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CD4D Project Starts with Physical Assignments in Somaliland

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 10:15

In June 2020, eleven diaspora members from the Netherlands and the United Kingdom started their assignments at four selected institutions in Somaliland. They will share their knowledge and expertise in the areas of infrastructure, water, private sector development and justice.

For a 3-month period, the candidates will conduct assignments at a selected host institution.

Two participants already participated in CD4D1.  All candidates are currently present in Somaliland, which enables them to start with their actual physical assignments.

Given the travel restrictions in light of the current COVID-19 pandemic, IOM is also supporting virtual assignments. Six candidates will start their virtual assignments at the end of June 2020. Five candidates are assigned to host institutions in Somaliland and one candidate to an institution in Mogadishu. Again, two experts are former participants of our CD4D1 project. Their assignments are in the areas of private sector development, justice, and infrastructure. Once travel will be allowed, it is expected that the selected candidates will travel to Somalia to follow up on their virtual assignments.

While vacancies have been published and many candidatures have been received, the actual selection process of potential participants has been delayed due to COVID-19. We are pleased however that everything is set for a successful implementation over the next two years.

Language English Posted: Friday, July 3, 2020 - 16:01Image: Region-Country: NetherlandsThemes: IOMDefault: Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

United Nations in West and Central Africa Concerned Over Increased Vulnerabilities of Migrants Amid COVID-19

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 08:55

Dakar – The Regional United Nations Network on Migration together with the Regional UN-SDG COVID-19 Executive Committee in West and Central Africa are concerned with the wellbeing of millions of migrants across the region amid the COVID-19 crisis. While they face the same health threats from COVID-19 as any other human being, migrants may be exposed to a higher level of vulnerability linked to discrimination and exclusion in their living and working conditions or in their access to basic services including healthcare. Under these difficult circumstances, migrants may be at risk of abuse and other human rights violations. 

Over 30,000 migrants are currently stranded at borders and more than 2,000 are waiting to be assisted in overcrowded transit centers where they are at heightened risk of COVID-19 infection. Since the outbreak in the region, thousands were abandoned in the desert by smugglers and traffickers along migratory routes. Some were deported, putting their lives and health at risk and others are being targeted with discrimination, hate speech, and xenophobia. 

As governments in West and Central Africa are taking preventive measures such as border closures to protect their countries from the spread of COVID-19, migrants, including those in irregular situations, may find themselves disproportionately impacted, unable to access healthcare, social services or protect themselves. In addition, border closures further limit regular migration options including return, while forcing migrants to take more dangerous migratory routes and putting them at risk to be exploited, extorted, or abused.  

Building on the principled commitments and actions outlined in the Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration (GCM), the Regional Network calls on governments to make every effort to address and reduce migrants’ vulnerabilities by incorporating their health and other vital needs in national and local responses and recovery, taking into consideration the special needs of women and children; by upholding human rights at international borders ; by confronting discrimination, xenophobia and anti-migrant narratives, and by operationalizing relevant recommendations on the human rights protection of migrants in vulnerable situations.   

Member States should ensure that all migrants – regardless of their migration status – are able to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19 and can avail themselves of COVID-19 testing and treatment without fear of detention, deportation or penalty. To that end, the Regional Network calls on Member States across the region to urgently expand the availability and flexibility of safe, regular pathways for migrants in vulnerable situations (GCM Objective 5), including pathways for entry and stay based on human rights, compassionate or humanitarian grounds; to cooperate in facilitating safe and dignified voluntary return of migrants on the basis of their free, prior and informed consent; to suspend all deportations during COVID-19, and to ensure that no one faces the risk of refoulement by being returned to places where their life, safety or human rights are threatened, including to uphold the prohibitions of collective expulsions and arbitrary pushbacks at borders (GCM objective 21).  

Moreover, the Regional Network stresses the need for Member States to prioritize the protection of migrants’ rights, dignity and wellbeing, and to provide safe access to basic services, including COVID-19 treatment and integrated prevention services to all migrants, including those with pre-existing health conditions, and who may already have limited access to healthcare, including those in an irregular situation. All migrants, regardless of status, should be included in national COVID-19 preparedness, response, recovery and containment plans that guarantee non-discriminatory and equitable access to treatment, care, information, and social protection (GCM Objective 15).  

Particularly for children moving unaccompanied or separated, prolonged family separation due to border closures, coupled with limited access to psychosocial support and protection services, increases their mental distress and their exposure to violence and exploitation. The Regional Network calls upon Member States to uphold the best interests of the child at all times, as a primary consideration in situations where children are concerned (GCM Objective 7). 

The Regional Network reaffirms Members States’ commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination, hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance against migrants and their families (GCM Objective 17). COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, and neither should we. To this end, the Regional Network stands ready to support Member States establish mechanisms to prevent, detect and respond to systematic instances of xenophobia and discrimination against migrants, and to raise awareness of COVID-19 to inform public perceptions of migrants and to reshape the narrative on migration. 

Finally, the Regional Network underlines that mobility and other restrictions will need to meet the requirements of legality, necessity and proportionality, and be non-discriminatory (GCM Objective 11). The COVID-19 response does not have to be an obstacle to mobility in the region, and mobility is not an obstacle to mitigate the impact of this pandemic. 

The United Nations Network on Migration was established to ensure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States in their implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. 

In releasing this statement, the Regional Network reminds States of their commitment in the GCM to address and reduce vulnerabilities in migration and to provide access to basic services for migrants. The COVID-19 pandemic has created momentum to promote an integrated and safe approach to border management as a viable and sustainable solution to mitigate public health challenges while ensuring the health and economic security for all. 

The United Nations Network on Migration is committed to supporting all partners in pursuit of the implementation of the GCM, recognizing that this cooperative framework provides an invaluable tool for ensuring all in society can contribute to a collective response to COVID-19 and are protected equally against its impact. 

Contact details:  

IOM, Florence Kim: fkim@iom.int, Tel: +221 78 620 6213 

OHCHR, Patrick Ifonge: consultant.ifonge@ohchr.org; Tel: +33 6 51 87 95 50 

UNICEF, Sandra Bisin: sbisin@unicef.org, Tel +221 77 819 23 00 

UNHCR, Romain Desclous: desclous@unhcr.org 

ILO, Jennifer Patterson: patterson@ilo.org; Adam Bowers: bowers@ilo.org 

UNODC, Alejandra Amaya Escoto: alejandra.amayaescoto@un.org; Henna Mustonen henna.mustonen@un.org 

UNDP, Njoya Tikum: njoya.tikum@undp.org 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 3, 2020 - 09:34Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Due to the border closures decreed by governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across West Africa, at least 30,000 migrants are stranded at borders. IOM/Monica Chiriac. 

Due to the border closures decreed by governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across West Africa, at least 30,000 migrants are stranded at borders. IOM/Monica Chiriac. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Panamanians, Migrants Closer to Health Services, Better Coexistence

Fri, 07/03/2020 - 05:05

Panama City – The project was called “Strengthening Communities for Primary Health Care,” implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in close coordination with the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Panamá. It ended a few weeks ago, after being funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. 

While aiding migrants, the project also helped locals learn about the newcomers in their midst, including many Venezuelans. 

Albis is Panamanian. "Although my relationship with migrants was always good, I never took a deeper look at them," she confessed. That changed when she joined the IOM project as a health promoter. 

"I discovered many stories," Albis explained. "But there is one that marked me: Fiorella, a Venezuelan woman, pregnant, with a threat of abortion, and afraid to go to the health facilities. We helped her to be treated first in a health center and then in the hospital.”  

Sadly, Fiorella lost her baby, but the team saved her life, provided follow-up and emotional support. She has recovered and has resolved to become part of a community network that orients other migrants about the health facilities they can access. 

More than 7,000 migrants from different countries and vulnerable Panamanians from the districts of San Miguelito and La Chorrera, two of the areas with the highest proportion of migrants in Panamá, benefited from the support of health promoters like Albis. These community-based workers provided orientation and information on health promotion and disease prevention topics and referred cases for health care, while offering support and follow-up.  

Through this project, IOM strengthened the MoH's efforts to improve health care access among migrants in vulnerable situations and their host communities. The community outreach and communication campaign fielded eight health promoters who were trained on sexual, reproductive and mental health, vaccination, prenatal care, epidemic-prone diseases, MoH programmes for children and adolescents, and other topics related to migration., such as trafficking in persons, exploitation, xenophobia, among others. Also, 14 volunteer community leaders were identified and trained to support in the referral of cases. 

From five health centers, action teams visited metro stations and supermarkets, and carried out vaccination sessions, interventions in the communities, and virtual training sessions. Among the people reached by this project, 351 were referred for vaccination and medical care, including 15 suspected cases of COVID-19, all cases that turned out to be negative.  

"This project is important because foreigners in our country are often unaware of the Ministry of Health's scope and find difficulties in accessing our services," said Thays Noriega, Head of International Affairs and Technical Cooperation of the Ministry of Health.  

"One of the next steps will be to follow up on the population reached, in conjunction with the health districts," added Gonzalo Medina, IOM's National Programme Officer in Panamá.  

Better access to health services was not the only impact of this project. "Now I see more than a Venezuelan. I see a human being who, because of the situation in his country, was pushed to leave behind his family, friends, and customs," says Albis, the Panamanian health promoter. "They have gone from being skilled professionals with vast experience to being street vendors, reinventing themselves, becoming entrepreneurs, and living with fears in a place different from their land." 

"This is an excellent initiative for us. With this project, I have learned a little more about the costs in the health centers, the attention of some specialists, the medicines, the vaccines that Panamá offers," said Josnelly, a Venezuelan volunteer in the project. 

For more information, please contact Mayteé Zachrisson at IOM Panamá, Email: mzachrisson@iom.int,  Tel: +507 6312 5700. 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 3, 2020 - 12:55Image: Region-Country: PanamaThemes: Migration HealthDefault: Multimedia: 

The health promoters are community-based workers who provide orientation and information on health promotion and disease prevention topics, and who refer cases for health care. Phot: IOM. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Joins Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare to Support Migrants in Vientiane Quarantine Centre

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 11:35

Vientiane – On 26 June 2020, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MoLSW) visited the Quarantine Centre KM 27 in Vientiane Capital.

Nine representatives from IOM and MoLSW took part in the half-day visit, which was the first activity under IOM’s COVID-19 Response Project. The visit was an opportunity to better understand the needs and vulnerabilities of returned migrants and included key informant interviews with the quarantine management and migrants themselves.

The project team distributed 260 direct assistance packs with information, education, and communication (IEC) materials to migrants staying at the centre. The packs included items to support their everyday needs while in quarantine and for their onward journey, and provided information on COVID-19 prevention, employment opportunities, and psychosocial and counselling support available.

IOM handed over additional IEC materials and two loudspeakers for broadcasting safe migration and HIV/AIDS prevention messages for migrants staying at KM 27.

Khamkeo MAHASAY, Deputy Director of Labour and Social Welfare Department, Vientiane Capital, thanked IOM for the continued support, and shared his experience as the co-manager of the facility, “Many migrants do not have the resources to return (to Lao People’s Democratic Republic), they are susceptible to human trafficking as ill-intended brokers may defraud them on their journey back.”

IOM is extremely concerned over the impact of COVID-19 on groups who were already vulnerable before the crisis, and that includes migrant workers in precarious livelihoods or irregular situations.

Since 23 March 2020, 1,685 returnees have undergone mandatory quarantine at KM 27.  The 240 en-suite rooms each can accommodate up to two people of the same gender or family members. Drinking water and food are provided to all occupants with support from development partners.

This visit is part of IOM’s project Enhancing COVID-19 Pandemic Preparedness to Migrants and Mobility Affected Communities in Lao People’s Democratic Republic, generously supported by the People of Japan.

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

Language English Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - 17:02Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Anousone KHAMSINGSAVATH, Director General of Skills Development and Employment Department MoLSW, and Zena Van Bemmel-Faulkner, Officer-in-charge of IOM distribute direct assistance packs to migrants.

Each pack consists of 11 items, including: shirt, instant noodles, canned fish, bottled water, washing detergent, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, towel, soap, and mosquito repellent.

There are five quarantine buildings in KM27.

Press Release Type: Local
Categories: PBN

Global Diaspora Coalition: Message of Solidarity with Victims of COVID-19 Related Xenophobia, Discrimination

Wed, 07/01/2020 - 08:47

Geneva- Leaders of diaspora and community organizations from around the world are coming together today to send a clear, unified message of solidarity with those facing xenophobia, discrimination and even violence due to COVID-19. 

More than 200 federations and associations supporting diaspora communities in over 150 countries signed a joint statement over the past month whose goal is to create a ‘new normal’ where societies find further strength in diversity and mutual support. 

Organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through its iDiaspora platform, the statement was co-convened by the UK Federation of Chinese Professionals, Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform, Africa Diaspora Network (ADN) and Coalición por Venezuela.  

“It reaffirms the importance of racial and social justice, and the need for unity between peoples regardless of origin, race, skin colour and cultural background at this challenging time and into the post-pandemic recovery,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino 

“Now more than ever, the safety of our society as a whole depends on the effective protection of the most vulnerable. Xenophobia and discrimination undermine our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to address the socio-economic impacts that disproportionately burden the most vulnerable and marginalized elements of our societies including migrants.” 

Moving from words to actions, the signatories will convene to form a Global Coalition of likeminded diaspora organizations committed to working together to address the challenges arising from the current situation.  

The first virtual meeting of the Coalition will be organized on 8 July at 16.00 (GMT+2). All signatories and other interested organizations are welcome to take part in this formative meeting to decide the structure and priorities of the Coalition. Its aim is to support as many vulnerable diaspora communities as possible by sharing and taking forward effective measures to tackle COVID-19 challenges affecting the global diaspora and the communities where they reside. 

The conveners and signatories of the joint statement are already undertaking important actions and would like to use these examples to inspire joint actions at the regional and global level. For example, the UK Federation of Chinese Professionals has established the first national support and third party reporting centre for East and South East Asian communities in the UK, and its chairman has also recruited 800 professionals from over 50 countries to set up a global virtual support centre for a local charity in consultative status with UN ECOSOC to safeguard the most vulnerable communities in Cameroon. 

Similarly, the ADN believes that in the current context the global community has an opportunity to hold leaders accountable and is engaging in advocacy and educating grassroots actors to address institutional discrimination, racial violence and police brutality that exist in systems around the world that have been laid bare against the backdrop of the pandemic.  

It is proposed that moving forward, member organizations of the Coalition will work together to identify the regional challenges and collaborative solutions with supportive entities including the IOM and national governments. Diaspora leaders closely coordinate in the global response to COVID-19 to safeguard vulnerable communities from xenophobia and discrimination.  

 

For more information, please contact IOM's Roberto Cancel, rcancel@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - 11:09Image: Region-Country: SwitzerlandThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Rescued Rohingya Grateful for Local Support, But Concerns Grow for Boats Still at Sea

Tue, 06/30/2020 - 11:18

Rescued Rohingya Grateful for Local Support, But Concerns Grow for Boats Still at Sea  

IOM REPORTER VIDEO 

North Aceh, Indonesia – IOM Indonesia continues to provide round-the-clock care to the 99 Rohingya rescued and allowed to disembark in North Aceh last week, as concerns are being raised about another boat currently at sea with an estimated 500 Rohingya on board, according to authorities in Jakarta.   

Malaysian officials have also reported at least 300 are on a vessel off the coast of Koh Adang island in Thailand. 

No further details are available but roughly 1,400 Rohingya have been stranded at sea during the 2020 sailing season, which typically ends with the arrival of the monsoon in late May. According to various estimates at least 130 have died.  

At the centre in Lhoksemauwe, Aceh, where the Rohingya are being housed, the IOM team – a nurse, an interpreter and psycho-social and operational staff – are working alongside other partners to provide much-needed support to the group who have expressed gratitude for the support they have received from the local community after more than 120 days stranded at sea. 

“With the hospitality of local people, I am happy,” said a 22-year-old woman.  

“Getting food on time, I can sleep without fear. I can also take a shower. But I miss my siblings and mother in Bangladesh and my husband in Malaysia. It would have been better if I could talk with them over the phone.” 

A 17-year-old boy said: “Our boat was floating in the sea for over four months. I thought, ‘we are going to die in the boat and my dead body would be thrown in the sea’. But finally, we could land in a country; I am alive. I feel so happy to be alive.” 

In addition to food and water, IOM and partners are also providing WASH support through the provision of water tanks and personal hygiene kits. IOM has also ensured that the group has a high level of COVID 19 awareness and prevention information and our medical teams are working in close coordination with government health entities, filling a gap in health care referrals and hospitalization needs. 

“IOM teams have been on the ground, working with local community and government, and providing direct support to the new arrivals,” said IOM Chief of Mission Louis Hoffmann. “After four months at sea, and as they recover their health and their spirits, more details have begun to emerge in particular about how they left and the stressful conditions they had to endure to make this journey.” 

Hoffmann commended the local community for their role in ensuring that the Rohingya were rescued and brought to land. He also lauded the efforts of the local authorities together with various agencies operating alongside IOM in north Aceh. 

“The past several months of the sailing season have resulted in scores of lives lost at sea, as people have sought protection and refuge in the region. The gesture and support from the local community in Aceh, and the coordination that’s been happening across the national government to allow for this disembarkation have been, in a word, life-saving,” Hoffmann said. 

The group comprised of 23 families (73 persons), 11 single adult females, nine female unaccompanied children, four single adult males and two male unaccompanied children. Guardianship arrangements have been made for the unaccompanied children and IOM is assisting the ICRC to make family links where needed or possible. 

During the 2015 Andaman Sea crisis, Indonesia agreed to accept several stranded vessels loaded with migrants on humanitarian grounds. A total of 1,820 Rohingya and Bangladeshi nationals were assisted by IOM in Indonesia during the crisis. 

IOM’s work to support the Rohingya in Aceh is being funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). 

HERE IS THE VIDEO   

For more information, please contact Patrik Shirak, at IOM Indonesia, Tel: +622157951275, Email: pshirak@iom.int  or Itayi Viriri at IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Tel: +63 917 890 8785, Email: iviriri@iom.int  

 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: IndonesiaThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM Indonesia MHPSS staff interacting with the children from the group. Photo: IOM/Martini Sitompul  

Identifying unaccompanied children in the group. Photo: IOM/Wira Surbakti 

IOM and a local NGO provided water trucks. Photo: IOM/Said Rizki 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Republic of Korea Hosts Workshop on Data Collection and Needs Assessment for Humanitarian Project Design

Mon, 06/29/2020 - 08:02

Seoul – The COVID-19 pandemic has created unprecedented challenges never before faced by the global humanitarian community. It has not only exacerbated existing crises but also put more people at risk, particularly those already in vulnerable conditions. This new crisis calls for more efficiency and effectiveness in humanitarian interventions amid great uncertainty and limited access to the field. Well-conducted needs assessment has therefore become even more essential to achieve this goal.  

As a result, it is evident that Republic of Korea (ROK) humanitarian actors, NGOs and donor agencies alike, are in need of new capacity development in developing humanitarian interventions in the context of COVID-19. In order to address the needs of the ROK humanitarian community and bolster evidence-based programming capacity, IOM RoK held a two-day workshop on data collection and needs assessment for humanitarian project design on June 23-24, 2020 in Seoul.

The workshop sought to provide participants with both theoretical and practical knowledge and skills on fundamentals of humanitarian needs assessment, with emphasis on community engagement.  

“Conducting a proper needs assessment is the first step to achieve the Do No Harm principle in any humanitarian operation. However, crisis contexts are often complex thus require trained skills and expert knowledge,” said Miah Park, Head of Office, IOM ROK.

"This workshop is timely for ROK humanitarian practitioners as many of them are preparing for the COVID-19 response. It will also be an invaluable training on fundamentals of humanitarian intervention planning for new entrants to the humanitarian sphere spurred by the on-going pandemic,” she added.

Starting with an overview of the workshop by Andrew Lind, Senior Regional Emergency and Post Crisis Specialist, IOM Regional Office for Asai-Pacific (ROAP), the workshop introduced the humanitarian coordination system and various types of joint needs assessment and explored core compartments of humanitarian needs assessment such as assessment design, secondary data collection and analysis, and primary data collection techniques.

Other experts from IOM ROAP - Alexandra Valerio, Regional Protection and GBV Specialist, Chandan Nayak, Regional DTM Officer, and Vivianne van der Vorst, Senior Regional Project Manager (DTM REMAP) – also shared their invaluable experience from the field. Multiple group exercises ensured participants had ample opportunities to apply what they had learned into practice on site, with support of IOM facilitators and trainers.

Due to cross-border travel restrictions posed by the COVID-19, the workshop tested a new modality in delivering a training workshop whereby trainers led sessions remotely via an online video conferencing platform. A total of 29 ROK NGO workers involved in overseas humanitarian assistance participated and 28 completed the two-day course.

The workshop was organized as part of IOM ROK’s capacity-building project for Korean humanitarian actors, funded by the USAID Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA).

Since 2015, IOM ROK has provided a wide range of trainings and workshops to enable Korean humanitarian actors to carry out principled and quality humanitarian interventions that measure up to international standards.

For more information please contact Jieun Kim, IOM Republic of Korea, Tel.: +82 070 4820 0291, Email: JIKIM@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Thursday, June 25, 2020 - 13:52Image: Region-Country: Republic of KoreaThemes: Capacity BuildingDefault: Multimedia: 

Some of the ROK NGO humanitarian workers during the two-day course. Photo: IOM ROK

A total of 28 ROK NGO workers involved in overseas humanitarian assistance completed the two-day course. Photo: IOM ROK

Some of the ROK NGO humanitarian workers during the two-day course. Photo: IOM ROK

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Indonesia Assists Rohingya Rescued After Four Months at Sea

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 09:23

North Aceh, Indonesia - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has joined coordinated efforts to help 99 Rohingya, mostly women and children, rescued by local fisherman on Wednesday after being stranded at sea for more than 120 days. 

Forty-nine women, 33 children and 17 men were allowed to disembark yesterday with the agreement of the local community who were concerned about the welfare of the children.  

IOM Indonesia’s advance team is providing medical and operational support with registration and the initial assessment of the group, as well as much-needed food, water and hygiene packages.  

Speaking this morning to IOM staff via an interpreter, a spokesperson from the group said they set off from Balukhali camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh four months and 10 days ago. 

He said they were all originally from Rakhine state, Myanmar.  

He added that one woman died during the journey leaving behind two children. Another three children, two of them siblings, and a 10-year-old girl were unaccompanied. The group also included one pregnant woman.  

The spokesperson said, “We set off on foot, through the hills to Shamlapur [Cox’s Bazar] from where we took small boats that brought us to a bigger boat at sea. The captain of the big boat was a man from Myanmar. Our original destination was supposed to be Malaysia, where we were supposed to pay 10,000 Ringgit (USD2,300.00) each upon arrival.”  

He said the boat was arranged by a ‘Rohingya who lived abroad’.  

“Rapid tests for COVID19 conducted last night reveal that all tested negative,” said Louis Hoffmann, IOM Chief of Mission in Indonesia. 

“This is good news as we are very mindful, of course, of community concerns over public health issues and we are providing ongoing support to the authorities through our medical teams alongside UNHCR’s registration team.”  

Roughly 1,400 Rohingya found themselves stranded at sea during the 2020 sailing season, which typically ends with the arrival of the monsoon in early June. At least 130 have died. Malaysian officials report at least 300 are on a vessel off the coast of Koh Adang island in Thailand. 

On May 28, IOM issued a statement urging Rohingya stranded at sea to be allowed to disembark. 

“A coordinated response to this situation, inclusive of search and rescue operations and safe disembarkation, is urgently needed to ensure that those who are still stranded at sea can be brought to safety on land,” IOM’s Director General António Vitorino said at the time. 

During the 2015 Andaman Sea crisis, Indonesia agreed to accept several stranded vessels loaded with migrants on humanitarian grounds. A total of 1,820 Rohingya and Bangladeshi nationals were absorbed into IOM’s caseload.  

For more information, please contact Patrik Shirak, at IOM Indonesia, Tel: +622157951275, Email: pshirak@iom.int or Itayi Viriri at IOM’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Tel: +63 917 890 8785, Email: iviriri@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 26, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: IndonesiaThemes: Rohingya CrisisDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff assist some of the 99 Rohingya who disembarked in Aceh, Indonesia. Photo: IOM Indonesia 

Some of the 99 Rohingya who disembarked in Aceh, Indonesia after being stranded at sea for over 120 days. Photo: IOM Indonesia 

Some of the 99 Rohingya who disembarked in Aceh, Indonesia. Photo: UNHCR

The 99 Rohingya who disembarked in Aceh, Indonesia are taken to local centre. Photo: IOM Indonesia 

Some of Rohingya women being taken to a local centre. Photo: IOM Indonesia 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Migration Project for Moroccan Students in Spain Surmounts COVID-19 Challenges

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 09:12

Madrid – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and partners are working swiftly to adapt a pilot mobility programme appropriate to the COVID-19 situation – ever mindful of movement restrictions – that has impacted nearly 100 Moroccan post-graduate students currently in Spain.  

IOM is an implementing partner of the “Young Generation as Change Agents” project. Funded by the European Union and launched in 2019, this project helps qualified young people migrate safely and legally to Spain from Morocco and then return.  

The first-of-its-kind project is helping Moroccan graduates to earn a master’s degree in Spain during a one-year programme and then return to Morocco to contribute their learning and share skills within strategic sectors of the Moroccan economy, through entrepreneurship and other means. 

All students are in good health and continue their studies online. University lectures switched to a digital format to keep courses moving and students active during the lockdown.  

The students were scheduled to return to Morocco at the close of the academic year in July. This now will depend on progress in COVID-19's containment.  

Mouad Rahmouni, a 25-year-old student of engineering, spent one year achieving his master’s degree in the Polytechnical University of Madrid. 

“I am really grateful to have been granted this opportunity in Spain, since it allowed me to expand my technical skills in engineering. I am eager to put the skills I acquired at the service of my country,” he said.  

Some 98 post-graduate students participating in the skilled “circular” migration project find they currently are unable to return to complete the programme in Morocco, until movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.  

“Obviously, the COVID-19 outbreak came with several operational challenges, but we are pleased to see that everyone involved in the YGCA European project is doing their utmost to ensure the best possible conditions for the students” explained Coral Martínez Íscar, Director of SEPIE, the organization that holds this project coordination.  

IOM, together with its partners – the Spanish Service for the Internationalization of Education (SEPIE) and the Ministry of Universities – has been working to come up with a solution.    

“Things were not easy for the students, especially being far from home during Ramadan. But contact was maintained on a nearly daily basis through WhatsApp,” said Oussama Elbaroudi, IOM’s project head in Madrid. “I was impressed by the solid group dynamic. Good humour was definitely important for lifting spirits and keeping morale high.” 

In addition to monitoring the progress and wellbeing of the students, IOM and partners are liaising with the Moroccan Embassy to keep all informed about their citizens’ situation while assessing any potential vulnerabilities.  

“Spain and Morocco have built solid cooperation on migration for decades,” said María Jesús Herrera, Chief of IOM’s mission in Spain. “The fact that both states have agreed to enact new schemes such as this shows a growing recognition of the importance of improving common and comprehensive migration governance tools.” 

“We strongly believe that this European project is a win-win action for both countries of origin and destination and could pave the way towards a more regular programme,” added SEPIE Director, Coral Martínez. “Giving opportunities to younger generations is our best investment.”  

For more information please contact Oussama Elbaroudi, IOM Spain, Tel:  +34 915 943 670, Email: ouelbaroudi@iom.int  

Or: Miguel Angel Milan Arellano, SEPIE, Tel: +34 91 550 67 61, Email: miguelangel.milan@sepie.escomunicacion@sepie.es  

Language English Posted: Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:35Image: Region-Country: SpainThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Moroccan students at an IOM pre-departure orientation session in Rabat prior to leaving for Spain and the outbreak of COVID-19. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Niger Goes Digital to Empower Communities to Deter Fake News

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 09:05

Niamey – “Fake news” is the modern shorthand for humankind’s ageless penchant to engage in rumor, hearsay and gossip – all of which can harbor deadly consequences during a public health emergency. Like now.  

Pandemics have been strongly linked to the spread of fake news which can often pique the curiosity of audiences through unusual content – whether it’s wild exaggerations of contagion levels or stigmatizing suspected carriers or the promise of miracle cures. Traveling up to 70 per cent faster than reliable news, erroneous information can be harmful not only to one’s health by encouraging unproven health practices, but also to the trust populations have in authorities or public institutions.  

IOM’s Niger Community Cohesion Initiative (NCCI), together with partner GeoAnalytics Center, launched this week a nationwide online campaign “Fake News”, with the goal of reducing its proliferation across the country.  

The GeoAnalytics Center is a Nigerien NGO whose purpose is to strengthen technological programmes in the fields of education, gender and governance. The NGO works on the premise that when adapted to local conditions, technology can serve an essential role for communication, and empowerment.   

The NCCI programme addresses key drivers of conflict, including youth unemployment, increased reach of violent extremist organizations, and feelings of exclusion among different ethnic groups. It has been implemented with support from the United States Agency for International Development/Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) starting in 2014.   

Although it trails neighboring countries in internet penetration, Niger has been advancing steadily, expanding its 3G networks and making smartphones more affordable, increasing the use of social media, especially among the young.  

As beneficial as digitalization is, social media also unleashes harmful consequences – such as spreading hate speech, radical messages and anti-migrant sentiments.   

“Harmful disinformation is rapidly spreading on social media,” said Alan Bobbett, NCCI Chief of Party and Programme Manager in Niger. “We hope through the launch of this online nationwide campaign to promote critical thinking around the consumption of fake news.”  

In the context of the current global health crisis, Niger’s GeoAnalytics Center notes, it’s crucial to share accurate information to raise awareness in the difference between real and fake news.   

Under a previous effort with NCCI, the NGO trained a hundred young civil society leaders from the Tillabéri region in the use of social media, as well as in critical thinking and the detection of fake news. Nigerien filmmakers previously trained by the NGO have encouraged other young people to participate in the creation of campaign videos.   

“Without trust, basic interactions between people collapse and polarization in societies increases,” explained Eduard Peris Deprez, the centre’s director.   

In its Fake News campaign, audiovisual products are created and disseminated online. Short videos and “memes” address themes using humor and a vocabulary adapted to the target audience.  

Videos are being produced in local languages with French subtitles – and made available in low resolution to ensure a wider dissemination despite internet connectivity issues in some of Niger’s regions. To create a snowball effect, audiovisual material is to be published via WhatsApp and Facebook, Niger’s most popular social networks.  

WhatsApp remains the most popular application among the young people surveyed by the NGO (85% of men, 91% of women), independently of the level of education. This is due particularly to the audio option offered by the app, which allows illiterate users to access it with ease.  

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

Language English Posted: Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:40Image: Region-Country: NigerThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM launched this week the nation-wide online campaign “Fake News Project”. Photo: IOM/GeoAnalytics Center

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM, UNICEF, and São Paulo City Hall Facilitate Distance Learning for Refugee and Migrant Children in Brazil

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 08:53

Brasília – Almost four thousand refugee and migrant children up to 8 years old and enrolled in the Municipal Education System of São Paulo have begun receiving the educational materials, “Learning Paths,” in several languages.  
 
The objective is to ensure greater inclusion of this population that lacks Portuguese fluency. “Learning Paths” will support them during the period of remote education, due to the closure of the schools caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the refugee and migrant children who are beneficiaries of this initiative arrived from Bolivia, Venezuela or Haiti. 

After mapping and identifying the presence of migrants, the Municipal Education Secretariat (SME) of São Paulo identified languages for translation.  

“In times of social isolation, the Racial Ethnic Education Center (NEER in Portuguese) understands equity as a basic principle and seeks to meet the educational needs of girls and boys enrolled in the Municipal Education System. Everyone has rights. Translating ‘Learning Paths’ provides access,” explained Jussara Santos, the coordinator of NEER.  

The material translated into EnglishFrench and Spanish, (from the official content already available in Portuguese) will support the task of family members in the learning routine and will promote a more sustainable integration of this population. Printing and distribution are being carried out with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). 

"IOM is committed to ensuring that migrants and refugees in Brazil have access to education, facilitating their sustainable economic integration in the future, reaching every boy and girl, leaving no children behind," said the IOM Brazil Chief of Mission, Stéphane Rostiaux. 

“It is essential to reinforce efforts to ensure that refugee and migrant children and adolescents maintain their link with the school and continue to learn during this pandemic. It is also essential to build strategies for these students to return to schools as soon as they reopen,” explained UNICEF’s Representative in Brazil, Florence Bauer. 

For Edith Q., 34, a Venezuelan woman who arrived in Brazil about a year ago and now lives in São Paulo, this material will facilitate the family's daily life during this period of social isolation. Her 4-year-old son, Dylan, is enrolled in the municipal preschool program. 

"I am very happy with the possibility of supporting my son while learning at home. It has been difficult, but the material in Spanish facilitates my understanding of the topics and I can help him studying and answering his questions," Edith explained. “It is very important for our integration in Brazil. I really appreciate the work and attention that IOM, UNICEF, and the Brazilian government are giving." 

São Paulo is the Brazilian municipality with the highest number of registered migrants and refugees, currently accounting for more than 360,000 people, according to data from the Federal Police. It is also the second Brazilian municipality to receive more Venezuelans via the federal government's “interiorization” programme bringing beneficiaries to cities with capacity to accommodate newcomers. So far there have been over 2,400 beneficiaries.  

IOM support in this activity is carried out within the “Opportunities – Integration in Brazil” project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

For more information please contact Juliana Hack at IOM Brazil, Tel: +55 61 3771 3772, Email: jhack@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:45Image: Region-Country: BrazilThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

A Venezuelan woman using the distance learning tool in Spanish to teach her four-year-old son. Photo: IOM 

A Venezuelan woman using the distance learning tool in Spanish to teach her four-year-old son. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Stranded for Three Months, 338 Malians Come Home Via Humanitarian Corridor

Fri, 06/26/2020 - 08:45

Bamako – On Tuesday (23/06), 159 Malians returned home on a charter flight thanks to a humanitarian corridor opened by the governments of Niger and Mali. The cohort had been waiting in transit centres in Niamey, Niger’s capital, since March owing to the border closures decreed by governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

This is this month’s second charter organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through European Union funding this month. On 4 June, 179 Malians returned. 

As COVID-19 shattered the hopes for an imminent return of thousands of migrants in transit across West and Central Africa, IOM has been negotiating with host governments and governments of origin the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow for the voluntary return of migrants waiting in overcrowded transit centres after a perilous journey towards North Africa. 

"This humanitarian corridor ends the frustration of many Malians who have been waiting for more than three months for some in centres and for families who had lost hope of seeing their husbands, sons, fathers and relatives again," said Pascal Reyntjens, Chief of Mission of IOM in Mali.  

“Just a few days left,” Abdoulaye kept repeating to IOM staff while waiting for three months in a transit centre run by IOM in Niger, before boarding his homeward flight. 

Upon their arrival, all migrants were subject to the national COVID-19 prevention protocol, including the disinfection of their luggage, the provision of masks and hydro-alcoholic gel, health screenings and COVID-19 tests. Upon arrival in Bamako, Mali’s capital, they started a 14-day quarantine in a transit centre run by IOM’s partner before they reach their community of origin.  

"During this COVID-19 period, the most fragile and vulnerable populations are stranded migrants in the sub-region,” said the Representative of the Ambassador of the EU Delegation in Mali, Mustapha Zlaf. “Through the voluntary return of migrants, the European Union, in collaboration with IOM, is supporting the government of Mali to protect and assist their most vulnerable citizens,” he added.,  

"I am happy to return to my country. I suffered a lot during my trip. I was rescued in the desert by IOM’s team. I still have friends stranded in Niger. I hope they will safely return to Mali soon,” said Boubacar, one of the returnees, who had left Mali in 2019 to go to Algeria in search of better opportunities. 

In the coming weeks, the returning migrants will receive reintegration assistance based on their needs. They will benefit from psychosocial, social and economic support to rebuild their lives at home.  

This return was made possible thanks to the European Union funding through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration

For more information, please contact Valerie Tamine at IOM Mali, Tel: +223 92 40 49 21, Email: vtamine@iom.int.    

For more information on IOM’s regional COVID-19 response, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221 786206213, Email: fkim@iom.int.     

Language English Posted: Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:50Image: Region-Country: MaliThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Malians returning home on a charter flight thanks to a humanitarian corridor opened by the governments of Niger and Mali. Photo: Moussa Tall/IOM Mali 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM launches online course on Counter trafficking in humanitarian settings

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 13:18

IOM Launches Online Course on Counter Trafficking in Humanitarian Settings 

Geneva- One of the most neglected protection issues in emergencies is human trafficking. Often viewed as a pre-existing problem and not as a direct consequence of conflict or natural disaster, trafficking remains largely unaddressed during emergencies. For traffickers around the world, each disaster signals a sudden availability of potential prey. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) works in close Partnership with governments and humanitarian partners to address all aspects of counter-trafficking responses – Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution.  

Today, IOM is launching an online training course on Countering Human Trafficking in Humanitarian Settings. The course, which has been developed by IOM experts in partnership with the US Department of State’s Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons is designed for external audiences who may be familiar with humanitarian responses but are less familiar with anti-trafficking interventions in emergency contexts.  

The 11-module training is free of charge and provides a good foundation to show how human trafficking poses a very real risk to people affected by conflict, instability, natural disaster, and displacement.  

The course is available in English French Spanish Arabic on IOM’s E-Campus website, and will also be housed within SDL for IOM staff.  

Watch Video 

For more information, please contact Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva: Tel: +41794035526, Email: smsehli@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 13:11Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: Multimedia: 

Ethiopian girl at the TAS centre for unaccompanied children IOM/ Mohamed Muse 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM/OCHA: UN Humanitarian Chief Releases USD 25 Million in CERF Funding to IOM for NGO COVID-19 Responses

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 11:54

Geneva – The UN’s Humanitarian Chief and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Mark Lowcock, today released USD 25 million from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support front-line non-governmental organizations’ (NGOs) life-saving health and water and sanitation responses to COVID-19 in Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Haiti, Libya, South Sudan and Sudan.  

This multi-country allocation will be channelled to NGOs at a country level and help address the most pressing humanitarian needs based on the in-country priorities in health (including mental health and psychosocial support), and water and sanitation outlined in the Global Humanitarian Response Plan for COVID-19. Focus will be given to gender issues, including gender-based violence, and the needs of people living with disabilities.  

Mark Lowcock, the UN’s Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, said: 

“As we fight the spread of COVID-19 in countries already facing humanitarian crises, the work of front-line responders is more important than ever. Because of them, people who desperately need clean drinking water, health care and sanitation – the basics you need to fight the virus – are getting them, wherever they are.   

“This allocation from the UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund will help NGOs in Bangladesh, the Central African Republic, Haiti, Libya, South Sudan and Sudan do that work. It lets them access humanitarian funding in the same way UN agencies do, which will help them deliver swift, cost-effective and life-saving humanitarian response operations.”  

IOM’s Director General, António Vitorino, welcomed the announcement. 

“Our strong partnership with OCHA and CERF allows us to further support NGOs who are on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis around the world,” he said. “This flexible funding strengthens efforts to work hand in hand with non-governmental organizations who are critical for an effective humanitarian response.” 

Today’s allocation builds on ongoing support to the COVID-19 response through CERF and the Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPFs). Together, CERF and CBPF funds have allocated USD 248 million to a broad range of humanitarian organizations, enabling them to launch urgent projects against the virus in over 45 countries.  

Since its creation, CERF has provided humanitarian assistance totalling USD 6.5 billion to millions of people across more than 100 countries and territories. This would not have been possible without generous and consistent donor support.  

This story was published on OCHA’s website here

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 11:48Image: Region-Country: GlobalThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Mural paintings with COVID-19 messaging by the Haitian artist Hamson Elysee at a border post in Haiti. Credit: IOM

Distribution of IOM hand-washing facilities to a community centre for children and youth living on the streets in Ombeda locality, Omdurman-Khartoum State, Sudan, during a COVID-19 awareness-raising campaign. Credit: IOM/Yasir Elbakri

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Central Sahel: IOM Appeals for USD 37.8 Million to Continue Lifesaving Assistance to 460,000 Vulnerable People Amid Pandemic

Tue, 06/23/2020 - 06:40

Dakar – A rise in violence and the multi-layered humanitarian crisis in the Central Sahel region have resulted in the internal displacement of 1.25 million people.   

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is appealing for USD 37.8 million to scale-up its operations, provide urgent lifesaving assistance and address the transition and recovery needs of 460,000 individuals in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger. 

More than three million people struggle with severe food insecurity and 9.4 million are in dire need of assistance in these countries at a time when COVID-19 is spreading rapidly throughout West Africa. Furthermore, the closure of markets and borders meant to prevent the spread of the disease is limiting livelihood opportunities and further aggravating an already dire situation.  

Significant gaps remain in the humanitarian response due to the lack of resources and access in some areas. As part of its efforts to support the response of governments, IOM is scaling up its operations in the three countries, in coordination with local partners, to ensure those in needs receive assistance. 

Through this appeal, IOM will be able to provide shelter and non-food items in communities most affected by displacement and temporary collective sites. It will also help IOM continue implementing community stabilization activities to reinforce social cohesion between refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities. 

You can download the appeal here on IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform.  

“The COVID-19 response should not be implemented at the expense of existing programmes and activities,” said Sophie Nonnenmacher, IOM acting Regional Director for West and Central Africa. 

“Alleviating the urgent needs of affected population and stabilizing the region, at security and economic levels, should remain a priority if we want to prevent the next humanitarian emergency,” IOM’s Nonnenmacher added. “Distracting our attention from the deteriorating situation in the Sahel could wipe out the collective efforts made over decades.” 

The region presents specific obstacles related to the weakness of basic social services including health care, low-income economies and an informal sector which limits livelihoods options. These challenges are compounded by growing security issues – such as violent extremism and intercommunal tensions –unfolding against a backdrop of climate change, land degradation and water scarcity. 

Additional funding requirements for COVID-19 related programming in the targeted countries have been included in IOM’s USD 54 million West and Central Africa Regional Strategic Preparedness and Response 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 Florence Kim at IOM’s Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Email: fkim@iom.int

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 23, 2020 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: SenegalThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Diffa, Niger is home to over 260,000 persons displaced by violence. Photo: IOM/Amanda Nero 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Organizing Transport Home for Hundreds of Stranded Tajik Migrants

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 14:33

Vienna - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is today supporting the voluntary return home of hundreds of Tajik migrants stranded at the Kazakhstan/Uzbekistan border due to restrictions imposed in the wake of COVID-19. 

The group of 650 people are mainly migrant workers, and includes women, children and students. On Friday afternoon they were preparing to board buses funded by IOM to make the journey from the border crossing at Zhibek Zholi, through Uzbekistan, to Khojand in Tajikistan. 

They are just some of the tens of thousands of migrant workers in Central Asia who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic. Many have come from the Russian Federation, Kazakhstan and even further afield. They are typically working in low-paid jobs with little or no job security. Over a quarter of the returning migrants are between 15 and 24 years of age including 100 Tajik students from Kazakh universities. Fifteen percent of the group are women and girls.  

While most of the migrants have only been waiting a few days to get across the border, some have been there for weeks, with little or no shelter and sanitation. 

“We have been providing food, water and hygiene items for the migrants over the past few days while the logistics and paperwork were being organized,” said Sanjarbek Toshbaev, IOM’s head of office in Uzbekistan. 

The 180 km journey will take four hours and is being closely coordinated with the three governments. IOM has provided food, water and hygiene items for the migrants over the past few days while the logistics and paperwork were being organized.  

“We recognize and support measures in place to contain the spreading of COVID-19, but we also stress the right of migrants to return to their places of origin”, said IOM’s Toshbaev. “We need to work to find ways to get more stranded migrants home.” 

The governments of the United States and Norway have provided funds, with UNICEF also contributing. 

Watch video: Stranded migrants at Zhibek Zholi, the border crossing point between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan

For More information please contact:  

Joe Lowry at IOM Regional Office in Vienna, +43 660 377 6404,  jlowry@iom.int   

Language English Posted: Friday, June 19, 2020 - 14:24Image: Region-Country: TajikistanUzbekistanThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Stranded migrants at Zhibek Zholi, the border crossing point between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  Photo: IOM

Stranded migrants at Zhibek Zholi, the border crossing point between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  Photo: IOM

Stranded migrants at Zhibek Zholi, the border crossing point between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  Photo: IOM

Stranded migrants at Zhibek Zholi, the border crossing point between Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.  Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Refugee Week 2020: IOM UK Again Joins with Together Productions in Support of Migrants and Refugees, Combat Xenophobia

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 08:49

London – IOM UK is proud to be partnering with Together Productions for the fourth year, joining this common mission to unite people from different backgrounds, combat xenophobia and showcase new music celebrating the strength and resilience of refugees and migrants.  

In tandem with the UK’s Refugee Week 2020, Together Productions is launching a new online global music video project, in partnership with I Speak Music. People worldwide are invited to participate in the creation of a new music video celebrating the extraordinary contributions of refugees and migrants to our world.  

The new short film will deploy the power of music to emphasize our solidarity and highlight the beautiful diversity of our planet. 

Together Productions has created an online platform for people worldwide to engage in this act of art and solidarity. Participants must first register with this global initiative at https://imagineimagine.org to receive detailed information and guidance on joining the virtual ensemble. Instructions on participating in the recording will be available on the platform. 

This year’s song has been created by members of the I Speak Music Community Orchestra (led by Jim Pinchen and Raghad Haddad). The work fuses different styles of music including Arabic, Latin, hip hop and choral. The partners are giving participant the opportunity to join the cast of the final music video by filming themselves singing, playing instruments or dancing while also sharing moments from their daily lives. 

Submissions from the public will be edited into a final film by Academy and Emmy Award nominated director Leslie Knott and acclaimed director/writer/producer Ben Gregor.  

The simple act of joining this unique music video project sends a powerful message of solidarity to those in refugee camps around the world and recognizes the contributions of migrants and refugees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2017, Together Productions with support from IOM UK has been producing the Singing Our Lives project, which is a unique creative process that joins hundreds of voices and instrumentalists – including migrants and refugees – in a series of workshops and concerts that promote understanding and empathy among diverse groups.  

“Music can be a type of therapy,” said Kolbassia Haoussou, 42, a torture survivor who has been living in the UK since 2005, the year he was granted asylum, Mr. Haoussou has been part of a previous edition of the project.  

“It helps me express what’s in my heart to others who may not understand,” he explained.  

Due to the current circumstances, a live concert will not take place in Refugee Week 2020, but the digital platform creates an exciting possibility of engagement with people from any corner of the world, without borders or limitations.  

For more information please contact Abir Soleiman, IOM UK, Tel: +44 7470195306, Email: asoleiman@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 19, 2020 - 12:40Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: IOMDefault: Multimedia: 

Since 2017, Together Productions with support from IOM UK, has been bringing together hundreds of choirs and instrumentalists including refugees and migrants. 

Since 2017, Together Productions with support from IOM UK, has been bringing together hundreds of choirs and instrumentalists including refugees and migrants. 

Since 2017, Together Productions with support from IOM UK, has been bringing together hundreds of choirs and instrumentalists including refugees and migrants. 

Since 2017, Together Productions with support from IOM UK, has been bringing together hundreds of choirs and instrumentalists including refugees and migrants. 

Since 2017, Together Productions with support from IOM UK, has been bringing together hundreds of choirs and instrumentalists including refugees and migrants. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

New IOM Service Provides Migrants in the UK with Essential COVID-19 Information

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 08:26

London – The COVID-19 pandemic, and the various measures the government has taken to combat it, has changed almost every aspect of life for people living in the UK, including the country’s diverse migrant community. 

All people are having to adjust, yet migrants’ livelihoods are often at greater risk in this crisis for several reasons, according to Dipti Pardeshi, Chief of IOM’s office in the UK. 

“Migrants are more likely to be working in sectors most affected by the crisis, such as hospitality and retail. They are also more likely to be self-employed and in temporary work,” said Pardeshi. “Furthermore, migrants are more likely to be in rented accommodation, which puts them at risk of eviction if they have lost their income due to the crisis.” 

The UK government has issued detailed information and guidance about the virus and the ways it is working to control it. The government also has introduced widespread measures to provide people with support during the crisis, such as its job retention and self-employed schemes  

“The official guidance has been a lifeline, but many migrants struggle to access and understand the information, and some have difficulty navigating the support systems that have been put in place,” Pardeshi explained.  

Other migrants face barriers accessing some elements of this support due to their visa conditions or their immigration status, which may limit their access to the country’s social safety net and put them at greater risk of hardship and destitution.  

IOM has designed a COVID-19 Migrant Information Service to provide extra support to migrants in this challenging context. The info service includes a multilingual website and a telephone service which provides information to migrants living in the UK on five key topics: health, work, benefits, visas and immigration, housing and homelessness.  

The website also provides a comprehensive overview of the various governmental and non-governmental support schemes that are available to migrants. Finally, it provides signposted information for users to access further information and/or begin their process of accessing support.  

The website is currently available in seven languages: English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Albanian, Romanian and Arabic, (with Polish and Vietnamese soon to be added. The telephone service provides information to callers in any language and is available on Freephone 0800 464 3380.  

For more information please contact Abir Soleiman, IOM UK, Tel: +44 74 701 95306, Email: asoleiman@iom.int 

Language English Posted: Friday, June 19, 2020 - 13:04Image: Region-Country: United KingdomThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

The measures to combat Covid-19 has changed almost every aspect of life for people living in the UK, including migrants, whose livelihoods are at greater risk. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

IOM Assists Thousands of Migrants Stranded in Djibouti due to COVID-19

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 08:02

Djibouti – More than 1,200 young migrants are stranded in Djibouti due to COVID-19 border closures and movement restrictions. The migrants, mainly Ethiopians, were in transit to Saudi Arabia and other Gulf countries seeking work.  

Among the migrants is 26-year-old Ahmed. He spent 20 days travelling from Ethiopia to Djibouti on foot, bound for the coastal town of Obock – a common departure point for crossing the Gulf of Aden to Yemen, and then onward to Saudi Arabia. This migratory route last year saw over 138,000 young Ethiopian migrants, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Displacement Tracking Matrix – but it is not without risk. 

Ahmed, an Ethiopian, was abandoned by smugglers and was stuck in Obock for a month. “The borders closed shortly after I reached Obock,” he explained, “and the smugglers abandoned me there with no food, water or shelter. I do not have any money and I am desperate to go home to my family.”  

Besides Ahmed, another 68 have been living in a Migrant Response Centre operated by IOM, which assists stranded migrants in the town of Obock. Fourteen are minors. IOM Djibouti is providing life-saving support.  

Since the pandemic started, thousands have been helped by IOM. Migrants are also receiving psycho-social support to cope with the stress and anxiety caused by being stranded in Djibouti.   

Moreover, the number of stranded migrants in Djibouti is rising. More than 200 arrived from Yemen just in the last few weeks. Some made it as far as Yemen but were unable to continue and had to travel back to Djibouti. IOM is working with the Djibouti officials to assist these individuals. 

So far this month over 400 migrants affected by COVID-19 have been provided with food, water, shelter, hygiene kits and other essential items here in Djibouti’s capital, as well as in Obock, and in the towns of Tadjourah, Dikhil and Ali Sabieh, where other displaced migrants are staying.  

In another aspect of IOM’s response to COVID-19, over 600 migrants living in government-led quarantine centres are being assisted. Migrants in quarantine are provided with food and personal hygiene kits while being checked for symptoms of COVID-19.  

“The migrants who are currently stranded in Djibouti are eager to return home and to reunite with their families after a failed attempt to reach the Gulf countries. We will continue to work hand in hand with the Government of Djibouti to provide life-saving assistance to these migrants,” said Stéphanie Daviot, IOM Djibouti’s Chief of Mission.  

For more information please contact Stéphanie Daviot, IOM Djibouti, Tel: + 253 21 34 2144. Email: sdaviot@iom.int  

Language English Posted: Friday, June 19, 2020 - 12:43Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Growing numbers of Ethiopian migrants are stranded in Djibouti. 

Over 200,000 Ethiopians travel through Djibouti, to the Gulf States, every year. 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

Pulling Together in Germany: 3,000 Protective Masks for Unaccompanied Migrant Children in Greece

Fri, 06/19/2020 - 07:54

Berlin – Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week delivered a donation of 3,000 reusable, protective face masks from Germany to unaccompanied migrant children in Greece.    

The masks, which IOM distributed to unaccompanied children residing in shelters and temporary facilities on the Greek mainland, were donated by the German entities Planet Bamboo, The African Network in Germany and the Federal Association for Economic Development and Foreign Trade. 

“The parcels with masks from all over Germany have arrived in Greece and we are very thankful for this initiative,” said Carlos Oliver, Senior Policy and Liaison Officer for IOM Greece. “IOM is thrilled to support this gesture of solidarity in our common fight against COVID-19, made all the more valuable for its protection of vulnerable migrant children.”  

Planet Bamboo, a company specialized in environmental products, has sent masks sewn by volunteers.   

"I would like to encourage creative people who are in the home office or working less hours like me to sew protective masks and then donate them," said Lea Müller-Schanz, Planet Bamboo’s marketing and sales manager.  

The African Network in Germany (TANG) donated masks made from different African fabrics, which are produced by migrants living in Germany and distributed to people in need.  

The Federal Association for Economic Development and Foreign Trade (BWA) also provided 2,000 masks for the initiative in record time.  

More than 5,000 unaccompanied children are currently being hosted in reception and identification centres and other shelters throughout Greece.  

IOM is present in six shelters for UMC on the mainland in Greece.  Since 2019, the Organization has been providing services for the children in the shelters on a 24-hour basis through specialized staff of social workers, psychologists, interpreters, legal officers and facility coordinators.  

For more information please contact Sabine Lehmann, IOM Germany, Tel: +40 30 278 778 17, Email: slehmann@iom.int

Language English Posted: Friday, June 19, 2020 - 12:50Image: Region-Country: GermanyGreeceThemes: COVID-19Default: Multimedia: 

Employees of the small German business Planet Bamboo get the self-made masks ready for shipment to IOM Greece. Photo credit: Planet Bamboo 

German business Planet Bamboo get the self-made masks ready for shipment to IOM Greece. Photo credit: Planet Bamboo 

Many of the handmade masks were donated by members of the African diaspora in Germany. Photo credit: Planet Bamboo 

Press Release Type: Global
Categories: PBN

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