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Close to 20,000 Migrants Rescued in Sahara Desert Since Beginning of Operations

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 12:01

Niamey – The June 15 rescue of 406 migrants including seven women and four children stranded in the Sahara Desert brings to nearly 20,000, the number of people the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has rescued there since April 2016.

“We walked for hours under the scorching desert sun with no water or idea where we were heading,” said 27-year-old Amadou from Mali.

“Suddenly, I saw the IOM truck coming our way. They gave us food and water and brought us to Assamaka, and then Arlit the following day.”

Video of the Rescue English | French

The latest rescues included people from 14 West African countries, mainly Guinea-Conakry, Mali and Côte d’Ivoire bound for north Africa. They were transported to the town of Assamaka where IOM’s team, one Focal Point, four community mobilizers (MobComs), two nurses and one driver, are based.

“Despite having assisted so many groups of migrants, I still find it difficult every time a new group arrives, with newborns in their arms, faces covered in sand and their clothes ripped apart,” said IOM’s local Focal Point Alhassane Adouel.

“After so many arrivals, it still breaks my heart to see what they have to go through.”  

The latest operation was IOM’s 189th humanitarian mission into Niger’s Ténéré desert. Trucks carrying migrants north frequently break-down in the desert; in other cases, they become lost or the smugglers simply abandon people to their fates.

No one knows how many migrants have died attempting to cross the Sahara.

IOM’s operations are supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the European Union, within the framework of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism.

Rescued migrants are often mentally and physically drained, injured and dehydrated. 

They receive emergency humanitarian assistance from IOM including food, water, medical first aid and psychosocial support at the Organization’s emergency shelter. Migrants are then sensitized by the MobComs about available assistance and are offered transportation to Arlit, a large urban centre 235km away.

Once at IOM’s transit centre there, migrants who wish to return to their country of origin can join the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.

Nighty-eight per cent of rescued migrants, including Amadou have chosen to do so.  

“Many people struggle or die along the way: men, pregnant women, children. I don’t want to become one more body buried in the desert. I’m going home now,” he explained.

These humanitarian operations are performed both proactively and reactively in the areas of Agadez, Arlit and Dirkou. IOM and the Direction Générale de la Protection Civile (DGPC) have conducted joint search and rescue (SAR) missions in Dirkou since 2017. For proactive missions, teams are dispatched on current migration routes to search for migrants in distress. 

“The challenging operating environment, the dangerous security situation and sudden large influxes of migrants continuously test IOM staff’s rescue efforts. But our team here in Niger has so far always managed to adapt to surprise changes, and we are monitoring the situation closely with our partners to ensure migrants in distress are assisted and protected before it is too late,” said Martin Wyss, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. 

“We are more than satisfied that we have prevented countless deaths and proud to have been able to provide safety and at least some comfort to thousands,” he continued. 

Download IOM Niger Humanitarian Rescue Operations/Search and Rescue Operations May 2019

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 17:57Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

An average of 1,200 migrants per month are rescued through IOM’s humanitarian operations in Niger in 2019. Photo: IOM 

An average of 1,200 migrants per month are rescued through IOM’s humanitarian operations in Niger in 2019. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Congratulates Bahrain for Maintaining US TIP “Tier 1” Status for Second Consecutive Year

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:27

Manama – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) commends the Government of Bahrain for maintaining the highest classification on the four-tier list reported by the US State Department’s 2019 Report on Trafficking in Persons (TiP).

Bahrain is the only country in the Middle East and Africa to have reached Tier 1 ranking in the annual TiP Report from Washington. The 2019 TiP Report placed Bahrain in the Tier 1 classification for the second consecutive year, hailing its efforts in combating trafficking in persons as a noteworthy achievement in the field.

“Maintaining Tier 1 status in the US State Department TiP Report is not an easy task and must be seen as a recognition of Bahrain’s remarkable journey to becoming a model for tackling human trafficking in the region,” said Mohamed El Zarkani, IOM Bahrain Chief of Mission, who described the Kingdom’s efforts to mitigate human trafficking as stemming from the pro-active approach adopted by the government in protecting human rights and creating a fair and safe working and living environment in Bahrain.

El Zarkani explained that IOM is currently supporting the Bahrain National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons to develop a National Trafficking in Persons Strategy and a four-year action plan. In addition, IOM continues to provide capacity building for a broad spectrum of national stakeholders mandated with combating human trafficking in Bahrain. 

“The second consecutive year at Tier 1 as the only Arab country in the MENA region comes as a welcomed confirmation that we are moving in the right direction,” added Ausamah Al Absi, Chief Executive Officer of Bahrain’s Labour Market Regulatory Authority (LMRA) and Chairman of the National Committee to Combat Trafficking in Persons.

“However, being a cross-border crime, combating trafficking at the national level only is not enough. The Middle East has sending, transit, and receiving countries with unique characteristics that require their own home-grown solutions. Therefore, Bahrain aspires to act as a catalyst for a region-wide movement to eradicate trafficking though institutionalized efforts with the help of UN specialized agencies such as IOM,”  Ausamah Al Absi explained.

IOM and the Government of Bahrain have a long history of joint collaborative efforts in the field of protecting victims of trafficking and the development of skills and capacities of national cadres including the development of a National Referral Mechanism for migrants who are subjected to vulnerability and exploitation as well as establishing an assistance fund for Victims of Trafficking.

To read the full report, click here

For more information please contact Mohamed El Zarkani at IOM Bahrain, Tel: +973 172 78 320, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 16:10Image: Region-Country: BahrainThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

In Somalia, IOM Begins Relocating Families at Risk of Eviction

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:24

Baidoa – IOM has started the relocation of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) who were at risk of eviction to the newly developed public site in Baidoa.

Some 682 households, consisting of 3,914 individuals drawn from 12 out of 15 targeted IDP sites have been relocated to the new Baidoa public site as of 23 June, one week after relocation began. The effort will support internally displaced persons with better living conditions and sustainable land tenure. The relocation, expected to continue until July, will benefit over 1,000 households from 15 IDP sites.

In the months leading up to the relocation, IOM had developed the new public site together with the South West State authorities, the Baidoa municipality and the community.

“We recognize the rights of IDPs and Displacement Affected Communities (DACs) to own land and solve recurring problems such as evictions,” said Abdullahi Ali Watiin, the Mayor of Baidoa.

He added: “Our vision is to make sure that all our community members, regardless of their status, live on a decent protected land, without discrimination or fear of eviction.”

The city of Baidoa, in Somalia’s southwestern Bay region, hosts an estimated 323,000 displaced people, many of whom live on private land without secure tenure agreements. They are at constant risk of forced evictions.

The relocation project is a multi-sectoral integrated response from IOM’s emergency and durable solutions divisions. This approach focuses on addressing the immediate needs of the vulnerable IDPs at risk of eviction through solutions that are integrated in the long-term urban expansion plan of Baidoa City. Among others, the site planning has been coordinated with UN-Habitat to ensure that future and under-construction roads are incorporated and that the land allocated to IDPs meets long-term standards rather than recreating a camp-like setting.

To date, IOM has constructed 500 latrines and a sustainable water supply system including two elevated water tanks that will provide clean and safe water to the nearly 1,000 households.

In addition, two police stations have been constructed along with solar streetlights to enhance safety and security. Main roads leading to the nearest markets were also cleared for easy access and linkage with the host communities. The site plan also allows space for markets, community centres, and common service areas.

Aside from being provided with plots, the households also received vouchers to help them construct shelters of their choice. Through these vouchers, they can acquire the shelter materials that they need from selected vendors. The relocating households also received training from IOM on how to construct shelters, as well as to build shelters for 40 vulnerable households.

Rainer Palau Gonzalez, IOM’s Senior Programme Coordinator said, “The relocation is going according to schedule after months of preparation with the government and other partners. We will monitor the coming months carefully to ensure that the needs of the relocated households are met.”

“This has been a critical project in line with the Humanitarian-Development Nexus, which combines emergency humanitarian response with laying the foundations for durable solutions and development. Our partners, DFID, ECHO, JSB and OFDA, have been essential in supporting our project activities. We are very happy to finally be able to welcome the IDPs, especially those at risk of eviction, to this new site,” Gonzalez added.

In the coming weeks, IOM and other stakeholders will continue the relocation of the families at risk of eviction and provide them with all the support they need.

For more information, please contact the IOM Somalia Programme Support Unit, Tel: +254 705 832 020, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 16:20Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsShelterDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff assisting at the Baidoa Relocation site © IOM Somalia 2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Helps nearly 30,000 People in Yemen Rebuild Shelters Destroyed by Floods

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:19

Sana’a – Over 80,000 people in Yemen have been impacted by heavy rains and floods, since late May. Among those most affected are displaced communities whose makeshift shelters have failed to weather the storm, exposing them to the elements.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is distributing emergency aid items to flood survivors, particularly displaced families, in the worst-affected governorates: Aden, Abyan, Hajjah, Ibb and Taizz.

The world’s largest humanitarian crisis has been compounded by severe natural hazards. Every year, the people of Yemen feel the full force of extreme weather, including floods and cyclones. Over 1.1 million of the 3.65 million people displaced across Yemen are living in the five governorates, which experienced the heaviest rains this year.

As an initial response in all five governorates, IOM is distributing emergency shelter kits, which include wood, plastic sheeting, rope and tools, to nearly 30,000 people with damaged or destroyed temporary shelters. IOM is also distributing blankets, mattresses, buckets, kitchen sets and sleeping mats to help these families set up their shelters. The vast majority of those receiving emergency shelter and household kits are living in displacement sites due to the conflict.

Eight months ago, the conflict forced thirty-six-year-old father of seven, Abdullah Al-Jumai, from his home in Haradh to Shafer within Hajjah governorate. He and his family were displaced again within the Shafer locality by heavy rainfall a few weeks ago. Describing it as a tragedy, Abdullah said: “We were sleeping under trees during the rain.” He went on to say that proper shelter was all the family hoped for currently. IOM started an aid distribution to flood survivors in Hajjah on Sunday, 23 June.

A woman at an IOM distribution in Hajjah, 60-year-old Namja Isaa, described how for the past year her family, displaced to Shafer, lived in a shelter made of plastic sheets and grass. “In Yemen, we call them Aushash [hut] but it could not withstand the rain, so we became homeless,” said Namja.

Aden and Abyan governorates also experienced some of the heaviest rainfall in years. Displaced people’s shelters were destroyed, and flooding meant that what little belongings displaced families had were damaged.

IOM will continue to support flood-affected families beyond the current ongoing emergency shelter and household kits distribution, based on the needs of flood-affected communities, as assessed by the Shelter and Non-food Items (S-NFI) Cluster.

IOM is also supporting the S-NFI Cluster Common Pipeline, in partnership with the Cluster, to pre-position emergency shelter and household kits, which will enable cluster partners to support 5,780 flood-affected families across Yemen.

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon at IOM Yemen, Tel: +967730552233, Email:   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 16:30Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsMigrant AssistanceShelterDefault: Multimedia: 

60-year-old Najma’s makeshift shelter in Hajjah was completed destroyed by the rains; she received materials from IOM to rebuild it. Photo: IOM

IOM prepares to distribute emergency shelter and household kits in Abyan. Photo: IOM

In Hajjah, a displaced man’s identify is verified before receiving items to help rebuild his destroyed shelter. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Floods and Intercommunal Violence in Central Mali: Thousands of Displaced Persons Await Humanitarian Assistance

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/25/2019 - 10:16

Mopti  –  Recent heavy rains in the Mopti region of Mali have caused floods, aggravating the already precarious situation of the 50,254 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the region. Humanitarian assistance now is on its way to help the most vulnerable households.

Since last week, more than 800 IDPs have already been provided with tents, while 70 kits including mosquito nets, clothing, shoes, hygiene products and other items have been distributed by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mali.

In a region where more than 210,000 persons are considered as facing food insecurity and only 2 per cent of the communities have access to safe drinking water, the increasing presence of IDPs may undermine the existing resources and increase the need for basic social services.

Within a fragile security context, it is urgent to take the necessary measures, secure and rehabilitate existing IDP sites to address rainy season and flooding problems, which pose an additional threat to these displaced persons.

“We are afraid to face another flood. I get scared when I see a storm coming. I lost the little I had managed to keep. We spent the night in the cold before being transferred the next day to another temporary site,” said Aminata Bolli, one of the victims of the floods at the Soukara site. Originally from Bankass, she has stayed in the site for two months with five children.

The heavy rains have also destroyed the tents that sheltered 304 IDPs at the Koro and Bankass IDP sites in Mopti, Soukoura. Host families have joined forces and the adjoining classrooms of the Amadoun Dicko High School in Sévaré have been requisitioned to shelter the affected IDPs.

In the Mopti region, the number of IDPs increased from 2,000 in late 2017 (Source: OCHA) to 50,254 (including 5,254 children) as of 18 June.

Already facing increasing communal violence and the presence of armed groups, the most affected communities in the Mopti region continue to seek refuge among the host populations. The day after the attacks on the Gangafani and Yoro villages (Tuesday, 18 June) the Mopti Regional Directorate of Social Development had already registered 750 refugees in Dinangourou schools and reported the movement of 2,545 new IDPs from Bodel, Dianta, Yoro, Kangafandé, Korimataga to the Dinangourou district, in the Mopti region.

Government authorities, civil society organizations and United Nations agencies (UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP, OCHA, WHO, UNFPA, FAO, and IOM) are working together in Bamako as well as in Mopti to address the most urgent needs of the more than 120,000 IDPs currently registered in the country (including accommodation, profiling, food, shelter, non-food items, and health care).

Watch the video in English | French

For more information, please contact Seydou Tangara, IOM Mali, Tel: +223 76 42 63 59, Email: or Florence Kim, IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221 78 620 62 13, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 25, 2019 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: MaliThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

Screengrab from video footage showing the flood affecting the IDPs in Soukoura camp. Photo: IOM

Screengrab from video footage showing the flood affecting the IDPs in Soukoura camp. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Designing for Humanity at New York Summit

PBN News Germany - Mon, 06/24/2019 - 04:41

New York – The longstanding commitment by the humanitarian community to assist vulnerable migrants and displaced persons with dignity was underscored in New York on Friday (21 June) at the second Design for Humanity Summit at Fordham University, co-organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Institute of International Humanitarian Affairs (IIHA).

Subtitled “Design in a Time of Displacement”, the Summit brought together leading experts and professionals in humanitarian design from the United Nations, NGOs, academia, design firms and the private sector.

Keynote speaker Argentina Szabados, Director of IOM’s Regional Office for Southeastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia told a packed lecture hall, and hundreds joining the live-stream, that the consistent rise of people on the move challenges the international humanitarian system to devise more sustainable solutions with “vision, humility and dialogue.”

“We are providing a unique and essential platform where experts can celebrate the interaction of diverse design solutions, and explore innovative ideas and projects that foster inclusion, dignity, beauty, and integration for people uprooted by emergencies as they rebuild their lives after crises,” added Brendan Cahill, Director of the IIHA, in his Welcome Remarks.

“The dwelling places we provide ought not be ‘just good enough’ to keep people alive in a miserable twilight of half-existence. They must also give people an opportunity to develop, to be healthy, to learn,” she said.

In the first Design Dialogue, From Camps to Communities, Italian architect Raul Pantaleo stressed that good design can make a massive difference in “grey, horrible refugee camps.”

“Good design doesn’t cost a lot of money, but it makes a big difference for the people who are using that space. It’s a matter of care,” he said.

The Summit also focused on data and storytelling in the second Design Dialogue, From Data to Stories, examining how data-driven storytelling can promote human rights and amplify voices of people on the move.

Describing data as “the fuel that powers the information revolution” Ms. Szabados stressed in her keynote that “we can no longer have a paternalistic relationship with our clients, the end users of humanitarian services. They have the means to communicate with us – and with each other - directly. We now have evidence that backs up what we do, and we can be instantly responsive as new data comes in.”

Interactive design workshops in the afternoon showcased several new design solutions that aim to improve the lives of millions of people forcibly displaced by disasters, conflicts or the consequences of climate change.

IOM Media and Communications teams shared Holding On with summit participants – a virtual reality exhibition showcases the stories of internally displaced people (IDPs) by asking them to reflect on their most cherished possessions – in addition to an IOM VR film about the realities facing Rohingya refugees, particularly women, in camps in Cox’s Bazar.

To learn more visit

Language English Posted: Monday, June 24, 2019 - 09:56Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaThemes: IOMInternally Displaced PersonsUNDefault: Multimedia: 

Attendees at the Design for Humanity Summit were able to view the Holding On VR exhibition on displacement

Attendees at the Design for Humanity Summit were able to view the Holding On VR exhibition on displacement

IOM  Regional Director Argentina Szabados addresses the Summit during her keynote speech

IOM Regional Director Argentina Szabados with fellow keynote speaker Richard Blewitt of IFRC and Brian Kelly from IOM Washington

  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Appeals for Urgent, Safe Disembarkation for Migrants on Sea-Watch 3

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/21/2019 - 11:22

Rome – The International Organization for Migration today (21/06) is launching an appeal to guarantee, as soon as possible, a safe disembarkation point for migrants rescued on 12 June in the Mediterranean by the ship Sea-Watch 3. 

On Saturday, 10 medical cases were disembarked in Lampedusa, but 43 people remain in limbo at sea. 

In recent days, the Sea-Watch 3 had been invited to bring migrants to Tripoli. Yet, in the eyes of the international community, Libya is still considered an unsafe port to disembark migrants. 

“The situation in the country remains extremely dangerous due to the continuous and heavy military clashes around the capital that, since the beginning of April, have displaced over 90,000 persons,” said Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean. “It is a very dramatic context, also confirmed by migrants recently landed in Italy.” 

IOM wishes to emphasize that migrants (including children), after being returned to the Libyan coasts, are sent to detention centres where conditions are considered unacceptable and inhumane. It remains impossible to guarantee the protection of the rights of migrants once they are transferred into these centres.  

To IOM, it remains of serious concern that in the absence of state-led approaches to reduce loss of life at sea, rescue operations of non-government organizations are deliberately discouraged.  

The Central Mediterranean route continues to be the deadliest route for migrants in the world. As data show, over the past 12 months – from 12 June 2018 to 11 June 2019 – 1,151 people lost their lives along this route, or an average of just over three people per day.  During the first five and a half months of 2019, 343 have died. 

During summer months departures generally increase. IOM, therefore, considers it imperative to give absolute priority to preserving lives and strengthening an international rescue system that can effectively help boats in distress. This is the humane response, much preferred over penalizing commanders who rescue people at sea, or who refuse to take migrants and refugees to unsafe ports in Libya. 

It is crucial, today more than ever, that Member States of the European Union make a shared effort to find adequate solutions to what cannot be considered as an emergency in terms of numbers, but as a humanitarian emergency. 

For more information, please contact: Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: 


Language English Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 17:18Image: Region-Country: ItalyThemes: Missing MigrantsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

The Sea Watch 3 vessel in the Sicilian port of Catania on 31 January 2019.  Photo: UNHCR/Alessio Mamo

Some of the 43 migrants still on board the Sea Watch 3. Photo:

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Over 2,100 Ethiopian Migrants Return Home from Yemen with IOM Support

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/21/2019 - 11:17

Aden – Yesterday (20/06), a flight chartered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) with 96 migrants on board took off from Yemen, headed for Ethiopia. This movement was the 18th flight from Aden to Addis Ababa under IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme since 28 May, helping a total of 2,133 stranded migrants, including 570 children, return home.  

On 21 April, the authorities in Aden began detaining irregular migrants in large numbers. At the peak (between 27 April to 03 May), IOM estimates that over 5,000 people were held across three sites.  The majority of the returning migrants were detained, many for nearly two months, in a makeshift migrant detention site at the 22nd of May Stadium in Aden city.  

Since April, IOM has been coordinating partners’ response to this acute humanitarian situation. IOM is providing emergency food, water, sanitation and 24-hour health services to migrants in the stadium. IOM also established a diarrhoea treatment centre (DTC) in Ibn Khaldoon Hospital to help those migrants suffering from acute watery diarrhoea (AWD). 

While IOM has supported over 2,000 people to return home so far, an additional 2,000 migrants are still in the stadium, many of whom are children. In the coming week, IOM will support the voluntary return of the remaining children.  

“IOM provides voluntary humanitarian return assistance to detained migrants, as a last resort, and does not support the further detention of migrants, especially children, women and vulnerable groups,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations of Emergencies.  

“All governments are obliged to provide protection for all people within their borders, regardless of immigration status. This protection is extended to detained migrants, including access to food, water, sanitation, health services and safe accommodation,” he added. 

Despite the conflict in Yemen, migrants seeking opportunities in Gulf countries continue to make the treacherous journey by land and sea to the Arabian Peninsula. All along the route, migrants face many challenges in accessing protection and assistance.  

Abdiker reaffirmed IOM’s commitment to supporting Yemen and other governments in the region to better manage migration, ensuring the safety and dignity of migrants. 

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon at IOM Yemen, Tel: +967730552233, Email:  


Language English Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 17:14Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM supported nearly 150 women and girls in returning home to Ethiopia from Yemen. Photo: IOM/K. Baker

Migrants wait to board their flight home from Aden to Addis Ababa with IOM's support. Photo: IOM/K. Baker

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Provides Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees Access to Health Services in Brazil

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/21/2019 - 11:13

Boa Vista – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), working with the Brazilian Federal Government, is increasing its support to Venezuelans newly arrived in the country by facilitating their access to medical services.   

Twice this month IOM has assisted in the relocation of families in need of specialized medical attention. On June 3rd, Venezuelan ‘Yosmary’ (32) travelled with her family to the city of Tubarão, in southern Brazil, to receive medical treatment.  

At the same time, ‘María Luisa’ (56), who came with her family from Cumaná, in the State of Sucre, were among the 1,340 families relocated with IOM support, a process that guaranteed her access to health services in Brazil.    

Suffering from a disability, María Luisa arrived in Brazil in April 2019, accompanied by her sister and a nephew. They came to Brazil looking for better medical conditions but because access to public health services in Roraima, the state of their arrival, was difficult for them, IOM relocated them to Goiânia and provided medical assistance.  

“We came to Brazil with the intention of traveling to Goiânia, as we have family there,” María Luisa’s sister, Rosalinda, explained. “We believed she could continue her treatment, but we didn't have enough money to continue the trip. Now, thanks to the relocation and the medical treatment, I'm sure Maria will be in a better condition,” said Rosalinda, who is also María Luisa’s legal guardian. 

It was the second time in less than a month that IOM has supported the relocation of families in need of specialized medical attention. Earlier in June, Venezuelan Yosmary (32) travelled with her family to the city of Tubarão, in the south of the country, where she also received medical treatment. 

Yosmary lived with her husband and three children in one of the shelters for Venezuelans in Boa Vista. “Since the discovery of her disease we had a challenging time; my children and I were still living in the shelter, and my wife was hospitalized without treatment,” said Ali, Yosmary's husband.  

Yosmary discovered she had a brain tumour, a condition that requires immediate assistance.  

Due to the difficult access to this kind of procedure in Roraima, the Brazilian Armed Forces and civil society organizations found a hospital in Tubarão, where Yosmary could receive adequate treatment.  

To facilitate their access to the hospital, IOM provided airplane tickets to the family so that they could travel to Tubarão. An IOM official accompanied the family from Boa Vista to Tubarão’s shelter in the city. A non-governmental organization was waiting for them and will provide accommodation for the family.  

Such assistance is possible through the relocation process, thanks to a strategy created by the Brazilian Government – with the support of IOM, other UN agencies and civil society members – that has been implemented since April 2018. The plan is to bring together work relocation, family reunion, temporary shelters, medical care, and the support of civil society to provide accommodation across Brazil. By the end of May, over 8,000 people had already been relocated from Roraima to 17 Brazilian states through this strategy. 

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

In Tubarão, Yosmary is receiving appropriate treatment for her disease and is waiting for surgery. Yosmary’s husband hopes to get a job soon to settle down and start a new life in Tubarão. 

“In the relocation process, people with disabilities or serious illnesses have priority on the waiting list. The list of priorities also includes other situations such as people experiencing homelessness and people who must travel to provide support to a family member with a disability or terminal illness in the destination city,” explained Yssyssay Rodrigues, Project Coordinator at IOM Brazil. 

For more information, please contact Vitoria Souza, IOM Brasilia, Tel.: + 55 61 3771 3772 Email: 


Language English Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 17:09Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Maria Luisa and her family during the pre-departure visit, Boa Vista - Brazil. Photo: IOM/Fábio Fonseca

Maria Luisa and her family during the pre-departure visit, Boa Vista - Brazil. Photo: IOM/Fábio Fonseca

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, UN Hand Over Border Management Coordination Centre in Madagascar

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/21/2019 - 11:08

Antananarivo – Border management remains an important topic in Madagascar, a country with more than 5,000 km of coastline and a strategic location, just across the Mozambique Channel in the Western Indian Ocean.  

Still recovering from cycles of political crisis that significantly degraded the capacity of the State to police its borders, Madagascar recognizes that its porous borders have been conducive to forms of transnational and national criminal and illegal activities. 

Today (21/06), during a ceremony at the capital’s Ivato International Airport, IOM handed over to national authorities a Coordination Centre equipped with customized technology solutions and guided by the concepts of Integrated Border Management practice. The event brought together Ministers and senior Government officials.  

As the UN agency for migration, IOM is increasingly called upon by States to assist in addressing complex border management challenges. The Immigration and Border Management (IBM) Division supports Member States in improving the policy, legislation, operational systems, human resources and administrative and technical structures required to respond more effectively to diverse migration and border management challenges. 

The Coordination Centre provides a work platform for the country’s five key border management and security agencies – immigration police, customs, intelligence, health, and Gendarmerie – and gives them a forum to exchange data and monitor border risks and threats in real time.  

In comments to the press during the handover ceremony, IOM Madagascar Chief of Mission Daniel Silva y Poveda noted that “the challenge today is not the quantity of information. There is more information than ever before. The challenge is actionable information.”  

He added, “The Centre provides an interface for various border agencies to share information they collect primarily in the own interest, and through which you can connect the dots and detect patterns of risks or illegal and criminal activities with regards to the crossing of Madagascar’s borders.” 

Images from the Airport’s security cameras, customs scanners, and flight schedules are displayed on screens at the Centre. Through a customized application, the agencies now can share and request data amongst the databases of each entity, thereby crossing and leveraging information.  

The Centre is also interconnected with various existing immigration information and data systems, including IOM’s MIDAS (Migration Information and Data Analysis System), already operational as pilot projects at two airports in Madagascar. 

The setting up of the coordination centre was implemented under IOM’s broader Support to the Security Sector Reform in Madagascar project. Under this initiative – funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund (UN-PBF) – IOM has been designated lead implementor of a multifaceted border management component.  

For more information please contact Daniel Silva y Poveda, IOM Madagascar, Tel: +261 32 56 54 954, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 17:06Image: Region-Country: MadagascarThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Bristol Mayor, IOM Hold Refugee Week Discussion on Inclusion

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/21/2019 - 11:06

Bristol – Cities are at the forefront in managing the benefits and the challenges migration and inclusion can bring. In Bristol, one of the UK’s most diverse cities, nearly 200 migrant, refugee and local community members shared their experiences and perspectives in an event – One City, Many Stories – marking Refugee Week in the UK. 

“As the first European elected Mayor of African descent, I’m proud to lead a city that strives to be inclusive and welcoming for all its residents,” said Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees. 

The 19 June event hosted by Mayor Marvin Rees partnered the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Bristol Refugee Festival.   

“Inclusion is not something that happens quickly or easily, and it can’t be ‘delivered’ by the Local Authority. It required a constant dialogue and collaboration between communities and organisations across the city, and that’s why this event is so important,” Rees continued.   

“How newcomers – migrants, refugees or anyone – perceive a new community can influence their own willingness to participate in society once they arrive,” said Dipti Pardeshi, IOM UK Chief of Mission. 

A recent study by The Challenge found that 44 per cent of British people report that none of the contacts they spend time with socially are from a different ethnic background. 

With 16 per cent of its population born outside the UK and over 91 languages spoken on its streets, Bristol is one of the UK’s most multi-cultural cities. Over 6,000 people attended a recent Grand Iftar street party in East Bristol.  

Pardeshi explained that people who engage in social interactions with people of different backgrounds often have a more positive view and greater empathy towards them.  

“With the right policies and structures in place, migrants and refugees can bring fresh ideas, resources and perspectives that contribute economically, socially and culturally to local communities,” Pardeshi continued.    

“Creating a variety of spaces for incoming and host communities to come together is a key part of our Festival,” says Jules Olsen, Bristol Refugee Festival Director.  “We are extremely pleased to have this conversation around inclusion within our programme as the more that we talk and listen the more we can understand and value one another to create strong cohesive communities.” 

The One City, Many Stories event also featured the personal stories of Bristol community members: Amira Cole (a Windrush generation community activist), Sara Sharfaldeen (a Sudanese refugee and journalist) and Mark Pepper (a local community integration activist). 

The event informs research and initiatives like Inclusive Cities initiative run by Oxford University, and a research project run by Bristol University called ‘Everyday Integration’.  

To mark Refugee Week, IOM also exhibited Holding On virtual reality at London’s iconic Victoria and Albert museum on 16 June and will partner with Together Productions in the third Singing Our Lives concert at London’s Southbank Centre on Sunday, 23 June as a final event to Refugee Week.  

For further information, please contact: 

IOM UK: Abby Dwommoh, Tel: +44 (0) 020 7811 6060, Email: 

Bristol Mayor’s Office: David Barclay, Mayor’s Advisor on Inclusion, Mobile: +44 779-1633-117, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 17:02Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Bristol Mayor Marvin Rees hosted the One City, Many Stories event in Bristol. Photo: IOM/AbbyDwommoh

The event saw an active discussion among attendees about inclusion. Photo: IOM/AbbyDwommoh

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Quality, Reliable and Comparable Data Critical for Migration Management and Governance: IOM Zimbabwe

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/21/2019 - 11:02

Harare – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week (19-20 June) supported the Government of Zimbabwe in holding a two-day consultative workshop on migration data collection, analysis and management.  

The workshop, in the capital Harare, provided key national migration stakeholders from Zimbabwe National Statistics Agency (ZIMSTAT), Midlands State University and civil society actors space to have a deeper understanding of the existing data-related dynamics, gaps and, most importantly, what is needed by national actors to overcome such gaps.  

The workshop also aimed at strengthening the knowledge and skills of migration policy-makers and stakeholders to implement the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), as well as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). 

The ZIMSTAT Director for Population Censuses and Surveys, Aluwisio Mukavhi noted that institutions such as ZIMSTAT require capacity strengthening on migration data management to support effective planning and policy making. “There is need to consider undertaking a dedicated migration survey since data collected through sources such as population censuses have their limitations, we need capacity to come up with such surveys to inform the country’s migration policies,” he said. 

IOM Zimbabwe Chief of Mission Mario Lito Malanca echoed the same sentiments in his remarks, stating that “It is becoming increasingly evident that capacity development is necessary to collect and analyze migration data to strengthen evidence-based policy making. Those policies will effectively address challenges faced by migrants regionally and internationally.”  

On the other hand, SADC Member States in the context of the 2017 Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) expressed that the availability of reliable, comparable and sex-disaggregated data would contribute to their capacity to design better policies and frameworks. This would in turn contribute to a better management of population movements in the region.  In this year’s edition of MIDSA to be held at ministerial level in Namibia 25-28 June, migration data will feature prominently in the discussions to be held by heads of National Statistical Offices.  

Capitalizing on the need for better migration data expressed by SADC Member States, IOM strives to contribute to the enhancement of relevant national institutions’ capacities in the areas of data collection and management. In this light, IOM is implementing the pilot project Strengthening Migration Data Collection and Analysis in Botswana, South Africa, Lesotho, Malawi and Zimbabwe through the IOM Development Fund. 

For more information please contact Varaidzo Mudombi at IOM Zimbabwe, Tel: +263242704285, Email:  

Language English Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 16:58Image: Region-Country: ZimbabweThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Consultant John Mushomi Atwebembeire  taking participants through aspects of migration data and development. Photo: IOM

Participants at the Migration Data Consultative workshop in Harare. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Social Work Society Celebrate International Domestic Workers Day in Kuwait

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/21/2019 - 10:58

Kuwait City — On the occasion of this week’s International Domestic Workers Day (16 June), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Kuwait marked the day with a series of events managed in cooperation with the Social Work Society (SWS).  

Approximately 660,000 women work as cleaners, nannies, cooks and laundresses for Kuwaiti households. Most come from Southeast Asian states such as the Philippines and Indonesia. A growing number are labour migrants from Sub Saharan Africa. 

IOM began its outreach to households and household workers two days before the date’s “official” observance at Kuwait’s Avenues Mall on 14-15 June. IOM staff distributed cards reading “Thank You” to employers of domestic workers, with the encouragement to offer those cards to domestic employees in their households as a token of the family’s appreciation. 

Domestic workers were also encouraged to visit an information booth manned by IOM staff to receive flowers and colourful frames where they may keep their Thank You cards. This outreach activity was the first of its kind and was well received by the public. 

A second event took place on the day of International Domestic Workers Day (June 16) at the Public Authority for Manpower (PAM), which is the Kuwait Government Shelter for Female Migrant Workers. Activities organized for shelter residents there included group motivational sessions, yoga classes, art classes and two types of dance classes. 

In tandem with both events, IOM undertook a social media rollout to highlight Kuwait’s domestic workers law 68/2015, adopted in 2015, which specifies the rights and obligations of employer and employee in household work. Four years later, there continue to be common misconceptions about the law, regarding such areas as withholding documents and transferring employment of domestic workers. The social media rollout targeted households, with an aim to raise awareness about the domestic workers law so that households respect its regulations when recruiting domestic help. 

An integral part of IOM’s mission is to provide services and advice concerning good migration governance and to support migrant workers. IOM’s mission in Kuwait continues to provide any needed support to the government shelter by providing assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) to vulnerable migrants and organizing entertainment events which aim to provide positive support for their emotional wellbeing. 

The State of Kuwait is committed to protecting the rights of domestic workers, IOM believes. In 2013, an anti-trafficking law was officially established, which ensures that the rights of domestic workers are fully protected.  

For more information please contact: Dana Al-Othman, IOM Kuwait, Tel: + 965 9726 7680, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 16:55Image: Region-Country: KuwaitThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

An employer with her family passed by the IOM booth with her 6 domestic workers to give them thank you cards and gifts. Photo: IOM

Residents at the Shelter for Female Migrant Workers during a Latin dance class on the International Domestic Workers Day. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 26,090 in 2019; Deaths Reach 597

PBN News Germany - Fri, 06/21/2019 - 10:53

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 26,090 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 19 June, roughly a 35 per cent decrease from the 40,846 arriving during the same period last year.  

Arrivals to Spain and Greece account for 82 per cent of all irregular arrivals this year across three Mediterranean Sea routes, with the balance arriving in much smaller proportions to Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Arrivals to Greece – the region’s busiest sea destination – are about even in 2019 with those from this same time last year. Arrivals to Spain are about 25 per cent lower than those through this same date in 2018.  

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 170 days of 2019 are at 597 individuals – or just over half the total (1,100 deaths) confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below). 

Mediterranean Developments 

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported on Thursday (20/06) that since last Friday (14/06), the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) has been involved with at least 13 incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Lesvos, Samos, Leros, Farmakonisi and Alexandroupoli’s port. The HCG rescued a total of 420 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports. 

Those arrivals were among some 734 IOM recorded during the days 13 June through 18 June, bringing to 12,417 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart below). 

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday (20/06) that sea arrivals in the Western Mediterranean are now at 9,029 men, women and children through 12 June. That is well below the total for this same period last year, when 12,155 irregular migrants had arrived in Spain by the Western Mediterranean route.  

While Spain was the Mediterranean’s busiest irregular migration route in 2018, activity in these waters appears to have tapered off significantly after a fast start earlier this year. June arrivals this year through almost three weeks are just 973 men, women and children – or just over 50 per day, Dodevska reported. Last year through 30 days of June the total entering Spain for the month was 6,926 – or 230 per day to Spain via this same route.  

Last year nearly 60,000 irregular migrants and refugees entered Europe via the Western Mediterranean route. With just over a week remaining before 2019 reaches its midpoint, total arrivals on this route are well under 10,000 (see charts below). 

IOM Spain also provided data on landing spots (see below): 

IOM Italy 

According to IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo, citing official Ministry of Interior figures, 2,252 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy in 2019.  As of 19 June, 3,137 migrants have been returned to Libya in 2019. 

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project. Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 32,171 individuals, including 1,214 in 2019. Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography (see chart below). 

This past week was marked by several tragedies in the Mediterranean, where Missing Migrants Project recorded the deaths of 34 people this week. In the Eastern Mediterranean, a boat sank on 17 June off the coast of Bodrum, Turkey. The Turkish Coast Guard rescued 31 survivors and recovered the bodies of 12 people from the boat, including two women, seven men and three children. The nationalities of only six people are known: among the deceased, there were four Syrian nationals (a mother and her three children) and two Somalis.   

In the Western Mediterranean, a boat capsized on 19 June in the Alborán Sea, between Spain and Morocco. A commercial vessel found the sinking boat 11 nautical miles north of Cape Tres Forcas, near Melilla, Spain, and rescued 27 survivors, who reported that 22 people had been lost at sea. The survivors include 24 men, two women and an 11-year-old girl. There is no information on the nationalities, sex or age of the deceased. Spanish rescue services coordinated the medical evacuation of 6 survivors in critical condition to the hospital in Almería, while the remaining 21 people were transferred to Motril, Granada.   

Additionally, the MMP team received data from the Pima County Office of the Medical Examiner regarding remains recovered in the Sonora desert, which covers large parts of this county located in south-central Arizona, USA. It is unclear how many people die crossing the US-Mexico border through the desert, as many bodies are never recovered. But in Pima County alone, officials have recovered the remains of 58 people since the start of 2019, including 15 just in the month of May. 

In total, at least 398 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 232 recorded through this point in 2018.  

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

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

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, June 21, 2019 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Director General of the IOM António Vitorino meets with the President of Colombia, Iván Duque

PBN News Germany - Wed, 06/19/2019 - 15:07

Geneva —The  challenges facing Colombia’s authorities and communities due to the massive flow of Venezuelan citizens arriving in that country were the principal themes addresed during talks today (19 June 2019) in Geneva, Switzerland, between the President of the Republic of Colombia, Sr. Iván Duque, and the Director of the International Organization for Migration, António Vitorino. 

Currently, the number of Venezuelan citizens is estimated at 1.3 million, according to official statistics. Additionally, there is a significant number of Venezuelan citizens transiting through Colombia towards third countries, who’s condition of vulnerability also remain high. 

Due to this situation, DG Vitorino noted his appreciation of the Government of Colombia, as well as the communities at large, for their Open Doors policies and for their gestures of solidarity towards Venezuela’s citizens. In this same way, IOM’s Director General recognizes thoseefforts  the Government of Colombia continues to make to promote the dignified and humane treatment of Venezuelans comprising these migration flows, especially those who are the most vulnerable. 

IOM, together with UNHCR, heads the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform, comprised of 95 entities—among them agencies of the United Nations and Civil Society—to assist more than 2.2 million refugees and migrants in the región. IOM reiterates its call to the international community, issued jointly this past 4 June with UNHCR, with the aim of supporting the efforts that those countries of the región are making to promote humanitarian assistance to the most needy as well as supporting their efforts towards economic integration in  their new communities of arrival.

For more informaction, please contact Alejandro Guidi, IOM Senior Regional Advisor for the Americas, Tel.: +41 22 717 9747. Email: 

Language English Posted: Wednesday, June 19, 2019 - 14:41Image: Region-Country: ColombiaVenezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)Themes: OthersDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM to Support UK to Resettle 5,000 Refugees in First Year of New Resettlement Scheme

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 13:35

London – At the start of Refugee Week (17-24 June), UK Home Secretary Sajid Javid confirmed plans for the UK government to resettle in the region 5,000 refugees in the first year of a new consolidated global scheme.     

“I welcome the UK’s commitment to resettle at its current levels beyond 2020 and with a broadened geographical scope beyond the Middle East and North Africa,” said IOM UK Chief of Mission Dipti Pardeshi.  

“Today, less than one per cent of refugees worldwide have been resettled and the need continues to be dire. Countries must do more under our shared humanitarian responsibilities to offer more legal pathways like resettlement, family reunification and community sponsorship.”  

IOM works closely with national and local governments, UNHCR and other partners to resettle refugees most in need of protection, including people requiring urgent medical treatment, survivors of violence and torture, and women and children at risk. 

Today’s announcement provides partners, local authorities and other stakeholders with further information about the UK’s plans beyond 2020 as the end date approaches to the initial scale-up which began in August 2015. 

“What did I feel when I was told my papers had been submitted to the UK? It was like newly being born. After such hardship, I saw hope,” said Khaled, a Syrian refugee who resettled to the United Kingdom in 2017. With his wife and two small children, Khaled is volunteering in his local community at a homeless shelter as he builds his language skills to be able to find work. 

As part of its work in the resettlement process, IOM facilitates pre-departure health assessments, cultural orientation and travel for refugees going to the UK. IOM also supports national and local governments to develop integration programmes to advance the socio-economic well-being and resiliency of refugees and UK society through a two-way inclusion process, promoting thriving, multicultural communities. 

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 19:33Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

As part of the resettlement process, IOM staff provide information about life in the UK to refugees before they travel.  Photo: IOM/Abby Dwommoh

As part of the resettlement process, IOM staff provide information about life in the UK to refugees before they travel.  Photo: IOM/Abby Dwommoh

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Global Leaders to Debate Migration, Forced Displacement, SDGs at “European Development Days”

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 13:32

Brussels – A high-level debate today (18/06) will bring together global leaders in the fields of migration, refugees, forced displacement and development to spotlight the complex relationship between mobility and inequalities at this year’s flagship European Union (EU) forum on development.  

The 2030 Agenda represents the first time that migration, mobility and global inequality are interlinked under the global development framework. While debate has often focused on the needs of the most vulnerable migrants, less discussed is the decisive role that migrants and forcibly displaced populations play in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially when it comes to their contribution to the host communities. 

Forward thinking on how to change this dynamic for the better will animate the panel debate “In Search of Equality: Migration, Forced Displacement and the SDGs” at the European Development Days (EDD) taking place in Brussels.  

On the panel, António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM) will join David Miliband, President and CEO of the International Rescue Committee (IRC); Kelly T. Clements, Deputy High Commissioner of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR); Stefano Manservisi, Director General of European Commission – DG for International Cooperation and Development (DEVCO); Saadatou Mallam Barmou, Deputy Head of Cabinet of the Office of the Prime Minister, Government of Niger; and EDD Youth Representative Judicaelle Irakoze, Executive Director of Choose Yourself. 

Discussion will be moderated by Marta Foresti, Principal Research Fellow and Director of the Overseas Development Institute’s (ODI) Human Mobility Initiative.   

Ahead of the event, IOM Director General António Vitorino noted that while migration and mobility have risen on the international policy agenda in recent years, much of the debate is drawn to the downsides of migration, rather than on the opportunities for development that it presents with the right policies and sound management.  

“By embracing this reality, we can open up the potential for migrants to be agents of change at local, national, and global levels. Safe, orderly and regular migration can be a powerful force to truly ensure that no one is left behind,” said DG Vitorino. 

David Miliband, IRC President and CEO emphasized the need to step up efforts to tackle the inequalities of opportunity and outcome faced by migrant and refugee women and girls in fragile states. 

“Women and girls in crisis are suffering a double disadvantage – because of where they live and because of their gender. It’s clear that the humanitarian sector needs to take more seriously the inequalities of power between men and women that drive unequal outcomes. The sector should try to create a double dividend – tackling the symptoms of disadvantage, as well as the power imbalances that generate them – by setting clear targets for women and girls in crisis as part of the Sustainable Development Goals and establishing a sector-wide Gender Equality Scorecard with shared metrics for success.” 

Kelly T. Clements, Deputy High Commissioner for the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) noted the critical role of development actors to include refugees as important contributors to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals in host countries. 

“Forced displacement remains one of the great challenges of our time. Fortunately, development actors, including EU partners, are increasing their engagement to support and include the displaced in critical programme interventions. This solidarity and generosity is in the best spirit of the Global Compact on Refugees and an important step for refugees to integrate into local economies and contribute to their full potential in host communities.” 

The event is organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the International Rescue Committee (IRC), and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC).   

For more information: 

The 2030 Agenda’s universal commitment to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration, the full respect for human rights and the humane treatment of migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons is reflected in SDG target 10.7, which emphasizes that good migration governance is indispensable in addressing inequalities. 

For more information on the High-Level Panel taking place today from 16:00 to 17:30 in Auditorium A3 at the Tour & Taxis convention centre in Brussels, please visit:  

For more information, please contact:  

Ryan Schroeder at IOM’s Regional Office for the EU in Brussels, Email:, Tel: +32 2 287 7116  

Joanna Nahorska at IRC Brussels, Email:, Mobile: +32 (0) 474 160 470  

Gabriela Romero Alvarez at the UNHCR Regional Representation for EU Affairs, Email:, Tel: +32 (0) 474 96 29 59 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 19:26Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsRefugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: Multimedia: 

Global leaders are debating the complex relationship between mobility and inequalities at the European Development Days in Brussels. Photo: IRC

Global leaders are debating the complex relationship between mobility and inequalities at the European Development Days in Brussels. Photo: IOM

Global leaders are debating the complex relationship between mobility and inequalities at the European Development Days in Brussels. Photo: EU

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Sustainable Reintegration of Migrant Returnees in Africa Tackled at “European Development Days”

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 13:23

Brussels – Return migration has been an important aspect of increasing human mobility in recent years, with more migrants returning to their countries of origin for a variety of reasons. Return is often followed by reintegration, a complex, multifaceted process of re-including migrants into their communities and society. With this has come a wider recognition of the importance of ensuring a holistic and coordinated response that creates the conditions for sustainable reintegration.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM), the European Union (EU) and partners will explore the issues faced by migrants returning to countries in Africa, the governments receiving them, and the communities within which they reintegrate at a brainstorming lab at the European Development Days in Brussels on 18 June.  

The EU-IOM organized session, “Towards the sustainable reintegration of migrant returnees in Africa” will invite debate on how return migration and reintegration of returnees in Africa can make a broader and more sustainable impact and contribute to the reduction of inequalities.  

Participants are set to discuss – from the perspectives of returnees, communities, and governments – how transforming reintegration support can ultimately enhance social cohesion, reduce inequalities and help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals.   

“While some migrants return to welcoming contexts and reintegrate in a smooth manner, many face challenges they cannot overcome on their own and need support in their reintegration,” said Guglielmo Schinina, IOM’s Head of Mental Health, Psychosocial Response and Intercultural Communication.   

“This support needs to address the interrelated psychological, social and economic aspects of readapting to the country of origin. At the same time, individualized assistance must be balanced with community-based initiatives because it is crucial that the community is impacted positively as well,” he added.   

IOM’s Schinina will join Christoph Pelzer, EU Trust Fund programme manager in the Delegation to Guinea, European Commission DG for International Cooperation and Development; Mienye Badejo, Deputy Director of Labour, Head NELEX/MRC (Lagos), Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment in Nigeria; and Tsion Zeleke, Child Protection and Migration Thematic Director, Save the Children Ethiopia.  

The Brainstorming Lab is being moderated by Hans Christian Stausboll, Head of Unit for Eastern Africa, Horn of Africa at the EU Directorate General for International Cooperation and Development.  

“As part of our comprehensive approach to return migration, the EU recognizes that return and reintegration policies are more effective when linked with the protection of migrant rights and development of opportunities in the country of origin, particularly those that address the drivers of irregular and forced migration,” said Stausboll.   

At the lab, groups will also exchange good practices, and review needs and challenges that returning migrants, communities and governments face in relation to mental health and psychosocial well-being, labour market access, education and culture. Crucially, they will consider the role of government actors and programmes such as the “EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration” to promote inclusive reintegration practices that respond to the priorities of individual returnees and their communities in an integrated and mutually beneficial way. 

IOM’s office in Nairobi is also running satellite events through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative to mark the EDD in Africa. An information session and photo exhibition highlighting some the programme’s interventions will take place at the UN complex in Gigiri. A second event will feature a staging, by a drama group from the Mathare informal settlement, of irregular migration as a consequence of inequality and a perceived lack of viable life options.   

For more information: 

Funded by the European Union and running from 2016–2020, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative on Migrant Protection and Reintegration covers 26 African countries in the Sahel and Lake Chad, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa. It is the first comprehensive programme to save lives, protect and assist migrants along key migration routes in Africa. As part of this approach, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative provides assistance to returning migrants to help them restart their lives in their countries of origin through an integrated approach to reintegration.  

European Development Days is the EU’s flagship development event, and this year marks its 12th edition. The annual forum has attracted 42,000 participants – including 7 Nobel Prize laureates and 100 world leaders – from over 154 countries, representing 4,500 organizations in the fields of development cooperation, human rights and humanitarian aid since 2006.  

For more information on the EU-IOM Brainstorming Lab taking place on Tuesday, 18 June 2019 from 13:30 to 14:45 in room B1 at the Tour & Taxis convention centre in Brussels, please visit:  

For more information please contact Ryan Schroeder at IOM’s Regional Office in Brussels, Email:, Tel: +32 2 287 7116 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 19:20Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: Disarmament, Demobilization and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM, the EU, and partners are discussing the sustainable reintegration of migrant returnees in Africa and inequalities at the European Development Days in Brussels. Photo: IOM

IOM, the EU, and partners are discussing the sustainable reintegration of migrant returnees in Africa and inequalities at the European Development Days in Brussels. Photo: IOM

IOM, the EU, and partners are discussing the sustainable reintegration of migrant returnees in Africa and inequalities at the European Development Days in Brussels. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Entertainment, Social Cohesion, Tailored Assistance for Migrant Children in Niger

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 13:19

Niamey – Marking the International Day of the African Child this past Sunday (16/06) in Niamey, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized an afternoon of dance, acrobatics, magic, theatre, storytelling and puppet shows for the migrants staying at IOM’s transit centres for unaccompanied migrant children and migrant women. 

To make the most out of their stay, children benefit from daily recreational activities at the centre, such as IT, language, sport, music or art classes. Regular visits to the local museum, cinema or swimming pool also are organized. 

“It made me feel great to be able to put my daily life aside for an afternoon; to forget about everything for a few hours,” said 16-year-old Seydou from Mali who attended Sunday’s festivity.  

Sunday’s festivity was part of the bigger international street art festival BIJINI-BIJINI – FITMO NIGER now at its 11th edition, supported by IOM through the project Strengthening the Assistance and Protection of Migrants and Refugees in Niger, funded by France’s Ministry of Europe and Foreign Affairs. The 12-month-long project aims to strengthen the assistance provided to migrants in the transit centres, including medical and psychosocial assistance.  

The functioning of IOM’s transit centre for unaccompanied migrant children (UMC) in Niamey is enabled by the regional programme “Safety, Support and Solutions in the Central Mediterranean Route” funded by the Department for International Development (DFID) of the Government of the United Kingdom, along with the European Union, in the frame of the Migrant Resource and Response Mechanism. “When we decide on the best solutions for unaccompanied children stranded in Niger, we always listen to their wishes,” said Nikolaas Swyngedouw, Protection Officer with IOM Niger. “It’s important for their voice to be heard during this process.” 

Based on the child’s wishes, the IOM protection team organizes the liaison with the judge for minors, protection actors and colleagues in the country of origin in order to conduct the family tracing process, seek approval from the parents and organize the return. To ensure a safe and sustainable return, unaccompanied children tend to stay at the centre for a longer time than adults or families.  

While they wait for their voluntary return to their country of origin under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, UMCs receive tailored assistance at the centre: Psychologists and protection officers organize group discussions and one-on-one counseling sessions in order for the children to overcome the trauma and challenges they may have faced during their migratory experience.  

The festival will take place between 21-24 June in Niamey and will bring together artists from Benin, Togo, Guinea-Conakry and Spain. The festival wants to encourage a local exchange on a socio-cultural level, but also on an economic and commercial one by creating opportunities for local artists. 

Many of the artistic performances scheduled during the festival will take place in disadvantaged neighbourhoods of Niamey where West African migrants tend to stay as they wait to gather enough funds to continue their journey up north. IOM’s community mobilizers will participate in the activities by sharing messages on irregular migration and its alternatives. 

Certain areas in Niger remain very marginalized in terms of access to culture, especially the rural parts of the country. Street arts have the potential to turn public spaces into places of social exchange, and to highlight remote corners of the country that previously went underserved. As a free form of artistic and cultural expression, street arts open the door to culture for everyone, regardless of age, sex, level of education or social background.

In January 2018, IOM opened its first transit centre dedicated to the UMCs’ needs. Situated in Niamey, the centre is co-managed by the Ministry of Women Promotion and Child Protection in Niger, together with IOM.  

In 2018 alone, IOM’s six transit centres for migrants in Niger assisted 1,473 accompanied migrant children, along with 346 UMCs. Most of the UMCs assisted in Niger came from Guinea-Conakry (57%); others came from Mali (10%) and Côte d’Ivoire (8%). Three per cent of UMCs were female. 

There were 75 victims of trafficking among the UMCs assisted in 2018, while others experienced gender-based violence, sexual exploitation and abuse. Adding to the trauma experienced and the child’s personal sense of failure, are factors like the loss of family support and reluctance to be accepted into the community upon return. Some minors have no family ties back home which lengthens and complicates the child’s voluntary return process. 

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 19:14Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM’s mission in Niger assisted more than 1,800 children last year at its six transit centres in Niger. Photo: IOM/Monica Chiriac 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Alone in Libya : Children Returning to Burkina Faso Assisted by IOM

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/18/2019 - 13:13

Tenkodogo – Since the 2017 launch of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, IOM Burkina Faso has assisted with the voluntary return of 60 migrant children under 18 years of age from among 1,681 Burkinabe returnees, the clear majority of whom returned from Libya.  

The effort is funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. 

Social Action, with the technical and financial support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and in collaboration with other actors involved in child protection, provided them with medical, psychosocial and educational support as well as counselling and vocational training for older children.  

“When I was 13, my brother persuaded us to go to Niger, then Libya. We crossed the Sahara; we were thirsty, very hot but also very cold in the evening. Many died of hunger and thirst on the way,” explained 17-year-old Catherine, who recently returned from Libya. “We stayed there for four years. I was working as a cleaner for 20 dinars (USD 14) a month. Now I’m back and IOM is supporting me for a tailor training. I want to become a famous tailor!”  

Tenkodogo is one of the largest cities in the Central-Eastern region of Burkina Faso, the region with the highest migration rate in the country, with 60 per cent of outbound migration. 

To mark the International Day of the African Child, IOM organized events and activities on 16 June, bringing together 300 host community children and those of returned migrants. Performances including dance, songs, poetry about migration as well as graffiti took place throughout the day.  

“An activity such as this one promotes exchange, sharing of experiences and social cohesion. This day reminds us that children need a healthy and safe environment, with their parents by their side,” said Marie-Thérèse Sombougma, Regional Director of Social Action. 

Djémilatou, 16 years old, lives in Tenkodogo and he was moved by Catherine’s story. “I did not know it was like that. I am sad when I hear what they have been through. To all parents who have left, I encourage them to return home. Their children are unhappy without them and need them… for food, clothing, health, for everything!” 

Madina’s brother left for Benin three years ago. “He sometimes calls us and says that everything is fine, that we should not worry about him. But when I hear these stories, I realize what my brother has been through and I am sad. In any case, I do not want to leave, I want to stay in my country.” 

“Our country is Burkina Faso; what we think we can have elsewhere, it is here that we can find it. I think about my children; I do not want them to go through what I did, I want them to be happy here. We do the best with IOM’s assistance. We are able to pay for school and cares,” says Boukary, a young Burkinabe.  

“We often identify unaccompanied children. Depending on their age, we either send them to school or training, and if they are underage, we find other activities for them,” explained Niampa Safiatou, IOM Reintegration Assistant.  

“Children are also a priority for food and health support. For migrants returning to their families, we consult with parents to decide what they want for their children. IOM also provides psychosocial support. We discuss with them what they have experienced, if they feel the need to share it. We also call on specialists, from the Red Cross or hospitals, when the traumas are too serious,” she adds.  

IOM coordinates with its partners which provide assistance to minors, including Social Action, UNICEF, Keeogo, Terre des Hommes, Save The Children and its implementing partners. This network covers a wide range of services that migrant children may need, especially when they are separated or unaccompanied and in situations that require specific assistance such as family mediation. 

IOM works closely with the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in the field of assistance to refugee, asylum-seeking and/or stateless children, as well as with other organizations such as the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) for family tracing and the Burkinabe Red Cross in the health sector.  

These activities took place as part of the #FasoNooma campaign to raise awareness among Burkinabe migrants and non-migrants about the risks of and alternatives to irregular migration, with an emphasis on local opportunities. Funded by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrants Protection and Reintegration, the Italian and Belgian governments through the project “Youth, Employment and Migration in the Central East Region”, and the United Kingdom Department for International Development through the project “Security, Support, and Solution Programme along the Road to the Central Mediterranean”, the campaign has already reached 9,062 people through an awareness caravan in several regions of Burkina Faso. A Maracaña tournament will also be held in July in the Central East and Central regions. The campaign will run until December 2019.  

For more information, please contact IOM Burkina Faso, Andreas de Boer, Email: or Marie-Stella Ndiaye, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 18, 2019 - 19:10Image: Region-Country: Burkina FasoThemes: EUTFIOMDefault: Multimedia: 

A child paints a wall on International Day of the African child in Tenkodogo. Photo: IOM/Alexander Bee

A crowd of children during a show in Tenkodogo to mark International Day of the African child. Photo: IOM/Alexander Bee

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN