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Updated: 1 hour 14 min ago

Refugees and Locals Work Together to Prepare for Monsoon in Cox's Bazar Camps

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 10:26

Bangladesh - Rohingya refugees and local people in Teknaf, a southern sub-district of Cox’s Bazar, are racing to prepare for monsoon rains forecast to start as early as this week. IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has been supporting efforts to prepare the camps, which although smaller than the giant Ukhiya sub-district settlements of Kutupalong and Balukali, still house thousands of people, who face similar threats of flooding and landslides.

To date IOM has supported 24 quick impact projects in Teknaf under the umbrella of 20 Para Development Committees (PDCs) – community platforms, each comprised of six refugees and five locals. The projects include building bridges, access roads, steps, drains, and slope protection work that will enable communities to better weather the monsoon.

The projects are mainly located in the densely populated Unchiprang, Leda Makeshift Settlement, Nayapara and Shamlapur camps. Over 21,310 people live in Unchiprang, 9,320 in Leda, 24,790 in Nayapara and 22,700 in Shamlapur. In all, some 250,000 Rohingya refugees live outside the main Ukhiya camps.

“At present, the most critical issue for both the Rohingya refugees and local people is to be safe from the rains,” said Maulavi Shaker, 35, a Rohingya member of a Teknaf PDC. “We’ve been working towards that, building roads and bridges so that our area won’t get cut off if there is flooding,” he added.

“Most refugees in Teknaf are living in shelters built only with plastic sheets and thin bamboos, which are highly vulnerable in the monsoon,” said Mohammad Helal Uddin, 35, another Teknaf member.

IOM and partner agencies recognize the risks posed by the flimsy structures in high winds and rain and have been racing to upgrade the shelters. In Teknaf over 15,000 shelters – covering over 78,000 people – have been identified as in need of upgrades, including plastic sheets, poles and guy ropes. IOM itself is targeting 13,204 shelters housing 66,020 refugees.

“The PDCs are helping our teams to identify workers and organizing cash for work in order to ensure that households living in flood-prone and landslide-prone areas get back-filling to elevate their shelter plots. We’re also constructing drainage to protect the shelters from run-off water, building embankments to prevent tidal surges and doing a number of slope protection works,” said Rafael Abis, IOM’s site management area coordinator. “The PDCs will also help IOM in the event of an evacuation - particularly if it involves those who are unable to evacuate themselves,” he added.

IOM has also helped the PDCs to establish Youth Safety and Security sub-committees within each of PDC to cope with possible emergencies such as flash floods, landslides, fires or conflicts. The sub-committee members have been trained to build the response capacity of their respective communities.

“Despite all the challenges that the Rohingya influx has created in Cox’s Bazar, the refugee and local communities have maintained a harmonious relationship throughout the crisis,” said John McCue, IOM Senior Operations Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar. “Representatives of both communities have come together to identify shared needs and solutions. The roads and bridges that they have constructed to provide access, particularly during the rainy season, is a significant example of communal harmony in this disaster-prone area,” he added.
For more information please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar:
Fiona MacGregor, Email:, Tel. +880 173 333 5221
Shirin Akhter, Email:, Tel: +880 341 52195

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 15:24Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Refugees and locals work on a bamboo access bridge in a Teknaf camp as part of an IOM cash-for-work initiative. © IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

USD 38 Million Sought to Aid Conflict-Affected People in Ukraine throughout 2018

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:39

Kyiv – Four years into the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, acute humanitarian needs persist. These include the basics – access to health care, food, water and employment. IOM, the UN Migration Agency, is appealing for USD 38 million to assist 340,000 people in critical need this year, an increase from the 215,000 people the Organization has assisted over the four years since start of the conflict.

Since April 2014, over 10,000 people have been killed in the fighting in Eastern Ukraine and a further 24,000 have been injured. In total, 3.4 million people require humanitarian assistance. According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy, about 1.5 million people are registered as internally displaced persons.

“Due to the protracted nature of the conflict, slow economic growth and increased social tensions, 2018 is a critical year for the crisis response efforts,” said Thomas Lothar Weiss, IOM Ukraine Chief of Mission. “We are working intensively with our partners in the Humanitarian Country Team and the Government of Ukraine to bridge the gap between humanitarian and development interventions. This is critical if we are to address the urgent and longer-term needs.”

The number of conflict-affected people in Ukraine who do not have enough food has almost doubled to 1.2 million people since 2016. Additionally, over three million people in the Eastern Conflict Area do not have sufficient water to drink, cook and wash with, as infrastructure has been damaged by the ongoing hostilities.

IOM’s humanitarian relief efforts will include water, health and sanitation, and rehabilitation of infrastructure in the non-government controlled area (NGCA), and winterization and hygiene assistance on both sides of the contact line. IOM will also provide cash transfers for the most vulnerable residents of the Government-controlled parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions.

In addition to that, as a part of its recovery programme, IOM plans to further support internally displaced persons and their host communities through business training and grants. IOM’s economic empowerment programme will be expanded to include other vulnerable population categories, such as veterans of the current conflict. 

IOM will also rehabilitate important critical and social infrastructure such as healthcare facilities, geriatric centres, and schools; host community events; and provide psychosocial assistance where needed.

The ongoing unrest has provoked an increase in human trafficking.

“Last year, we assisted over 1,200 victims of trafficking, nearly all of whom were trafficked and exploited during the years of conflict,” said Weiss. “The true numbers may be even higher. To alleviate risks and protect people from exploitation and abuse, we are focusing our anti-trafficking efforts on people living near the contact line.”

IOM’s National Monitoring System will conduct regular surveys among internally displaced populations and returnees on their situation, intentions and movements. This will inform strategic planning by Government counterparts, NGOs and the international community.

View the Appeal here.

For more information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel. +38 044 568 50 15 or +38 067 447 97 92, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 15:26Image: Region-Country: UkraineThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Maria, a victim of shelling attacks in 2014, receives humanitarian assistance from IOM. © IOM/V. Shuvayev

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Signs Landmark Agreement with Slovenia to Resettle 60 Syrian Refugees from Turkey

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:39

Ljubljana – Slovenia will implement its first ever refugee resettlement programme with the support of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, by resettling 60 Syrian refugees from Turkey to Slovenia in 2018.  The new programme officially came into effect after the signing of a Framework Agreement between IOM and the Slovenian government on Thursday (12/04).

“The resettlement agreement marks a new milestone in the cooperation between Slovenia and IOM,” said Iva Perhavec, IOM Slovenia Head of Office.

“Through the programme, we will support the Slovenian Government in meeting its commitments to providing a safe and legal pathway for vulnerable Syrian refugees in Turkey, and sharing responsibility with Turkey as a host country for refugee protection,” Perhavec continued.

In 2017, Turkey was the top departure country for resettlement globally, with 10,162 vulnerable refugees resettled to European countries alone. 

Resettlement from Turkey is implemented through a close partnership between EU Member States, the Turkish Directorate General of Migration Management (DGMM), UNHCR and IOM.

The resettlement process from Turkey begins with the DGMM and UNHCR, which identify, assess and submit refugee files to countries for resettlement consideration. Following the selection missions undertaken by EU Member States in Turkey, selected refugees are assisted by IOM with case processing, including assistance with obtaining visas and travel documents, pre-departure health assessments, pre-departure orientation sessions and movement management.

When the refugees are travel-ready, IOM facilitates their transfer from Turkey, including by providing operational and/or medical escorts to particularly vulnerable persons with special needs to resettlement states in the EU, where representatives of the local IOM office meet and greet them at arrival.

Following the arrival of refugees in Slovenia, local non-governmental organizations and other service providers will provide them with integration assistance to support their smooth and successful start to integration in their new home.

Resettlement of refugees has continued to be one of the fundamental purposes and priorities of IOM. Founded in 1951 to assist in the resettlement of Europeans displaced in the aftermath of World War II, IOM has been working closely with governments, UNHCR, non-governmental organizations and other partners to provide a durable solution for vulnerable refugees through resettlement for over 65 years.

In 2017, some 93,216 refugees were resettled worldwide by IOM, of which 26,673 beneficiaries were assisted with resettlement to and humanitarian admission in European countries, an increase of 49 per cent compared to the previous year. A total of 23 European countries implemented resettlement or humanitarian admission programmes in 2017, two more than in 2016.

For more information please contact Iva Perhavec at IOM Slovenia, Tel: +386 1 434 73 51, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 15:24Image: Region-Country: SloveniaThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

A woman gazes out the window on a resettlement flight. © IOM/M. Mohammed

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM DG Swing Calls for Greater Assistance, Protection for the Internally Displaced

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:37

Geneva – More than 40 million people are displaced by conflict within the borders of their own country. Disaster displaces another 25 million people on average each year. Facing losses, hardship and deprivation, generations of internally displaced persons are often the most neglected in many of the world’s crises. Children make up more than half of these populations.

“In 1998, internal displacement was recognized as one of the world’s greatest tragedies and 20 years later, it still is,” said Ambassador William Lacy Swing, Director General of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, remarking on the 20th Anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Internal Displacement. On 17 April 1998, the Commission for Human Rights took note of the Guiding Principles, effectively launching them as a global standard for States and humanitarian actors.

“Today, on the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles, their footprint is clear. They are widely accepted as the standard for protecting and assisting internally displaced people, many states have incorporated them into national legislation, they have inspired regional agreements, and they underscore all major work in this area.

“Twenty years on, the number of internally displaced people has nearly doubled due to ongoing new displacements, a lack of solutions for those being left behind in protracted crises and a chronic shortfall of almost 50 per cent of funding needed to meet basic humanitarian needs. The daily tragedy of internal displacement continues for millions."

Ambassador Swing said as the international community embarks on a year of reflection and action to mark the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles, everyone can and must do more. “Anyone can be vulnerable to disasters, violence and violations of human rights. More than a humanitarian imperative, it makes good economic sense and is socially advantageous to empower states and populations in their own preparedness, in strengthening their resilience, and in helping to resolve internal displacement,” he said.

He said that “in the spirit of ‘leaving no one behind’, the momentum behind the Sustainable Development Goals for 2030, greater attention must be focused on addressing the root causes of displacement and reducing risk.”  Ambassador Swing added that when displacement is a life-saving necessity, concerted efforts must minimize its impact and resolve the displacement as soon as possible with safety and dignity and in ways that build back better and prevent it from happening again.

“IOM helps States and the public prevent and resolve internal displacement. Throughout this year, with partners, we will use the 20th anniversary of the Guiding Principles as an opportunity to do three vital things: raise awareness on the centrality of the Guiding Principles to the assistance and protection of internally displaced people; call on Governments to incorporate the Guiding Principles into their national Legislation; and strengthen partnerships that contribute to effective and accountable programming to help realize the untapped positive potential and agency of internally displaced people in their communities, including empowering them in their own responses and giving a platform to their voices,” said Director General Swing.

In 2016, IOM’s operations reached more than 19 million internally displaced persons and provided over 6 million host community members with support across 31 countries. This makes IOM one of the largest actors on internal displacement issues globally. The Framework lays out IOM’s strategic role in the current global humanitarian and development landscape.

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) tracks internal displacement flows, as well as the needs of displaced people in multiple countries experiencing crisis around the world. For example, as of March 2018, IOM DTM tracked 575,340 displaced people in South Sudan. You can view latest DTM reports here.

In 2017, IOM launched an enhanced framework for addressing internal displacement in response to changes in and the expansion of IOM’s policies and operations over the years. View IOM’s framework here.

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon at IOM HQ in Geneva, Tel: +41794035365, Tel:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 15:22Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

People displaced from Marawi, Philippines. © IOM/J. Batula

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 17,461 in 2018; Deaths Reach 559

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:37

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 17,461 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through the first 105 days of 2018, with about 43 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece (36%) Spain (20%) and Cyprus (less than 1%).

This compares with 37,046 at this point in 2017 and over 175,000 at this point in 2016.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Monday the Spanish Military Ship “Santa Maria” brought 483 migrants to Augusta, Italy. The migrants were rescued on Friday from three dinghies during three separate operations carried out by the Santa Maria, the NGO SeaWatch and the Italian Coast Guard.

According to Di Giacomo, the migrants left from the Libyan city of Al Khoms on Thursday night. He said that according to official figures from Italy’s Ministry of the Interior, the 7,495 migrants arriving in Italy by sea this year represents a 75 per cent drop from this time last year, when over 30,000 migrants had arrived during the same period.

Halfway through the month of April – traditionally early in the busiest season on the Mediterranean’s Central route – traffic is down to just under 1,200 men, women and children, or less than 100 per day. That’s about twice the rate as arrivals in March yet still the lowest level at least since 2016.

Last year, during the first 15 days of April, 5,837 men, women and children arrived in Italy on this route; in 2016 the total for the first 15 days of April was 3,023. This year’s April total this far comes to less than one-fifth of 2017’s volume and just over one third of the 2016 total (see chart below).

The 559 deaths on the three Mediterranean Sea routes so far this year compare with 918 at this time in 2017, a decline of about 40 per cent year-on-year.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded 938 deaths and disappearances during migration in 2018. On the US/Mexico border, 66 migrants are estimated to have died this year. Most recently, the remains of two men were recovered by Mexican civil protection authorities from the Río Bravo in Nuevo Laredo, Mexico: they drowned on 12 April when attempting to cross to the US.

In Mexico’s southern state of Tabasco, a young pregnant woman from Honduras was gravely injured after falling from the freight train known as La Bestia on 12 April. She died of her injuries a few hours later, leaving behind a young son and daughter in the community of La Ceiba in Honduras.

In Ceuta, Spain’s enclave in North Africa, the bodies of two young men from Sub-Saharan Africa were retrieved in less than 24 hours near the border fence with Morocco on Friday, 13 April and Saturday, 14 April. The results from the autopsy have confirmed that both men died of a cardiac arrest. A third migrant who crossed the border fence with them alerted authorities upon his arrival to the migrant temporary stay centre in Ceuta.

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.

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:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
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:
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, Tel: +216 28 78 78 05 (mobile) office: +216 71 860 312 EXT. 109 Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 15:20Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM to Support Migrant Entrepreneurs Returned to El Salvador

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 09:35

San Salvador – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of El Salvador and the UN Peace for the Post-Conflict Generation Programme today (17/04) launched a project that supports the productive reintegration and meets the psychosocial needs of returnees. The project is expected to directly benefit 70 economic initiatives in Guazapa and Mejicanos, in San Salvador department, as well as Quezaltepeque, in La Libertad.

The Peace for Post-Conflict Generation Programme is an initiative of the United Nations El Salvador, implemented by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, UNHCR and UNDP, and financed by the United Nation’s Peacebuilding Fund (PBF).

The component implemented by IOM will provide psychosocial support, specialized training and resources for migrants to develop their own entrepreneurial ventures.

According to official data, in 2017, the department of San Salvador received 3,988 returnees and La Libertad, 2,361. In the first two months of this year, San Salvador accounted for 559 and La Libertad, 308.

The official launch was attended by Liduvina Magarin, Deputy Minister for Salvadorans Abroad; Christian Salazar, United Nations Resident Coordinator in El Salvador; Jorge Peraza Breedy, IOM’s Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras; and Esmeralda Cruz, one of the project’s beneficiaries. Representatives from the diplomatic corps, cooperation agencies and government representatives also attended.

“Timely return migration management represents a social, economic and political challenge for the country. In this sense, this project is very important to ensure successful reintegration,” said Christian Salazar.

“The selected municipalities are part of cities with high rates of returns and, also, are prioritized by the El Salvador Seguro Plan in terms of violence prevention. Thus, we execute actions to offer opportunities to the Salvadoran returnees, which are vital to strengthen social cohesion and promote the country's development,” said Jorge Peraza.                  

The project contributes to the fulfilment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), specifically those that address the promotion of resilience of people in vulnerable situations; the elimination of all forms of violence; the full and effective participation of women and equality of leadership opportunities; the promotion of policies aimed at the development of productive activities, creation of decent jobs, and entrepreneurship; and facilitation of orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility.

For further information, please contact:
IOM El Salvador – José Miguel Gómez, Email:
IOM El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – Alba Miriam Amaya, Email:
UN Resident Coordinator's Office, El Salvador – Carlos León, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 15:18Image: Region-Country: El SalvadorThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the returned migrants receiving support from IOM.  © IOM/JM Gómez

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

USAID, IOM Hand Over New Homes to Sri Lanka Flood, Landslide Victims

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 08:25

Colombo – USAID and IOM, the UN Migration Agency, this week handed over new transitional homes to 120 families affected by the May 2017 floods and landslides in the Rathnapura district of Sri Lanka.

The homes, which were built by IOM in Dombagammana village over the past three months, will house some 445 people, including 194 children. The families either lost their homes to floods and landslides or were unable to return home due to the ongoing risk of landslides.

The new temporary homes were built by IOM on land permanently allocated by the government. Families will eventually be able to upgrade them to permanent housing on the same land, with government support.

IOM also built a community hall and clean water supply infrastructure in the village as part of its USAID-funded Sri Lanka Adverse Southwest Monsoon Response Project. 

At the handover, Sri Lankan Minister of Justice Thalatha Athukorala thanked USAID and IOM for “working hand in hand to give hope, courage, and happiness for those who lost everything to the landslides and floods that occurred on 26th May 2017.” 

“I am delighted to have met these resilient families. The US Government is proud to contribute to their recovery process through our work with IOM and the Government of Sri Lanka,” said Reed Aeschliman, USAID Mission Director for Sri Lanka and Maldives.

IOM’s USAID-funded monsoon response project was launched in June 2017 in response to heavy flooding, landslides and flash floods caused by the southwest monsoon, which affected some 684,000 people in southern and central Sri Lanka and left 224 people dead.

Through the project, IOM built a total of 187 transitional shelters, and procured and distributed, in partnership with NGOs World Vision and Save the Children, 3,700 non-food item and 3,300 shelter kits (in kind and in cash) for nearly 21,500 people in the badly affected districts of Rathnapura, Galle, Matara, and Kalutara.

The work was coordinated with the Shelter Sector group of aid agencies, which IOM co-led with IFRC, under the Emergency Response Plan launched by the UN in June 2017.
Overall, more than 61,000 people from 13,000 families were provided with assistance through IOM’s emergency response to the flooding and landslides in the shelter, non-food items and health sectors, with funds from USAID, Canada and UN CERF.

IOM also helped government and other humanitarian partners keep track of displacement and return rates through the deployment of its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM). 

IOM has also been supporting partners to better prepare for future disasters through providing Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) trainings and the identification of evacuation routes.

“The government and communities urgently need to prepare for and build resilience to natural disasters and climate change due to the increased frequency of severe and unpredictable weather patterns in Sri Lanka,” said IOM Chief of Mission for Sri Lanka and the Maldives Giuseppe Crocetti.

For more information please contact Giuseppe Crocetti at IOM Sri Lanka, Email:, Tel: +94 115325300.

Language English Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 15:20Image: Region-Country: Sri LankaDefault: Multimedia: 

The new homes will house 120 displaced families. Photo: IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Calls for Funding to Match Needs, at DR Congo Humanitarian Conference

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 08:25

Geneva – Deadly violence has forced millions of people from their homes in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), bringing the total number of internally displaced persons in the country to 4.5 million.

The funding levels required to address the enormous needs have not been met. Only 11 per cent of IOM, the UN Migration Agency’s appeal for 2018 (USD 75 million) has been funded. The DRC is in urgent need of humanitarian funding to respond to the deteriorating situation and save lives.

Today (13/04), the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), the Kingdom of the Netherlands and the European Union are hosting a Humanitarian Conference on the DRC at the UN Office in Geneva. IOM’s appeal launched last December is a part of the overall humanitarian response plan, which calls for USD 1.68 billion to implement.

“Confronted with rising intercommunal tensions, political instability and an increasingly insecure environment, the international humanitarian community needs to strengthen its support and commitment to the Congolese people,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM DRC Chief of Mission and representative at the conference. 

IOM provides humanitarian assistance in 26 displacement sites in North Kivu and Tanganyika provinces, which host some 97,000 internally displaced persons. In 2017, IOM assisted 6,182 displaced households with shelter assistance, some 199 survivors of gender-based violence with medical and/or psychosocial support, as well as income-generating activities, and reunified 256 unaccompanied and separated children with their families. Some 1,950 displaced children and youth have been provided with educational support from IOM, since the start of 2017.

Through co-chairing the province’s working group on displacement sites, IOM builds capacity on camp coordination and camp management among internally displaced persons, local partners and Congolese authorities.

IOM provides life-saving services to some 200,000 crisis-affected people in the Kasai province, by providing them with access to health care, water, sanitation and hygiene as well as implementing preventive measure against gender-based violence.

In the last year, IOM’s displacement tracking team has collected information on some 586,580 internally displaced persons and 1,328,754 returnees in the three provinces of North Kivu, Tanganyika and Central Kasai.

“We simply cannot ignore the speed, and magnitude of the crisis in the DRC. The international community needs to step up its support and strengthen its commitment to the people of DRC. Equally important, is to strengthen the efforts to stabilize the country – helping the DRC Government to find a way out of the spiralling crisis,” said Chauzy.

The IOM Humanitarian Appeal for the Democratic Republic of the Congo is here.

For more information, please contact Jean-Philippe Chauzy at IOM DRC, Tel: +243 827339827, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 15:22Image: Region-Country: Democratic Republic of the CongoDefault: Multimedia: 

Women displaced by brutal violence in North Kivu, DRC. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 16,847 in 2018; Deaths Reach 557

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 08:24

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency reports that 16,847 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 11 April, with the vast majority arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain, Greece, and Cyprus. This compares with 33,602 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Thursday (12/04) that, according to Italy’s Ministry of Interior, 6,894 migrants arrived by sea to Italy this year as of 11 April: 74.53 per cent less than the same period last year (27,069).



IOM Athens’ Kelly Namia on Thursday (12/04) said that the total number of sea arrivals to Greek territory in 2018 through 11 April was 6,407 with the main landing points being the islands of Lesvos, Kos, Samos, Rhodes, Kalymnos, Megisti, Leros and Chios.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported Thursday (12/04) that total arrivals by sea to Spain in 2018 have reached 3,499 men, women and children who have been rescued in Western Mediterranean waters through 11 April. This compares with 3,326 arriving last year through all of April.

Dodevska also reported that no land arrivals have been recorded so far in April, which compares with 417 land arrivals registered through March this year.

*2018 data last updated 11 April


Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 933 deaths and disappearances during migration in 2018. In the Mediterranean alone, 557 migrants are estimated to have died this year. Most recently, 36 migrants died in the Western Mediterranean.

On Monday, 9 April, a boat capsized off the coast of Tangiers, Morocco. The bodies of six migrants, including four Moroccan nationals, and 10 injured survivors were found by Moroccan authorities. According to survivors’ testimonies collected by Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras, there were 46 people on the boat when it capsized, therefore 30 remain missing.

In Europe, two migrants drowned when crossing the Kolpa river, which marks Slovenia's southern border with Croatia: on 9 April, the body of a 19-year-old Moroccan man was found in the municipality of Črnomelj, Slovenia, while the following day, authorities retrieved the body of an Algerian national who drowned when crossing the river through the same area. This year, four deaths have been recorded on this border.

There were three other additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since last Friday’s update. In Southeast Asia, MMP recorded the deaths of ten Rohingya in the Andaman Sea. Survivors had been stranded for weeks in their boat and were rescued by Indonesian fishermen on 6 April and brought to Aceh.

The five survivors, interviewed by IOM field staff, confirmed that the journey started with 15 people on board: three of them died of starvation and seven tried to swim to shore and are presumed dead. On 9 April, seven migrant workers from Myanmar died in a vehicle accident on Highway 12, outside Mae Sot, Thailand. On the Pakistan-Iran border, two young Pakistani men died when attempting to cross into Iran on 9 April.

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 migrant deaths and disappearances are collected, click here.


For more information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
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:
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, April 13, 2018 - 15:16Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, UNHCR, ICMC Present Innovative European Models for Protection of Refugees

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 08:24

Brussels – On Thursday (12/04), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) presented the outcomes of a project that developed innovative models to provide more opportunities for the protection of refugees in the European Union (EU). 

The event focused on the main activities and results of the European Resettlement Network (ERN)+ project, Developing Innovative European Models for the Protection of Refugees and Providing Support to New Resettlement Countries. The EU co-funded project centred its research on the development of three complementary pathways of admission of refugees to the EU: private community-based sponsorship, higher education scholarships and humanitarian admission programmes.

Eugenio Ambrosi, Director of IOM’s Regional Office for the EU, remarked that the scarcity of safe and regular pathways to the EU compels vulnerable migrants and refugees to risk their lives on perilous journeys. “This project is not only about developing new ways to protect people, the ultimate goal is to protect more people, more effectively,” said Ambrosi.

The event brought together a wide range of stakeholders from national, regional and local government, international organizations, civil society, think tanks, academia and refugee diaspora in the spirit of multi-stakeholder cooperation in the European Resettlement Network.

“Complementary pathways, such as private sponsorship, allow for innovative partnerships with civil society to admit refugees,” said Stephane Jacquemet, Director of Policy at ICMC.

The unprecedented scope and complex nature of current global displacement has added renewed urgency to the debate surrounding access to safety for those fleeing persecution, war and conflict that is safe, regular and sustainable.

The participants discussed recent developments at global and European levels including the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, a landmark political declaration directed at improving the way the international community responds to large movements of refugees and migrants and which contains a set of commitments by States to strengthen and enhance mechanisms to protect people on the move.

“The project comes at a crucial moment as it sets out the ways European States can implement their commitments to protection and solidarity in the Global Compact on Refugees to be adopted later this year,” said Sophie Magennis, Officer in Charge, UNHCR Regional Representation for EU Affairs.

In September 2017, the European Commission called for EU Member States to pledge 50,000 (up from the original call for 40,000) places for resettlement and humanitarian admission to Europe for 2018-2019. As the negotiations on the Union Resettlement Network currently take shape, the recommendations and discussions of the conference are expected to feed into those discussions.

The studies presented at the conference are available on the website and hold recommendations for the development of future private sponsorship/community-based models; student scholarship programmes for refugees; and humanitarian admission programmes.

For more information, please contact:

Jo De Backer, IOM Regional Office, Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 71 15, +32 470 13 10 28, Email: 
Petra Hueck, ICMC Europe, Brussels, Tel: +32 2 227 97 29, +32 486 511 212, Email:
David Watt, UNHCR Bureau for Europe, Brussels, Tel: 0032 2 627 59 58, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 15:14Image: Region-Country: BelgiumDefault: Multimedia: 

ERN+ focuses on developing complementary pathways of refugee admissions to the EU. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Myanmar Launches Manual for Return and Reintegration of Trafficking Victims from Thailand

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 08:22

Nay Pyi Taw – Myanmar’s Ministry of Social Welfare, Relief and Resettlement this week launched a manual of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for case management, repatriation and reintegration of victims of human trafficking from Thailand.

The manual was produced with the support of IOM, the UN Migration Agency, which has been supporting the efforts of both countries to provide protection for trafficking victims since the signing of a government-to-government Memorandum of Understanding in 2003.

Since then the two countries have held regular meetings to coordinate the timely, safe and dignified return of over 500 victims from Thailand to Myanmar. IOM has provided financial and technical support for case management meetings, case worker visits and the drafting of SOPs.

The manual, which will be distributed by the government, describes step-by-step procedures for the two countries to take in combatting human trafficking and providing assistance to victims. It will be used to train frontline officials from government agencies, local police, border guard police, and members of Myanmar’s human trafficking task force.

Most of the victims assisted under the agreement between the governments were trafficked to Thailand for forced labour or sexual exploitation. In 2017, they included 66 men and 13 women and in 2016, 67 men and 14 women.

“Myanmar continues to make progress in the protection of victims of trafficking. This manual will help all the stakeholders, including IOM, to provide to all the women, girls, men and boys victims of trafficking, with safe and sustainable options,” said Akio Nakayama, IOM Chief of Mission in Myanmar.

For more information, please contact Akio Nakayama at IOM Myanmar. Email:, Tel. +951210588.

Language English Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 15:12Image: Region-Country: MyanmarDefault: Multimedia: 

The new manual lists standard operating procedures for the return of trafficked victims. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Philippine Consulate Host Hong Kong Training for Diplomats on Identifying Human Trafficking Victims

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 08:21

Hong Kong SAR – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in collaboration with the Philippine Consulate General, is today hosting a two-day training for diplomats and consular staff in Hong Kong on identifying and investigating human trafficking cases. Over 30 Hong Kong-based diplomats, many from countries of origin, including the Philippines, Cambodia, Colombia, Sri Lanka and Thailand are participating.

Modern-day slavery remains a major global challenge, with an estimated 40.3 million victims in 2016. More than half of modern slavery victims in the Asia-Pacific region are suffering debt bondage, the highest rate for any region of the world.

Diplomatic and consular personnel play a prominent role in eliminating human trafficking since they are often the first contact point between the victims and the authorities in their country of origin. The goal of the workshop is to share experience and knowledge about human trafficking, and help participants to acquire the skills needed for victim identification and assistance.

“We welcome the Hong Kong SAR government’s Action Plan and its pledge to combat trafficking in persons. This workshop is important because it brings together representatives of government, the diplomatic community and international agencies to work towards the eradication of human trafficking in Hong Kong,” said IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Dr. Nenette Motus.

She added, “It will improve victim identification and investigation on the frontline and extend protection to many victims of modern slavery victims who currently remain unidentified.”

“With more than 10 million Overseas Filipino Workers deployed worldwide, the Philippines has long been committed to and has taken action to combat trafficking in persons. As a signatory of the Palermo Protocol and with anti-trafficking mechanisms and laws in place, the Philippines is partnering with the diplomatic and consular community, international organizations and other stakeholders to collectively address this issue,” said Philippines Consul General Antonio A. Morales.

“This training workshop aims to strengthen collaboration among the consular corps in the Territory and other diplomatic missions abroad in identifying and addressing trafficking cases. We look forward to more similar initiatives and to working together in resolving this global problem,” he added.

For more information please contact Nurul Qoiriah at IOM China’s Hong Kong sub-office, Tel: 2332 2441, Email: Or Roderico C. Atienza at the Philippines Consulate General in Hong Kong, Tel: 2823 8538, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 15:10Image: Region-Country: ChinaDefault: Multimedia: 

  Dr. Nenette Motus, IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific at the training in Hong Kong. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Trains South American Judicial Officials to Strengthen Human Trafficking Investigations and Prosecutions

Fri, 04/13/2018 - 08:21

Bogotá This week (11/04), IOM, the UN Migration Agency, began a virtual course on the investigation and prosecution of human trafficking for 720 government officials from Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, Ecuador and Peru.

The virtual course seeks to promote the creation of a South American network of investigators, prosecutors, and judges working on human trafficking cases, reflecting regional trends and national capacity-building priorities.

The course, which will continue until 31 December 2018, is being run in close coordination with the Colombian Government, through the Promotion of a Knowledge Management Network of Counter Trafficking in South America project implemented by IOM Colombia, with the technical and financial support of the United States’ Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (JTIP).

The course seeks to consolidate a more active knowledge management agenda directed at effective, timely, and victim-centred investigations and prosecutions. The participants will exchange experiences, good practices, and lessons learned in their different countries.

“I believe the government officials are motivated to participate in these training efforts, given the relevance of the criminal phenomenon of human trafficking, its impact, and the need for better investigation, prosecution, punishment, and tools for the fight against impunity,” explained Mario Gómez, the Assistant District Attorney for Violence against Children responsible for the work group ascribed to the Colombian General Attorney’s Office, which has been an important partner in this effort.

Through the easy-access and easy-navigation virtual platform, participants can tour the different stages of investigation and regulations regarding human trafficking in different countries. They will also be able to learn about the most relevant jurisprudence on the issue, and the experiences of different countries in the investigation and prosecution of the crime.

“This training is interesting because it offers joint study with inter-institutional coordination, as well as comparative study with other countries and the relationship between criminal behaviour in human trafficking and other high-impact crimes,” said Luis Gabriel Londoño, Assistant Magistrate for the High Council of the Colombian Judiciary, and course participant.

It is not currently easy to access information on this crime, due in part to the lack of a regional-level system to consolidate its regulations and jurisprudence, and to the lack of sentencing in several countries in the region. This platform brings issues related to the crime together in the same place, in a didactic way.

“The platform’s content is based on the experience of the different specialists from each of the priority countries, as well as IOM experts, with the academic and methodological support of the Universidad de la Sabana,” explained Ana Durán, IOM Colombia Chief of Mission.

The virtual space, which will have academic and technical consultants, includes a ‘Second Life’ laboratory, a three-dimensional tool which allows participants to create a character and solve a hypothetical case based on criminal human trafficking realities in the region.

This tool will allow participants to experience the process of solving a case through an avatar which can go to the scene of a crime, collect testimonies, and even participate in a virtual trial. Through this training process, participants will also be able to interact face-to-face during a simulated trial which will be organized in Bogotá.

For more information, please contact Karen Mora, IOM Colombia, Tel. + (57) 1 639 7777, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, April 13, 2018 - 15:08Image: Region-Country: ColombiaDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM's virtual course for South American judicial officials.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, UNHCR Strengthen Collaboration on Returns to Afghanistan

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 06:32

Kabul - IOM, the UN Migration Agency, and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, have launched a joint report on returns to Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran in 2017.

Last year over 600,000 Afghans returned home voluntarily or were deported from the two neighboring countries, bringing the number of returns to Afghanistan since 2001 to over eight million.

Reintegration in Afghan society is difficult for returnees, with the country still mired in conflict, with high levels of internal displacement, limited services  and few jobs.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Refugees and Repatriation coordinates the provision of humanitarian post-arrival and reintegration assistance, in close cooperation with UNHCR and IOM. UNHCR coordinates efforts to help registered refugees, while IOM coordinates assistance to undocumented returnees.

“This joint report reflects our shared commitment to assist the most vulnerable,” said IOM’s Chief of Mission in Afghanistan, Laurence Hart. “In spite of the inherent challenges of returning home, sometimes after decades abroad, IOM and UNHCR are working hand in hand to ensure sustainable solutions are provided to returnees.”

“We continue to assist tens of thousands of Afghans each year. As the report details, the true challenge now lies in a whole-of-community response that leaves no one behind,” UNHCR Country Representative, Fathiaa Abdallah said. “While we are working to address the impact of returns on host communities, we need to do more to ensure that development programs and policies are focused on successful reintegration.” 

In February, the two organizations held a one-day strategic planning workshop in Kabul. They will shortly sign a Data Sharing Agreement and formalize a joint communications and outreach strategy.

A follow up meeting is scheduled to take place in May.

For further information please contact Eva Schwoerer at IOM Afghanistan, Email:, Tel. +93729229129. Or Nader Farhad at UNHCR Afghanistan, Email:

Language English Posted: Thursday, April 12, 2018 - 12:20Image: Region-Country: AfghanistanDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM, UNHCR launch joint report on returns to Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran.

Cover of IOM, UNHCR joint report on returns to Afghanistan from Pakistan and Iran.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

KSrelief Chief Visits Rohingya Refugee Camps in Bangladesh: Saudis Will Help IOM to Deliver Vital Aid During Monsoon

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 09:14

Cox’s Bazar – The Supervisor General of Ksrelief – Saudi Arabia’s King Salman Humanitarian Aid & Relief Centre - Dr Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah, today (11/04) visited IOM’s relief operations for Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. 

The visit included an inspection of a new logistics base, funded by the Saudi foundation, which will play a key role in getting vital aid to the refugees during the difficult and dangerous conditions expected during the upcoming monsoon season.

The log-base at Nhilla will be a hub for IOM’s distribution of aid to refugees in the southern part of Cox’s Bazar during the wet season, when mud and landslides are expected to create severe access challenges across the entire district. The hub will guarantee aid deliveries remote areas even if established distribution points further north are cut off.

Around 900,000 Rohingya refugees are now sheltering in Cox’s Bazar and are almost entirely reliant on aid. Most arrived after fleeing extreme violence in Myanmar’s Northern Rakhine State that began in August 2017. 

IOM, partner aid agencies and the government of Bangladesh are involved in a massive joint effort to develop and upgrade access and improve and ready supply systems before the bad weather hits, perhaps as early as next month.

During his visit, Dr Al Rabeeah also witnessed a WFP distribution of rice - some of 550 MT donated by KSrelief - together with non-food items, including blankets, mattresses and plastic buckets, also donated by his agency. 

“I am happy to be at Kutupalang and Balukhali refugee camps in Cox’s Bazar witnessing the joint work of IOM and Ksrelief and IOM’s support to the Rohingya minority.  Our work together is a model of joint compassion for those in need and an example of many other excellent partner projects globally, ” said Dr Al Rabeeah, who was an internationally acclaimed surgeon and health expert before joining KSrelief.

KSrelief has currently provided over USD 4.2 million to fund IOM’s shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene support for Rohingya refugees and local Bangladeshis living in the Cox’s Bazar District. 

Shortly after the beginning of the crisis, in September 2017, KSrelief also organized an airlift of aid into Cox’s Bazar, which IOM distributed. It included rice, blankets, mattresses and water purification tablets.

IOM and other agencies have worked with the government of Bangladesh to significantly improve conditions in the camps since those early days, but the arrival of the monsoon will bring new dangers and fresh misery for the refugees and the local community. Work is urgently underway to improve shelters, re-locate those most at risk and build resilience among those who will be affected.

Key shelter and other aid items are being stockpiled by IOM to be distributed when the monsoon and cyclone seasons begin. This includes pipeline agreements with partners to ensure that the whole humanitarian community is well stocked with essential aid like tarpaulins.

To help restore access to the refugees quickly in the event of landslides and blocked roads, IOM is working alongside WFP and UNHCR to preposition machinery in key locations for disaster response operations to enable humanitarian access and clear drains and waterways to reduce the risk of flooding.

Work also continues to improve roads and drainage to prevent further erosion on the bare hilly slopes, which were cleared of vegetation during the initial influx by refugees desperate to find a place to put up shelters.

In recent weeks, IOM has provided 22,500 families with shelter-upgrade kits as part of a rollout to help 120,000 households improve and strengthen their living quarters. In addition, 33,550 households have received community training on shelter upgrades and disaster risk reduction. More than 550 families deemed most at risk have already been relocated to safer areas with that number set to increase significantly over the coming weeks, as new sites are prepared.

As well as observing IOM’s work to support the hundreds of thousands of refugees in the Balukhali/Kutupalong makeshift settlement, which is now one of the biggest refugee camps in the world, the KSrelief delegation will also visit medical facilities supporting the refugees and the local community.

After visiting a Malaysian-run hospital in the settlement, they will travel to Cox’s Bazar general hospital. IOM medical staff refer refugees and local people to this hospital for specialist treatment if it is not available any of IOM’s 12 medical clinics in the district.

“This visit comes at a vital time for the humanitarian response to this crisis, as we prepare for the impending monsoon and cyclone seasons,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies, who accompanied the KSrelief delegation.

“We are grateful to KSrelief for their support in Cox’s Bazar and around the world and we appreciate this strong partnership. But we are still operating with funding shortfalls, notably in site management and improvement, alternative fuel supplies and shelter. All of these are essential, especially in response to the expected extreme weather over the next few months. Our main priority as always is to save lives,” he added. 

In addition to funding IOM’s humanitarian operations in Bangladesh, KSrelief also funds IOM projects in Myanmar, Yemen, Somalia and Greece.

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

Language English Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 15:06Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesRohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Dr Abdullah bin Abdulaziz Al Rabeeah, Head of Ksrelief, handing out rice to Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar today. © IOM

IOM and KSrelief staff distribute shelter kits to Rohingya refugees in Balukhali settlement in 2017. © Olivia Headon / IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Co-hosts Hong Kong Workshop on Public-Private Sector Partnerships to Combat Human Trafficking

Wed, 04/11/2018 - 04:55

Hong Kong SAR – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in partnership with Justice Centre Hong Kong, today (11/04) hosted a workshop to help private sector companies understand how they can work better with civil society and IOM to meet internationally recognized human rights standards, particularly relating to labour exploitation, including modern day slavery and human trafficking.

The event, which took place in Hong Kong, was supported by international law firm King & Wood Mallesons and diversified financial group Macquarie.

The issue of modern day slavery remains a major challenge around the world with an estimated 40.3 million victims in 2016. Of these, approximately 25 million were victims of forced labour, notably in the Asia-Pacific region. Over 60 per cent or 16 million victims of forced labour were working for private sector companies.

“Competing in a global market means that many leading companies are outsourcing their business operations overseas to reduce costs. As a result of these global market pressures, companies often find themselves at risk of being publicly associated with severe labour exploitation in their global supply chains,” said Dr. Nenette Motus, IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific. “This event is about exploring how companies can act as powerful drivers of change by forging meaningful partnerships with civil society and IOM to end modern slavery and human trafficking,” she added.

Piya Muqit, Executive Director of Justice Centre Hong Kong, added: “With the publication by the Hong Kong SAR Government of an action plan to tackle trafficking in persons, this event is an opportunity to explore how strategic partnerships can ensure the corporate community are ahead of the policy curve.”  

Representatives from over 35 major private sector companies including Starbucks, Adidas, Credit Suisse, HSBC and Atkins participated in the workshop to discuss how corporates can contribute to eliminating modern slavery and human trafficking through building partnerships with civil society and international agencies like IOM.

With the adoption of a Private Sector Partnership Strategy 2016-2020, IOM recognized the significant role of the business community to positively impact and further the benefits of migration.

IOM’s Corporate Responsibility in Eliminating Slavery and Trafficking (CREST), supported by the Development Section of the Embassy of Sweden in Thailand, is designed to help companies undertake and fulfil their due diligence obligations in promoting and upholding universal human rights and labour standards throughout their supply chains.

The Corporate Change Maker project is an evolution of Justice Centre’s evidence-based policy work on human trafficking in Hong Kong. “Since 2014, the Macquarie Group Foundation has been directing efforts towards preventing and responding to modern slavery. Working with organizations across the region, we have supported a range of initiatives, including the Corporate Change Makers project, with the goal of increasing awareness among our peers and governments,” said Ben Way, Asia CEO of the Macquarie Group and a member of the Macquarie Group Foundation Committee.

For more information please contact Nurul Qoiriah, IOM China’s Hong Kong Sub-Office, Tel: 2332 2441, Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, April 11, 2018 - 10:44Image: Region-Country: ChinaDefault: Multimedia: 

Evidence of forced labour has repeatedly surfaced in the Thai fishing industry – a major supplier of seafood to world markets. Photo: Thierry Falise / IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Migration Agency Launches Regional Action Plan to Strengthen Response to Venezuelan Outflows

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 09:10

Buenos Aires – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, today (10/04) launches a Regional Action Plan, detailing its support to Governments hosting Venezuelan nationals in the Americas and the Caribbean. The Action Plan aims at strengthening the regional response to large-scale flows of Venezuelans, supporting the efforts that governments have initiated across the region.

The Action Plan responds to the needs and priorities expressed by concerned governments, as well as information gathered through IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix, currently active in several countries in the region, and the Organization’s experience delivering aid to individuals and groups of Venezuelans nationals.

According to a recent IOM report, population outflows from Venezuela have considerably increased over the last two years, with an estimated 1.6 million Venezuelans abroad in 2017, as compared with 700,000 in 2015. Of this total, approximately 1.3 million Venezuelan nationals are in South America (885,000), North America (308,000), Central America (78,000) and the Caribbean (21,000).

IOM’s Action Plan, which requires USD 32.3 million in funding to implement, focuses on such activities as data collection and dissemination, capacity building and coordination, direct support and socio-economic integration.

"The Plan is tailored to specific national contexts across 17 countries including eight South American countries, six Caribbean countries, two Central American countries and Mexico," explained Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America and the Caribbean.

“IOM commends the ongoing efforts of the countries that are hosting Venezuelan nationals, in particular those governments that have implemented measures to regularize their stay. We encourage host countries to consider adopting such measures whenever possible,” said Diego Beltrand, IOM Regional Director for South America.

Beltrand highlighted that "IOM’s Regional Action Plan also represents a call for the international community to contribute to and strengthen government efforts to receive and assist Venezuelans, so that those efforts may be sustained."

In addition to tracking and documenting migration flows at the regional and national levels through the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), IOM has also been implementing trainings in Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) and supporting the establishment of transit centres and temporary shelters. It has also been providing direct assistance to Venezuelan nationals, including transportation and food, as well as provision of information related to immigration requirements, including potential regularization.

Those efforts have been launched through advance financing made by IOM’s Migration Emergency Funding Mechanism (MEFM), to meet the main priorities of governments in providing assistance to Venezuelan nationals.

The Action Plan is complementary to existing regional and national coordination mechanisms, including those efforts undertaken by partner United Nations agencies, particularly those of the UNHCR, as well as civil society organizations to converge towards complementing strengths in the region.

Access the regional action plan here.

For more information, please contact Juliana Quintero at the IOM Regional Office in Buenos Aires, Tel: + (54) 11 4813 3330, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 15:07Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

A Venezuelan family assisted by IOM. © IOM

IOM is assisting Venezuelans throughout the region. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 16,089 in 2018; Deaths Reach 521

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 09:09

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, reports that 16,089 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2018 through 8 April, with the vast majority arriving in Italy and the rest in Spain, Greece, and Cyprus. This compares with 33,355 arrivals across the region through the same period last year.

IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo said Monday (09/04) that only one rescue operation was carried out over the weekend: the Italian Coast Guard rescued one small boat carrying a total of 104 migrants – all Tunisians – off the coast of Lampedusa.  

Di Giacomo added that, according to Ministry of Interior figures, 6,894 migrants arrived by sea to Italy this year: nearly 74.37 per cent less than the same period last year, when 26,902 migrant men, women and children were brought to Italy after being rescued in the waters north of Africa.

However, despite fewer arrivals registered in Italy this year, the number of dead and missing in the Mediterranean Sea on the Central Route – although lower in absolute numbers (359 in 2018 versus 745 in 2017) – has increased relative to the number of arrivals by 75 per cent.

This figure shows that the humanitarian emergency in the Mediterranean continues to remain a dramatic reality and that saving lives at sea is still the number one priority.

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported that 3,460 men, women and children have arrived in Spain across the Western Mediterranean in 2018, through 8 April.

Worldwide, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project (MMP) has recorded 876 deaths and disappearances during migration in 2018. In the Mediterranean alone, 521 migrants are estimated to have died this year.  The remains of four migrants have been recovered in the Western Mediterranean in the past 10 days.

On 6 April, the remains of a man washed up on a beach near Tarifa, Spain – authorities believe that he wasn’t one of the missing migrants from the shipwreck on 1 April, as the body appeared to have been in the water for weeks or even months. Additionally, three bodies were recovered during the first weekend of April in Algeria’s north-western province of Ain Témouchent: on 31 March, the body of a migrant washed up on Plage Sbiaat; on 1 April, another body was retrieved in Iles Habibas; while on 2 April, the remains of a migrant were found 6 nautical miles off Port of Bouzedjar.

On 9 April there were reports of a shipwreck off the coast of Morocco, 20 kilometres south the coast of Tangiers. There are believed to be ten survivors and six who died in this incident. It should be noted that these deaths will be recorded by MMP once further information is confirmed about this incident.

There were two other additions to the Missing Migrants Project database since last Friday’s update. In Ceuta, Spain's enclave in northern Africa, a 16-year-old boy was run over in the port area on 6 April, as he was trying to cling to the undercarriage of a truck waiting to board a ferry bound for mainland Spain. On the US/Mexico border, the remains of an 18-year-old boy who drowned in the Río Bravo on 18 March were repatriated to his hometown in Nicaragua. 

Additionally, MMP received reports of the deaths of at least five Rohingya in the Andaman Sea last week. Survivors had been stranded for weeks in their boat and were rescued by Indonesian fishermen and brought to Aceh. IOM staff is gathering survivors’ testimonies to confirm the number of those who did not survive the journey.

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.

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:
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:
Kelly Namia, IOM Greece, Tel: +30 210 991 2174, Email:
Dimitrios Tsagalas, IOM Cyprus, Tel: + 22 77 22 70, E-mail:
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 71 860 312 Ext. 109, Mobile: +216 28 78 78 05, Email:
Hicham Hasnaoui, IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email:
Mircea Mocanu, IOM Romania, Tel:  +40212115657, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 14:58Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

‘Destination Europe’ WeChat App Offers Pre-Departure Orientation to Chinese Migrants

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 09:09

Beijing –  IOM, the UN Migration Agency, has launched a WeChat app in China designed to provide pre-departure orientation to Chinese workers migrating to Europe.

The initiative was funded by the European Union’s Partnership Instrument under the framework of the EU-China Dialogue on Migration and Mobility Support Programme (MMSP).

“赴欧贴士” or ‘Destination Europe’ is a WeChat-based function embedded in the IOM China official WeChat account. WeChat is an all-in-one communications app and China’s largest social network, providing assorted services to over 900 million active users daily.

The easy-to-use ‘Destination Europe’ app aims to inform Chinese migrant workers of the key aspects and processes related to their journey, starting when they leave China through to their eventual integration into a European host country.

Besides providing a general overview of the European Union and key information about its Member States, the app also includes detailed sections on Austria, Germany and Italy – three key European destinations for Chinese migrant workers.

Useful information relating to each country covers topics such as visa requirements and residence permits; education, health services, and accommodation; labour legislation and the working environment; money transfer to country of origin; and useful phone numbers, including emergency contact numbers.

As the number of Chinese migrants travelling to Europe increases, so too does their vulnerability and exposure to the risks associated with inadequate information about migration procedures and their countries of destination.

IOM China developed the app to address this issue by increasing awareness, providing practical support to Chinese migrants and their families, and making the information accessible to anyone with a smartphone. 

For more information, please contact Etienne Micallef at IOM China, Tel: +861059799695, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 15:01Image: Region-Country: ChinaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

'Destination Europe' app helps to prepare Chinese migrants for life abroad. © IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Japan, IOM Help to Bring Safe Water to 30,000 Rohingya Refugees in Bangladesh

Tue, 04/10/2018 - 09:08

Cox’s Bazar – Some 30,000 Rohingya refugees living in Cox’s Bazar will soon have easier access to safe water with the inauguration of a major new borehole project this week. It is the first part of a high capacity water production and supply system designed to meet spiraling water needs in Ukhiya sub district, which suffers frequent water shortages.

Last year’s massive Rohingya refugee influx into Ukhiya and Teknaf sub districts placed huge pressure on water supply in Cox’s Bazar. Both the refugees and host communities have been suffering from insufficient supplies of safe water.

To address the need, IOM, the UN Migration Agency, launched the safe water supply project in collaboration with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Bangladesh’s Department of Public Health Engineering (DPHE).

At present, the targeted population need about 500 cubic meters of safe water per day. The test / production well that DPHE will establish with JICA backing expects to be able to meet that demand when it is operating at full capacity.

IOM will design and construct the water supply network and facilities once the borehole work is completed next month. It expects to start the water distribution within three months of the installation of the borehole.

“The camp is very congested. Almost 95 per cent of toilets are close to water points, and these eventually degrade the water quality. So, the Government decided to go for establishing deep tube wells. We thought that there might be problem with deep tube wells as well in future. So, we decided to go deeper and establish this deep ground water production well,” said Naoki Matsumura, JICA’s country program coordinator for disaster management.

“This boring machine can drill down to 400 meters, which is very useful if we need to dig deeper than the existing deep tube wells in the camps. A lot of water can be lifted through the thick pipe of the borehole, tested and treated to ensure the quality, before being distributed to a very large number of people,” he added.

There are currently hand pumps in the areas near where the borehole is being established, but many have now run dry. “We have one near our shelter. But the water flow is declining all the time,” said Saibun, 23, who lives with her 5-member family nearby the borehole site in camp 12 of Ukhiya. “There is another pump, but it also ran out of water. Now people come to fetch water from this pump,” she added.

“Access to safe water is a human right. This investigatory project poses several challenges. First is getting good quality ground water. This is just the initial step to see how successful the project will be,” said Md. Saifur Rahman, DPHE’s Superintending Engineer, Groundwater Circle.

As part of the water supply network, some 20 water points will be set up within the targeted area of the camp. Each water point will have 4 – 6 taps to serve 250 people per tap per day without queuing up for more than half an hour. The maximum distance from any household to the nearest water point will be 500 meters to ensure that the targeted population can easily access it during the distribution hours, which will be twice a day, three hours each time.

“It’s very difficult to ensure safe ground water here. But we’re very excited about this project, which is the first of its kind in the camp. It will ensure daily access to safe water for 30,000 – 40,000 people,” said IOM Cox’s Bazar Emergency Coordinator Manuel Pereira. “If it’s a success, we will scale it up in other areas of the camp, as well as in host communities, especially in Teknaf where groundwater is scarce,” he added.

For more information please contact IOM Cox’s Bazar:
Fiona MacGregor, Email:, Tel. +880 173 333 5221
Shirin Akhter, Email:, Tel: +880 341 52195

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 10, 2018 - 15:05Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM, JICA, DPHE officials inaugurating major new borehole project in Cox's Bazar. © Abdullah Al Mashrif / IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN