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Updated: 2 hours 22 min ago

Proposal for a Regional Cooperative Arrangement Ensuring Predictable Disembarkation and Subsequent Processing of Persons Rescued-at-Sea

Fri, 06/29/2018 - 09:54

Approximately 40,000 refugees and migrants have arrived in Europe via maritime routes in 2018 to date. This is almost six times less than over the same period in 2016, following a peak in arrivals by sea in 2015. According to EUROSTAT, approximately 30 per cent of those arriving on the European shores were in need of international protection; moreover, some have faced extreme hardship and abuse at the hands of unscrupulous traffickers during the journey.

Despite the reduced arrival rates, new challenges resulting from divergent EU Member State views have revealed a need to revisit regional arrangements to relieve front line states from having the sole responsibility for the disembarkation and further processing of people rescued at sea.

IOM and UNHCR stand ready to support a common approach, and call on all countries in the Mediterranean region to come together to implement a predictable and responsible disembarkation mechanism in a manner that prioritizes human rights and safety first, delinked from the subsequent processing of status and related follow-up responsibilities, post-disembarkation, for those rescued in international waters.

It is increasingly recognized that disembarkation cannot be the sole responsibility of one country or regional grouping. It should be a shared responsibility across the Mediterranean Basin, with due respect for the safety and dignity of all people on the move. A comprehensive approach is required to realize effective and sustainable responses.

People on the move to and through the Mediterranean have different migratory status, with the majority of them not qualifying for international or subsidiary protection. Addressing the drivers of forced displacement and irregular migration needs to be given renewed attention through effective conflict-prevention and crisis settlement processes, strengthening good governance, rule of law, and respect for human rights efforts, stabilization and recovery, as well as poverty reduction.

Priority efforts need to focus on strengthening protection capacities in regions of origin, including through developing sustainable asylum systems; providing sufficient needs-based support for humanitarian operations and adopting a development-oriented approach to assistance; as well as expanding opportunities for resettlement, family reunification and safe pathways for refugees which are currently well below existing needs and pledges being made. Efforts toward opening safe and regular pathways for migrants need also to be undertaken (family reunification, labour and education opportunities, humanitarian visas for vulnerable migrants).

Against this background, with a focus on the immediate disembarkation concerns at hand, the current proposal for a regional disembarkation mechanism aims to ensure that:

People rescued-at-sea in international waters are quickly disembarked in a predictable manner in line with international maritime law, in conditions that uphold respect for their rights including non-refoulement, and avoid serious harm or other risks;
Responsible post-disembarkation processing, supported – as appropriate- by IOM and UNHCR, leads to rapid and effective differentiated solutions and reduces onward movement through an effective cooperative arrangement.

Functioning of the mechanism is premised on a set of principles and common objectives:

  • The effective functioning of maritime commerce requires ships’ masters to have full confidence in prompt and predictable disembarkation;
  • Efforts to reduce loss of life at sea are maximized, in line with existing international obligations and frameworks, and saving lives remains the international community’s priority;
  • Strengthened efforts to build the capacity of Coast Guards in Mediterranean countries (not just in Libya) to perform effective rescue operations in their respective SAR;
  • National Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC) are able to carry out their work effectively for the purposes of search and rescue operations based on long- standing and effective practices to save lives;
  • People rescued at sea in the Mediterranean are quickly disembarked in safe ports in a predictable manner in line with established rescue at sea arrangements and international maritime law, coordinated through the responsible MRCCs;
  • Measures for cooperative arrangements to support States providing for disembarkation are well-established;
  • The right to seek asylum is safeguarded, and the human rights of all individuals such as non-refoulement are respected, including the right not to be disembarked in or transferred to a place where there is a risk of persecution, torture, or other serious harm;
  • Efforts to address human smuggling and trafficking are reinvigorated, including measures to ensure protection and/or referrals for victims of trafficking and ensuring the effective prosecution of those involved in / or facilitating human trafficking or smuggling;
  • Rescue at sea capacity coordinated by effective MRCCs that operate in accordance with international law is reinforced.

As such, the proposal does not affect existing legal norms and responsibilities applicable under international law.1 Rather it seeks to facilitate their application in accordance with a regional collaborative approach and the principle of international cooperation. This proposal relies on functional arrangements for intra-EU solidarity in managing all consequences of rescue, disembarkation and processing. It also relies on operational arrangements which would need to be sought and formalised through a set of understandings among all concerned States.

STEP 1 |DISEMBARKATION                                                                                                           

The coordination of responses to SAR events is the legal obligation of States with responsibility for designated SAR areas, through the functioning of their corresponding Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCC). In all cases, including where a SAR area is not clearly established or falls short of fully effective functioning, speedy and equitable cooperation among State-managed MRCC s is required to ensure that lives are saved and not put at risk through delayed disembarkation or disembarkation in a location that is not safe.

The determination of places of disembarkation at presently utilized and additional pre- identified disembarkation centres in EU territory and potentially elsewhere should be based on a geographic distribution with due consideration for available capacities in such identified centres, and in a manner that ensures respect for human rights, including respect for the safety and dignity of all people on the move, and the principle of non-refoulement. Achieving this outcome is subject to operational arrangements which would need to be sought and formalised through a set of understandings among concerned States.2

STEP 2 | RECEPTION ARRANGEMENTS                                                                                         

Those rescued-at-sea would be disembarked promptly and transported to State-operated reception centres providing adequate, safe and dignified reception conditions. A range of services would be provided by qualified staff in order to address the basic material and psychosocial needs of all arrivals, including by providing access to adequate safe drinking water, sanitation, food, nutrition, shelter, psychosocial support and immediate health care, with a particular emphasis on persons with specific needs, including children and their best interest assessment.

All will undergo immediate biometric registration, in compliance with applicable international standards – for which UNHCR and IOM could provide support - and security screening would be carried out by the competent national authorities with adequate monitoring and protection safeguards.


States would, with appropriate support from IOM and UNHCR in line with their respective roles and mandates, distinguish between various categories of persons, including persons seeking international protection, and those whose specific needs may require some form of temporary protection and assistance. Options for voluntary return and reintegration should at any stage of post-embarkation processing be available to all those willing to return.

Processing for international protection will occur in line with international, and as applicable, existing national and/or regional standards, and depending on the place of disembarkation, could be carried out by the concerned State alone or supported by UNHCR as need be, including through the deployment of Rapid Response Teams. Appropriate differentiated and accelerated procedures with applicable safeguards could be used for more expedited proceedings, for both manifestly well-founded and unfounded cases.

Specialized support from UNHCR and IOM could also be at hand to help identify persons with specific needs, for appropriate referrals.

Throughout this process, persons seeking international protection, or temporary stay should be supported, including through the provision of appropriate reception conditions and respect for their rights under international, European and national laws, while the human rights of all persons regardless of their status should be upheld and protected.

 STEP 4| SOLUTIONS FOR REFUGEES                                                                                             

For persons disembarked within the EU, following registration and immediate humanitarian assistance, there would be eligibility assessment for possible transfer to another EU Member State, including in accordance with applicable EU law and frameworks, in particular to facilitate reunion with family members located in other EU Member States, and a flexible and swift collaborative arrangement for solutions.

For persons disembarked outside the EU, solutions would include third country resettlement and humanitarian admission, in addition to family reunification, local solutions where possible as well as voluntary repatriation and reintegration in their home country, as appropriate. Support by the international community, led by UNHCR, would be strengthened to build national asylum systems, inclusive of laws and operational protection responses.

In all cases, a solution must be achieved within a reasonable time frame.

 STEP 5 | SOLUTIONS FOR PERSONS WITH SPECIFIC NEEDS                                                         

People not in need of international protection, but who nonetheless find themselves in a vulnerable situation justifying permission to remain on a temporary basis are a category in need of tailored responses. For example, permission to remain has been accorded to separated and unaccompanied children; victims of trafficking; migrants with serious health conditions; and survivors of abuse or trauma, for the duration of treatment, pending recovery. Equally and as appropriate, support to relevant authorities and civil society organizations in countries of origin to provide protection and rehabilitation services, including in the framework of post-return reintegration, notably medical and socio-psychological counselling and assistance, will be considered.


People with no claim to international protection or specific needs and who are not otherwise eligible to stay in the country of disembarkation would be returned to their country of origin, with a preference for voluntary return and reintegration. Those expressing a desire to return to their country of origin would benefit from safe and dignified voluntary return assistance and support for sustainable reintegration with IOM’s support.




Note 1:  Including the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (including without prejudice to flag state duties), International Convention for the Safety of Life at Sea, International Convention on Maritime Search and Rescue, as well as applicable international refugee law or international human rights instruments

Note 2:  Model Framework, Para III , Annex I, UNHCR Summary conclusions, Djibouti roundtable on rescue at sea.

Language English Posted: Friday, June 29, 2018 - 09:47Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsUNDefault: Multimedia: 

Photo: Francesco Malavolta/ IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, UNHCR appeal for region-wide action by EU countries over Mediterranean tragedies

Wed, 06/27/2018 - 20:29

Concerned with the ongoing human tragedy in which almost 1,000 refugees and migrants have perished while being smuggled across the Mediterranean this year, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, are today appealing to European Union countries for  concerted, region-wide action to greatly reduce needless loss of life at sea.

UNHCR and IOM believe a new collaborative approach is needed to make disembarkation of people rescued at sea more predictable and manageable. This should build on ongoing collaboration between the EU, UN and African Union. People rescued in international waters should be quickly brought ashore in safe locations in the EU, and potentially elsewhere too.

 The approach needs to be complemented by more resettlement places, family reunification and other solutions within the EU, and increased support to countries where people are disembarked.

 “In the past 10 days we have had vessels on the Mediterranean Sea carrying rescued refugees and other migrants and unable to dock because of political deadlock in Europe. Upholding the right to asylum in EU Member States is absolutely crucial,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. “Denying rescue, or shifting responsibility for asylum elsewhere is completely unacceptable. We need countries to come together and chart a new way forward.”

 “Our priority is saving the lives of all those who have been victimized by smugglers who cynically put men, women and children alike, into unsafe rafts on the high seas,” said William Lacy Swing, IOM’s Director General. “So far this year nearly 1,000 people have lost their lives due to this cruel calculus in which the smuggler always wins.”

 Sea arrivals of refugees and migrants peaked in 2015 when more than a million desperate people crossed the Mediterranean to Europe and almost 5,000 died trying to make it. Three years on, arrivals are back at pre-2014 levels and are dropping towards their long-term historic averages. So far, this year some 42,000 have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe, compared with 85,000 at the same period last year.

 IOM and UNHCR urge European States to seize the opportunity provided by tomorrow’s EU Summit to find a new and united approach to the situation of Mediterranean arrivals that answers the shared needs of all countries to be able to manage their borders and migration policies while simultaneously upholding European and international asylum standards developed over decades. European support, solidarity and collaboration with refugee hosting countries in developing regions, as well as countries of transit, has become more critical than ever.

 IOM and UNHCR are ready to support States in this effort.

 For further information please contact in Geneva:

Adrian Edwards UNHCR Head of News & Media email:  tel  +41 79 557 9120

Charlie Yaxley UNHCR Spokesperson  email:  tel  +41 79 580 8702

Leonard Doyle, IOM Chief Spokesperson  email: Tel +41 79 2857123

Ryan Schroeder  IOM Regional Office for the EU in Brussels  email:  Tel +32  492 25 02 34

Language English Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2018 - 20:28Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

Archive picture IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency “Greatly Concerned” By Reports of Migrants Stranded at Algeria-Niger Border

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 11:12

Geneva – William Lacy Swing, Director General of  IOM, the UN Migration Agency, said today that he was ”greatly concerned”  for the fate of migrants that find themselves stranded and left to fend for themselves in the no man’s land desert between Algeria and Niger.

“Irregular migrants, including many pregnant women and minors, should not be left without food or water or expected to walk  for miles in blistering 30-degree temperatures to seek safety in the desert,” he said.

Media reports describe how thousands of migrants have made their way across a barren 15-kilometer (9-mile) stretch of desert between Algeria and Niger to the settlement of  Assamaka. IOM routinely sends search and rescue missions to pick up severely dehydrated and disoriented migrants who have been looking for shelter for days at a time. There are also credible reports of migrants dying in the desert after losing their way or succumbing to heat and exhaustion.

IOM officials in the remote desert outpost of Assamaka have described migrants emerging from the desert in the thousands. When every new group arrives, IOM organizes search and rescue missions to assist the vulnerable. Once in the border town IOM sends busses to those who wish to return home voluntarily. But the challenge is growing, as the number of migrants emerging after an arduous trek across the desert grows.

“Managed migration is the only answer,” said Ambassador Swing. “It comes down to ensuring that migrants everywhere are treated with dignity and in a way that is safe and orderly. These are the basics we ask of every country in the world.”

The number of migrants walking through the desert from Algeria to Niger is on the rise. In May 2017, 135 migrants were left at the border crossing and the number of crossings reached 2,888 in April 2018. IOM calculates that some 11,276 migrants, among them women and children have made it over the border.

For more information please contact Leonard Doyle at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 2857123, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 17:11Image: Region-Country: AlgeriaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency to Select Next Director General on Friday

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 10:13

Geneva – On Friday, 29 June 2018, the Council of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Migration Agency, will convene in Geneva to hold a vote for the election of its next Director General.  

IOM’s current Director General, William Lacy Swing, will be stepping down after completing the second of two five-year terms.  

Voting member states – of which there will be 171 – will select from among three candidates, each nominated by their home governments. The three candidates are Mr. Ken Isaacs, nominated by the United States, Ms. Laura Thompson, nominated by Costa Rica, and Mr. Antonio Vitorino, nominated by Portugal. 

Voting is by secret ballot and will begin Friday morning. Under the rules of procedure, the winning candidate must receive at least two-thirds of all voting states’ ballots.  

If no single candidate receives at least a two-thirds majority after the first round of ballots cast, new rounds will follow, with the candidate with the lowest of the three totals being eliminated after the third session. Member states will vote as many times as necessary to declare a winner – that is, when one of the two remaining candidates secures a two-thirds majority. 

Established in 1951, IOM has over 10,000 staff and over 400 offices in more than 150 countries. IOM is the UN Migration Agency and is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration. It is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.  

IOM works with its partners in the international community to assist in meeting operational challenges of migration, advance understanding of migration issues, to encourage social and economic development through migration and to uphold the well-being and human rights of all migrants.  

IOM provides services and advice to governments and migrants to help ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, to promote international cooperation on migration issues, to assist in the search for practical solutions to migration problems and to provide humanitarian assistance to migrants in need, including refugees and internally displaced people. 

IOM was granted permanent observer status to the UN General Assembly in 1992. A cooperation agreement between IOM and the UN was signed in 1996. IOM joined the UN system as a related organization in September 2016, when the agreement outlined in GA res.70/296 (2016) was signed during the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants. 

For further information please contact Leonard Doyle at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 792857123, Email: 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 16:09Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Supports Guatemala after Eruption of Volcán de Fuego

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 08:11

Guatemala City – Today (6/26) IOM, the UN Migration Agency, announces its support of Guatemalan efforts to assist people affected by the eruption of Volcán de Fuego. IOM support is focused on shelter management, the development of information systems for monitoring displaced people, the evaluation of damaged infrastructures and the assistance of migrants in transit.

"After the first eruption on 3 June, IOM and a UN inter-agency team mobilized at the site to make an account of the immediate needs in the shelters and made itself available to the government through the Social Work Secretariat of the President's Wife (SOSEP), the governing body of the shelters,” said Sebastián Berkovich, IOM Response Coordinator.

The eruption has so far left 1.7 million people affected, 12,823 evacuated, 3,613 in temporary shelters, 197 missing and 110 deceased, in the departments of Escuintla, Chimaltenango, and Sacatepéquez, where the National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction (CONRED) has maintained an orange alert.

IOM is providing computer equipment to SOSEP to launch a Shelter Integrated Registration System (SIRA in Spanish) which allows the institution to generate a shelter census quickly and systematically. A shelter management methodology will also be delivered to provide minimum standards in the assistance of the affected population, following national legislation and with resources from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF).

IOM is also contributing to improving the living conditions of the people displaced by the eruption in the collective centers, by creating safe spaces, mainly for the populations in situations of vulnerability. The organization will also evaluate the damaged infrastructure in the regions.

Finally, IOM will implement its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) to identify sectoral needs and will provide inputs for the government, international organizations, social organizations and other stakeholders to be able to make informed decisions for the care of those who need it.

For more information, please contact IOM Guatemala, Melissa Vega, Tel: +502 2414 7401, Email:, or Alba Miriam Amaya, Tel: +503 2521 0511, Email:



Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 14:10Image: Region-Country: GuatemalaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM is improving the living conditions of 3,600 Guatemalans displaced by the eruption and currently sheltered in collective centres. Photo: IOM / Melissa Vega

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Private Sector, Civil Society Actors Discuss Responsible Business Practices in South Africa

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 08:10

Johannesburg – The Responsible Business Forum (RBF) on Sustainable Development started yesterday (25/06) in Johannesburg, South Africa. The three-day event will address the advancement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) on the African content, with a focus on innovation, youth and technology.

Representatives for IOM, the UN Migration Agency, will run a plenary session tomorrow morning (27/06) entitled Employers, Innovators and Drivers of Sustainable Development: Harnessing the Private Sector’s Role in the Global Compact for Migration. Participants will address the ongoing Global Compact on Migration process, areas of focus and objectives led by United Nations Member States and stakeholders.

The private sector has a direct business interest in migration policies. The vast majority of private sector entities engage with migrants – as employees, customers, and increasingly as shareholders, managers and corporate leaders. Therefore, current global migration challenges – insufficiency of regular labour migration channels, unpredictability and opaqueness of national regulations governing immigration and international labour recruitment, etc. – are of direct concern to them.

Speaking ahead of the event, Jason Theede, IOM Senior Labour Mobility and Human Development Specialist, Southern Africa, said: “The Responsible Business Forum Africa is a prime opportunity to foster partnerships with multilateral institutions, governments, the private sector and civil society and ensure a well-rounded approach to effective migration management within the African continent.”

In September 2016, with the adoption of the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, heads of state and government at the United Nations launched a process to develop the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration to be adopted at the end of this year. The private sector needs to be a strong voice in the process to ensure that its interests are well-represented.

The RBF Africa Forum on Sustainable Development is organized by Global Initiatives in cooperation with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). It is expected to convene more than 400 attendees from business, government, UN agency, NGO and the development community attendees to discuss a shared vision for a prosperous future in Africa.

IOM has been an active partner in the Southern Africa region, providing technical assistance to the regional and continental integrative agenda and assisting member states, civil society and other key stakeholders with policy and programmatic development to enhance labour migration governance and management in the region, engage and provide protection to migrants, as well as facilitating South-South labour mobility and human development initiatives.

During the forum, IOM will also present MigApp – a mobile application developed by the organization to provide migrants with information on visas; health and travel regulations; alerts on global incidents arising from conflict or natural disasters; and contacts of counter-trafficking hotlines around the world. MigApp also has a feature that helps migrants compare costs for sending money home to their relatives. Remittances are a key source of support for populations in developing countries, but too often the cost of sending this money home is too high.

For more information, please contact: Jason Theede at IOM Regional Office in Pretoria, Email: Or
Vanessa Okoth-Obbo at IOM HQ in Geneva, Tel: +417179366, Email:



Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 14:05Image: Region-Country: South AfricaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Humanitarians, Designers Meet in New York for First Design for Humanity Summit

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 08:09

New York – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA) have launched the Design for Humanity Initiative at the first Design for Humanity Summit in New York on 22 June.

The event explored how the intersection between design and humanitarian action can compel a more dignified, inclusive and sustainable humanitarian response to crises. More than 40 presenters from the design, humanitarian and academic communities, as well as the private sector, sat on panel discussions and delivered breakout sessions to an audience of more than 300 people.

“We see great potential in deepening the nexus between the commitment and ethical framework of humanitarian actors with emphasis on innovation and participatory approaches to design and contextualization,” said Ashraf El Nour, Director of IOM’s office in New York, in his opening remarks at the summit.

Other panellists and breakout session leaders included creative humanitarian and design practitioners from Airbnb, the Airbel Center at the International Rescue Committee, ARCHIVE Global, ART WORKS Projects for Human Rights, Asylee Designs, Boston Society of Landscape Architects, de.MO Design, Ennead Lab, Google, the Global Alliance for Urban Crises, Habitat for Humanity International, Ideation Worldwide,, Irish Aid, MASS Design Group, the Museum of Modern Art, Prudential, IOM and the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF).

They shared the stage with researchers from lead academic institutions such as Harvard University’s Graduate School of Design, Massachusetts College of Art and Design, Portland State University Center for Public Interest Design, Universitat Internacional de Catalunya School of Architecture, and Université de Montréal.

“Design for Humanity is one of five key research areas for the Institute,” said Brendan Cahill, the Executive Director of the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs. “We hope to see this one grow and flourish. We are seeking to galvanize the diverse expertise of those working at this intersection through the multi-year Design for Humanity Initiative which will include future events, research, publications, and collaborative projects.”

The way humanitarian programmes are designed at the onset lays the groundwork for the quality of life experienced by people affected by crises for years to come. Placing dignified and human-centred design at the heart of humanitarian action is, therefore, essential.

“Given IOM’s strong background in shelter and camp management in humanitarian contexts all over the world, IOM is well positioned to contribute to expanding knowledge, piloting solutions on the field and enhancing the future of humanitarian response,” said Alberto Preato, IOM Programme Manager in Iraq and visiting research fellow of the IIHA. “I am really excited to see how we can take it further and further.”

The Design for Humanity Summit sought to bring together innovative designers and humanitarians to envision a better future. Placing dignified and human-centred design at the heart of humanitarian action is, therefore, an essential goal of the Design for Humanity Initiative which will continue in the years to come.

The first step will be a Design for Humanity Yearbook and a campaign that will chronicle the diverse perspectives presented at the Summit. The second Design for Humanity Summit will take place in 2019 and expand to new locations worldwide. In addition, the IIHA and IOM plan to engage in deeper research to launch projects involving relevant stakeholders in New York and in the field, in pursuit of innovative humanitarian design projects around the world.

Read more about the Design for Humanity Summit:

For more information, please contact:

Alberto Preato at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8053 5933, Email:
Angela Wells at Fordham University, Tel: +1 917 620 5467, Email:
Rahma Soliman at IOM New York, Tel: +1 917 515 7454, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 13:50Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaDefault: Multimedia: 

Attendees of the Design for Humanity Summit in New York. Photo: Jordan Kleinman 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Storms Raise Risk of Water Contamination in Bangladesh’s Cash-Strapped Rohingya Refugee Camps

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 08:09

Cox’s Bazar - Heavy rainfall in Cox’s Bazar earlier this month has put major strain on drainage systems in Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps, according to IOM engineers, who predict it will cost at least USD 1 million to clear blocked channels and maintain them to prevent dangerous flooding in future.

Almost a million Rohingya refugees, who fled violence in Myanmar, are living under tarpaulins on Cox’s Bazar’s crowded, bare, sandy hillsides in what has become the world’s largest refugee camp.

Efficient canals and drainage systems are crucial to prevent flooding and the build-up of stagnant water, both of which can lead to dangerous and life-threatening contamination of clean water supplies and create environments in which deadly diseases can thrive.

Despite intense efforts by IOM and other agencies, who have been working with the government of Bangladesh to install crucial drainage infrastructure to ready the camps for the cyclone and monsoon season, unusually heavy rainfall in the first half of June filled many canals and drains with sediment, dangerously restricting water flow.

Roads, shelters and services were also affected by the downpours and IOM staff have been working round the clock to assess and repair damage. But according to IOM’s Emergency Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar, Manuel Pereira, the impact on the canals and drainage system is of particular concern.

“The extremely heavy rains pushed down large amounts of silt and soil from the hillsides into the canals and drains. There are now areas where water can no longer flow through them,” he said.

“It is imperative that we get these cleared as soon as possible. We will also need funding to keep clearing them through the monsoon months ahead. Preventing the spread of large amounts of contaminated water through the camps is a matter of life and death,” he added.

But Pereira warned that with the overall Rohingya refugee response in Cox’s Bazar still less than one quarter funded, almost all agencies are struggling to continue to provide vital services, including drainage, clean water and sanitation. IOM’s own funding appeal for USD 182 million has secured just 22 per cent of that amount.

Since February, IOM engineers working with Rohingya refugees have already constructed over 20km of major drainage channels throughout the Kutupalong mega camp and an additional 10km in communities further south.

According to Damon Elsworth,  operations manager of the Site Maintenance and Engineering Project (SMEP), the basic canals and drain structures stood up well to this month’s downpours and none had burst. But the rapid buildup of sediment highlights the major challenges ahead.

“Canals and drains need dredging regularly. But the rainfall has discharged higher volumes of sand and clay than anticipated. It is now evident that the task of operation and maintenance of these waterways will be more intense than previously thought. We are still early in the monsoon season where the full impact of sediment accumulation is yet to be seen,” he said.

Under the SMEP, an IOM joint project with WFP and UNHCR, there are 14 infrastructure response teams stationed across Cox’s Bazar ready to deploy for urgent road repairs and drain clearance throughout the monsoon period. They comprise 170 workers equipped with machines, pumps, hand tools and lighting towers for 24-hour working.  

But according to Elsworth, analysis of the impact of the recent rains indicates a need for more teams to ensure that the work is carried out as quickly and safely as possible. This would inevitably require more funding.

Across the camps, IOM and its partners are continuing to work round the clock to support the refugee population as the monsoon begins. Site development and site management teams are continuing to work with refugee households at most risk of flooding and landslides. Health teams are working to ensure continued service in key sites with mobile medical teams on standby. Water, Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH) teams are working to ensure adequate access to functioning latrines and protection teams are continuing to engage with the refugees across all sectors.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 13:55Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Clearing silt-clogged drainage canals to stop flooding and contamination of clean water sources has become a race against time in Cox’s Bazar. Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Returns Continue While Obstacles to Return Remain in Iraq: IOM

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 08:09

Erbil – The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) across Iraq has decreased to 2 million, and the number of returnees has increased to 3.8 million, according to IOM Iraq’s latest Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) report, released this past week by IOM Iraq.

The largest return population is found in Ninewa governorate (1.4 million; mainly Mosul, Tel-Afar and Al-Hamdaniya districts), followed by Anbar governorate with 1.2 million returnees (Fallujah and Ramadi districts), and Salah al-Din governorate, with over 534,000 returnees. Of the more than 3.8 million returnees, more than 3.7 million have returned to their areas and pre-displacement residence.

Despite more than 590,000 IDPs having returned in 2018, the pace is slowing down as the remaining IDPs face significant obstacles to return.  In IOM Iraq’s Integrated Location Assessment (ILA) Round III, an annual survey which was released this week, IDPs cite damage and destruction to housing (26%), lack of job opportunities (25%), and lack of safety in their locations of origin (18%), as the main obstacles to return.

As a result, only 30% of the remaining IDPs intend to return in the next six months, while the majority of IDPs have no immediate plans to return home. In the long term (six months or more), 60 per cent of IDPs plan to return to their place of origin, 22 per cent want to locally integrate and 15 per cent plan to integrate because they do not have other viable options. 

When it comes to recovery needs, the greatest expressed needs for returnees is access to employment and livelihood opportunities, followed by access to solutions for displacement related rights violations, and improved safety, security and freedom of movement, among others.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Gerard Waite said: “While IDP returns continue across Iraq, we remain cognizant of the fact that many IDPs remain in displacement, facing significant challenges to return. We must all be reminded of the long road that remains ahead for the most vulnerable returnees and IDPs and scale up our support to address their immediate needs.” 

In cooperation with the Government of Iraq and local communities, IOM Iraq is implementing comprehensive projects in return areas to assist with the sustainable reintegration of IDPs, including through rehabilitation of infrastructure, livelihood support, access to basic social services, community policing forums, and social cohesion and peacebuilding initiatives.

More information is available on the DTM website:

The latest DTM report can be accessed at:

The Returns Dashboard can be downloaded at:

The Integrated Location Assessment – Round III, completed from March to May 2018, looks into displacement and returns, profiling locations and social dynamics. This includes the demographics, conditions, movement intentions, and vulnerabilities. Data is available at:

A full report on this data will be available later this year.

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Displaced Iraqi families at Haj Ali emergency site in Ninewa governorate prepare to return to their homes. 25 June, 2018. Photo: Raber Y. Aziz / IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Releases Migration Crisis Operational Framework for Syria Crisis in Turkey

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 08:04

Ankara – The Syria crisis has displaced millions of Syrians into Turkey, currently serving as the world’s largest refugee-hosting country. In response, the UN Migration Agency (IOM) is launching a new framework for responding to the migration crisis. With 3.9 million refugees and migrants living in camps, villages, and urban centres across the country, the Government of Turkey and the humanitarian community have been responding to the vast needs of the displaced by providing essential relief in every sector ranging from education, health, shelter, and livelihoods.

Today, IOM releases its “IOM Turkey Migration Crisis Operational Framework (MCOF) 2018-2019”, a two-year strategy and practical tool to improve the way IOM addresses the needs of migrants and refugees and collaborates with government institutions, UN agencies, and non-governmental organizations to better prepare for and respond to the crisis. The MCOF was created in line with the Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM’s) Migration Management Strategy, the Regional Refugee Response and Resilience Plan (3RP) and the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP). As one of the lead organizations on the ground, IOM provides crucial direct assistance to displaced persons and helps coordinate relief efforts among humanitarian partners.

The MCOF also provides a way forward for IOM’s approach in linking humanitarian assistance with development efforts. The strategy focuses on methods for delivering humanitarian support; community stabilization; livelihoods; and early recovery programming. These efforts are effectively coordinated with partners at all levels – local, national, and regional.

“IOM’s 25-year history in Turkey working constructively with the Turkish Government puts us in a good position to further our collaboration and better the situation for both Syrians and host communities. The Turkish Government has shown unprecedented compassion to Syrians and IOM looks forward to our further collaboration in the years to come,” says Lado Gvilava, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Turkey.

As the protracted migration crisis transitions in Turkey into one that requires a mid- to long-term response, IOM will look to support innovative and more sustainable programming that empowers refugees, migrants and host communities to create and sustain their own livelihoods, build resilience and encourage community stabilization using the MCOF as a foundation. This approach aligns with IOM globally, which works to better serve migrant populations all over the world by effectively addressing the mobility dimension and consequences of crises.

Download the report here

For more information, please contact Lanna Walsh at IOM Turkey, Tel: +90 312 454 3048, Email:



Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 14:15Image: Region-Country: TurkeyThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Clothing and shoes are provided to migrants and refugees rescued at sea. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Global Migration Film Festival Submissions 2018 Doubled Compared to Last Year

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 08:02

Geneva – Since opening calls for submissions in April, IOM’s 2018 Global Migration Film Festival (GMFF) ‘Call for Films’ closed on 21 June – more than doubling last year’s total roster of entrants after receiving 784 submissions, including features, documentaries and short films.

 “We have received submissions from 96 different countries!” exclaimed Amanda Nero, director of the GMFF. “Last year we had 303!”

India has sent the most submissions – 65 in total – followed by Italy with 62, the United States with 60, and the Islamic Republic of Iran with 46 films.

Almost 40 per cent of the total submissions are from Western Europe, which stands at the leading position with 288 films offered. Middle Eastern and Asian countries each have over a hundred submissions. North America ranked number four with 84 films submitted. Both Eastern Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean have over 60 submissions, and Sub-Saharan Africa, 21 submissions.


The GMFF also is an inclusive festival: anyone who is interested in migration or film is welcomed; the entrance to all events is free. Screenings begin 28 November and run through 18 December – the UN’s international day of the migrant – with events scheduled in some 100 countries.

“There are many fascinating films, it will be a hard selection process,” added Nero.

The submitted films cover a wide range of themes, including a film from Germany about people who have to apply big politics to individuals every day. Whoever applies for asylum in Germany has to sit across from them just once: the deciders of the Migration Office, the ones who evaluate who can stay and who cannot. It is a film about thoughtfulness and morals, and the impossible task of always doing the right thing.

Another remarkable film follows the moving testimonies of Muslim refugees from Syria, Iraq, Somalia and Sudan, resettled in the US. This unconventional documentary film creates intimate psychological portraits, restores the refugees’ voices, and allows them full personal and political agency.

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



Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 14:20Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 42,845 in 2018; Deaths Reach 972

Tue, 06/26/2018 - 08:01

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 42,845 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 24 June, with just over 38 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided almost evenly between Greece (30%) and Spain (31%). This compares with 85,751 arrivals across the region through the same period last year, and 215,997 in 2016.

On Monday, IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo reported that some 330 migrants remain stranded on two boats in the Mediterranean after Italy denied the NGO ship Lifeline, which reportedly has over 220 migrants on board, entry to an Italian port. A second boat, the Danish cargo vessel Alexander Maersk, which rescued 113 migrants two days ago, also was not granted permission to dock in Italy. 

IOM staff in Italy reported this morning that the Alexander Maersk has been eventually authorized last night to land in the Sicilian port of Pozzallo, while the NGO ship Lifeline is still at sea.

By late Monday Italian authorities had only allowed the disembarkation of five vulnerable migrants.

IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported Monday that since IOM’s last update on 22 June, 1,234 migrants have received emergency assistance after being returned to Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard.

She reported that on late Friday (22 June) 100 migrants (99 men and one boy) – the vast majority from Bangladesh and the rest from Sudan – received food, health care and protection support including psychosocial first aid at the disembarkation point in Tripoli after being returned by the Libyan Coast Guard. The migrants embarked on a rubber boat in Qaraboli. All migrants have been transferred to Tajoura detention centre.               

On Saturday (23 June), 25 migrants (16 men, six women and three children) from Côte d’Ivoire, Guinea and Senegal received food, health care and protection support. All were transferred to Trig al Seka detention centre.  

On Sunday (24 June), 97 migrants (54 men, 17 women, 26 children), from Eritrea, Ethiopia and Gambia received food, health care and protection assistance at the disembarkation point before being moved to Tajoura detention centre. Although no remains were recovered, survivors affirmed that four fellow migrants are missing.

Late on Sunday, 490 migrants (395 men, 75 women and 20 children) received food, health assistance (eight women were pregnant and received primary health check-ups and additional three cases needed medical treatment on site) and protection screenings at the disembarkation point. Migrants were on four rubber boats and departed from Garaboli and Al Khums. The migrants were transferred to Trig al Seka detention centre.

Later that same day, 361 migrants (229 men, 88 women and 44 children) received primary health care including five cases who suffered from severe dehydration after being returned by the coast guard. Migrants were taken to Al Khums detention centre.

Overnight, 161 migrants (137 men, 20 women and 4 children), a large majority from Sudan, received health assistance (one pregnant case and four passengers required medical treatment onsite) and protection assistance at the disembarkation point after being returned to Libyan shore by the coast guard. All migrants have been transferred to Trig al Seka.

In addition to those reported missing above, the remains of eight individuals washed up on Libyan shores over the weekend: six bodies were recovered in Al Maya and two in Sayiad.

So far this year, 9,459 migrants have been returned to shore by the coast guard; this represents a slight increase compared to the same period last year (9,337 returned during the same period in 2017).

IOM Athens’ Christine Nikolaidou reported that there were at least six incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Samos, and Kos. The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 56 migrants off the island of Lesvos, 162 migrants off the island of Samos and seven off the island of Kos – a total of 225 migrants rescued and transferred to those respective islands.

Another 203 migrants were reported on Chios and other islands, bringing to 428 the total number of arrivals between 21-24 June. Through that date the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory since 1 January is 12,942 (see chart below).

For the month of June, nearly twice as many migrants have arrived by sea to Spain than to Italy, nearly three times as many as have arrived in Greece.

IOM Madrid’s Ana Dodevska reported Monday that total arrivals at sea in 2018 have reached 13,462 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 24 June. More than one-third of the total – 5,300 people – arrived only in the past 24 days.



In the Mediterranean alone, 972 people have lost their lives at sea since the beginning of the year. 

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded the deaths of 1,644 people during migration in 2018

There were two additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since last week’s update.

On the Malawi/Mozambique border, 12 Ethiopian nationals died in a vehicle accident on 16 June. They were killed when the van in which they were travelling irregularly to South Africa crashed on Highway 304 near Tsangano, in Mozambique’s province of Tete.

In Europe, the remains of a young migrant washed up on a beach in the Italian border town of Ventimiglia on 21 June. In recent years, Ventimiglia has become a common transit spot for migrants attempting to cross the border into France. In the first six months of 2018, at least 41 migrants have died while travelling in Europe.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff 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.

Download the Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here.  
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:

Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional DTM, Austria, Tel: +43 1 5812222, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel : +216 29 240 448, Email :
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Tel: +216 71 860 312 (Ext. 109), Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 26, 2018 - 14:25Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Harnessing New Data Sources Responsibly For Effective Migration Policy

Mon, 06/25/2018 - 08:08

Today the European Commission and the International Organization for Migration launch the Big Data for Migration Alliance (BD4M), a global initiative to unlock the potential of big data sources and provide valuable insights related to migration.

One of the main challenges to effective migration policies is working with traditional statistics, including census data that can often be outdated.

Social media platforms and other new, innovative sources can provide up to date, dynamic information on migration and mobility trends and statistics. Scientists call these insights mobility 'nowcasts', and they can help policymakers keep a grip on the issues as they develop.

BD4M is the first dedicated network of stakeholders seeking to tap into this potential. The alliance aims to address challenges ranging from access and analytical difficulties to privacy and security risks.

Big data 'nowcasts': an emerging science

The JRC and IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) present research at today's launch event exploring how data from the Facebook advertising platform can be interpreted to gain an accurate picture of migration trends.

Scientists used data that describe the number of Facebook users who live in an EU country and are classified as 'expats' from another country. They developed a methodology to correct the over- or under-representation of these data compared to the real population, based on the probability of expats using Facebook - affected by factors like age, gender, country of origin and the country of the destination of an expat.

The results were compared to national statistics, as well as those from Eurostat and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs. While interpreting data in this kind of way is in its infancy, the study shows that initial estimates from Facebook data are broadly aligned to official statistics, confirming the potential of big data to 'nowcast'. These nowcasts can be used to detect trends of fluid and rapidly changing patterns of mobility, where current methods often lag several months behind.

In addition, the methodology could be used as a basis to give figures in those countries where no official statistics exist about migrants.

Responsible use of data

BD4M takes confidentiality, security and the ethical use of data seriously. The alliance recognises the concerns over the privacy and security risks that could arise if this information is not handled appropriately.

The project will work with anonymised data, assessing numbers and trends similarly to how regular statistics are used. A network of 'data stewards' will be integral to the alliance, set up across private and public institutions to foster the efficient and responsible use of data.
Workshops held in the run-up to today's launch highlighted the need for a regulatory and legislative framework to instruct the collection, analysis, and sharing of big data. BD4M aims to help provide a starting point to build this framework, through international dialogue between regulators, big data users and providers.

The alliance is jointly convened by the European Commission's Knowledge Centre on Migration and Demography and the Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) of the United Nations' International Organization for Migration. Relevant partners from the scientific, policy and business communities will be identified for specific activities as the work progresses.

Related content

The BD4M Joint Concept Note: A new, global dataset for migration based on social media data.


For more information please contact Marzia Rango at IOM´s GMDAC, Tel: + 49 (0) 30 278 778 24, email: or Michele Vespe at European Commission´s Joint Research Centre, Tel: +39-0332-78 9154, Email:



Language English Posted: Monday, June 25, 2018 - 13:38Image: Region-Country: BelgiumDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 40,944 in 2018; Deaths Reach 934

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:58

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 40,944 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through the first 171 days of 2018. That total compares to 84,675 at this time last year, and over 215,997 at this time in 2016.

In other words: Mediterranean arrivals at this point in 2018 are running at significantly below half of last year’s total to date, and some 19 per cent of 2016’s volume at this same point during that year.  Deaths, too, are much lower than at comparable periods of the past two years. In 2017 IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reported 2,133 deaths through 21 June; at this point in 2016 the figure was 2,911 – or over three times 2018’s estimated total of 960.

The largest shortfall since last year has been on transit via the so-called Central Mediterranean route linking North Africa to Italy. IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo notes that this year’s traffic towards Italian ports – 16,228 men, women and children through 20 June – is at a level nearly 78 per cent below that recorded through 20 June last year.

With the year swiftly approaching its mid-point, IOM notes that in none of the past four years have irregular migrant sea arrivals fallen short of 119,000 – last year’s total.

This year migrant arrivals to Italy by sea are below 17,000 – a remarkable turnaround for a country that has witnessed an annual average arrival rate of 156,000 migrants per year over the last four years (see chart below).

June arrivals to Italy, Di Giacomo recorded, are running now at less than 25 per cent of their 2017 rate, and less than 33 per cent of 2016’s volume (see chart below).

Nonetheless, the perils faced by migrants remain daunting.  IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo notes that
Italy’s most recent landing was recorded on 19 June in Pozzallo, where the ship of the Italian Coast Guard "Diciotti" brought a total of 523 migrants saved during the previous days in the Mediterranean.

Among them were survivors of a shipwreck that occurred on 12th June, migrants who had been rescued by the US Navy ship USS Trenton. Those, mostly sub-Saharan Africans, said they had left Zuwara, in Libya, during the night of 11 June, sailing on a dinghy carrying 117 people, including 20 women and a one-year-old child.
After seven hours of navigation, the boat began to deflate and many migrants fell into the water. The US Trenton, patrolling nearby, intervened and managed to bring 41 people to safety. Overall, 76 migrants lost their lives, survivors said, including 15 of the 20 women and the one-year-old child.

Upon arrival in Italy, these migrants were exhausted by the stress and the trauma they experienced; many also reported being victims of terrible violence perpetrated by their smugglers: kept locked for months in a house near the sea, where men reportedly were beaten and women were raped.

Early Thursday (21 June) IOM Libya’s Christine Petré reported on several ongoing search and rescue operations unfolding along Libya’s coastline. The Libyan Coast Guard, she said, returned 301 migrants (252 men, three women and 46 children – all boys); the majority from Guinea, Cameroon, Senegal and Côte d’Ivoire were transferred to Trig al Seka detention centre. IOM offered emergency assistance.

The migrants said they started their journey in Garaboli, leaving on two rubber dinghies. The migrants received emergency primary health assistance, and protection screenings were provided at the disembarkation point.

Petré added that on Wednesday (20 June), the Libyan Coast Guard returned 42 migrants (36 men, four women and two children) who also received IOM emergency assistance. The migrants started their journey in Garaboli on one rubber dinghy.

All migrants were registered by the Libyan Coast Guard. The migrants, the majority from Guinea, Mali, Côte d’Ivoire and Nigeria, were then transferred to Ain Zara detention centre.

Tragically, the body of a Guinean national was retrieved during the operation. Later that day, 20 migrants (19 from Mali and one from Guinea) were returned to Basis disembarkation point by the Libyan Coast Guard and transferred to Tajoura detention centre.

For the week, IOM Libya is reporting 936 migrants returned to shore by authorities. The latest incident occurred Friday morning when 85 migrants were returned near Tripoli. Most were from Pakistan and Algeria.

So far this year, 8,310 migrants have been returned to the Libyan shore by the Libyan Coast Guard, Petré reported. A total of 37 corpses were retrieved on Libyan soil this week after washing ashore. Additionally, there are reports of a capsized dinghy on Tuesday (19 June) north of Almaya.  Survivors reported most passengers were from Sudan.

"We know there were five survivors taken to hospital," said Ms. Petré. "There were life vests found on the beach, which would indicate other survivors. But we don't know how many to consider missing."

IOM Madrid’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday Spanish arrivals in June through the 20th of the month are 3,993, by far the heaviest volume for any month this year so far, and on track to be the busiest month off Spain in over four years of the current Mediterranean emergency (see charts below).

IOM's team in the Balkans reported this week that during the first two weeks of June, authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina registered 1,076 new migrants and asylum seekers which totals to more than 6,600 arrivals since the beginning of 2018 (almost six times the 1,119 reported for all of 2017).

Pakistan is the most commonly reported origin country by irregular migrants and asylum seekers registered this year in Bosnia and Herzegovina (27% of all cases), followed by Syrian Arab Republic (18%), Afghanistan (13%) Iran (11%) and Iraq (8%).

Authorities in Montenegro reported 285 irregular apprehensions in the first two weeks of June, adding up to a total of 1,733 migrants and asylum seekers intercepted by the authorities in Montenegro since the starts of this year. This shows nine times increase in arrivals to Montenegro when compared to 187 registered in the same period in 2017 and increase of more than double when compared to the 807 registered arrivals in the whole of 2017. Migrants and asylum seekers registered in Montenegro are mostly of Syrian origin (45%), followed by those declaring Pakistani (16%), Algerian (11%) and Iraqi (8%) origin.

In Albania, another 46 irregular apprehensions on entry were reported in the first two weeks of June 2018 giving a total of 1,733 since the beginning of the year. Further on, another 421 migrants and asylum seekers were registered on exit from the country on the border with Montenegro between April and June. More than a third of the overall registered population were of Syrian origin and another 28% reported Algerian origin and 13% Libyan.

According to available data, intensified movements have been observed also in Slovenia where in May only, authorities apprehended 1,158 irregular migrants, almost double than the 573 reported in April 2018. Between January and May authorities registered a total of 2,383 migrants and refugees, four times increase compared to the 567 registered in the same period 2017. One quarter of individuals declared themselves as nationals of Pakistan (27%), followed by Algeria (19%), Syrian Arab Republic (9%), Afghanistan (7%) and Morocco (7%).

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported Thursday that over three days (18-20 June) the Hellenic Coast Guard reported at least three incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Samos and Lesvos. The Hellenic Coast Guard rescued 48 migrants off the island of Samos and 38 migrants off the island of Lesvos – a total of 86 migrants – and transferred them to the two islands.

IOM Greece further reported that besides those 86, another 75 irregular migrants arrived during the three days, landing in Oinouses and Kos, and bringing to 12,514 the total number of irregular migrants entering Greece via sea since January 1 –  an average of around 73 persons per day (see charts below).

IOM Greece also reports that “Omed,” a three-year-old boy, lost his life in the open accommodation site located at Thiva, Greece. The boy, who was found dead in the sewage tank, was from Iraq.  The incident took place Monday evening (18 June), just hours after his family reported his disappearance. Greek authorities have started an investigation; IOM has no update regarding autopsy results or the investigation.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 1,592 people who died or went missing while migrating in 2018 (see chart below).

In the Mediterranean alone, 934 people have lost their lives at sea since the beginning of the year. In the Central Mediterranean, at least 12 people have died in the past four days off the coast of Libya.

On 18 June, the remains of five people, including two women, were recovered from a sinking boat 8 miles of Melittah area in Tripoli, Libya. The day after, a boat capsized north of Al Maya. Five survivors were rescued and transferred to the Janzour Hospital, while the remains of six people, including two children, were retrieved on the shore. On 20 June, the Libyan Coast Guard intercepted 82 migrants and recovered one body from a boat north of Tajura, Libya.

There were several other additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since Tuesday’s update.

On the US/Mexico border, the remains of a young man who died from dehydration were recovered on 18 June on the side of highway 131 between Eagle Pass and Brackettville. Previously, on 10 June, the remains of one migrant were found in a ranch near Falfurrias in Brooks County, Texas. The same day, a man drowned in the Río Bravo – his body was recovered in McAllen, Hidalgo County.

In Europe, a 20-year-old Guinean man was crushed by a bus near Brussels, Belgium. The young migrant was clinging to the axle underneath the bus, which was bound for the UK, when he was tragically killed as the vehicle stopped.

Missing Migrants Project data are compiled by IOM staff 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.
Download the Latest Mediterranean Update infographic here

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit:

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at:

For more information, please contact:

Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean, Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IIOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Ivona Zakoska, IOM Regional DTM, Austria, Tel: + +43 1 5812222, Email:
Julia Black, IOM GMDAC, Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email:
Christine Petré, IOM Libya, Tel : +216 29 240 448, Email :
Ana Dodevska, IOM Spain, Tel: +34 91 445 7116, Email:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Tel: +216 71 860 312 (Ext. 109), Email:


Language English Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:50Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migrant Returns from Yemen Postponed as Displacement Increases due to Hudaydah Offensive

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:58
Language English

Sana’a – Due to the ongoing offensive, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has been forced to postpone its voluntary humanitarian return assistance to migrants stranded in Hudaydah until further notice. The same military operations have, so far, caused 5,775 Yemenis to flee their homes in the Hudaydah area since it began last Wednesday (13/06) – this figure is set to increase over the coming days.

“A few weeks ago, it was almost unimaginable that the situation in Yemen – already the world’s worst humanitarian crisis – could have deteriorated even further to the extent that the military offensive on Hudaydah has caused,” said Sarat Dash, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission. “We call on all parties to the conflict to show respect for human life, whether they be Yemeni nationals or a migrant caught in the conflict,” he added.    

Last Thursday (14/06), IOM cancelled a voluntary humanitarian return operation that would have helped over 200 migrants get home from the warzone via Hudaydah port. In addition, an unknown number, but estimated to be in the thousands, of migrants are stranded in or near the frontlines. Following heavy shelling and air strikes near IOM’s Migrant Response Point (MRP) in Hudaydah, 22 migrants were immediately evacuated to Sana’a, where they are currently housed with foster families. They have been traumatized by the experience and IOM counsellors are working closely with them.

In 2017, IOM helped 2,860 migrants return home from Yemen, of whom 746 migrants were voluntary returnees through Hudaydah port – the majority of whom were Ethiopian migrants but others included Sri Lankans, Indians, Nigerians and Pakistani migrants. So far in 2018, IOM has assisted over 430 migrants with return assistance via Hudaydah port. It is unknown how many migrants live or are transiting through Yemen but IOM estimates that approximately 100,000 entered the country in 2017, mostly en route to the Gulf countries.  

"Voluntary humanitarian return is a lifeline for many migrants, who become stranded in Yemen, without it migrants are forced to spend longer in a warzone putting their lives at great risk and causing undue distress to people, who have typically already suffered enormously," said Dash.

The rising displacement caused by the offensive is in addition to the over 89,000, who were already displaced in the Governorate prior to the current military offensive. Humanitarian partners are preparing a response for 60,000 internally displaced households (approximately 420,000 individuals) through 12 Humanitarian Service Points and Transit Sites – this includes new and old displacements.

Due to the increasing displacement, IOM's Migrant Response Point (MRP) has become a centre, not only for comprehensive support to vulnerable migrants, but for humanitarian assistance to internally displaced Yemenis – the largest of its kind in the area at the moment. So far, IOM and partners have provided food, cash assistance, transport, health care and psychosocial support from the MRP to nearly a thousand individuals. 

“Many displaced people I have met are extremely distressed from being caught in the offensive and most, who arrive at the MRP, are extremely hungry, having often gone without meals for days,” said Alisher Makhkamov, who is overseeing IOM’s operations in Hudaydah as part of an inter-agency team, which includes representatives from UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, WHO and IOM.

In addition to four medical staff that IOM has provided to three health care facilities in Hudaydah, IOM deployed a mobile medical team in an ambulance and staffed with one doctor and three nurses to Hudaydah to meet the emergency healthcare needs of affected populations. A second mobile health team and five ambulances will be deployed in the coming days.

“The safety of our staff is paramount, and we urge the parties to the conflict to create a space for humanitarians to operation safely, ensuring that they have access to the populations that they are putting their lives on the line to assist,” said Dash.

For more information, please contact: 
IOM Yemen: Saba Malme, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email:
 IOM HQ: Olivia Headon, Tel: +41794035365, Email:

Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:48Image: Region-Country: YemenDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

True stories of Trafficked Rohingya Refugees used by IOM to Raise Awareness, Counter Risks in Bangladesh

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:58

Cox's Bazar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has launched a series of new comic books, which tell the true-life stories of Rohingya refugees who have fallen victim to human trafficking, to raise awareness among those vulnerable to the crime in South Bangladesh.

In late August 2017, violence in Myanmar sparked an exodus that forced over 700,000 Rohingya refugees to flee their homeland in Myanmar to Bangladesh. The border area of Cox’s Bazar where they now live was already the target of human traffickers even before hundreds of thousands of refugees arrived in just a few months.

Without access to proper livelihood opportunities in Myanmar or Bangladesh, and the majority of the population stateless due to long-standing ethnic discrimination in Myanmar which denies them the right to travel legitimately to other countries, Rohingya refugees are extremely vulnerable to exploitation. While the nature of the crime means it is clandestine and it is impossible to know the exact number of Rohingya refugees directly affected by trafficking, a large section of the almost one million refugee population are potential targets, as are the communities hosting them.

Mahira*, eight years old, was encouraged by a neighbour and her family in a Rohingya refugee camp to go and work, taking care of a baby in a nearby town. When she got there the little girl found herself cut off from her family, working from early morning to late at night and brutally beaten whenever the baby cried.

Mariam*, a young Rohingya woman, thought the opportunity to leave the refugee camp where she lived to take up work as a hotel maid in a beach resort would lift her family out of destitution. Instead, she was tricked and found herself living in a brothel. The “kind aunty”, who found her the job, had sold her into forced prostitution.

Rashid*, a Rohingya father of two, thought he was leaving the refugee camp for a good job in another country. Abroad in an unknown land, he was imprisoned in a storage container and brutally beaten within earshot of a telephone call to his family, who were blackmailed to pay a ransom for him.

These three real-life stories of Rohingya refugees have been adapted by IOM into cartoon form to help teach the refugee and host communities in Cox's Bazar about the very real dangers of human trafficking.

More than 76 victims of trafficking have now directly received assistance from IOM protection staff.  However, this nowhere near reflects the scale of the problem on the ground.

The vast majority of those who fall into traffickers’ hands do not return. But even if they do manage to return home to their families, for some survivors – particularly those who have escaped the sex industry – bearing the shame and stigma associated with their experience means they never report what happened to them. While concerns about refugee women and girls being trafficked into the sex industry are a key focus for IOM, experts say that trafficking can take many forms.

“As these stories based on true experiences show, trafficking affects everyone, not only women and children, but men too," said Dina Parmer, Head of Protection at IOM Cox’s Bazar. "Targets might be approached in many different ways. Traffickers often use vulnerability factors to take advantage of them. That’s why it is so important to raise awareness among the refugee and host communities on the different forms of trafficking and how to identify potentially dangerous situations early on,” she added.

As a lead agency in trafficking prevention across the globe, IOM protection staff have experience in tackling trafficking risks in a wide variety of settings. However, the sudden surge of refugees from Myanmar into Bangladesh created particular challenges. Due to the fact that Rohingya is a language that relies on oral rather than written communication, an innovative solution was needed to help explain risks in a community where text based messaging is not possible.

“These comics are simple, but clear. They are designed to be used by community outreach volunteers in order to explain the risks of trafficking and how to avoid them to community members in language that can be understood by everyone,” said Parmer.

An initial run of 550 comic books has been produced and at least 250 community outreach volunteers from IOM and partners will use them to help spread awareness of trafficking risks.

“This comic is very compelling and easy to understand. It will be accompanied by oral storytelling followed by a discussion led by the community outreach volunteers. It will make the session more attractive; hopefully they will get the message and mitigate the risk of trafficking,” said trainer Jishu Barua of IOM’s counter-trafficking partner organization, Young Power in Social Action (YPSA).

For more information, please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar, Fiona MacGregor, Tel: +8801733335221, or Olivia Headon, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:46Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM has created a series of cartoon books using real life stories of Rohingya refugees to help raise awareness of the risks of trafficking.

IOM has created a series of cartoon books using real life stories of Rohingya refugees to help raise awareness of the risks of trafficking.

IOM has created a series of cartoon books using real life stories of Rohingya refugees to help raise awareness of the risks of trafficking.

IOM has created a series of cartoon books using real life stories of Rohingya refugees to help raise awareness of the risks of trafficking.

IOM has created a series of cartoon books using real life stories of Rohingya refugees to help raise awareness of the risks of trafficking.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Regional Director Visits Nigeria in Support of Moves Against Human Trafficking

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:55

Benin City – Representatives for IOM, the UN Migration Agency, recently went to Edo State, Nigeria to pay a courtesy visit to the Governor and the lyase (Prime Minister) of Benin, and discuss the recent steps taken to combat human trafficking in the region prone to irregular migration.

Richard Danziger, IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa, also met with over 80 returnees who were attending business skills training in preparation for their reintegration assistance under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Nigeria.

During the visit, Edo State Governor Godwin Obaseki invited IOM to be part of the coordination team for the State's recent flagship programme Managing Migration through Development Transformation in Edo State, which aims to prevent irregular migration, combat trafficking in persons, reinforce public services in at-risk communities and promote economic prosperity in the region.

“Edo State administration has set the pace in the way it has continued to manage the issue of irregular migration and human trafficking,” said Danziger. “It has set the template for others to borrow from.”

Edo State plans to ensure the eradication of human trafficking and irregular migration affecting the region by 2020, mainly through its new Anti-Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (TiP/SoM) Taskforce – established in 2017 in a bid to provide home-grown solutions to “the menace which has bedeviled the society.”

“If we create opportunities domestically, who says they [potential migrants] will still be interested in leaving?” asked Governor Obaseki. “We cannot stop people from leaving but we can reduce their will to go and the risks they can face when they make the dangerous journey.”  

For the past three years, Nigerian has been the main nationality of sea arrivals to Italy, and 59 per cent of the victims of trafficking (VoT) assisted by IOM in 2016 were Nigerians. IOM also estimates that about 80 per cent of Nigerian women and girls arriving by sea in 2016 are likely to be VoT for sexual exploitation; an estimated 94 per cent of these women and girls trafficked to Europe come from Edo State (according to UNODC). 

In addition to paying large sums of money to their traffickers, Nigerian victims of trafficking are subjected to a voodoo rite which forbids them from breaking the ‘contract’ they have entered into with the trafficker. The fear of breaking the voodoo oath is a tool of subordination which deeply affects the victims of trafficking and impacts their will to return home without having fully paid their “debt”. Thus the role of traditional and religious leaders is vital in breaking these chains and rescuing the victims.

After his visit to Edo State Governor, Danziger visited Chief Sam Igbe, the lyase of Benin, and discussed the Royal Majesty Oba of Benin’s recent statement revoking the voodoo oath and placing a curse on perpetrators of human trafficking instead. The hope is that this statement will empower victims to come forward and seek assistance which the federal and state governments provide with the support of partners, including IOM.

“There’s nothing new to see out there,” said Igbe, who stressed that human trafficking is not a ‘tradition’ in Edo State. “It is a lie that you can pick money in the streets in Europe.”

“We need to assist the victims but we also need to address the root causes of migration or this problem will carry on,” Danziger added.

The one-day visit to Edo State ended with a surprise visit to IOM beneficiaries taking their first business skills training as part of their reintegration assistance since they returned from Libya.

Since April 2017, IOM Nigeria has assisted over 8,000 Nigerians to return home safely thanks to the EU-IOM Joint initiative for migrant protection and reintegration.

Prior to his visit with Edo State officials, Richard Danziger met with the ECOWAS President, the Commissioner for Trade, Customs, and Free Movement, and the Commissioner for Social Affairs and Gender to reaffirm IOM’s commitment to support ECOWAS in advancing free movement within the Region.

For more information, please contact IOM Nigeria:
Jorge Galindo, Tel: +2348036452973, Email:
Abrahm Tamrat, Tel: +234 906 228 4580, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:44Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa Richard Danziger visits the Governor and the lyase (Prime Minister) of Benin, and discuss the recent steps taken to combat human trafficking in the region prone to irregular migration. Photo: IOM

IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa Richard Danziger meets with returnees who were attending business skills training in preparation for their reintegration assistance under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Nigeria. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Insufficient Data on Migration and Health Undermine Health Systems’ Responses

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:54

Berlin – Data and information on the health of migrants and health issues stemming from migration could make health systems’ responses more effective. Yet such data are scarce, according to a recently published health information page on the Global Migration Data Portal.

The Global Migration Data Portal was launched by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in 2017. It serves as a unique access point to timely, comprehensive migration statistics and reliable information about migration data globally. The health information webpage was authored by IOM’s Migration Health Division in coordination with IOM´s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC). It outlines existing and potential data sources on the health of migrants, and data limitations that hinder countries from better understanding migration and health; addressing public health issues; and making national comparisons to drive evidence-informed policies and practices.

IOM’s Migration Health Division reiterates its call to collect better disaggregated data on the health of migrants as mentioned in the reports from the first and second Global Consultation on Migration Health, held respectively in 2010 and 2017, as well as in the 2008 and 2017 World Health Assembly Resolutions on the Health of Migrants.

According to IOM, the need to enhance health information systems and improve countries’ capacities to collect data on migration health remains a challenge for both developing and developed nations. At the international level no standardized guidance on what data to collect, and how to do so, exists. Also, there is no global health framework with indicators to measure and monitor the health of migrants.

“To address this issue, three things are needed,” stated Jacqueline Weekers, IOM’s Director of Migration Health. “Better approaches to identify sources of migration health data at national, subnational, regional and sub-regional levels; improved methods for analyzing such data; and finally, greater investments in enabling member states and relevant agencies to collaborate across sectors to advance the field of migration health data informatics.”

IOM’s Migration Health Division has developed a repository of its health-related projects and technical outputs into an open-source online portal. The website serves as a practical platform for connecting research experts and scholars, learning about global migration health research initiatives, and improving evidence-based policy and practice. Upcoming events relevant to migration and health are also presented through the portal.

Additionally, a global database of IOM’s migration and health research publications is being created via an open source platform; the publications will be searchable by type of migrant and topic such as mental health, nutrition, etc.

For more information, please contact Kol Wickramage at IOM Philippines, Tel: +63 2 230 1631, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:40Image: Region-Country: GermanyThemes: Migration ResearchDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM ‘Know Before You Go’ Campaign Kicks off as part of Social Protection Week In Zambia

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:53

Lusaka – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, hosted an awareness campaign on Human Trafficking and Safe Migration dubbed “Know Before You Go” in Zambia this week.

The “Know Before You Go” campaign was conducted as part of an outreach programme during the Government of Zambia’s Social Protection Week which runs from 18-22 June 2018, and is aimed at promoting public awareness of social protection as a tool that can be used to address poverty and vulnerability challenges. With the initiative now in its second year, the theme of National Social Protection Week 2018 is ‘Decentralisation and Innovation’, both of which are key to effective and efficient implementation of Social Protection programmes.

The “Know Before You Go” campaign is spearheaded by IOM Zambia and relevant stakeholders. The awareness outreach campaign was held in Chazanga Community, a migrant-host community located just outside of Lusaka, and the activities included a drama performance, which covered several themes associated with Social Protection Week including misconceptions and myths around human trafficking, risks and dangers associated with human trafficking (abuse, violation of the law, etc.) and delivering information on safe migration and its benefits. Approximately 300 individuals from Chazanga were mobilized by Community Welfare Assistance Committees (CWACs) who have previously been trained by IOM on Safe Migration practices and prevention of Human Trafficking.

“Trafficking is a serious violation of human rights and as Government, we want to ensure that people have the correct information on safe migration and that they know how to prevent trafficking in their communities,” said Mubanda Chansa Chileshe, National Coordinator for the National Secretariat on Human Trafficking.

Speaking at the same event, IOM National Project Officer Bertha Nguvulu committed IOM’s continued support to the Government of Zambia for the coordination of national anti-human trafficking responses and the protection efforts of vulnerable migrants.

Adopted in 2014, Zambia has an overarching National Social Protection Policy crafted around the pillars of Social Assistance; Social Security (social insurance); Livelihood and Empowerment; and Protection and Disability. The Government of the Republic of Zambia is committed to addressing the high levels of poverty, vulnerability and insecurity in the country. As part of the United Nations Joint Programme on Social Protection, IOM worked closely with the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Ministry of Community Development and Social Services, and supported the updating of the Communication Strategy on Mixed Migration and Human Trafficking which contributes towards the implementation of the Government of Zambia’s Social Protection Policy, specifically the strategy under the Protection Pillar on promoting awareness of rights and entitlements for vulnerable groups.

“Know Before You Go” is being rolled out to various part of the country. The campaign was made possible with financial support from DFID, Irish Aid, and the Governments of Finland and Sweden.

For further information, please contact Bertha Kalyocha Nguvulu at IOM Zambia, Tel: +260 975 766 486, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:38Image: Region-Country: ZambiaThemes: Capacity BuildingCounter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Drama Group Performing a play on internal trafficking during the Know Before You Know Campaign. Photo: IOM 2018

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

“Voices of Migration” Concert Brings Two World Premieres to Vienna

Fri, 06/22/2018 - 09:51

Vienna – Far too often we see sensational headlines where migration is portrayed in a negative light. The International Organization for Migration (IOM), together with the United Nations Information Service (UNIS), is working to transform this toxic narrative of migration with the hosting of a special concert, the “Voices of Migration”, to be held at the United Nations in Vienna next week, on 28 June.

The concert will celebrate the immense talent and rich diversity that migration brings, for migration rejuvenates and elevates culture, such as cuisine, art, fashion and, of course, music. The concert will perfectly exemplify the most positive outcomes of migration – the unique union of diverse groups of people resulting in beautiful works of art.

Two world premieres by migrant composers are the pinnacle of an extraordinary programme curated by Bärli Nugent, the Assistant Dean of the world-renowned Juilliard Music School of New York.

“This concert underlines what an important part migration plays in culture and the arts,” said Argentina Szabados, Director of IOM’s Regional Office in Vienna, which covers South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia.

“This is the first musical event of its kind that will be a cultural treat which will inspire us all to accentuate the positive aspects of migration, and dispel the toxic narrative of migration”, she said.

“The United Nations Information Service (UNIS) is delighted to support this concert”, said Martin Nesirky, Director of the UNIS Vienna office. “Sometimes mere words are not enough to convey the full range of emotions associated with a theme like migration. Sometimes we hear words and so often we fall deaf to them. Music and the arts can restore our sensitivities and open our hearts anew.”

The stories behind the music are as powerful as the music itself. Composer Cem Güven, a first-year undergraduate student from Turkey studying at Juilliard has named his world premier piece “Aylan Bebek”. It is in memory of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Syrian boy, whose lifeless body photographed on a Turkish beach after his family’s failed attempt to reach Greece, cried out to the conscience of the world.

The second world premier is inspired by the poem Hour by Scottish poet Carol Ann Duffy. The piece for soprano, flute and piano, composed by Shayan Mokhterani, will be followed by a dramatic reading of the poem by Kenyan actress Mercy Otieno.

Bärli Nugent explained why she has put this concert together: “As humanity seems increasingly estranged in a never-ending generational cycle, I am an artist-citizen seeking to make a contribution towards understanding and fellowship amongst peoples. My goal is, and always has been to share stories and change lives through music.”

Nugent’s Austrian mother studied piano in Vienna under the great Austrian composer Richard Stöhr , before he was forced out of Austria after the Anschluss of 1938, migrating to the USA, and teaching Leonard Bernstein (among others) at the Curtis Institute in Philadelphia.

She will play part of Stöhr’s Flute Sonata to commemorate her connection with the composer and his country. The concert will end with selections of Mozart’s flute, violin and piano music.

Voices of Migration takes place at the Vienna International Centre at 12.30 on Thursday 28 June. To register, please contact

For more information please contact IOM’s Regional Office for South Eastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, June 22, 2018 - 15:38Image: Region-Country: AustriaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Bärli Nugent, Assistant Dean, The Juilliard School, New York, reflects on the journey that led to her curating a musical selection for a unique concert presented by the United Nations Migration Agency at the UN Vienna Headquarters on June 28.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN