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Updated: 2 hours 49 min ago

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

IOM and UNHCR Condemn the Return of Migrants and Refugees to Libya

Wed, 06/16/2021 - 16:11

Joint Statement IOM-UNHCR

Geneva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, can confirm that over 270 migrants and refugees were handed over to the Libyan Coast Guard by the ship “Vos Triton”, sailing under the flag of Gibraltar.

“Vos Triton” had rescued the group in international waters during their attempt to reach Europe on 14 June. On 15 June, the Libyan Coast Guard returned them to the main port of Tripoli, from where they were taken into detention by the Libyan authorities.

The two organizations reiterate that no one should be returned to Libya after being rescued at sea. Under international maritime law, rescued individuals should be disembarked at a place of safety.

IOM and UNHCR staff are in Libya, providing life-saving humanitarian assistance. However, the agencies reiterate that the basic preconditions to ensure the safety and protection of rescued migrants and refugees post disembarkation are lacking; therefore, Libya cannot be considered a safe place.

In the absence of predictable disembarkation mechanisms, maritime actors should not be obliged to return refugees and migrants to unsafe places. IOM and UNHCR call on States to coordinate so that merchant vessels rescuing people in distress are granted swift permission for disembarkation in a place of safety, to avoid lives being placed at risk.

The Libyan Coast Guard has returned more than 13,000 people to Libya this year, already surpassing the number of people intercepted or rescued and disembarked in all of 2020. Hundreds of others have perished at sea.

The continuing departures from Libya highlight the need for a predictable rescue and disembarkation mechanism along the Central Mediterranean route, with immediate effect and in full compliance with international human rights principles and standards.

Migrants and refugees disembarked in Libya often end up in appalling conditions where they may be exposed to abuse and extortion. Others go missing and are unaccounted for, raising fears that some may have been channeled into human trafficking networks.

IOM and UNHCR call for an end to arbitrary detention in Libya, through the establishment of a judicial review process, and advocate for alternatives to detention starting with the immediate release of the most vulnerable.


For more information please contact: 


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

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

Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Rome, Tel: +39.347.089.89.96 E-mail: 



Aikaterini Kitidi at UNHCR Geneva, Tel: +41 79 580 8334. Email:


Tarik Argaz at UNHCR Libya, Tel: +216 29 961295. Email:

Language English Posted: Wednesday, June 16, 2021 - 22:05Image: Region-Country: LibyaDefault: Multimedia: 

Over 270 migrants and refugees handed over to the Libyan Coast Guard by the ship “Vos Triton” disembark in Tripoli. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants RightsMissing Migrants
Categories: PBN

IOM, UNHCR, Aid Partners Call for Urgent Support to Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela and Their Hosts

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 14:41

Joint press release IOM–UNHCR

Geneva – Ahead of the International Donors’ Conference on 17 June, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, call for renewed international support to address the urgent needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela and to assist their host countries.

“As the exodus of Venezuelans is prolonged over time, it risks becoming a forgotten crisis,” said the Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants, Eduardo Stein.

“The COVID-19 pandemic continues to devastate the region, and the future of millions of refugees and migrants and their hosts is at stake. Solidarity and commitment are needed more than ever to ensure the continued delivery of assistance.”

Prolonged lockdowns, loss of livelihoods and increased poverty are forcing many Venezuelan refugees and migrants to depend on emergency humanitarian assistance to survive. The needs are dire in the areas of health, food security, water and basic sanitation, as well as access to education and opportunities to earn an income. The pandemic has also resulted in rising rates of evictions and homelessness, as well as a dramatic increase in reported cases of gender-based violence and mental health needs.

The continued departure of refugees and migrants from Venezuela is one of the largest external displacement crises in the world. To date, over 5.6 million people have left their country. In this context, the 2021 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) brings together 159 organizations to respond to their urgent needs and to establish longer-term resilience and integration solutions targeting close to 3.3 million Venezuelans and host community members. Yet, the USD 1.44 billion plan remains critically underfunded.

Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean host 80 per cent of refugees and migrants from Venezuela. They have continued to show their solidarity during the global health emergency, notably through the establishment of large-scale regularization programmes. However, national capacities have been dangerously strained by the pandemic.

“The burden should not fall on countries in the region alone. The international community has the responsibility to support these efforts favouring regional stability,” said Stein. “A shortfall in funding would leave hundreds of thousands unprotected, with few options to rebuild a life in dignity.”

Canada will host the next International Donors’ Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants on 17 June 2021, in collaboration with IOM and UNHCR, who are co-leading the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Refugees and Migrants from Venezuela (R4V). The event will bring together host and donor governments and key actors involved in the response, including the private sector, development banks and civil society.

The International Donors’ Conference is scheduled to run from 3:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. CEST Geneva (9:00 a.m to 12:30 p.m. in Canada; 8:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. GMT+5 in Panama) on 17 June. The event will be live streamed here.


Note to editors:

Media representatives who wish to participate in the closing press conference must register in advance here.
More information on the R4V Platform the 2021 response plan is available on:
Last year, the RMRP appealed for USD 1.41 billion to meet the needs of the Venezuelan refugees and migrants and their host communities in 17 countries across Latin America and the Caribbean. At the end of 2020, this appeal was just 47.1 per cent funded.
The commitments made by donors during the 2020 International Donors Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean, convened by the European Union (EU) and Spain, amounted to USD 2.79 billion, including USD 653 million in grants.

For more information, please contact:

In Panama

Daniela Rovina, IOM,

Bryan Brennan, IOM,

William Spindler, UNHCR,

Olga Sarrado, UNHCR,


In Canada

Melanie Gallant, UNHCR,


In Geneva

Angela Wells, IOM,

Aikaterini Kitidi, UNHCR,

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 20:28Image: Region-Country: Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of)GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

Prolonged lockdowns, loss of livelihoods and increased poverty are forcing many Venezuelan refugees and migrants to depend on emergency humanitarian assistance to survive. Photo: IOM 

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

Making Migration Data Accessible for All

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 11:09

Berlin – Timely and comprehensive migration statistics are essential for developing policies that benefit migrants, as well as their communities of origin and destination. The Global Migration Data Portal is unveiling today (15/06) its new dashboard featuring a series of tools to help policy makers, national statistics officers, journalists and the general public gain access to the latest data on migration. 

Launched in December 2017, the Portal promotes collaboration between the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and other agencies to provide reliable and accessible data, as well as analysis on migrant statistics. The Portal is managed by IOM´s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in Berlin. 

“We’re excited to launch these new features, which were developed based on the feedback received by its users, people from around the world looking for reliable and timely migration data,” said Frank Laczko, IOM GMDAC Director.  

“For over three years, the Portal has gathered relevant data on migration in one place and now it will be easier for its users to access it.” 

Since its inception, the Portal has collected feedback from users to optimize its features. As part of the upgrades, the Portal’s iconic world map is being expanded with a new dashboard with three interactive sections that will help users analyze and visualize data more easily.    

One of the new sections allows users to visualize and compare international migration data from different countries, regions and sub-regions. Another section enables users to compare different indicators ranging from migration stocks to remittances, and from children on the move to victims of trafficking. For example, users can quickly see that, according to UN DESA, an estimated 2.5 million and 15.8 million migrants were resident in Switzerland and Germany respectively as of mid-year 2020, but the share of migrants in the total population was higher in Switzerland than in Germany. 

In addition, the new national data pilot section aims to bring together national data from different sources visualized in one place. This pilot features national migration data from government sources in Switzerland, South Africa, New Zealand and Germany as well as WorldPop estimates on subnational migration between countries, a pilot project funded by Switzerland. The Portal team aims to expand the pilot national data section to include other countries from different regions over the coming years. 

“We are proud to have contributed to an innovative piece of work that combines traditional with new data sources to arrive at a better understanding of migration patterns between countries of the global south,” said Nina Hälg from the Peace and Human Rights Division at the Government of Switzerland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs.  

“We therefore support IOM in its efforts to provide a one-stop access to reliable data on migration,” she added.   

With an average of more than 175,000 page views per month in the past year and more than 2.3 million page views since May 2020, the Portal aims to facilitate unhindered access to authoritative, up-to-date migration data and analysis to increase evidence-based migration governance and public debate. 

To explore the new dashboard, visit 

The Portal is supported financially by IOM Member States, including the Government of Germany represented by the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees (BAMF), the Government of Switzerland, as well as unearmarked funding granted to IOM and internally allocated through the Migration Allocation Resource Committee (MIRAC). 

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +491601791536, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 17:06Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

The Portal’s new dashboard allows users to visualize and compare international migration data from different countries, regions and sub-regions.

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: GMDACInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN

IOM Ramps Up Health Response as Second Wave of COVID-19 Strikes Cox’s Bazar

Tue, 06/15/2021 - 04:36

Cox’s Bazar – As a second wave of COVID-19 is ravaging South Asia, including Bangladesh, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is working closely with the Government and the humanitarian community to ramp up the delivery of a wide range of support services for Rohingya refugees and host communities.

“It is imperative to strengthen our assistance and not let the situation deteriorate any further before it becomes impossible for the existing healthcare services to cope,” said Manuel Marques Pereira, IOM Deputy Chief of Mission in Bangladesh.

Following an upsurge in COVID-19 cases in May, local authorities imposed a strict lockdown in five Rohingya refugee camps in the Teknaf and Ukhiya sub-districts in Cox’s Bazar. Preparations for the vaccination campaign for the over 900,000 Rohingya refugees living in the camps are ongoing, but a launch date has yet to be confirmed. 

To enhance surveillance and early detection, since early 2020, IOM has been running two severe acute respiratory infections treatment centres inside the refugee camps. Following the Government and Health Sector’s recommendations this May, IOM quickly scaled up their capacity from 120 beds to 173.

The two health centres, along with 10 other health facilities, collect samples from suspected COVID-19 patients and provide counselling on prevention and treatment. Samples are transported for testing to Cox’s Bazar’s official laboratory within the Institute of Epidemiology Disease Control and Research(IEDCR),with the results expected within 48 hours.

In May alone, 2,293 samples were collected from these facilities and transported for analysis, 133 patients whose tests were positive were subsequently admitted and 73 contacts were quarantined. Since the beginning of the response, these facilities have admitted close to 900 patients.

To improve early diagnosis and surveillance, IOM has recently opened six additional COVID-19 sentinel sample collection sites, in collaboration with the World Health Organization. To this end, 15 health care workers, including six medical officers, seven medical assistants, one midwife and one nurse were extensively trained on COVID-19 sample collection, transportation and biosafety.

IOM is part of the Rapid Investigation and Response Team set up by the Health Sector to follow up on the identification of COVID-19 cases and contact tracing in the camps. Since the beginning of the pandemic, these teams have been implementing the awareness campaign “No Mask, No Entry” mobilizing all service providers to ensure COVID-19 prevention measures are respected at humanitarian service points.

As part of its infection prevention and control measures, IOM also operates three ambulance decontamination facilities to minimize the risk of transmission among staff and beneficiaries. Additionally, teams regularly distribute personal protection equipment to IOM-supported health facilities.

A quarantine facility with 93 shelters for contacts of COVID-19 cases has also recently been established within the camps. This facility, which offers food, health check-ups, and referrals to other support services, has so far quarantined 114 contacts.

As part of IOM’s risk communication and community engagement activities, 350 community health workers regularly conduct health promotion sessions through household visits and courtyard sessions. Additionally, a dedicated dispatch and referral unit is responsible for transporting COVID-19 suspected and confirmed cases, the deceased and discharged individuals.

To further alleviate the patients’ distress and concerns, IOM mental health and psychosocial support teams based in health facilities assist all COVID-19 patients with individual counselling focusing on the impact of the pandemic, psychosocial well-being and coping strategies.

Dedicated support for IOM’s COVID-19 response in Cox’s Bazar is provided by the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM), Australia’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO), and the World Bank.

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac, Tel: +880 1880 094 048, Email:, or Tarek Mahmud, Tel: + 880 1752 380 240, Email:, at IOM Bangladesh in Cox’s Bazar.

Language English Posted: Tuesday, June 15, 2021 - 10:27Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

To improve early diagnosis and surveillance, IOM has opened six additional COVID-19 sentinel sample collection sites. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

To improve early diagnosis and surveillance, IOM has opened six additional COVID-19 sentinel sample collection sites. Photo: IOM/Mashrif Abdullah Al 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Emergency Relief and ProtectionHealthInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReducing Global Inequalities
Categories: PBN