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Updated: 52 min 18 sec ago

Iraq: IOM, USAID and Nadia Murad Partner to Support Yazidi Survivors of the Kocho Massacre

Tue, 04/06/2021 - 09:29

Erbil — The International Organization for Migration (IOM), Nadia’s Initiative (NI) and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) are working together to scale up support to Yazidi survivors of genocide. 

IOM, USAID and NI will assist members of the community who survived the genocide in accessing durable solutions through the construction of new housing units near the old town, alongside other tailored measures to help families feel safe, heard and supported in their recovery. 

IOM and NI will also support the community’s memorialization efforts through the establishment of memorials and measures to protect the cemetery where the remains of individuals exhumed from Kocho’s mass graves are now being reburied. 

“My community of Kocho has experienced some of the worst atrocities known to mankind,” said Nadia Murad, Yazidi activist and President of Nadia’s Initiative. 

“Those who survived the genocide have been waiting almost seven years to return home. Thousands of women and children are still missing in captivity. Hundreds of men and women who were killed have yet to be identified. Survivors of sexual violence and single mothers are struggling to find shelter and adequate support.”

“I am grateful to the US government’s support of the Yazidi community. This project is a critical step toward enabling the dignified return of displaced Kocho community members and facilitating the rebuilding of a dignified life.” 

“The atrocities faced by survivors of genocide make it incredibly painful to return to the exact location where these horrendous acts took place. Meaningful and inclusive consultation and participation with both survivors and the broader community are essential to ensuring the success and sustainability of this initiative. We are proud to be partnering with IOM and Nadia’s Initiative to help survivors of genocide safely heal and rebuild their lives,” said John Cardenas, USAID Mission Director in Iraq. 

In the early hours of 3 August 2014, ISIS converged on Sinjar, the ancestral homelands of the Yazidis in northwest Iraq. ISIS launched a genocidal campaign against the minority group, causing over 90 per cent of Sinjar’s residents to flee, including thousands who were forced to ascend the nearby mountain range on foot. Over the following hours and days, thousands of Yazidis were killed, and over 6,400 others were abducted. 

Kocho, a Yazidi village in South Sinjar that was home to approximately 1,700 people, witnessed some of ISIS’s worst atrocities when armed militants placed the population under siege. Faced with an initial demand to either convert to Islam or face execution, community leaders entered frantic negotiations to identify a way to enable villagers to leave safely.  

On 15 August 2014, after 12 terror-stricken days, ISIS rounded up and massacred the town’s men, boys, and older women; the remaining women and girls were abducted and sold into sexual slavery. 

Although Iraqi forces re-established control of Kocho in 2017, the village remains derelict, with most of the community still residing in difficult conditions in displacement camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq. Many survivors express a desire to return to their land and traditional livelihoods, but state that they cannot go back to the exact scene of the atrocities. 

“Destruction of housing, loss of livelihoods, and a lack of vital services are clear obstacles to return for displaced populations across Iraq. For survivors of ISIS’s crimes in Kocho, the trauma presents an additional barrier,” said IOM Iraq Chief of Mission, Gerard Waite.  

“Measures to support Yazidi survivors of genocide in achieving durable solutions, in order to begin to rebuild their lives, are greatly overdue. We are glad to be working with USAID, Nadia’s Initiative, and the greater community to accelerate these efforts.” 


For more information please contact: 

IOM Iraq’s Public Information Unit, Tel: +964 751 402 2811, Email: 

Nadia’s Initiative, Email: 

USAID/Iraq, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, April 6, 2021 - 15:26Image: Region-Country: IraqDefault: Multimedia: 

On 6 February 2021, the remains of 104 victims of the Sinjar Massacre were reburied in Kocho – a village in South Sinjar that witnessed some of ISIS’s worst atrocities. Photo: IOM Iraq/Younis Qais 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternal DisplacementMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants Rights
Categories: PBN

IOM Denounces Reprehensible Attacks on Civilians in Mozambique, Delivers Assistance to Thousands

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 16:04

Pemba – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is deeply concerned about reports of continuing violence in Northern Mozambique that has displaced thousands of people, the majority of whom are women and children, from Palma to neighbouring districts. 

“We denounce in the strongest possible terms these reprehensible attacks on innocent civilians,” said IOM’s Director General António Vitorino.  “Our teams are helping survivors arriving in neighbouring districts and we are expanding our efforts to meet the growing needs as more people arrive from Palma. We urgently call upon the donor community to help us help the thousands of people fleeing armed men and burning villages.” 

IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix has registered 3,361 internally displaced persons (IDPs), 672 families, arriving by foot, bus, plane and boat from Palma to Nanagde, Mueda, Montpeuze districts, and Pemba city. More than three-quarters of those who have arrived are women and children. The number of people who have been displaced is likely significantly higher; thousands more are thought to be in the forest, making their way by foot to safer areas. 

A total of 670,000 persons have been internally displaced in northern Mozambique since the onset of violence in October 2017. The current situation exacerbates the vulnerabilities of a county already reeling from the impact of Cyclone Eloise in January, and past natural disasters. 

Survivors told IOM staff they fled into the forests as armed men killed their family members and burned their homes. Many were separated from their loved ones, leaving with just the clothes on their backs. Many people are reported missing. 

Twenty-eight-year-old Omar Adremar said he fled with his wife and 18-month-old child as the sounds of gunfire and grenades rang through the streets of Palma last Wednesday.  “We walked three hours through the forest in order to avoid the conflict areas,” he told IOM staff after arriving on a flight to Pemba this morning. “Many of my friends and neighbours escaped but others disappeared. We feel very sad about what happened.” 

IOM is running a large humanitarian life-saving operation to respond to the immediate needs of the IDPs and other vulnerable communities through the country and is scaling up its response to the sharply deteriorating situation in Northern Mozambique. 

IOM is preparing wheelchairs and crutches for the injured, distributing emergency medical supplies including masks, water buckets, water purifying tablets and soap to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 and cholera, and is preparing basic shelter and household items for distribution.

Mental health, psychosocial counselling and protection assistance has already been provided to hundreds of displaced people. 

Camp Coordination and Camp Management teams are working with the Government of Mozambique to ensure that populations that come to temporary sites or relocation sites have access to services and protection.

IOM continues to track and assess displacement movements.


For additional information, please contact Paul Dillon at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 636 9874, Email:  or Sascha Nlabu at IOM Mozambique, Phone: +258 86 801 2222, Email:


Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 21:58Image: Region-Country: MozambiqueDefault: Multimedia: 

More than 3,300 survivors of the latest round of violence in Cabo Deglado, Mozambique, have fled to safely including this group who arrived today in Montepuez. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternal DisplacementMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants Rights
Categories: PBN

IOM Marks the Completion of COVID-19 Immigration and Border Management Response Project

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 10:27

Vientiane – On 24 March, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Public Security (MoPS) convened a project closing workshop to mark the completion of IOM’s “Responding to Cross Mobility Challenges at Points of Entry in Lao People’s Democratic Republic”, supported by the Australian Government.

The half-day meeting attracted 35 participants from Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), Ministry of Health (MoH), MoPS, the Australian Embassy, UN partners, and IOM. Participants reviewed the implementation and key achievements over the programme period from June to December 2020 and provided their inputs for future interventions.

Opening the meeting, Ms. Rhonda Mann, First Secretary at the Australian Embassy, congratulated the Lao Government and IOM on the successful completion of the project. “The Australian Government is very pleased to support Lao People’s Democratic Republic and other countries in the Mekong region in addressing challenges at Points of Entry (PoE). The success in the project outcome and the good relations established between Department of Immigration (DOI) and frontline officials in this critical time are invaluable.” She said.

Pol. Lt. Col. Mr. Souksamai Sayyaseng, the Deputy Director General of the Department of Immigration (DOI), MoPS thanked the Australian Government, IOM and development partners for the support in this project, and added on his vision for future interventions “With the activities, we are able to identify challenges and gaps in existing arrangements, which can benefit our discussions for future interventions.”

“This project has laid a solid foundation for future cooperation in strengthening immigration and borer management. We are thankful for the support from Australian Government, and the UN Multi-Partner Trust Fund (MPTF) which allowed us to expand activities to cover ten PoEs.” Ms. Shareen Tuladhar, Chief of Mission at IOM added.

The Responding to COVID-19 Cross-mobility Challenges at Points of Entry in Lao People’s Democratic Republic successfully concluded in March 2021 with funding from the Australian Government. Over 463 (117 women/346 men) direct beneficiaries were reached in Lao People’s Democratic Republic under the programming. Starting in August 2020, IOM and MoPS conducted three PoE Mapping Assessments at Wattay International Airport, Luang Prabang Airport, and Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I. The team assessed the capacities using IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix survey tool and developed flow diagrams of each PoE to visualize the inbound and outbound flows. Gaps identified later informed IOM’s Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and electronic appliances procurement, support in Water, Sanitization and Hygiene (WASH) facilities and installation of protective screens for frontline officials, and distribution of Information, Education and Communication (IEC) materials. Trainings were also rolled out to frontline officials across sectors at the three selected PoEs.

Under its Health, Border and Mobility Management Framework, IOM sets to improve the prevention, detection and response to the spread of diseases at points of origin, transit, destination and return. IOM is committed to continue supporting the Lao government in ensuring safe, effective, and humane border management during and post- COVID-19.

For more information, please contact Karen HO at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (21)267 795. Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 16:17Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM handed over PPE and electronic appliances to frontline officials at Luang Prabang Airport. Photo: IOM

Under this project, IOM provided various support to Lao-Thai Friendship Bridge I, Luang Prabang Airport, and Wattay International Airport in Vientiane Capital and Luang Prabang province. Photo: IOM

Pol. Lt. Col. Mr. Souksamai Sayyaseng welcomed thanked IOM and the Australian Government for the support during the project closing workshop. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: COVID-19
Categories: PBN

Bolstering Tuvalu’s Socioeconomic Resilience in a COVID-19 World

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 08:41

Suva – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) have partnered with the Government of Tuvalu to assess the impacts of COVID-19 on Tuvalu’s labour market, focusing on businesses, employees and households. The assessment was conducted under the project Enhancing Food Security and Building Socioeconomic Resilience to Covid-19 in Tuvalu supported by the United Nations (UN) COVID-19 Response and Recovery Multi Partner Trust Fund.

The assessment was executed through a field survey and focused group meetings in collaboration with the National Tripartite Committee made up of relevant Government departments, and employer and employee representatives. Conducted from 11 to 21 November 2020, the survey specifically concentrated on the business sector (32 businesses), employees’ sector (189 workers), unemployed sector (23 laid-off employees) and 87 remittance-dependent households. 

The impact of COVID-19 on the Pacific region has been mixed, with a more substantial toll on tourism-dependent countries. In Tuvalu, the survey results indicate that the effects during the immediate state of emergency have been marginal as the Government and public sector who employ majority of the workforce have continued with operations. This is further bolstered by the fact that remittances from seafarers and the diaspora communities have remained steady. However, the situation may deteriorate even further through reduced hours and loss of income if the pandemic persists.

The Department of Labour, IOM and ILO also held a roundtable meeting on 10 March 2021 to discuss the findings and prioritize the key recommendations. The meeting brought together senior officials from government, non-government organizations, private sector representatives as well as participants who were involved in the survey. The report will be raised with the Government Advisory Committee for consideration and further dialogue in an effort to connect the report’s findings and recommendations to existing plans and national polices that look to boost economic recovery in Tuvalu.

Amongst the recommendations included in the report, participants emphasized the need to strengthen innovative food policies considering that the pandemic has now slowed down the import of supplies into Tuvalu. “We can survive without infrastructure development in the country, but without food, we cannot survive. We need to encourage our locals to start producing locally and not depend on imported foods so that we can live healthily,” said one of the participants during the group discussion.

In addition, the report also identified the need to upskill and renew existing maritime qualifications to ensure that seafarers who remained in Tuvalu due to the pandemic were work-ready when borders opened again. In coordination with the Tuvalu Maritime Training Institute (TMTI) and the Department of Labour, a seafarers refresher course was organized with 23 seafarers from 2 to 23 March 2021.

In her opening remarks, Acting Chief Executive Officer for the Ministry of Public Works, Infrastructure, Environment, Labour, Meteorology and Disaster Palipa Lauti emphasized how important seafarers were to the development of the country.

Solomon Kantha, Chief of Mission of IOM in Fiji said, “I hope this training will provide a platform for job security for seafarers in the future.”

According to Labour Officer Meafou Leneuoti Brian, “Many seafarers registered for this course and were happy for the opportunity to renew existing maritime certifications.” 

“As a key part of ILO’s mandate, we will continue supporting skills development to improve the employability of workers, productivity of enterprises and the inclusiveness of economic growth in Pacific Island Countries,” said Matin Karimli, Director of the ILO Pacific Office.

A second cohort will potentially be funded by ILO under the Pacific Climate Change Migration and Human Security (PCCMHS) programme.

For more information, contact Sabira Coelho, Programme Manager, PCCMHS, Email:; or Christopher Yee,  Programme Specialist, PCCMHS, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 13:52Image: Region-Country: FijiDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Localtags 2021: COVID-19
Categories: PBN

IOM Opens New Facility to Promote Wellbeing and Protection of Conflict-Affected Women and Girls in North-East Nigeria

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 07:52

Yola – A USD 2 million project –the largest ever funding from the Republic of Korea to IOM Nigeria– gained some important visibility last week (24/03) when the International Organization for Migration (IOM) kicked off a new project in Yola, Adamawa State.

The project aims to prevent gender-based violence (GBV), address its root causes and improve the provision of skill-building services for women and girls. With the establishment of the Multi-Purpose Community Hall (MPCH), IOM will provide a safe space for activities such as lay counselling, basic emotional support, skills development and other activities targeting especially children and teenagers.

The objective is to reach 100 persons per month while observing all COVID-19 prevention protocols. The MPCH will ultimately support women’s and girls’ psychosocial wellbeing, create social networks to reduce isolation or seclusion, enhance integration into community life, and generate conditions for their empowerment.

"The Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus is critical for addressing the humanitarian crisis across north-east Nigeria,” said Ambassador Kim Young-Chae of the Republic of Korea. "I hope that the MPCH will contribute to reducing the risks of GBV and addressing its root causes, while better providing capacity-building services for the vulnerable groups such as women and girls," he added.

For over a decade, north-east Nigeria has grappled with an armed conflict which has left 2.1 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) and worsened the living conditions of many more in the states of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe. Adamawa is home to 209,125 IDPs.

According to the Nigeria Humanitarian Needs Overview 2020, GBV, including sexual violence, is widespread in the region, in part due to the ongoing conflict, insecurity, and living conditions in camps for IDPs and informal settlements and host communities. Generally, women and girls in Adamawa State have restricted mobility due to the ongoing conflict, exacerbated by the prevailing gender norms that tend to discriminate against women and girls.

“This project aims to benefit mainly women and girls, but also caters to the needs of other community members such as husbands, parents, religious leaders, and boys,” said Olga Rebolledo, IOM Nigeria´s Programme Manager for Mental Health and Psychosocial Support (MHPSS). “Engaging with these groups is important to mobilize community support so that women and girls are able to safely participate in all activities and also understand the purpose and benefits of the Multi-Purpose Community Hall,” she added.

To support the handover process of the Multi-Purpose Community Hall to the national authorities, a transition plan will be developed in close consultation with the community and other stakeholders, particularly the Adamawa State Government, who will be responsible for the centre following the completion of the project.

For more information, please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 906 273 9168, Email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 13:56Image: Region-Country: NigeriaDefault: Multimedia: 

The Center’s care team consists of members of the Ministry of Reconstruction, Rehabilitation and Resettlement, the Ministry of Women Affairs, and the State Emergency Management Agency, among others. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionGender EqualityInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

IOM Nigeria Joins Authorities to Launch New “Blue Bus” Project to Fight Human Trafficking

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 06:13

Abuja – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), launched a new project in Abuja, Nigeria, to raise awareness of the scourge of human trafficking among populations at risk in migration prone areas across the country. 

The 23 March launch marked the tenth anniversary of the Nigeria–Switzerland Migration Partnership. The partnership between the two countries began in February 2011 and has so far successfully implemented close to 50 projects dedicated to migration and border management, fighting trafficking in persons, and voluntary return and reintegration. 

Since 2017, IOM has assisted the voluntary return and reintegration of more than 21,500 Nigerian migrants, of which approximately 15 per cent are victims of trafficking from Libya, Mali, Europe and the Middle East, among others.  

Across West and Central Africa, IOM's counter-trafficking efforts focus on a ‘whole of route approach', aiming to eliminate the incentive of embarking on perilous journeys, and encourage stronger partnerships between the European Union and Africa in addressing irregular migration, exchange of information on migratory flows, prevent irregular migration and increase the capacities of border protection and improve protection in line with international law. 

The project was kickstarted by Karin Keller-Sutter, the Federal Councillor and Head of the Federal Department of Justice and Police of Switzerland. 

“I believe this project is a perfect symbol of our current state of the migration partnership and, more importantly, our future cooperation,” said Keller-Sutter at the inauguration event. “We are not afraid to tackle difficult issues such as human trafficking jointly and we are doing it in an innovative, holistic and balanced partnership approach.,” she added. 

As part of creating awareness and promoting sustainable reintegration, IOM purchased and designed an awareness-raising travelling bus equipped with audio-visual and printed information to alert potential migrants risks and dangers that may rise with irregular migration Nigeria.  

“The Blue Bus is a one-stop shop where vulnerable migrants, including community members, can get information on risks associated with trafficking in persons, where to report cases, and on-spot counselling services,” said Prestage Murima, IOM Nigeria Officer in Charge.  

Since 2001, IOM has been supporting the efforts of the Government of Nigeria to manage migration through capacity-building, advisory services, and technical assistance on migration matters, including migration health and information, assisted voluntary return and reintegration, and counter-trafficking. Strong collaboration has been established with national migration stakeholders to enhance border management, fight trafficking in persons, reduce irregular migration, and mainstream migration in the country’s development plans.  

The project Preventing Trafficking in Persons through a Travelling Awareness-Raising Exposition is funded by the Government of Switzerland through the Swiss State Secretariat for Migration. 

For more information please contact Jorge Galindo at IOM Nigeria, Tel: +234 906 273 9168, Email: 

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 13:57Image: Region-Country: NigeriaDefault: Multimedia: 

The Blue Bus will serve as a travelling exhibition to alert communities about trafficking in persons as well as prevention efforts. Photo: Jorge Galindo/IOM 2021 

Representatives from the governments of Switzerland, and Nigeria, as well as IOM present the '10 Years Migration Partnership Nigeria-Switzerland' brochure. Photo: Jorge Galindo/IOM 2021

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Counter-traffickingEmergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

EU-IOM Joint Initiative Marks 4 Years of Supporting Thousands of Migrants Across the Horn of Africa

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 06:06

Nairobi – A partnership between the European Union (EU) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is marking four years of supporting over 12,000 vulnerable migrants, including children, to voluntarily return and re-establish their homes across the Horn of Africa. 

Over half that total—some 6,300 men, women and children—are migrants assisted to voluntarily return to their countries of origin in Ethiopia, Somalia, Sudan, Djibouti, Kenya, Uganda and South Sudan; having been stranded and detained in places like Libya.  

Those returnees are among the over 8,200 who received support to reintegrate into their communities. The programme, the ‘EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration’ (the EU-IOM Joint Initiative), has to date committed over EUR 56 million providing for migrants in the Horn of Africa.   

The start of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 exacerbated risks experienced by migrants. As hundreds of air, land, and sea border closures were put into effect, those on the move in the region increasingly began using new and riskier migration routes. Migrants also experienced increased exploitation by smugglers. According to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project, 58 migrants died in the region on land at sea in 2020, many by choosing these dangerous journeys.    

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative is responding by increasing its assistance for the rehabilitation of supporting infrastructure in Djibouti – a key transit location – including the operation of mobile health clinics for migrants on the move. 

“The programme has gone a long way in bringing different parties towards the common goal of saving lives and allowing many of those who had been stranded to start afresh. It is fulfilling a critical need in a region with significant migration movements,” said Mohammed Abdiker, IOM’s Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa. 

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative is also being implemented in West and Central Africa, and North Africa. The programme was launched in 2016 and followed on the Valetta Summit priorities and the urgent need to protect and save migrants’ lives. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative was subsequently expanded geographically and in scale to a trilateral partnership with 26 countries straddling key migration routes in the three regions.  

Most migrants are men like Mohamed, who embarked on his migration journey in search of work.  Originally from Somalia, Mohamed left his homeland with the intention of reaching Europe.  

“The smugglers demanded USD 3,000 to take me first to Libya and then onto Europe,” he explained. “But they broke their promise and handed me over to other exploiters who put me in detention in Libya, and then demanded another USD 4,000 from my parents for me to get out of detention.”

Mohamed was supported by IOM in Libya to make his way back home to Somalia. Through the programme, scores more have been freed from detention. Assistance under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative also includes procuring travel documents.   

With funding from the Horn of Africa programme, Mohamed is now running a small retail business in Mogadishu. The programme in the Horn of Africa has assisted more than 660 Somali returnees in similar ways to restart their lives. “My business is doing great,” said Mohamed.

By the time they arrive in their communities of origin in the region, many migrants will have received life-saving support through Migration Response Centres (MRCs) that provide food, medical care, shelter, counselling and other essentials in Djibouti, Ethiopia, Somalia and Sudan. The MRCs are located along the main routes in the Horn of Africa and are supported by the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, together with other funders.   

Forty community projects targeting a total of 217,000 individuals are earmarked for the Horn of Africa, including a fruit tree nursery in Sudan; production of fodder, seed and sisal fibre in Ethiopia; and the rehabilitation of local government offices in Somalia. 

In late February 2021, an agreement was signed with the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (IGAD) to strengthen cross-border child protection response in the region. The programme has also funded three experts assigned to the African Union Commission who will work in migrant protection and labour migration. 

“We are pleased that the secondees are already making an impact in strengthening cooperation with the AU and working to mobilise support for migrants,” said IOM’s Senior Programme Coordinator Julia Hartlieb. 

The EU-IOM Joint Initiative in the Horn of Africa is due to come to an end in 2022. 

For more information, visit and/or contact the IOM Regional Office in Nairobi: Julia Hartlieb, email:; or Wilson Johwa, email:

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 13:58Image: Region-Country: DjiboutiEthiopiaKenyaSomaliaSouth SudanSudanUgandaGlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

Migrants walking through Djibouti, a transit country for those heading to the Arabian Peninsula. Photo: IOM

An Ethiopian returnee who was assisted to set up a shop as part of his reintegration. Photo: IOM

A procession that marked part of the 4th anniversary celebrations in Dire Dawa, Ethiopia. Photo: IOM

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementReturn and Reintegration
Categories: PBN

IOM Requires Greater Funding to Provide Relief to 2.3 Million Syrians Suffering from a Decade of Conflict

Tue, 03/30/2021 - 05:35

Geneva – Civilians in Syria face extraordinary levels of displacement and humanitarian need after nearly a decade of conflict. On the final day of the fifth Brussels conference for Syria (30/03), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) joins UN partners to call for greater solidarity and support to the life-saving humanitarian response. 

IOM is appealing for USD 198 million to continue its response to the mounting needs of 2.3 million Syrians displaced inside and outside the country. 

“I call upon our trusted partners, the international donor community and the public to continue to support IOM’s humanitarian operations in Syria and to not turn their backs on the Syrian people,” IOM’s Director General António Vitorino told the conference. 

“More needs to be done to support the resilience of communities. While greater humanitarian funding is urgently needed, this situation will never be solved with aid alone. I join my fellow UN principals in calling for a sustainable resolution to end the conflict, so that the Syrian people may rebuild their lives in peace.” 

Last year, IOM, in partnership with local NGOs, was able to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance to over 1 million people inside Syria and another 900,000 people in neighbouring countries. 

According to UN data, 30 per cent of the Syrian population is internally displaced. Nearly one-quarter have been forced to flee at least four times. In addition, 21 per cent more people inside Syria than last year – 13.4 million people in total – now need humanitarian assistance to survive. 

Countries hosting millions of refugees have been gravely impacted by COVID-19 and struggle to sufficiently support the basic needs of the displaced and host communities. As a result, social tension, xenophobia and violence toward refugees and migrants have been on the rise. 

Funds from the 2021 appeal will allow IOM to support partners to provide internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the northwest with water, sanitation and hygiene services, food, emergency items, shelter, protection services, livelihood opportunities and health services to help curb the spread of COVID-19. 

In addition to the need for urgent funding, IOM again reiterates its call for continued access to the northwest, where more than 3.4 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance. 

UN cross-border assistance from Turkey into Northwest Syria in 2020 reached record levels with over 12,000 trucks delivering aid into Syria, including over 10,000 through Bab al-Hawa crossing point.   

"IOM and our partners have seen the situation in the north markedly deteriorate since cross-border access was last reviewed nine months ago. We are increasingly concerned that if access is further restricted in July, the suffering of millions will reach tragic levels,” said DG Vitorino. 

Additionally, in Egypt, Iraq, Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey, IOM will continue to support Syrian refugees and host communities to access education; engage in income generation activities; start new businesses; receive rental assistance or other cash-based assistance; reconstruct their homes and access health care. 

Today, IOM also invites the public to help Syrians build a positive future by supporting lifesaving operations which provide relief to millions of people who have shown remarkable resilience over the last decade. 

You can help us do more.  Donate today to Support Syria

IOM’s Global Crisis Response Platform provides an overview of IOM’s plans and funding requirements to respond to the evolving needs and aspirations of those impacted by, or at risk of, crisis and displacement in 2020 and beyond.  

Download IOM’s 2021 IOM Syria Appeal in English  

For additional information, please contact Angela Wells at IOM HQ, Tel: +41 7940 35365, Email:  

Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 30, 2021 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: Syrian Arab RepublicDefault: Multimedia: 

In 2021, IOM, in partnership with local NGOs, was able to provide lifesaving humanitarian assistance to over 1 million people inside Syria.

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants RightsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

New Global Campaign Celebrates Positive Impact of Migration on Communities Worldwide

Mon, 03/29/2021 - 04:10

Geneva – A global campaign launching today, ‘It Takes a Community’, spotlights migrants and fellow community members who contribute to building stronger and more inclusive societies, especially taking into account their roles during the current pandemic.  

‘It Takes a Community’ represents a growing movement to eliminate misinformation and anti-migrant sentiment worldwide by demonstrating the positive impact migration can have on communities everywhere. The campaign brings together a range of voices from across many sectors to demonstrate ways individuals and organizations are creating more welcoming, resilient communities. 

This project is driven by national and local stakeholders: governments, businesses, youth networks and civil society. It is facilitated by the Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD) and led jointly by IOM and the Governments of Canada, Ecuador and the GFMD Mayors Mechanism.  
“It is important to recognize the many ways that migrants and refugees are giving back and contributing positively to their communities, both in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond,” said Marco E. L. Mendicino, P.C., M.P., Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship of Canada.  

“By sharing their stories and speaking up about how our countries, cities and organizations are stronger when we come together, we can all play a role in this campaign to push back against discrimination and create more welcoming and inclusive communities for all.” 

Over a period of 12 months, the campaign will disseminate authentic stories demonstrating how migration enriches lives. The campaign aims to inspire people around the world to join the movement by sharing personal stories on social media using the hashtag #ItTakesaCommunity, and take positive action supporting inclusiveness and diversity.  

“COVID-19 has reminded us how important it is that all of us play a role in making our communities resilient, regardless of where we come from. "It Takes a Community" brings local stories to the global stage to inspire and ensure everyone in our society thrives,” explained Sophie van Haasen, Coordinator of the GFMD Mayors Mechanism.  

The campaign allows participants globally to share their own stories and messages. People can access a digital toolkit on the campaign’s website, with customizable assets to promote messages of solidarity, collective action and inclusion. The toolkit is currently available in English and French and will be available soon in Arabic, Portuguese and Spanish. 

“The ‘It Takes a Community’ campaign demonstrates what can be done in favour of migration by promoting a positive vision of the presence of foreign citizens in our country, through their experiences,” said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility of Ecuador. 

The GFMD is an international forum that provides a space for informal, multi-stakeholder discussion and exchange on migration and development topics. In 2020, the GFMD Working Group on Public Narratives on Migration was created within the forum, involving representatives from national and local governments, civil society, business and youth organizations.  

The group aims to promote balanced and evidence-based conversations about migration in the public domain and counters misinformation, an urgent priority set by the international community in the context of the pandemic.  

To find out more and join the campaign, visit the website here.  

For more information, please contact Hannah Murphy, Project Manager, IOM Geneva, Email:, Tel: +447951538946

Language English Posted: Monday, March 29, 2021 - 14:00Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Countering XenophobiaInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

Joint Statement on Prioritization of COVID-19 Vaccination for Seafarers and Aircrew

Fri, 03/26/2021 - 13:36

Joint statement by International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), International Labour Organization (ILO), International Maritime Organization (IMO), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and World Health Organization (WHO)

Geneva – The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has triggered devastating consequences for human life and the global economy. Maritime and air transport are two essential activities that underpin global trade and mobility and are key to a sustainable socio-economic recovery.

More than 80% of global trade by volume is moved by maritime transport. The global economy depends on the world’s 2 million seafarers who operate the global fleet of merchant ships. Seafarers have been severely impacted by the travel restrictions imposed during the pandemic. As of January 2021, it is estimated that some 400,000 seafarers are stranded on board commercial vessels, long past the expiry of their contracts and unable to be repatriated. A similar number of seafarers urgently need to join ships to replace them.

Passenger air transport carried about 5.7 billion passengers in 2019 while airfreight represents 35% of the value of goods shipped in all modes combined. The total number of licensed aviation professionals, which include pilots, air traffic controllers and licensed maintenance technicians, was 887,000 in 2019, according to ICAO personnel statistics.  Application of stringent public health rules to air crew, including quarantine, has resulted in hindered connectivity, operational complexity and significant cost.

Maritime and air transport rely on seafarers and aircrew. They are key workers required to travel across borders at all times, which may result in the need for them to present proof of a COVID-19 vaccination as a condition for entry in some countries. This is despite WHO recommendation that, at the present time, countries should not introduce requirements of proof of vaccination for international travel as a condition of entry, as there are still critical unknowns regarding the efficacy of vaccination in reducing transmission and limited availability of vaccines1. For shipping and air transport to continue to operate safely, the safe cross border movement of seafarers and aircrew must be facilitated. We reiterate our call upon countries that have not done so to designate seafarers and aircrew as key workers.

With this statement, our organizations also call on governments to prioritize seafarers and aircrew in their national COVID-19 vaccination programmes, together with other essential workers, in accordance with the advice from the WHO SAGE Roadmap for prioritizing the use of COVID-19 vaccines in the context of limited supply published in November 20202. Seafarers and aircrew need to be protected through vaccination as soon as possible, to facilitate their safe movement across borders. We also call on governments to identify and prepare for the challenges of COVID-19 vaccination of seafarers and aircrew, particularly for seafarers spending long periods of time away from their home country.

Our organizations fully support the timely development of an international harmonized framework for vaccination certificates, to facilitate international travel for seafarers and aircrew.

In December 2020, WHO established a Smart Vaccination Certificate working group to ensure that digitalized versions of vaccine certificates are interoperable3, and the UN Crisis Management Team for COVID-19, under the leadership of WHO, recognized that all countries should consider seafarers and aircrew, who are required to travel across borders during the pandemic, for essential allocation of vaccines.

We invite governments and other stakeholders to bring the contents of this joint statement to the attention of the competent authorities and all parties concerned.


Language English Posted: Friday, March 26, 2021 - 20:32Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19International Cooperation and Partnerships
Categories: PBN

IOM, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Completed Workshop on Consular Contingency Planning

Fri, 03/26/2021 - 06:41

Vientiane – On 23 and 24 March 2021, the International Organization of Migration (IOM), the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), and the US Embassy convened a workshop on Consular Contingency Planning under the project Combating Human Trafficking through Reinforcing Judicial Capacity and Enhancing Border Security in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (CHARJ+), supported by the Bureau of Internal Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL), U.S. Department of State.

The two-day workshop attracted 55 participants from MOFA, Lao Women’s Union (LWU), Ministry of Public Security (MOPS), Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare (MOLSW) and IOM.

Opening the ceremony, Ms. Shareen Tuladhar, Chief of Mission at IOM, thanked all participants for joining the workshop. “This workshop is a valuable opportunity for us to equip government institutions to ensure that there is a huma response to migrants in vulnerable situations.” She said.

Ms. Julia Benson, Vice Consul at the U.S. Embassy, appreciated efforts from Lao People’s Democratic Republic to combat human trafficking, and highlighted the important role of consular officials in assisting Lao nationals overseas in case of emergency. “INL is pleased to support this training given its relevance to the U.S. Trafficking-in-persons (TIP) report, and the Lao national anti-trafficking plan.” She added.

“I’m confident that this training can enhance relations and cooperation between the Consular Department and IOM in contingency planning.” Mr. Siphandone Oybouabouddy, Director-General of Consular Department, MOFA said. He then thanked IOM for supporting MOFA representatives to attend important trainings and meetings on migration-related affairs, and hope to further strengthen the partnership.

The workshop set to equip consular officials and MOFA counterparts with structures and guidance under the Migrants in Countries in Crises (MICIC) framework in drafting the consular contingency plans to enhance preparation for emergencies that could affect their national abroad. There were three key objectives, which involves building the knowledge and awareness of consular staff and MOFA actors on how to detect, deter, refer, and aid victims of trafficking (VoTs); providing concrete information and guidance on best practices to respond to and support effective evacuations and coordination efforts in crisis; initiating practical country-level efforts in the form of consular contingency plans.

Various topics were covered during the course of this two-day event, which includes: the role and responsibility of the consular department; implementation of bilateral cooperation agreement on Anti-Trafficking in Persons; law on Trafficking in Persons and Victim Identification; Assistance, Protection and Referral of VoTs; Introduction to MICIC Guideline Vulnerability of Migrants in Crisis; Existing plan for overseas missions; Experience from Thailand in developing Consular Contingency Plan; Safe and legal migration abroad; capacity building on safe migration for community. In addition, case studies and group work sessions were conducted for further details on aiding during times of crisis.

As a result, this activity capacitated officials with the necessary skills on how to draft the Consular Contingency Plan, ways to respond to crisis as well as protect migrants working abroad, and provide the victims of human trafficking with timely assistance and protection.

In 2016, the Migrants in Countries in Crises (MICIC) Initiative was set up at the United Nations as part of the measures taken to ensure that the needs of migrants are addressed in crisis situations. This initiative is a set of voluntary, non-binding guidelines that enshrine the necessary considerations to improve the protection of migrants in countries experiencing conflict or natural disasters.

Following the establishment of the MCIC framework, IOM has partnered with both governments and non-governmental actors in the region to facilitate several capacity building and implementation activities. In September 2017, IOM held a roundtable on the MCIC Initiatives in Manila, Philippines. Subsequently, in 2018, a regional workshop was convened in Phnom Penh, Cambodia on the evacuation of nationals abroad. The final regional workshop took place at Tokyo, Japan on 25-26 June 2019. 

For more information, please contact Karen HO at IOM Vientiane. Tel. + 856 (20)55 136 294. Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 26, 2021 - 13:20Image: Region-Country: Lao People’s Democratic RepublicDefault: Multimedia: 

Through interactive group work, participants developed consular contingency plans. Photo: IOM

Participants discussing how to support Lao nationals abroad in case of an emergency context. Photo: IOM

Representatives from LWU, MOFA, MOPS, MOLSW, and IOM attended the meeting. Photo: IOM

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

IOM, Partners Provide Emergency Humanitarian Assistance to 50,000 Displaced by Armed Conflict in Southern Philippines

Fri, 03/26/2021 - 04:32

Manila – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in the Philippines and partners are providing immediate assistance to over 51,000 people affected by the recent armed conflict in Maguindanao in the southern Philippines.

Armed conflict erupted on 18 March 2021 between the Government of the Philippines and the Bangsamoro Islamic Freedom Fighters, displacing over 10,100 families from the municipalities of Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Mamasapano, Shariff Saydona Mustapha, Shariff Aguak, Datu Salibo, Datu Unsay and Datu Hoffer Ampatuan. 

An initial joint assessment at four evacuation sites in Data Saudi Ampatuan was conducted earlier this week (23/03) by IOM, UNICEF and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanano (BARMM)’s Ministry of Social Services and Development to understand the needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are now staying in over 30 evacuation sites.

IOM’s Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) teams have been deployed to provide technical support in setting up camp committees, conduct basic CCCM training in COVID-19 times, and deliver over 2,000 tarpaulins to IDPs in coordination with the Government of BARMM.

In light of the increasing cases of COVID-19 in the Philippines, and to avoid further suffering, ensuring that proper health and safety protocols are in place in the evacuation sites is absolutely critical at this time. 

“This displacement exacerbates already vulnerable, and conflict-affected communities in BARRM. Our heart is with all these families during this extremely challenging time. We remain committed to work with the Government and partners to provide emergency humanitarian support, especially as the situation with COVID-19 is worsening in the country”, said  Kristin Dadey, IOM Chief of Mission in the Philippines.   

IOM, together with the UN and humanitarian partners on the ground, are working with the government to provide the displaced communities with emergency shelter, food, water, sanitation and hygiene, health and non-food items such as sleeping bags and hygiene kits.

IOM’s initial response is supported by the Governments of the United Kingdom and the United States.

A further USD 2 million is required to respond to these most urgent needs. 


 For more information, please contact Kristin Dadey at IOM Philippines, Email: ,  or Itayi Viriri, at IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific (Bangkok) at Tel: +66 65 939 0934, Email:

Language English Posted: Friday, March 26, 2021 - 12:55Image: Region-Country: PhilippinesDefault: Multimedia: 

IOM and UNICEF Philippines conducted a joint rapid needs assessment across four displacement sites in Datu Saudi Ampatuan, Maguindanao to identify the most urgent needs, including shelter, food, and personal protective equipment, among internally displaced by armed conflict in the past week.

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and Partnerships
Categories: PBN

Deaths at sea en route to Europe continue despite COVID-19

Fri, 03/26/2021 - 04:03

Berlin – More than 2,000 people lost their lives at sea attempting to reach Europe in 2020, despite the extensive mobility restrictions imposed last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a new report from the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Missing Migrants Project. Another 300 deaths already have been documented thus far in 2021. 

“No one should have to risk their life to flee violence or instability, or to simply seek a better life,” said Frank Laczko, Director of IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) in Berlin.  

“It will be important in the current discussions between the EU and African countries to prioritize concerted action to save lives and end this ongoing crisis of deaths,” Laczko added. 

The new report—Maritime Migration to Europe: Focus on the Overseas Route to the Canary Islands—highlights key facts and figures on four main overseas irregular routes to Europe, along which over 22,000 lives have been lost since 2014. This figure likely does not capture all deaths en route to Europe during this time. As the report discusses, better migration data can help to support lifesaving policy and programmes. 

Of particular concern is the maritime route to the Canary Islands, which saw a marked increase in attempted crossings and deaths in 2020, despite the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing travel restrictions. In fact, there is evidence to suggest that the coronavirus acted as a multiplier of existing factors motivating migration on this route. Many of those attempting the Canary Islands crossing worked in fishing or agriculture, two sectors that have been particularly hard-hit by COVID-19.  

IOM recorded the loss of nearly 850 lives on this route in 2020, far more than recorded in any previous year since 2014, when the Missing Migrants Project began its work. However, that count may well be low. Due to the length of the overseas journey (and the fact that many migrants are believed to have lost their lives due to starvation or dehydration while at sea) the number of deaths documented en route to the Canary Islands falls short of the true total. 

Case in point: not included in these data are at least five additional shipwrecks reported to IOM’s Missing Migrants Project in 2020 which could not be confirmed. These “invisible” shipwrecks – reported by NGOs in direct contact with those on board and/or with families searching for missing people – left no survivors. Moreover, no search-and-rescue operation is known to have occurred in response to distress calls made by those on board. Such cases are extremely difficult to detect, let alone verify. Yet they indicate that deaths on maritime routes to Europe are far higher than available data show. 

That leaves thousands of families searching endlessly for news of those lost. Those who lose their lives on the Canary Islands route are too often buried without a name, if buried at all. The remains of at least 1,000 people remain missing in the Atlantic Sea crossing, according to Missing Migrants Project data. Remains of another 14,000 human are unaccounted for in the Mediterranean Sea. 

Despite this, maritime migration to Europe continues to be framed as an issue of migrant arrivals, ignoring data that show the number of people arriving irregularly in Europe is extremely low compared to overall regular migratory flows from North and West Africa to Europe.  

“The true crisis on maritime routes to Europe is the thousands of deaths recorded every year due to the lack of safe, legal and dignified mobility options,” said Julia Black, author of the new report. “Improved search-and-rescue capacities on all maritime routes to Europe are urgently needed.” 

Read the new report “Maritime Migration to Europe: focus on the overseas route to the Canary Islands” here. The data used for this report can be downloaded from IOM’s Missing Migrants Project website here

For more information please contact: Julia Black, IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre. Tel.: +49 30 278 778 27 Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 26, 2021 - 12:59Image: Region-Country: GermanyGlobalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants RightsMigration ManagementMissing Migrants
Categories: PBN

IOM, Germany’s Strengthened Partnership Supports Thousands in Ethiopia

Fri, 03/26/2021 - 03:53

Addis Ababa – Ethiopia faces one of the world’s most complex human mobility environments, with myriad social, economic, political and climatic factors driving the movement of people within and beyond its borders.

According to the latest National Displacement report prepared by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), over 1.8 million people in Ethiopia remain displaced across some 1,350 sites. At least another 1.2 million are returning from displacement to some 1,300 villages. Not spared by the onset of COVID-19, Ethiopia also had recorded by mid-March over 175,000 COVID-19 cases. More than 2,600 people have died.

Crucial among the development partners stepping forward to assist Ethiopia is the German government. Since 2019, Germany has provided financial support amounting to EUR 18 million for programming by IOM Ethiopia.

More than 280,000 crisis-affected persons are benefitting through life-saving assistance, including shelter construction and rehabilitation, access to safe water and sanitation, hygiene awareness, and site management support services in camp-like settings.

Four new Border Control Posts (BCPs) have been established and will go a long way toward reducing mobility restrictions and facilitating movement of goods, services and skills. Beyond commerce, IOM also views BCPs as vital for protecting people who may be prey to human smugglers and traffickers. The capacity of Ethiopia’s Department of Immigration (INVEA) also received a boost through the provision of equipment and training.

The funding, too, has been directed to the timely, safe, and orderly return of over 3,900 ex-combatants and their dependents who in 2018 were offered amnesty by the government.

Going forward, young Ethiopians will become the focus of a new initiative aimed at ensuring they are better informed of the risks and consequences of irregular migration. The onset of COVID-19 has also led to an increase in the number of returning migrants, some of whom have been forcibly repatriated, especially from the Arabian Peninsula.

IOM Chief of Mission in Ethiopia and Representative to the African Union and the Unite Nations Economic Commission for Africa, Maureen Achieng, commended Germany for its continued commitment to Ethiopia’s stability and development trajectory.

“Ethiopia continues to grapple with multiple challenges which in recent times have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Ms. Achieng said. “In a context as challenging as this one, the importance of the support of a steadfast partner such as Germany, both for urgent humanitarian action as for longer-term development initiatives, cannot be overstated.”

Stephan Auer, Germany’s Ambassador, emphasized the importance of cooperation. “IOM is a decisive partner for our work in Ethiopia and beyond. With its vast experience as a humanitarian, peacebuilding, and development actor, IOM responds to some of the most important challenges in the country. Promoting safe and better migration and supporting vulnerable migrants remain some of our key priorities.”

For more information, please contact IOM Ethiopia: Krizia Kaye Viray, Mobile: +251993531220, Email: 

Language English Posted: Friday, March 26, 2021 - 13:00Image: Region-Country: EthiopiaGermanyDefault: Multimedia: 

Since 2019 Germany has provided financial support amounting to EUR 18 million which has been crucial to programming by IOM Ethiopia. Photo: IOM Ethiopia 

Since 2019 Germany has provided financial support amounting to EUR 18 million which has been crucial to programming by IOM Ethiopia. Photo: IOM Ethiopia 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration Management
Categories: PBN

IOM Looks Back on One Year of COVID-19 Response, Appeals for USD 812 Million in 2021

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 15:33

Geneva – Over the last year, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has responded to the COVID-19-related needs of millions of people worldwide. Today, it launches a Strategic Response and Recovery Plan (SRRP) for 2021 that will allow IOM to continue to assist people struggling with the crisis and its devastating consequences in 141 countries.

IOM’s SRRP requires USD 812 million to scale up public health measures, increase equitable access to health services for migrants, displaced persons and other vulnerable groups – including access to the vaccines – and to address the humanitarian, socioeconomic and protection needs that have been exacerbated by the pandemic.

“Unfortunately, those who were hit the hardest by COVID-19 have been the people with the least capacity and resources to cope with this unprecedented crisis,” said IOM’s Director General António Vitorino.

“Looking forward, we must first and foremost focus on bringing this pandemic to an end, and IOM is ready to support Member States with vaccination efforts. At the same time, we must fully address the humanitarian needs and protection risks that have increased the suffering of millions and begin recovery efforts.”

Migrants and displaced populations, among other groups, have been especially vulnerable to the pandemic’s consequences. Many live in crowded conditions where the risk of infection from COVID-19 or other diseases is high. They have also been at heightened risk of mental health challenges, gender-based violence and incidents of discrimination or stigmatization.

Mobility-related policies and lockdown measures have often made it more difficult for these populations to earn an income, send remittances home, access essential services and move.

In 2020, nearly USD 336 million from over 64 Member States and public and private sector donors facilitated IOM's pandemic response. Throughout the year, the Organization successfully supported:

  • Nearly 35 million people in 60 countries impacted by humanitarian crises with COVID-19 related interventions;
  • Close to 37 million people with COVID-19-related risk communication messages and community engagement efforts;
  • Over 2,600 stranded migrants to return home in a safe and dignified manner;
  • More than 1,000 points of entry (airports, ports, land border crossings) with COVID-19 preparedness and response measures;
  • Approximately 240,000 people to rebuild their livelihoods;
  • 570 health facilities in dozens of countries with essential health services, including routine immunizations; and
  • 19 million people with critical water, sanitation and hygiene supplies, and installed or rehabilitated over 19,200 handwashing facilities.

These and other achievements are highlighted in a new progress report that presents an overview of IOM's response to COVID-19 in 2020 and key lessons learned to inform upcoming efforts for response and recovery. It highlights the importance of integrating public health considerations in migration and border management, reliable real-time data and working closely with communities themselves. 

“By working hand in hand with national authorities, the UN system, partners and local actors, IOM has been a key actor in the response to this global emergency and remains committed to addressing the needs of people on the move and helping communities kickstart recovery,” said Mr Vitorino.  

IOM’s 2021 SRRP focuses on four strategic objectives:

  1. Continue essential services for, mitigate risks of and protect displaced persons, mobile populations and host communities;
  2. Scale up essential public health measures and promote mobility-sensitive health systems;
  3. Mitigate the longer-term socioeconomic impacts of COVID-19, contribute to restarting human mobility and empower societies for self-reliance; and
  4. Inform response and recovery efforts by tracking the impact of COVID-19 on mobility and people on the move and strengthen evidence-based decision-making through data.

The plan has been designed with a people-centred approach, one that is adaptable to national and local contexts and aligned with the Organization’s commitment to operationalize the Humanitarian-Development-Peace Nexus approach.

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

Read More:

IOM’s Institutional Statement on COVID-19 and Mobility
IOM’s 2021 Strategic Response and Recovery Plan (SRRP)
IOM COVID-19 Preparedness and Response Achievement Report

For more information, please contact Angela Wells, IOM Operations and Emergencies Communications Officer at HQ; Tel: +41794065365, Email: or Yasmina Guerda, IOM Public Health Communications Officer at HQ, Tel: +41 79 363 17 99, Email:  

Language English Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 21:09Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

COVID-19 Rapid Response Teams in Afghanistan offer COVID-19 awareness sessions and screening to thousands of underserved people in community centres and mosques around the country. Photo: IOM 2021/Muse Mohammed 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19International Cooperation and PartnershipsMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants Rights
Categories: PBN

IOM, Governments and 38 partners Launch USD 99 Million Appeal for Migrants Across the Horn of Africa and Yemen

Thu, 03/25/2021 - 14:03

Nairobi – The International Organization for Migration (IOM), regional governments and 38 humanitarian and development organizations are appealing today (25 March) for USD 99 million dollars to provide life-saving assistance to over half a million (563,128) vulnerable Horn of Africa migrants, many of whom need urgent help after being stranded along the route taking them from the Horn of Africa to Yemen.

These funds are required for the first year of a 4-year plan, known as the “Regional Migrant Response Plan 2021-2024’ (MRP), to address the dire humanitarian, human rights, and safety and security challenges migrants in the region are facing. Once met, funding raised will assist local communities in affected countries, also impacted by the emergency.  

Every year, tens of thousands of migrants in the region leave countries like Ethiopia and Somalia, and others, in search of work and job opportunities to escape poverty, the effects of climate change, violent conflict and discrimination.

Many undertake journeys fraught with dangerous risks and face life-threatening situations en route. They lack access to food, water, shelter, and medical care. Every year migrants die of starvation and dehydration along the way. Many others are exposed to human rights violations including arbitrary arrest and detention, torture, and sexual and gender-based violence. In addition to facing stigma, discrimination and xenophobia, migrants continuously face various forms of exploitation by traffickers and smugglers. Nearly 700 migrants are currently stranded and in need of help in Djibouti, and over 900 more in Somalia. In Yemen, that number stands at a much larger 14,500 men, women and children, many unaccompanied.

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened all these conditions. Migrants have been summarily dismissed from their jobs, leaving them and their dependent families even worse off than before their journeys began.

Funds from this USD 99 million appeal will increase migrants’ chances of being able to return home and successfully reintegrated back into their communities. Support will also be given to communities of origin to address the drivers of ‘irregular’ migration, strengthen the capacity of governments in the region to provide humanitarian support, and further improve the coordination of humanitarian organizations, as well as improved migration management on the route.


For more information, please contact Yvonne Ndege, Regional Communications and Spokesperson East and Horn of Africa International Organization for Migration (IOM) on / Phone:  +254797735977

Regional Migrant Response Plan Appeal here.


Language English Posted: Thursday, March 25, 2021 - 21:51Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia: 

Many migrants lack access to food, shelter, water and medical care. Photo: IOM

Migrant returnees being hosted at the Agar rehabilitation centre in Ethiopia . Photo: IOM/Kennedy Njagi

Migrants on the road in Yemen receiving awareness on the dangers of irregular migration. Photo: Intersos 2020. 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: COVID-19International Cooperation and PartnershipsMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants Rights
Categories: PBN

Massive Fire Devastates Rohingya Refugee Camps in Cox’s Bazar

Tue, 03/23/2021 - 13:15

Cox’s Bazar – A massive fire swept through three IOM-managed sites yesterday displacing roughly 45,000 Rohingya refugees and causing catastrophic damage in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, the world’s largest refugee camp. More than 10,000 shelters were damaged in the fire and the International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s largest health centre in the camp was destroyed. The loss of the 24/7 health centre, which served more than 55,000 people in the last year, now further complicates the challenge of responding to COVID-19. 

The fire that raged through the camps only slowed once it reached the main roads, slopes, canals and rice fields. It has since subsided, but not before consuming essential facilities, shelters and the personal belongings of tens of thousands of people.  

The cause of the fire is still unknown. According to humanitarian agencies and local authorities, 11 people have lost their lives, more than 500 people have been injured and roughly 400 are still missing. 

“This disaster is a terrible setback that exacerbates the humanitarian needs of refugees in Cox’s Bazar,” said IOM’s Director General António Vitorino. 

"We will need to start from zero to rebuild. Our hearts are with all those affected.  We are committed to helping them build back safer with the support of the government of Bangladesh, our donors, partners and humanitarian actors.” 

In the immediate aftermath, government response services, including the fire brigade, the army and humanitarian agencies rushed to the area to put out the fire. IOM deployed its ambulances and mobile medical teams to respond to all those who were injured and to provide mental health and psychosocial support. 

Rohingya volunteers on the ground were the first responders, helping people to safety, supporting fire response efforts and working to support relief efforts. IOM teams and partners worked through the night to respond to the most immediate needs of those who fled the inferno. 

Today, families have begun to return to their plots of land. 

IOM is distributing emergency assistance to all those affected. This includes shelter kits and water as well as emergency items such as face masks, soap, blankets, solar lights, mosquito nets and jerry cans.  

With the start of the monsoon looming, rebuilding is critical. IOM will continue to help people reconstruct durable shelters, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities as well as its health centre, a facility that has been crucial to responding to COVID-19 over the last year.  

IOM’s emergency fund has pledged USD 1 million to the relief efforts.  A further USD 20 million is required to respond to these most urgent needs. 

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: Angela Wells, Tel: +41 79 403 5365, Email:  


Language English Posted: Tuesday, March 23, 2021 - 20:11Image: Region-Country: BangladeshDefault: Multimedia: 

A massive fire damaged more than 10,000 homes in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh yesterday. Photo: IOM 

IOM’s health clinic was destroyed in yesterday’s fire in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh. Photo: IOM 

Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Emergency Relief and ProtectionInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigrants in Vulnerable Situations/Migrants Rights
Categories: PBN

Freedom From Racial Discrimination is a Right, Not a Privilege

Sat, 03/20/2021 - 09:48

UN Network on Migration Statement

Geneva – In marking the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination, the United Nations Network on Migration calls on States to scale up efforts to condemn racial discrimination and to pursue, by all appropriate means, the elimination of all forms of discrimination.

While States and societies reap the benefits of migration, the migration experience, too often, is characterized by racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia, and related intolerance, including hate speech and hate crimes. In some places, reactions to COVID-19 have amplified anti-foreigner narratives, racial and ethnic stereotyping, and biases that evoke fear, bigotry, exclusion, and violence. Such rhetoric and acts are harmful. They also ignore the significant contribution of migrants to societies they live in and the role they play in pandemic response and recovery efforts. 

The impact of COVID-19 has prompted widespread expressions of mutual solidarity and support from States, civil society and individuals that transcended migration backgrounds or status. In some instances, youth have been at the forefront of initiatives to stand up against discrimination, notwithstanding increased perceived racial discrimination among migrant youth and children. On this day, in line with the 2021 theme of “Youth standing up against racism,” the Network calls on States to increase efforts towards building inclusive and tolerant societies where migrant youth and children are empowered as agents of positive change, regardless of their migration status.

Across its guiding principles and objectives, the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) reminds States of their commitment to condemn and counter expressions, acts and manifestations of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, violence, xenophobia, and related intolerance against all migrants in conformity with international human rights and labour laws. In line with the obligations outlined in the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination and the commitments made in the GCM, the Network calls on States to:

  • Amend any laws and regulations which have the effect of creating or perpetuating racial discrimination;
  • Enact, implement or maintain legislation that penalizes hate crimes and aggravated hate crimes targeting migrants;
  • Empower migrants and communities to denounce any acts of incitement to violence directed towards migrants by informing them of available mechanisms for redress;
  • Guarantee access to justice, including effective remedies for victims of hate crimes and other acts of violence that target migrants;
  • Ensure that all expressions, acts and manifestations of all forms of racism, racial discrimination, violence, xenophobia, and related intolerance are effectively addressed and those who actively participate in the commission of a hate crime targeting migrants are held accountable, in accordance with national legislation;
  • Take immediate and concrete measures, especially in the fields of education, culture, and information, to combat racial and xenophobic prejudice and promote understanding, tolerance, and friendship;
  • Ensure, in conformity with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, the availability of high-quality, timely, reliable and disaggregated data, while upholding the right to privacy under international human rights law and protecting personal data; and,
  • Dedicate targeted resources to schools with a high concentration of migrant children for integration activities to promote respect for diversity and inclusion, and prevent all forms of discrimination.

Racial discrimination threatens all pillars of society, undermining decades-long efforts towards greater equality within and between communities. It also erodes the Sustainable Development Goals’ central promise to “leave no one behind.”

By denigrating the humanity of some of us, we only diminish the humanity of all of us.

The United Nations Network on Migration was established to ensure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States in their implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. While the Network’s mandate is focused on migration, States are called to also implement these recommendations to refugees and asylum-seekers and to protect the human rights of everyone equally, regardless of migration status.

For more information, please contact:


UN Network on Migration (secretariat)
Florence Kim +41797480395


Helen Rosengren

Adam Bowers
+41 (0)22 799 63 48


Safa Msehli
IOM Geneva +41 79 403 5526


Rupert Colville
+41 22 917 9767



Michelle Alves de Lima
+1 (917) 515-2615


Ms. Shabia Mantoo

+41 22 739 7138


Christopher Tidey
+1 917 340 3017



Sonya Yee
Tel: (+43) 1 26060-4990





Language English Posted: Saturday, March 20, 2021 - 16:40Image: Region-Country: GlobalDefault: Multimedia:  Press Release Type: Globaltags 2021: Countering XenophobiaInternational Cooperation and PartnershipsMigration ManagementUN Network on Migration
Categories: PBN

IOM Launches Information Campaign on Internal Migration in Mongolia

Fri, 03/19/2021 - 08:13

Ulaanbaatar – Due to massive internal migration in Mongolia, almost half of the population lives in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, leading to many challenges in the city, including air and soil pollution, traffic jam and leaving rural Mongolia deserted. 

To help mitigate this trend, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) recently launched Should I Stay or Should I Go? Research It!, an information campaign that encourages internal migrants to better inform themselves before migrating within the country. The campaign launched on 23 February will run until 1 April 2021.

Fully supported by national and local government authorities in Mongolia, the campaign will include a wide range of multimedia outputs which include a documentary, series of videos, photos received from a photography contest, posters and brochures. All these will be disseminated through traditional and non-traditional media channels across the entire country, aiming to reach about 60 percent of the total population.

Although internal migration has been one of the strongest factors to shape the modern state of Mongolia, this is the first ever information campaign to address internal migrants in a comprehensive way.

Over the past few decades, many Mongolians have been moving from rural regions to the capital city, Ulaanbaatar, as a main coping mechanism with climate change induced slow onset and sudden disasters. The capital city, which now has almost half of the country’s entire population of 3,2 million has been put  under significant pressure with regional discrepancies in economic opportunities and public service availability.

“Our research shows that internal migrants do not seek information about their destination and don’t have a plan for their journey, while the main sources of information are relatives and friends,” said Giuseppe Crocetti, IOM China and Mongolia Chief of Mission. With little exposure to official information and adequate research, migrants tend not to register their residency, face challenges in accessing public services, finding job and accommodation, he added. It is also seen from the research that one of the reasons migrants don’t register is that they either don’t know how to register or believe registering is too complicated. 

“The campaign is aimed at equipping the prospective migrants with necessary information tools which they can use for a safer and more successful migration experience providing, at the same time, exposure to alternative destinations and modalities of internal migration,” said Victor Lutenco, programme manager at IOM Mongolia. “We are also trying to motivate the migrants who already settled, especially in Ulaanbaatar, to follow with proper registration of their new residency and guides them on getting full access to relevant public services,” Victor added. 

IOM also cooperates with the national integrated digital service portal and its hotline 1111 as well as with General Authority for State Registration making all the necessary information on migration available on these platforms and digitalizing the residency registration service.

The Should I Stay or Should I Go? Research It!  information campaign, which employed Communication for Development (C4D) methodology, is implemented as part of the Understanding and Managing Internal Migration in Mongolia project funded by Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation. The objective of the project is to improve socio-economic well-being of internal migrants in Mongolia through evidence-based, migration inclusive policies and concrete interventions on the ground.

As of March 15, 2021, the campaign had reached about 1,5 million people across the country.

For more information, please contact Erkhembayar Munkhbayar, +976-88101117.

Launching video of the campaign

Main documentary of the campaign

Alternate destination video from Khentii province

Alternate destination video from Dornogovi province

Alternate destination video from Tuv province

Language English Posted: Friday, March 19, 2021 - 12:52Image: Region-Country: MadagascarDefault: Multimedia: 

Due to massive internal migration in Mongolia, almost half of the population lives in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, leading to many challenges in the city, including air and soil pollution, traffic jam and leaving rural Mongolia deserted. Photo: Byambaochir.B, IOM Mongolia

Due to massive internal migration in Mongolia, almost half of the population lives in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, leading to many challenges in the city, including air and soil pollution, traffic jam and leaving rural Mongolia deserted. Photo: Battulga, IOM Mongolia

Due to massive internal migration in Mongolia, almost half of the population lives in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, leading to many challenges in the city, including air and soil pollution, traffic jam and leaving rural Mongolia deserted. Photo: Javkhlantugs.D, IOM Mongolia

Due to massive internal migration in Mongolia, almost half of the population lives in the capital city of Ulaanbaatar, leading to many challenges in the city, including air and soil pollution, traffic jam and leaving rural Mongolia deserted. Photo: Gerelsaikhan, IOM Mongolia

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

Hundreds of Unemployed Youth in Sierra Leone Receiving Skills Training

Fri, 03/19/2021 - 04:06

Freetown – An ambitious USD 4.3 million vocational training programme implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) this month registered its 940th participant, almost halfway towards the goal of preparing 2,000 unemployed young men and women to meet the domestic demand for skilled jobs.

Almost 60 per cent of young people in Sierra Leone are unemployed, driving their urge to seek work abroad, usually via irregular migration.

Yet in an economy still struggling after the ravages of a decade-long civil war, there’s also strong, unmet demand for skilled labour—including repairing and operating farming, road construction and mining machinery. By expanding a year-long effort to bring greater skills training here, IOM, foreign partners and Sierra Leone’s private sector are together creating jobs that will curb irregular migration.

This month, 200 people are engaged in a tractor and grader training programme funded by the government of Japan. Up to now, such training has been so scarce in Sierra Leone companies have had to import skilled migrants from other African countries to do machinery repair.

The initiative grew out of an encounter two years ago at the Tokyo International Conference on Africa’s Development (TICAD 7), where IOM representatives met with executives of Sierra Tropical Sierra Leone Ltd. (STL), a wholly owned subsidiary of Dole Asia Holdings and one of the country’s leaders in agribusiness.

IOM was encouraged by the company’s recent investments in pineapple cultivation, especially a fruit processing factory designed to employ locals. IOM had already conducted skills training sessions for 189 youths attached to Sierra Tropical LTD in the Sumbuya, Bo district.

"The knowledge and skills this programme bring will enable young people to have gainful employment that will provide them with income to support themselves and their families,” said Dr James Bagonza, the acting Head of Office for IOM Sierra Leone.

“It is good for young people to acquire the necessary skills and be employed in the country, rather than risking their lives to embark on desperate back way journeys.[1]"

At an event last month launching IOM’s Grader and Tractor Programme, Mohamed Orman Bangura, Sierra Leone's Minister of Youth Affairs, promised: "Those of you going through this training are assured of getting jobs upon graduation. It is no doubt that with our youths championing agriculture, the country will become food sufficient."

Another 240 youths have received entrepreneurship training and mentorship—that is, learning to launch their own businesses—and almost 300 received training for jobs in fisheries.

IOM also collaborated with the Freetown City Council to train 220 youth on sustainable waste management, equipping them with 20 motorized tricycles and other waste collection gear.

These projects all are part of IOM's larger scale youth empowerment project targeting 2,000 young job seekers by April 2022.


[1] “Back way” is West African slang for irregular migration.

For more information, please contact Dr James Bagonza, Head of Office IOM Sierra Leone, Email; Tel : +23276466371,  or Akao Kunikazu, Project Manager (TVET/Entrepreneurship Project), Email:; Tel:  +23299606007

Language English Posted: Friday, March 19, 2021 - 12:58Image: Region-Country: Sierra LeoneDefault: Multimedia: 

Hands-on training at the training location in Sumbuya, Bo District. Photo: IOM/Alfred Fornah

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