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Priorities for Future Cooperation on Migration Discussed at EU, IOM Strategic Meeting

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 08:32

Brussels – Senior officials from the European Union (EU) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) are meeting in Brussels today (04/06) to advance the strategic partnership between the two organizations on key aspects of European and global migration. 

Commissioner for Migration, Home Affairs and Citizenship, Dimitris Avramopoulos, said: “Migration is a global phenomenon that requires a comprehensive response and global synergies. No single country or organization can address this challenge alone. Our cooperation with the International Organization for Migration is a key element in our comprehensive approach to managing migration operationally and in all aspects, and I am glad to have today the opportunity to strengthen ties with such a trusted and long-standing partner.” 

IOM Director General António Vitorino is participating for the first time in the EU-IOM Senior Officials Meeting since his appointment to the helm of the Organization last year. He welcomed the continued strategic dialogue between IOM and the EU at a time when ever deeper cooperation is needed to address the growing migration challenges and the opportunities it offers: “The relationship between IOM and the European Union rests on long-standing dialogue and cooperation around the world, and we have seen this partnership bear fruit across the migration spectrum. Global events impacting migration flows concern us all.”  

DG Vitorino added, “It is in our collective interest to strengthen the collaborative structures we have already built – for example, through the African Union–European Union–United Nations Joint Task Force on Migrant Protection in Libya, and the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration – and forge ahead with a more durable and strategic management of migration in all its dimensions.” 

The EU and IOM regularly exchange on strategic and operational approaches to addressing global migration and forced displacement challenges, with discussions focusing today on the state of play of migration at the global level, the way forward on cooperation on protection in mixed migration contexts, and cooperation on return and sustainable reintegration.  

The EU and its Member States are among the largest contributors to IOM’s budget. Between 2015 and 2018, the European Commission contracted IOM for about 420 projects worldwide with an approximate value of EUR 1.3 billion. The EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa has been one of the most significant and innovative EU instruments in this regard.  

Today’s meeting is part of a regular high-level dialogue between the EU and IOM aimed at supporting exchange and closer cooperation between the two partners. The EU and IOM established in July 2012 a strategic framework for cooperation to enhance collaboration on migration, development, humanitarian response and human rights issues, building on both partners’ shared interest in bringing the benefits of well-managed international migration to migrants and society.  

This year’s meeting – the sixth of its kind since the launch of the EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework – is hosted on behalf of the European Commission by Director-General for Migration and Home Affairs, Paraskevi Michou. Director General António Vitorino and Deputy Director General Laura Thompson are participating on behalf of the IOM.  

Other senior representatives of the European Commission include Monique Pariat, Director-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations; Stefano Manservisi, Director General for International Cooperation and Development; Maciej Popowski, Deputy Director General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations; and Lotte Knudsen, Managing Director for Human Rights, Global and Multilateral Issues of the European External Action Service.

For more information please contact Ryan Schroeder at the IOM Regional Office in Brussels, Tel: +32 2 287 7116, Email: rschroeder@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 14:31Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Psychosocial Reintegration of Gambian Returnees Strengthened through Mobile Health Caravans

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 08:31

Brikama – In an effort to strengthen the psychosocial reintegration of returnees and promote universal access to healthcare in their communities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has launched a mobile health caravan initiative in The Gambia. 

IOM staff, community health volunteers and doctors provide free medical consultations, psychosocial support and complimentary medicine to over 200 community members through the mobile health caravan. Simultaneously, health education sessions on HIV, tuberculosis, depression and other mental health-related disorders are conducted daily. 

“Promoting universal access to healthcare in communities of high return creates an enabling environment for returnees to become fully functioning members of society,” explained Dr. Simeonette De Asis, IOM’s Migration Health Officer in The Gambia. “Through health education, we can combat negative perceptions about returnees and facilitate social cohesion, as well as address public health issues.”  

Launched in Farafenni (North Bank Region) and Brikama (West Coast Region), the initiative was designed to address the medical and psychosocial concerns of returnees who often return from difficult and traumatic experiences, and their communities, who are equally impacted by the departure or loss of lives of their families and friends. 

Returnees identified with medical or psychosocial needs are followed up by IOM staff and referred to relevant health authorities.  

“When we come back, many people see us as failures. It can make us feel unwelcome in our families and communities,” remarked Muhammed, a returnee from Libya. 

This initiative came as a result of an analysis of conflict drivers in The Gambia conducted by the United Nations Peacebuilding Support Office, in which the stigma and negative perceptions faced by returnees were identified. 

The caravans were designed to include communities in the reintegration process.  

The first two caravans are the beginning of a series of 10 planned events, which will all take place in communities with the highest number of returnees. Prior to each caravan, health volunteers in the community are trained on the provision of psychological first aid and basic counselling skills. 

Since the launch of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in 2017, close to 4,000 Gambian returnees received post-arrival reception and reintegration assistance.  

This Mobile Health Caravans initiative forms part of Strengthening the Sustainable and Holistic Reintegration of Returnees, a project funded by the UN Peacebuilding Fund and implemented in collaboration with the International Trade Centre, the UN Population Fund, and the World Health Organization. 

For more information, please contact Miko Alazas, at IOM The Gambia; Tel: +220 330 3168, Email: aalazas@iom.int or visit www.migrationjointinitiative.org  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 14:30Image: Region-Country: GambiaThemes: Disarmament, Demobilization and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Doctors from the local health centre in Brikama provided medical consultations to migrant returnees in May 2019. Photo: IOM/Miko Alazas

Doctors from the local health centre in Brikama provided medical consultations to migrant returnees in May 2019. Photo: IOM/Miko Alazas

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Brazil, IOM, UNHCR Partner to Support Resettlement of Refugees from Central America

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 08:30

Brasilia – On 30 May, a group of 11 refugees from El Salvador and Honduras arrived in Brazil as part of the first movement under the Government of Brazil’s State-Funded Resettlement Programme. The programme is supported by the Emerging Resettlement Countries Joint Support Mechanism (ERCM), which is implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).  

With the arrival of these three families, Brazil has shown its full support to the countries of the North of Central America to address the forced displacement crisis in the region, and to share the responsibility with other countries in line with the Global Compact on Refugees.   

The three families were welcomed by representatives from the National Committee for Refugees (CONARE, in Portuguese) of the Government of Brazil, IOM and UNHCR, as well as members of Associação Antonio Vieira (ASAV), the civil society organization selected by the Ministry of Justice to Implement the Resettlement Programme. The refugees will soon settle in Rio Grande do Sul. 

“Refugee resettlement is a very important strategy and represents responsibility-sharing among sovereign states, which offer in their territory, protection for the individuals who cannot find safeguards in their country of origin or habitual residence,” said CONARE coordinator Bernardo Laferté.  

He commended Brazilian people, saying they had shown on several occasions to be prepared to resettle refugees and to integrate them into their society. “One of the greatest strengths of this programme is Brazilian society’s capacity to welcome refugees so they can truly feel at home,” said Laferté.  

Since 2017, under ERCM – a mechanism created following the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants 2016 with the goal of providing financial and technical support to emerging countries interested in establishing or strengthening their resettlement programmes – IOM and UNHCR have been providing  support to the Government of Brazil, in policy and programme design, identification, referral and selection of cases, pre-departure preparation procedures, medicals checks, travel assistance and reception and integration activities. 

Resettlement under UNHCR auspices is an invaluable protection tool to meet the specific needs of refugees under the Office’s mandate whose life, liberty, safety, health or fundamental human rights are at risk in the country where they sought refuge. Besides identifying refugees in need of resettlement and referring them to host nations as part of its mandate, UNHCR supports countries with programme and policy design, as well as provides technical support in relation to reception and local integration. Resettlement and other complementary paths are one of the key objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees. 

In coordination with the Government of Brazil, IOM has developed health protocols and conducted medical assessments to identify and address pre-existing health conditions and ensure that refugees travel safely. IOM was also responsible for conducting a tailored three-day pre-departure cultural orientation to help refugees to develop the knowledge and skills that will facilitate integration. They have also learned about their rights as refugees, host society’s culture, education, health care, labour market and other areas. IOM also provided documentation and travel assistance during the movement. 

“The most important about this programme is that it is a comprehensive programme, including human, economic and emotional aspects,” said a beneficiary. 

In addition to States and international organizations, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) can also play a key role throughout the identification, pre-departure, and the post resettlement integration processes.  

ASAV, with the support of the Government of Brazil, will provide the beneficiaries with assistance for one year, including accommodation, legal and psychosocial assistance, guidance for accessing public services and policies and facilitating activities for inclusion in the labour market. 

For more information, please contact Erica Kaefer at IOM Brazil, Email: ekaefer@iom.int, or Alan Azevedo, at UNHCR Brazil, Email: azevedo@unhcr.org  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 14:28Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Staff from IOM and UNHCR greeting the first group of 11 refugees from El Salvador and Honduras who arrived in Brazil on 30 May.

Staff from IOM and UNHCR greeting the first group of 11 refugees from El Salvador and Honduras who arrived in Brazil on 30 May.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Solar Lamp Posts to Improve Safety, Social Cohesion in Kawar Region of Niger

PBN News Germany - Tue, 06/04/2019 - 08:28

Dirkou – At the request of local authorities and community members, IOM last month installed 55 solar lamp posts in the Bilma department, region of Kawar in Niger, through its project Community Stabilization Initiatives in Northern Niger (COSINN), financed by the German Federal Foreign Office. 

Mamadou, 25, a shopkeeper in Dirkou, used to close his business early in the evening out of fear of getting attacked. One of the lamp posts in Dirkou is now proudly displayed in front of his shop. “I am grateful I can now extend my working hours in safety,” said Mamadou. 

The project COSINN is implemented in northern Niger in the Aïr and Kawar regions (Arlit, Agadez, Dirkou, Djado, Fachi and Bilma), where the volatile security situation is closely linked to current events in Algeria and southern Libya, where conflict is persisting. 

The project aims to contribute to the stabilization of the communities in northern Niger and to prevent a regional crisis, by seeking to enhance the communities’ support of and their engagement with the authorities.  

Seeing the unreliable electricity system, the high prices for fuel and lack of generators in the region, solar energy has proved to be a far better, cheaper, and above all, renewable alternative in the Kawar. 

Four communes in the region of Kawar have received solar lamps posts so far; these are Dirkou (23), Bilma (12), Djado (10) and Fachi (10).  

During the reception ceremony on 14 May in Dirkou, the mayor of Dirkou, Attoumani Ibrahim, emphasized the need for such lamp posts in this region.  

“Seeing the high temperatures in the Kawar, most people tend to rely on night time to set in to start working,” Attoumani said. 

After completing the consolidation works at the health centre in Dirkou, three lamp posts were installed around the clinic in order to improve the well-being of both patients and nurses.  

“There is light everywhere now which makes our patients feel much safer,” says Ababoucar, nurse at the health centre. “There is a high death risk caused by scorpions in this area, so this light helps protect us from getting bitten.” 

Twenty-three solar lamp posts have been installed around the local market in Dirkou where most inhabitants have their shops, allowing people to work late into the night. These designated lit-up social spaces now lure residents into social gatherings, and students into finishing their homework. 

This new infrastructure also encourages women to be autonomous and go to work after putting their children to sleep and returning home safely late at night. 

Community stabilization activities in Niger focus on spurring economic development through the implementation of activities such as cash-for-work, youth employment, use of local resources, agricultural projects and the creation of cooperatives, with a gender approach in mind. 

By creating a space and opportunity for exchange, community stabilization activities also look to strengthen community dialogue, and trust between communities and authorities.  

In order to create a sustainable model, the community together with the authorities propose a Monitoring Committee to choose and manage the activities in each zone of intervention while letting the community’s needs be heard. 

As means to facilitate social cohesion and community engagement, different awareness-raising activities are organized, such as radio debates, participatory theatre or sports tournaments. 

Since its launch in May 2018, the COSINN project has developed 35 infrastructures and implemented 129 activities for close to 289,000 beneficiaries. 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 4, 2019 - 14:26Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

Twenty-three solar lamp posts have been installed around the local market in Dirkou, Niger. Photo: IOM/Elhadji Aboubacar Ahmed

Twenty-three solar lamp posts have been installed around the local market in Dirkou, Niger. Photo: IOM/Elhadji Aboubacar Ahmed

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

China, UN Migration Sign Cooperation Pact on Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Response

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:37

Beijing – China’s Ministry of Emergency Management and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations’ migration agency, yesterday (30/5) signed a Memorandum of Cooperation (MoC) to promote collaboration and mutual assistance on disaster risk reduction and emergency response worldwide. 

The MoC was signed in Beijing by Ministry of Emergency Management Vice Minister Shang Yong and IOM Director General António Vitorino on the occasion of his first official visit to China.  

The document will foster an exchange of knowledge and expertise between IOM and the Ministry. This will include the sharing of relevant standards and guidelines for emergency response operations and coordination, as well as exchanges of experience in helping disaster-affected populations.  

Under the MoC, IOM will also support the Ministry in promoting the establishment of a Belt and Road International Cooperation Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction and Emergency Management.  

This is a first step towards cooperation and trilateral collaboration to improve the disaster risk reduction and emergency management capacities of countries participating in the Belt and Road Initiative.  

Vice Minister Shang Yong noted that: “The signing of this Memorandum of Cooperation marks a new starting point in our cooperation. I warmly invite IOM Director General to attend the Belt and Road Ministerial Conference on Natural Disaster and Emergency Management in 2020 in China.”  

IOM Director General António Vitorino said: “IOM welcomes the opportunity to engage in this important and timely initiative with China. This document ushers in a new era of cooperation between IOM and China at a time when more people than ever before are being displaced by natural disasters and environmental change.”  

The Ministry of Emergency Management was established in 2018 as part of China’s institutional reforms and took on responsibilities and functions previously assigned to various other ministerial departments.   

IOM, which became a related agency of the United Nations in 2016, has extensive global experience and expertise in assisting governments and affected populations to prepare for and respond to natural disasters, and in building resilience. 

For more information please contact Giuseppe Crocetti at IOM China, Email: gcrocetti@iom.int,  Tel: +86 (10) 59799695. 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 - 16:36Image: Region-Country: ChinaThemes: Disaster Risk ReductionDefault: Multimedia: 

Director General António Vitorino and Vice Minister Shang Yong exchange signed copies of a Memorandum of Cooperation on disaster risk reduction and emergency response. Photo: IOM/Gao Xue

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Rohingya Refugee Camps Turn to LPG, Reforestation to Save Depleted Bangladesh Forests

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:36

Cox’s Bazar – Khair Hussein remembers when cooking a meal meant a back-breaking trek up a dirt slope to collect firewood from the nearby bush. He isn’t sure which was worse – the sweltering heat of the dry season, or the thick mud of the rainy season that made many paths impassable. As time went on, the bush receded and price of firewood from vendors doubled.  

In mid-2017 violence across the border in Myanmar drove nearly a million Rohingya onto the previously uninhabited hillsides of Cox’s Bazar. Families desperate for fuel to cook the rations they received from aid agencies scoured the area looking for firewood. The result, according to IOM, was the deforestation of some 7,000 hectares. 

With the monsoon and cyclone season fast approaching, the implications of a treeless landscape in and around the camps are stark. Soil erosion is a growing problem and there is an ever-present risk of deadly landslides triggered by heavy rains.  

In 2018 the humanitarian community in Cox’s Bazar stepped in to address the problem, launching programmes to reduce the need firewood and to replant trees in and around the refugee camps.   

IOM, in collaboration with the Food and Agricultural Organisation (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP), launched “Safe Plus” – a project to provide the refugees and local communities with Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) stoves and fuel, while rehabilitating deforested areas.  

Under the scheme, refugees and local villagers are given LPG stoves, fuel tanks and access to re-fills. Some 45,000 LPG stoves have already been distributed, with a target of 80,000 by June.  

Patrick Charignon, who heads the IOM unit which oversees Safe Plus, says that the project has been very successful, but its three-year work plan remains less than 30 percent funded. He also highlights the importance of the parallel effort, in partnership with FAO, to replant trees in and around the camp. “The initiative works because it addresses both the demand for firewood and the rehabilitation of the area’s forests,” he said. 

Replanting is essential to combat dangerous soil erosion triggered by the heavy monsoon rains. Vetiver and Broom grass and indigenous trees can protect slopes by holding soil intact. Other plants and trees can also be used for medicines, according to IOM programme officer Saiful Fuad.  

“The project has worked with local authorities to determine the best plants and trees for the area. One is the Neem tree, which gives the famous scented oil used in South Asian medicine. We also plan to plant teak. Bangladesh has some of the world’s highest quality teak wood,” he said.  

But he admits that some trees and plants simply don’t work in Cox’s Bazar’s unique eco-system. “Eucalyptus, which is common in many tropical areas with poor soils, has roots that are too weak to withstand the wind. The birds won’t nest in eucalyptus,” he added. 

The LPG programme has been universally welcomed by the refugees and local communities, who say it reduces their spending on firewood and means cleaner air in their homes and in the camp. It also reduces the risk of violence for women forced to walk further from the camp to collect increasingly scarce firewood.      

“Wood has also become more and more expensive and so LPG is now one of our top priorities,” said Khair, who fled his village of Thin Baw Kwey in Myanmar with his family of six in 2017. 

For more information please contact George McLeod at IOM Bangladesh, Tel: + +880 18 7071 8078, Email: gmcleod@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

LPG is reducing demand for firewood in Bangladesh’s Rohingya refugee camps. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Women4Dev Academy: African Diaspora Women’s Groups Empowered in Belgium

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:34

Brussels – The number of international migrants grew to 258 million in 2017. Forty-eight per cent of these are women. This global trend has marked the ‘feminization of migration’, which speaks to a higher proportion of women in the migrant workforce, their motivations to migrate, and the role they play in global developments and economies.  

Strategies for development at the European Union level increasingly call for new partnerships that go beyond the links with traditional stakeholders. These new partnerships – such as with Diasporas – are key to the promotion of inclusive dialogue and the implementation of the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).   

To respond to these trends, the IOM launched its Women4Dev Academy as a short-term pilot project in December 2017 to empower African diaspora women’s associations in Belgium by strengthening their role and capacities as effective actors in the development of their countries of origin. 

The project has allowed 11 African diaspora women’s associations to engage more efficiently in projects through a tailored capacity-building programme. The training was composed of three modules on project management, communication and visibility, and fundraising.  

All the trainings took place in MolenGeek, a co-working space in Molenbeek fostering entrepreneurship in a spirit of cultural diversity, gender and sharing competencies. 

“Because we have lived in both Africa and in Belgium or in Europe, we are the right people to contribute to the development of Africa, especially being women,” said one of the training participants, Oliva Butoyi, manager of the non-profit association NetEve. 

The associations were supported by junior coaches – a soon to be or recent graduate in development cooperation and/or communication studies – to create a unique exchange of experiences between generations. 

“Nobody can deny the crucial role that diasporas play in the development of their countries of origin, or the recognized role of women, their families and communities in development,” said Luc Ameye, one of the trainers. 

“IOM’s decision to implement such project has its own significance. It has been an enriching experience and encounter between generations, French and English African communities, between nationals from the Great Lakes, but also from Cameroon, Guinea-Conakry, Mali, Tanzania and Zambia,” he continued. 

Geertrui Lanneau, IOM’s Senior Regional Labour Mobility and Human Development Specialist in Brussels, praised the accomplishments of the initiative and its implications for the future.  

“The project undoubtedly achieved its core aim to empower the participating Diaspora associations,” she said. “It helped to improve their ability to engage with projects benefiting the development of their country of origin, while also increasing their visibility as potential partners for development down the road.” 

The Women4Dev Academy project, implemented by IOM with funding from the Belgian Development Cooperation, is closing today (31/05). A festive cultural and media event was held on 24 May where all 11 associations were given the opportunity to network with potential donors.  

The event brought together about 130 participants representing various diaspora organizations, cities and municipalities, non-profit organizations, the private sector, and the media.   

Created in the spirit of the IOM’s “3E” (Enable, Engage and Empower) Strategy for Diaspora, the initiative has supported the SDGs and takes a gender-specific approach to African diaspora. The international community has officially recognised “the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development” with the adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and its SDGs.  

Have a look at the training modules video here

Click here to find out more details on the Women4Dev Academy initiative.

For further information, please contact Géraldine d’Hoop at IOM Belgium and Luxembourg, Tel: +32 2 287 74 12, Email: gdhoop@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 - 16:31Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: Gender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Participants at the closing event of the Women4Dev Academy project. Photos: IOM

Participants at the closing event of the Women4Dev Academy project. Photos: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Sierra Leone: Diaspora Health Professionals Offer Free Medical Services in Rural Communities

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:31

Moyamba – In 2017, IOM launched the project “Strengthening Sierra Leonean National Health Care Capacity through Diaspora Engagement” under its Migration and Development for Africa (MIDA) programme. Through the project, a partnership was created with the Afro-European Medical and Research Network (AEMRN), a network of diaspora Sierra Leonean healthcare professionals, to provide free healthcare services in rural communities. 

Some 1,300 people benefited this month from free surgeries, medical examinations, dental extractions and other medical services delivered by the healthcare professionals during a two-week medical mission in the Moyamba District, in Southern Sierra Leone.  

Access to effective health care services is a major problem in many rural districts across Sierra Leone, where villagers often must travel long distances to access life-saving medical services. This situation is in large part due to the shortfall in health workers in the country. According to the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health, in 2017, less than 350 Sierra Leonean doctors were registered with the Medical and Dental Council of Sierra Leone.  

Although the project ended in March 2019, the members of the AEMRN expressed their willingness to continue to voluntarily share their skills and expertise beyond the project timeframe. To this effect, a Mobile Health Clinics (MHC) campaign was rolled out between 4 and 17 May 2019 in partnership with the Sierra Leonean Ministry of Health and nine health professionals from the AEMRN. 

“We are happy to come back to serve our peers, especially those in remote areas. We want to achieve the Universal Health Coverage, thereby leaving no one behind. Therefore, we will continue to organize such medical missions to reach out to more people especially those in rural areas who cannot afford to pay for health care services,” said Dr Charles Senessie, a medical professional based in Switzerland and founder of AEMRN who participated in the campaign. 

“We welcome the efforts of these skilled Sierra Leoneans who are willing to lend their skills to better the lives of their peers. This is also a way to give back and transfer knowledge and skills to local health care staff,” said Alhaji Sanusi Tejan Savage, Head of the IOM Office in Sierra Leone. 

During the mission, doctors from local health clinics, including house officers, worked closely with the diaspora medics. Gregory Bajaalah, Medical Superintendent of Moyamba District, was one those who participated effectively. For him, “the mission was necessary for the district, as local medical staff had the opportunity to learn from experienced medical experts.”  

The medical mission was conducted with support from IOM, the Sierra Leone Ministry of Health and Sanitation, Serve United, Afro-European Medical and Research Network, the Embassy and Permanent Mission of Sierra Leone to the United Nations in Geneva and the Sierra Leone Dental and Medical Association.  

For more information, please contact Alhaji Sanusi Tejan Savage at IOM Sierra Leone, Email: ssavage@iom.int or visit www.rodakar.iom.int    

Language English Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 - 16:29Image: Region-Country: Sierra LeoneThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

Sierra Leonean doctors conduct free health checks in the Moyamba District, Sierra Leone. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Venezuelans Receive Free Legal Advice, Medical Attention in the Dominican Republic

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:28

Santo Domingo – At the Social Integration Fair held at the facilities of the Autonomous University of Santo Domingo – the first of its kind – 550 Venezuelan refugees and migrants recently arrived in the Dominican Republic received access to medical services and legal advice on migration issues.  The cost to them: nothing. 

The event was organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) together with the Colonia Foundation of Venezuelans in the Dominican Republic (FUNCOVERD) and funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). 

During the one-day fair, Venezuelans were offered access to services in pediatrics, gynecology, dentistry and ophthalmology through the Health Unit of the Dominican Ministry of Defense, the Robert Reid Hospital, the Pastoral Care of Health. A total of 31 volunteer doctors and specialists also lent their expertise, while IOM provided legal advice and guidance on migration issues.  

“I thank everyone, on behalf of the entire Venezuelan migrant population, for joining us in this fair, which is an open door in the Dominican Republic to advance on issues of cohesion and human rights,” said Miguel Otaiza, president of FUNCONVERD, adding: "The foundation continues making efforts towards building a better future. Thanks, too, for the continual support of the Dominican State and its people."  

Many of the new arrivals from Venezuela were looking to resolve doubts over regularization mechanisms available to them. Access to housing in the country was also a concern, as were questions about starting a business, how to make tax payments and other issues. 

"The important thing is that this small example shows how the Venezuelan population is being integrated into Dominican society and is looking for mechanisms to solve their main needs, one of which is access to health services," explained Jorge Baca Vaughan, IOM’s Chief of Mission in the Dominican Republic. 

As of April 2019, IOM estimates approximately 3.7 million people have left Venezuela. According to data from immigration authorities and other sources, Latin American and Caribbean countries have received around 3 million Venezuelans, of which 28,500 are currently living in these neighbouring countries.  

The event was held within the framework of the Regional Refugee Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) with the participation of the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), the Dominican Institute for Integral Development, the Attorney General's Office of the Republic, the General Directorate of Taxes, the Ministry of Women, the Ombudsman's Office, the National Institute of Migration and the Bar Association. 

For more information please contact Zinnia Martínez at IOM Dominican Republic, Tel: +1 809 688 8174, Email: zmartinez@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 - 16:27Image: Region-Country: Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)Themes: Migrant AssistanceDefault: Multimedia: 

550 Venezuelan refugee and migrant recently arrived at the Dominican Republic was offered free access to medical services, legal advice and guidance on migration issues. Photo: IOM / Zinnia Martínez

550 Venezuelan refugee and migrant recently arrived at the Dominican Republic was offered free access to medical services, legal advice and guidance on migration issues. Photo: IOM / Zinnia Martínez

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Brazil, IOM, UNHCR Partner to Support Resettlement of Refugees from Central America

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:26

Brasilia – On May 30, a group of 11 refugees from El Salvador and Honduras arrived in Brazil as part of the first movement under the Government of Brazil's state-funded resettlement programme. The programme is supported by the Emerging Resettlement Countries Joint Support Mechanism (ERCM), which is implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).   

The group, comprising three families, was welcomed at the Salgado Filho Airport in the city of Porto Alegre by representatives from the National Committee for Refugees (CONARE, in Portuguese) of the Government of Brazil, IOM and UNHCR, as well as members of Associação Antonio Vieira (ASAV), the civil society organization selected by the Ministry of Justice to implement the resettlement programme. The refugees will soon settle in Rio Grande do Sul. 

“Refugee resettlement is a very important strategy and represents responsibility-sharing among sovereign states, which offer in their territory, protection for the individuals who cannot find safeguards in their country of origin or habitual residence,” said the National Committee for Refugees’ (CONARE) coordinator, Bernardo Laferté.   

He commended Brazilian people saying they had shown on several occasions to be prepared to resettle refugees and to integrate them into their society. “One of the greatest strengths of this programme is Brazilian society’s capacity to welcome refugees so they can truly feel at home,” said Laferté.   

Since 2017, under ERCM – a mechanism created following the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants 2016 with the goal of providing financial and technical support to emerging countries interested in establishing or strengthening their resettlement programmes – IOM and UNHCR have been providing support to the Government of Brazil, in policy and programme design, identification, referral and selection of cases, pre-departure preparation procedures, medical checks, travel assistance and reception and integration activities.  

Resettlement under UNHCR auspices is an invaluable protection tool to meet the specific needs of refugees under the Office’s mandate whose life, liberty, safety, health or fundamental human rights are at risk in the country where they sought refuge. Besides identifying refugees in need of resettlement and referring them to host nations as part of its mandate, UNHCR supports countries with programme and policy design, as well as provides technical support in relation to reception and local integration. Resettlement and other complementary paths are one of the key objectives of the Global Compact on Refugees.  

In coordination with the Government of Brazil, IOM has developed health protocols and conducted medical assessments to identify and address pre-existing health conditions and ensure that refugees travel safely. IOM was also responsible for conducting a tailored three-day pre-departure cultural orientation to help refugees to develop the knowledge and skills that will facilitate integration. They have also learned about their rights as refugees, the host society’s culture, education, healthcare, labour market and other areas. IOM also provided documentation and travel assistance during the movement. 

“The most important about this programme is that it is a comprehensive programme, including human, economic and emotional aspects,” said a beneficiary.  

In addition to States and international organizations, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) can also play a key role throughout the identification, pre-departure, and the post resettlement integration processes.   

ASAV, with support of the Government of Brazil, will provide the beneficiaries with assistance for one year, including accommodation, legal and psycho-social assistance, guidance for accessing public services and policies and facilitating activities for inclusion in the labour market. 

For more information, please contact Erica Kaefer, at IOM Brazil, E-mail: ekaefer@iom.int, or Alan Azevedo, at UNHCR Brazil, E-mail azevedo@unhcr.org  

Language English Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 - 16:23Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesResettlementDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

To Integrate Migrant Returnees, IOM Enlists Support from Implementing Partners in Ethiopia

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:22

Addis Ababa – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is partnering with nine local NGOs in Ethiopia to facilitate the reintegration of migrant returnees in four of the country’s nine regional states.  

Ethiopia, with a population of over 100 million, is a major migrant-sending country in the Horn of Africa.  

The partnerships in Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR) are being established under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa (the EU-IOM Joint Initiative). 

The programme facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused procedures and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. It is backed by the EU Trust Fund, covers and has been set up in close cooperation with a total of 26 African countries.  

In the last two years, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative has provided support to more than 4,500 migrant returnees in Ethiopia.  

Over 1,300 migrant returnees and vulnerable children are expected to be assisted by the implementing partners in 2019. The partners are the Beza Posterity Development Association; AGAR Ethiopia; Facilitator for Change; Forum on Sustainable Child Empowerment; Hunde Oromo Grassroots Development Initiative and Haramaya University. 

Also joining are the Good Samaritan Association; the Mary Joy Development Association; the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus Development and Social Service Commission North Central Ethiopia Synod Branch Office.  

Through these tie-ups, returnees will receive tailor-made assistance, including vocational and technical skills trainings, job placements, in-kind support for income generating activities and linkages with financial institutions as well as other services like shelter, medical and psychosocial support. 

In addition, it is envisaged that vulnerable children in the target areas will be able to access protection mechanisms and other relevant services including education, health and legal support. Community-based child protection systems will also be strengthened, and their accessibility improved. 

Sara Basha, the coordinator of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in Ethiopia, described reintegration as a very complex, multi-sectoral and expensive process requiring close partnerships with key stakeholders, namely, government and non-government actors.  

She says establishing and strengthening partnerships is among the key strategies of the programme. “By engaging local NGOs, the programme is able to increase its capacity to reach out to as many returnees as possible and provide reintegration assistance.” 

Partnership consultations kicked off in April 2019, following a meeting arranged by IOM to introduce the parties to relevant government stakeholders.  

IOM has moved to strengthen linkages with the private sector, academic institutions and local community structures to ensure the implementation of suitable reintegration activities.  

Basha added: “In all the locations, the implementation partners work closely with the local government and the local community. This is expected to strengthen the programme’s follow-up and monitoring system and enhance local ownership of the programme.”  

For more information, please contact Helina Mengistu at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 11 557 1550 (Ext 109), Email: hmengistu@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 - 16:20Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

At the official launch of one of the partnerships in Kombolcha, Amhara Region, Ethiopia on 29 May.

At the official launch of one of the partnerships in Kombolcha, Amhara Region, Ethiopia on 29 May.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 21,301 in 2019; Deaths Reach 519

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/31/2019 - 10:19

Geneva – IOM, the UN Migration agency, reports that 21,301 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 29 May, roughly a one third decrease from the 32,070 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals to both Spain and Greece account for 85% of all arrivals, with the balance arriving this year in Italy, Malta and Cyprus. 

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through almost five months of 2019 are at 519 individuals—or less than four-fifths of the 662 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018.  (see chart below) 

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday (30/05) that sea arrivals in the Western Mediterranean are now at 7876 men, women and children through 29 May. That is close to the total for this same period last year when, through 2018’s first five months Spanish authorities tallied arrivals of 8150 irregular migrants by the Western Mediterranean route.  

With two days remaining to report arrivals for the month of May, irregular migration activity in these waters appears to have tapered off significantly after a fast start earlier this year.  May arrivals through 29 days are 1160, Ms. Dodevska reported, much fewer than the total arriving in May 2018, when 3523 entered Spain via this same route (see charts below).  

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported on Wednesday (29/05) that over 48 hours from 28-29 May, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) confirmed seven incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands Lesvos, Leros, Samos, Symi Kos and the port of Alexandroupolis. The HCG rescued a total of 191 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports. 

Those arrivals, plus another 95 reported since 27 May, bring to 10,200 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year. Another 3,497 irregular migrants arrived through 30 April via Greece’s land border with Turkey (see charts below). 

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project. Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 31,975 individuals, including 1,015 in 2019.   

In the Western Mediterranean, the NGO Alarm Phone reported that a young man from Cameroon went missing on 21 May. According to testimonies of the eight survivors who were travelling with him, he fell overboard before they were intercepted by the Moroccan Navy. His body was not recovered. Additionally, on 23 May the remains of a migrant, likely of Sub-Saharan African origin, washed ashore on the beach of Malabata, near Tangiers, Morocco. In the Central Mediterranean, migrants intercepted and returned to Libya on 23 May reported that five men drowned during their voyage. No further details regarding the identities, country of origin, or other personal information regarding the missing are available.  

This past week was marked by several tragedies in different regions of the world. On the US-Mexico border, five people drowned trying to cross the Río Bravo/Rio Grande separating the Mexican states of Tamaulipas and Coahuila from Texas. On 23 May, US Border Patrol agents recovered the remains of a man from the banks of the river near the Eagle Pass Port of Entry. Mexican authorities have recovered the bodies of four men between 23 and 27 May near Díaz Ordaz and Guardado de Abajo, in Tamaulipas. Only one has been identified: a 27-year-old Mexican national. These latest tragedies bring to 43 the number of lives lost recorded by the MMP team in the Río Bravo since the beginning of 2019.  

Two deaths were recorded of migrants transiting through Mexico: a 36-year-old Cuban national died of a heart attack in Mexico City on 25 May. The day before, a young woman aged between 25 and 30 years old lost her life when she was hit by a train near Sabinas, in Coahuila, Mexico. MMP records show that at least 60 people have died while transiting through Mexico since the beginning of 2019. At least 32 people died in vehicle accidents, while train-related injuries account for 13 deaths recorded this year. Ten more deaths can be attributed to violence (including murder and kidnapping), and three to sickness and lack of access to medicines.  

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

See contacts here

 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 - 16:11Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Delayed Humanitarian Flights Leaving Yemen Put Migrants at Risk

PBN News Germany - Mon, 05/27/2019 - 11:50

Aden – Over 2,300 Ethiopian migrants detained in adverse conditions in Aden, Yemen, were due to return home with the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) support this week. The eight-day operation, set to begin Saturday (25/05), was delayed by rescinded flight permissions. 

Since mid-April, authorities in Aden, Abyan and Lahj governorates have detained irregular migrants – predominantly from Ethiopia – in makeshift detention sites. At the peak, around 5,000 people were held in two sports stadium and one military camp without basic services. IOM and partners have been providing critical lifesaving support like water, food and healthcare to those detained.  

As part of its support package to stranded, vulnerable migrants, IOM offers return assistance from countries in crisis under its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme. In Aden’s 22nd of May Stadium, IOM screened and registered 2,315 Ethiopian migrants, including 150 women and 470 children, who urgently want to return home from the conflict zone. 

“IOM is offering return assistance to help protect migrants detained in Aden and we need the support of the international community to help us to get these migrants home,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies in Geneva.  

IOM obtained approval from the relevant authorities to begin the return movement to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia’s capital, on Saturday (25/05), with one flight planned each day until 2 June. On Friday, the Coalition and the Government of Yemen postponed the departure of the first VHR flight until at least Wednesday (29/05). This five-day delay puts into question how many of the eight flights will be able to depart. 

This delay threatens the safety of more than 2,300 migrants who continue to be held in conditions inconsistent with internationally-agreed standards, exposed to severe health and protection risks. Earlier this month, at least 14 migrants detained in Lahj died due to complications related to acute watery diarrhea. Armed security personnel remain present in the 22nd of May Stadium, posing safety concerns and complicating humanitarian access. 

“Lives have been lost due to disease brought on by the appalling detention conditions and one young man, shot while detained, will likely never walk again," said Abdiker. 

"The flight delays are putting thousands of migrants’ lives at further risk. We are urging the leaders of the Coalition and the Government of Yemen to urgently approve these flights, ensuring that all who need to go home do so with safety and dignity."

Abdiker reaffirmed IOM’s commitment to support Yemen and other governments in the region to identify sustainable responses to irregular migration. 

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon from IOM Yemen, Tel: +353833022648 (WhatsApp: +967730552233), Email: oheadon@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Monday, May 27, 2019 - 11:45Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

A detained migrant Ethiopian migrant is screened by an IOM health team member to ensure he is fit to travel home. Photo: Moore/IOM 2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Returning migrants being assisted by IOM at Obock, Djibouti.

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Human Trafficking Takes Centre Stage in Bangladesh

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:26

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information please contact George McLeod, IOM Bangladesh, Tel: + +880 18 7071 8078, Email: gmcleod@iom.int 

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo, IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 803 645 2973, Email: jgalindo@iom.int 

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Provides Support to Venezuelans in Brazil

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:22

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information please contact Vitoria Souza at IOM Brasilia, Email: vsouza@iom.int ; or Tainá Aguiar, E-mail: taguiar@iom.int or Guilherme Otero, E-mail: guotero@iom.int 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information please contact Vitoria Souza at IOM Brasilia, Email: vsouza@iom.int. Or Guilherme Otero, E-mail: guotero@iom.int 

 

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For more information, please contact Anne Althaus at IOM Geneva, E-mail: aalthaus@iom.int or Vitória Souza at IOM Brazil, E-mail: vsouza@iom.int  

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/24/2019 - 10:14

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

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

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

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

IOM Spain 

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

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

IOM Greece 

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

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

Missing Migrants Project 

2019 is the sixth year of IOM’s efforts to systematically record deaths on migration routes worldwide through its Missing Migrants Project. Since the beginning of 2014, the project has recorded the deaths of 31,947 individuals, including 999 in 2019 (see chart below). 

Due to the challenges of collecting information about these people and the contexts of their deaths, the true number of lives lost during migration is likely much higher. Missing Migrants Project records should only be viewed as indicative of the risks associated with migration, rather than representative of the true number of deaths across time or geography.  

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Not counting this last death, to date at least 271 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 189 recorded through this point in 2018.  

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

See contacts here

Language English Posted: Friday, May 24, 2019 - 16:06Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Assists Over 130 Yazidis to Resettle from Iraq to France

PBN News Germany - Wed, 05/22/2019 - 12:24

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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