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Strengthened Partnerships on Migration Discussed at Seventh EU-IOM Strategic Meeting

Tue, 10/13/2020 - 12:00

Brussels - Senior officials from the European Union (EU) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) met virtually today (13/10) to advance their strategic partnership. 

“Managing migration requires global solutions and responsibility-sharing. The New Pact on Migration and Asylum recalls the importance of comprehensive and tailor-made partnerships, which must be at the heart of the EU external migration policy. Strengthened cooperation is key to ensuring that migration takes place through safe and regular channels, for the benefit of all. IOM is a key partner in that context,” said Stefano Sannino, Deputy Secretary-General for Economic and Political Affairs of the European External Action Service (EEAS). 

Added IOM Director General, António Vitorino: “The sound governance of migration relies on international partnerships, comprehensive policy and operational excellence. We are committed to continued cooperation with the EU and partner states in a strategic alliance of shared values. Together, we can realize the opportunities of human mobility and address common challenges with the commitment to leave no one behind.”  

Discussions focused on developments in migration policy, including the New Pact on Migration and Asylum proposed by the European Commission on 23 September, the implementation of migration policies on the ground, including through migration partnerships and humanitarian work, and the way forward for EU-IOM strategic cooperation.  

Background 

In July 2012, the EU and IOM established a Strategic Cooperation Framework to enhance collaboration on migration, development, humanitarian response and human rights issues. This built on both partners’ shared interest in bringing the benefits of well-managed international migration to migrants and to society. Today’s meeting, the seventh of its kind since the launch of the EU-IOM Strategic Cooperation Framework, was one of the high-level discussions that advance cooperation between the two organisations on these issues. 

The meeting was hosted by the Deputy Secretary-General for Economic and Political Affairs of the European External Action Service (EEAS), Stefano Sannino on behalf of the European Union. Director-General António Vitorino and Deputy Director General Laura Thompson represented the IOM. Other senior representatives from the European Commission included Paraskevi Michou, Director-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (DG ECHO), Maciej Popowski, Acting Director-General for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR), Marjeta Jager, Deputy Director-General for International Cooperation and Development (DG DEVCO), and Johannes Luchner, Deputy Director-General  for Migration and Home Affairs (DG HOME).  

Together, the EU and its Member States are the largest contributors to IOM’s budget. Between 2015 and 2019, the European Commission and the IOM worked together all over the world through 535 projects with an approximate value of EUR 1.88 billion. The flagship EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, launched in December 2016 with the support of the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa, and implemented in Africa with the engagement of partner countries, is an example of a multi-region, comprehensive programme that has yielded significant and tangible results.  

Since the launch of the Joint Initiative, more than 84,000 migrants have been protected and assisted in returning to their home countries, 97,000 returning migrants have been granted post-arrival reception and reintegration assistance, and more than 25,000 migrants in distress have been assisted through search and rescue operations carried out by IOM in the Sahara desert.   

Furthermore, with EU support, IOM has provided humanitarian assistance in 34 countries since 2017. 

For more information please contact:  

Ryan Schroeder at IOM Brussels, + 32 492 25 02 34, rschroeder@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 13:59Image: Region-Country: BelgiumThemes: EUTFIOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM assisting migrants and refugees in Greece with support from the European Union (EU). Photo: IOM 2020

Stakeholders meet to organize reintegration assistance to returnees under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in Ethiopia. Photo: IOM 2020 

Stakeholders meet to organize reintegration assistance to returnees under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in Ethiopia. Photo: IOM 2020

EU High Representative and Vice-President Josep Borrell visits an IOM transit center in Ethiopia. Photo: IOM 2020 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, European Union and the Government of Ethiopia Strengthen Partnership to Support Migrants during COVID-19

Tue, 10/13/2020 - 11:42

Addis Ababa - With the European Union’s (EU) revitalized commitment to a single cohesive migration policy as set out in its new Pact on Migration and Asylum, a high-level delegation from the European Union visited Ethiopia for a dialogue with the Government of Ethiopia (GoE), IOM Ethiopia and migrants.  

The delegation was led by H.E. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the EU Commission, and H.E. Janez Lenarcic, the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, who visited an IOM Transit Centre in Addis Ababa. 

Funded by the EU and other partners, the transit centre provides Ethiopian returnees with the post-arrival assistance they need to return to their home communities with dignity and to rebuild their lives. The migration stories shared by migrants and discussions with the GoE led by H.E. Tsion Teklu, State Minister for Business and Diaspora Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission and Representative to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), reinforced the need to build on proven successes in scaling up return assistance, sustainable reintegration and livelihood development in migration-prone communities. 

“During my visit to the IOM Transit Centre for Ethiopian migrant returnees, I met Najat, a 12-year-old girl. She has just been returned from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and her story is beyond what a child should ever have to endure”, said H.E. Josep Borrell.  

The delegation also visited European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) -funded projects in the Somali region, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Qoloji hosting over 80,000 people.  

The European Union is among IOM’s major donors supporting the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration program, IOM’s response to the returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and the humanitarian response in displacement settings.   

Maureen Achieng, on her part, said, “The glaring gap we continue to grapple with is that of reintegration. Trends in recent years in terms of rates of re-emigration underline the critical importance of ensuring returning migrants are sustainably reintegrated. Without this, compelling push and pull factors continue to put many of these vulnerable youth into the hands of smugglers and traffickers. It is critically urgent that we break this vicious cycle.”  

Over the past three years, IOM has assisted 20,712 Ethiopian returnees from transit and destination countries on the Eastern, Southern and Northern routes. Out of these returnees, 934 were provided with reintegration and livelihood support. Reintegration and livelihood support are among the major areas for which Ethiopia’s Government has requested IOM support.  

For more information, please contact IOM Ethiopia: Alemayehu Seifeselassie, Email: salemayehu@iom.int or Krizia Kaye Viray, Mobile: +251993531220, Email: kkviray@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 13:56Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

An EU delegation led by H.E. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the EU Commission, and H.E. Janez Lenarcic, the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management visited Ethiopia for a dialogue with the Government, IOM and migrants. 

An EU delegation led by H.E. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the EU Commission, and H.E. Janez Lenarcic, the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management visited Ethiopia for a dialogue with the Government, IOM and migrants. 

European Union Delegates visiting the IOM Ethiopia Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Transit Centre in Addis Ababa. Photo: Alemayehu Seifeselassie/IOM

European Union Delegates visiting the IOM Ethiopia Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Transit Centre in Addis Ababa. Photo: Alemayehu Seifeselassie/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, UK Emergency Medical Team Continue COVID-19 Health Support for Refugees, Locals in Cox’s Bazar

Tue, 10/13/2020 - 11:12

Cox’s Bazar – From the outset of the COVID-19 health crisis in Bangladesh, humanitarian agencies in Cox's Bazar have worked around the clock to prepare to effectively respond to the outbreak in the district, which hosts one of the largest refugee settlements in the world.  

Key to this enormous effort includes enhancing existing partnerships and seeking new collaborative opportunities to address the lack of technical expertise and strained human resources in an already complex refugee crisis.  

In May of this year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Kingdom’s Emergency Medical Team (UK EMT)--funded by the United Kingdom’s Foreign Commonwealth & Development Office—re-established joint health efforts to combat the spread of COVID-19 throughout the district. The effort is aimed at enhancing Infection Prevention and Control (IPC) measures while supporting case management and referral systems for both Rohingya and neighbouring Bangladeshi communities. 

A history of collaboration between the two organizations in Cox’s Bazar goes back to 2017, when UK EMT professionals supported response efforts to a diphtheria outbreak in the Rohingya refugee camps. NGO UK-Med – funded by UK Aid and deployed under the UK EMT – is a global frontline agency in COVID-19 response efforts and humanitarian crises around the world. 

Through the partnership, two existing health facilities have been upgraded, hundreds of health workers have been trained and three Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Isolation and Treatment Centres (SARI ITCs) were designed, constructed and equipped to provide dignified and efficient treatment to those infected with COVID-19. Health Outreach Teams were established to encourage healthy behaviour, strengthen communication with communities and promote the use health facilities (for COVID-19 and other essential health services). 

“The joint efforts between IOM and UK EMT greatly benefit COVID-19 response efforts, especially for the most vulnerable in Cox’s Bazar. The support provided by UK EMT on capacity building, technical guidance and supervision of clinical teams enhances the quality of service provided to both host community and refugee populations,” stated Dr. Charles Erik Halder, a National Program Officer for IOM’s Emergency Preparedness & Response Programme in Cox’s Bazar.  

The first UK EMT served in Cox’s Bazar from May to July 2020, while the second team of experts arrived in July 2020 and remain on the ground, working with IOM to enhance the quality of care in SARI ITCs, improve Risk Communication and Community Engagement (RCCE) and IPC initiatives, provide training and capacity-building for Health Workers and strengthen the local capacity for active case surveillance and home-based care. 

Sarah Collis, Health Lead of UK EMT’s first team said of the partnership: “Working with IOM was an incredible experience for the UK EMT. We were quickly welcomed into the team which enabled us to get straight to work, sharing our technical knowledge and immediately driving the response forward.” 

Collis added: “The relationship was open and collaborative from the beginning and it was clear that both teams were committed to ensuring the Rohingya and host populations had access to quality COVID-19 services in Cox's Bazaar. UK EMT also supported the development of trainings and guidelines at coordination level in areas such as palliative care and rehabilitation, working closely with WHO and supporting coherence and cooperation amongst partners.” 

Through robust partnerships and continued support, IOM and the humanitarian community seek to maintain and expand upon concerted efforts to strengthen the community’s resilience to COVID-19 while supporting the overall humanitarian response.  

COVID-19 in Cox’s Bazar 

  • The first confirmed case of COVID-19 in Cox’s Bazar was found on March 23, 2020. As of 11 October 2020, 4,602 cases among the host community have been confirmed in the district. In the Rohingya refugee settlements, a total 276 COVID-19 cases have been found and eight deaths have been officially recorded. Of the 276 confirmed, 134 patients have recovered and 134 are isolated in health facilities within the camp. 
  • The UK EMT is the front line of the UK government’s response to a humanitarian crisis overseas–funded by UK aid from the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). It is a partnership made up of FCDO, health NGO UK-Med, NGO Humanity & Inclusion, the UK Fire and Rescue Service and Palladium. UK-Med’s role is to prepare and manage teams of clinicians who are ready to respond to health emergencies anywhere in the world at speed. The EMT network is driven by the World Health Organization (WHO) and ensures that teams that respond following disasters are well trained, self-sufficient and have the skills and equipment to respond effectively rather than imposing a burden on the national system. 

For more information, please contact Tarek Mahmud. Tel: + 880 1752 380240, Email: tmahmud@iom.int or Nathan Webb. Tel + 880 1869 530170, Email: nwebb@iom.int at IOM Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar.   

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: BangladeshThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

IOM and UKEMT members conducting a review of Isolation and Treatment Center inauguration details. Photo: UKEMT

Volunteer training conducted at IOM’s ITC in Camp 20 Extension by IOM/UKEMT. Photo: UKEMT

IOM and UKEMT host a dignitary visit from the Government of Bangladesh’s Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner’s Office. Photo: Mashrif Abdullah Al/IOM

Preparations for the inauguration of IOM’s Isolation and Treatment Center in Camp 20 Extension, led by IOM with support from the UKEMT. Photo: Mashrif Abdullah Al/IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Partners with the Gabo Foundation to Promote Well-Informed Media Coverage on Migration

Tue, 10/13/2020 - 08:16

Buenos Aires – Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez of Colombia —known affectionately as “Gabo”—designed his Gabo Foundation as an international journalism organization to strengthen the generation of knowledge and promote links between migration and sustainable development, as well as to curb xenophobia, racism and discrimination against migrants.  

Mr. Garcia Marquez was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. 

Because IOM shares his goals, too, this week the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Gabo Foundation signed an agreement that will allow for close global cooperation to implement initiatives aimed at journalists.  

 “Journalists’ contributions are crucial in combating misinformation on migration,” said Head of Media and Communications and IOM Spokesperson, Leonard Doyle. “The cooperation with the Gabo Foundation will contribute to IOM’s ongoing efforts to enhance media knowledge on migration in order to achieve better reporting practices. This in turn will help debunk myths, stereotypes and xenophobic attitudes.” 

Media, Mr. Doyle explained, can be key to communicating the complex phenomena within migration. At the same time, what appears in and on the media shapes society’s perception of migrants. While media can help reduce prejudices, social media, in particular, has become a powerful amplifier of negative stereotypes. What matters most is having quality journalism based on a plurality of sources which, through compelling storytelling, raises awareness about migrants and their contribution to society.  

At the same time, media make migration visible as a crucial factor in the sustainable development for both migrants and communities.  

This global agreement, promoted by the IOM Regional Office for South America, also incorporates the implementation of several projects and initiatives related to media and migration, including training workshops for journalists, conferences, forums and exhibitions. 

“The phenomenon of migration has been present all through mankind’s history,” emphasized Gabo Foundation Director General, Jaime Abello Banfi, who added: “In recent years, our region has witnessed how migration gained a social and political compelling importance that made it a big theme for journalism and the media. Initiatives like the ones that we will implement in partnership with IOM are needed to promote a journalism of public service, with innovative narratives and rigorous research, which in turn will help to understand social and structural changes while helping in the citizenship-building.” 

This close cooperation between the organizations will support new and existing media projects at global, regional and national levels, starting in South America.  

“In cooperation with the Gabo Foundation, we will launch training on migration and sustainable development for journalists, as well as webinars for reporters and the general public. This will enable exchanges on the important role that the media has in combatting hate speech against migrants and demonstrate, with factual information, media’s important contribution to development,” explained IOM Regional Director for South America, Marcelo Pisani.  

The activities jointly developed with the Gabo Foundation in South America will be funded by the Migration Resource Allocation Committee (MIRAC). 

For further information, please contact: 

IOM: Juliana Quintero, Regional Media and Communications Officer for South America, Tel. + 54 11 5219 2033, Email: juquintero@iom.int 

Gabo Foundation: Silvia Navarro, Project Coordinator, Email: snavarro@fundaciongabo.org  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 13, 2020 - 13:57Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaThemes: IOMPrivate Sector PartnershipsDefault: Multimedia: 

The Gabo Foundation, founded by the Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, leads initiatives to transmit to new generations Gabo's dream of doing the best journalism in the world. Photo: FNPI. J. Lineros 

The Gabo Foundation, founded by the Colombian Nobel Prize winner Gabriel García Márquez, leads initiatives to transmit to new generations Gabo's dream of doing the best journalism in the world. Photo: FNPI. Andrés Reyes.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

PAHO and IOM Sign Agreement to Improve the Health of 70 Million Migrants in the Americas

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 15:56

Washington – More than 70 million migrants living across international borders in the Region of the Americas are set to benefit from a joint agreement signed today by Carissa F. Etienne, Director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and António Vitorino, Director General of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).

Under the agreement, PAHO and IOM will focus on scaling up coordinated interventions to support countries of the Americas in addressing health and migration, while leaving no one behind. It will also ensure greater advocacy for the inclusion of the specific needs of migrants in health and development policy throughout the Region, both in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.

“Migrants are one of the most vulnerable populations in our Region, facing huge barriers when it comes to accessing the health care they need,” said PAHO Director, Carissa F Etienne. “The COVID-19 pandemic is a stark reminder that no one is safe until everyone is safe, which is why this agreement between PAHO and IOM has never been so timely and so important,” she added.   

 

Migration in the Americas

The number of international migrants in the Americas reached 70 million as of 2019. Since 2015, this migratory flow includes more than 5 million Venezuelans who now live in other countries of the world, particularly Colombia, Chile and Peru. And since 2018, a new trend has emerged consisting of large groups migrating from Central America towards Mexico and the United States.

Drivers of migration in the Americas include social and economic inequalities, political instability, conflict and environmental disasters. While many countries in the Region are sources of emigration to high-income countries in the Americas and Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean are also experiencing an increase in migrants from Africa and Asia. This places an additional strain on many countries’ under-resourced health systems.

“This initiative has been created precisely to address these challenges and will help stakeholders to coordinate and harmonize actions to enhance the health of migrants,” said IOM Director General, António Vitorino.

 

Health and Migration

The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the delivery of health services throughout the Americas, which has experienced over 17 million cases and more than 574,000 deaths due to the virus.

While migrants face the same health threats as anyone else, these are compounded by precarious living conditions and a lack of access to basic services such as water, sanitation and nutrition. Migrants are also more likely to face poor and crowded working conditions within the informal economy, as well as legal, language and cultural barriers that make adhering to public health measures during the pandemic particularly difficult.

Separation from support networks, financial hardship and limited access to supplies and medication are also threatening migrants’ mental health and worsening pre-existing conditions.

Beyond COVID-19, many migrants in the Americas experience a range of communicable as well as non-communicable diseases that require urgent recognition and treatment.  Diseases including malaria, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS, diabetes and hypertension among migrant populations must be addressed.

The new agreement aims to improve access to health for this vulnerable population, and support countries in border health, including in emergency preparedness and response. It also aims to enhance action across sectors, including education, social welfare and protection, to better plan health interventions with a short-, medium-, and long-term vision.

 

 

For more information, please contact: 

IOM 

Liz Lizama, Tel. +1 202 716 8820, Email: elizama@iom.int

PAHO
Leticia Linn, Tel +1 202 974 3440 | +1 (202) 701 4005, Email: linnl@paho.org 
Sebastian Oliel, Tel +1 202 974 3459 | +1 (202) 316 5679, Email: oliels@paho.org
Ashley Baldwin, Tel +1 202 974 3872 | +1 (202) 340 4025, Email: baldwinash@paho.org

Language English Posted: Friday, October 9, 2020 - 15:54Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

The IOM-PAHO agreement will focus on increasing and scaling-up interventions that address barriers to health care and the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on migrant populations. Photo: IOM/Rafael Rodríguez

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Stranded Malawian Migrants Receive Support to Voluntarily Return Home from Mozambique

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 13:39

Stranded in southern Mozambique after crossing the South Africa border, 52 Malawian migrants received support from IOM to voluntarily return home over the past six days. Travelling to Malawi by bus from South Africa to the Mozambique border, the vulnerable migrants, in separate groups, were all stopped in the area of Ressano Garcia checkpoint in Maputo Province due to irregular crossing and incomplete travel documents.

The Malawians had been working in South Africa, some for months, others for years. Due to the difficulty of making a living during the COVID-19 period, they decided to return and reunite with family members, however the return trip was more complex than expected.

The majority of the migrants spent more than two weeks in Ressano Garcia, first at a border police holding facility, and then at a hotel arranged by IOM. During the stay in Ressano Garcia, IOM provided food and clothing for some of the migrants who were identified as in need of assistance. Medical care was provided to two pregnant women as part of pre-departure assistance, to determine if they were fit to travel.

Several individuals lacked passports; IOM coordinated with the Malawi High Commission in Maputo to obtain emergency travel documents. The group of 52 migrants, including 41 men, 10 women and one child, requested to travel as soon as possible. Due to urgency, arrangements were quickly made for seats on commercial airlines from 2 October to 7 October, for the 1 hour 45-minute flight to Tete, Mozambique. IOM provided transportation to the Malawi border, a distance of approximately 90 km. National authorities, with support from IOM Malawi, provided the returnees with personal protective equipment (PPE) including face masks, alcohol hand sanitizer and onward transport assistance to their communities of origin. The return movement of the migrants was overseen and accompanied by Mozambique’s National Migration Service (SENAMI), with continued support from the Malawi High Commission in Maputo.

“Before COVID-19, the situation was okay. I lived in Johannesburg, from January to February I did piece work and sold clothes. But after the COVID-19 lockdown started in South Africa it was not possible to work. We were suffering due to lack of jobs,” said Chipango Domin, a migrant from Malawi. “It was therefore better to return to our country. I am very happy to go back and meet my baby, who I have only seen in pictures.”

The migrants’ work in South Africa ranged from welding, food and clothing sales, to housekeeping and tailoring. Upon arrival back home they aspire to work opportunities including as welders, drivers, or to start small clothing sales business.

IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission, Dr. Laura Tomm-Bonde said: “Migrants are especially vulnerable in this COVID-19 period. The economic impact of COVID-19 affects their employment prospects, and the essential remittances that migrants send to support their families. In cooperation with Mozambican authorities, IOM is pleased to offer assistance to the migrants to voluntarily return home.”

The High Commissioner of the Republic of Malawi in Mozambique, HE Frank Elias Viyazhi said, “This group of Malawian migrants along with many others are in precarious situations during this period; we must properly follow COVID-19 quarantine and prevention guidelines, while also facilitating regular migration movements, especially returns. We are pleased to work together with IOM in this effort.”

Upon departure from Maputo Airport, one of the Malawian migrants explained, “I went to work in South Africa because I needed money to pay for school fees, food and clothes for my daughters; it is difficult to afford expenses for four children,” said Domisani Msowoya. “I worked as a housekeeper but the family left in June because of COVID-19. I have not been home in three years. When I go back to Malawi we will start a business selling second hand clothes. My daughters say ‘Come home, we are waiting for you!’”

The last remaining migrant in the group departed Maputo Airport on 7 October. He joined three migrants who held over in Tete. This final contingent of four travelled together and returned on 8 October to Malawi.

 The return was supported within the framework of the European Union-funded project “Southern Africa Migration Management” to respond to the protection and assistance needs of stranded and vulnerable migrants in the region impacted by COVID-19. Since June 2020, more than 1,000 stranded and vulnerable migrants have been assisted to return home safely.

Watch the video here.

For more information please contact:

Abibo Ngandu in IOM Regional Office for Southern Africa, Tel: +276 0779 7199, Email: angandu@iom.int 

Mpilo Nkomo in IOM Malawi, Tel +265 999 975 801, mnkomo@iom.int 
Sandra Black in IOM Mozambique, Tel: +258 852 162 278, Email: sblack@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, October 9, 2020 - 19:28Image: Region-Country: MalawiThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Malawian migrants enter Maputo Airport for their return flight, after having been stranded in Mozambique. 5 October 2020 Photo: IOM/Sandra Black.

IOM staff provides hand sanitizer to returning Malawian migrants before they enter Maputo Airport, 4 October 2020 Photo: IOM/Sandra Black.

IOM Malawi staff distribute personal protective equipment including masks and hand sanitizer to returned migrants. Photo: IOM/ Irvine Mwangala.

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

Immediate Action Required to Address Needs, Vulnerabilities of 2.75m Stranded Migrants

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 08:48

Geneva - Effective international cooperation is urgently needed to address the circumstances of millions of migrants stranded worldwide due to mobility restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19, the International Organization for Migration said today. 

A three-month-long COVID-19 Impact on Migrants effort by IOM’s Returns Task Force reveals for the first time the scope and complexities of the challenges facing governments and people on the move at a time when at least 2.75 million* migrants are stranded (13 July) worldwide.  

“The scope and subsequent enforcement of tens of thousands of mobility restrictions including border closures and nation-wide lockdowns related to COVID-19 requires states to reach out to their neighbours and to migrants’ countries of origin to address their needs and vulnerabilities,” said IOM Director General, António Vitorino. 

“It should be clear that migrants can be returned home in a safe and dignified manner despite the constraints imposed by COVID-19. Where governments have taken action, tens of thousands of migrants have been able to return home in a manner that takes into consideration the significant health challenges the pandemic poses. Labour corridors have been re-opened, helping to reanimate economies in both source and destination countries and dampen the economic impact of the pandemic. These are all positive steps, but we must move now to replicate these good practices more widely.”  

For the purposes of the report, stranded migrants are defined as individuals outside of their country of habitual residence, wishing to return home but who are unable to do so due to mobility restrictions related to COVID-19. This snapshot, based on data collected from 382 locations in more than 101 countries, “is considered a large underestimation of the number of migrants stranded or otherwise impacted by COVID-19” the report states. 

IOM has been tracking global mobility restrictions and their impact since early March. The most recent data reveals some 220 countries, territories and areas have imposed over 91,000 restrictions on movement. As a result of these global containment measures, IOM has received hundreds of requests to assist nearly 115,000 stranded migrants to safely and voluntarily return home. 

Once stranded, some migrants are at a higher risk of abuse, exploitation and neglect. The loss of livelihoods can increase vulnerabilities and expose them to exploitation by criminal syndicates, human traffickers and others who take advantage of these situations.  

IOM has repeatedly called for migrants to be included in national COVID-19 response and recovery plans. Too often, however, they are excluded from or, due to their irregular status, unwilling to seek health and other social support services, a situation exacerbated by rising anti-migrant sentiment in some countries. 

“Migrants often face stigma, discrimination and xenophobic attacks but the extent to which social media in particular has served as an incubator and amplifier of hate speech is a deeply-troubling phenomena,” Director General Vitorino said.  

“The violence we have seen directed at migrants and other vulnerable people is inexcusable. It is essential to criminalize extreme forms of hate speech, including incitement to discrimination and violence, and to hold the perpetrators accountable.” 

Additionally, measures such as the use of quarantine to manage the spread of COVID-19 have regrettably also resulted in migrants being warehoused in unsanitary conditions where basic hygiene and physical distancing measures cannot be met, creating a breeding ground for the spread of potentially fatal diseases and a situation where migrants are at risk of facing further discrimination. 

The circumstances people find themselves in vary enormously. In a recent joint statement UN agencies highlighted the critical situation of some 400,000 seafarers who are currently stranded at sea, many of whom have been onboard their vessels for up to 17 months – six months longer than the maximum of 11 months. The backlog is a humanitarian crisis which threatens the wellbeing of seafarers and maritime safety. 

Nonetheless, it is clear that dialogue and cooperation can produce concrete results. 

An IOM Issue Brief on Stranded Migrants notes that some governments have been proactive in addressing vulnerability issues, allowing migrants regardless of their migratory status or insurance, to have access to medical facilities, particularly those dedicated to COVID-19, and providing food and accommodation to others. 

Canada, Portugal, Italy and Germany and many other states have adjusted the visa arrangement for seasonal workers in light of the mobility constraints posed by the pandemic. The government of Qatar also announced that migrant workers in quarantine or undergoing treatment will receive full salaries, while the Slovak Republic has extended residency permissions for non-citizens as an exceptional crisis measure.  

While mobility restrictions continue to impede the movement of migrant workers globally, exceptions are being made. In recent weeks the first of an expected 3,400 Mozambiquan miners have been allowed to cross back into South Africa to resume work after being medically screened and informed about the risks posed by COVID-19 by IOM. Discussions are progressing about providing the same facility to thousands of agricultural workers. 

International cooperation has also paved the way for IOM to provide voluntary return assistance to more than 15,000 vulnerable, stranded migrants in recent months, in a manner that addresses public health concerns related to COVID-19. 

Note *This figure of 2.75 million represents known cases of migrants stranded abroad, from public or official sources and direct requests to IOM, in need of different types of assistance including food, water, shelter and/or return assistance. It includes migrants that have been either identified by IOM missions, referred to IOM for assistance by Governments including by Diplomatic and Consular offices, civil society partners, other UN agencies or which have approached IOM for assistance individually.  

For more information please contact at IOM Geneva:  
Paul Dillon, Tel: +41 79 636 98 74, Email: pdillon@iom.int  
Safa Msehli, Tel: +41 79 403 55 26, Email: smsehli@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, October 9, 2020 - 14:44Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: Migrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

Farhiya and her eight-month-old son await return assistance to Ethiopia at a reception centre in Bossaso, Somalia, two of the 2.75 million migrants stranded globally due to COVID-19 mobility restrictions. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Government of Ethiopia Provide Cash Grants to Thousands of Migrants Returning Due to COVID-19

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 06:51

Addis Ababa – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Ethiopia to strengthen return and reintegration assistance to thousands of Ethiopian migrants returning home due to COVID-19. This is particularly crucial as the pandemic continues to deepen the already challenging economic and social situation faced by returnees. 

The USD 1 Million Dollar project will provide cash grants and other forms of support to over 8,000 returning migrants. The grants will enable returnees to provide food, clothing and other essential items for themselves. 

Nearly 34,000 migrants have returned to Ethiopia since the outbreak of COVID-19. Many have arrived with nothing other than the clothes on their backs, and were in need of medical attention, and basic humanitarian items. Some were also in need of psychosocial support after having gone through traumatic experiences during their journeys.  

Priority will be given to vulnerable migrants including victims of trafficking, those disabled, people with medical conditions, and single-headed households. 

The agreement was signed by Maureen Achieng, Chief of Mission, IOM Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union and United Nations Economic Commission for Africa, and Her Excellency, Dr. Ergogie Tesfaye, the country’s Minister of the Labour and Social Affairs.  

More than 550,000 Ethiopian migrants are expected to return from Gulf countries, due to COVID-19, according to the Government, posing an enormous challenge for Ethiopia.  

“Addressing their needs requires a multisectoral approach, well-designed policies, and better resource mobilization,” said Minister Tesfaye. 

The new funds from the agreement will also improve ‘referral mechanisms’ that link returnees with available government assistance programmes, resources, and service providers more effectively. 

“The advent of COVID-19 has resulted in additional challenges for migrants, many of whom have lost their jobs and ability to support their families through remittances,” said Maureen Achieng, Chief of Mission, IOM Ethiopia. 

“To successfully support the return process, it is critical that migrants returning home have access to assistance that helps them reach a level of economic self-sufficiency, social stability, and psychosocial well-being that makes potential future migration decisions a matter of choice rather than a desperate necessity,”  

The agreement is aligned with IOM’s Regional Migrant Response Plan (2018-2020), an USD 84 million appeal launched in August to provide life-saving assistance to an estimated 235,000 vulnerable migrants in the Horn of Africa and Yemen. Under the plan, IOM and other partners have adapted alternative methods for reintegrating returnees, given the COVID-19 context.       

This assistance has been made possible through the generous contribution of the US State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), the Danish International Development Agency (DANIDA), and the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa. 

For more information, please contact Haimanot Abebe, haabebe@iom.int, +251-47-551 0899, ext. 1260 

Language English Posted: Friday, October 9, 2020 - 12:57Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: Assisted Voluntary Return and ReintegrationDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM and the Government of Ethiopia sign an agreement to provide assistance to thousands of returning migrants in Ethiopia. Photo: IOM/Alemayehu Seifeselassie 

IOM and the Government of Ethiopia sign an agreement to provide assistance to thousands of returning migrants in Ethiopia. Photo: IOM/Alemayehu Seifeselassie 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Potential for Mass Displacement as Conflict Intensifies in Nagorno-Karabakh

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 06:46

Vienna – Fierce fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh is likely to result in significant displacement, the International Organization for Migration has warned. 

The current clashes are the heaviest in over four years, in a dispute that has been smouldering since the all-out war in the early 1990s, following the break-up of the Soviet Union.  

Renate Held, IOM’s Regional Director for Southeastern Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia expressed concern at the mounting toll of civilian and military causalities. She confirmed that the Organization is keeping a very close eye on developments and stands ready to assist those in need via its missions to Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

“We are ready to support with humanitarian assistance to displaced and other conflict-affected populations where we have experience and capacity to respond, in coordination with governmental, international and local actors,” Ms. Held affirmed.  

The Organization has been present in both southern Caucasus countries for the past three decades, and had built up considerable experience in assisting refugees, displaced and other vulnerable people.  

Immediately prior to the current crisis, IOM’s work focused on helping the governments and civil society to cope with the huge challenges posed by the Coronavirus pandemic. In recent years the organization has also been active in repairing traditional underground water systems, running emergency preparedness exercises, and helping people find employment through micro-enterprise programmes.  

“The current situation is deeply worrying, and our concerns are for the safely and care of those who may be forced to flee”, added Ms Held. “The elderly, women, children and disabled people would be in grave peril if they had to spend time without shelter as the bitter winter looms. We hope for a prompt, long-lasting and meaningful peaceful resolution to the current situation.”  

Learn more about IOM’s operations in Armenia and Azerbaijan

For more information please contact Joe Lowry at IOM in Vienna, Email: jlowry@iom.int,Tel: +43660 3776404 

Language English Posted: Friday, October 9, 2020 - 12:59Image: Region-Country: AzerbaijanThemes: Internal DisplacementDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM ROK, KOICA Host Webinar on Remote Management and Monitoring for Korean Humanitarian Actors

Fri, 10/09/2020 - 05:46

Seoul, Republic of Korea – The IOM Republic of Korea (ROK) Mission, with support from the Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), hosted the ‘Webinar on Remote Management and Monitoring in the context of COVID-19’ on 6 October 2020.

The webinar was attended by approximately 120 practitioners from ROK NGOs and government agencies engaged in overseas humanitarian assistance. The webinar aimed to provide timely support for ROK humanitarian actors who are impacted by the ongoing pandemic challenges, including mobility restrictions but have less experience in operating with limited access to the field.

After opening remarks from Jiyoon Kim, Director of  Multilateral Cooperation & Humanitarian Assistance, Korea International Cooperation Agency (KOICA), the webinar kicked off by introducing IOM’s experience from the field in adopting remote management and monitoring for humanitarian assistance in the COVID-19 context and lessons learned for the ROK humanitarian community. Mihyung Park, former Head of Office of IOM ROK and current Chief of Mission, IOM Vietnam, moderated the webinar sessions and Q&As.

“Remote management and monitoring are important strategies that can prevent the disruption of humanitarian services and ensure the quality of humanitarian assistance despite the COVID-19. In this regard, this webinar cannot be timelier and more appropriate not only for field practitioners but also for the wider humanitarian community of ROK, considering the increasing presence and importance of ROK humanitarian assistance in all major crises,” said Park in her opening remarks. 

The webinar started with a session delivered by Ewa Naqvi, Deputy Chief of Mission of IOM Somalia. Naqvi introduced the basic principles of remote management and monitoring and presented the case of IOM Somalia.

The specific components of remote management, such as communication coordination strategies, the delegation of authorities, and risk management, were highlighted throughout the presentation.

The next session was presented by Consuelo Tangara, Site Management Area Coordinator of IOM Bangladesh. Tangara shed light on how remote management and monitoring has been strategically applied to IOM’s Rohingya response to overcome movement restriction challenges and continue in essential operations in the camp. Based on their own experiences, both presenters subsequently shared recommendations on successfully implementing remote management and monitoring in the situation of COVID-19.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated humanitarian crises by posing multiple complications to access and delivery of services to the most vulnerable. The current pandemic requires more strategic thinking as well as tighter cooperation among international and local actors to meet the increasing demand for humanitarian assistance while mitigating any risks of spreading the virus among the population we intend to serve. Remote management, if well-planned and executed, can be one of the most effective strategies to achieve this goal,” said Naqvi.

The webinar wrapped up with a live Q&A session whereby attendees could ask questions directly to the presenters and gain additional know-how to explore the application of remote management in their own programmes.  

Since 2015, IOM ROK has taken an important role in providing a wide range of capacity-building support for ROK humanitarian actors with funding support from US Agency for International Development (USAID) Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA).

For more information please contact Eunice Jieun KIM, IOM Republic of Korea Mission, Tel.: +82 70 4820 0291, Email: jikim@iom.int.

Language English Posted: Wednesday, October 7, 2020 - 11:42Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

International Migration Within Africa Nearly Doubled Between 2008 and 2017: Report

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 11:47

Addis Ababa – The movement of people between countries within Africa is the defining feature of migration on the continent a new, 10-year study of migration has concluded. 

The second edition of the Report on Labour Migration Statistics in Africa (2017), released by the African Union Commission (AUC) in Addis Ababa on 29 September, reveals that the number of new arrivals from a different African country almost doubled from 13.3 million to 25.4 million migrants over the decade (2008 to 2017), an average annual growth rate of 7.5 per cent. 

Although foreign migrants represent just 2.1 per cent of the total population on the continent, their numbers have continued to grow rapidly, driven by demographic, socio-economic and environmental factors and leading to increased pressure on the labour market of host countries. 

The report was jointly produced by the African Union Commission (AUC), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), as part of the Joint Labour Migration Programme (JLMP). 

The population of Africa increased to 1.2 billion in 2017, from 944 million in 2008, which is an average annual growth rate of 2.8 per cent. The working-age population on the continent rose from 509 million to 662 million, an increase of around 33 per cent. 

West Africa, East Africa and Southern Africa accounted for the largest movements of migrant workers on the continent, with young people in West Africa being the most likely to move in search of work. This is partly attributed to the cooperation agreements between countries within the regions, which recognize individuals’ rights to move freely and to settle. 

The report also touches on the growth in remittances, the characteristics and distribution of migrants, as well as the level of social protection enjoyed by migrant workers. 

The volume of remittances received from Africans, including those living and working outside the continent, is said to have increased by 33.4 per cent to USD75.7 billion in 2017, from USD56.8 billion in 2010. 

The report comes at a time when the African Union Commission, heads of governments, and development partners have been calling for reliable, high quality and timely labour migration data that is disaggregated by gender, age, socio-economic activities, migratory status and other key indicators. 

As such, the information in the report is seen as key in aligning development priorities, and in monitoring progress towards the objectives of the AU’s Agenda 2063 and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals. 

Through the JLMP, the AU Commission is working closely with member states and the eight regional economic communities (RECs) to build a database on international labour migration on the continent, which the Report drew from. 

Over 100 technical experts, government ministers and representatives of member states, officials from the development sector, funding partners, and other interested individuals came together in two virtual meetings that coincided with the launch of the report. 

In her remarks, the Commissioner of Social Affairs at the African Union Commission, Amira Ms. Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil said, “… the implementation of the Joint Labor Migration Program (JLMP) in collaboration with the partners, ILO and IOM, goes a long way towards poverty eradication, inclusive development as well as ensuring that migrants are well protected when they leave their countries of origin in search of better opportunities.” 

Ms. Maureen Achieng, IOM’s Chief of Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union and UNECA, said, “… we hope that, with the data from the report, AUC, member states and RECs will be able to address remaining challenges related to the paucity of disaggregated data required for policy formulation in migration, economic, labour, climate action, enterprise development, investment, education and other policies that will ultimately contribute to a prosperous Africa.” 

Data collection for an improved third edition, expected to be launched in January 2021, is currently underway. The JLMP is supported by the Swedish International Development Cooperation (SIDA), German Corporation for International Cooperation (GIZ), and the European Union (EU). 

For more information, contact Eric Mazango at IOM Ethiopia, Email: emazango@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - 12:59Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Rakuten Viber Join Together to Combat Xenophobia

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 11:36

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration and Rakuten Viber announce a new partnership to fight xenophobia, stigma and discrimination with an interactive global community and a special exclusive sticker pack on Viber. The community is free and already available for all Viber users across the globe, providing relevant content for both migrants and locals alike. 

The partnership aims to foster social cohesion and combat widespread online racist and xenophobic incidents in the wake of COVID-19. The pandemic has in some cases been used as a pretext to scapegoat foreign nationals and the most vulnerable, blaming them for the virus’ spread. 

“Being able to support local communities and provide a platform for people to seek assistance and empowerment in these uncertain times is a priority for all of us at Rakuten Viber. For us, people are always in the centre of what we do and in order to delight our billion users across the globe we are constantly working on different social partnerships to address every need of our users. I am more than happy that Viber is joining forces with the IOM in the combat against xenophobia in this crucial moment when risk groups are most vulnerable,” said Anna Znamenskaya, Chief Growth Officer at Rakuten Viber. 

IOM remains concerned that xenophobia will increase, exacerbated by social tensions driven by an economic downturn. Now, more than ever, the safety and fairness of our society depends on the effective protection of the most vulnerable, including migrants.  

specially designed sticker pack called “Different, Together” will also be launched on Viber, to complement and support IOM’s efforts against xenophobia. The stickers are designed by Hannah Padilla, a Filipina illustrator and artist. The sticker pack is a continuation of the partnership between IOM and Rakuten Viber, one of the leading global applications for free and secure communication.  

All who download the pack from the Viber’s sticker market will get smooth and instant access to the community and will be able to access and interact with the content.  

More local IOM and Rakuten Viber campaigns are to follow soon – stay tuned and open-minded! 

About IOM 
 
IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all.  

Established in 1951, IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization in the field of migration and works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners. IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all.  

For further inquiries, contact media@iom.int

About Rakuten Viber 

At Rakuten Viber, we connect people. No matter who they are, or where they are from. Our global user base has access to a range of features like one-on-one chats, video calls, group messaging, and updates and discussions with their favourite brands and celebrities. We ensure our users have a secure and free environment to share their emotions.  

Rakuten Viber is part of Rakuten Inc., a world leader in e-commerce and financial services. It is the official communication channel of FC Barcelona, and the official instant messaging and calling app partner of the Golden State Warriors. 

Join Viber today and enjoy the world's best communication experience. 

For further inquiries, contact us at media@viber.com 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - 12:58Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Yemen: IOM Warns Disaster Looms in Marib, as Escalating Fighting Drives up Humanitarian Needs

Tue, 10/06/2020 - 07:30

Marib – Deadly fighting now is entering its tenth month in northeast Yemen, where more than 90,000 people have been displaced to and within Marib governorate since January. That’s over half of all conflict-related displacement in Yemen this year.   

The situation is about to get worse. 

“We are hugely concerned about the devastating impact of heavy fighting getting closer to areas  heavily populated with civilians - displaced people, locals and migrants,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Yemen Chief of Mission. 

Arriving with little-to-nothing, the vast majority of those being displaced today have no option but to shelter in extremely overcrowded settlements in Marib city and surrounding areas where they lack the most basic services needed to survive.  

Added IOM’s Christa Rottensteiner: “We hope that a peaceful resolution can be found soon to prevent a massive displacement crisis: hundreds of thousands of people could be forced to flee, many of whom would be running from this conflict for the second, third or even forth time. And more areas would become unreachable for humanitarian organizations, meaning vulnerable communities would be left without even the most basic support.”. 

Displacement to Marib governorate has been ongoing since the start of Yemen’s conflict. In 2018, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recorded some 800,000 displaced people living there—which at the time represented nearly a tripling of Marib’s pre-conflict population. Today, the number of displaced people in the same area is believed to be even higher, given the recent combat and displacement.  

“For years, the host community has generously welcomed displaced families, despite increased pressure on public services, but should the fighting persist, we will see the needs in Marib rise to even more alarming levels,” said Rottensteiner. 

“While IOM teams and partners are working hard to respond, they are facing an uphill struggle, given the amount of suffering. Displaced families are in dire need of safe shelter, clean water, sanitation and food support,” she added.  

Of the families displaced since January, an estimated 70 per cent are in need of shelter support, as they are living in makeshift shelters, many families in one small tent, overcrowded and dangerous abandoned buildings. Others are sleeping out in the open. Fewer than five per cent have regular access to a latrine. When combined with the fact that displacement sites are overcrowded, this creates an extremely worrying situation given that hygiene and physical distancing are key to combatting the spread of COVID-19.  

Adding to the hardship, Marib governorate was recently heavily affected by floods. An estimated 17,000 families have been impacted, many of whom had been displaced already and were living in makeshift shelters.  

Since establishing an office in Marib last year, IOM has reached more than 25,000 families with assistance, which includes health care, shelter, improving displacement sites, water, sanitation and hygiene, and protection services. IOM is also constructing a humanitarian hub in Marib to support a larger response by providing workspace for response partners. 

There are currently 140 displacement sites in Marib governorate, according to local authorities. These include sites like Al Jufainah, the largest camp in Yemen which accommodates some 40,000 people, as well as informal sites of small groups of families living in abandoned buildings. Since the start of hostilities in January, at least 23 displacement sites on the frontlines were evacuated when residents had no option but to flee for their lives, while 13 new sites were established by the displaced community, local authorities and partners. Many of these new sites lack minimum humanitarian services. 

For more information, please contact Olivia Headon, IOM Yemen, Tel: +251926379755, WhatsApp: +967730552233, Email: oheadon@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, October 6, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: YemenThemes: Migrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

A displaced woman, one of 90,000 to have fled to Marib since January, prepares a meal in her makeshift shelter. Photo: IOM 2020 

IOM staff provide emergency aid to newly displaced people in Marib. Photo: O. Headon/IOM 2020 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Eight African Migrants Dead, Several Injured off Horn of Africa

Mon, 10/05/2020 - 17:22

Obock, Djibouti— Staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today (05/10) assisted Djiboutian authorities as they attended to the grim task of recovering and burying eight drowning victims whose remains washed ashore after a lethal journey from Yemen over the weekend.  
 
The victims—from a total of 34 mainly Ethiopian and Somali migrants seeking to return to Africa after attempting to find work in the Arabian Gulf—make even more tragic a recent wave of Africans arriving in Djibouti.   
  
“It was at night and the smugglers turned off all the lights on the boat, claiming we were being followed the Coast Guard. But they were lying,” 19-year-old survivor Galgalou Haji Wacho from Oromo, Ethiopia, told IOM.  “There was no Coast Guard. They started hitting us with sticks and iron bars.”  
   
Mr. Haji Wacho said he was in the water for nearly two hours, struggling to make out the coastline ahead. “I could not see anything,” he recalled. “It was pitch black. I did not know whether I was dead or alive.”  
   
He and twenty-five others, some of whom suffered injuries, today are receiving medical treatment at IOM’s Migrant Response Centre in Obock.  
  
While thousands of African migrants remain stranded Yemen, authorities fear some of those may be waiting for a chance to re-cross the dangerous waters many already braved to get to the Arabian Gulf just months ago. Thus, the prospect grows of more fatalities in the coming weeks and days.  
   
Said Stephanie Daviot, Chief of Mission, IOM Djibouti, “This tragedy is a wake-up call. Migrants are arriving in Djibouti in large numbers from Yemen. Regional governments and the international community must come together to address a situation of dangerous journeys facing migrants in the region since the outbreak of COVID-19. Migrants who are unable to move forward in their journey and with no means to return home.”   
   
She added: “Risking their lives, facing exploitation from smugglers, and in this instance, very tragically, death and injury, these migrants run a gauntlet that makes a mockery of respecting migrants’ human rights and dignity. IOM is concerned there could be further drownings.”  
   
The tragedy follows the arrival of some 2,678 migrants from Yemen into Djibouti since July, according to IOM data. Say others who have arrived here in recent weeks, most are trying to return to Ethiopia and other nations after having failed to reach the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia despite managing to leave Africa for Yemen.   
   
Due to COVID-19 related border closures, and the extreme danger facing migrants in the Gulf state, many have given up on their hope of finding jobs and opportunities in the Kingdom.  

IOM Djibouti has been providing emergency medical care, food, water, tents and counselling on COVID-19 awareness and prevention measures to those arriving in Obock. Moreover, IOM has assisted an estimated 1,239 migrants who already had been stranded in Djibouti for months.  
  
Meanwhile, across Djibouti’s border in Ethiopia, IOM has been assisting returnees with food, water, clothing and other essentials they need for their journeys home.  
   
In August, IOM launched a USD84M appeal - Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen (RMRP) - to respond to the needs of migrants in the Horn of Africa and Yemen taking such journeys, and to help an estimated 14,000 migrants currently stranded in Yemen. Many want to go home and rely on smugglers to do so for lack of alternatives.  
  
IOM is advocating for humanitarian access to those in need of help and is working with regional governments to help those who want to return home.   
  
For more information, please contact Yvonne Ndege, IOM Regional Spokesperson for East and Horn of Africa in Nairobi, Tel: +254 797 735 977, Email: yndege@iom.int   

Or Olivia Headon, IOM Yemen, Tel: +251926379755, WhatsApp: +967730552233, Email: oheadon@iom.int

Language English Posted: Monday, October 5, 2020 - 17:19Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiThemes: Missing MigrantsDefault: Multimedia: 

Dr. Youssouf from IOM brings water to a group of migrants found in the desert during a Mobile Unit patrol. The migrants disembarked on the beach of Gerere at night and walked part of the 50 km that separates it from the town of Obock. Photo: IOM/Alexander Bee

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

PROMISE Consultation Meeting to Strengthen Commitment between IOM and Skills Development Partners

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 08:21

Vientiane – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) held a Consultation Meeting (28 September) with Skills Development Partners under IOM’s regional programme – Poverty Reduction through Safe Migration, Skills Development and Enhanced Job Placement in Cambodia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar and Thailand (PROMISE).

The one-day consultation meeting aimed to exchange knowledge on Safe Migration issues and improve training materials for Skills Development Partners (SDPs), strengthen support on mainstreaming Safe Migration training into institutions’ schedules, and enhance access of quality Safe Migration information for students enrolled in technical and vocational education and training (TVET) system. It brought together 30 representatives from key stakeholders, including 13 directors from TVET schools and three directors from Skills Development Centres and Lao-Korea Skills Development Institute, as well as representatives from key line ministries of the Lao Government, IOM and Swiss Agency for Development Cooperation (SDC).

Opening the ceremony, Ms. Anousone Khamsingsavath, Director General of the Skills Development and Employment Department (SDED) at MoLSW, spoke on the importance of disseminating information on formal migration channels and pursuing a cooperative strategy to increase skills development opportunities and promote decent employment for migrants.

Participants actively discussed ways to mainstream Safe Migration knowledge into school curriculum, and shared challenges encountered under COVID-19. Among the methods discussed were village-level information campaigns involving family members, provision of materials on specific job application procedures for graduates, and more budgetary support for job fairs. Participants agreed to continue their support for the second Training of Trainers (ToT) workshop in mid-October.

IOM, in close coordination with MoLSW, set up the first ToT on safe migration for TVET and Skills Development Centres in July 2019. The training was attended by 33 skills providers from Vientiane Capital, Khammouan, Savannakhet, Salavan, Attapeu, and Oudomxay were trained. In January 2020, the National Project Advisory Committee met to further ensure stakeholder commitment to incorporating Safe Migration training into respective institutions’ school calendar.

There are a total of 34 TVET schools and 6 Skills Development Centres across Lao People’s Democratic Republic, among which 23 institutions have previously received safe migration training from IOM. Following a government order on 18 March, school operation was suspended as part of the effort to prevent COVID-19 transmission, creating new challenges for Skills Development Institutions. Education institutions partially re-opened in early June.

PROMISE, now in its fourth year of implementation, is a cross-regional initiative that aims to promote poverty reduction through ethical recruitment and skills development, safe migration schemes, and enhanced return and reintegration mechanisms. The programme is supported by SDC.

For more information please contact Karen HO at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (0)21 267 734. Email: kho@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 14:16Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: Labour MigrationDefault: Multimedia: 

Skills development partners discussing ways to incorporate safe migration component into existing curriculum.

30 representatives attended the one-day event.

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

IOM launches 5 million EUR project to support stability and border management in Northern Chad

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 08:11

N’Djamena – A new EUR 5 million project implemented by IOM in Northern Chad will contribute to strengthening stability in the Borkou, Ennedi Ouest and Tibesti provinces.   

The project, “Balke - Security and Stabilization Project in Northern Chad,” is funded by the German Ministry of Foreign Affairs. It will support marginalized communities and migrants—including vulnerable migrants stranded in the region—and enhance the capacities of local authorities to manage borders and mobility humanely.   

The new project targets 150 000 people in 50 communities (including 4,550 direct beneficiaries) and will provide vocational and business skills trainings to local youth to enable them to launch income-generating activities.   

“IOM is currently the only UN agency active in the northern part of the country, where it works to support of the Chadian Government’s efforts to reinforce opportunities for regional stability,” said Anne Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission. “By implementing this project, we hope to foster resilience and social cohesion, including between migrants and host communities.”  

The project also will partner with local radio stations and community members to raise awareness on the dangers of irregular migration, human trafficking and smuggling in a region where a growing number of migrants--including Chadians and third country nationals—have been observed in recent years.   

The region is also a historical crossroad for Sahelian migration, especially towards Libya and in some cases, onwards to Europe.   

“Migration has long been one of the most effective coping mechanisms employed by populations in Chad to address threats to their human security and has traditionally been a means of ensuring livelihoods for Chad’s diverse people,” added IOM’s Anne Schaefer. 

The northern provinces of Borkou, Ennedi Ouest and Tibesti--located nearly 1,000 kilometres from N’Djamena, Chad’s capital city—are among Chad’s most fragile. The region is vulnerable to insecurity, especially since the outbreak of conflict in neighbouring Libya in 2011, which deeply affected stability in the region and forced hundreds of thousands of Chadians residing in Libya to return to Chad.  

A gold mining rush, which swept through the region in the early 2010s, has given rise to a new migration dynamic in the region, attracting an estimated 100 000 workers, including Chadians and third country nationals who often work in inhuman conditions in artisanal gold mines. Between 2019 and 2020, IOM helped more than 300 survivors escape exploitation in the region. Included were local youths who had been introduced to illegal mines by established networks of smugglers and traffickers.  

“Our goal, through this project, is to address the key drivers of instability in Northern Chad by supporting the Government in efficiently managing its borders, and by creating spaces for dialogue between communities, civil society organizations, local and national authorities for safe migration management in the region,” IOM’s Anne Schaefer explained.   

To improve humanitarian border management and human security along the vast Chad – Libya border, IOM will deploy—under the newly launched Migration Data Analysis System (MIDAS) project—IOM’s own border management system. Border officials and key authorities will also be trained in the principles of humanitarian border management, including document verification as well as the identification and referral of potential victims of trafficking.  

“The Balke project not only provides opportunities to generate income for local populations, but also supports their participation in decision-making processes, thus helping them shape their future by enhancing security and stability,” said H.E. Jakob Haselhuber, Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Chad. “Germany remains committed to contributing to the promotion of peace and security through stabilisation efforts in Northern Chad and the wider Sahel region, together with our local and international partners.”   

For more information, please contact Anne Kathrin Schaefer, IOM Chad Chief of Mission. Email: aschaefer@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: ChadThemes: Integrated Border ManagementDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM assists migrants in Ounianga Kebir in Northern Chad. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Bangladeshi Migrants, Including Mizdah Attack Survivors, Return Home

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 07:23

Dhaka – This week (30/09), 164 migrants arrived home on a Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) flight from Libya. Aboard the charter, which landed at Dhaka’s Hazarat Shajalal International Airport (HSIA), were nine survivors of the tragic shooting in the Libyan town of Mizdah, where on 27 May, 30 migrants—including 26 Bangladeshis—were shot and killed in a smuggling warehouse. 

With those survivors were other vulnerable migrants, including 39 people with medical conditions. IOM medical escorts travelled with the migrants to Bangladesh whereupon arrival health teams were on hand to coordinate care for requiring quarantine at government facilities. IOM teams also will provide referral support to specialized services and follow up with assistance to migrants with chronic conditions.  

Eligible migrants will receive reintegration support once they have completed their government-mandated quarantine period. Follow-up care is particularly important for people who experienced physical and psychological trauma while stranded in Libya.  

The deadly attack in Mizdah, southwest of Tripoli also left 11 other migrants critically injured. IOM and its partners have supported those survivors in the months following the violence.  

“I can’t forget the incident, it was like living a nightmare,” said Syed Khan. “I was shot, and it took me four months to recover enough to make the journey home. Many of us haven’t fully recovered and we are still traumatized. I am grateful to IOM and the Government of Bangladesh for the medical and other support they provided in Libya and for arranging my flight home.” 

COVID-19 has exacerbated the vulnerabilities of migrant workers across the world, said Giorgi Gigauri, IOM Bangladesh’s Chief of Mission.  

“We are working to overcome movement and other restrictions to access vulnerable migrants who are stranded and in need of support,” IOM’s Gigauri said. “We are working closely with the Government—in particular the Ministry of Expatriates’ Welfare and Overseas Employment—to  ensure their access to health services, shelter, food, consular services. And, for the most vulnerable, flights home.”  

Most migrants will return to Bangladesh through HSIA, the country’s busiest airport. There IOM, in coordination with the Government’s Communicable Disease Control (CDC) Division, has been working since March to build the capacity of point of entry (POE) staff to identify, screen, and refer travelers with COVID-19 symptoms.  

In Bangladesh, IOM supports the Government at 20 of the 28 POEs in the country. COVID-19-responsive systems and procedures at POEs enable the safe re-entry of migrants while ensuring protection for frontline POE staff and communities across the country.  

Aside from on-arrival assistance to migrants, IOM also provides tele-counselling, health referrals and follow-ups, skills diversification and financial literacy training, and reintegration support for the most vulnerable returning migrants.  

To improve migrant protection, voluntary return and reintegration along the Central Mediterranean route in Africa, the European Union (EU), through the Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), launched the Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Africa with IOM in 2016.  

The flight was made possible with the support from the EUTF.  

For further inquiries, please contact Samantha Donkin at IOM Bangladesh, Email: samdonkin@iom.int, or Sarif Islam, Email: mdsislam@iom.int    

Language English Posted: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: LibyaBangladeshThemes: Migration GovernanceDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff in Tripoli provided information and support to migrants departing Tripoli on a voluntary humanitarian flight on Tuesday, 29 September. 

164 migrants from Bangladesh, including nine survivors of the Mizdah incident, left Libya earlier this week. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Warns of Humanitarian Crisis as Migrants Evicted from Bosnian Camp

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 22:07

Bihac - “This is what the start of a humanitarian crisis looks like”, warned IOM’s representative in Bosnia and Herzegovina today, as hundreds of migrants were forcibly removed from the IOM-run accommodation which has been sheltering migrants and refugees for almost two years.

“Beyond the inhumanity of it all, it is difficult to see how last night’s action addresses the legitimate concerns of local citizens”, said Peter Van der Auweraert, IOM’s sub-regional coordinator for the Western Balkans. “It will only add to number of people already sleeping rough in and around Bihac”. 

In the wake of local elections in November, local authorities in Una Sana canton, bordering Croatia, took the drastic action Wednesaday night, claiming pressure from the local community. The move adds a further 350 people to the 2,500 that IOM estimates are already sleeping rough in Bosnia.

The total number of migrants and refugees currently in the country is about 8,500. Most see Bosnia and Herzegovina as a transit country on route to the European Union, and the past two and a half years have seen more than 55,000 migrants and refugees using this route.

IOM Bosnia and Herzegovina took the most vulnerable cases into medical facilities, but hundreds of others had to fend for themselves. 

“We are calling on the authorities to provide access to shelter for those 350 migrant and refugees, as well as the other 2,500 people sleeping outside in forests, abandoned buildings and public spaces, added Van der Auweraert. 

Early snows have hit much of Europe, a reminder that the bitter Balkan winter is just around the corner.  

“Every year we call for solutions, and every year we just about manage to find accommodation for those that need it”, noted Van der Auweraert. “But this year the upcoming local elections in mid-November and the higher number of migrants and refugees sleeping outside make us less confident. The situation is very, very grim”. 

For more information please contact Peter Van der Auweraert at pvanderauweraert@iom.int . Tel +38761226301

Language English Posted: Friday, October 2, 2020 - 03:48Image: Region-Country: Bosnia and HerzegovinaThemes: Migrants in Vulnerable SituationsDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM is warning of a humanitarian crisis as 350 migrants and refugees were forcibly removed from the IOM-run accommodation in Bira, Bosnia.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, Migrant Forum in Asia Join Forces to Promote Ethical Recruitment and Protect Migrant Workers

Thu, 10/01/2020 - 10:52

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) are joining efforts to combat the unethical recruitment and exploitation of migrant workers.

The two organizations today (01 Oct) signed a global Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to promote cooperation, exchange of information and mutual assistance in relation to ethical recruitment and migrant worker protection. This collaboration is urgently needed in light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the enhanced risks and vulnerabilities faced by jobseekers and migrant workers around the world. 

“IOM is delighted to formalize our cooperation with MFA today through this MOU,” said Monica Goracci, Director of IOM’s Department of Migration Management.  

“This is an important milestone that builds on our already close collaboration and the many connections we have at national and local levels," IOM's Goracci continued. "The MOU gives us an opportunity to strengthen and globalize our engagement at a time of urgent need for migrant workers around the world. We look forward to the close collaboration this will inspire across our two organizations.” 

MFA Regional Coordinator William Gois said, “This moment of crisis has provided us with an opportunity to build back better. We cannot let this moment pass without starting from the fundamentals. We need to address the structure and systemic flaws of the labour recruitment practices.”  

IOM is committed to combating all forms of exploitation and abuse of migrant workers. MFA is a regional network of faith-based groups, academia, members of the media, lawyers, and rights advocates working on social justice for migrant workers and members of their families. Together, the two organizations will catalyze cooperation between policy makers, civil society and the private sector to strengthen protections for migrant workers with an immediate focus on the urgent needs resulting from the COVID-19 health crisis and its socio-economic impact. 

Migrant workers across economic sectors, industries and occupations face the risk of exploitation linked to unethical recruitment and employment practices that place them in situations of vulnerability to debt bondage and forced labour.  

The MOU is the latest in IOM’s response to the challenges migrant workers, employers and recruiters face in the context of COVID-19. 

In April, IOM through its IRIS: Ethical Recruitment Initiative released Guidance for Employers and Labour Recruiters providing preliminary guidance about how to protect migrant workers and ensure the highest recruiting standards in the face of COVID-19. In August, IOM and the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) jointly released employer guidance for measures to protect migrants during the pandemic. 

The risks migrant workers face are accompanied by health-related vulnerabilities throughout the migration process and at work, when appropriate measures are not taken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For migrant workers who have lost their jobs, the situation is often dire: many face the loss of livelihoods, have no means to support themselves and the loss of income has resulted in evictions and reliance on emergency and humanitarian support.  

The time to act on this situation is now and many important steps are being taken by civil society organizations, home and host governments, and other stakeholders. The IOM-MFA partnership will reinforce these, while setting the stage for medium- and long-term solutions as the world moves towards recovery and a “post-crisis” new normal.  

For more information, please contact Philip Hunter (IOM), Tel: 41 22 717 92 15, Email: phunter@iom.int or William Gois (MFA), Tel: +63-2-8277-9484, Email: mfa@mfasia.org

Language English Posted: Thursday, October 1, 2020 - 16:47Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Collaboration is needed during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, with enhanced risks and vulnerabilities facing jobseekers and migrant workers worldwide. (C) IOM

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) are joining efforts to combat the unethical recruitment and exploitation of migrant workers.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and Migrant Forum in Asia (MFA) are joining efforts to combat the unethical recruitment and exploitation of migrant workers.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

UN Agencies Hail Milestone As Over 1000 Asylum Seekers Relocated From Greece So Far This Year Through EU Initiative

Wed, 09/30/2020 - 13:34

Athens, Brussels, Geneva – The Government of Greece, together with IOM, the International Organization for Migration, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNICEF, the UN Children’s Fund today (30-09) welcomed the relocation of 139 asylum seekers to Germany, which has brought the total number of people relocated from Greece to other European Union (EU) Member States through a European Commission-funded programme this year to over 1,000.   

This was the 16th relocation flight organized under the EU programme implemented by IOM, UNHCR and UNICEF in cooperation with the Government of Greece through the Special Secretary for the Protection of Unaccompanied Children, and in close collaboration with the European Asylum Support Office (EASO). 

This year, a total of 1,066 asylum seekers have been relocated from Greece to Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg and Portugal.    

Among the group that arrived safely in Germany today were families with children with special health needs and 53 unaccompanied children, 37 of whom had been transferred to the Greek mainland after multiple fires completely destroyed the Moria reception and identification center three weeks ago. 

“We feel grateful for the people that helped us in Greece and we’ll never forget them. We don’t speak German, but we’ll try hard to learn the language. My brothers live in Germany and I’m excited that I’ll see them again after such a long time,” said Lina Hussein from Syria who travelled today with her husband, Osman, and her sons, Yousef and Mohammad. 

Since the tragic fires at Moria, IOM, UNHCR and UNICEF have worked together with the financial support of the European Commission and leadership of the Ministry of Migration and Asylum’s Special Secretary for the Protection of Unaccompanied Children to move 724 unaccompanied children from the islands to the mainland in anticipation of their relocation to other European States. All children have been settled in temporary facilities run by IOM and partners on the mainland where support is provided in line with EU standards. 

The relocation initiative, which started last April, has proven to be a workable act of responsibility sharing. The UN agencies are encouraged by the expression of solidarity and action by some Member States to welcome additional asylum seekers and recognized refugees from Greece at a time of heightened hardship. 

“This milestone is a remarkable testament that cooperation among partners can change the lives of children and other vulnerable people for the better,” said Ola Henrikson, IOM Regional Director for the EEA, EU and NATO. “Despite the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, relocation flights are happening almost every week. We hope this momentum is sustained and expanded, with more European states participating soon.”   

“Following many calls for enhanced responsibility-sharing in Europe and the particular need to relocate unaccompanied children and other vulnerable people from Greece, we are very pleased to see this taking concrete shape and gradually expanding”,  said Pascale Moreau, UNHCR Director for Europe. “We are grateful to the countries concerned and hope that more countries follow this positive example and demonstrate their solidarity with Greece.” 

“The relocations of unaccompanied minors and other vulnerable children continue to be an important part of protecting the rights of refugee and migrant children,” said Afshan Khan, UNICEF Regional Director for Europe and Central Asia, and Special Coordinator for the Refugee and Migrant Response in Europe.  “These children, many of whom have fled abject poverty and conflict, have the right to be safe and develop to their full potential.” 

Prior to departure and through the provision of updated information, a child’s best interest assessment is supported by UNHCR, EASO, UNICEF and NGO partners to ensure that the relocation is appropriate for these children, with their informed views also considered during the process. At the same time, pre-migration health assessments including COVID 19 testing, are provided in line with the protocols established by Greece and the Member States of Relocation. 

As of mid-September, there were almost 4,400 unaccompanied and separated children in Greece in urgent need of durable solutions, including expedited registration, family reunion and relocation. Among them, over 1,000 are exposed to severe risks, including exploitation and violence, and facing homelessness and precarious conditions in urban centres.  

The Agencies call for more EU solidarity through relocations following the release of the European Commission’s New Pact on Migration and Asylum, which contains a series of legislative proposals on the EU’s approach to migration and asylum. The release of the Pact provides a unique opportunity for the EU to move beyond one-off relocation exercises and establish more predictable arrangements for relocation within the EU, for longer-term impact. 

For more information, please see: IOM Relocation Fact Sheet on Relocations from Greece.

For more information, please contact: 

IOM:   
Ryan Schroeder at IOM Brussels Tel + 32 492 25 02 34. Email: rschroeder@iom.int     
Christine Nikolaidou at IOM Greece, Tel + 30 6947 833 412, Email: cnikolaidou@iom.int  
Angela Wells at IOM Geneva Tel +41 79 430 5365, Email: awells@iom.int   
Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva Tel + +41 79 403 5526, Email: smsehli@iom.int   
 
UNICEF:    
Olga Siokou–Siova, UNICEF Greece +30 211 2340 297, osiokou-siova@unicef.org 
Chulho Hyun, UNICEF Europe and Central Asia (Geneva), +41 79 643 3452, chyun@unicef.org  
 
UNHCR:   
In Athens, Stella Nanou, nanou@unhcr.org, +30 6944586037  
In Geneva, Andrej Mahecic, mahecic@unhcr.org, +41 79 642 9709 
In Geneva, Shabia Mantoo: mantoo@unhcr.org, +41 79 337 7650   
In Brussels/EU Affairs Maeve Patterson, patterso@unhcr.org, +32 470 99 54 35  
In Berlin, Chris MELZER, melzer@unhcr.org, +49 151 706 660 13 

Language English Posted: Wednesday, September 30, 2020 - 19:30Image: Region-Country: GreeceThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesRelocationResettlementDefault: Multimedia: 

A new life in Germany begins for unaccompanied children and vulnerable asylum seekers relocated from Greece. Photo: IOM.

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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