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Updated: 42 min 57 sec ago

IOM Provides Personal Protective Equipment to Two Frequently Used Points of Entry in Vientiane Capital

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 12:57

Lao People’s Democratic Republic – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Department of Immigration, General Department of Public Security, the Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) recently (25-11) handed over personal protective equipment (PPE) to frontline border officials at Wattay International Airport and Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I to better protect travelers, migrants, frontline officials, and ensure safe and effective migration and border management during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

IOM procured essential PPE for two Points of Entry (PoEs) to address and respond to gaps identified from the rapid assessments conducted at frequently used PoEs. Zena Van Bemmel Faulkner, Acting Head of Office of IOM, and Police Colonel Saysaming SIVILAY, Director General of Immigration Department, General Department of Public Security, MoPS handed over 15,000 surgical masks, 2,000 surgical gloves, 190 goggles, 1,000 hand sanitizers, 160 face shields, 10 handheld thermometers, and 15 electric disinfection sprayers to Wattay International Airport. Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I received 10,000 surgical masks, 50 hand sanitizers, 150 face shields, 10 handheld thermometers, and 10 manual disinfection sprays.

Pol. Col. Saysaming SIVILAY thanked IOM for the ongoing support, saying “this support comes in a timely manner as the country on 23 November received 14 newly imported COVID-19 cases, bringing the total to 39 cases. The Government’s quick response would not have been possible without the generous support of the Australian Government, IOM, WHO and other development partners assisting in the COVID-19 response at PoEs,” he said.

Together with MoPS, IOM started the first PoE mapping assessment in Vientiane Capital on 28 August, before rolling out to six other provinces across the country. A total of 10 frequently used PoEs were assessed to look at preparedness and response capacities for COVID-19, which included assessing existing capacities of infrastructure, processes, and personnel to respond to COVID-19 and future outbreaks.

Based on the findings of this assessment, IOM has developed in consultation with MoPS the standard operating procedures (SOP) for frontline border officials and information, education, and communication (IEC) materials for incoming and outgoing passengers.

From 27 to 30 October, IOM held a joint training at Wattay International Airport and Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I for frontline officials, with trainings at 10 international PoEs scheduled to be rolled out by the end of 2020.

IOM has been monitoring the large number of migrants returning across the region. The pandemic has significantly changed human mobility and trade patterns, and as travel restrictions created new risks for migrants, many have become stranded or found themselves in irregular situations.

Under its Health, Border and Mobility Management Framework, IOM sets to improve the prevention, detection, and response to the spread of diseases at points of origin, transit, destination, and return.  

This activity is part of IOM’s project Responding to Cross Mobility Challenges at Points of Entry in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, with joint funding from the Australian Government and the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund.

For more information please contact Suhyun PARK at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (0)55 136 294. Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 19:52Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: COVID-19IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM handed over essential PPE to Wattay International Airport to better protect frontline officials and inbound travelers.

Handover of essential PPE to the Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, one of the most frequently used PoE in Lao People’s Democratic Republic.

The PPE was procured after joint rapid assessments at the border and in close consultation with the Department of Immigration.

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

Pacific Governments Conclude Regional Policy Dialogue on Climate Related Mobility

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 09:14

Suva, Wednesday, 25 November, 2020 – Over the past three months, the joint-agency Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security (PCCMHS) programme has hosted a series of six regional policy dialogues with senior government officials from across the Pacific region. In coordination with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the discussions provided an opportunity for Pacific countries to review the human security implications of climate change and mobility, discuss relevant global, regional and national initiatives and examine different options for the region to ensure the protection of climate related migrants.

Pacific communities have been affected by a range of sudden-onset and slow-onset hazards that are made more intense and accelerated by climate change. It is not uncommon to hear stories of how families, communities and villages must move due to the impacts caused by rising sea levels, ocean acidification, coastal erosion, temperature and changes to rainfall variability and El Niño and La Niña climate patterns.

The PCCMHS regional policy dialogue provided an opportunity for the participating countries to initiate discussions on a regional process in support of responses to climate change-related migration, displacement and planned relocation.

This reality led Hon. Simon Kofe, Minister of Justice, Communication and Foreign Affairs, Tuvalu to state that “Every nation must take ownership of and responsibility for climate-change-related issues... Developing a regional framework to respond to climate change and disaster-related migration, displacement, and planned relocation can enhance our regional advocacy at the international level, boost the Pacific’s role as leaders in battling the world climate crisis, and encourage all nations to do their part in resolving this crisis.”

The first of the six regional webinars commenced in September and set the scene in providing an introduction to the objectives of the regional policy dialogue. This was subsequently followed by webinars two and three that focused on country perspectives on current mobility trends, existing challenges as well as the relevant national policies.

Session four reviewed existing regional and global policy processes that address climate change related displacement, migration and planned relocation.

In session five, discussions highlighted legal and policy gaps that needed to be addressed to enable for the proper protection of Pacific communities most prone to the impacts of climate change.

The sixth and final webinar concluded in November and focused on framing a potential Pacific regional response and identifying next steps for the development of the regional response to enhance the protection and empowerment of migrants and communities adversely affected by climate change and disasters in the Pacific region.

During the webinar sessions, government representatives had the benefit of receiving and considering a comprehensive set of key messages prepared by PCCMHS’s technical advisory group – comprising of experts from across the Pacific region in multiple sectors related to cross-cutting areas of climate migration, as well as from implementing partners including the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, International Labour Organization, the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the Platform on Disaster Displacement.

 “I am pleased with the approach taken by the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security programme which puts Members [Countries] at the centre of this policy dialogue consultation. This engagement would assist partners to frame the best regional response to progress this work during such unprecedented times, said Dr. Filimon Manoni, Deputy Secretary General, Pacific Islands Forum.

“The Pacific region has the opportunity to show the rest of the world how it’s done by continuing the conversation on the need to develop a regional response that focusses on protecting the interests and rights of our future generations, so that they can choose to stay where they are, move in anticipation of harm or if they are displaced,” said Mr. Solomon Kantha, IOM Chief of Mission in Fiji.

Discussions on climate mobility will gain further momentum in 2021 as the PCCMHS programme looks to support national and regional consultations in the Pacific region. The PCCMHS programme will review the outcomes of these consultations face to face in Suva to inform a regional framework that respects national policies, strategies and narratives while promoting recognition and the legal protection of migrants and displaced persons particularly in the context of climate change.


For more information contact:

Ly Ngo, Associate Programme Officer, ESCAP Subregional Office for the Pacific. Email:

Sabira Coelho, Programme Manager, Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security Programme at IOM Fiji. Email:

Christopher Yee, Programme Specialist at IOM Fiiji. Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 15:38Image: Region-Country: FijiThemes: Migration and Climate ChangeDefault: Multimedia: 

6th Regional Policy Dialogue

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

120 Central African and Sudanese Refugees Resettled to France

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 07:08

N’Djamena – Over the past week (starting 27/11), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) facilitated the resettlement of 120 refugees from Sudan and the Central African Republic (CAR) to France. The refugees, including 65 women and 55 men left N’Djamena (Chad) on a chartered flight last Friday morning. Many had spent more than ten years in Chad, awaiting a chance to be resettled and restart their lives. 

All COVID-19 sanitary protocols were adhered to during the resettlement operation (including PCR-testing to COVID-19 prior departure). In addition to COVID-19 screening, the refugees were screened for medical conditions and received in-depth pre-departure orientation to ensure their integration in their new society goes as smoothly as possible. 

Upon arrival in France, the refugees were welcomed by French NGOs who will provide administrative and social support for a one-year period.  

“Resettlement offers refugees a unique opportunity to rebuild their lives in dignity. It is thus an important part of finding durable solutions to refugee situations, of which we are proud to participate,” said Anne Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission. 

With more than 480,000 refugees living in 14 camps and various urban centres, Chad is one of the largest refugee-hosting countries in West and Central Africa. IOM works closely with Government, non-governmental and UN partners, to ensure that the most vulnerable among them have access to durable and lifesaving solutions such as resettlement to a third country. 

This includes eligibility assessment and referral, accommodation in a transit centre (once refugee status has been determined and the resettlement process has been initiated), pre-departure medical screening, vulnerability assessment, flight and support for durable integration in the destination country. 

In 2020, IOM in Chad resettled 312 refugees from Sudan and the Central African Republic to France, Australia, Canada, Sweden and Norway. 

Djamal’s Story 

I arrived in Chad from the Central African Republic with my mother and my seven siblings in 2014. I was 16 years old. We fled because of the violence in our country. When we arrived, we had nothing. We had no money, and we knew no one. We first went to Moundou [Southern Chad]. From there, international organizations helped us contact family members. Afterwards, we went to the Doholo refugee camp [near the border with CAR] to be registered as refugees. It was not easy. In the camp, my mother learnt about nutritional health and started working as an assistant in the health centre. The little that she earned helped us make ends meet. It was this work that helped us survive while we lived in the camp. We are happy to be going to France. I have made some friends here. Some of them work as drivers, others want to go back to school. My dream is to become a pilot. I have always been fascinated by planes, and I hope that in France, I will be able to realize my dream.  

For more information, please contact François-Xavier Ada, Communications and Policy Officer at IOM Chad. Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: ResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

Migrants awaiting to board their resettlement flight at N’Djamena airport. Photo: Hani Nassar/IOM. 

Migrants awaiting to board their resettlement flight at N’Djamena airport. Photo: Hani Nassar/IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

2020 Global Migration Film Festival Opens Linking a Worldwide Audience to Cinema and Human Mobility

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 06:26

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week (30 November) is launching its annual Global Migration Film Festival, presenting five selected films for screening worldwide. This will mark IOM´s fifth year presenting documentaries, features and short films that explore the themes of migration and human mobility.  

This year’s film festival is taking place despite the global health emergency brought on by COVID-19, with the selected films offered through a virtual platform.  

As in past years, dozens of individual IOM missions also will hold events tied to films’ presentations, joined by panel discussions and other cultural moments open to the public. Those, too, will be launched on virtual, online platforms. 

“We’ve had an outpouring of support from filmmakers worldwide. And, as usual, choosing our selection from the hundreds of works submitted has been both a challenge and a joy. The fact that we can bring so much fine material to so many—and to do so virtually—is a small miracle,” said Leonard Doyle, IOM’s head of Media and Communications. 

Among the over 800 films submitted for IOM’s consideration are five final works that have been chosen to be made accessible on a global internet platform. The five selected films are “Amygdalia” (Greece), directed by Christina Phoebe; “Revolution from Afar” (USA), directed by Bentley Brown; “Omar and Us” (Poland), directed by Maryna Er Gorbach and Mehmet Bahadir Er; “8000 Paperclips” (Israel), directed by Nitsan Tal; and “Women’s Country” (Turkey). directed by Şirin Bahar Demirel. 

The Film Festival features capture the promise and challenges of migration, and the unique contributions that migrants make to their new communities. The goal of the Festival is to open audiences to a larger discussion concerning the mega trend of our time: migration. 

“The Festival is also an advocacy tool, one that can draw attention to the perils of xenophobia and the stigmatizing of outsiders, many of whom are suffering terribly due to the pandemic”, added IOM’s Doyle.  

In the past years, IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival has offered screenings in over 100 countries, reaching audiences of up to 60,000 people annually. Films have been screened under the stars for migrants, as part of a 1,200 kilometer caravan through the desert, in refugee camps and migrant transit centres, as well as in libraries, universities and film clubs in cities large and small.  

This year’s events will continue until 18 December, International Migrants Day, which in previous years has been the date that closes the festival with a gala awards ceremony. This year’s award winners will be announced on-line.   

Click here to learno more about the 2020 official selections. 

To visit the GMFF website:   

For more information, please contact IOM HQ: 
Joel Millman, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Global Migration Film FestivalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Emergency in Northern Ethiopia Requires Urgent Humanitarian Intervention and Access

Tue, 12/01/2020 - 06:22

Addis Ababa – Internally displaced populations are in dire need of humanitarian and recovery assistance following the reported cessation of military operations on 28 November, after more than three weeks of combat in the northern Ethiopian regional state of Tigray by the Ethiopian National Defence Forces. 

In the worst-case scenario, the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICCG) estimates that 1.98 million people could be affected. Ahead of the inter-agency needs assessments underway this week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is scaling up its operational and technical capacity to respond.  

The Organization is appealing for USD 22 million to contribute to collective preparedness efforts ahead of the humanitarian response to the situation in Northern Ethiopia. 

Considering the forecasted needs, IOM’s Migration Emergency Funding Mechanism has allocated USD 1 million to urgently mobilize global stocks of shelter, non-food items (NFIs) and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) services to ensure that humanitarian assistance can be immediately delivered to the affected populations once access is granted.  

“We are committed to providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable as soon as we can reach the affected populations and can assess the increasing needs,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Ethiopia. 

“Access to the affected regions is paramount to understanding the numbers and whereabouts of those forced to flee.” 

IOM’s current preparedness efforts, highlighted in the appeal, are designed to ensure that the most pressing humanitarian needs are met and to lay the foundation for recovery. Additional information on vulnerabilities, access to services, numbers and locations of affected populations will further inform the long-term response once available. 

Funding toward this appeal will allow the Organization to provide shelter and NFIs as well as health and WASH services in affected communities. It will also enable IOM to support adequate protection and assistance in displacement sites.  

In addition, IOM will employ its Displacement Tracking Matrix to inform the collective humanitarian and development response and better prioritize the allocation of resources.  

As a first step, a surge team of technical experts has been deployed to Addis Ababa to guarantee that adequate expertise is available in affected areas, hence fostering a streamlined humanitarian coordination and response.   

The emergency in northern Ethiopia comes at a time when the country is grappling with a humanitarian situation worsened by the COVID-19 pandemic and an ongoing desert locust infestation which has negatively impacted food security levels.  

Prior to November, IOM’s DTM recorded a total of 1.8 million people internally displaced by insecurity and disasters across the country. IOM will continue to accelerate efforts to respond to this population in its programming with a view to conclusively address and resolve internal displacement in Ethiopia.  

The appeal for the Northern Ethiopia Crisis is in line with the ICCG’s Humanitarian Preparedness Plan. 

IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis and displacement in 2020 and beyond. The Platform is regularly updated as crises evolve and new situations emerge.     

For more information, please contact:  

Angela Wells, IOM Public Information Officer in Geneva, Email:, Tel: +41 79 403 50365 

Yvonne Ndege, IOM Regional Spokesperson for East and Horn of Africa in Nairobi, Email: Tel: +254 797 735 977 

Krizia Kaye Viray, IOM Ethiopia Public Information Officer, Email:, Tel: +251993531220   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, December 1, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesMigrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

Internally displaced populations are in dire need of humanitarian and recovery assistance in northern Ethiopia. Photo: IOM Ethiopia 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Rethinks Diaspora Engagement in “New Normal” Reality

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 06:42

Tbilisi –The global COVID-19 pandemic continues to reshape global migration, and how communities interact across tightened borders.
This is especially true in the Black Sea region, which has long been a fulcrum of migration in the Southern Caucasus and further afield. Fittingly, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Georgia hosted a high-level online conference on Diaspora engagement this week.

“The pandemic keeps pushing us to rethink the way we operate and do things. It also keeps offering new opportunities,” noted Sanja Celebic-Lukovac, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Georgia in her opening remarks.

“We – IOM and our partners – are using this particular moment to reflect on the new potential for migration management. Most of all, we are exploring how diaspora involvement can help us address not just the present consequences of this global crisis, but also in shaping our ‘new normal’ for the years to come,” said IOM’s Celebic-Lukovac.

The two-day conference, which IOM hosted alongside the Georgian Foreign Ministry and the State Commission for Migration, brought together senior officials from many of the countries bordering the Black Sea, as well as experts from Western Europe and Canada. 

“Migration in the South Caucasus and the Black Sea region is a complex and dynamic phenomenon,” noted IOM Regional Director Renate Held, joining the event by video-link from Vienna. 

She added: “The countries represented at this meeting today face a common set of opportunities and challenges regarding migration governance. They require evidence-based policies and programming to leverage the development potential of migration.”

The Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of Georgia, Vladimer Konstantinidi, affirmed “now more than ever we need our diaspora professionals to engage in social and economic recovery.  This is where we need to enhance linkages between our diaspora professionals and private sector representatives.”
The conference, entitled “Emigration and Diaspora Engagement to Promote Private Sector Development”, was funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway. It highlighted specific examples of diaspora engagement, as well as structures and networks established to manage migration policies and to ensure successful diaspora relations. 

The conference report will be disseminated in December and presented at the Global Forum on Migration and Development in early 2021.  
For further information please contact Joe Lowry on +436603776404,


Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 13:50Image: Region-Country: GeorgiaThemes: COVID-19Migration and DevelopmentDefault: Multimedia: 

A two-day conference, which IOM hosted alongside the Georgian Foreign Ministry and the State Commission for Migration, brought together senior officials from many of the countries bordering the Black Sea, as well as experts from Western Europe and Canada. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

“Include Migrants in Vaccine Plans,” IOM Urges at Regional Health Conference

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 06:38

Skopje – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has issued an urgent call to Governments not to forget migrants as the battle against COVID-19 enters a new phase.  

Even as headlines of a new vaccine raise hope that the darkest days of the pandemic may be ending, a current second wave reveals infection rates up to ten times higher in parts of Europe than those of last Spring. 

Participants in this week’s meeting of the South-Eastern Europe Health Network (SEEHN), organised from North Macedonia’s capital, learned that a combination of harsh winter conditions and seasonal flu likely will put a massive strain on already-overburdened health services.  

“This is bad news for the tens of thousands of migrants in the region,” explained IOM’s Senior Regional Health Advisor, Dr. Jaime Calderon, during his address to the forum. “All too often, migrants encounter obstacles in accessing health services—due to language and cultural barriers, fees they cannot afford, and lack of inclusive health policies.” 

SEEHN is a network linking the governments of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Montenegro, the Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia and the former North Macedonia. Each of these is a source country—and increasingly, a transit country—for migrants.  

Some 30,000 migrants passed irregularly through the region this year, about the same as previous years, despite pandemic restrictions. There are about 12,500 currently in Bosnia and Herzegovina, and 7,100 in Serbia. In Bosnia and Herzegovina, IOM is rushing warm clothes and sleeping bags to rough-sleeping migrants as temperatures drop below freezing. 

IOM’s Dr. Calderon urged governments to include migrants in public health strategies and vaccination plans. 

“Vaccines are among our most critical and cost-effective tools to prevent outbreaks and keep communities safe and healthy,” he stressed. “For everyone to thrive, countries must intensify efforts to ensure that no one is left behind and all migrants – no matter their legal status – have access to the life-saving benefits of vaccines.”  

For more information please contact Joe Lowry at +43 660 3776404, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 13:55Image: Region-Country: Bosnia and HerzegovinaThemes: COVID-19Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

Rough-sleeping migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina are receiving clothes, shoes, blankets and hygiene kits to help them through the winter. Photo: IOM

Rough-sleeping migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina are receiving clothes, shoes, blankets and hygiene kits to help them through the winter. Photo: 2020 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Mauritania: IOM and the National Statistics Office Sign Agreement on Data Collection and Analysis on Migration

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 06:27

Nouakchott–  The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the National Statistics Office (Office National de la Statistique, ONS) of Mauritania signed an agreement on Wednesday (25/11) to jointly implement data collection and analysis activities on migration. 

This agreement will contribute to assessing migrants’ presence and profiles in the country, including in Nouakchott, which is seeing an increased number of migrants. Since September, at least 1,100 migrants have been intercepted or rescued off the coast of Mauritania. 

This agreement will provide a better understanding of the needs of migrants in the country to provide them with tailored assistance, including awareness-raising about the risks of irregular journeys and the available alternatives.

“This milestone agreement is particularly critical in ensuring that the Government of Mauritania uses jointly-produced data to inform evidence-based policies on migration,” said Laura Lungarotti, Chief of Mission of IOM Mauritania. 

A first joint activity is scheduled for December 2020 in Nouakchott. IOM plans to assist in updating the estimated number of migrants in the city and to further understand their profiles, needs, and challenges encountered through individual surveys. 

The data collection also will focus on the impact of COVID-19 on migrants, in terms of employment and access to health services and support. 

Since November 2018, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) in Mauritania has been providing vital information on human mobility in both Nouakchott and Nouadhibou, including transhumant movements along Mauritania’s southern borders with Senegal and Mali.

IOM’s DTM has also been providing mobility restriction mapping at Mauritania’s entry points to help monitor the situation at the border and the preparedness of entry points to manage flows and to apply health mitigation measures. 

Mauritania’s DTM is funded by the European Union, Japan, Germany, the IOM Development Fund (IDF) and IOM’s unearmarked funding. 
For more information, please contact Lisa Godde and Nicolas Hochart


Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 13:57Image: Region-Country: MauritaniaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Signing of the agreement by the IOM Chief of Mission in Mauritania and the Director-General of the National Statistics Office. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

First IOM Charter Flight since Border Reopening Brings Home over 150 Ghanaian from Libya

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 06:10

Tripoli/Accra– Over 150 Ghanaians were provided with Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance from Libya by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on 24 November. This the charter flight is the first since the reopening of the Kotoka International Airport (KIA), in Accra following COVID-19 related border closures. 

Upon arrival, migrants were tested for COVID-19 and provided with onward transportation cash assistance for their immediate needs, including travel to their home communities. The most vulnerable received medical and psychosocial assistance. 

“Since the COVID-19 pandemic poses additional challenges to vulnerable migrants, a more coordinated and efficient support system with Government and partners needed to make sure no migrant is left behind in the COVID-19 response,” said Abibatou Wane-Fall, IOM Ghana’s Chief of Mission. 

Out of the more than 584,500 migrants identified in Libya by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), over 27,200 are Ghanaians. Libya accounts for 63.5 percent of the returns to Ghana under the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa. Other major countries of return include Niger, Mali and Mauritania. 

“Before going to Libya, I was working as a taxi driver. I thought life in Ghana was difficult. I was very wrong. I regret embarking on this journey. My friends who remained behind are doing well, whereas I am worse off. I urge young Ghanaians to stay and work in Ghana as there are opportunities in the country,” said Kwame who returned with the charter.

Upon return, migrants are eligible for reintegration support, which includes counselling, referral to existing programmes and services (trainings, medical and psychosocial assistance), or in-kind support, as necessary. Additionally, they can become part of collective or community-based projects to set up a business with other returnees or community members. 

The recently launched Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for Reintegration of Returnees in Ghana provides important guidance, including on handling returns and supporting returnees in their reintegration process.

As part of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, IOM Ghana also works with the Government and partners to raise awareness about the risks of irregular migration among communities, promote safe migration, and counter stigmatization and discrimination. 

Over 300 awareness-raising sessions have been organized in communities and schools across the country, while radio and TV broadcasts with similar messages have reached around 1.1 million Ghanaians nationwide. Since the outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, IOM has revamped its awareness raising efforts to include COVID-19 prevention messages in its community outreach sessions.

Since 2017, IOM has assisted more than 1,500 Ghanaians with their voluntarily return home. So far, over 480 returnees have completed their reintegration process; 1,400 have participated in reintegration counselling, and almost 1,500 have received mental health and psychosocial assistance.

For more information, please contact Juliane Reissig, Public Information Officer at IOM Ghana, at


Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: GhanaLibyaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationCOVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

First IOM charter flight since border reopening brings home over 150 Ghanaians from Libya. Photo: IOM/Juliane Reissig  

IOM staff welcomes returnees at the Kotoka International Airport. Photo: IOM/Juliane Reissig  

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Ministers from East and Horn of Africa Pledge to Harmonize Labour Migration Laws to Protect Migrant Workers’ Rights

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 05:32

Nairobi—The entirety of humankind’s history begins in East Africa, with early Africans’ outbound migration towards Europe and the Middle East. That movement continues, especially now, with some five million recent African migrants living and working outside the continent.     

And yet, migration within Africa remains the more dynamic trend. Over 21 million African migrants—more than five times the number of those in Europe, Asia or the Americas—are migrants to each other’s countries. Their movement, and growing presence in their neighbors’ cities and towns, are turning their countries’ economies into components of each other as well.    

Moreover, by sharing access to things like complementary trade in goods and services, tapping parallel labor pools and creating rising remittance flows, African migrants are engaged in an ever-accelerating cycle of cooperation and co-dependence.   

Those are just some of the themes stimulating policy discussion here this week during a second Regional Ministerial Forum on harmonization of labour migration policies in the region, which brought together officials from East and Horn of Africa (EHoA) countries to chart the next steps in what is being called the “Regional Ministerial Process on Harmonizing Labour Migration Policies in East and Horn of Africa: A United Approach on Safe, Regular and Humane Labour Migration (Regional Ministerial Forum on Migration, i.e., RMFM).  

The RMFM calls on countries to cooperate towards establishing a common platform for engagement between countries of origin, transit and destination on labour migration, as well as to enhance inter-state, intra and inter-regional cooperation for strengthening the protection of the labour, social and human rights of African migrant workers in destination countries,” said Mohammed Abdiker, the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa.    

IOM and the Government of Kenya –Chair of the RMFM, called this week’s meeting as a follow up to a January ministerial regional meeting to start discussions.    

Ministers from Kenya, Uganda, South Sudan, Sudan, Ethiopia, Burundi, Somalia, Rwanda and Burundi worked with other high-level government representatives to harmonize labour migration policies in the region. They also made commitments to make labour migration safe, orderly and humane by establishing a common platform for engagement with the Gulf states and other countries that are major employers of African migrant workers.  

As IOM’s Abdiker explained to participants, migrants from the Horn of Africa move through Yemen, the Middle East and beyond seeking employment. He emphasized that with demand traditionally for workers to fill the female sectors of domestic work, migration flows from the EHoA are women and youth dominated.      

Migration to Gulf Cooperation Council countries has provided jobs and generated significant remittance inflows, providing sustainable incomes for EHOA migrant workers and their families. Citing one example, according to World bank data, in 2019 the general remittance flows into Ethiopia were recorded at 531 million USD in 2019, accounting for 0.5 per cent of the country’s Gross domestic product (GDP).   

But he warned of a downside. “Since the outbreak of COVID-19,” Abdiker said, “emerging data and reports from those on the front lines, have shown that all types of violence against women and girls, particularly domestic violence, has intensified. This is the shadow pandemic growing amidst the COVID-19 crisis and we need a global collective effort to stop it.”   

Integrating economies in the East and Horn of Africa will make them more resilient to and able to withstand shocks like the COVID-19 pandemic currently severely impacting many economies across Africa. One form of integration is the harmonisation of labour migration laws across the region, which will allow for the free movement of people in the region and beyond, spur economic development, and boost the transfer of skills.    

According to the World Migration Report, the region is experiencing considerable levels of outward labour mobility, driven by poverty, low wages and high unemployment. The Gulf States’ proximity to Eastern Africa and their employment opportunities make them an attractive destination for many East Africans.   

Harmonizing labour migration regulations would safeguard the rights of migrant workers and prevent unfair practices such as excessive working hours, passport confiscation, confinement and denial of salary, impacting the lives of thousands of migrants, and their families, and ordinary citizens in a region with a population of nearly 420 million people. This is according to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs.    

Harmonizing labour migration laws further would mean people can move freely and transfer skills where they are most needed.    

“As increasing cross-border human, labour and skills mobility play a significant role in the development of the continent, the social, labour and human rights of migrant workers, women and girls, men and boys has become an ever-more urgent challenge,” said IOM’s Abdiker.   

For more information contact: Yvonne Ndege, Regional Office for East and Horn of Africa, Tel:  +2547 977 35977, Email:     

Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: KenyaThemes: COVID-19Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Displacement Continues Due to Insecurity in Cabo Delgado, Northern Mozambique

Fri, 11/27/2020 - 05:21

Maputo– The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is deeply concerned about the continued displacement of civilian populations in northern Mozambique due to insecurity in Cabo Delgado province. Over the past month (28 October – 25 November), more than 45,000 individuals fled the northern district of Muidumbe due to multiple attacks in several locations. Some people were newly displaced, while others were already displaced and again forced to flee. 
“Displacement is on the rise in northern Cabo Delgado as attacks on civilian populations continue,” said IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission Laura Tomm-Bonde.  

“We are extremely concerned about this situation and are providing humanitarian support as best we can. Displaced families are highly vulnerable and further assistance is required to meet humanitarian needs.”

Over 37,000 of those displaced from Muidumbe, roughly 100 km from the Mozambique-Tanzania border, travelled north to Mueda district. Others moved south to Montepuez (5,000 individuals) and to the provincial capital Pemba (3,000 individuals) by road. 
IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) reports that at least 424,000 individuals were displaced as of late September, a 17 per cent increase from the previous month. Of the total displaced, over 144,000 are in areas that are hard to reach due to security concerns.

 “We had to leave our area due to multiple attacks, and moved to the city of Pemba, said Nlabite Chafim, one of eight people from the same family who fled through the forests on foot in July before finding transportation to the provincial capital. “My niece witnessed her parents being killed, and she is not the same.”
Like many others, they are staying with relations and receiving assistance from IOM. 
“We appreciate the psychosocial support sessions for girls, and the materials given to our family, which helped my brother to restart his carpentry business and provide for our family,” she said. 
From 16 November to 22 November, IOM tracked more than 14,400 displaced people who were on the move from Muidumbe. Nearly half (48 per cent) of this population are children, 30 per cent are women and 22 per cent are men. Among the main needs reported by displaced people are food, shelter and household items. 
IOM’s DTM teams are deployed to several locations across Cabo Delgado on a daily basis to collect data on displacement movements and humanitarian needs. The process takes place in cooperation with the Government of Mozambique through a network of staff and local residents, and the information is shared with humanitarian partners to inform their response planning. IOM and its partners participated in a multisectoral rapid assessment in Montepuez to support the humanitarian response and assess needs.
IOM is providing immediate assistance to displaced populations in support of the Government of Mozambique humanitarian response. The assistance includes shelter materials, distributions of household items, and the establishment of displacement sites with coordination for basic services provision. In addition to mental health and psychosocial support, IOM also facilitates access to life saving health and protection services. 
IOM, with the support of its partners, has assisted nearly 400,000 individuals affected by insecurity and Cyclone Kenneth in Cabo Delgado from April 2019 to October 2020.
For more information, please contact: 
Sascha Nlabu, IOM Mozambique Head of Programmes and Operations; email: or 
Sandra Black, Media and Communications Officer; Tel: +258 84 494 4359, email:  


Language English Posted: Friday, November 27, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueThemes: IOMInternally Displaced PersonsMigrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

Displaced families from Muidumbe district travel through Mueda to safety after fleeing insecurity in Cabo Delgado. Photo: IOM Mozambique

IOM teams interview displaced families who fled from Muidumbe district this month due to insecurity in Cabo Delgado. Photo: IOM Mozambique

IOM teams interview displaced families who fled from Muidumbe district this month due to insecurity in Cabo Delgado. Photo: IOM Mozambique

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Scales Up Response as Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras Face Consequences of Two Consecutive Hurricanes

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 08:27

San José, Costa Rica – With the support of its partners and donors, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has allocated USD 750,000 for humanitarian and early recovery actions in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador. These funds will provide food, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment for people affected by the hurricanes. IOM will continue to increase its support in coming days.

"Today, our attention is directed towards Honduras, Guatemala, Nicaragua, and other affected countries, but our attention cannot be fleeting. As reconstruction and recovery will take years, assistance needs to be sustainable and enduring," said Michele Klein-Solomon, IOM Regional Director for Central America, North America, and the Caribbean.

"Storms Eta and Iota have suddenly transformed the lives of millions of people in Central America, Mexico, and the Caribbean. This natural disaster will have long-term consequences, which will probably be reflected in the migration situation in the region," warned IOM’s Klein-Solomon.

According to a report by IOM Guatemala, more than 17,300 people are housed in 132 shelters that were prepared for the emergency in the departments of Alta Verapaz, Huehuetenango, Quiché, Jalapa, Petén, Izabal, Zacapa and Chiquimula.

"The post-hurricane scenario in the region presents us with the need to articulate comprehensive responses that allow, first, to save and protect the lives of people, and then, to offer sustainable development alternatives," explained Jorge Peraza, IOM Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

"We know that climate conditions and the effects of situations such as those that occurred in Northern Central America and Nicaragua during these previous weeks are compounding drivers of forced displacement. Attention aimed at recovering people's livelihoods and reducing existing vulnerabilities is imperative," IOM’s Peraza added. 

In the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, sanitary conditions of shelters are concerns as overcrowding may compromise personal protection against the disease. In Guatemala, IOM has coordinated the implementation of the Integrated Shelter Registration System (SIRA), together with authorities of Puerto Barrios, Guatemala’s main Caribbean port, to collect information on those of the affected population currently in shelters in the surrounding department of Izabal.

In Honduras, UNOCHA reports indicate that the total number of people sheltered in that country exceeds 75,000. There, IOM is developing individual reports on the results of Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) surveys conducted across 31 shelter sites in San Pedro Sula. IOM Honduras analyzes data collected in these surveys to prioritize and provide support.

In Bilwi, Nicaragua, also on the Caribbean coast, IOM is coordinating with the Nidia White Women's Movement Organization to reach mainly women and children who are sheltered due to evacuations. Using funds from the Regional Conference for Migration, IOM has sent humanitarian assistance kits to Bilwi. Those kits include food, medicine, and supplies for the protection and prevention of COVID-19. 

Through the United Nations Interagency Group UNETE, and in coordination with Nicaragua's Government, IOM is likewise coordinating assistance actions focused on protecting displaced populations across the country.

In southern Mexico, where Civil Protection reported almost 297,000 people affected and some 30 deaths, IOM has provided support to two shelters for migrants in Chiapas state by distributing drinking water and repairing roofs. IOM is also coordinating with the private sector representatives, OCHA, and other UN agencies to determine ways to further support areas affected by the heavy rains.

For more information, please contact Jorge Gallo at the IOM’s Regional Office for Central America, North America and the Caribbean, Email:, Tel: +506 72036536.


Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 13:45Image: Region-Country: GuatemalaHondurasNicaraguaThemes: Migration and EnvironmentDefault: Multimedia: 

‘People have lost their heritage, their personal belongings; this means practically starting from scratch. It's like a shock', that's how Emiliano Tux Chub, a resident of San Pedro Carchá in Alta Verapaz, Guatemala, one of the areas affected by the storms, reports the current situation. Photo: Emiliano Tux.

With the support of its partners and donors, IOM has allocated USD 750,000 for humanitarian and early recovery actions in Honduras, Guatemala, and El Salvador, providing food, hygiene kits, cleaning supplies, and personal protective equipment for people affected by the hurricanes and will continue to increase its support in the coming days. Photo: IOM / Ismael Cruceta.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Publishes Report on Reintegration Outcomes

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 05:33

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) published today (24/11) a new report: “Mentoring Returnees: Study on Reintegration Outcomes Through a Comparative Lens”. The study, conducted in collaboration with the Samuel Hall think tank and the University of Sussex, analyses the outcomes of reintegration in three fieldwork countries—Guinea, Morocco, and Senegal—combined with data analyses from 14 additional countries.  

The work is based on standardized indicators developed during a 2017 Samuel Hall/IOM study conducted as part of the DFID-funded Mediterranean Sustainable Reintegration Project, complemented by qualitative primary data collected in the three fieldwork states.  

“It is one of the first, if not the first, systematic large-scale use of data from IOM’s reintegration sustainability survey combined with the “Operationalising an Integrated Approach to Reintegration” (ORION) Mentoring project,” said Professor Michael Collyer of the University of Sussex. “This is a very interesting approach to working in Guinea, Senegal and Morocco focusing to develop mentorships of people who have returned to further enhance the sustainability of reintegration.” 

The results of this research highlight the interconnectedness of reintegration dimensions with the economic dimension being foundational, while social and psychosocial support are needed to consolidate and sustain reintegration gains. Psychosocial support cannot be considered an ‘optional extra,’ rather it is a crucial component to a healthy and sustainable reintegration process.    

“Another key result is the small, but statistically significant, positive impact of the ORION mentoring approach on reintegration,” explained Nassim Majidi, Co-Director of Samuel Hall. “Having mentors working with returnees ensures better reintegration outcomes. These early successes and trust built by ORION mentors need to be built further upon,” noted Majidi.  

“We see this study as the beginning of more investigation and evaluation that we can conduct on the critical issue of sustainable reintegration” added Nicola Graviano, Head of IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Unit. 

“We have a huge potential to do more and know more about our interventions, so that we can improve in the future in better designing and implementing our reintegration interventions, and be more impactful for the migrants, for the communities of origin and for the countries of origin that we support.”   

The research presented in the report was conducted under the “Operationalising an Integrated Approach to Reintegration” (ORION) Project, funded by the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). The ORION project aims at, among other objectives, reinforcing evidence-based reintegration programming with robust monitoring processes and data collection.   

To read a summary of the report, please click here. The full report is available here.   

For more information, please contact IOM HQ in Geneva: Safa Msehli, Tel: +41 79 403 5526, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Urgent Support Required to Avert Worsening Situation in Chad’s Lac Province

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 05:27

N’Djamena – This week, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is appealing for USD 2 million to ensure continued access and delivery of lifesaving humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people and their host communities through, among other things, emergency and preparedness support, and strengthening disaster risk reduction programming.  

Earlier this month local authorities alerted IOM to the flooding of entire quarters in the departments of Fouli and Kaya caused by the rise in water levels of Lake Chad. The two departments currently host thousands of persons displaced by conflict and climate change in Chad’s Lac Province.  

Chad’s Lac Province is reeling from the impact of a double security and environmental crisis which has forcibly displaced more than half of the Province’s population. The recent flooding of displacement sites and host communities in Lac Province risks worsening an already complex humanitarian situation, as some key areas where critical assistance is needed might become inaccessible.  

 That would leave thousands of people without access to key basic services.  

 “This sudden flooding, which is not isolated, is likely to force villagers to leave their homes and seek refuge in neighbouring villages where resources and amenities are already very limited,” explained Anne Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission. “As waters continue to rise, some areas where we intervene are at risk of becoming inaccessible, effectively cutting thousands of people from access to lifesaving assistance,” she added.   

 Since 2015, the Government of Chad and regional security forces have been combatting security threats from armed non-state actors around the Lake Chad Basin. The impact of the security situation has been amplified by an environmental crisis caused by the shrinking of Lake Chad.  

The fallout of this double crisis has been the mass displacement of more than 360, 000 people – a majority of the province’s population. Data from IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix shows that, since the beginning of the crisis, most displaced people fled from lakeside villages towards safer communities inland.   

Now this momentary respite and stability required for displaced persons and their host communities is being threatened by flooding caused in part by the rising waters of Lake Chad.   

“Our people are faced with multiple crises, but the rise in water levels which we have witnessed in recent days threatens more than 18,000 households, including displaced persons and host communities,” said Yacoub Mahamat, Prefect of the Department of Fouli in Chad’s Lac Province.  

The rise in water levels is also heightening the risks of water-borne diseases such as cholera and seasonal malaria which are endemic in the country.   

In the Lac Province, IOM is one of the leading humanitarian actors providing shelter (durable and semi-durable), food and non-food items, including dignity kits for women and insecticide-treated mosquito nets, to displaced persons and host communities affected by the double security and environmental crisis. IOM also leads on data collection in displacement sites to provide a better understanding of the vulnerabilities of displaced persons, which is vital to accurately target humanitarian assistance.  

IOM Lake Chad Emergency, Preparedness and Disaster Risk Reduction Appeal for Lac Province – USD 2 million – to work on the following areas:  

  • Emergency and Preparedness   
  • Site mapping in key displacement sites   
  • Shelter construction – including durable and semi-durable shelters  
  • Food and non-food items distribution  
  • Preposition of stocks   
  • Support in the development of a flood early warning system  
  • Contingency planning   
  • Disaster Risk Reduction  
  • Mapping of meteorologically exposed areas  
  • Support in drainage of areas and construction   
  • Support in community training on flood warning and small-scale mitigation works  
  • Research on the impact of climate change in Lake Chad  

For more information, please contact Daniele Febei, Head of Transition and Emergency Unit at IOM Chad. Email:   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 14:01Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Internal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia: 

A view of the displacement site of Taal in the Lac Province. Photo : IOM/François-Xavier Ada

The lakeside community of Bol Nguini in Chad’s Lac Province which saw its population nearly double from the influx of displaced persons. Photo: IOM/François-Xavier Ada 

A view of the displacement site of Taal in the Lac Province. Photo: IOM/François-Xavier Ada

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Strengthens Gender-Based Violence Response in Cox’s Bazar amidst COVID-19

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 05:17

Cox’s Bazar – Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the risk of Gender-based Violence (GBV) for Rohingya and Bangladeshi women and girls already was alarmingly high in Cox´s Bazar, Bangladesh. Since the onset of COVID-19, evidence suggests there has been a surge in rates of intimate partner and domestic violence in both Rohingya and host communities.

Due to mobility restrictions and protection risks, women and girls have struggled to access lifesaving GBV and sexual and reproductive health services. Furthermore, the lack of socio-economic opportunities has strained those already at-risk, such as single female-headed households.

Despite these challenges, several innovative tools and strategic partnerships have enabled IOM to adapt its GBV programming to the unique and ever-evolving context of the pandemic.

Building on IOM’s Institutional Framework for Addressing GBV in Crises (GBViC) — rolled out in Cox’s Bazar in 2019 — and its accompanying Action Plan, IOM’s GBV team has managed to successfully ensure the continuity of face-to-face individual case management services. IOM has also maintained its operation of 10 Women and Girls Safe Spaces across nine camps and the emergency safe shelter for GBV survivors, in accordance with COVID-19 health guidelines.

As part of commitments set out in the GBViC Action Plan to equip frontline staff and volunteers with the appropriate knowledge and skills to support survivors of GBV, IOM conducted this month a four-day training on Clinical Management of Rape and Intimate Partner Violence for 50 health care providers. 

Another training on GBV core concepts, safe referrals, counter-trafficking, Psychological First Aid and Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse was organized from June to October for 345 clinical and non-clinical staff.

During the pandemic, the Women’s Participation Project –implemented in Cox's Bazar since 2018– has continued to provide a space for consultations with women and girls despite the camps’ numerous protection challenges. Through this project, the Women’s Committee has been empowered and supported women to participate in decision-making structures, ensuring their needs and capacities are met. The initiative is currently being replicated in four camps, with the goal of better understanding how women’s participation in governance camp structures could contribute to mitigating and reducing the risks of GBV.

IOM recently launched the “Self-Care and Coping Skills in Stressful Situations” booklet, developed for Rohingya and Bangladeshi communities, accompanied by audio recordings. The booklet covers topics, such as coping strategies for reducing stress, key information on protection and GBV services, self-care exercises and COVID-19 prevention measures.

Regular sessions on using the booklet are conducted in the Women and Girls Safe Spaces and at the community level. Meaningful engagement enables participants to voice their safety concerns and supports humanitarian actors in their risk-mitigation efforts. Through a participatory approach, women can define their own risks, capacities, and community outreach strategies.

Rehena is one of the twelve female community leaders who recently attended a training of trainers on the topic, and who is now sensitizing other women on healthy coping mechanisms. “I feel fortunate to have been selected for this training and consider it my duty to pass on this valuable information to other women so they can too be relieved of their daily stress,” Rehena said.

“While important efforts have been made to eliminate violence against women and girls, the implementation of GBV activities remains a significant challenge. It is critical that women and girls remain active participants in the process of identifying protection and GBV risks and solutions,” explained Chissey Mueller, IOM’s Protection Coordinator in Cox’s Bazar.

“During the pandemic, the rights and dignity of survivors continue to be at the heart of our response.”

As part of UN System’s 16 Days of Activism against GBV, celebrated from 25 November to 10 December under the theme “Orange the World: Fund, Respond, Prevent, Collect!”, IOM is co-organizing several interagency events focused on GBV prevention and response in emergencies.

Together with its implementing partner PULSE, IOM is also organizing several field activities focused on GBV risk mitigation, prevention and response, as well as events celebrating women’s skills and accomplishments, all in line with COVID-19 prevention measures.

 Watch the video of IOM’s GBV response in Cox’s Bazar amidst COVID-19. 

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac, Tel: +880 1880 084 048, Email:, or Tarek Mahmud, Tel: + 880 1752 380 240, Email:, at IOM Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar.  Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: COVID-19Gender and MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Sessions on how to use the newly launched booklet are regularly conducted at the community level and in the Women and Girls Safe Spaces. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

Sessions on how to use the newly launched booklet are regularly conducted at the community level and in the Women and Girls Safe Spaces. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Gavi and IOM Join Forces to Improve Immunization Coverage for Migrants

Tue, 11/24/2020 - 04:45

Geneva – Today, the Vaccine Alliance (Gavi) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed a memorandum of understanding to strengthen their collaboration on vaccination efforts and related health services for migrants and forcibly displaced persons across the world, both regarding routine immunizations as well as in response to outbreaks. This milestone will be particularly critical in ensuring that migrants and other people on the move are considered and included, as the world continues its efforts to find a safe COVID-19 vaccine and is developing mechanisms, such as the COVAX Facility, to ensure a fair distribution so that as many lives as possible can be saved.

“Despite enormous progress over the past two decades ensuring children everywhere have access to lifesaving vaccines, 14 million children every year still miss out on basic vaccines,” said Gavi CEO Dr Seth Berkley. “We know a disproportionate amount of these unprotected children come from migrant, refugee and displaced populations, who are too often overlooked when it comes to basic health care. This obviously becomes all the more important as we plan to rollout COVID-19 vaccines worldwide; we cannot allow these populations to miss out on what could be one of our best routes out of this pandemic. That’s why we’re delighted to partner with IOM, to help provide a healthier future to some of the most vulnerable people on earth.”

“Vaccines are one of the most powerful tools we have to keep people on the move, the communities they leave behind and the communities they join as safe and healthy as possible,” stressed IOM Director General António Vitorino. “This reinforced partnership will be critical in helping IOM achieve just that and contribute tangibly to the realization of true universal health coverage.”

The agreement signed by the two organizations focuses on reaching missed communities in humanitarian and emergency settings with vaccination and support routine immunization through engagement in primary health care systems. The partnership also aims to boost advocacy for the prioritization of vulnerable populations, support operational and policy assistance and facilitate technical collaboration. Specifically, the memorandum of understanding seeks to facilitate collaboration on ensuring the inclusion of migrants, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and refugees in governments’ COVID-19 responses, in particular vaccination efforts.

Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance is a public-private partnership that helps vaccinate half the world’s children against some of the world’s deadliest diseases. Since its inception in 2000, Gavi has helped to immunise a whole generation – over 822 million children – and prevented more than 14 million deaths, helping to halve child mortality in 73 developing countries. Gavi also plays a key role in improving global health security by supporting health systems as well as funding global stockpiles for Ebola, cholera, meningitis and yellow fever vaccines. Gavi has already been working with IOM in South Sudan since 2019 to ensure vaccinations reached hard-to-reach populations throughout the country.

For decades, hand in hand with its partners, IOM has been a key player in global efforts to ensure that migrants and other people on the move have proper access to vaccines across 80 countries. In 2019, more than 380,000 children under the age of five were vaccinated against polio and/or measles in emergency settings and, as part of IOM’s pre-migration health services, over 445,800 vaccination doses were administered to close to 181,350 migrants and refugees in the process of migration. In all of its migration health assessment centres, the Organization manages a robust vaccine distribution and storage system, with staff continuously trained and up-to-date with international standards.

“For the distribution of any potential COVID-19 vaccine to be as fair and equitable as possible, IOM will be contributing its health expertise, data and other technical capacities based on its vast experience working with migrants and forcibly displaced persons,” said Director General Vitorino. “It is critical for everyone’s well-being not to leave the most at-risk behind.”

For more information, please contact James Fulker at Gavi, or Yasmina Guerda at IOM,

Language English Posted: Tuesday, November 24, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

A child vaccinated with support of IOM. Archival photo from March 2019. Photo: IOM

Nyabel, six month old, is one of IOM’s vaccine beneficiaries in Bentiu, South Sudan, thanks to Gavi funds, 2020. Photo: IOM/ Liatile Putsoa

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

New Projects to Tackle Human Trafficking and Promote Ethical Recruitment in the Philippines

Mon, 11/23/2020 - 04:04

Manila – IOM Philippines recently launched two projects aimed at increasing access to ethical recruitment and reducing the prevalence of human trafficking among Overseas Filipino Workers (OFWs), through funding from the Global Fund to End Modern Slavery (GFEMS) and the US Department of State's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons (J/TIP).

Aligning Lenses Toward Ethical Recruitment (ALTER) aims to increase access to ethical recruitment channels for OFWs by supporting wider adoption of ethical recruitment principles in the Philippines, and creating an enabling environment for employers and recruiters to commit to and practice those principles.

Multiple complementary workstreams will bring together the Government of the Philippines, Philippine recruitment agencies (PRAs), the hospitality industry, and civil society organizations (CSOs) dedicated to migrant worker protection.

Led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), ALTER will be implemented by a consortium that includes the Blas F. Ople Policy Center, Diginex, and the Sustainable Hospitality Alliance. The consortium will improve recruitment industry practices by supporting and incentivizing the effective, sustainable adoption of ethical recruitment in the Philippines, with particular emphasis on hospitality workers.

The Improving Migrant and Community Preparation and Awareness to Counter Trafficking (IMPACT) project takes a community-driven, grassroots approach towards prevention and mitigation of risks of Trafficking in Persons (TiP) and labour exploitation. The project focuses on the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (BARMM), recognizing that the region is a major sending location of OFWs with a higher prevalence of human trafficking.

IMPACT will build awareness of risks and drivers of human trafficking through community-driven initiatives and information campaigns on TiP issues, targeting at-risk communities across BARMM. It will also work on the localization of the existing pre-departure orientation (PDO) modules and materials for BARMM-origin prospective labour migrants, along with capacity building of the PDO service providers, so that the migrants have access to contextualized information and that enables better-informed, safer migration practices.

Both projects officially commenced in August 2020 with a series of government launches, with the first phases of IMPACT and ALTER focusing on the evidence building through desk research and baseline assessments, as well as development of various knowledge products.

The projects will run for an 18-month period until January 2022.

“ALTER is looking to sustainably reduce the prevalence of TIP among OFWs by empowering the Government of the Philippines and civil society to create an environment for more employers and private recruitment agencies (PRAs) to practice ethical recruitment and provide safer employment alternatives overseas,” said Kristin Dadey, Chief of Mission IOM Philippines.

She added, “IMPACT is really about a multifaceted approach to build awareness of trafficking among the most at-risk communities of BARMM. This will be achieved through capacity building and awareness raising in a localized context based on evidence and behavioral change.”

In particular, with the COVID-19 pandemic causing wide-scale job loss with little prospect of immediate employment opportunities, ALTER and IMPACT will play a critical role in the recovery effort by ensuring the redeployment of OFWs will be compliant with relevant regulations and consistent with international standards of ethical recruitment while also increasing resilience of vulnerable BARMM communities against risks and drivers of human trafficking, which have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

The projects will contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) – particularly Goal 8: decent work and economic growth; and Goal 10: reduced inequalities.

For more information, please contact Natsuko Kobiyama Yoshino at IOM Philippines at Email:

Language English Posted: Monday, November 23, 2020 - 11:01Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

Returnees, Health Workers Join Hands to Improve Psychosocial Well-being in Nigeria

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 08:12

Benin City – COVID-19 continues to put a strain on public health systems, as well as on the livelihoods and purchasing power of people around the world. But as the pandemic shows no signs of abating, the impact on the mental health of the most vulnerable –including migrants returned to their communities– becomes more visible. As part of the response to address this challenge, from 16 to 19 November, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) hosted in Benin City, Edo State, a series of modules to train 20 returnees in a community-based approach to psychosocial reintegration. 

Under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, IOM conducted in May a COVID-19 assessment to measure the impact of the pandemic on returnees in various countries in West and Central Africa. Among 518 people surveyed, 63 per cent reported that their emotional wellbeing had deteriorated since the outbreak of COVID-19, including 90 per cent of respondents from Edo and Delta States. 

The impact of the pandemic adds a layer of vulnerability to returnees, some of whom had already started rebuilding their lives, and who were experiencing high levels of psychosocial distress or severe disorders, both pre-existing or due to potentially traumatic life events along their journey. 
Yet, many areas with high numbers of returnees may lack specialized mental health care and psychosocial services and have a limited number of professional staff such as psychiatrists and psychologists.

The training conducted in Benin City aims to build a mentorship network and create supportive relationships between two peers with similar experiences, such as a newly arrived returnee and a mentor from the same location or a group of peers within a community.
Returnees with experience in community engagement, or those with specific backgrounds such as social workers or teachers, have been selected as mentors. They can help new arrivals navigate the difficulties of the return and reduce the social barriers to reintegration by providing emotional support, helping solve practical problems and sharing information about services that provide mental health and psychosocial support in the country.
“This training will help me use my own story to be able to support Nigerians who have just returned because they need someone to confide in. As a mentor, I should be able to listen to them and advise them, and tell them that they should not give up on life,” said Kenan Osagie, a returnee and one of the female participants. 
The initiative followed a four-day training (10-13/11) for primary healthcare professionals on the management and treatment of mental disorders. The training was conducted in coordination with the Nigerian Federal Ministry of Health.
This instruction was based on the Mental Health Gap Action Programme (MHGAP), a protocol developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), as well as on additional IOM tools and international guidelines to identify and respond to mental disorders, which were adapted to the Nigerian context. The training sessions delved into migration and mental health with a focus on the return journey, as well as an overview of MHGAP’s principles of care, depression, suicide and self-harm, psychoses, epilepsy, alcohol, and substance abuse.
The event gathered 20  participants from primary healthcare centers from the localities in Edo State, the main place of origin of Nigerian returnees. 

“This marks a key step in strengthening the national mental health care system in Nigeria,” said the lead trainer, Dr. Funke Ogunderu, IOM Nigeria MHPSS Senior Project Assistant. “As a pilot project, this training will help reduce the gap for migrants and their communities gaining access to mental healthcare and psychosocial support,” she added. 
Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS) is a fundamental part of sustainable reintegration. It aims at protecting and enhancing migrants’ psychosocial wellbeing, as well as at supporting people with pre-existing and emerging mental disorders.   
Strengthening the mental healthcare system and enhancing the skills of returnees to provide community-based psychosocial support signal IOM’s holistic approach to MHPSS in Nigeria. The mentoring project and training for primary healthcare workers are funded by the European Union under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.
For more information please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 906 273 9168, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 20, 2020 - 15:09Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: COVID-19Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

Returnees during the mentoring activity in Benin City, Edo State, the main place of origin of Nigerians returning from Libya. Photo: IOM/Elijah Elaigwu 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

2020 Death Toll in West Africa Sea Route Tops 500 Amid Uptick in Departures

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 08:11

Dakar – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is extremely concerned about the increase in deaths recorded on the West Africa route to the Canary Islands.  

So far this year, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project has recorded more than 500 deaths, most of them during the months of October and November--—amid increased departures from the coasts of West African countries, including Senegal. The loss of life this year is already more than double compared to 2019, when IOM recorded 210 deaths. 
The recorded data, however, represent a minimum estimate. The Organization fears the actual total of lives lost is higher. 
“IOM faces numerous challenges in collecting data on the West Africa route, especially when we receive reports about boats disappearing without a trace,” says Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC).  
The latest shipwreck was recorded this week (15/11), off the coast of Cabo Verde, where 66 migrants, including three children, arrived on a damaged boat. According to government sources and survivors, more than 130 people initially boarded the vessel before its engine exploded. Some 60 people are reported to have perished during this tragedy. Those onboard were, except for two migrants from The Gambia, all Senegalese. 
IOM works closely with local partners in the communities and verifies reports and data about such tragedies with survivors, family members and community members. IOM, as an Intergovernmental Organization, also coordinates its efforts and responses with Governments, and confirmed the account of the shipwreck involving about 200 people shared in its press release dated 29 October. Such data are pivotal in contributing to an informed migration-related policy and enable a more human-centred and needs-based approach to migration management. 
To date in 2020, over 18,000 migrants have arrived in the Canary Islands after long and dangerous journeys across the Atlantic. At least 12,000 of them arrived in the months of October and November. Most migrants are arriving from West African countries. COVID-19 impacts, including food insecurity, are among the factors believed to be driving these departures. 
While these figures depict a seven-fold increase compared to the 1,550 arrivals during the same period of 2019 (January-November), IOM believes that the situation remains manageable through solidarity and a human rights-centred policy and approach.  
IOM is saddened by the continuous loss of life at sea and expresses its condolences to the bereaved families of the those who perished during perilous migration journeys. Prosecuting smuggling groups and traffickers who prey on desperate people and put them on dangerous crossings in unseaworthy vessels, must be a priority together with awareness raising among communities of the risks of irregular migration.    

For more information, please contact
At IOM's Regional Office for West and Central Africa: Aïssatou Sy, Tel: +221 77 479 21 41. Email:
In Geneva: Safa Msehli, Tel: +41793045526. Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, November 20, 2020 - 15:09Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: Counter-TraffickingHumanitarian EmergenciesMissing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Decongestion Efforts Begin in Displacement Camps in North-East Nigeria Amid Growing Humanitarian Needs

Fri, 11/20/2020 - 08:11

Maiduguri –  Unrelenting violence in north-east Nigeria has prompted new waves of displacement to congested camps in 2020. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has begun rolling out a new decongestion strategy in collaboration with humanitarian partners that aims to reduce overcrowding in over 55 per cent of the camps in Borno State – where four out of five internally displaced persons (IDPs) currently live in overcrowded sites.

Overcrowded conditions in camps with makeshift and temporary shelters built near each other make physical distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19 impossible, in addition to increasing risks of fire outbreaks and reduced accessibility. 

“Displaced populations in the north-east are facing severe hardship due to increased insecurity, disrupted livelihoods and ongoing risks of transmission of COVID-19,” said Jeffrey Labovitz, IOM Director of Operations and Emergencies, during a visit to camps in Borno this week.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the number of people in need of humanitarian assistance has grown by 3.5 million – from 7.1 to 10.6 million – the largest number since the joint humanitarian response began five years ago. 

The number of IDPs in Nigeria’s worst-affected states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe rose from 1.8 to 1.9 million in 2020, according to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix. The majority live in precarious, makeshift shelters which expose inhabitants to harsh weather conditions as well as gender-based violence and other security threats. 

Decongestion efforts in overcrowded sites are a temporary yet timely measure to better the living conditions of displaced families. 
In the town of Dikwa, IOM has relocated 899 individuals from a projected total of 1,235 to improved shelters at the recently established Umarti camp following the approval of local and State authorities.

The relocation efforts in Dikwa, where 17 camps host 60,848 individuals will provide better living conditions for the population and lessen protection, disaster and health risks while bringing them closer to key services and facilities such as health and food distribution.

The precarious security situation has also created obstacles for humanitarians providing assistance in remote locations. Since 2019, three out of nine IOM-managed humanitarian hubs – sites where humanitarians work and live – in Banki, Ngala and Monguno towns have been targeted during attacks by non-state armed groups. 
“Greater financial support is needed to strengthen the security measures for these hubs and ensure the safety of aid workers. Without these facilities, essential services in conflict-affected areas would come to a halt,” added Labovitz. 

The eleven-year conflict in the north-east has spread to areas surrounding Lake Chad, prompting one of the world’s most severe and complex humanitarian crises.
Less than two months before the end of the year, aid actors have received less than half the funding needed to assist the 7.8 million people targeted.

For more information please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 906 273 9168, Email:, or Angela Wells at IOM’s Department of Operations and Emergencies, Tel: +41 7940 35365, Email:  


Language English Posted: Friday, November 20, 2020 - 15:09Image: Region-Country: NigeriaThemes: Internal DisplacementRelocationDefault: Multimedia: 

Gubio camp hosts more than 30,000 internally displaced persons in north-east Nigeria, where humanitarian needs have significantly grown in 2020. Photo: Jorge Galindo/IOM

IOM’s Director of Operations and Emergencies, Jeffrey Labovitz, meets with community members in Dikwa IDP camp.  Photo: Kazi Made/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN