International Migrants Day 2015

Brussels - To mark this year’s International Migrants Day on December 18, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is calling on the international community to come together and remember the refugees and migrants who have tragically lost their lives this year.

IOM invites the international community to hold the first global #IamaMigrant Candlelight Vigil to commemorate the lives that have been lost or have disappeared while trying to reach safe harbour after arduous journeys across seas and deserts this year. Each person has a name, a story and left their homelands seeking better opportunities and safety for themselves and in many cases for their families - aspirations that all of us strive for.

2015 has certainly been the ‘Year of the Migrant’. Earlier this year the first UN side event on Migration took place in Malta. It was a summit uniting both European and African leaders on the topic of migration. A necessary event seeing by early December already more than 900.000 migrants had reached Europe by boat. The focus on migration was not geographically limited to Europe. A typhoon occurred in Vanuatu an earthquake struck Nepal, both events resulted in a huge movement of populations. However stories about migration are not always negative, Canada for example has welcomed 25.000 people in a regulated and effective manner and on an individual and local level migrants have successfully contributed to societies worldwide. IOM Director General, Ambassador William Lacy Swing, recognizes that migration is a mega-trend of our time and asks the international community to treat it with the seriousness it deserves. Although he truly believes that populations worldwide will “continue to open their hearths and arms to embrace the tired and the oppressed.”

Today, as we celebrate migrants and remember those who have given their lives,we invite communities worldwide to light a candle and join us.

Read the IOM Director General’s statement in English, FrenchDutchSpanish. You can also view it on youtube.

More information on the #IamaMigrant campaign:www.iamamigrant.org