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10,000 Ghanaian Youth Learn about Pitfalls of Irregular Migration

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/14/2019 - 10:27

Accra – Several years ago high school directors from Ghana’s Brong Ahafo and Ashanti regions began noticing that many of their students were dropping out before graduating. Their intent was to enter the job market, by risking the irregular journey across the Sahara and across the Mediterranean Sea in hopes of reaching Europe.  

Some were successful, but many were not – discovering that instead of lucrative employment, they faced terrible hardship, including death. 

Since May 2017, 1,003 Ghanaians have returned to their communities of origin with IOM support. About 35 per cent fall within the school age in the country (up to 26 years old). Among them, almost 60 per cent are from the Brong Ahafo, Ashanti and Greater Accra Regions, the highest regions of return in 2017 and 2018 according to a recent Assistance to Voluntary and Humanitarian Return report.  

Many return, eager to share their experience with their peers. These migrant voices can be a valuable teaching tool.  

Over the past two weeks some 10,000 high school students attended awareness-raising sessions on the dangers and alternatives to irregular migration organized on 29-30 April and 2-3 May 2019 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Bono and Ashanti regions.  

Ghanaian returnees were invited to share their journey to Libya with the students and described their migration experiences including inhumane treatment, the crossing of the desert, and the reality in the detention centres. 

“The journey through the Saharan Desert is dangerous. Your chances of survival are only 20 per cent. Do not make an attempt and regret later,” said Richard, a migrant returnee. 

Fruitful exchanges took place between students and Ghanaian returnees around their journey, and pictures and short videos were also displayed to illustrate the risky and dangerous migratory routes.  

Some students joined together voluntarily to form Migration Clubs that were established in six senior high schools. The goal of the clubs is to do peer-to-peer education on safe migration while also sensitizing the larger community using drama, poetry, quiz games and arts, among other means.  

“It is your role to tell others in your communities, houses or at any gatherings about the risks associated with irregular migration. People may not know, so you must inform them. Be the catalyst for community change,” declared Yeboah Collins, IOM Community Outreach Assistant. 

The awareness-raising activities were organized with the support of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, funded by the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) and implemented by IOM. So far, 79,000 individuals have been reached through radio programmes on the dangers and alternatives to irregular migration, 11,000 through awareness-raising sessions in schools and 8,000 through community-awareness activities. 

“This activity should be sustained, at least once a year targeting our final year students so that they will not fall prey into the hands of smugglers,” said Kyeremeh Thomas, Guidance Counselling Co-ordinator, Dormaa Senior High School. 

An impact assessment will be made to measure behavioural change and strengthen future awareness-raising campaigns in Ghana.  

For more information, please contact Collins Yeboah at IOM Ghana, Tel: +233208268289 Email: or visit the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa website

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:24Image: Region-Country: GhanaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Awareness-raising session in a high school on the dangers and alternatives to irregular migration. Photo: IOM

Awareness-raising session in a high school on the dangers and alternatives to irregular migration. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Marks Two Decades in North Macedonia

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

Skopje – Streamlined migration management is key, IOM’s Regional Director stated at a highest-level event in the capital of the Republic of North Macedonia on Monday (13 May). 

Argentina Szabados made her remarks at a celebration to mark 20 years of the International Organization for Migration in the Republic of North Macedonia. The event was co-organized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and attended by ministers, ambassadors, heads of UN agencies, diplomats, academia, donors and civil society representatives.  

“The Republic of North Macedonia is moving forward with the EU accession agenda, where streamlined migration management is an important condition within the justice, freedom and security sector,” she noted, adding that IOM’s close partnership with the Government over 20 years showed the commitment of the Republic of North Macedonia to being “a strong and important global player on migration management.” 

Szabados and Minister for Diaspora Edmond Ademi signed a Memorandum of Understanding that will establish a wide and effective cooperation with the country’s diaspora, firmly based on mutual interest and trust.  

“To be a migrant is not a crime,” declared Minister Ademi in his speech. “It is a call for greater commitment to human dignity.” 

He thanked IOM for its strong support during the creation of the first National Strategy for cooperation with the Diaspora. “IOM made a significant contribution by giving us expertise which significantly contributed to the quality of this document. We recognize in IOM a strong partner in the field of migration and the diaspora, and today, by signing this Memorandum of Understanding, we formalize it.” 

For IOM, Szabados said, “We applaud this policy approach of the Government which is in line with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. It also conforms to the EU Development policy that stresses the importance of the nexus between migration and development to create conditions for migrants and diasporas to contribute to sustainable development.”  

Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrej Zernovski reinforced the Government’s commitment to migration management based on human rights. “Human rights are central to us as a country, and we guarantee the protection of rights and freedoms for all, including migrants. We thank IOM and count on their inputs and support in the development of new strategic documents and action plans related to areas of migration aligned with EU Acquis.”  

For more information please contact Joe Lowry at the IOM Regional Office in Vienna, Tel: +43 660 3776404, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 14, 2019 - 16:18Image: Region-Country: North MacedoniaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Regional Director Argentina Szabados addresses an audience of ministers, UN officials, academia and IOM staff to commemorate the 20th anniversary of IOM in the Republic of North Macedonia. Photo: IOM

IOM Regional Director Argentina Szabados and Diaspora Minister of the Republic of North Macedonia Edmond Ademi sign an MoU at a function marking 20 years of IOM in the Republic of North Macedonia. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Nobel Peace Laureate Nadia Murad Addresses Paris Ceremony Launching New Humanitarian Admission Programme

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 12:48

Paris – 2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nadia Murad, attended a ceremony today marking the signing of an agreement between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and France to provide safe passage to the country for vulnerable groups from Iraq. Initiated by Murad and French President Emmanuel Macron in October 2018, the agreement will help to provide protection and admission to France for to up to 100 Yazidi women and their families as part of a Humanitarian Admission Programme. 

IOM teams in Iraq and France will support these families in their journey to France by providing health checks, pre-departure information, movement assistance, the provision of operational escorts and other forms of departure and arrival assistance.  Upon arrival in France, families will be referred to local NGOs providing social, medical and administrative support during the first year.    

The initiative is coordinated by the French Ministries of Europe and Foreign Affairs and the Interior, as well as Nadia’s Initiative, a foundation advocating for victims of sexual violence. It is funded by France’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

“This new initiative is the result of solidarity and the expression of an international responsibility-sharing mechanism for the protection of the most vulnerable,” said Sara Abbas, IOM France Head of Office.  

“The Humanitarian Admission Programme is based on a strong partnership between the French and Iraqi governments, international organizations and civil society organizations,” she continued.  

The overwhelming scale and complex nature of global displacement has drawn the international community’s focus to the need for safety and protection for forcibly displaced communities. 

Globally, Humanitarian Admission Programmes ensure safe, regular and sustainable migration. As a complementary pathway established by States, the programmes offer protection and solutions for particularly vulnerable groups. They are based on non-discriminatory and protection-sensitive approaches and complement already existing resettlement programmes.  

For more information, please contact IOM France, Sara Abbas at Tel: +33 (0)1 4044 0691, Email:   


Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 12:36Image: Region-Country: IraqThemes: migrants in vulnerable situationsDefault: Multimedia: 

2018 Nobel Peace Prize winner, Nadia Murad, attended a ceremony today marking the signing of an agreement between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and France to provide safe passage to the country for vulnerable groups from Iraq. Photo: IOM/2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Aid Workers Race to Prepare Bangladesh’s Rohingya Refugee Camps for Monsoon Wind, Rain

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:28

Cox’s Bazar – When Cyclone Fani – one of the most powerful Indian Ocean storms of the past decade – barrelled up the Bay of Bengal a week ago making landfall in northern India and western Bangladesh, it left 24 people dead, a trail of destruction and thousands displaced. Some 2.6 million people – a million in India and 1.6 million in Bangladesh – were evacuated from its path, potentially saving thousands of lives.   

Aid workers in Cox’s Bazar, the southern district of Bangladesh where nearly a million Rohingya refugees from Myanmar live in crowded makeshift camps constructed from bamboo and plastic sheet, breathed a sigh of relief. Fani passed north of the camps, dumping heavy rain and causing minor damage, but leaving the vulnerable refugees and local communities largely unscathed.     

But with further cyclones possible and the monsoon expected to bring the first heavy rains in June, IOM camp managers recognize the risks and the need to prepare for the worst. Preparations for Fani – which included the deployment of 200 IOM staff and 250 trained volunteers to help the refugees prepare for the storm, together with the distribution of over 90,000 “Tie Down Kits” consisting of ropes, wire and sandbags – were something of a “dress rehearsal” for future bad weather, according to IOM Bangladesh Deputy Chief of Mission Manuel Pereira.  

“Last year – 2018 – was the first full monsoon season following the influx of refugees in August 2017. We learned from that experience and refined our response plan accordingly. Since then we have tried to prepare the refugees by providing them with the essential information they need to survive.  Without (concrete) cyclone shelters, we can’t fully prepare people for a major cyclone, but we can prepare them for the monsoon,” he said.  

“Our plan includes emergency response teams on standby at key locations in the camp to respond to flooding, assess damage and distribute aid from emergency distribution points. But we all know this could only be the start of what could turn out to be a very difficult cyclone and monsoon season,” he added.  

Bangladesh lies in one of the world’s most cyclone-prone regions. Extreme weather systems often form in the Bay of Bengal and head north, making landfall in northern India or coastal Bangladesh. Past cyclones have been some of the strongest in history, notably the 2008 Cyclone Nargis, which hit neighbouring Myanmar and killed an estimated 100,000 people. Even in the absence of cyclones, monsoons in Cox’s Bazar bring some of the world’s heaviest rain and powerful, gusting winds.   

IOM and partner aid agencies in the Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG) met on Wednesday (8/5) to review overall disaster preparedness plans in the Cox’s Bazar camps. 

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

Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 17:27Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

Refugees plant vetiver grass on sandy slopes to prevent monsoon-related landslides. Photo: IOM

SMEP – a joint IOM, UNHCR and WFP engineering project – reinforces unstable hillsides in the camps ahead of the monsoon. Photo: IOM

Sandbags are used to reduce the risk of landslides caused by heavy monsoon rains. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Japan Donates USD 27 Million to Support IOM Operations in 2019

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:27

Tokyo – The Government of Japan has allocated USD 27 million to support IOM operations in 2019. IOM has already started using the funding to help vulnerable migrants, including displaced people, refugees, returnees and communities affected by conflict and crises around the world.  The donation will also help to build the capacity of governments in humanitarian border management to stabilize regions. 

Some 58 per cent of the contribution (USD 15.6 million) will be used to support IOM programmes in Sub-Saharan Africa, in countries including Benin, Côte d'Ivoire, the Gambia, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Burundi, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Uganda and Lesotho.  Over half of the new Japan-funded projects in the region will improve government capacity for integrated border management. 

In Asia, part of the funding will be used to support Rohingya refugees and host communities in Bangladesh in the areas of health, water, sanitation and hygiene. The money will also go towards humanitarian assistance for drought-affected Afghans and building Afghanistan’s capacity by helping skilled Afghan nationals to return home from Iran. 

Other Japanese funding will continue to support IOM activities in the Middle East. In Turkey, where millions have fled the ongoing Syrian civil war, projects will help refugees and host communities by strengthening social cohesion. 

Other projects will improve livelihoods and enhance social cohesion in conflict-affected communities in Iraq and provide health assistance for internally displaced persons in Yemen.  

For more information, please contact Yuko Goto at IOM Tokyo. Tel: + 81 3 3595 0108. Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 17:25Image: Region-Country: JapanThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Gambian government officials complete a border assessment exercise as part of a Japanese-funded border management project. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Debt Threatens Positive Migration Outcomes in Southeast Asia: IOM

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:24

Bangkok – Debt can prevent migrant workers in the Greater Mekong Sub-region from maximizing the benefits of their migration and leave them worse off economically and socially when they return home, according to a study by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).  

With one in six migrants in the sub-region struggling with debt when they return to their countries of origin, the report identifies indebtedness as a key factor in influencing migration outcomes and an important element in the decision-making process of migrants. 

The findings of the study, Debt and the Migration Experience: Insights from Southeast Asia, are based on qualitative interviews conducted throughout 2018 with current and returned migrants in Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand, as well as survey data collected by IOM and the International Labour Organization (ILO) between July-August 2016. 

Over 1,800 returned migrant workers were interviewed in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Malaysia, Myanmar, Thailand and Viet Nam. 

The report suggests that debt is often a primary cause of migration. With households routinely taking on debt to cope with acute crises such as illness and failed crops, the growth and availability of formal loans offered by banks and microfinance institutions in rural areas is contributing to changing borrowing patterns and an increased burden of debt among low-income households. 

In some contexts, loans undertaken can be far greater than average income, and migration is increasingly seen as a coping strategy in response to debt stress. In Cambodia, for example, over 40 per cent of rural remittance-receiving households report repayment of debt as the main use of remittances. 

Migrants also take on debt to fund their journeys. The increasing cost of migration and recruitment in the region, often taken on by employees, causes prospective migrants to borrow heavily in order to cover the cost of recruitment. Full repayment of these loans can take anywhere from months to years. 

In addition, debt undertaken by migrants to gain legal status or extend their stay legally has been flagged as a particular area of concern. The study found that unpredictable legal costs in countries of destination make it difficult for migrants to anticipate them. This subsequently causes them to resort to loans and take on a higher burden of debt. 

A strong link between indebtedness and increased vulnerability to trafficking and related exploitation was also established. Migrants in debt are more likely to make potentially risky choices, often choosing to remain in jobs with poor working conditions. Wage deductions used by employers to cover recruitment costs can also inhibit workers from changing jobs or leaving. 

Debt was also found to contribute to negative economic, social and psychosocial outcomes when migrants returned home. Indebted migrants were more likely to encounter financial insecurity due to a lack of savings, struggling businesses and difficulties in finding decent work.  

In addition to reduced financial status, indebted returnees also reported social and psychological problems, including shame, embarrassment and discrimination in their communities, as well as harassment and violence from lenders. These pressures subsequently provided strong incentives for them and their families to migrate again.  

“Loans undertaken with fair and transparent conditions provide access to opportunities for work abroad. But those with poor terms are likely to heighten existing vulnerabilities and create new risks for migrant workers,” explained Nathalie Hanley, Head of IOM Thailand’s Migrant Assistance and Counter-Trafficking Unit. “The trends that we observed raise concerns that debt may create conditions where migration becomes more extractive than developmental under certain circumstances.” 

To alleviate the burden of debt on migrants, the study emphasized the need to lower migration costs by ensuring that recruitment costs are paid by employers. It also noted the need to encourage and simplify access to legal migration pathways that eliminate the need for brokers and middlemen. Expanded monitoring of labour rights violations in countries of destination is also recommended. 

Recommendations for countries of origin include strengthening social protection programmes to eliminate the use of loans for basic needs; improving oversight and regulation around credit provision; and ensuring grievance outlets and hotlines for aspiring, current and returned migrants. 

The study was conducted under IOM’s Asia Regional Migration Programme – a regional migration management project funded by the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). 

Debt and the Migration Experience: Insights from Southeast Asia can be downloaded as a pdf in English from: 

For further information, please contact please contact IOM Thailand, Nathalie Hanley at Tel: +66 2 343 9337, Email: or Reuben Lim, Tel: +66 2 343 9370, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 17:21Image: Region-Country: ThailandThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Runkun lives in a makeshift shelter with her daughter and grandchildren by an unused railway track in Poipet, Cambodia. They survive on remittances sent by her children, who work in Thailand. Photo: IOM 2017 / Muse Mohammed.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Helps Ethiopian Migrants Return Home from Sana’a, Yemen

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:18

Sana’a - Starting Monday (06/05), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized the voluntary return of 176 migrants from Yemen’s capital, Sana’a, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Unable to continue to support themselves or fund their travel home, the migrants were left stranded in a country experiencing a deadly conflict. 

Through three flights over three days, IOM supported 137 men, 11 women and 28 children in returning home. Some 20 people with medical needs were among the group, for whom IOM provides escorts to ensure their safe travel. A fourth flight with an additional 46 people will depart on Saturday (11/05), bringing the total number of people assisted in all four flights to 222. 

These are the first return movements to take place from Sana’a since mid-March 2019. In fact, IOM was only able to resume air movements from Yemen in November 2018; having had to suspend them just after the conflict broke out in 2015. During that time, IOM used boats to return vulnerable Ethiopian migrants to Ethiopia, via Djibouti. 

In Yemen, IOM provides the returning migrants with pre-departure assistance, including medical, mental health and psychosocial care. On arrival in Ethiopia, the returnees undergo health screenings and then are housed in IOM's transit centre in Addis Ababa. From there, IOM supports them in reaching their final destinations. For unaccompanied and separated migrant children, IOM provides family tracing assistance, helping them to reunite with their primary caregivers. 

Globally, IOM is committed to ensuring that returnees have opportunities to rebuild their lives at home. In Ethiopia, IOM supports the reintegration of vulnerable returnees through education, psychosocial support and small business grants.  

In 2018, IOM helped 1,040 migrants leave Yemen and return home. So far in 2019, the Organization has supported the voluntary return of 733 migrants. IOM also works with UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to support the spontaneous return of refugees, helping 2,590 Somali refugees to return from Aden last year. 

Despite the ongoing conflict in Yemen, migrants seeking economic opportunities in Gulf countries continue to make the treacherous journey by land and sea to the Arabian Peninsula. All along the route, migrants face many challenges in accessing protection and assistance. IOM is committed to supporting Yemen and the region in managing migration in a sustainable and humane way.  

IOM’s voluntary humanitarian return programme from Yemen is funded by the Federal Republic of Germany, the Government of Canada, the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, the Government of Denmark and the Government of Kuwait. 

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon from IOM Yemen, Tel: +353833022648, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 17:16Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM has supported the voluntary humanitarian return of more than 700 migrants since the beginning of 2019. Photo: IOM/2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 17,000 in 2019; Deaths Reach 443

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 11:15

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 17,000 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 8 May, roughly a 30% decrease from the 24,492 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals to both Spain and Greece account for almost 90% of all irregular Mediterranean arrivals thus far in 2019, with the balance arriving this year in Italy, Malta and Cyprus.  

Arrivals to Greece are the highest of any destination this year yet remain almost one-fifth lower in 2019 than the total from this same time last year. Arrivals to Spain in 2019 remain higher than those of this same period last year, although Spain’s totals have fallen considerably since 2019’s winter surge of January and early February.  

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 128 days of 2019 are at 443 individuals – or almost three-fourths of the 620 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (See chart below).

Mediterranean Developments

IOM Italy 

According to IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo, citing official Ministry of Interior figures, 873 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy in 2019.  That total, through four months, is less than the total recorded for almost any single month between January 2016 and (see chart below) and November 2018, as well as during all the months of 2014 and 2015. 

That arrival total compares with the 1,578 migrants returned to Libya through 8 May, according to IOM Libya. 

IOM Spain 

IOM Spain’s Ana Dodevska reported on Thursday (9/05) that sea arrivals in the Western Mediterranean are now at 7,202 men, women and children through 8 May. While that is almost 2,000 more arrivals to Spain through this same time last year, the IOM office notes that more than half of 2019’s arrivals landed in the year’s first 31 days, and more than two thirds within the year’s first 60 days (see chart below). Daily arrivals through the end of February averaged 85 men, women and children. During March, April and the first week of May, daily averages have dropped to just over 30 per day. 

IOM Greece

IOM Greece’s Christine Nikolaidou reported on Thursday (9/05) that from Friday (03/05) up to date, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least four incidents requiring search and rescue operation off the islands of Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Alexandroupoli and Kos. The HCG rescued a total of 163 migrants and transferred them to the respective ports. 

Those arrivals were among some 292 IOM recorded during those days, bringing to 7,839 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart below). 

* Unofficial data collected by IOM Greece and the Greek authorities of arrivals by sea. 


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 31,821 individuals, including 878 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.   

This past week was marked by several tragedies in the Eastern and Western Mediterranean, in which at least 33 people lost their lives. In the Aegean Sea, a shipwreck on 3 May cost the lives of 12 Afghans when the boat in which they were travelling capsized off the coast of island of Ciplak, in Turkey’s province of Balikesir. The remains of four women and five children were recovered from the water by the Turkish Coast Guard, while three people remain missing. Five survivors were rescued and brought back to mainland Turkey.  

In the Western Mediterranean, the Spanish NGO Caminando Fronteras reported that several shipwrecks took place between 22 April and 8 May. Four people fell overboard and drowned on 22 April in the Gibraltar Strait, off the coast of Fnideq, as reported by the nine survivors rescued by the Moroccan Navy.  

During that same period, on 2 May, a pregnant woman drowned after the boat in which she was travelling with four others sank off the coast of Cap Espartel, Tangiers. On the same day, four people lost their lives in the Gibraltar Strait, while eight were rescued and brought back to Morocco.  

On 4 May, the body of a 21-year-old Senegalese woman was recovered one mile south of the Port of Algeciras, in the Spanish province of Cádiz. Her brother, who lives in Málaga, was able to identify her. On 8 May, a boat in which 26 people were trying to reach mainland Spain capsized near the beach of Conil de la Frontera, Cádiz. A woman tragically drowned before the Guardia Civil could reach the boat and rescue those on board, and survivors reported that a child went missing.  

Additionally, the NGO Alarm Phone reported that a boat sank on 1 May. The NGO received an alert in the early morning of 30 April, reporting that 12 people were missing after having left Morocco earlier that night. Alarm Phone informed authorities in Spain and Morocco and a search and rescue operation was launched. However, the boat was only found in the afternoon of 1 May. At that time, eight people had already fallen overboard and drowned. A woman died during the rescue operation, but her body could not be recovered. The NGO was able to speak with one of the three survivors on 2 May, who informed them that the people who drowned were from Senegal. 

In Morocco, the NGO Alarm Phone Sahara shared an update regarding the vehicle accident which took place on 27 April near Oujda. New information indicates that 21 people lost their lives in this tragic accident, including 14 nationals of Côte d’Ivoire, three Malians and two Senegalese. The remains of two people have not been identified. Several women are among the dead, as well as a father who is survived by his two children.  

On the US-Mexico border, the Missing Migrants Project team continued to investigate reports that several people from Ecuador went missing on the night of 13 April in the Río Bravo. The NGO 1800migrante has reported that three survivors have been located, in the custody of the US Border Patrol, while three bodies have been recovered from the Río Grande: the remains of Luis Oswaldo Quezada Aguilar were retrieved from the banks of the Río Bravo near Nuevo Laredo on 19 April, while the body of Héctor Leonardo González Godoy was found nearby on 24 April. On 5 May, US authorities recovered the remains of Myrian Alicia Paguay Mejía from the river near Nuevo Laredo.  

Another tragedy was reported in the Río Bravo on 1 May: a family of four drowned when trying to cross to the US. Only the body of the youngest child, just 10 months old, was found at the time. A few days later, the body of a seven-year-old child was recovered from the banks of the river. A father and a girl remain missing. The remains of two more people, not connected to this incident, were found in Tamaulipas and Coahuila on 6 and 8 May. These latest tragedies bring to 22 the number of lives lost recorded by the MMP team in the Río Bravo since the beginning of this year. Nineteen of these deaths took place since 1 April.  

On 4 May, a 30-year-old from Honduras – identified solely as “Dagoberto” – died trying to climb onto a freight train near Calzada Ignacio Zaragoza, in Colonia Tepeyac, Puebla, Mexico. His death was the 10th by train this year. 

In total, at least 262 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 171 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 10, 2019 - 16:36Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Documentary Tells Story of Memorial Created by Women Victims of Sexual Violence in Colombian Armed Conflict

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/10/2019 - 10:54

Bogotá – IOM Colombia supported the production of Fragmentos, el documental (Fragments, the Documentary). The short film tells the story of the creation of the memorial Fragmentos out of 37 tons of weapons voluntarily surrendered by the former guerrilla FARC-EP, in fulfillment of their commitments to the Peace Accord. The memorial was created by women victims of sexual violence.  

The documentary not only accounts of the collection and smelting of the rifles used by the guerilla group, but also traces the experience of the women victims who forged the metal molds for the project. “It’s a metaphor for how fire can transform things,” said Spanish journalist Mayte Carrasco, director of the documentary. 

The ‘counter-monument’ is the work of Colombian artist and activist Doris Salcedo, who invited a group of women who were victims of sexual violence in the context of the armed conflict, to shape the floor tiles, which are made of cast weapons.  

For days, this group of survivors developed the design that would symbolize an end to the power these weapons had over them. “This work is not monumental, nor does it monumentalize or tell a grandiose story. Beauty had to be eliminated in this work. It seemed immoral to give beauty to weapons, that's why I refused to make a monument; this is a ‘counter-monument’. You cannot glorify violence, you have to criticize it,” Salcedo explained.  

“Weapons are no longer over us, now we tread on them and so we tread on pain. For days, we hammered this metal to mark the symbolic end of the relationship of power imposed by weapons,” commented a woman from the Network of Women Victims and Professionals, who supported this development.  

The participation of survivors of sexual violence in this piece is part of the symbolic reparation, recognition and non-repetition that is necessary for the peace-building and reconciliation process that is taking place in Colombia after the signing of the Peace Accord. 

Fragmentos, el documental has been circulating at film festivals around the world. On 22 March it was presented in Malaga, Spain and on 14 April in Mecal, at the Barcelona International Short and Animation Festival. At the end of April, it was screened at the Busan International Documentary Festival in the Republic of Korea and on 3 May at the Bogotá International Book Fair. It is hoped that this documentary will continue to be screened at festivals to project the voices of women victims of sexual violence. 

Through this documentary, IOM seeks to raise awareness at the global level on the opportunities created by peace processes, such as the one in Colombia, which put an end to nearly 50 years of armed conflict between the FARC-EP and the State. The conflict contributed to the internal displacement of over 7 million persons – heading the list globally, ahead of Syria and Iraq – according to official figures from the Unit for Integrated Attention and Reparation for Victims. 

“Documentary cinema is a tool for telling stories that have happened or are happening, through characters that exist or have existed within the plot, in order to educate, sensitize and generate debate,” said Ana Durán, IOM Chief of Mission in Colombia. 

She added, “This is the case of Fragmentos, a documentary that generates a special empathy in the public for the issues it addresses, and the message of reconciliation, forgiveness and peace it projects. It is in this spirit that IOM has supported Fragmentos as an educational and social mobilization tool.”  

The documentary was made possible thanks to the support of the National Museum of Colombia and IOM, as well as the financial contribution of the Canadian Embassy in Colombia. 

It is permanently projected in the Fragmentos space for art and contemporary memory in Bogotá, a memorial that marks the end of the armed conflict with the FARC-EP. 

Watch the trailer of the documentary at:   

For further information please contact Emmanuel Fontalvo, Email:; Karen Mora, Tel. + (57) 1 639 7777, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 10, 2019 - 16:55Image: Region-Country: ColombiaThemes: Gender and MigrationMigration and genderDefault: Multimedia: 

Women hammering the molds that shaped the fragment slabs.  Photo: IOM/Juan Fernando Castro

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migrants in Yemen Languish in Detention as Ramadan Begins

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 11:06

Aden - Some 3,000 migrants continue to be held in two temporary detention sites in Yemen's Aden and Abyan governorates. Among those detained are Ethiopian nationals, many practicing Muslims, who are embarking on thirty days of Ramadan fasting while detained.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has been providing clean water and emergency food at the 22nd of May Stadium in Aden where nearly 2,500 migrants are detained. 

On 21 April, authorities in Yemen began detaining nearly 5,000 irregular migrants in two sports stadiums and a military camp in the Aden, Abyan and Lahj governorates. The detainees predominately are Ethiopians, who entered Yemen to seek livelihoods and opportunities on the Arabian Peninsula.   

On Friday (03/05), IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) teams confirmed that 2,473 migrants remain under detention in Aden’s 22nd May Stadium. Of those, the DTM determined 873 are children.  

Since last week’s headcount, more people have been brought to that site. An estimated 500 migrants are also being held in a second sports stadium in Abyan. 

At the stadium in Aden, IOM is combatting the spread of communicable disease by providing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and health services. Between 26 April and 5 May, IOM has conducted over 1,800 health consultations and rehabilitated 30 latrines. 

In recent days, more than 1,400 people detained at the military camp in Lahj reportedly were released.  IOM is making efforts to confirm the locations and wellbeing of all migrants released in Lahj, particularly because some had been suffering from acute watery diarrhea (AWD).  

At Lahj’s Ibn Khaldoon Hospital, IOM is treating more than 70 former detainees with AWD in its newly-opened diarrhea treatment centre. Tragically, since Wednesday (01/05), 14 migrants have perished from the illness

Twenty-three-year-old Abdi* comes from a farming family in the Oromia region of Ethiopia. As Ramadan commences, he wishes he could go home, or anywhere rather than stay in detention in the sports stadium in Aden. 

“I wanted to come to an Arabian country to make my life better than my parents’, but when I arrived here [in Yemen] they caught me and brought me to this place,” said Abdi, who left his home just over a month ago without telling his parents.  

Starting his journey with only 2,000 birr [USD 70], he eventually he arrived in Djibouti, where he called his parents explaining he needed funds, some 11,000 birr [USD 380], to continue his journey. His parents sold a cow. He said he knew he would perish in the desert without a smuggler to help him complete this “hard journey.” 

*Name changed to protect identity   

IOM remains extremely concerned for the people being held in inhumane conditions in Aden and Abyan. Alongside humanitarian partners, IOM is providing lifesaving services, while engaging with authorities to advocate for the release of those detained.  

Thousands of migrants are stranded in other locations throughout Yemen. From Sana'a starting this past Monday, IOM intends to move a total of 327 Ethiopian migrants to Addis Ababa, under IOM’s voluntary humanitarian return (VHR).  

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


Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 17:02Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Some 3000 migrants are detained in temporary detention sites in Yemen, many of whom are fasting for Ramadan. Photo: Olivia Headon / IOM 2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Art Meets Migration: Mirage of Hope Exhibition Opens in Tunisia

PBN News Germany - Tue, 05/07/2019 - 11:02

Tunis – “In art, no borders,” said Victor Hugo. 

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Centre for Culture and Arts opened the Mirage d'espoir (Mirage of Hope) exhibition this past weekend (03/05), which continues through 2 June at Palais El Abdelliya.  

This contemporary art exhibition is part of an IOM Tunisia initiative to present art merged with migration as a pluralistic phenomenon. 

To this end, the Mirage d'espoir project was conceived as a Mediterranean encounter and a linkage among the artistic identities of migrants and migration.  

In order to create a dynamic of sharing and exchange, Michela Margherita Sarti, curator of the exhibition, gathered 13 artists representing, besides Tunisia, 10 Mediterranean countries as part of an artistic residency which took place at the Sadika art space in Tunis from 1 to 15 April. The residency produced works addressing the theme of migration through different approaches. 

Artists participating in the project included: Austin Cammileri (Malta); Gulin Hayat Topdemir (Turkey); Lisa Perini (Italy); Marianne Catzaras (Greece); Michela Margherita Sarti (Tunisia/Italy); Mohammed Elouanti (Morocco); Nacho Martin Gomez (Spain); Omar Bey (Tunisia); Teresa Carneiro (Portugal); The Yellow Man (Algeria); Wael Darweich (Egypt); Walid Ardhaoui (Tunisia) and Yves Gobart (France).  

A workshop for students of fine arts and young artists also took place during the residency to create a space for reflection and debate on the place of migration in art on the one hand, as well as to offer aspiring artists an opportunity to work alongside internationally recognized professional artists. 

The exhibition’s opening in La Marsa was attended by artists, patrons, partners and friends of IOM. 

For more information, please contact Paola Pace, IOM Tunisia, Tel: +216 29 566 934, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, May 7, 2019 - 16:54Image: Region-Country: TunisiaThemes: OthersDefault: Multimedia: 

Poster for Mirage d'espoir (Mirage of Hope) Exhibition. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Aid Arriving to Northern Mozambique in Wake of Cyclone Kenneth

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 10:39

Pemba, Cabo Delgado — Cyclone Kenneth—the second devastating blow to Mozambique in six weeks following Cyclone Idai—has displaced around 21,000 people in northern Mozambique into accommodation centres, while others have gone to stay with host families. The Government of Mozambique estimates Cyclone Kenneth has affected more than 200,000, now one week after its landfall. 

“When the cyclone first hit, in the heavy rain and wind, the entire settlement around our house started to slide away. We ran for our lives. Everything that we had, our home and belongings are gone, all gone,” said Maria Semao from the Shibwabar neighborhood here. Semao and her family now are staying at an accommodation site arranged by local officials. “We can’t go back,” she explained. “The area is ruined and destroyed. The land is unsafe – it has slid away. We await resettlement to a different area.” 

In close coordination with the Government of Mozambique’s Disaster Management Agency (INGC) and local actors, IOM already has begun providing assistance. On Matemo Island, where few buildings are left standing, shelter kits are critically needed to assist affected families. A stock of 200 shelter kits provided by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) was delivered yesterday to Matemo Island, where it was distributed immediately. Four hundred more kits are scheduled to arrive for distribution today.  

The materials received yesterday (2 May), are part of two airlifts of relief material comprising over 1,600 shelter kits received at Pemba airport via UK DFID. These are the first of a total of six flights, set to deliver a total of 6,650 shelter kits and 100 tents providing shelter support to affected communities.  

The DFID shelter kits – each including two tarpaulins and a rope – will enable families to create basic shelters. They are to be distributed with the INGC and local government agencies. The tarpaulins are bound for Pemba city, Ibo Island, Macomia district, Mucojo coastal area and other heavily affected areas. 

“The United Kingdom is delighted to work with IOM. Their capacity and networks will mean that shelter will get to those in most urgent need quickly,” said Cate Turton, Director of UK DFID Mozambique, who is in Pemba.  

One week after Cyclone Kenneth, ongoing rains and flooding have compounded the destruction across northern Mozambique. More than 21,000 houses are totally destroyed and an additional 13,000 houses are partially destroyed, according to UN OCHA.

Sadly, the tropical cyclone is known to have killed more than 40 people in Mozambique, according to the INGC. 

IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Katharina Schnoering is in Pemba to support the relief operation. “The damage caused by Cyclone Kenneth is unspeakable,” she said. “The area is heavily affected; thousands of families are displaced with their homes and livelihoods destroyed. The lives of survivors continue to be at risk, as there are immediate needs for food, shelter, and clean water. Additional humanitarian support is urgently required.”  

She continued: “Under the leadership of the Government of Mozambique and local actors, IOM is quickly responding to assist some of the most vulnerable families. This is the beginning of our support to Cabo.” 

A team of IOM staff is on the ground to support the response. IOM staff Magnus Wolfe Murray, UN Shelter Cluster Coordinator in Cabo Delgado, the northernmost coastal province of Mozambique said, “Upon receipt, relief supplies are being immediately sent out to affected areas. Additional flights of relief supplies are expected in the coming days, including tarpaulins, rope and blankets.” 

“With the Government and INGC in the lead, local philanthropists, civil society and private sector agencies in Cabo Delgado are working together in a consortium, providing a well-organized and effective response to support affected families. The response by IOM and humanitarian agencies will reinforce these efforts,” concluded Murray. 

IOM has a long-term presence in the area, 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 further information please contact IOM Mozambique:  
Katharina Schnoering, Email: 
Sandra Black, Tel: +258 852 162 278, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, May 3, 2019 - 16:35Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

Shelter kits are unloaded from a relief flight at Pemba airport on 2 May in northern Mozambique, to support Cyclone Kenneth response. Photo: IOM

Shelter kits are unloaded from a relief flight at Pemba airport on 2 May in northern Mozambique, to support Cyclone Kenneth response. Photo: IOM

Shelter kits are unloaded from a relief flight at Pemba airport on 2 May in northern Mozambique, to support Cyclone Kenneth response.  Photo: IOM

Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UK Government, Partners Propose Steps to Accelerate Refugee Employment

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 10:34

Companies can take simple steps to employ more refugees and enable them to better integrate in the UK and contribute to economy 

London – Refugees are underrepresented in the UK workforce and a great opportunity for them to contribute to growth and better integrate in the country is being missed, according to new guidelines released today by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), Business in the Community (BITC) and UK Government. 

Tapping Potential: Guidelines to Help UK Businesses Employ Refugees sets out simple steps that companies can take to enable refugees to more seamlessly enter the workforce and build their skills, benefiting companies and the national economy.  

“More inclusive communities and workforces frequently report increased socioeconomic benefits,” said Dipti Pardeshi, IOM Chief of Mission in the UK.  “It’s not only about refugees learning about life here in Britain. To have inclusive societies and workforces, employers can also make strides to better understand refugees and identify beneficial employment opportunities, both for companies and refugees themselves.”   

Refugees want to become self-supporting and contribute to their new communities. They are, however, often hampered by poor understanding of language and business practices, non-recognition of their qualifications, and sometimes the impact of their experiences before reaching safety in the UK. There are measures that can be taken to support refugees into employment. These include: adapting recruitment and interview processes to put refugees at ease; recognizing experience and qualifications from abroad; offering integrated English language workplace training; ‘buddying’ and training in workplace culture; ensuring equal progression opportunities for part-time and flexible workers; and creating apprenticeships, traineeships or voluntary schemes to allow refugees to add skills and qualifications, or adapt their experience to new sectors.  

“There is huge capacity for refugees to contribute to the UK economy, either by better leveraging the skills they already have or helping them add new skills,” said Rossella Pagliuchi-Lor, UNHCR’s UK Representative. “There really is untapped potential here that could be a boon for the local economy, and at the same time a powerful vehicle for better integration.”  

UNHCR estimates there are 120,000 refugees in the UK. Refugees have the right to work here, and doing so helps them build self-reliance and contribute to the economy. They represent a range of nationalities and backgrounds that could diversify business culture and attract new talent. Yet they are struggling to enter and progress in the labour market. According to a recent study, the UK unemployment rate of people who originally came to the UK as refugees is 18 per cent, three times that of the UK-born population. Meanwhile, UK employers are struggling to fill roles, particularly entry-level jobs. Yet many refugees are also ready to take on skilled roles; almost half held qualifications before coming to the UK, and many have previous experience as professionals. 

Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes said: “The UK is committed to supporting refugees as they rebuild their lives here, including with opportunities in the workplace. Employing refugees can bring great benefits to businesses, individuals and communities. These practical guidelines highlight the crucial role for the private sector, in partnership with Government and others, in helping refugees across the country find work.” 

Minister of State for Employment Alok Sharma added: “Employers are missing out on a pool of untapped talent by potentially ruling out opening work opportunities to those who have been granted refugee status in the UK. Part of creating an inclusive society is ensuring everyone has equal access to work, which is why the Government is committed to supporting disadvantaged groups into employment. As the UK’s workforce continues to diversify, more businesses are recognizing the value it brings and these guidelines will help fuel our record employment.” 

Companies report that employing refugees has a positive impact on their own workforces, including better cultural awareness and diversity, reduction of unconscious bias and the addition of new skills and thinking. This comes as more citizens are looking to businesses to act as forces for positive change in the community. 

Nicola Inge, BITC’s Employment Campaign Director, said: “Responsible businesses are already offering refugee-friendly employment through preparing refugees for the workplace, removing barriers in recruitment and providing an inclusive environment to employees. These new guidelines will help even more employers to make practical changes and discover the benefits of employing refugees – whether it’s meeting talent shortages, improving employee engagement or increasing diversity.” 

The release provides case-studies from employers that have initiated programmes to clear the path for refugees into employment. Waitrose & Partners, the retailer, is offering work placements to resettled Syrian refugees in partnership with BITC’s Ready for Work programme. It gives participants training to prepare for the workplace, followed by a two-week work placement and post-placement support. Grant Thornton, the professional services firm, is working with the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales to explore how they can support individuals with accountancy qualifications not currently recognized in the UK. The furniture group IKEA has funded 122 refugees to receive employability support from Breaking Barriers; so far 30 refugees have gained employment at stores across London. 

John Pettigrew, National Grid CEO, said: “We recognize the added value that refugees bring to our company through their wealth of expertise and skills, which ensure we have the best minds in the world to meet the needs of our customers and bill payers. Integrating more refugees into the UK workforce is not only the right thing to do, it makes business sense. Increasing refugee employment means the UK not only gains the additional economic benefits of their work but improved community cohesion too.”   

The partners who drew up the Guidelines are working with the Refugee Employment Network, a recently established umbrella group of organizations supporting refugees into work. 

About the Guidelines 

The Guidelines were drawn up by IOM, UNHCR, BITC, the Home Office and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP). They were developed in late 2018 and 2019. As well as offering tips to foster employment and prepare companies to hire refugees, they provide guidance to employers on the rules and regulations covering employing refugees, and their right to work. The release provides links to private partnerships and NGOs working in the area as well as an annex on immigration status and work entitlements. It also references a 10-point Action Plan from UNHCR and the OECD from regional dialogues with employers to inspire policy action and increase coordination among employers, governments, civil society actors and refugees to help society make the most of refugees’ skills and experience. The document will be distributed to employers across the UK and made available on the websites of the organizers. The Refugee Employment Network was established in 2018 and has a membership of over 80 refugee integration support organizations across the UK. Their membership supports refugees in the UK to be able to access appropriate, fulfilling, paid employment or self-employment. They also work to set best practice guidelines and offer support to organizations to attain these standards. UNHCR is hosting a launch event in Canary Wharf London on May 2, 2019. Media interested in attending should contact

For more information please contact:  
IOM:  Abby Dwommoh, Email:, Tel: 020 7811 6060 
UNHCR: Matthew Saltmarsh, Email:, Tel: 07880 230 985 
BITC: Cathy Beveridge, Email:, Tel: 020 7566 6634 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 3, 2019 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

New Guidelines sets out simple steps that companies in UK can take to enable refugees to more seamlessly enter the workforce. Photo: IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM To Relocate Internally Displaced Persons at Risk of Eviction in Baidoa

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 10:32

Baidoa—Internally displaced migrants—of whom there are millions across Africa—are a social challenge, and not merely because they require shelter and services. Their presence may also create tension across poor communities, often because as many do establish temporary homes to live in, they raise conflicts of over land tenure and their very right to remain in place. 

Consider the city of Baidoa, in Somalia’s southwestern Bay region, where thousands of internally displaced persons are under constant threat of eviction. Baidoa currently hosts more than 323,000 displaced people, many of whom live on private land without secure tenure agreements.  

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has joined an effort to provide a more durable solution to displacement in Baidoa by planning to relocate some 24,000 IDPs at risk of eviction to public sites in coming months. One crucial early step: the South-West State has provided public land to humanitarian partners, coordinated by the Camp Coordination and Camp Management Cluster, for development and subsequent relocation of displaced families who find themselves at risk of eviction.  

“This effort by the authorities in Baidoa and South-West State is vital to ensuring that displaced people in Baidoa live in dignified conditions until they wish to return to their home areas, or integrate into the local community,” said Rainer Gonzalez, IOM’s Senior Programmes Coordinator.  

Maalim Osman, a community leader, agreed. ‘‘I came to Baidoa a year and a half ago and I have been evicted twice—while still facing the same risk,” he explained. “Every night as I sleep on my makeshift shelter, I worry a lot – not on where the next meal will come from, but when the next eviction will be.”  

According to the Housing, Land and Property Sub- Cluster, more than 11,900 individuals were evicted in Baidoa without proper notice this year just between January and March. The rise in cases of evictions have been attributed to sprawling urbanization. The turmoil also contributes to a spike in local demand which in turn raises the value of Baidoa’s accessible land.  

An eviction risk assessment conducted in February by humanitarian partners revealed that 48 out of the 391 IDP sites hosting 5,170 households in Baidoa were at very high risk of eviction and 117 IDP sites hosting 12,697 households were at high risk.  Discussions and community consultations were held with the local leaders and communities from these 48 IDP sites in Baidoa town to identify those who would be interested in being relocated. 

Of the 48 IDP sites involved, residents from 15 of them showed willingness to be relocated.  

This latest effort began last October when IOM received funding support from European Civil Protection And Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID) and the United States Government’s Office of Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA). Together with those stakeholders, IOM launched development of this donated land in partnership with UN HABITAT and Baidoa municipal authorities.  

On 7 April, IOM along with other partners and government representatives, accompanied community representatives from the 15 IDP sites to the public site for a “Go and See visit”. Communities were shown the site and services available, including the security posts, plot sizes, water collection points, and lockable household latrines. “Relocation is voluntary,” said IOM’s Kathryn Ziga, a camp management consultant. “If they like what they see, they can decide to move.” 

Osman, for one, is ready. “Today, as I stand here at the public site, my worry is over. I can’t wait to settle on a plot to call home and my own.’’  

For more information please contact: Jan Van ‘T Land, Programme Support Unit IOM Somalia. Tel.: +254 705 832 020. Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 3, 2019 - 16:29Image: Region-Country: SomaliaThemes: Internally Displaced PersonsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM distraught over killings of migrant women in Cyprus 

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 10:28

Nicosia - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is deeply saddened by the recent news regarding a series of killings in Cyprus targeting young migrant women and girls and regrets the terrible loss of life. 

Migrants, particularly migrant women, often find themselves in situations of vulnerability. These shocking revelations highlight the need for strengthened capacity to provide protection and support to migrants and victims of violence, as well as strategies to combat the exploitation of migrant workers.   

Further cooperative efforts are also needed to enhance inclusion and promote integration of migrants into local society and to enable receiving communities to harness the positive contributions that migrants make.  

For more information please contact IOM Cyprus, at Tel: +357 22 77 22 70, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, May 3, 2019 - 16:27Image: Region-Country: CyprusThemes: Gender and MigrationDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 16,806 in 2019; Deaths Reach 410

PBN News Germany - Fri, 05/03/2019 - 10:26

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) reports that 16,806 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea through 1 May, roughly a 25 per cent decrease from the 22,439 arriving during the same period last year. Arrivals to both Spain and Greece are each between 7,500 and 8,000 individuals, with the balance arriving in much smaller numbers this year to Italy, Malta and Cyprus. Arrivals to Greece are lower in 2019 than those at this time last year. Arrivals to Spain are higher, although Spain’s totals have fallen considerably since the surge of January and early February.  

Deaths recorded on the three main Mediterranean Sea routes through 120 days of 2019 are at 410 individuals – or about two-thirds of the 616 deaths confirmed during the same period in 2018 (see chart below). 

IOM Italy 

According to IOM Rome’s Flavio Di Giacomo, citing official Ministry of Interior figures, 812 migrants have arrived by sea to Italy in 2019.  That total, through four months, is less than the total recorded for almost any single month between January 2016 and (see chart below) and November 2018, as well as during all the months of 2014 and 2015.

IOM Greece’s Christine  Nikolaidou said on Thursday (2/05) that over the past week, since 25 April, the Hellenic Coast Guard (HCG) reported at least ten incidents requiring search and rescue operations off the islands of Chios, Lesvos, Samos, Farmakonisi and Sifnos. The HCG rescued a total of 190 migrants and transferred them to those respective ports. 

Those arrivals were among some 175 IOM recorded during those days, bringing to 7,547 the total number of sea arrivals to Greece this year (see chart below). 

Arrivals by sea

* Unofficial data collected by IOM Greece and the Greek authorities of arrivals by sea. 


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 31,776 individuals, including 817 in 2019 (see chart below), although 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 Morocco, 18 people from sub-Saharan Africa were killed in a car accident on Saturday (27/04) after their car fell into a canal while travelling from Saida to Nador. Another 28 were injured, including two men with serious injuries who were transferred to the university hospital in Oujda Saturday evening. Reports from the Moroccan Association for Human Rights in Nador indicate that several women are among the dead, as well as a father who is survived by his two children. In Ceuta, the Spanish enclave in Northern Africa, a 24-year-old Moroccan man died from his wounds after being stabbed in the Port of Ceuta on 29 April. He had just crossed the border two days before with the aim of reaching mainland Spain. He leaves behind five siblings and his parents.  

At least 53 people have lost their lives during migration across the Americas in April, including 23 Venezuelans who drowned on 24 April while attempting to sail to Trinidad and Tobago. Another 21 people have died attempting to cross the United States-Mexico border in April. Most recently, five people drowned in different areas of the Rio Grande/Río Bravo: the remains of an unidentified person were recovered on the US side of the border, near Eagle Pass, while the remains of four men were retrieved by Mexican civil protection authorities near Nuevo Laredo, Tamaulipas and Piedras Negras, Coahuila. On 25 April, a 54-year-old Mexican man was killed in a car accident while being pursued by the US Border Patrol in California. A few days later, the body of a man was found inside a freight train in the Eagle Pass train station, in Texas – it is believed he died inside a train carriage crushed by cargo.  

Additionally, nine people lost their lives while transiting through Central America and Mexico during the month of April. A 31-year-old Honduran man died of unknown causes on 23 April while travelling in the migrant caravan in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas. Another three Honduran men who were migrating as part of the caravan were shot and killed in Tabasco, Mexico, on the same day. On 26 April, a Guatemalan man died in a hospital in Calpulalpan, Mexico from injuries he suffered in a car accident which took place on the Federal Highway México-Veracruz, near Hueyotlipan, Tlaxcala, Mexico. Fifteen others were injured but survived the crash. A 23-year-old man from El Salvador died of a heart attack while riding on top of a freight train on 28 April.  

In total, at least 240 people have lost their lives in the Americas in 2019, compared with 163 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

See chart 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 3, 2019 - 16:00Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migrants Die While Detained in Inhumane Conditions in Yemen

PBN News Germany - Thu, 05/02/2019 - 12:31

Aden—The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is alarmed by reports of migrants dying of preventable illnesses, being shot and suffering other inhumane treatment in makeshift detention centres in Yemen, now in its fifth year of conflict.

IOM is monitoring the conditions of some 5,000 migrants from the Horn of Africa held across three sites –-two sports stadiums and a military camp--in Yemen’s Aden, Lahj and Abyan governorates.

IOM learned yesterday (01/05) that at least eight migrants died from complications related to acute watery diarrhea (AWD) at the Ibn Khaldoon Hospital in Lahj governorate. Those migrants—predominantly Ethiopian—had been held at a military camp in Lahj where more than 1,400 people are detained. Authorities at the camp report they have detected at least 200 AWD cases. IOM is establishing a diarrhea treatment centre at Ibn Khaldoon Hospital, which is currently struggling to treat 53 AWD cases, including eight severe cases.

This morning, 14 migrants with signs of AWD were brought to Aden’s 22nd of May stadium where IOM is providing critical life saving assistance. IOM’s health team, who has carried out over 1,000 health consultations at the site since 26 April, acted fast to ensure the patients were evacuated to a nearby hospital.

In Geneva, Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies said, “I am deeply saddened by the deaths of these eight migrants, who were among the thousands of migrants being held in deplorable conditions across Yemen. We have decried this policy to the authorities, urging them to take a humane approach to irregular migration.”

IOM’s team in Aden became aware of the mass arrest and detention of thousands of migrants on 21 April and their detention in cramped buildings, not fit for human inhabitation. Abdiker noted these migrants, “at best, have only limited access to basic services or protection.”

On Tuesday (30/04), guards fired on migrants detained at the Aden sports stadium, two of whom suffered gunshot wounds, leaving a teenage boy likely paralyzed for life. That, Abdiker said, “demonstrates the inability of authorities to care for the expanding detained population as well as the immediate need to have a dedicated civilian authority humanely managing these sites. Our teams could see that without ensuring immediate access to sufficient food, clean water, safe sanitation and medical attention, a catastrophe was waiting to unfold.”

Abdiker added: “IOM stands ready to support Yemen and other regional partners to identify sustainable responses to irregular migration, which do not involve the shortsighted abuse of vulnerable migrants and fully respects international law.”

“I am greatly concerned that this dire situation will further deteriorate,” he concluded. “Our team on the ground has been making strides with local advocacy among the different levels of government. However, it is time to see these words turned into action that puts an end to this abuse before more innocent lives are lost.”

For more information please contact Olivia Headon in Aden. Tel: +967 730 552 233. Email: 

Language English Posted: Thursday, May 2, 2019 - 12:25Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: Multimedia: 

Detained migrants treated  by IOM's health team in the 22nd of May Stadium where over 2,500 people are being held. Photo: Headon/IOM 2019

Detained migrants treated  by IOM's health team in the 22nd of May Stadium where over 2,500 people are being held. Photo: Headon/IOM 2019

Stadium. Photo: Headon/IOM 2019

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mobile App Aids Detection of Human Trafficking at Sea

PBN News Germany - Tue, 04/30/2019 - 11:23

Jakarta – A new mobile app developed by IOM Indonesia provides frontline law enforcement with a powerful tool to quickly detect victims of human trafficking in the fisheries sector.

The simple app provides a list of 21 questions in multiple languages, allowing investigators to gather information directly from non-Indonesian crew rather than having to rely on the word of a vessel’s captain who may have reason to mislead them about the crew’s status and wellbeing.

Human trafficking and labour exploitation are widespread in the global fisheries. The issue is of concern within the context of migration because so many victims are foreigners who have been trafficked across international borders.

Between 2011 and 2018, nearly 2,000 fisheries workers were rescued from traffickers operating in Indonesian waters, according to IOM data. Virtually all of them were migrants, mainly from Cambodia and Myanmar.

The development of the app follows five years of close collaboration between IOM and the Ministry of Maritime Affairs and Fisheries (KKP) to tackle trafficking in persons on fishing boats operating in Indonesian, according to IOM Indonesia’s Chief of Mission ad interim, Dejan Micevski.

“IOM has supported the KKP and the Task Force for Eradicating Illegal Fishing (Task Force 115) since its formation in 2015.  With the documented nexus between illegal fishing and forced labour, Task Force 115 has been remarkably successful in combating the growing problem of trafficking in persons, human smuggling and forced labour in the fisheries sector,” he said.

The collaboration saw high profile rescues between November 2014 and October 2015 of 1,342 enslaved crew members, in Benjina, Ambon (Maluku) and Pontianak (West Kalimantan). Most had been at sea for years working without pay under brutal conditions aboard foreign vessels reflagged to operate in Indonesia. IOM helped to identify the victims and provided temporary shelter, health services and daily subsistence support until they were able to return home.

The app’s survey is designed to indicate within three minutes whether a fisheries worker may be a trafficking victim by asking about an individual’s age, contractual status, living and working conditions on the vessel, and any restrictions on his or her movement or ability to communicate with others.

If the initial identification process suggests that trafficking may have occurred, individuals are put through a more comprehensive on-shore screening developed by KKP and IOM.   

Rescued victims of trafficking will be assisted after the KKP determines their basic needs, including legal, medical and return and reintegration support.

The mobile app was developed with funding from the US State Department’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).   

For more information please contact Among Resi at IOM Indonesia. Tel: +62.2157951275, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 17:23Image: Region-Country: IndonesiaThemes: Human SmugglingDefault: Multimedia: 

In March 2015, the Government of Indonesia rescued hundreds of crew from conditions of modern slavery aboard foreign fishing vessels. IOM helped to identify the victims of trafficking, provided shelter, health and catering services and ultimately organized the safe return home of all of the men including these Myanmar nationals. Photo: Ed Wray/IOM Indonesia

The mobile app is designed to help Indonesia officials identify cases of human trafficking at sea. Photo: IOM

In March 2015, the Government of Indonesia rescued hundreds of crew from conditions of modern slavery aboard foreign fishing vessels. IOM helped to identify the victims of trafficking, provided shelter, health and catering services and ultimately organized the safe return home of all of the men including these Myanmar nationals. Photo: Ed Wray/IOM Indonesia

In March 2015, the Government of Indonesia rescued hundreds of crew from conditions of modern slavery aboard foreign fishing vessels. IOM helped to identify the victims of trafficking, provided shelter, health and catering services and ultimately organized the safe return home of all of the men including these Myanmar nationals. Photo: Ed Wray/IOM Indonesia

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Report on Indigenous Migration from Venezuela to Brazil

PBN News Germany - Tue, 04/30/2019 - 11:23

Brazil – This decade’s flow of Venezuelans from their homeland remains Latin America’s most important migration event, and one of the region’s most compelling human mobility stories of all time. Approximately 3.7 million Venezuelans have left their country during the last four, including hundreds of indigenous people.  

 This population—its characteristics and specific needs—is now the focus of an important new publication from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

 The report, Legal Aspects of Assisting Venezuelans Indigenous Migrants in Brazil, represents the first comprehensive effort at identifying these migrants. It also combines an extensive needs assessment of the Warao people, indigenous migrants who have left Venezuela by land, as well as of those of other indigenous peoples in Northern Brazil, and federal and local authorities in Brasilia, Boa Vista and Pacaraima.  

 Research leader, Erika Yamada—who serves as chairperson of the UN Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples—emphasizes that “although indigenous migration is not something new, the current flow of Venezuelans calls the attention of public authorities and civil society leaders to the need to create public policy and legislation aiming to protect this specific population.” 

 Thus, IOM’s approach spans three fields of intervention: human rights, indigenous peoples’ rights, and domestic migration law, focusing how to translate those rights into policies. The report contains 35 recommendations covering seven key-areas: due protection of indigenous migrants, institutional aspects and migration governance, documentation, reception, education, health, and social assistance. 

 Ms. Yamada explained that in 2019 the UN Mechanism on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples will be dedicated to draft recommendations on indigenous people´s rights in the context of borders, migration and displacement. “The situation of indigenous migrants from Venezuela is a case to understand the way the world is dealing with indigenous migrants’ human rights promotion,” she said. 

 The findings of the report are particularly important now, when the recent flows show an increase in indigenous population arriving in Brazil, with a new indigenous people, the Pémon, joining the flow originally composed manly by the Warao people.  

 According to IOM Brazil Chief of Mission, Stéphane Rostiaux, assistance to Venezuelans arriving to Brazil “has been significantly enhanced during the past year.”  

 Good practices, such as the provision of shelters exclusively for indigenous migrants that keep communities together and preserve traditional ways of life may be used as a reference point as other countries deal with indigenous people on the move.  

 The IOM report also highlights the importance of consultation with an indigenous population, which is a cornerstone for developing policies for access to education and health that are culturally sensitive and respectful of indigenous peoples’ right to self-determination. 

 In line with one of the reports’ main recommendation, two executive acts from 2018, exempt Indigenous citizens from Venezuela from the requirement that they present identification documents stating two parents' names after arriving in Brazil, as their native documents originally lack such information.  

Assessing the report Professor Elsa Stamatopoulou, director of the Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program at Columbia University, noted “indigenous people are among the millions migrating within and across countries in the Americas and around the world”. Whether this migration results from forced removal from their traditional lands, persecution and marginalization or extreme poverty, “the human rights of Indigenous migrants, including Indigenous women, are under threat.” 

 She praises the United Nations continued effort to “place focus on these challenges” adding that the “the IOM publication is a valuable addition to the topic of Indigenous People’s migration to respect and protect their rights.” 

 The launching of the English version of the report was possible with the financial support of the Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) of the United States Department of State.  

The report is available in Portuguese (link) and English (link). 

For more information please contact Vitoria Souza at IOM Brasilia, Email:; or Marcelo Torelly, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 17:20Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Indigenous Warao community during IOM workshop in Boa Vista. 

A Warao woman in the Boa Vista shelter for indigenous people. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Solar Energy to Power Humanitarian Hub in Malakal by 2020

PBN News Germany - Tue, 04/30/2019 - 11:20

Juba – Thanks to a new private sector collaboration linking Scandinavia to Sub-Saharan Africa, a Norwegian company will be helping the International Organization for Migration harness solar energy to power a significant part of its ongoing joint humanitarian operations in Malakal, South Sudan, by early next year.

The Norwegian company, Scatec Solar, has selected South Sudan among the first of its locations to pilot projects in humanitarian settings. The company also plans to adapt its business model to ensure the project is amenable to the unique context of humanitarian interventions, which normally are funded annually in response to sudden emergencies. 

Scatec Solar develops, builds and owns solar power plants in emerging markets where the impact potential for solar power is high, including in Egypt, Mozambique, Rwanda and South Africa to name a few. 

“We see that one of the challenges in Africa is that 250 gigawatts of diesel-run generators affect the environment, tend to be inefficient and very costly to run. This is why we believe this project can make a difference in South Sudan,” said Frédéric Grosse, Senior Vice President of Scatec Solar on a recent site visit to Malakal. 

In Malakal, IOM will invest in the initial hardware and installation costs, thanks to funding from the UK’s Department for International Development (DFID). IOM will then lease the batteries and panels for an annual fee for the duration of its operations in Malakal.  

This month, Scatec Solar visited the Malakal site to survey the terrain and begin operations. In coming months, Scatec Solar will install its solar technology at the IOM-managed Humanitarian Hub, which houses the nearly 300 humanitarian workers who provide services to nearly 30,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the nearby Protection of Civilians (PoC) site.  

The partners are anticipating some 1,900 solar panels—capable of creating up to 700-kilowatts of power—will be installed around the perimeter of the Hub by December 2019. The panels absorb solar power during the day and store excess energy to power the Hub after the sun sets. For operators of the Humanitarian Hub, the Scatec Solar project will offer an 80 to 90 per cent reduction in diesel fuel consumption. Diesel not only entails high import and transport costs, its use currently accounts for most of the Hub’s operational expenditures. 

Moreover, a reduction in diesel fuel consumption also will improve the Hub’s environmental footprint, reducing reliance on non-renewable energy and upgrading its technology to provide clean and more efficient energy sources. 

That’s in line with UN Sustainable Development Goal Seven, explained Omar Patan, IOM Project Officer for the Humanitarian Hub, who adds, “Displacement sites can at times transform into villages, so making an investment to have sustainable energy in these locations with hot, sunny environments makes a lot of sense. Furthermore, the equipment can also be relocated or handed over to communities in areas of return.”   

IOM’s Patan also explained that 300 humanitarian workers from 34 organizations will benefit from the project in the short-term. In the longer-term—should people living in the PoC site decide to return home—this same technology may help communities harness the benefits of solar power for their own use. 

This Scatec Solar collaboration will be the second solar project IOM operates in Malakal. The Organization also uses solar power to pump and distribute 500,000 litres of water daily to meet the water needs of PoC and Humanitarian Hub residents. 

For more information, please contact Angela Wells in IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 912 376 902, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 30, 2019 - 17:18Image: Region-Country: South SudanThemes: Migration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

A new collaboration with Scatec Solar will reduce the diesel fuel usage of the IOM-managed Humanitarian Hub in Malakal, South Sudan by 80 to 90 per cent. Photo: IOM/Angela Wells 

A new collaboration with Scatec Solar will reduce the diesel fuel usage of the IOM-managed Humanitarian Hub in Malakal, South Sudan by 80 to 90 per cent. Photo: IOM/Angela Wells 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN