the size of a skyscraper when you think about it. And with the solar panels – there’s no electricity bill!” 

After the project comes online in a few weeks, IOM will work with Dhaka University to chart the area’s geology with a view to better support managing the Tipam Sandstone Aquifer. An open source, online map has already been produced to help with future research, monitoring and rationalization of the available resources to the Rohingya but also to the host communities of the area. 

For Rafiq, the timing of the new well couldn’t be better. “Monsoon season has nearly arrived and it’s almost impossible to get up the muddy slope with water when it’s wet,” he says. 

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

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:47Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Rohingya refugees at a shallow well in Cox’s Bazar.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Impact of Cyclone Kenneth Continues to Affect Northern Mozambique: IOM

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:47

Ibo Island, Cabo Delgado — Three weeks after Cyclone Kenneth made landfall in northern Mozambique, over 300,000 people continue to need humanitarian assistance in the coastal provinces of Cabo Delgado and Nampula. An estimated 45,000 houses have been damaged, many totally destroyed and more than 1,400 houses remain flooded, according to the Government of Mozambique. 

“This was our house,” said Regina, gesturing towards a pile of rubble and a few walls partially standing. She sits on their one remaining chair, with the youngest of her five children in her lap, outside their temporary shelter made of metal roof panels.    

Regina is one of over 300 vulnerable families who have thus far received support from shelter teams, organized by IOM and Instituto Oikos, an NGO based on Ibo Island, to install tarps on their damaged homes and temporary shelters.   

“Really, I am not well. I have no hope to have a house tomorrow or the day after tomorrow. We did not have many belongings, but the things that I had of value – our home and beds were all destroyed in the cyclone,” she explained.   

Regina keeps her cooking utensils at a neighbour’s house, to ensure they are not stolen. Her temporary accommodation does not have a door.   

“No one can help the others, as we all lost our homes,” said her neighbour, Rute. “In the cyclone the wind was very strong. Everyone tried to save themselves. We fled with our children in our arms.  It was not a wind in which children could be left to walk alone.”   

Four shelter teams continue to move through the island, assisting in total more than 40 families per day; 1,000 families are slated to receive assistance. Click here for a visual story about tarp distribution in Ibo Island.  

“Destruction in the hardest hit areas is astounding; homes, schools, hospitals and community buildings are all damaged – leaving affected populations with few resources and in need of comprehensive humanitarian assistance,” said IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Katharina Schnoering.  

“We are working closely together with the Government of Mozambique’s Disaster Management Agency (INGC), to urgently assist the largest number of families possible, especially those who have lost their homes and are without shelter. The scale of the crisis requires that all humanitarian partners come together to provide support,” she added.   

IOM is today conducting a distribution in cooperation with UNICEF, including tarps, water purification drops and soap for nearly 300 families in the heavily affected Macomia district area of Mucojo. Materials are being delivered by helicopter because roads to the area are washed out and littered with fallen trees.  

IOM is responding to urgent shelter needs following Cyclone Kenneth through the incoming management of Non-Food Item (NFI) kits, and delivering to humanitarian partners, who are carrying out distributions. Thus far IOM has delivered over 7,000 plastic sheets to partners for distribution in Cabo Delgado (Macomia, Ibo Islands, and Quissinga) and Nampula (Erati and Memba) in order to respond to urgent shelter needs.    

Information on affected and displaced populations is challenging to obtain in the areas affected by Cyclone Kenneth, particularly as many communities are cut off from access, and communications and electricity have not yet been restored.  

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), implemented in coordination with the INGC is carrying out site assessments in seven temporary accommodation sites in Cabo Delgado province. A total of 2,383 individuals were reported across the seven assessed sites.   

At all of the sites, damaged or destroyed houses were the primary factor preventing return to areas of origin; the remaining reasons were accessibility, inadequate living conditions and repeated affected by extreme events (floods, strong winds and landslides). The primary need reported in all sites was food, and the most reported secondary need was shelter, including construction materials, shelter or non-food items.   

IOM has a long-term presence in northern Mozambique, in support of government and local communities. Cabo Delgado is a key province for IOM, being part of a corridor where many migrants from the Horn of Africa transit en route to reach South Africa. 

For more information please contact IOM Mozambique: Katharina Schnoering, Email: or Sandra Black, Tel: +258 852 162 278, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Migrant AssistanceMigration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

Children on Ibo Island in northern Mozambique, stand next to their newly reconstructed house while a shelter team installs a tarp on the roof. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 2,000 Frontline Professionals Receive Migrant Health Training across Europe

Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:45

Brussels – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has wrapped up a first-of-its-kind training initiative on migration and health across Europe for more than 2,000 health professionals, law enforcement officers and social workers who work directly with migrants and refugees.    

Higher migrant arrivals to Europe and the subsequent need to strengthen the awareness, knowledge and skills of health professionals who work with migrants and refugees provided the impetus for the initiative. In response, IOM, together with national partners and stakeholders, and with European Union (EU) support, conducted 69 trainings in 21 countries between December 2018 and April 2019.  

The trainings across Europe aimed to improve the responsiveness of health services to migrants’ needs and tackle multiple aspects of migration health including individual health, recognizing and dealing with vulnerabilities, providing mental health support and highlighting the importance of intercultural skills. They also provided a venue to share good practices and experiences working in different national migration health contexts, and to build stronger networks among representatives with diverse professional backgrounds. 

The workshop-format trainings were provided in countries that are part of the European Commission’s “Third Health Programme”:  Belgium, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Serbia, Slovenia, and Spain. Professionals from the Czech Republic, Iceland, Ireland, Lithuania, Moldova, the Netherlands, Sweden, and the UK also participated.   

After a training in Krakow, Poland, one health professional said that the workshop was particularly valuable for doctors and nurses working in primary care facilities and hospitals. “The understanding and knowledge about different cultures and improving the competence in this field will definitely help me in my job. I hope there will be similar courses in the future,” he said.  

“I am positively surprised. I came with the expectation to be bored and not interested. I am very pleased and have gained an excellent impression,” said a police officer who received training in Karlovac, Croatia.   

“Training for migration health is essential for frontline workers,” said Dr. Dominik Zenner, IOM Senior Regional Migration Health Advisor in Brussels. “This rewarding action provided an opportunity to train so many, but we need to expand further, including to undergraduate and graduate teaching institutions.” 

The training programme was carried out through project Provision of training for first-line health professionals and law enforcement officers working at local level with migrants and refugees (TRAIN4M&H) was funded and supported by the European Commission (DG SANTE). The TRAIN4M&H project is undertaken as part of the EU Action Plan on the Integration of Third Country Nationals, coordinated by GIZ International Services in collaboration with IOM, the Istituto Superiore di Sanità (ISS), École des hautes études en santé publique (EHESP), the Institute of Public Health of the University of Porto (ISPUP), the Dipartimento di Sanità Pubblica e Malattie Infettive – Università Sapienza Roma and the Association of Schools of Public Health in the European Region (ASPHER). 

For more information please contact Ryan Schroeder Tel: +32 2 287 7116, Email:, or the Migration Health Division at IOM Regional Office in Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 72 11/12/13/14, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:42Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: Migration and healthDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants from all over Europe receiving training in migrant health. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN