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Updated: 55 min 11 sec ago

Long-Term Policies Key to Integrating Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela, New MPI-IOM Report Finds

Thu, 07/29/2021 - 11:08

Findings will be discussed during webinar at 10 a.m. ET / UTC-4 TODAY 

WASHINGTON  The socio-economic integration of Venezuelan refugees and migrants being hosted by countries in Latin America has been set back by the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new study that examines key issues such as economic inclusion, social cohesion and access to education and health care.  

The findings draw from a new analysis of Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) and other data by the Migration Policy Institute (MPI) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The report explores the progression of socio-economic integration of refugees and migrants from Venezuela over three periods between 2017 and 2021 in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, which host more than 70 per cent of the 5.6 million Venezuelans who have left Venezuela since 2015.  

The report finds Venezuelans in the five case-study countries experience unemployment at higher rates than the receiving-country population, with many losing jobs during the pandemic. The public-health crisis also has taken a toll on newcomers’ income, with Venezuelans surveyed in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru last fall reporting a more than 50 per cent drop since the onset of the pandemic in March 2020. Irregularity has also been a significant obstacle to integration in Ecuador and Peru during the pandemic.  

With more Venezuelans reporting in surveys their intention to remain in their receiving countries, the report underscores the need for governments to transition from short-term humanitarian responses to longer-term integration policies.  

“While countries in the region have engaged in creative and often ad hoc policies to regularize their Venezuelan populations, significant shares still lack regular migration status. This suggests the need to redouble efforts to provide access to regular immigration status,” said MPI President Andrew Selee. “These findings demonstrate the importance of improving the credential recognition processes for refugees and migrants from Venezuela as a fundamental part of their socioeconomic integration.” In turn, Venezuelans contribute positively to the GDP of those countries that receive them, he said. 

The IOM Director General’s Special Envoy for the Regional Response to the Venezuela Situation, Diego Beltrand, said: “Therefore, from the R4V Regional Coordination Platform jointly led by IOM and UNHCR, it is important to continue supporting the socioeconomic integration of this population, which requires USD 256 million, 18 per cent of the total requested in the Regional Response Plan for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela 2021.” 

Among other findings of the report, Socioeconomic Integration of Venezuelan Migrants and Refugees: The Cases of Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru: 

  • In all five countries, Venezuelans reported working longer hours and earning less than their counterparts, with high levels of informality and independent work that make them more vulnerable to exploitative working conditions and poverty. 
  • The educational credentials of Venezuelans tend to be equal to or higher than those of the receiving-country population, yet significant barriers prevent them from working in their areas of expertise. Just 10 per cent of Venezuelans in Chile, Colombia and Peru report having had their professional and educational credentials recognized as of October 2020. 
  • Despite government efforts to adopt regularization programmes, 40 per cent or more of Venezuelans in the five countries studied, except for Brazil, lacked regular status almost throughout each of the time periods evaluated.  
  • Venezuelans are relatively young and more likely to be of working age than receiving-country populations. While men were over-represented in the initial study period, the flows are now more equally distributed by gender and with families becoming increasingly prevalent. As a result, securing access to education for children is becoming increasingly critical. Despite generally guaranteed access to education, barriers including lack of documents and classroom capacity constraints have resulted in a significant number of out-of-school children, with the notable exception of Chile, where enrollment ranged from 85 – 93 per cent.  
  • While Chile and Brazil have universal health-care systems, barriers to access, including misinformation, fear of deportation and discrimination persist. In Peru, while access to health insurance improved over time, just 10 per cent of Venezuelans reported having subsidized insurance. 
  • In all the countries except Brazil, the share of Venezuelan migrants and refugees who reported experiencing discrimination grew between 2017 and 2021, with the most prominent increases in Colombia and Peru.  

“As Venezuela’s political crisis continues and the broader region grapples with the economic fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, Venezuelan migration is unlikely to stop any time soon,” said MPI analysts Diego Chaves-González, Jordi Amaral and María Jesús Mora. “It is crucial that the region’s governments make a concerted effort to promote the socio-economic integration of Venezuelan migrants and refugees and that the international donor community supports them in doing so.” 

Read the report here. It is also available in Spanish

The report marks the latest research collaboration between MPI and IOM, using DTM data to map experiences for Venezuelan migrants and refugees. An earlier fact sheet used DTM data to paint a picture of the differing socio-economic profiles, living conditions and future intentions regarding settlement or onward movement for Venezuelan expatriates in 11 Latin American and Caribbean countries.   


The IOM Director General’s Special Envoy for the Regional Response to the Venezuela Situation, Diego Beltrand; MPI President Andrew Selee; Organization of American States (OAS) Department of Social Inclusion Director Betilde Muñoz-Pogossian; Marcos Maia, Director of the Management Department of Brazil’s National Secretariat of Social Assistance; and Unión Venezolana en Perú President Oscar Pérez are among the experts who will discuss the situation for Venezuelan migrants and refugees, as well as the report findings, during a webinar (English and Spanish, with simultaneous interpretation) at 10 a.m. ET / UTC-4 TODAY. For a list of speakers and to register, click here.  


For more information, please contact: 

Bryan Brennan, IOM,  

Daniela Rovina, IOM,   

Michelle Mittelstadt, MPI, 

Language English Posted: Thursday, July 29, 2021 - 16:57Image: Region-Country: United States of AmericaDefault: Multimedia: 

A new report from the Migration Policy Institute and International Organization for Migration explores the socio-economic integration of Venezuelans between 2017 and 2021 in Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru, where more than 70 per cent of Venezuelans abroad reside. Photo: IOM Chile 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: DTMData and ResearchInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsPolicy
Categories: PBN

Fiji wraps up national consultations on climate related mobility

Thu, 07/22/2021 - 09:12

Suva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) co-hosted a virtual national consultation on climate related mobility in Fiji in coordination with the Climate Change and International Cooperation Division of the Ministry of Economy on 20 and 21 July. The consultation, held under the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security (PCCM-HS) programme, brought together 40 government officials, civil society organizations and NGO’s to review the human security implications of climate change related migration, displacement and planned relocation, share experiences about how climate related mobility is impacting communities and talk towards the development of a regional based solution.

The consultations gathered participants from across Fiji in a multitude of various sectors to continue discussions that would support with the identification of Fiji’s position on climate related mobility, including exploring potential options at the national and regional level to ensure the protection of climate migrants.

Through this, the PCCMHS programme aims to ensure that Fiji’s national perspectives and experiences build towards and informs the development of a regional framework on climate change related migration, displacement and planned relocation. Moreover, the national consultations aim to cultivate a shared understanding and common approach to climate related mobility within Fiji and across the Pacific.

In opening, H.E Hon. Voreqe Bainimarma, Prime Minister of Fiji emphasized that the “Pacific Islands face the unique challenge of having to protect the lives, livelihood and dignity of people who are forced from their traditional homes by climate change. Whether it be internal movement or movement across borders, we need to consider the trauma of people leaving their homes, their source of livelihoods, their cultural heritage and more”. In addition, the Honourable Prime Minister, went further to add that “whilst we in Fiji have options available to us to relocate our affected communities internally, some of our low-lying neighbours do not have the same luxury. At the current rate of emission, the displacement of their people won't be internal but external, across borders. I now see it as our moral imperative to support our blue Pacific family as they begin the necessary discussions on this sensitive matter.”

Day one of the consultations laid out the scientific projections on the impacts of climate change by the Fiji Meteorological Service and was followed by a comprehensive presentation by Fiji’s National Disaster Management Office on the impacts of climate related mobility on rural communities and lessons learnt from previous experiences pertaining to community relocations. Interestingly, participants also got the opportunity to receive informative data relating to internal migration and emigration that was captured in Fiji’s migration profile.

Day two of the consultations provided participants with a comprehensive overview of national level policy and legislation that is a starting point to address and support communities adversely impacted by climate related mobility. Participants also reviewed the regional policies and discussions, identifying existing opportunities for collective action towards a secure, peaceful, prosperous region.

During group exercise, participants spoke of the cascading issues that would arise in the context of climate change in the year 2050. Participants stressed on the need to better inform at risk communities and plan methodically for an increase in the number of community relocations driven by climate change and disasters. Moreover, attendees also spoke of the necessity to improve social structures that would seek to inform and support both displaced and host communities. Mr. Shivanal Kumar from the Climate Change and International Cooperation Division, Ministry of Economy, highlighted that the “Government of Fiji has developed Planned Relocation Guidelines to reduce the vulnerabilities of the most at risk communities. Planned relocation is one adaptation technique to be considered by the affected communities, only when all adaptation options have been exhausted.”

In his closing address, Mr. Solomon Kantha, IOM Chief of Mission in Fiji spoke of the “visionary plan towards developing a regional framework that addresses the issues of climate related mobility in the Pacific region by creating safe migration pathways for migrating communities, upholds the human rights of migrant communities in the Pacific and recognizes the need to preserve and respect cultural identity”.


Fiji is the second country under the PCCMHS programme after Nauru to complete its national consultations on climate related mobility as the programme continues to make progress towards concluding similar style dialogues in Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, Tonga, Kiribati, FSM, RMI, Vanuatu, Samoa, Solomon Islands and Palau. In a similar note, the PCCMHS programme seeks to capture the national perspectives in all 13 Pacific Island Countries to ensure that any regional response to climate mobility is grounded in the voices of the community and respects national interests.

The programme is led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) alongside the International Labour Organization (ILO), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). The joint agency PCCMHS programme is funded by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and the New Zealand Foreign Aid Programme.For more information contact

Sabira Coelho, Programme Manager, PCCMHS  at IOM Fiji. Email:

Christopher Yee, Programme Specialist, PCCMHS at IOM Fiji. Email:

Language English Posted: Thursday, July 22, 2021 - 14:38Image: Region-Country: FijiDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: Environment and Climate ChangeInternational Cooperation and Partnerships
Categories: PBN

IOM Facilitates Return Home for Growing Trend of Irregular Migration between Malawi and Zimbabwe

Fri, 07/16/2021 - 07:00

PRETORIA - Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in Southern Africa last March 2020, trends of irregular migration toward South Africa increased, due to the various socio-economic effects of the pandemic on many households.

The International Organization for Migration, through support from various partners such as the European Union-funded Southern African Migration Management (SAMM) project, Irish Government, The United Kingdom’s Foreign, and the Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), helped 397 stranded Malawian’s migrants to return home from Zimbabwe.

Between March and July 2021, IOM assisted 273 Malawian migrants with voluntary return assistance to their country of origin, in incremented groups, many of whom were stranded at the Beitbridge border point of entry, while attempting to reach South Africa. “The increasing number of stranded Malawian migrants in Zimbabwe en-route to South Africa depicts the current dynamics of human mobility in the context of the pandemic and a sustainable approach needs to be put in place to address the mobility patterns and the associated protection issues” says, Mario Lito Malanca, Chief of Mission, IOM Zimbabwe.

“Life was becoming challenging financially in Malawi due to lack of income, so I wanted to follow my husband who is already in South Africa, but I was stopped by the police in Zimbabwe and remained under their custody for three months, before IOM helped me come back to Malawi”, said 25-year-old Asiyatu Jafali, from Mwanyama village, who is one of the women of the recent assisted groups.

IOM Zimbabwe provides the returnees awaiting travel with a range of services which include pre-travel health assessments, Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), COVID-19 tests, meal allowances, baby essentials packages where there are infants, sanitary wear and transportation. On arrival in Malawi, IOM Malawi provides returnees with psychosocial support through counselling; transport to their final destinations, PPE and in some cases, vulnerability assessments are done depending on availability of funds for reintegration assistance.

“I tried leaving my village of Kadzati in Malawi, to go to South Africa to find a job and support my family better, but since I had no proper documents, I was stopped in Zimbabwe and kept for 60 days”, said 27-year-old Mofati, one of the men assisted from the same latest group of returnees. “Now that IOM helped me return home, I would rather stay and look into opening my own business selling livestock”, he continued.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably affected many people livelihood all across the world, leading to an increasing number of persons opting to migrate in search of better opportunities, and Southern Africa is no exception”, said Charles Kwenin, IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa. “IOM remains committed to helping Governments in alleviating 

the many burdens faced by vulnerable migrants, through various humanitarian services, including assisted voluntary returns, thanks to the support from our donors”.

For more information, please contact Abibo Ngandu, IOM Regional Communication Officer, Fadzai Nyamande-Pangeti, IOM Zimbabwe Communication Officer, and Jacqueline Mpeni, IOM Malawi Communication Officer

Language English Posted: Friday, July 16, 2021 - 12:58Image: Region-Country: MalawiZimbabweDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM MALAWI distributes PPEs to the assisted Malawian returnees from Zimbabwe

Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: Migration Management
Categories: PBN

IOM Ethiopia Appeals for USD 40 Million to Assist Additional 1.6 Million People in Northern Ethiopia

Fri, 07/16/2021 - 05:41

Addis Ababa – Nearly two million people affected by the crisis in northern Ethiopia desperately need life-saving assistance, including water, medicine and shelter, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said today as it issued an urgent appeal for USD 40 million to help internally displaced men, women and children, including newborn babies. 

Since the outbreak of the conflict eight months ago in Ethiopia’s Tigray Regional State, millions of people are enduring unimaginable suffering, including forced displacement, hunger, death, and destruction of private and public property.  

In Tigray, IOM has been providing support to more than half a million people, including displaced children, women, men, and vulnerable groups such as pregnant women and persons with disabilities. This includes shelter and provision of essential items such as food, water, clothing, medicine and supplies for babies, as well as sanitation and hygiene services.

IOM has also been supporting camp coordination and management efforts, providing mental health care to those in need, and producing Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) reports to shed light on the evolving situation.

Nearly USD 70 million (USD 69.3M) is needed to respond to the needs of internally displaced populations in northern Ethiopia but only USD 28.7 million has been received this year. IOM needs an extra USD 40.6 million for the remainder of 2021 to be able to continue and further expand its response to help the displaced.

“The nearly two million people displaced by this crisis continue to live in inhumane and undignified conditions and require critical and urgent support,” said Maureen Achieng, IOM Chief of Mission to Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union and UNECA. “IOM Director General António Vitorino said it before, and we say it again: we must act without delay to meet the needs of people in the region.”  

The situation in Tigray remains volatile. In partnership and coordination with other UN agencies, IOM is committed to delivering life-saving humanitarian assistance, to continue reaching people in need. IOM is planning to significantly scale up response programming and increase the deployment of senior IOM staff in the region despite the severe shortage of funding. 

IOM’s response is aligned with the Inter-Cluster Coordination Group’s (ICCG) – a cooperative effort among sectors and the Humanitarian Country Team to improve the national response – Northern Ethiopia Response Plan, which estimates that 5.2 million people are in dire need in the worst-case scenario of this escalating humanitarian crisis. 

Read more on IOM’s Flash Appeal for northern Ethiopia here

For more information, please contact:   

Krizia Kaye Viray, IOM Ethiopia Public Information Officer, Email:, Tel: +25 1993531220 

Yvonne Ndege, IOM Regional Spokesperson for East and Horn of Africa in Nairobi, Email:,  Tel: +25 4797735977  

Language English Posted: Friday, July 16, 2021 - 10:45Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM appeals for additional funds to continue to provide life-saving assistance for displaced people in northern Ethiopia. Photo: IOM/ Kaye Viray

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Crisis ResponseInternal Displacement
Categories: PBN

IOM Provides Over 1,300 Migrants with Emergency Shelter and Assistance on the Canary Islands

Fri, 07/16/2021 - 05:15

Madrid – As more migrants arrive in the Canary Islands, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has provided shelter, protection services, medical, legal and other types of assistance to 1,361 migrants on Tenerife.  

The arrival of more than 23,000 people in the Canary Islands by sea in 2020, particularly in the last three months of the year, strained the reception capacity and COVID-19 has further complicated the response.  In November 2020, the Government of Spain announced “Plan Canarias” to renovate and expand the archipelago’s reception facilities to accommodate and assist 7,000 migrants.  

Since 26 February this year, IOM has been operating at the Las Canteras Emergency Reception Facility (ERF) on Tenerife to support the Spanish government in managing the site. The EU-funded facility is an open centre which can accommodate as many as 1,100 people. 

“Our priority is to support Spain with site management to provide safe and dignified living conditions and tailored services for migrants who have arrived via extremely treacherous journeys to the Canary Islands,” said Maria Jesús Herrera, Head of IOM’s Office in Spain.  

Today, some 300 migrants are staying at the facility from Morocco, Senegal, Mali, Guinea Conakry, Guinea Bissau, Sudan, The Gambia, Mauritania and Côte d’Ivoire. 

At Las Canteras, IOM provides meals, core relief items, water and sanitation, maintenance, and Multipurpose Cash Assistance. The Organization also offers protection assistance, which includes vulnerability assessments, Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS), primary health care, legal information and counselling for family reunification or international protection, and assistance with transfers of eligible vulnerable migrants to the mainland. 

IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) is also available to migrants who wish to return to their country of origin. 

Marouane, a 27-year-old from Morocco, had arrived at the facility on 6 March. One year ago, he risked a harrowing sea journey towards the islands.  

“For three days, you hang out with death, you see it. But if you don't die, then you get there,” he told IOM in May.  

To date, IOM has provided legal counselling to more than 780 people seeking asylum, in cooperation with UNHCR, the UN’s refugee agency. IOM also ensured – through close collaboration with the Spanish authorities – the referral and transfer of some 682 migrants to other specialized centres on the islands and the mainland.  

The Organization also works closely with the municipality of La Laguna to engage with neighbourhood associations, the Tenerife council, civil society, citizens and local actors in the interest of transparency, mutual exchange, and social cohesion.  

"We consider the people hosted in Las Canteras centre as citizens of La Laguna municipality. We therefore try to collaborate as much as possible so that they also benefit from the activities organized by the City Council," said José Luis Hernandez, Environment Councillor from the La Laguna City Hall.  

Arrivals to the Canary Islands on the Western Africa-Atlantic Route this year have reached 7,309 – more than double the number of arrivals at the same time last year. Some 23,848 migrants have reached Spain irregularly via all land and sea routes so far this year.  

The project at Las Canteras,“Supporting the Spanish Authorities in managing an Emergency Reception Facility on the Canary Islands”, is funded by the EU (European Commission, DG Home). The overall management of the ERF is under the coordination of the Site Manager of the Spanish Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration. 


For more information, please contact: 

Oussama El Baroudi at IOM Spain, Tel: +34 915 943 670, Email:,  

Ryan Schroeder at IOM Brussels, Tel: + 32 492 25 02 34, Email:   

Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 403 5526, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, July 16, 2021 - 10:45Image: Region-Country: SpainDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM staff welcome a group of newly arrived migrants at the Las Canteras facility on Tenerife, Spain. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Crisis ResponseMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants RightsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

Response Capacities Stretched with Hasty Return of 40,000 Ethiopian Migrants

Thu, 07/15/2021 - 10:54

Ethiopia – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is urgently appealing for funds to respond to the needs of 40,000 Ethiopian migrants returning from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA). Over 30,000 have arrived in Ethiopia over the last two weeks, at the rate of over 2,600 people a day. More than 20,400 (68 per cent) are from parts of Tigray and Amhara regions which are in the midst of conflict in Northern Ethiopia that has displaced nearly two million people. 

The returns of Ethiopian migrants follow a bilateral agreement between the governments of Ethiopia and KSA. 

According to IOM, USD 740,000 is needed to provide assistance for every 10,000 migrants returning. This is for essentials such as medical treatment, supplies for babies and infants such as diapers, clothing, help with finding and tracing family members, and reunifying them or providing alternative care arrangements as appropriate, as well as to respond to protection concerns. 

“This sudden upsurge in returns poses a major challenge to our ability to assist the returnees – many of whom require medical and psychosocial assistance, support reuniting with their families, and livelihood options that would help to diminish the appeal of irregular re-migration to KSA and other countries of destination,” says Maureen Achieng, IOM Chief of Mission in Ethiopia. 

“Our response is seriously underfunded and barely reaching the needs of returnees in the provision of essential basic and specialized assistance, including for unaccompanied migrant children, pregnant and lactating mothers, and victims of trafficking.” 

Many of the migrants will require help to return and reintegrate back into their communities.  Reintegration assistance is therefore vital to supporting the returnees psychologically, and to find work and stability, to help them avoid irregular migration, and exploitation by trafficking and smuggling rings. 

 The returning migrants are among the target population included in the Regional Migrant Response Plan  2021-2024 (MRP) for the Horn of Africa and Yemen, a USD 99 million appeal launched by IOM and 39 partners in March 2021 to address the protection needs, risks and vulnerabilities of migrants along this route. The MRP is underfunded and urgently requires additional resources to carry out its response, including for this target population. 

While recognizing the sovereign right of States to determine their national migration policy and their prerogative to govern migration within their jurisdiction, in conformity with international law, IOM, as part of the United Nations Network on Migration, reaffirms its commitment to keeping everyone safe. It means that all Member States need to ensure that collective expulsions of migrants and asylum-seekers must be halted; that protection needs, including international protection, must be individually assessed; and that the rule of law and due process must be observed. It also means prioritizing protection, including every child’s best interest, under the obligations in international law. 

IOM’s Flash Report on Returns from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is available here

For more information, please contact: Kaye Viray at IOM Ethiopia, Email: 

Language English Posted: Thursday, July 15, 2021 - 16:45Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Migrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants RightsMigration ManagementReturn and Reintegration
Categories: PBN

USAID, IOM Support Communities Affected by Devastating Floods and Landslides in Timor-Leste

Wed, 07/14/2021 - 11:38

Dili – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Timor-Leste, in collaboration with the Civil Protection Authority on 12th July  handed over the shelter repair kits to communities in Balibar village, municipality of Dili that were affected by landslides and strong winds after heavy rains and flooding in April 2021.

Timor-Leste is highly prone to natural disasters and is expected to face increased risks caused by a changing climate including the onset of La Niña resulting in floods, landslides, and strong winds in April 2021 due to heavy seasonal monsoon rains with higher intensity and a prolonged wet season. Floods, in particular flash flooding, can severely impact Dili and neighbouring districts and have a more moderate impact in rural areas.

Twelve municipalities have been affected with more than 30,367 households across the country and caused 45 people deaths. Dili was the worst affected, with flash flooding damaging houses, buildings, roads, and other infrastructure. According to the government, 13,554 people from 2,315 households were evacuated to 40 evacuation centres around the city.

“We are encouraged by the resilience of the Timorese families affected by the recent flooding,” said  USAID Mission Director Zema  Semunegus. “Building on the partnership with Timor-Leste, we hope these  shelter kits will help in tangible ways as families rebuild and settle back home after the floods and landslides”.

The distribution of the shelter repair kits will contribute to the government efforts towards addressing the immediate needs of the affected population in Timor-Leste.

“IOM remains committed to supporting the government of Timor-Leste through the Civil Protection Authority in disaster response and recovery efforts” said IOM Timor-Leste Chief of Mission Ihma Shareef.

Olinda Sarmento Soares from Balibar Village who is over 100 years old recounted of her experience. “I was awoken by the cyclone early in the morning when it was still dark. I was living alone in the house and terrified that my house would collapse or be blown away. Fearing for my life, I went as quickly as I could to my sister’s house nearby and luckily survived”.

The IOM and USAID partnership Enhancing Rapid Disaster Response for Flooding in Timor-Leste supports the Civil Protection Authority in the provision of cleaning and repair shelter kits, non-food items, and temporary shelter solutions. In addition, the partnership also supports the Secretariat for Civil Protection to strengthen /shelter interventions; and the rolling out of the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) to monitor the needs and returns trends. IOM is the lead UN agency for Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM).

For more information, please contact IOM Chief of Mission, Aishath Ihma Shareef, Tel +670 331 3038, Email: or Elisabeth Araújo, Communications Focal Point at IOM Timor-Leste Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, July 14, 2021 - 17:17Image: Region-Country: Timor-LesteDefault: Multimedia: 

Information: Senora Olinda (eldest member of Balibar village) recounts her story to IOM Chief of Mission Timor-Leste, Ihma Shareef about how she survived the storm and subsequent floods, landslides of April 4th. She the oldest community member in Balibar village. She is over 100 years and survived cyclone Seroja on 4th April

Beneficiaries of Balibar village received essential tools to rebuild their collapsed homes. Over 37 households in Balibar village were destroyed. More than 30,000 households in Timor-Leste will be supported by Government and IOM to rebuild their homes

IOM Timor-Leste Chief of Mission Ihma Shareef and USAID Timor-Leste Mission met with a family whose home was entirely destroyed by the landslides in Balibar village and have been living with neighbours since April. They will now utilize the tools provided in the shelter repair kits to rebuild their home again.

Handover ceremony of shelter repair kits at Balibar village community center.

Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: DTMInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

Deaths on Maritime Migration Routes to Europe Soar in First Half of 2021: IOM Brief

Tue, 07/13/2021 - 17:58

Berlin – At least 1,146 people died attempting to reach Europe by sea in the first six months of 2021 according to a new briefing released today by the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Deaths along these routes more than doubled so far this year compared to the same period in 2020, when 513 migrants are known to have drowned.

The brief sheds light on the ongoing situation along some of the most dangerous maritime migration routes worldwide. While the number of people attempting to cross to Europe via the Mediterranean increased by 58 per cent between January and June this year compared to the same period in 2020, more than twice as many people have lost their lives.

“IOM reiterates the call on States to take urgent and proactive steps to reduce loss of life on maritime migration routes to Europe and uphold their obligations under international law,” says IOM Director General António Vitorino. “Increasing search-and-rescue (SAR) efforts, establishing predictable disembarkation mechanisms and ensuring access to safe and legal migration pathways are key steps towards achieving this goal.”

The analysis, produced by the Missing Migrants Project at the IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC), shows an increase in deaths coupled with insufficient search and rescue operations in the Mediterranean and on the Atlantic Route to the Canary Islands, and at a time when interceptions off the North African coast are also on the rise.

So far in 2021, most of the men, women and children who died trying to reach Europe were attempting to cross the Mediterranean, where 896 deaths have been documented by IOM.

At least 741 people died on the Central Mediterranean route, while 149 people lost their lives crossing the Western Mediterranean and six died on the Eastern Mediterranean route from Turkey to Greece.

In the same period, some 250 people drowned attempting to reach Spain’s Canary Islands on the West Africa/Atlantic route. However, that count may well be low. Hundreds of cases of invisible shipwrecks have been reported by NGOs in direct contact with those on board or with their families. Such cases, which are extremely difficult to verify, indicate that deaths on maritime routes to Europe are far higher than available data show.

One example is from 24 March, when Sohail Al Sagheer, a 22-year-old Algerian rapper, went missing when he and nine friends left from Oran, Algeria to Spain. His family conducted a frantic search for information about what happened to him, torn with rumors that he was among the victims of a shipwreck off Almería, Spain. His remains were finally recovered on 5 April, off the coast of Aïn Témouchent, Algeria.

The brief also shows an increase for the second consecutive year in North African states' maritime operations along the Central Mediterranean route. More than 31,500 people were intercepted or rescued by North African authorities in the first half of 2021, compared to 23,117 in the first six months of 2020.

Such operations off the coast of Tunisia have increased by 90 per cent in the first six months of 2021 compared to 2020. In addition, over 15,300 people were returned to Libya in the first six months of 2021, almost three times higher than the same period in 2020 (5,476 people). This is concerning given that migrants who are returned to Libya are subjected to arbitrary detention, extortion, disappearances, and torture.

The briefing highlights the ongoing data gaps on irregular maritime migration to Europe.  Better data can help states urgently address their commitments under Objective 8 of the Global Compact for Migration to “save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants.”

The brief is available for download here.


For more information please contact:

Andrea Garcia Borja at IOM GMDAC, Email:

Merna Abdelazim at IOM RO Cairo, Email:

Safa Msehli at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 403 5526. Email: 

Jorge Galindo at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +491601791536, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - 23:54Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

At least 1,146 people died attempting to reach Europe by sea in the first six months of 2021. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Migration ManagementMissing Migrants
Categories: PBN

Dominican Republic and IOM Help Clear Hurdles for 100,000 Venezuelan Migrants

Tue, 07/13/2021 - 08:18

Santo Domingo – The first group of almost 100,000 Venezuelan migrants without legal status in the Dominican Republic have received visas allowing them to work, open bank accounts and join the social security system under the country’s Migration Normalization Plan. 

Created by the Dominican government and launched with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the plan aims to regularize the Venezuelan population in three stages: application for extension of stay, visa, and residency. Since April, when the first phase began, 43,000  Venezuelans have registered to extend their stay and, on 1 July, the first group of 21 Venezuelans received their work visa.   

"Now that I have my visa, I feel that for others like me a lot of opportunities are opening. We will be able to establish more safely and formally to offer a better future to our children," says Gabriela Rivero, who arrived in the country with her husband and daughter in 2018.  “Once we settled, we did not imagine how difficult it would be to get a job because the lack of documentation closed all doors.” 

Since 2019 Gabriela has led a support organization for Venezuelan migrants in Santiago de los Caballeros called FEV (Fundación Emigrantes de Venezuela), which offers free orientation and helps hundreds of migrants daily to complete their normalization plan applications. 

With IOM support, eight Venezuelan migrant organizations have created orientation hubs to assist the Venezuelan population who are applying to the plan. Of the 43,000  registered through the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) web page, around 9,000 have visited the hubs for help on the procedure. The promoters and coordinators of each hub – mostly Venezuelan migrants – have learned the process with the support and guidance of the DGM team and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX). Besides being trained for orientation, they became the pilot group of the plan to receive their extensions and visas. 

"The idea of this process is that we are the ones at the front of the hubs, a migrant helping a migrant, a Venezuelan helping a Venezuelan," says Iván Carrera, a lawyer from Caracas and legal adviser of FUNCOVERD (Fundación Colonia de Venezolanos en RD). Carrera works as a promoter at the orientation hub in El Sambil Santo Domingo, one of the locations with the most people requesting support for their application. 

The support IOM provides to the seven orientation hubs is funded by the R4V Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela. The R4V Platform seeks to integrate all relevant actors – governments, UN agencies, other international organizations, civil society, and the private sector – and to foster a comprehensive, foreseeable, and harmonized response to the situation of Venezuelan refugees and migrants at the regional level in Latin America and the Caribbean.         

For more information, please contact Zinnia Martinez at IOM Dominican Republic, Email:, Tel: +1809 688 81 74. 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 13, 2021 - 13:57Image: Region-Country: Dominican RepublicVenezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

Seven Venezuelan migrant organizations, with the support of IOM, created orientation spaces to assist the Venezuelan population who are applying to the Migratory Normalization Plan. Photo: Johanna Del Rosario

The Migration Normalization Plan will allow Venezuelans living irregularly in the Dominican Republic to work, move without risk of deportation, open bank accounts and join the country's social security system.  Photo: IOM / Francesco Spotorno 

The support IOM provides to the eight orientation hubs is funded by the R4V Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela. Photo: IOM / Francesco Spotorno 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Crisis ResponseInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants RightsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Open South America Portal

Fri, 07/09/2021 - 12:28

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers. 

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.  

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.  

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.  

Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.  

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina. 

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.  

The website was developed by the IOM Regional Office Buenos Aires as the Technical Secretariat of the South American Conference on Migration (SACM), in response to the request from the SACM and MERCOSUR Specialized Migration Forum’s Member States, currently under the Presidency Pro Tempore of the Government of Argentina.   

For more information please contact:    
In Buenos Aires, Juliana Quintero,  +54 9 1132488134    

Language English Posted: Friday, July 9, 2021 - 17:48Image: Region-Country: ArgentinaDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Crisis ResponseHealthInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

IOM Releases 2020 Return and Reintegration Key Highlights 

Fri, 07/09/2021 - 05:09

Geneva —The International Organization for Migration (IOM) today released key highlights from its Return and Reintegration programmes, including trends, figures and initiatives and efforts to assist and reintegrate migrants returning voluntarily to their countries of origin during the past year.  

The border closures and mobility restrictions imposed by governments worldwide in response to the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 posed unprecedented challenges to IOM’s return and reintegration activities. They resulted in a number of adaptations allowing the Organization to continue providing return and reintegration support to migrants. In 2020, IOM assisted 42,181 migrants to return home voluntarily, including migrants who were stranded or in vulnerable situations – a decrease of 35 per cent from 2019. Among them were 4,038 migrants assisted to return from the humanitarian contexts of Libya and Yemen under IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme, as well as 1,100 stranded migrants assisted under the COVID-19 Return Task Force.   

The European Economic Area remained the main host region in 2020 with 16,649 migrants assisted to return to their countries of origin. Niger was the main host country with a total number of 9,069 migrants assisted to return, reconfirming the trend of increasing numbers of returns taking place from transit countries. Of the roughly 42,000 migrants assisted, 40 per cent returned within the same region in 2020. Migrants assisted to return within West and Central Africa alone accounted for 65 per cent of such flows.  

Guided by IOM’s Integrated Approach to Reintegration, which is operationalized in the Reintegration Handbook, country offices worldwide promoted the sustainable reintegration of migrants through reintegration counselling (either pre-departure or upon arrival) as well as economic, social and psychosocial assistance at the individual, community and structural levels. Despite fewer migrants assisted to return in 2020, IOM maintained a high level of reintegration support, with 121 country offices in host or transit countries and in countries of origin providing 106,230 reintegration services.   

“This publication demonstrates that despite the challenging circumstances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, IOM continued to provide critical assistance to migrants returning to their countries of origin in a safe and dignified manner. IOM also devised innovative ways to assist them and their communities with their sustainable reintegration,” said Yitna Getachew, Head of IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance Division.   

“With its fresh layout and rich analysis of global trends in voluntary return and reintegration assistance provided by IOM, the report paints a clear picture of the organization’s positive contributions to improving return migration management in full respect for human rights.”  

The main host countries of migrants assisted by IOM to voluntarily return to their countries of origin are presented on the map below.  

Among those assisted to return voluntarily to their countries of origin, Malians comprised the largest population in 2020 with 3,249 returnees, followed by Guinea (3,145) and Tajikistan (3,106), where a large number of migrant workers returned from being stranded in Kazakhstan.  

The 2020 Return and Reintegration Key Highlights report is available in full here. The Executive Summary can be found here.  

For more information, please contact IOM HQ:  Noëlle Darbellay, Tel: +41 22 717 9562, Email:   

Language English Posted: Friday, July 9, 2021 - 10:47Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

Stranded Ethiopian migrants preparing to board an IOM-facilitated flight from Aden, Yemen, to fly home to Addis Ababa in April 2021. Photo: Majed Mohammed 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Crisis ResponseInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReturn and Reintegration
Categories: PBN

Pacific Civil Society Concludes Regional Consultations on Climate related Mobility

Tue, 07/06/2021 - 04:13

Suva – The Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security (PCCMHS) programme recently (22-23 June) hosted a virtual regional civil society consultation on climate related mobility. The online consultations that were organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) provided an opportunity for civil society representatives from around the Pacific to review the human security implications of climate change related migration, displacement and planned relocation, share experiences about how climate related mobility is impacting communities and talk towards the development of a regional based solution.

The consultations gathered over 40 virtual participants from 8 Pacific Countries across the region to continue discussions on a regional process in support of responses to climate related mobility. This included regional organizations, members of academia, faith-based organizations, youth climate champions and advocates for LGBTIQ groups from around the Pacific.

Through this, the PCCMHS programme aims to ensure that civil society perspectives inform the development of a regional state-led response, as the civil society consultations also aims to cultivate a shared understanding and common approach to climate related mobility in the Pacific.

In opening, Solomon Kantha, IOM Chief of Mission in Fiji, stated that this will be an “opportunity to examine climate related mobility trends in the Pacific, understand where the key legal and policy gaps exist, discuss what policy makers and Governments need to consider and search for suitable protection pathways going forward at a regional level to safeguard the rights of all Pacific Islanders who need to move because of the impacts of climate change”.

Day one of the consultations laid out experiences that were shared by communities who have been impacted by climate related mobility. In particular, under session one, presenters had highlighted the need to protect the social and cultural fabric of relocated communities along with the need to protect ancestorial land, language and rights for families who need to relocate in the future.

Pacific civil society leader, Pefi Kingi of PacificWin spoke of the need to develop “regional frameworks that create safe pathways, uphold human rights and focus on the preservation of cultural identity for future generations”.

Under sessions two participants were also able to get a comprehensive overview of where the key legal and policy gaps were in the climate related mobility landscape before exploring human rights-based solutions.

Day two of the consultations provided a space for civil society members to develop key advice and messages towards government officials and policymakers before discussing the role of CSO’s in raising the issue of climate related mobility and exploring the different pathways that could be used to amplify issues relating to climate mobility around the Pacific region. As Maina Talia of the Tuvalu Association of Non-Government Organisation (TANGO) stressed that regional advocacy is needed to ensure policy development supports the communities it intends to safeguard.

Discussions will only gain further momentum in July as the PCCMHS programme prepares to host national consultations on climate related mobility in Pacific Island Countries such as Fiji, Tuvalu, Papua New Guinea, Kiribati, Tonga, Samoa, FSM, Vanuatu.

The programme is led by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) alongside the International Labour Organization (ILO), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), Platform on Disaster Displacement (PDD) and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat (PIFS). The joint agency PCCMHS programme is funded by the United Nations Trust Fund for Human Security and the New Zealand Foreign Aid Programme.


For more information contact

Sabira Coelho, Programme Manager, PCCMHS  at IOM Fiji. Email:
Christopher Yee, Programme Specialist, PCCMHS at IOM Fiji. Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, July 6, 2021 - 10:04Image: Region-Country: FijiDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: Environment and Climate ChangeInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

IOM Releases Recommendations to the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the European Union

Thu, 07/01/2021 - 12:51

Brussels – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has shared its recommendations on migration and mobility with the Slovenian government, which yesterday (01/07) assumed the  Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) for the second half of 2021 as the world continues to adjust and recover from the COVID-19 pandemic.

In three key recommendations, IOM encourages the Slovenian Presidency to promote the safe resumption of human mobility for economic and social recovery, advance holistic and coordinated responses to return migration and reintegration, and to factor safe and orderly migration into the EU’s green transition to a climate-neutral economy.

“The Slovenian government takes up the Presidency at a time when recovery from the pandemic is progressing but remains uneven, particularly for some countries and with some populations at greater risk of being left behind,” said Ola Henrikson, IOM Regional Director for the EEA, EU and NATO.

“At the same time, the EU is moving ahead with the European Green Deal while discussions on the new Pact on Migration and Asylum continue,” he said. “This is an opportune moment to factor migration into planning as a vital contributor to resilient economies, environment and public health in the EU, countries of origin and transit.”

IOM therefore encourages the Slovenian Presidency to promote the facilitated resumption of safe human mobility as we emerge from the pandemic to contribute to economic and social recovery in the EU and beyond. As part of this, the Presidency should prioritize digitalization in migration management to resume travel amid COVID-19 while promoting mutually beneficial labour mobility channels that protect migrant workers.

It will be equally important for the EU to ensure adequate and equitable access to health services and vaccination against COVID-19 for all migrants as well as migrant-inclusive policies that help to maximize their prospects for integration into communities and society. Measures to combat xenophobia and discrimination will be crucial to these efforts.

To ensure that intra-regional migration is safe, orderly and regular, IOM believes that the fight against human trafficking and migrants smuggling should integrate migrant protection and capacity building of border and law enforcement authorities in partner countries.

Return, readmission and reintegration are indispensable parts of a comprehensive approach to migration management for many governments worldwide. To be effective, IOM recommends the Slovenian Presidency to promote efforts to encourage balanced, comprehensive route-based responses which secure solid engagement and partnerships among all countries and actors involved. Coupling return with reintegration measures that respond to the needs of migrants and communities where they return can enhance the opportunities for sustainable development in countries of origin.

Under the Slovenian Presidency, the European Green Deal will continue to top the agenda. IOM is convinced that well-managed migration can support the transition to a climate-neutral economy. In line with the Paris Agreement on climate change, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, and the Sendai Framework of Disaster Risk Reduction 2015-2030, and in view of the COP26, IOM encourages the Slovenian Presidency to promote the mainstreaming of migration – in all its forms – into the key policy areas and anticipated measures of the European Green Deal.

IOM stands ready to continue its support to the Presidency, the EU and its Member States to implement balanced, comprehensive policies and programmes across the entire migration spectrum and along entire migration routes.

IOM's full recommendations can be downloaded here.


For more information, please contact Ryan Schroeder at IOM Regional Office Brussels, Tel: +32 495 25 02 34, Email:

Language English Posted: Thursday, July 1, 2021 - 18:41Image: Region-Country: BelgiumGlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

Slovenia assumed the six-month rotating Presidency of the Council of the European Union (EU) on 1 July 2021. Photo: European Union

Migrant-inclusive policies promote public health and maximize prospects for integration into communities and society. Photo: IOM

IOM encourages the Slovenian EU Presidency to promote the safe resumption of human mobility for economic and social recovery. Photo: Muse Mohammed/IOM

Well-managed migration can support the transition to a climate-neutral economy. Photo: Giacomo Dei Rossi/IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Environment and Climate ChangeMigration ManagementMigration and the 2030 Agenda
Categories: PBN

IOM’s Emergency Director Urges Swift, Durable Solutions to Protracted Rohingya Crisis

Tue, 06/29/2021 - 10:17

Cox’s Bazar – Almost 900,000 Rohingya refugees in congested camps in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District desperately need urgent action to secure their future, nearly four years after they were forced to flee Myanmar, a senior International Organization for Migration (IOM) official said. 

“The Rohingya are still waiting for durable solutions,’’ said Jeff Labovitz, IOM’s Director for the Department of Operations and Emergencies (DOE) during his official visit to Bangladesh last week.  

“Refugees need to have livelihoods, they need to look to the future. Ultimately, all the stakeholders need to come together in the best interest of the individuals who continue to suffer without feasible solutions and come up with a plan.”  

During his week in Cox’s Bazar, the DOE director checked on the progress of rebuilding the camps destroyed by a fire in March which left thousands without shelter. 

“I saw workers putting up bamboo structures, reinstating services and working with the community and refugees to ensure people are getting their lives back as soon as possible,” he said. 

Labovitz also visited IOM’s key health-care facilities, which he said had been vital in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“The pandemic has meant that local economies have equally suffered,” the DOE Director continued. “We have host communities also in need of developmental programmes, so we need to come up with an equilibrium where we are assisting both the host community and the refugees with dignity.” 

Labovitz witnessed IOM’s livelihoods support for host communities at a new training centre in Hnila, which engages host community members in training modules on business development and craft making. IOM’s partner Prottyashi is further supporting participants with national and international market connectivity for the products created. 

Labovitz was impressed with the Digital Island Project on the island of Moheshkhali, implemented since 2016 by IOM and the Government of Bangladesh. The project has transformed the island into an IT hub by improving the remote population’s access to high-speed internet and social services. 

The DOE director also had strategic meetings with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Disaster Management and Relief, and the Office of the Refugee Relief and Repatriation Commissioner, as well as key humanitarian partners, donors and other UN agencies. 

As additional challenges continue to emerge, funding needs are also increasing, Labovitz stressed. IOM launched an appeal in May for USD 140 million to support over 1.3 million host community members and Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar.  

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 2021 and beyond. 


For more information, please contact: 

In Cox’s Bazar: Monica Chiriac, Tel: +880 18 8009 4048, Email: 

In Bangkok:  Itayi Viriri, Tel: +66 65 939 0934, Email: 

In Geneva: Paul Dillon, Tel: +41 79 636 9874, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 29, 2021 - 16:08Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

The DOE Director visited IOM’s training centre for host communities in Hnila. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al

During his visit to Cox’s Bazar, DOE’s Jeff Labovitz visited IOM’s bamboo treatment facility in Hnila. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al

Labovitz stopped by IOM’s plastic recycling plant in Camp 24. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Crisis ResponseDTMInternational Cooperation and Partnerships
Categories: PBN

UNAIDS, IOM: People on the Move Living with HIV Must Have Access to COVID-19 Vaccines

Thu, 06/24/2021 - 17:54

Geneva – Migrants, refugees, internally displaced as well as crisis-affected and mobile populations who are living with HIV must have equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines, said the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today.

People on the move are often more vulnerable to diseases, including COVID-19 and HIV. In addition, people living with and/or affected by HIV and migrants often experience significant inequalities. They frequently face health hazards due to sometimes perilous migration processes, substandard living situations, dangerous working conditions, as well as general lack of information, stigma, discrimination and isolation.  Migrants and displaced people also face a great number of administrative, financial, geographic, social and cultural obstacles in accessing health care with regularity or continuity of care across borders – including access to HIV treatment.

During the pandemic, against a backdrop of rising xenophobia and discrimination, some migrants living with HIV found themselves facing a triple stigma related to (1) testing positive for COVID-19, (2) having a positive HIV status, and (3) being a migrant, all of which also often had serious negative consequences on their mental health. For many migrants and displaced persons living with HIV and other autoimmune diseases, or at risk of contracting HIV, risk exposure went up while availability of HIV services went down.

“To end inequalities and get the global response to HIV on-track to reach the 2030 target of ending AIDS as a public health threat, we must act immediately to reduce the inequalities experienced by migrants and mobile populations. This includes full access to HIV prevention and treatment services and to COVID-19 vaccines,” said Winnie Byanyima, Executive Director of UNAIDS ahead of the 48th UNAIDS Programme Coordinating Board Meeting taking place next week in Geneva, Switzerland. A progress report on HIV services for migrant and mobile populations as well as refugees and crisis-affected populations will be presented at the meeting.  

“Both the global AIDS response and the COVID-19 response are leaving millions of people behind, including many migrants and forcibly displaced persons,” stated IOM Director General António Vitorino. “We’ve seen that neglecting the health needs of marginalized groups can be devastating for communities. Together, all countries should pledge not to let it happen again.”

On 8 June, the United Nations General Assembly adopted the 2021 Political Declaration on HIV and AIDS, which specifically mentions migrants, refugees and internally displaced persons, and commits governments to ensuring that “95 per cent of people living with, at risk of and affected by HIV are protected against pandemics, including COVID-19.” To mitigate and treat COVID-19 and HIV, maintaining high standards of health care and protection, along with sharing disseminated and accessible information are crucial.

IOM and UNAIDS urgently call on governments to take concrete action to ensure that national COVID-19 vaccination campaigns include all migrants with co-morbidities such as HIV, in line with WHO’s prioritization recommendations, and that every effort is made to remove the barriers many of them still face in accessing health services, including stigma and discrimination. 

The two organizations, who have been formal partners since 2011, are expanding their longstanding partnership to address multiple forms of exclusion faced by migrants, refugees, crisis-affected and other mobile populations living with HIV, and stand ready to support countries in their efforts to recover from COVID-19 and the global commitment to end AIDS by 2030, through equitable and inclusive health programmes in line with principles of universal health coverage.

For more information please contact:

Yasmina Guerda, Public Health Communications Officer at IOM HQ in Geneva, Tel: +41 79 363 17 99, Email:

Sophie Barton-Knott, UNAIDS Geneva, Tel: +41 79 514 6896, Email:


Language English Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2021 - 23:51Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

A doctor carries out a consultation for an HIV patient in an IOM-rehabilitated clinic in Aden, Yemen. Photo: IOM 2020/Majed Mohammed.

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: HealthReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

UN Agencies Welcome Relocation of 4,000 Vulnerable Asylum Seekers and Refugees from Greece, Encourage Further Steps Towards Predictable, Systematic European Mechanism

Thu, 06/24/2021 - 16:44

Athens –  IOM, the International Organization for Migration, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and UNICEF the UN Children’s Fund welcomed today (24-06) the relocation of 43 asylum seekers on two flights to France. Their arrival under the Greek government-managed European Union (EU) relocation scheme has brought the total number of people relocated from Greece to other European countries to over 4,000.

To date, collective action between Greece, European governments, UN, EU agencies and non-governmental partners has resulted in the relocation of 4,008 individuals – including vulnerable children and adults – from Greece since the start of the EU funded initiative in April 2020. Among them were 1,628 recognized refugees, 1,531 asylum seekers and 849 unaccompanied children.

Abdul-Ahad,* an unaccompanied boy, told IOM that he had been anxiously counting the hours until his relocation from Greece. “I’m so excited that I can’t sleep,” he said prior to his departure. “I’ve already deleted all the game applications from my mobile and I am so impatient to go to school and exercise. I want to live to the best of my abilities.”

The relocation scheme has resulted in high-level and ground-level cooperation despite the challenges presented by COVID-19 and has contributed to strengthening the child protection system in Greece, particularly for unaccompanied children. The UN stands ready to further support more relocations through a systematic, standardized process for those in need, including unaccompanied children.

Under the leadership of the Greek Ministry of Migration and Asylum and through the Special Secretary for the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors, the UN agencies, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO) and the Greek Asylum Service, coordinated a process for the identification and processing of children to ensure relocations are in the best interests of every child.

Specialized teams of doctors, nurses, social workers, legal assistants, psychologists, chaperones, interpreters, and authorized representatives for children have worked tirelessly to provide comprehensive care and preparation for the most vulnerable individuals being relocated. Following the September 2020 fire in Moria, these teams extended management of the process to the island of Lesvos where recognized refugees were relocated directly from the island in coordination with Greece's General Secretary of Migration Policy.

"We are proud to mark the relocation of 4,000 people from Greece during trying times and are confident that we can do more together with Greece, our partners and Governments across Europe,” said Gianluca Rocco, Chief of IOM's mission in Greece. "The relocation initiative has proven transformative not only as a workable mechanism of solidarity, but more importantly, for the lives of the vulnerable people being relocated."

“European states demonstrate vital solidarity with Greece’s communities through the relocation of refugees and vulnerable asylum seekers, and such efforts should become the norm and be expanded,” said Mireille Girard, UNHCR Representative in Greece. “Relocation shows that to help coastal countries manage arrivals a multilateral approach is needed – only by working together and sharing the responsibility can we meet common challenges and secure solutions for the most vulnerable refugees and asylum-seekers”.

“We are encouraged by the progress that has been made to relocate vulnerable children, particularly during a global pandemic. This effort showcases how transformative European solidarity can be for the realization of children’s rights,” said Luciano Calestini, Representative, UNICEF Greece Country Office. “By working together, these children will have a fair chance to grow up in a safe and healthy environment and reach their full potential.”

To date, 13 countries – Germany, France, Portugal, Finland, Belgium, Ireland, Norway, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Italy, the Netherlands, Switzerland, and Luxembourg – have received the relocated individuals, children and families.

The Relocation initiative is being led by the Government of Greece through the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, with participating European states and is coordinated and funded by the European Union. IOM, UNHCR, UNICEF and EASO fully support all aspects of the relocation process.  


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


*Full name and destination not disclosed to respect privacy.


For additional information, please contact: 


Ryan Schroeder at IOM Brussels Tel: + 32 492 25 02 34. Email:     
Christine Nikolaidou at IOM Greece, Tel: + 30 6947 833 412, Email:  



Maeve Patterson, UNHCR Brussels Tel: +32 470 995 435, Email:

Stella Nanou, UNHCR Greece, Tel; +30 694 458 6037, Email:



Shima Islam, Regional Chief of Communication a.i., Tel: +66 (0)62 602 8540, Email:

Filippo Oggioni, Regional Communication Specialist, Email:


Language English Posted: Thursday, June 24, 2021 - 22:36Image: Region-Country: GreeceGlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM, UNHCR and UNICEF welcome over 4,000 vulnerable people relocated from Greece since April 2020. Photo: IOM Greece

IOM, UNHCR and UNICEF welcome over 4,000 vulnerable people relocated from Greece since April 2020. Photo: IOM Greece

IOM, UNHCR and UNICEF welcome over 4,000 vulnerable people relocated from Greece since April 2020. Photo: IOM Greece

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Migration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

People Forced to Flee Conflict in Tigray Urgently Require Greater Assistance, International Solidarity

Tue, 06/22/2021 - 12:05

Addis Ababa – Communities affected and uprooted by the ongoing conflict in Tigray continue to experience devastating levels of suffering. Humanitarian agencies urgently require increased resources in order to reach those desperate for relief.

According to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), over 1.7 million people have been displaced and hundreds of thousands are in dire need of assistance.

“We echo the Secretary General’s call to the international community: we must act now to save lives and avoid catastrophe,” said IOM’s Director General António Vitorino.

“IOM is committed to finding solutions to reach the most vulnerable first, but we require greater funding commitments from donors to prevent largescale suffering,” added Vitorino.

Increased access to affected areas has allowed humanitarians to reach some of those most in need, but hundreds of thousands are still in need of assistance.

Since the conflict broke out in November 2020, IOM has reached close to 500,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Tigray and neighbouring regions with water, basic hygiene supplies, shelter, mental health and psycho-social support, among other services.

IOM has deployed 78 staff members – the majority of whom are working in Tigray.

The Organization plays leadership roles in key humanitarian sectors in Tigray – shelter/non-food items (NFI) and camp coordination and camp management (CCCM) – and is working closely with humanitarian and government partners to coordinate services. IOM’s DTM also informs the overall response by tracking the rates of displacement and reporting on humanitarian needs.

“Hundreds of thousands of people are living in dire conditions,” said IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission, Maureen Achieng, while visiting a primary school in Mekele which is currently hosting 2,000 displaced people.

Many of these people – among them children and the elderly – are sleeping out in the open, in overcrowded schools like this one, makeshift sites or the homes of local host community members. Nobody should have to live like this. We can and must do better.”

IOM has appealed for USD 111 million for its response but so far has only received USD 30 million.  If the total appeal funds are received, IOM will be able to provide aid to at least 1 million people in immense need.

Read the full IOM Ethiopia Crisis Response Plan here. 


For more information, please contact:


Kaye Viray at IOM Ethiopia: Email:

Yvonne Ndege at IOM East and Horn of Africa Regional Office, Kenya, Email:

Angela Wells at IOM Geneva, Switzerland, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - 17:56Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM has reached close to 500,000 internally displaced people in Tigray and neighbouring regions with water, basic hygiene supplies, shelter, mental health and psycho-social support, among other services. Photo: IOM Ethiopia

IOM has reached close to 500,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Tigray and neighbouring regions with water, basic hygiene supplies, shelter, mental health and psycho-social support, among other services. Photo: IOM Ethiopia

IOM has reached close to 500,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Tigray and neighbouring regions with water, basic hygiene supplies, shelter, mental health and psycho-social support, among other services. Photo: IOM Ethiopia

IOM has reached close to 500,000 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Tigray and neighbouring regions with water, basic hygiene supplies, shelter, mental health and psycho-social support, among other services. Photo: IOM Ethiopia

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Crisis ResponseDTMInternal DisplacementInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

Nearly 14 Million Internally Displaced Persons, Refugees and Migrants Hit Hard by COVID-19 in East and Horn of Africa, New IOM-WFP Study Finds

Tue, 06/22/2021 - 07:55

Joint Press Release IOM-WFP

Nairobi – Nearly 9 million Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), 4.7 million refugees and asylum-seekers, and hundreds of thousands of migrants in East and Horn of Africa are suffering some of the worst impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a report from IOM, the International Organization for Migration, and the World Food Programme (WFP).  

The study, “Life amidst a pandemic: Hunger, migration and displacement in the East and Horn of Africa,” focuses on the pandemic’s impacts on mobility, livelihoods and food security in regional migration and hunger hotspots. 

“Migrants, refugees and other forcibly displaced persons are among the most disadvantaged and disenfranchised groups globally and understanding their needs, and our progress towards meeting them, is essential to understanding where we stand on the SDG (Sustainable Development Goal) commitments,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director, East and Horn of Africa. 

COVID-19 increased the vulnerability of displaced people and migrants in 2020 and their challenges were exacerbated by reduced funding for humanitarian operations, a drop in crucial remittance flows caused by travel freezes and job losses for hundreds of thousands of migrants. These groups depend heavily on remittances, which are the most significant source of external financial inflows to Africa and are essential for low-income communities and households. 

As job and income opportunities shrank abroad, increased numbers of returning migrant workers headed home empty-handed and required extensive support to reintegrate, placing considerable strain on their home communities. 

The study also found that 54 million people were acutely food insecure in the East and Horn of Africa in 2020, including households in rural food insecure areas, as well as food insecure urban poor populations hit particularly hard by the pandemic.  

Sudan, Ethiopia and South Sudan were among the 10 countries with the worst food crises globally in 2020 – with 9.6 million, 8.6 million and 6.5 million people respectively acutely food insecure – while Burundi has one of the highest levels of chronic malnutrition or stunting of children globally. According to the study, the Tigray region in Ethiopia has become a new hunger hotspot since late 2020 with more than 4 million people facing severe food insecurity due to conflict.  

As the impact of COVID-19 lingers on the economy and livelihoods, the number of food insecure people is projected to remain high throughout 2021. 

The IOM-WFP report found the COVID-19 pandemic has also disrupted the mobility, public health and socio-economic opportunities of most people in the region. Other pre-existing, new and recurring challenges will continue to destabilize the region and strain the capacity of affected populations to cope with shocks, including conflict, insecurity, drought, floods and desert locusts. This will have implications for migration and hunger, with broader consequences for the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. 

“COVID-19 has only added to the challenges faced by these already vulnerable populations. We must come together so those in need are not forgotten and receive lifesaving humanitarian assistance to meet their food, nutrition and other vital needs,” said Michael Dunford, WFP Regional Director for Eastern Africa. 

IOM and WFP are joining forces through this study to advocate for priority actions on humanitarian assistance, inclusivity and access to critical services, labour mobility, immigration, data and evidence-building and gender-sensitive responses.  

The organizations are urging UN Member States to step up action on realizing their commitments to the Sustainable Development Goals on poverty, hunger and partnership for the goals. 

For more information, please contact the IOM Regional Office in Nairobi: Chiara Lucchini Gilera, Tel: +254 715903354, Email: or the WFP Regional Office in Nairobi: Peter Smerdon, Tel: +254 707722104, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 22, 2021 - 11:59Image: Region-Country: KenyaGlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

Two migrants walking in the desert on the way to Obock, north of Djibouti. Photo: IOM 2020/Alexander Bee

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Crisis ResponseInternal DisplacementInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

Statement on the Renewal of Humanitarian Lifeline to Millions of People in North-West Syria

Mon, 06/21/2021 - 11:52

Joint UN statement

Rome/Geneva/New York – Millions of people are pressed up against the border in an active war zone in north-west Syria and remain in need of humanitarian aid to survive. The UN needs cross-border and cross-line access to reach those most in need.

We call for the renewal of Security Council authorization for cross-border operations from Turkey to north-west Syria. A failure to do so would immediately stop UN delivery of food, COVID-19 vaccines, critical medical supplies, shelter, protection, clean water and sanitation, and other life-saving assistance to 3.4 million people, including 1 million children.

The UN continues its engagement with all concerned parties to also allow cross-line convoys into the north-west. They are critical for the expansion of the overall response, but even if deployed regularly they could not replicate the size and scope of the cross-border operation. There is simply no alternative.

A large-scale UN cross-border response for an additional 12 months remains essential to avert a humanitarian catastrophe in north-west Syria.



Mr. Mark Lowcock, Emergency Relief Coordinator and Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)

Mr. António Vitorino, Director General, International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Dr. Natalia Kanem, Executive Director, United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA)

Mr. David Beasley, Executive Director, World Food Programme (WFP)

Mr. Filippo Grandi, High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)

Ms. Henrietta H. Fore, Executive Director, United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)

Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization (WHO)


For further information, please contact:

In New York, Zoe Paxton, , + 1 917 297 1542

In Geneva, Vanessa Huguenin,, +41 79 202 68 44

Language English Posted: Monday, June 21, 2021 - 17:42Image: Region-Country: Syrian Arab RepublicDefault: Multimedia: 

UN agencies provide food, COVID-19 vaccines, critical medical supplies, shelter, protection, clean water and sanitation, and other life-saving assistance to 3.4 million people in North-West Syria, including 1 million children, through its cross-border operations. 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Crisis ResponseReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

IOM and UNHCR Celebrate Commitment of the International Community to Mobilize Funds for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela

Thu, 06/17/2021 - 13:03

Ottawa – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcome the pledges made today, amounting to USD 1.5 billion, including USD 954 million in grants, during the International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants. 

The virtual conference, convened by the Government of Canada, in collaboration with IOM and UNHCR as co-leaders of the Inter-agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V), raised awareness and funds for the 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean that are home to 4.6 million Venezuelans who have left their country.  

“We are at a critical juncture,” said UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, addressing the conference attendees.  

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Latin America and the Caribbean with particular ferocity, at a time when they struggle to respond to the world’s second largest displacement of people outside their country. Of the 5.6 million Venezuelan refugees and migrants worldwide, 4.6 million remain in the region. 

“The responsibility of protecting and assisting the Venezuelan refugees and migrants, and the communities that host them, cannot lie only with the countries of the region. It must be shared by the wider international community,” Grandi said.  

The additional financial support pledged today will allow States and humanitarian organizations to continue providing emergency assistance and lifesaving aid to Venezuelans most in need and their host communities, while also finding long-term solutions.  

“Funding both the humanitarian response to people in need as well as increasing support for socio-economic integration must remain a priority,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino. 

“Refugees and migrants contribute greatly to the economic, social, and cultural life of host societies. We encourage any effort that allows them opportunities to thrive," Vitorino said.  

Faced with the largest population outflow in Latin America’s recent history and the adverse socio-economic effects of COVID-19, countries in the region have demonstrated ongoing willingness to respond to this crisis, including through regularization and facilitating access to health and social services.  

In such a context, the active participation and strong support of development banks in the Conference is particularly welcome.  

Today’s pledging conference follows the commitment made during last year’s Donors’ Conference convened by the European Union and Spain to mobilize additional funding for refugees and migrants from Venezuela, as well as for host communities and countries.  

The Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) funding requirements in 2021 amount to USD 1.44 billion to provide humanitarian assistance, protection and solutions through 159 partners to Venezuelan refugees and migrants and host communities facing the greatest needs.  

More information on the International Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean can be found here

For more information, please contact: 


In Panama: 

Daniela Rovina, IOM ( +507 6312-8294 

Bryan Brennan, IOM, (, +507 6379-9450 

William Spindler, UNHCR ( +507 6382 7815 

Olga Sarrado, UNHCR ( +507 6640 0185 


In Canada: 

Melanie Gallant, UNHCR ( +1 613 850 1268 


In Geneva: 

Angela Wells, IOM ( +41 79 403 5365 

Aikaterini Kitidi, UNHCR ( +41 79 580 8334 


Language English Posted: Thursday, June 17, 2021 - 18:56Image: Region-Country: CanadaVenezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

The pandemic has exposed refugees and migrants from Venezuela to even greater hardship, and timely and flexible funding is needed to help address the most acute and pressing needs and to invest in long term solutions. Photo: Ferley Ospina / IOM Colombia

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN