Zambia - IOM urged Africa’s Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and their Member States to ratify and implement the protocols on free movement of persons in their respective regions in order to make the Agenda 2063 on Regional Integration a reality. Agenda 2063 is the African Union’s strategic framework for the socio-economic transformation of the continent over the next 50 years.
Speaking at the opening session of the second Joint Annual Forum for Intra-Regional Forum on Migration, hosted by the Zambian government in Lusaka this week (4-6 May), IOM Director General William Lacy Swing told delegates that human mobility was an integral aspect of a globalized world. He added that African governments’ management of that mobility was key to the continent’s socio-economic transformation in the coming years.
“The time has now come to remove barriers to human mobility and enable Africa to benefit from the movement of human resources. Migration is not a problem to be solved but a reality to be managed, and if well managed, it is beneficial, necessary and desirable,” he urged.
Noting that some progress had been made across the continent, Ambassador Swing commended some of the RECs such as the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the East African Community (EAC) which have made considerable progress towards facilitation of cross border movement.
“ECOWAS and EAC have led the way by introducing a common passport respectively, which is a giant step towards eliminating barriers to cross border movement of citizens. This is very significant in promoting trade and migration within Africa,” Ambassador Swing said.
Charles Kwenin, IOM Senior Regional Adviser for Sub-Saharan Africa, said: “At a practical level, the conference seeks to provide a platform for African regional institutions and partners to share information on current migration trends, patterns and dynamics, newly emerging issues and reliable migration data at the national, regional and continental level in order to find durable solutions to the migration challenges in Africa.”
“The best way to address migration and security is to enhance border management systems and not close borders or build walls as some African countries seem to be doing,” he added.
The conference also heard from Esther Mambwe, a Zambian cross border trader, who called on African governments to address amongst other shortcomings, the lack of transparency in rules and regulations, making it difficult for cross border traders to know their rights. She also pointed to inadequate border clearance procedures that disrupt supply chains and frequently undermine competitiveness by increasing the cost and reducing reliability of supply.
“Cross border trade has provided gainful employment for me, other traders and their employees. In particular, since so many cross border traders are women, many of them have been empowered economically and this in turn has had a positive effect on economic growth, poverty reduction, employment creation, and even contributed to government revenues,” she said.
The Lusaka conference, which concludes later today (6/05), has been attended by high-level officials representing the Secretariats and Member States of Africa’s eight RECs, officials and experts from the African Union Commission (AUC), AU member states, ministries with migration, foreign affairs, immigration, labor, youth and justice functions, UN agencies and international organizations. Also in attendance are representatives from academia, civil society, private sector and diaspora.
The conference is co-organized by the Government of Zambia, the African Union, the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), IOM and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA). It is co-sponsored by ECOWAS, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD), the Southern African Development Community (SADC), UNHCR and the UN Population Fund (UNFPA).Africa and Middle EastZambiaDefault:
United Kingdom - IOM Deputy Director General Laura Thompson this week (4/5) met with representatives from business, government, trade unions and civil society organisations in London to discuss what has been called “modern slavery” and to launch a call to action for global corporations to eliminate unethical recruitment practices, including the charging of extortionate fees to migrant workers.
IOM joined HP Inc., Coca-Cola Company, Hewlett-Packard Enterprise, IKEA and Unilever – along with the Institute for Human Rights & Business, Vérité and the Interfaith Center for Corporate Responsibility – for the launch of the Leadership Group for Responsible Recruitment.
Among the core goals of this new initiative is the “Employer Pays Principle”, which states no worker should have to pay for his or her job. Instead, employers should pay for the recruitment and deployment costs of migrant workers. “Employer Pays” will be an important first step in protecting migrant workers by tackling the costs and fees that often erode workers’ salaries, or leave them at risk of exploitation and forced labour.
DDG Thompson emphasized that the benefits of labour migration are evident: labour mobility is desirable to ensure that labour and skills gaps are filled, while providing opportunities for workers across borders. However, unless measures are put into place to ensure that migrant workers are protected from exploitation throughout the recruitment process, and during their employment, the consequences can be severe.
Throughout the migration process, migrant workers are vulnerable to labour exploitation, abuse and human rights violations, including human trafficking. According to the ILO, 21 million people are victims of forced labour, 19 million of whom are exploited by individuals or private enterprises. Too often, labour migrants find themselves employed under substandard or exploitative working conditions, forced, deceived, and unable to leave due to “invisible chains” that bind them to a worksite or an employer.
Even where there is little physical danger, workers often endure what amounts to debt bondage after being forced to pay onerous recruitment fees just for the opportunity to work. Other times, payment is withheld from an employee or passports and other identity documents are retained, to ensure that they remain in captivity for the duration of their contract.
Leading companies worldwide recognise their responsibilities and are taking action. “In Asia, some workers travel across the continent looking for higher wages and can be misled by corrupt job brokers into paying these unjust costs,” Apple wrote in its 2016 Supplier Responsibility Progress Report, adding “Workers shouldn’t have to go into debt to earn a pay-check.” Apple audits its suppliers as part of its ongoing commitment to eliminate forced labour and in 2015 required its suppliers to repay USD 4.7 million in recruitment fees back to workers.
Other companies are taking action through a number of initiatives, such as labour supply chain mapping to trace their workers’ journeys from home communities to the worksite, and pre-departure orientation to empower workers with accurate information on their contract terms, rights, and access to remedy. In this way, recruited workers learn that earnings and salary deductions should be fair and transparent – and not opportunities for unscrupulous labour brokers to siphon off workers’ earnings through inflated billing.
IOM also helps companies and governments ensure that migrant workers are hired in a fair and transparent manner, consistent with ethical recruitment principles, in part through the development of industry-led codes of conduct and other self-regulatory initiatives requiring ethical recruitment practices within supply chains. One example is the International Recruitment Integrity System (IRIS), a voluntary certification process for international recruitment being developed by IOM, together with a group of like-minded partners.
For further information please contact Lara White at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 22 717 9365, Email: email@example.comPosted: Friday, May 6, 2016 - 16:32Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault:
Libya - For the first time in two years, representatives from eight West African embassies in Libya have visited detention centers inside and outside of Tripoli where their nationals are being held.
IOM worked with the Libyan authorities to facilitate the visit by diplomats from Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Guinea Conakry, Ghana, Nigeria, Niger and Gambia to the Al Garabulli detention center, an hour east of Tripoli on May 3rd. The center is currently holding 315 West African nationals.
The aim of the visit was for the diplomats to check on conditions in which their nationals are being held and explore possible ways and means for their release, as well as to identify those interested in voluntary humanitarian repatriation. Some 202 of the 315 held in Al Garabulli expressed an interest in voluntary return to their countries of origin.
On May 2nd another visit was organized to the Abu Salim detention center in Tripoli, where 450 West African migrants are being held. Diplomats from Nigeria, Niger, Gambia, Guinea Conakry and Senegal took part. Of the 450 migrants in center, 370 expressed an interest in voluntary repatriation.
IOM Libya Chief of Mission Othman Belbeisi said that the visits are valuable. “They are very important to maintain contact between the migrants and their embassies. They also strengthen IOM’s advocacy against the detention of irregular migrants and contribute to resolving their situation.”
For further information please contact Othman Belbeisi, IOM Libya, Tel. +216 29 600 389. Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted: Friday, May 6, 2016 - 16:31Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastLibyaDefault:
Greece - IOM reports an estimated 184,887 migrants and refugees have entered Europe by sea in 2016, arriving in Italy, Greece, Cyprus and Spain, through 5 May.
Latest fatalities stand at 1,357. By comparison, deaths in 2015 through the end of April on all Mediterranean routes totalled 1,733, which was 27 percent greater than the 2016 total thus far.
Arrivals through April 30 this year totalled just under 184,000 – which compares with 2015’s total of 48,636 during the same four-month period. In other words, 2015 was relatively much deadlier for migrants and refugees crossing the Mediterranean, with fatalities occurring at a rate of about one for every 28 arrivals, compared to this year with one for every 136 arrivals.
IOM spokesman Flavio Di Giacomo reports from Rome that on Thursday (5/5) 123 migrants rescued in the Channel of Sicily were brought to the island of Lampedusa, Italy’s closest territory to the North African coast. He said 140 more are arriving today and that, additionally, IOM has also learned that 493 migrants are due to land today (6/5) in Taranto, Apulia, with 697 others due to be brought to Augusta, Sicily on Saturday morning.
Those rescues are not included in Italy’s 2016 total of about 28,700 registered arrivals through 5 May. Once registered, those due to land on Italian shores over the coming days will bring the estimated total of arrivals in Italy so far in 2016 to just over 30,000.
For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic please go to:
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int
Or Abby Dwommoh at IOM Turkey, Tel: +903124551202, Email: email@example.com.
Or Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgEurope and Central AsiaGreeceDefault:
Tunisia - IOM this week hosted a workshop: “Migrant Well-being: Psychosocial Assistance to Migrants in Tunisia”. The event coincided with publication of a study: “Evaluation of socio-economic and health vulnerabilities of migrants for effective access to health services in Tunisia” carried out by Tunisia’s National Office of Family and Population (ONFP) and supported by IOM.
The workshop, funded by the IOM Development Fund (IDF), aimed to raise awareness in the public sector and civil society about the importance of psychosocial assistance to support vulnerable migrants. Participants included representatives from various ministries, UN agencies and NGOs.
The important relationship between migration and mental health is sometimes overlooked, but the migration process often affects the psychological state of the migrant. It is not migration itself, but a unique combination of backgrounds, socio-economic conditions and socio-cultural integration and adaptation in the new system that contributes to the mental wellbeing of migrants.
Providing psychosocial assistance can reduce their vulnerability, enhance their resilience, integration and reintegration, according to the head of IOM’s mental health, Guglielmo Schinina, who spoke at the workshop. Other speakers included representatives of the National Institute of Labour and Social Studies, UNICEF and civil society actors.
Topics included the work of the Ministry of Social Affairs and NGOs in support of vulnerable migrants, initiatives carried out by IOM in the framework of the SALEMM project "Solidarity with Children of the Maghreb and Mashreq", and activities conducted by UNICEF in support of displaced children and families in southern Tunisia, as well as among families who have fled the conflict in Libya.
Speakers emphasized on the need to ensure universal access to health services and the need to integrate migrants within the national health system through information and capacity building for health service providers and structures.
Tunisia’s National Office of Family and Population (ONFP) and IOM also this week presented the results of the study “Evaluation of socio-economic and health vulnerabilities of migrants for an effective access to health services in Tunisia”.
The study, conducted as part of IOM’s European Union-funded project: " Stabilisation of Communities at Risk and Strengthen Migration Management in Order to Support the Transitions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya (START)”, collected information on the socio-economic and health vulnerabilities of migrants and highlights recommendations for improving access to health for migrants during their migratory cycle in Tunisia.
For further details, please contact Lorena Lando at IOM Tunisia, Email: email@example.com, Tel. +216 71 860 312.Posted: Friday, May 6, 2016 - 16:29Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastTunisiaDefault:
Burundi - UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) Chaloka Beyani has completed a three-day assessment of the situation of IDPs in Burundi. His visit was jointly organized by UNHCR and UNOCHA, in coordination with IOM.
During his visit to camps in Gitaza and Cashi (Rumonge) established for 1,900 people affected by floods in October 2015, he found an urgent need for more assistance, including access to basic services such as health care and education.
He noted that more resources are also needed to ensure the protection of IDPs, especially women, children and the elderly. Psychosocial assistance is also urgently needed, as the communities have repeatedly suffered from traumatic events, including two in 2015 alone.
The IDPs also need safe and voluntary relocation in line with international standards. Suitable land and significant resources need to be identified for such a process to be initiated.
During the Special Rapporteur’s discussions with Government officials, humanitarian actors and civil society, he highlighted the importance of establishing a legal framework for the assistance and protection of IDPs in Burundi. He advocated for the adoption by the government of the Kampala Convention and for a national IDP law.
“The current IDP situation should be seen and addressed as a humanitarian issue, delinked from politics. IDPs are victims and the solution must be a humanitarian one,” said Dr. Beyani.
According to IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM), in March 2016 there were over 25,000 IDPs in the three provinces of Rutana, Makamba and Kirundo. Some 15 percent of them were displaced due to natural disasters.
In addition, some 78,000 persons remain internally displaced from the 1993 crisis. These IDPs are living in sites scattered throughout the country and still have humanitarian needs that remain unaddressed.
For further information please contact Kristina Mejo, IOM Burundi., Tel. +257 71256332; Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted: Friday, May 6, 2016 - 16:28Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastBurundiDefault:
Nepal - Labour migration and the remittances earned by migrants abroad are crucial to Nepal’s economic development and represent a quarter of the South Asian nation’s GDP (USD 5.6 billion in 2013). However, just two percent is set aside for investments.
There are no institutional programmes to counter this trend and encourage migrants to save and invest. Nepal’s excessive reliance on migration to fill the absence of in-country employment opportunities poses a serious threat – any substantial decline in capital inflow from migrants may destabilize the economy and society.
As migration and the resulting financial flows will remain important to Nepal and Nepalese households alike in the coming years, IOM and the International Agency for Source Country Information (IASCI) have signed a partnership agreement on a Research and Policy Dialogue Initiative on Migration and Development.
This is the first project of its kind to assist a Nepali institution to develop a national policy framework to harness the potential of migration.
The objective of the Research and Policy Dialogue is to assist the Government of Nepal in developing policies and project interventions that would connect migration with the resulting financial flows and development. While developing the research, a few elements were taken into consideration: households and migrant surveys, structured interviews with local authorities, consultations with the Government, and private sector and civil society organizations.
“Little has been done to maximize the benefits of the financial and social remittances that Nepal’s migrants bring back home,” says Maurizio Busatti, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Nepal. “The research and consultative process will provide the government, civil and private sector a better way of formulating policies, projects and market interventions in order to normalize migration.”
Nicolaas de Zwager, IASCI’s Director emphasized the importance of dialogue in stimulating and enhancing the benefits of migration through an innovative, flexible and responsive Nepal-specific context. “Evidence from other countries proves that in order to enhance the benefits of migration, we have to focus on the migrants and improve the coordination between public, private and civil society,” he said.
The 15-month research project is being funded by the IOM Development Fund, co-funded by IASCI and implemented in close partnership with the Ministry of Labour and Employment, Central Bureau of Statistics and Integrated Institute of Development Studies in Nepal.
For further information please contact Maurizio Busatti at IOM Nepal, Tel. +977.1.4426250, Email: email@example.comPosted: Friday, May 6, 2016 - 16:27Image: Region-Country: AsiaNepalDefault:
Maldives - A first-ever meeting of the top judiciary in the Maldives devoted to human trafficking closed yesterday in the Indian Ocean island nation, with the issue of a letter and pledge of commitment.
Maldives is a destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labour and sex trafficking, and a source country for women and children. The Prevention of Human Trafficking Act was passed in December 2013 and the Government of Maldives has so far prosecuted one case under the Act, which is waiting judgement.
While the government has made progress through its recent initiatives, increased efforts to address human trafficking are required specifically in the areas of prosecution and protection.
The Department of Judicial Administration and IOM therefore collaborated to organize the colloquium for the judiciary – the first such conference of judges where trafficking was the central focus. It aimed to strengthen the justice delivery mechanism in compliance with international standards.
In total, 35 judges, including judges from the Supreme Court, High Court, Criminal Court, Juvenile Court and Chief magistrates from the island courts, participated.
The specific objectives were strengthened understanding and application of justice through an approach which prioritizes the victims; effective application of the anti-trafficking act; and strengthened links between judges and prosecutors.
Speaking at the inaugural session of the colloquium, Chief Justice Abdulla Saeed said: “The crime of human trafficking is a violation of humanity itself and needs to be eradicated completely. It is a crime which should not be tolerated.” He emphasized the commitment of the judiciary to do its part in tackling the issue.
IOM is currently implementing Phase II of a project: “Comprehensive Action to Combat Trafficking in Persons in the Maldives”.
Maldives Minister of Economic Development Mohamed Saeed noted that the Maldivian economy is in the midst of an economic transformation with ambitious targets to increase GDP, undertake major infrastructure projects and expand tourism.
“In pursuing the developmental agenda in the context of an increasingly globalized world, the Government of Maldives is fully committed to combat human trafficking and promoting safe and orderly migration,” he said.
The colloquium closed with a formal commitment by the judiciary of the Maldives to combat trafficking in persons and the signing of an open letter and pledge of commitment to eradicate human trafficking in the Indian Ocean nation.
For further information please contact Shareen Tuladhar at IOM Maldives; Tel: +94 11 5325 300; Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted: Friday, May 6, 2016 - 16:26Image: Region-Country: AsiaMaldivesDefault:
“If We Leave We Are Killed: Lessons Learned from South Sudan Protection of Civilian Sites 2013-2016”: Report Launch
South Sudan – In December of 2013, violent clashes erupted across South Sudan, displacing nearly 2.4 million people. Fearing for their lives, thousands of civilians sought refuge at UN bases throughout the country. The protection of civilian (PoC) areas within the bases were not adequate to accommodate the tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs) that arrived, and the UN and humanitarian actors struggled to provide protection, food, shelter, medical and other assistance required at these sites. As many as 200,000 IDPs continue to seek shelter in these UN PoC sites as they flee the vicious civil war.
Today, an independent report, “If We Leave We Are Killed: Lessons Learned from South Sudan Protection of Civilian Sites 2013–2016,” was launched in Juba to take stock of the PoC response to date and offer guidance for future action. The report, authored by Michael J. Arensen, was commissioned by IOM and the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation.
The launch event included a panel discussion with key stakeholders, including the author, representatives from the UN peacekeeping mission, humanitarian organizations and Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of IDPs Dr. Chaloka Beyani.
“The PoC sites in South Sudan are unprecedented and illustrate the best example of a UN Mission and humanitarian actors working together to save lives. Now, we must evaluate our response with the aim of improving it for the future,” said David Derthick, IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission.
Conditions for IDPs within the PoC sites can be crowded and harsh, but the sites represent one of the only sources of safety for civilians as they continue to bear the brunt of the conflict. Despite cautious optimism as implementation of the peace agreement moves forward, key stakeholders recognise that PoC sites are likely to remain necessary in the years to come.
As one IDP, Apon, interviewed for the report told the author, South Sudanese are often faced with the difficult decision of living in crowded PoC sites or facing the threat of violence outside of the sites: “The PoC is hot, but it is better than death—if we leave we will be killed.”
Additional launch events are planned in Geneva (9 May), London (10 May), New York (12 May) and Washington, D.C. (14 May).
Download the report at: https://publications.iom.int/system/files/pdf/if_we_leave_0.pdf.
For further information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email: email@example.com.Posted: Thursday, May 5, 2016 - 12:17Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth SudanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault:
Nepal - A little over a year since Nepal was devastated by a massive earthquake that left thousands dead and hundreds of thousands homeless, the country is poised to enter the reconstruction phase. To mark the transition from relief through recovery, IOM today released a video documentary dedicated to the people of Nepal in appreciation of their determination and resilience.
“Foundation of Hope: Year One of Relief, Recovery and Reconstruction in Nepal” https://youtu.be/IUGtQKzS2gg was directed by Nepali award-winning documentary film maker Ganesh Panday and an all-Nepali crew, including a cameraman who lost four members of his close family in Sindhupalchowk in April 2015.
The documentary showcases the stories, in their own words, of a representative few of the more than 1.8 million Nepalis that IOM’s programmes have assisted over the past 12 months and the feats of extraordinary courage, grace, and resilience of the Nepali people as a whole.
Launching the documentary in Kathmandu today, IOM Regional Director for Asia and the Pacific Nenette Motus said: “What we are showcasing is the story of a response to a disaster. It is first and foremost a story of Nepalis helping other Nepalis – 90 per cent of IOM’s Nepal staff are Nepali themselves, many of whom suffered, or had family or friends who suffered, in the earthquake and its aftermath. The story of rebuilding and reconstruction is a story that is now starting to unfold. IOM is just as committed to building the future as we have been in contributing to the relief and disaster response effort.“
Also featured in the documentary is IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Maurizio Busatti, who reveals how over 30 years ago, at the start of his humanitarian career, he experienced a huge earthquake in his own country - Italy. He praised the courage and humanity of his staff and the Nepalis he has met and worked with over the past 12 months.
“Over the past year we have seen how extraordinarily brave and resilient the Nepali people are. They came together to help each other, shared what they had and volunteered in temporary camps. Families and friends around the world also immediately sent assistance, tripling remittances in the aftermath of the two earthquakes,” he observes.
To date, 1.8 million Nepalis have been assisted by IOM’s relief, recovery and reconstruction programme through the provision of emergency shelter assistance, shelter support and capacity building to empower Nepalis to build back safer. IOM has contributed to camp coordination and camp management, debris removal, income support, protection, and health and psychosocial services for earthquake-affected communities.
Looking forward to the reconstruction phase, there are formidable challenges. Topography alone is daunting, as are the number of affected people and the diversity of the needs to meet: there are still over 27,000 Nepalis living in temporary settlement sites in the worst-affected districts.
IOM, its UN partners, civil society and volunteer organizations will continue to support the Nepali National Reconstruction Authority’s efforts to ensure that the most vulnerable, including female-headed households, people with disabilities, the elderly, children, the underprivileged and other vulnerable groups receive the assistance they need.
IOM is grateful for award-winning composer Gary S. Scott’s donation of his music to the film; his work has featured in many successful television programmes worldwide over the past three decades. The executive producer of the documentary was Nick Ashton-Hart, an expert on international public policy, and the current Geneva Representative of the Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA.)
For further information, please contact Jitendra Bohara at IOM Nepal, Email firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +977.801004571.Posted: Wednesday, May 4, 2016 - 13:17Image: Region-Country: AsiaNepalDefault:
Greece - At least 170,000 migrants and refugees have entered Europe along sea-borne routes through the first three months of 2016, according to calculations by the International Organization for Migration. This unofficial tally is based on arrivals to Italy reported late Thursday, as well as several hundred migrants and refugees believed to have entered Europe via Spanish waters during the course of 2016.
The total of just under 170,000 is more than eight times the number – 20,700 – recorded through the first three months of 2015, a year when a record one million migrants and refugees crossed the Mediterranean.
IOM reports that 169,846 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea through March 31. This includes 151,104 via the Eastern Mediterranean (Turkey to Greece) and 18,742 via the Central Mediterranean (North Africa to Italy.) IOM reports there have been 620 deaths at sea so far in 2016, compared with 505 through this period last year – an increase of 23 percent.
Deaths of minors – all recorded in the waters linking Turkey to Greece – now stand at 358 since the first of September, 2015. Child drownings made up nearly half the deaths recorded on the same route during the last four months of 2015, but only a quarter of migrant fatalities so far this year.Arrivals by sea and deaths in the Mediterranean
1 Jan – 31 Mar 2016 1 Jan – 31 March 2015 Country Arrivals Deaths Arrivals Deaths
366 (Eastern Med route)
505 (includes all Med routes)
254 (Central and West. Med route)
10,165Estimated total 169,846 620 20,700 505
Country Total 2014 Total 2015 1 Jan – 30Mar 2016
* Based on Italian MOI information
1 Jan - 31 March 2016 totals updated as of 15:00hrs, Tues 1 April 2016
According to Libyan sources, a shipwreck occurred off Libya’s coast on Wednesday: a rubber dinghy carrying about 120 migrants sank a few hours after departing for Italy. Thirty-one survivors were rescued by the Libyan navy, but an estimated 89 migrants are still missing.
“Migrants that arrived in last several days are mainly African nationals, coming from Nigeria, Mali, Gambia Senegal and other Sub-Saharan countries. There are no Syrians and for the time being this surge is not related to the renewed efforts to reduce migrants moving through Greece and into the western Balkans,” explained Federico Soda, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean.
“This increase is due to a couple of factors. One is the calm seas and improved weather conditions. The other is the situation in Libya which, according to the migrants that have spoken to IOM, is increasingly dangerous for them. According to testimonies gathered by our staff at landing points, migrants are targets of systemic violence and they are leaving because it is too dangerous,” Soda added.
In addition to the latest deaths off Libya, IOM reported that on that same day patrols from Libya rescued a second dinghy with 140 migrants on board. Survivors were taken back to Libya and so are not counted in the total number arriving in Italy this month.
IOM Rome reports that over 4,000 migrants have been rescued since Tuesday (29/3) in the Channel of Sicily. The rescued migrants have been brought to the ports of Augusta, Trapani, Catania, Messina, Palermo and Lampedusa (Sicily), Reggio Calabria and Crotone (Calabria) and Salerno (Campania).
While the majority of migrants are coming from Libya on overcrowded rubber dinghies, at least one fishing boat has arrived in Italy from Egypt this year.
“Every year, the overall majority (90 percent) of migrants usually arrive from Libya, the remaining 10 percent leave from Egypt. The journey from Egypt takes a few days and smugglers use fishing boats that can carry hundreds of migrants,” explained Soda.
IOM estimates show that in the first three months of 2016 Italy registered the arrival of over 18,000 people – an increase of more than 8,000 compared to the same period last year. At least 9,200 migrants were rescued at sea by Italian and international vessels in March – four times the 2,283 rescued during March 2015.
By yesterday (31/3), 18,357, migrants had arrived in Italy in 2016. Another 985 – 591 bound for Salerno; and 394 who arrived in Palermo late Thursday night – would bring the total to over 19,000.
According to IOM data, 249 migrants lost their lives in the Channel of Sicily this year, an average of almost three per day, despite the harsh winter conditions that kept larger vessels from attempting passage. IOM recorded 489 Mediterranean deaths of migrants and refugees through the first 90 days of 2015.
On the Eastern Mediterranean route, 366 migrants or refugees are believed to have perished on the passage between Turkey and Greece – an average of just over four per day.
Soda added: “This migration is still extremely dangerous and we don't really know the extent of the dangers during the overland journey across the Sahara desert. Fortunately this year we have registered a slight decrease of fatalities. This is essentially due to the presence of many rescue vessels patrolling the Mediterranean. IOM praises the efforts of all those engaged in life saving operations and the commitment shown by all the naval forces involved in saving so many lives at sea."
Meanwhile in Greece, the number of migrant and refugee arrivals from Turkey decreased significantly in March 2016, with only 27,000 arrivals recorded – roughly half the number recorded in February 2016.
IOM estimates that 150,703 migrants and refugees have crossed into the Greek islands since the beginning of the year. Most have arrived in Lesbos (53 percent), Chios (30 percent) and Samos (9 percent). The remainder have arrived in Leros (3 percent), Megisti (2 percent), Kos (1 percent) and other islands (2 percent). Some 42 percent of the newly arrived migrants and refugees were adult men, 21 percent adult women and 37 percent children.
For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic please go to:
For further information please contact IOM Greece. Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: email@example.com or Kelly Namia, Tel: +302109919040, +302109912174, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Abby Dwommoh at IOM Turkey, Tel: +903124551202, Email: email@example.com.
Or Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Or Ivona Zakoska at IOM Skopje, Tel. +389 2 30 88 100, Ext. 133 Email: email@example.com
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Iraq - The Government of Japan is providing a total of USD 4 million to IOM Iraq to support internally displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees. This contribution will support IOM’s response to the current humanitarian and displacement crisis in the country and will fund two projects over 12 months.
Some USD 3.5 million will be used to help internally displaced people through the IOM project: Integrated Emergency Response and Community Revitalization Plan for IDPs, Returnees and Host Communities across Iraq.
The project will focus on building transitional shelters from local materials for IDPs and returnee communities; providing primary, maternal and child health care through mobile medical teams to communities that have limited access to health services; and conducting community-based social cohesion activities.
The latter will include peacebuilding and traditional mediation practices, and will focus on empowering community groups and will ensure the active participation of women, youth and ethno-religious minorities. This project will also incorporate use of materials donated by Japan, including eyeglasses, provided to displaced Iraqi children.
Another USD 500,000 will be used to help vulnerable Syrian refugee and host community households in Iraq through another IOM project: Emergency and Livelihood Assistance to Syrian Refugees in Iraq.
Activities will include school transportation for Syrian refugee children and the provision of vocational skills and business training, income generating activities through involvement in co-operatives, and the rehabilitation of shared community infrastructure, in line with the Syrian Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) in Iraq.
These projects align with IOM’s strategy to provide support to the most vulnerable groups across Iraq in close cooperation with humanitarian partners, and will build on IOM’s experience in Iraq of more than a decade in providing humanitarian assistance and community revitalization support.
IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss said: “We greatly appreciate the Government of Japan’s ongoing support towards IOM’s response to the IDP and Syrian refugee crises. Those suffering displacement require a range of life-saving services. We look forward to continuing efforts, in cooperation with the UN Country Team, other humanitarian partners and the Government of Iraq, to strengthen our response to assist Iraqis affected by the current crisis, as well as Syrian refugees who require further support in light of the protracted crisis in Syria.”
For further information please contact Sandra Black at IOM Iraq, Tel: +964 751 234 2550, Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted: Friday, April 1, 2016 - 16:59Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqDefault:
Democratic Republic of the Congo - IOM DRC has launched an income generation scheme for 573 former internally displaced people (IDPs) in Kamuronza, Muvunyi and Karuba Muvunyi-Shanga areas, with financial support from the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).
The scheme is part of an IOM project, ''Protection and food security assistance for internally displaced persons and returnees in the North Kivu province'', which aims to offer returnees sustainable livelihood solutions in North Kivu’s Masisi territory.
IOM will pay out two thirds of the USD 120 this month that each beneficiary will receive to set up an income-generating business. The funds will be transferred in partnership with the Airtel Telecommunications Company.
Beneficiaries, who underwent biometric registration in the displacement sites, have to be former IDPs who have agreed to voluntarily return to their areas of origin. They also need to be able to show that they can generate income from their chosen activity.
In January 2016, IOM conducted a market assessment in the project areas; trained beneficiaries in income generating activities including small businesses, animal husbandry and farming; and established local support groups.
On 24th March 2016, it distributed 345 kits containing watering cans, hoes and market garden seeds to returnees in Kamuronza, following the closure of the Lac Vert and Shasha displacement sites in October 2015.
For further information, please contact Monique Van Hoof at IOM DRC, Tel: +243 822 487 445, Email: email@example.comPosted: Friday, April 1, 2016 - 16:58Image: Default:
Democratic Republic of the Congo - To promote better relations between the police and population in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), IOM has initiated a community policing program in Mbuji-Mayi, Kasai Oriental province, and Lubumbashi in Haut-Katanga province. The project is supported by the USA and Canada.
In Mbuji-Mayi, 400 officers from the Community Policing Police and 50 from the Mining Police will attend a five-month training at the police training school at the Domaine agroindustriel présidentiel de la N'sele in Dibindi commune from 29 March 2016 to 28 August 2016.
The training will be complemented with the construction of a police station and four sub-stations in Bipemba, which began in mid-March.
The program will also promote Local Councils for Security Proximity (CLSP) to improve relations between the police and the community. Workshops were organized on 22 and 23 March 2016 on community security in the communes of Muya and Bipemba to present the mandate of the CLSPs and their relationship with district forums.
The CLSPs, established in 2013, are responsible for collecting security information from district forums and provide a framework for dialogue between the public and representatives of civil society to find solutions to security issues.
A similar program is being implemented in Lubumbashi with the construction of a police station and four sub-stations in the commune of Kampemba. It will be complemented with a capacity building program of 400 police officers in April 2016.
The first session will last six months and will train 279 officers on community policing, 50 on border policing and 50 on mining policing. Another 279 trainees will also attend community policing training for a period of six months.
Training sessions for 40 trainers from Community, Mining and Border Police were held from 14 to 26 March 2016 at the Police Academy of Kassapa in Lubumbashi. Training of Border Police is being implemented in close cooperation with the General Directorate of Migration.
The activities are part of an IOM program funded by the United States through its Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement Affairs (INL) and the Canadian government with the aim of strengthening security in Mbuji Mayi and Lubumbashi and improving relations between the police and the population.
For further information, please contact Damien Callamand at IOM DRC, Tel: +243 822 593 599, Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted: Friday, April 1, 2016 - 16:57Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastDemocratic Republic of the CongoDefault:
Mauritania - IOM and the UN Human Rights Office (OHCHR) this week provided human rights training for 15 Mauritanian police and gendarmerie officers responsible for border management in Nouakchott.
The two-day workshop, which included four female officers, was organized for the Mauritanian police and gendarmerie’s knowledge of human rights. It was part of a series of workshops designed to enhance professional skills related to border management.
The workshop was a key part of a EUR 2.35 million European Union (EU)-funded IOM project: "Strengthening migration management in Mauritania through a better border management strategy and assistance to irregular migrants".
Since the project began, over 140 officers have received training on various themes, including border management, trafficking in persons, migration and information technology.
“This training will help law enforcement in achieving their mission of maintaining national security, while ensuring the strict respect for the rights of migrants and travelers in a professional manner,” explained IOM Mauritania’s Djibril Djigo, who organized the training.
For further information, please contact Laura Palatini at IOM Mauritania, Tel. +222 42 42 00 43, Email: email@example.comPosted: Friday, April 1, 2016 - 16:56Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastMauritaniaDefault:
Guinea - When a new cluster of two Ebola cases was confirmed in Koropara, in Guinea’s remote Nzérékoré region on March 16th, IOM field staff responded quickly by establishing two health screening points at the entry and exit points of the village as a key component of the Guinean Rapid Response Mechanism aimed at detecting and managing ill travelers and prevent further spread of the virus through human mobility.
During the following days, at the request of the Government of Guinea and the National Coordination of the Fight against Ebola (CNLE), IOM participated actively in the launching of a ‘soft ring containment’ of Koropara to identify and follow-up contacts of the Ebola virus disease (EVD) cases.
“The swift establishment of Ebola containment measures in Koropara was made possible by the close cooperation of local authorities, partners and IOM staff who had been working with health and security personnel in the region to reinforce emergency preparedness and response mechanisms, since Guinea was officially declared Ebola free in late December of 2015,” explained Kabla Amihere, Chief of Mission of IOM Guinea.
With IOM logistics support, CNLE has placed Koropara under ‘soft ring containment’, a designation that entails strictly enforced entry and exit screening and registration of Koropora residents for 21 days - the maximum incubation period for the virus.
“Twenty-one IOM staffers are currently participating in the ‘soft ring containment’ by carrying out health screening at three road points in Koropora and the nearby suburb of Koroh. They will all sleep in Koropara during that period, working closely with 21 local volunteers they trained and equipped,” added Amihere.
Koroh was included in the current operation surveillance zone after members of IOM’s information management team identified it as a point of epidemiological vulnerability due to mobility. Since the resurgence of this new outbreak, IOM produced 17 maps to support CNLE and its partners in developing its response strategy.
As of March 31st, eight people were confirmed to have died from Ebola in the area of Koropara, where the current outbreak originated.
With support from the Office of US Foreign Disaster Assistance (OFDA), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Japan and Belgium, IOM Guinea provides logistics support to the Guinean Government through the National/Prefectural Emergency Operation Center Project.
During the Ebola crisis in Guinea, within its Health, Border and Mobility Management (HBMM) program, IOM brought in technical support to draft border health strategies and was partner lead for the cross-border group and cross-border collaboration.
It provided technical support to CNLE by installing health control measures at borders, as well as some major highways and other hotspots known to be at higher risk of virus spread due to human mobility,for health screening and monitoring of travelers. It also sensitized the population to Ebola through community-based surveillance activities.
From March 2015 to this new Ebola outbreak, Guinea recorded 3,812 confirmed, probable and suspected EVD cases, including 2,543 deaths, indicating a mortality average of 66.7 percent.
For further information, please contact Lola Simonet at IOM Guinea, Tel.: +224 625 25 94 94. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted: Friday, April 1, 2016 - 16:55Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastGuineaDefault:
Pakistan - The 7.5 magnitude earthquake that struck Pakistan and Afghanistan last October resulted in loss of life and damaged over 100,000 houses.
While tremors were felt as far as New Delhi in neighboring India, it was Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA) that were the worst affected areas in Pakistan.
As part of the Natural Disasters Consortium in Pakistan, IOM has now initiated a recovery programme to support affected communities.
IOM will be working together with Heritage Foundation, a local NGO partner, on a pilot project for 200 households in Shangla district. It will include shelter assistance; water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) intervention; and distribution of cooking stoves.
The shelter strategy is based on the ‘Build Back Safer with Vernacular Methodologies’ developed for IOM Pakistan’s One Room Shelter initiative and adapted to respond to the vulnerabilities of the affected population.
The models have been tested at the NED University of Engineering and Technology, Karachi. The testing went beyond the magnitude of the huge 2005 Pakistan earthquake. Materials used included mud bricks, lime in render and bamboo, along with binding wire, steel plates and bolts for anchoring the roof.
Following the testing, a four-day “safer shelter” training workshop was organized this week in Mansehra for artisans, local government officials and community members from affected communities.
The artisans will work directly with communities and will train beneficiaries to ensure implementation of safer shelter construction techniques. Nineteen artisans will be certified as master trainers, and will take a leading role in delivering trainings for households in areas severely affected by the earthquake.
For further information, please contact Ammarah Mubarak at IOM Pakistan. Tel: +92 51 230 7841; Email: email@example.comPosted: Friday, April 1, 2016 - 16:54Image: Default:
El Salvador - IOM and UNFPA yesterday wrapped up a USD 1.7 million project funded by Finland and the Netherlands aimed at reducing gender violence in El Salvador, a small country that registered 575 femicides in 2015.
With its Prevention of Violence against Women BA1 project, IOM promoted self-employment among women, in order to strengthen their autonomy. Some 504 women were given seed capital to start businesses to support their families.
"When they spoke of seed capital, I thought that they were talking about tomato seeds or something that I could plant. If things went wrong, I could always sell the seed that they would give me,” laughs Maria Angela Escobar, 40, a survivor of domestic violence.
"I thought I would receive the seed right away, but it took about eight months of trainings. They talked about business, about management, about how to build a business that you like and that will generate profits. Before I received the seed capital, they supported me psychologically, and trained me. That’s when I felt that I could breathe again and I realized that I'm worth a lot,” she adds.
With the funds that she received, she bought sewing machines and equipment to set up a dressmaking business. "I am alone in the business, but I always have work. I have made many beautiful party dresses, as if they were out of a magazine, and I loved it because it meant that I had woken up. I was a seamstress and had ideas, but did not have the right machines. Now I have, thanks to the seed money.”
In addition to the distribution of seed capital and training, the project strengthened capacities to tackle gender-based violence in 10 badly affected municipalities, as well as in 10 other national government institutions and in civil society.
The 10 targeted municipalities (Acajutla, Ciudad Delgado, La Union, Mejicanos, San Martin, San Miguel, San Salvador, Santa Ana, Santa Tecla and Soyapango) also formulated prevention plans for violence against women and 11 units for specialized assistance were refurbished and equipped.
Over 3,300 students from the municipalities were trained; also journalists and institutional communicators received training in techniques to avoid promoting violence and discrimination against women in their work.
"We believe that discrimination against women violates the principles of equality and respect for human dignity; and that the development of a country is measured based on the fulfilment of the fundamental rights inherent in every person. This implies working with governments in the region to assist in identifying and overcoming obstacles and helping vulnerable women and girls," said IOM’s Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Jorge Peraza Breedy.
"This project has changed El Salvador. It has strengthened not only local but national institutions. By creating a national care system for the victims, while including not only the government, but the State as a whole, the project has generated a historical instrument in the country because there was nothing like this. The project facilitated the creation of these fundamental tools for ensuring the rights of women," said Executive Director of the Salvadoran Institute for the Development of Women (ISDEMU) Yanira Argueta.
The BA1 project is part of the Security Strategy for Central America (ESCA) of the Central American Integration System (SICA) and was executed by IOM and UNFPA in Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and the Dominican Republic, with financial support from Finland and the Netherlands.
For more information, please contact Alba Miriam Amaya at IOM El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. Tel. + 503 2521-0500, Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted: Friday, April 1, 2016 - 16:53Image: Region-Country: AmericaEl SalvadorDefault:
Guatemala - IOM today led a dialogue to discuss the challenges encountered in handling unaccompanied migrant children returned to Guatemala and the efforts of the Jimmy Morales’ administration to guarantee their fundamental rights.
The event was attended by IOM’s National Coordinator for Guatemala, José Diego Cardenas; Secretary of Social Works of the Wife of the President (SOSEP), Jose Maria Godoy; the representative of the Department of Migrant Unaccompanied Children of the Ministry of Social Welfare of the Presidency (SBS), Golda Ibarra; the Chief of the Unit for Children and Adolescents of the Attorney General's Office, Harold Flores; and Guatemalan photojournalist Esteban Biba, among others.
This dialogue was developed in the framework of the project Comprehensive Assistance to Families and Migrant Unaccompanied Children Returned to the Northern Triangle of Central America, implemented by IOM with USAID funding since a humanitarian crisis declared in October 2014.
Between 2014 and 2016 the project has directly assisted nearly 40,000 returning migrants from El Salvador (10,496), Guatemala (12,132) and Honduras (15,815). This included delivering a total of 40,715 food packages and 21,388 hygiene kits, and providing 24,843 shuttle bus transfers and 4,463 medical and psychological consultations.
IOM has also supported the Central American Northern Triangle countries with the renovation and reconstruction of nine entry points, including shelters and reception centres. In Guatemala, the renovation work focused on the Guatemalan Air Base and the Casa Nuestra Shelters are established in Guatemala City and Quetzaltenango.
Following the debate, a photo exhibit by Esteban Biba called Niñez sin País opened, portraying his view of the journey taken by unaccompanied migrant children from the Northern Triangle of Central America to the United States.
The exhibition seeks to raise awareness of the reality facing hundreds of children and adolescents. "Poor families in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras are vulnerable and undertake one of the most dangerous journeys for humanity: irregular migration through Mexico to the United States," said Biba.
The exhibition will be open until April 29th at Casa Ibarguen, a historic building managed by the Municipality of Guatemala. The 25 photographs on display were taken in the border city of Tecun Uman, and on some routes in the Mexican states of Chiapas and Oaxaca.
For further information, please contact Melissa Vega at IOM Guatemala, Tel: + 503 2521-0500, Email: email@example.comPosted: Friday, April 1, 2016 - 16:52Image: Region-Country: AmericaGuatemalaDefault:
Yemen - It is now one year since the escalation of the conflict in Yemen, which has led to a massive deterioration of the political, social, security and humanitarian situation in the country.
Many cities have been engulfed by armed clashes; 2.4 million civilians have been displaced; basic goods are in short supply due to air and sea blockades; and millions of people are facing severe shortages of food, water, medical services, fuel and electricity.
Some 6,400 people have been killed, half of them civilians, and more than 30,000 have been injured, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
In response, IOM has provided non-food (NFI) relief and shelter items to 48,000 people; primary and secondary medical care for over 173,000 people; and 15 litres of water a day for over 586,000 people.
IOM aid has targeted half of Yemen’s governorates, including Aden, Taiz and Sa’ada, all of which were conflict frontlines at some point.
IOM has also activated its Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) to systematically capture, process and disseminate information on internally displaced people (IDPs) .
The data informs IOM and other humanitarian actors, enabling immediate provision of direct assistance, including NFI distributions, water trucking and medical services.
The conflict has also affected migrants in Yemen, compounding their desperate situation and leaving many of them stranded in the country.
“In the last year, several thousand migrants have come to IOM for medical care, non-food items, temporary shelter and a way to return home,” says Chissey Mueller, an IOM Yemen migrant assistance and protection officer.
Since the beginning of the conflict, IOM has evacuated 2,000 migrants by air and 2,500 by sea.
In addition to the conflict, two cyclones - Chapala and Megh - hit the country for the first time in decades along the southern coast and the island of Socotra in November.
IOM distributed 2,000 shelter and NFI kits to a total of 2,000 cyclone-affected households (14,000 individuals).
IOM also operated a mobile medical clinic in Socotra to provide health assistance to 1,507 people, including 533 medical consultations.
On 23 March Special Envoy of the UN Secretary General for Yemen Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed announced that parties to the conflict have agreed to cease hostilities by 10 April and hold a round of peace talks on 18 April in Kuwait.
After a year of intense conflict, this encouraging news indicates that peace may be a step closer, with more focus on dialogue and a political solution to this complex crisis, which has affected the lives of some 21 million of Yemen’s 25 million people.
IOM’s activities in Yemen are made possible by the support of donors including DFID, ECHO, the US State Department, OFDA, Japan, Sida, Finland, Czech Republic, Germany, Community Chest of Korea, UN-CERF, UN-ERF, UN-HPF, UNHCR and USAIM.
For further information, please contact Bekim Ajdini at IOM Yemen, Tel:+967 73 9633 887, Email: firstname.lastname@example.orgPosted: Tuesday, March 29, 2016 - 18:10Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastYemenDefault: