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

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:54

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Using Data to Inform Migration Management in Central Asia

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:46

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Returnees Share Harrowing Experiences at Latest ‘Migration Conversation’ 

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:42

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:29

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Recreational Centre Opens for Children in Zinder, Niger

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:25

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

‘Connecting Communities’ Campaign Seeks Integration of Venezuelans in Mexico

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:21

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/21/2019 - 10:17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Logging operations are bringing social change to remote Solomon Islands communities

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 11:09

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Indonesian Vice-President Mark 40-Year Collaboration

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:50

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Skyscraper-depth Well Brings Clean Water to Rohingya Refugees

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:49

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Impact of Cyclone Kenneth Continues to Affect Northern Mozambique: IOM

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:47

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:45

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mexico Moves Towards Ethical Recruitment of Migrant Workers

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:42

Mexico City – Mexico’s Ministry of Labour and Social Security (STPS) has expressed its interest and commitment to align its operations with the International Organization for Migration’s International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), to improve the recruitment system in Mexico.  

This follows officials from the Ministry meeting with IOM this week (16/05) to discuss ethical recruitment in the country. 

IRIS is a social compliance system designed to promote international ethical recruitment for companies, governments and workers. The goal of IRIS is to transform the international recruitment industry so that it is fair to workers, recruiters and employers. Through IRIS, the STPS and its agencies, as well as recruitment agencies in Mexico, may adhere to the “employer pays” principle to encourage an ethical process throughout the recruitment, for the benefit of migrant workers and all actors involved. 

Unethical recruitment is a global phenomenon found in all economic and occupational sectors, most commonly linked with the recruitment of lower skilled workers where the prevailing business model is based on a “worker pays” modality. 

The exploitation of migrant workers, in many cases, begins in the recruitment phase and before the migration cycle, by job recruiters or unscrupulous employment agencies that charge excessive fees, provide false and misleading information about the job offer and exploit potential migrant workers through false promises and coercion. This exploitation is often discovered during labour inspection or workplace assessments in the countries of employment, when the damage has already been done and requires remediation by employers or governments. 

In Mexico, individuals in search of work use the services of irregular and abusive labour intermediaries who charge large amounts of money to procure them a job. Due to all these unfair practices, workers frequently incur in debts to pay the agent. Irregular intermediaries are in contact with unethical employers, who do not provide workers with dignified working conditions. Thus, workers can potentially become victims of abuse, exploitation and trafficking. 

As stated by the Ministry of Labour and Social Security, it is necessary to disseminate, strengthen and improve the legal and organizational requirements of the recruitment agencies to make their operations more transparent. This poses challenges both for those businesses that are willing to comply with the requirements, and for the institutions that decide to support them. 

"There is a latent need to establish a process like IRIS and start it as soon as possible in Mexico to improve the recruitment processes in the country, promote them among the employment agencies as well as to provide greater protection to Mexican migrant workers,” said the Lic. Donaciano Domínguez Espinosa, Sub-Coordinator General of the National Employment Service. 

"IOM is very interested in being able to support the Government of Mexico in this effort, based on the actions that the STPS-SNE has already taken to improve and strengthen good international hiring and employment practices," said Christopher Gascón, Chief of IOM Mission in Mexico 

The consequences of exploitation and abuse in the international recruitment system leave many victims in the region. For this reason, different countries of Central America and the Caribbean are also interested in the development of a project such as IRIS, which promotes ethical recruitment where all the actors involved benefit from it. 

For more information, please contact Margarita Maura at IOM Mexico, Email:, or Michela Macchiavello at the IOM Regional Office in San Jose, Email:   

Language English Posted: Friday, May 17, 2019 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: MexicoThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Pre-departure orientation session for migrant workers. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 18,364 in 2019; Deaths Reach 508

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 10:42

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 18,364 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 15 May, approximately a 30 per cent decrease from the 26,016 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals to both Spain and Greece account for almost 87 per cent of all arrivals, with the balance arriving this year in Italy, Malta and Cyprus.  

Arrivals to Greece are the highest of any destination this year, yet lower in 2019 than those at this time last year by about 10 per cent. Arrivals to Spain are higher at this point in the year than they were a year ago, although Spain’s rate of arrival for this year has fallen considerably since the surge of January and early February, from just over 85 persons per day during the first two months of 2019 to under 40 per day in April and May. 

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 135 days of 2019 are at 508 individuals – or almost four-fifths of the 638 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below).

Mediterranean Developments

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday (15/05) that sea arrivals in the Western Mediterranean are now at 7,317 men, women and children through 08 May. While that is almost 2,000 more arrivals to Spain through this same time last year, the IOM office notes arrivals in the month of May are at just 601 through mid-month, or just one sixth of the nearly 3,600 arriving during May 2018 (see chart below).  

IOM Greece 

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou noted on Thursday (16/05) that from Friday (10/05) to date, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least fifteen incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Alexandroupoli, Farmakonisi, Symi and Kos. The HCG rescued a total of 539 migrants and transferred them to those respective ports.  

Those arrivals were among some 782 IOM recorded as arrivals to those islands – as well as to Ikaria and several smaller islands – between 09 May and 15 May, and which bring to 8,621 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart 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 31,910 individuals, including 953 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.  

In the past week on the Mediterranean, there have been two shipwrecks. On Friday, 10 May, a boat carrying 75 people from Libya capsized off the coast of Kerkennah, Tunisia. Only 16 people survived. Three bodies were recovered from the shipwreck: one man from Bangladesh, and two unidentified persons presumed to be from sub-Saharan Africa. The survivors reported that 46 Bangladeshis remain lost at sea, as are eight Moroccans and two Egyptians.  

In the Eastern Mediterranean, a smaller boat sank off the coast of Chekka, Lebanon while attempting to reach Cyprus. The three survivors, all from Syria, report that five of their countrymen remain missing.  

In the Western Mediterranean, a body was found near the El Palmar and Mangueta beaches in Spain last Thursday, though this is believed to be the person reported missing by 24 Northern Africans who were intercepted in the same area on the previous day. 

Two other shipwrecks claimed the lives of migrants in other regions of the world since the last update. On Tuesday (7 May), on a beach in Tinajo, Lanzarote, in the Spanish Canary Islands, the remains of a Moroccan man were found. He is presumed to have been traveling with a group of around one dozen migrants from Western Africa. He has yet to be identified.  

In Southeast Asia, a boat carrying Indonesian migrants capsized off the coast of the Malaysian Batam Islands, leaving one dead and three missing at sea.  

Since the last Missing Migrants Project update on 10 May, another five individuals lost their lives pursuing new lives in the United States. Most of the deceased came from Honduras and Guatemala.  

On Tuesday, two children lost their lives due to sickness and lack of access to medicine during their journey. A two-year-old Guatemalan boy died of pneumonia in an American hospital; he had been placed in emergency care immediately after he arrived in El Paso with his family. On that same day, a 12-year-old boy from Honduras died of intestinal problems in a hospital in Tlaxcala, Mexico.  

During the past week two men died on their journeys north through Mexico, killed on the notorious freight trains used by migrants – nicknamed la Bestia or "the Beast."  

One unidentified migrant died after being decapitated by la Bestia in Ramos Arizpe in the Mexican state of Coahuila on Monday (13 May). A 43-year-old Guatemalan man was killed the previous Saturday on the train tracks near Achotal in the state of Veracruz. Two fellow-travellers were severely mutilated after being struck by the same train. Another Guatemalan man was violently killed in Chiapas, Mexico on Wednesday, 8 May. 

To date, at least 267 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 184 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 17, 2019 - 16:23Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mitigating Displacement Due to Climate Change, Disasters a Risk Reduction Priority, IOM says

PBN News Germany - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 15:25

Geneva – Climate change and disasters are driving more people to move than ever before, whether due to sudden onset disasters like the unprecedented cyclones that devastated Southern Africa earlier this year, or destructive long-term weather patterns causing drought. 

Last year alone more than 17 million people were displaced following disasters – accounting for 61 per cent of all internal displacements globally, according to Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre, one of the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) partners. 

The Sixth Session of the Global Platform on Disaster Risk Reduction (GP 2019) in Geneva this week provides an opportunity for dialogue and knowledge sharing on strategies for disaster risk reduction (DRR) and building resilience globally. Participants also renewed their commitment to the implementation of the Sendai DRR Framework (2015-2030). 

The event, organized by the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction (UNDRR) and hosted by the Government of Switzerland, convened more than 4,000 government officials, DRR practitioners, academics and representatives of UN agencies, NGOs and community groups. 

Under the theme ʺResilience Dividend: Towards Sustainable and Inclusive Societiesʺ, IOM welcomes the attention given to disaster displacement at the GP 2019 through several dedicated working sessions and interventions, says Louis Hoffmann, IOM's Head of Transition and Recovery. 

 “We must all step up efforts to address disaster risk, including by preventing displacement, preparing and responding appropriately when it occurs, and by supporting sustainable solutions to displacement in the post-disaster phase,” Hoffmann told the GP 2019 on Thursday. 

He reaffirmed IOM’s commitment to enhance joint UN support for countries to meet their targets under the Sendai Framework and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.  

“IOM remains committed to working with states and communities to strengthen resilience, while promoting the vital benefits and opportunities that mobility can bring, when safe and dignified, for those seeking a better life,” says Hoffmann. 

Since IOM launched its Strategic Workplan on DRR two years ago, the Organization has helped more than 70 countries prevent and mitigate the effects of disasters, training more than 6,400 government officials and providing direct assistance to 1.4 million people. 

In Bangladesh, Yemen, Rwanda, El Salvador, among other countries, IOM works to improve early warning systems, provide trainings on post-disaster recovery as well as support capacity building on climate change and migration. Following Cyclone Idai in Mozambique, IOM provided shelter to more than 85,000 survivors, and stands ready to help the government build back better in the recovery phase. 

As a member of the Capacity for Disaster Reduction Initiative (CADRI), IOM contributes its expertise to assessments in countries vulnerable to disaster displacement. It also advises states on how to maximize the positive contributions migrants make to promote resilience in their communities. 

The Organization supports other state-led initiatives, such as the Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC) Initiative and the Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD), to further ensure the inclusion of displaced persons and migrants in DRR action. 

For additional information, please contact: Angela Wells, IOM Public Information Officer for the Department of Operations and Emergencies in Geneva, Tel: +41 7940 35365, Email: 

Language English Posted: Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 15:24Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Disaster Risk ReductionDefault: Multimedia: 

Women displaced from drought in Ethiopia receive emergency shelter from IOM. The Organization supports more than 70 countries to prevent and mitigate disaster displacement. Photo: Rikka Tupaz

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Growing Insecurity in Tripoli Endangers Displaced Civilians and Migrants as Armed Clashes Enter Second Month

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:38

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Tripoli and neighbouring areas. 

According to IOM Libya’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), there are now over 66,000 displaced individuals, approximately 13,310 families, from affected areas in Tripoli since the onset of the armed conflict on 4 April. The rapidly increasing displacement figures are worrying as fighting intensifies in the absence of a humanitarian ceasefire. DTM’s Emergency Event Tracking, activated on 05 April, is helping to identify instances of displacement, as well as consolidating and disseminating vital information IOM uses to plan the broader humanitarian community’s response. 

The situation is especially alarming for over 3,300 migrants, among them children and pregnant women. 

“While our teams on the ground continue to provide emergency humanitarian assistance to conflict-affected populations, we recognize that more needs to be done from all sides to ensure the safety of civilians,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya Chief of Mission. “We are worried about the dramatically deteriorating humanitarian situation in Tripoli and reiterate that there is an urgent need to end the detention of migrants in Libya and stop displacement.” 

On 10 May, a migrant boat departing Zwara, Libya capsized off the Tunisian coast, and 59 lives were lost. This brings the death toll in the Central Mediterranean Route to 316 so far this year, and 502 for all Mediterranean Sea routes. Since the beginning of the clashes, 871 migrants have been returned to Libya and placed in detention, bringing the total number of migrants repatriated to Libya to 2,813 this year. 

IOM is concerned about the return of migrants to an unsafe port and their placement in often overcrowded detention centres where conditions are not acceptable. While we provide health assistance, non-food items, emergency food assistance and Voluntary Humanitarian Return support to migrants wishing to return home, we reiterate that IOM cannot guarantee the protection of detained migrants and continues to call for an urgent end to detention.  

Despite security challenges, IOM emergency interventions continue, in 11 detention centres within and near Tripoli; in locations for internally displaced families, and across Libya. Since 4 April 1,402 migrants have returned to 19 countries of origin with support from IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return programme.  

The joint Rapid Response Mechanism launched by IOM, UNFPA, WFP and UNICEF, has reached so far 18,210 individuals with much-needed core relief items. Moreover, 2,511 migrants and internally displaced persons have been provided with health assistance including 58 hospital referrals.  

IOM Tunisia reported that Friday’s tragedy began about 60 kilometers from Tunisian waters 7 May, when a vessel carrying 75 migrants, mainly Bangladeshi nationals, made an attempt to reach Europe. During the night of 9 May, Tunisian fishermen were able to rescue 16 people from the overcrowded craft. Tunisian naval units continue to seek information on the voyage; to date only three bodies have been rescued. One of those victims has been identified. 

Tunisian authorities took four survivors to Zarzis Hospital, where two remain in critical condition. Of the rescued, 14 are Bangladeshi (including two unaccompanied minors) one is Egyptian, one is Moroccan. Those not hospitalized have been hosted by the Tunisian Red Crescent. 

A second rescue took place on Saturday, 11 May. Tunisian fishermen rescued sixty-nine migrants, including Moroccans, Eritreans, Somalis, Bangladeshi and an Egyptian. Among them, were four women and at least 25 minors, including children aged three to seven years. 

Those 69 rescued migrants, since transferred to Sfax, are thought to have left Libya on 7 May, at the same time those on the shipwrecked boat departed.  

IOM teams mobilized to provide medical, psycho-social and food assistance to survivors. "It is essential to put in place efficient mechanisms to respond to humanitarian emergencies, not the least of which are attempts of irregular crossings on the Mediterranean," said Lorena Lando, Head of IOM mission to Tunisia. "We must act now and together," she added. 

From 9-12 May, the Tunisian coastguard and naval units conducted prevention operations that thwarted attempts at irregular crossings from Sfax, Sousse, Monastir, Bizerte and Tunis, with more than 100 migrants at the beginning of the season. 

The tragic death of 37 Bangladeshis in a boat sinking in the Mediterranean is the latest in a string of accidents involving migrant workers from the developing South Asian country. 

“It’s deplorable how migrants continue to die in the Mediterranean trying to make perilous journeys,” said IOM Bangladesh Chief of Mission Giorgi Gigauri. “Lack of knowledge on safe migration, violence in host countries and influence of middlemen are leading Bangladeshis to make risky migration choices. Stronger protections for migrants’ rights in both home and destination countries must be ensured.”  

Every year, thousands of Bangladeshis migrate in search of jobs and opportunities in the Middle East or Europe, making it one of the world’s top sources of migrant workers. Many cannot afford adequate airfare or visas and fall under the sway of migrant smugglers who arrange transport in exchange for bonded labour and other exploitative arrangements. Migrants on average end up paying USD 5,000-7,000 for their journeys.  As the recent disaster demonstrates, safety conditions on many of the smugglers’ crafts are substandard. 

The tragedy is rooted in poverty and limited economic opportunities at home, said Chissey Mueller, Programme Manager with IOM Cox’s Bazar’s Protection Unit. “When people don’t have the access or means for legal migration with visas, passports and plane fare – they often take risks,” she explained. 

Simply strengthening enforcement and border controls is not enough to stop the problem, said Mueller. “Continuous improvement of the underlying socioeconomic causes in Bangladesh as a whole, needs to be strengthened. Without that, as in many other countries, you will always have people from this country of 160 million willing to risk danger for opportunities abroad.” 

For more information, please contact: 

Safa Msehli, IOM Tripoli, Tel: +216 22 214 842, Email: 
George McLeod, IOM Bangladesh, Tel: + +880 18 7071 8078, Email: 
Myriam Chabbi, IOM Tunisia, Tel :  +216 28 78 78 05 (mobile) office: +216 71 860 312 EXT. 109  Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: LibyaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia: 

The joint Rapid Response Mechanism launched by IOM, UNFPA, WFP and UNICEF, has reached so far 18,210 individuals with much-needed core relief items. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Health Services Expand in Bangladesh Refugee Camps, But Monsoon Rains Bring New Threats  

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:35

Cox’s Bazar – Dr. Samir Howlader remembers less than two years ago when most health services were delivered on foot or in rented ambulances to the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya refugees streaming into Bangladesh from Myanmar. 

“There were effectively no facilities in August 2017 for the new arrivals,” he said, referring to the nearly one million Rohingyas who fled across the border to Cox’s Bazar. “Many of them had dysentery, diarrhea and respiratory tract infections. There were also burns, bullet wounds and other horrible injuries. It would have strained even an advanced health system.”   

The mobile medics also faced overwhelming logistical difficulties. There were five teams providing mobile services and five shuttling patients to facilities outside the camps. They had to carry their own medicines and often travelled on muddy trails in difficult conditions, according to Dr Howlader, an IOM National Health Programme Officer.  

Just eighteen months later, the situation on the ground has improved beyond recognition, according to IOM Emergency Health Coordinator Dr Francis Tabu.  Many of the bamboo clinics have been upgraded to pre-fabricated facilities and many more healthcare staff have been brought on board. 

IOM now has 45 doctors, 40 midwives, 31 nurses, as well as ambulance drivers and other ancillary staff working in both the camps and host communities. Over a million patients have received consultations at 11 IOM and nine IOM-supported government clinics since August 2017. Over 3,200 babies were successfully delivered in the first three months of this year. 

But with the monsoon expected to start within the next month, IOM doctors warn that healthcare in the camps is still inadequate to meet the needs of its residents. Every year the heavy rain and high winds bring waterborne diseases including acute diarrhea, upper and lower respiratory tract infections and tropical parasites. In 2018 many people were also injured by weather-related accidents and landslides.   

At a health workshop to take stock of achievements and plan for the challenges ahead last week in Cox’s Bazar, Dr Tabu told the IOM health team that better feedback from the refugees and local communities was essential if they were to “up their game and improve the quality of services.” “We need to encourage suggestions from patients and incentivize people to provide feedback to (IOM’s) Feedback and Information Centres,” he said. 

Click here for the latest Situation Report detailing IOM’s work in the Rohingya refugee camps of Cox’s Bazar. 

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


Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:34Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

A Rohingya refugee and her baby are treated at IOM’s clinic in Leda, Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Joins Workshop Promoting Expertise in Search for Missing Migrants

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:34

Guatemala – The international workshop Clarifying the Fate and Whereabouts of Missing Migrants: Exchanging Information along Migratory Routes is taking place this week (15-16 May) in Antigua, Guatemala, organized by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team.  

“Much progress is needed to help families find out what has happened to their missing loved ones, and organizations must work together to do as much as possible to address this challenge,” said Frank Laczko, director of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre, which runs the organization’s Missing Migrants Project. 

The workshop will bring together experts and representatives from governmental agencies and inter- and non-governmental organizations, as well as the families of missing migrants, from around the world. The aim of the event is to draw on current initiatives in Central America and other regions to develop common technical standards for collecting and exchanging data on missing migrants for humanitarian purposes. 

“Indeed, around the world, the families of tens of thousands of missing migrants are looking for answers,” noted Caroline Douilliez, Head of Project at ICRC. “Using the ICRC’s long-standing expertise in helping the missing and their loved ones, we want to strengthen collaboration among existing initiatives and improve international action on this tragic reality.”  

Learning when, where, how and how many migrants disappear can help illuminate what makes migration unsafe and who is most at risk. But this kind of information is currently scarce, a testament to how this issue and the people it most affects have been neglected. Coordinated data collection is key to tackling the complex challenge of searching for missing migrants along routes that often traverse not just countries but continents. 

The workshop is part of the ICRC’s Missing Persons Project, a four-year initiative to improve the worldwide response to people who have gone missing owing to armed conflict, internal violence, natural disasters and migration by creating a global community of practice and common technical standards. 

“Migration – and migrants going missing – is an everyday reality. We urgently need to create dynamic and efficient regional systems to search for the missing in a way that is both rapid and respectful of their dignity,” says Mercedes Doretti, coordinator of the Argentine Forensic Anthropology Team's Border Project, a network of governmental and non-governmental organizations and institutions that collects and exchanges data on the people who go missing along the Central America–Mexico–United States migrant corridor. 

For more information please contact: Julia Black, IOM Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: 


Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: GuatemalaThemes: Migration ResearchMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Japan-Funded Emergency Response in Niger

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:31

Tillabéry – The International Organization for Migration is launching an emergency response project in the Tillabéry region in Niger with funding from the Government of Japan. The effort is designed to last for nine months and aims to provide 1,000 emergency shelters and 1,000 Non-Food Item (NFI) kits to 14,500 internally displaced persons (IDPs) and other conflict-affected households along the Niger-Mali border. 

Funding for the project is USD 850,000. 

In coordination and cooperation with the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management, IOM also aims to improve the living conditions of the crisis-affected population through medical assistance.  

Since 2012, the Tillabéry region in Niger has been impacted by ongoing violence and insecurity in its neighbor, Mali. That has led to the displacement of some 49,000 people throughout Niger. 

To tackle the growing insecurity in the region, the Government of Niger declared in June 2018 a state of emergency in five departments of Tillabéry region; the inclusion of three other departments in December 2018 resulted in a total of eight departments operating under a state of emergency.  

The region’s state of emergency – coupled with ongoing military operations – increases local tensions. Last year, the United Nations Department of Safety and Security (UNDSS) recorded 97 security incidents in Tillabéry and the neighboring Tahoua region. Moreover, in the Tillabéry region from January to November 2018, a total of 377 protection incidents were reported, ranging from attacks to kidnappings. 

IOM has been present in Niger since 2006 and has been active in emergency responses since 2013, providing shelters and NFI kits. IOM Niger also facilitates, as co-lead together with the Ministry of Humanitarian Action and Disaster Management, the coordination of the Shelter and NFI Working Group.  

Most of the IDPs in the region are currently living in improvised shelters, close to villages or military barracks in the region. These are shelters improvised under very precarious conditions that lack basic items such as blankets, mosquito nets, mats or hygiene kits.  

IOM’s main activities in the region so far have focused on social cohesion and border management. Since 2016, IOM Niger also has been operating a sub-office in the Tillabéry region’s Baleyara district, as well as in Tillabéry City since 2018.  

Given the continued displacements in Tillabéry, international humanitarian aid is needed more than ever to address the ever-increasing needs of the vulnerable affected populations. 

“Empowering people to articulate and respond to their own needs and those of others is crucial,” said Peter Kioy, IOM’s Emergency Response Coordinator in Niger. “The proposed intervention has been developed such that, in addition to providing immediate assistance to the vulnerable affected population, to contribute to building beneficiaries’ resilience and reducing future risks,” Kioy added.  

The Protection Cluster estimates that in 2019, 195,000 persons will be in need of protection in both Tillabéry and Tahoua regions and that access to humanitarian assistance for the affected population will remain a challenge due to security risks and access, especially during the incoming rainy season. 

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

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:28Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesInternally Displaced PersonsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN