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IOM Relocates 6,000 Displaced to Ease Overcrowding in Wau, South Sudan

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:48
Language English

South Sudan -  IOM is improving living conditions for internally displaced persons (IDPs) at the crowded Protection of Civilians (PoC) site in Wau, South Sudan. Hosting more than 30,000 IDPs, the Wau PoC site adjacent to the UN peacekeeping base is the most congested displacement camp in the country.

Camp management conducted a relocation exercise from 26 January to 20 February, helping more than 6,000 IDPs move from the most congested areas into over 800 units in 176 communal shelters constructed by IOM teams. Households continue to access common services within the site, such as clinics managed by IOM, International Medical Corps and Médecins Sans Frontières.

Beginning in late 2016, IOM, as camp manager, began developing an extension area to ease congestion and enable families to move away from shelters that were either close to latrines or teetering near drainage ditches. Teams cleared and levelled 40,000m2 of land adjacent to the existing site, installed drainage and water points and constructed roads and pedestrian crossings, in order to facilitate the move.

The day after Rosa, a young mother of six, relocated to a new shelter, she said: “We are so much happier here in this shelter. I can cook outside and there is fresh air because we are not right next to the latrines. My children even have space to play.” Due to ongoing fears of insecurity, Rosa says she intends to stay in the PoC site until the crisis ends.

"The extension is also improving conditions for those who remain in the old areas of the site,” explains Kevin Merkelz, IOM Camp Management Officer for the Wau site. “We were able to open up wide avenues to improve safety and make space for dozens of badly needed showers and latrines. This also allowed us to empty six classrooms that had been occupied since the start of the crisis so that they could be used once again for educating the children displaced by the conflict."

The PoC site was an empty plot of land before fighting broke out in Wau, a relatively calm area before a rapid escalation of insecurity in late June 2016. The site swelled quickly as displaced families rushed to safety.

Today, over 45,900 people are sheltered in the PoC site and other displacement centres, like churches, across Wau town. Thousands more have been affected by the crisis in areas south of Wau, but relief agencies have faced extreme difficulty accessing these populations since early July.

Resources have been further stretched as IOM and other aid agencies respond to an influx of more than 5,000 newly displaced people, who have arrived at collective centres in Wau town since early February due to insecurity in Jur River County. IOM teams are distributing relief items and coordinating to provide access to clean water and other services.

Over 7.5 million people in South Sudan today are in dire need of humanitarian assistance due to a devastating crisis that has displaced over 3 million people since 2013. The scale of humanitarian needs is unprecedented, with UN agencies announcing on 20 February that an estimated 100,000 people are facing famine conditions due to war and a failing economy. As IOM continues to provide aid to the most vulnerable, it remains extremely concerned by the ongoing violence in the country and deepening impact on civilians caught in the crisis.

For further information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email: amclaughlin@iom.int.

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:14Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth SudanDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 13,170, Deaths: 272

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:46
Language English

Switzerland - IOM reports that 13,170 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017, through 19 February, with over 75 percent arriving in Italy and the rest in Greece and Spain. This compares with 90,180 through the first 50 days of 2016.

IOM Rome reports that the over 10,000 migrant arrivals in Italy before the end of February represents a significant increase compared with arrivals in the same period during the past two years, when slightly over 8,000 migrants made it to Italy by the end of February.  

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports an estimated 272 deaths at sea on various routes, compared with 420 through the first 50 days of 2016.

These figures do not include reports received by IOM Libya that as many as 100 fatalities may have occurred on Sunday (19/2) off Az Zawiyah, near Tripoli. They include at least 75 bodies found aboard a boat that washed ashore.

Traffickers reportedly stole the engine and left it to drift. Another six bodies were recovered on the beach and at least a dozen other migrants are missing, presumed drowned. A survivor, reportedly in a coma, was transferred to hospital. If confirmed these deaths would raise the total number of Mediterranean fatalities to over 365 through 20 February.

IOM Libya also reported Monday that last Friday (17/2), 125 migrants (105 men, 16 women and 4 children) were rescued at sea off Zuwara. On Saturday (18/2), 187 migrants were rescued off Az Zawiyah, and are currently at the Al Nasr detention centre.

Deaths of Migrants and Refugees: 1 Jan-19 Feb 2016 vs 1 Jan-19 Feb 2017

Region

2017

2016

Mediterranean

272

420

Europe

9

10

Middle East

10

27

North Africa

0

259

Horn of Africa

0

58

Sub-Saharan Africa

0

20

Southeast Asia

36

35

East Asia

0

0

US/Mexico

38

34

Central America

3

13

Caribbean

68

28

South America

0

10

Total

436

813

For the latest Mediterranean Update infographic:  http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170221_Mediterranean_Update.pdf

For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe

Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For further information, please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17 Email: sschneider@iom.int
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int
Abby Dwommoh, IOM Turkey; Tel: + Direct: +90 (0)312 454 3048| Mobile: +90 (533) 698 7285, Email: Adwommoh@iom.int  Mazen Aboulhosn at IOM Turkey, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email: maboulhosn@iom.int
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int  or Christine Petré, Tel. (Direct):  +216 29 240 448, Email: chpetre@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, OIM Genève, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int
Flavio Di Giacomo, OIM Italie, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:15Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Supports Key Health Facility in Sana’a, Yemen

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:46
Language English

Yemen - IOM has donated two water tanks with a total capacity of 60,000 litres to Al-Thawra General Modern Hospital in Sana’a, Yemen.

Al-Thawra General Modern Hospital is the biggest public hospital in Yemen, providing services to the whole community, including migrants and refugees, who receive the same care and pay the same minimum charges as local people.

The hospital is suffering from a desperate lack of resources, while facing a large influx of patients due to the ongoing conflict. Prolonged air, sea and land blockades are contributing to an acute shortage of medicines, medical supplies and equipment. Water, sanitation and health personnel are also in short supply.

Currently, only 45 percent of health facilities are functioning in Yemen. Around 274 facilities have been damaged or destroyed due to the conflict, and the facilities that are still functioning have limited capacity.

Most people seeking medical assistance are unable to find the help they need inside Yemen. But seeking medical care outside the country is also difficult, with the main functioning airport in Yemen, Sana’a International Airport, now closed.

To support public health facilities in Yemen, IOM is planning to support Al-Thawra General Modern Hospital with another three tons of medicine and medical supplies, as well as essential equipment.

“The health infrastructure in Yemen continues to face immense challenges due to a severe lack of medical supplies and resources,” said IOM Yemen Chief of Mission Laurent de Boeck. “Thanks to UK DFID, IOM has been able to support Yemen’s damaged health infrastructure, but more support is urgently needed to expand our response and ensure the provision of healthcare services to the most underserved areas,” he added.

For further information, please contact Saba Malme at IOM Yemen, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: smalme@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:16Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastYemenDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM/UNHCR: Yemen’s Brutal Conflict Pushing One Million Displaced to Return to Danger

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:46
Language English

Yemen - Unabated conflict and rapidly deteriorating conditions across Yemen are pushing millions of displaced Yemenis further into danger and adversity, IOM, the UN Migration Agency and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, warned today, following the release of the latest data on the country’s displacement crisis.

Since the beginning of the conflict in March 2015, more than 11 percent of Yemen’s population, some 3 million people, have been forced to flee their homes for safety. Almost two years later, however, prolonged hostilities and worsening conditions are now forcing 1 million of those uprooted to return to the homes from which they fled, despite danger and insecurity across the country.

Two reports issued by the Task Force on Population Movement (TFPM), a technical working group co-led by IOM and UNHCR, show that there are currently 2 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) across Yemen and 1 million IDP returnees; and that as conditions across the country further deteriorate, many more IDPs are contemplating a return home, where challenging security and socio-economic conditions persist.

Comprising a Multi-sectoral Location Assessment report released today and a periodically updated population movement tracking report (TFPM 12th report) published last month, the TFPM reports furnish the most comprehensive and detailed estimates of displaced populations and their circumstances in Yemen, and inform humanitarian response planning for 2017.

The reports highlight that a lack of access to income and basic services in areas of displacement are the main reasons pushing IDPs to return to their areas of origin, with 40 percent of key informants indicating that IDPs now intend to return home within the next three months.

UNHCR’s Country Representative for Yemen, Ayman Gharaibeh, said: “It’s testament to how catastrophic the situation in Yemen has become, that those displaced by the conflict are now returning home because life in the areas to which they had fled for safety is just as abysmal as in the areas from which they fled.”                                                                                                                                              

“Those attempting to return face tremendous challenges,” Gharaibeh added. “They often return to homes that have been damaged, in areas lacking essential services. They still need humanitarian aid and are often forced to flee their homes again. These returns cannot be viewed as sustainable.”

Noting that all of Yemen’s governorates, with the exception of the island of Socotra, have been affected by conflict, Gharaibeh said: “The overwhelming majority of Yemen’s 1 million IDP returnees have returned to Aden, Amanat Al Asimah, Taizz, Lahj and Shabwah, which have been particularly impacted by hostilities and insecurity.”

“For those that are returning home, food, financial assistance and psycho-social support remain priority needs,” he added.

The TFPM reports also provide indications of how dire life has become for the 2 million IDPs across the country. Shortages of food and malnutrition are widespread and reported in 84 percent of IDP locations identified. In addition to malnutrition, diarrheal diseases and malaria are cited as the most common health concerns for Yemen’s displaced.

IOM Yemen’s Chief of Mission, Laurent De Boeck, noted the distress of those in collective centers and spontaneous settlements. “IOM, alongside its partners, remains committed to support IDP families who have sought shelter in these camp-like settings and are living in unbearable conditions with limited to no access to services and are exposed to health risks and environmental hazards on a daily basis,” he said.

“When I recently visited some of these spontaneous settlements and IDPs in schools in Taizz, Hajjah, Lahj and Ibb governorates, I saw just how imperative it is for the humanitarian community to adapt its response to address lifesaving needs, while also working to rebuild the damaged infrastructure to improve access to services, such as health, shelter, NFIs, water and food, and to alleviate the pressures on communities hosting large IDP populations,” he added.

“With the most recent large scale displacement seen in Taizz, which is not yet reflected within the TFPM reports, IOM and all partners must scale up their response to support the newly displaced, as well as those whose displacement is becoming increasingly protracted with shifting needs, as indicated in the released reports. This motivates IOM to scale up and access the most remote areas in country,” he noted.

So far, 71 percent of those displaced have been seeking refuge in Yemen’s central and western governorates – including Hajjah, Amanat Al Asimah, Sana’a, Dhamar, Ibb and Taizz, all of which are experiencing intense hostilities – and multiple displacement is increasingly being observed. In the absence of livelihood opportunities and insufficient assistance, many IDPs are also resorting to harmful practices to cope in displacement, including child labour and early marriage.

Yemen’s local communities, which are overwhelmingly absorbing the burden of the displacement crisis, are also under intense strain with alarming scarcities of food and insufficient access to water and sanitation services reported. Eighty-four percent of Yemen’s 2 million IDPs have been displaced for more than a year and scarce resources are increasingly overstretched.

The Location Assessment report also provides insight into difficulties in accessing conflict-affected populations across Yemen and the perceptions among IDPs and returnees of humanitarian assistance. Though the majority of IDPs and returnees perceive humanitarian assistance as partially supporting them in meeting priority needs, negative perceptions of aid and considerable gaps in the engagement of humanitarian actors with local communities are also reported.

In response, the humanitarian community in Yemen has adopted an “Accountability to Affected Populations Framework” as part of the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2017, requiring all humanitarian partners to create mechanisms to ensure that affected populations can provide feedback or complain about the assistance they have received.

In addition, IOM and UNHCR are continuing to engage with all parties to the conflict for improved access to populations in need across Yemen, and with donors for increased international support for life-saving humanitarian programs.

Assessments for the two TFPM reports were conducted in all of Yemen’s governorates. Displacement tracking for the 12th report covered 98.5 percent of Yemen’s 333 districts and data for the Location Assessment report was collected through physical site visits by field teams where key informants representing the community were interviewed.

Copies of the full reports can be downloaded here:

Multi-sectorial Location Assessment Report:  https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/operations/yemen/assessment/mul...

TFPM 12th Report: http://reliefweb.int/report/yemen/yemen-task-force-population-movement-t...

For further information, please contact Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41 79 103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int  Or IOM Yemen: Esam Al-Makhzomi, Email: ealmakhzomi@iom.int, Tel: + 967 737 789 120 or Saba Malme, Tel: + 967 736 800 329, Email: smalme@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:17Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastYemenDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Johannesburg Students Lauded for Anti-Human Trafficking Social Media Campaign

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:33
Language English

South Africa - IOM and the University of Johannesburg (UJ) held an awards ceremony last week (17/2) at the UJ campus to commend students’ work on a 2016 social media campaign to combat human trafficking.

As part of the campaign, 16 second-year Applied Strategic Communications students produced, directed and edited a photo shoot illustrating the conditions in which victims of human trafficking often find themselves, holding signs condemning human slavery.

The pictures were then used together with messages as part of a social media campaign on Facebook and Twitter launched during Human Trafficking Awareness Week (3-7 October 2016).

Addressing the students at the awards ceremony, IOM South Africa Chief of Mission Richard Ots said: “The campaign which you directed, produced and crafted for us was a huge success. IOM is now sharing it with other missions as an example of an innovative way to raise public awareness of human trafficking.”

Professor Sonja Verwey, Head of UJ’s School of Communication, said: “The campaign forced them to confront themselves and see their role in the world. Communication is a social science and it’s our duty to teach students to deal with social issues like this.”

Globally human trafficking is believed to be the third most profitable illegal trade after drugs and weapons. Trafficking victims are often subjected to rape, torture, debt bondage, unlawful confinement and threats against their family or other people close to them, as well as other forms of violence.

According to the US State Department’s 2016 Trafficking in Persons Report, South Africa is a source, transit and destination country for men, women, and children subjected to forced labor and sex trafficking.  South Africans continue to constitute the largest number of victims of trafficking within the country, with large numbers of people being trafficked from poorer rural areas to wealthier urban areas.

The campaign’s posts reached over 36,000 people on Facebook and generated 21,000 impressions on Twitter during Human Trafficking Awareness Week.

For further information, please contact Lerate Tsebe at IOM South Africa, Tel: +27 12 342 2789, Email: ltsebe@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:13Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth AfricaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Egypt Workshop Focuses on Harnessing Migration for Development

IOM - News - Mar, 02/21/2017 - 10:29
Language English

Egypt - The Egyptian Ministry for Immigration and Egyptian Expatriate Affairs and IOM have hosted Egypt’s first international partners’ round table on harnessing the development impact of migration.

The event, in Cairo, was chaired by Immigration Minister Nabila Makram Abdel Shahid and attendees included representatives of over 20 embassies and development agencies.

“The Government of Egypt is committed to continue its efforts to engage Egyptian expatriate communities in development initiatives in Egypt, while ensuring protection of their rights, through the development of a comprehensive policy framework and the undertaking of concrete initiatives to foster engagement,” said Minister Abdel Shahid, noting the government’s ongoing cooperation with relevant international partners, including IOM.

Several initiatives are expected to be developed in the context of the policy framework. They will include encouraging the return of qualified nationals to contribute to specific sectors of the Egyptian economy; promoting investment in local and national development plans/initiatives; encouraging expatriate contributions to trade development; and protecting expatriates’ rights abroad.

The initiative will advance the government’s commitment to support migrants and migration made under the country’s 2014 Constitution and 2030 Sustainable Development Strategy, as well as the global 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

“Egypt's USD 20 billion in remittances received in 2015 made it among the top 10 recipients of remittances worldwide. But Egyptians abroad contribute in many more ways. They also support trade and business networks, invest in their communities of origin, and transfer of knowledge and expertise,” said IOM Egypt Head of Office Amr Taha.

For further information, please contact Teuta Grazhdani at IOM Egypt, Tel: +202-27365140, Email: iomegypt@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 21, 2017 - 17:12Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastEgyptDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

As Displacement Continues in Iraq, Nearly 1.5 Million Iraqi IDPs Return

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:17
Language English

Iraq - As military operations to retake Mosul intensify, concerns mount that these operations may displace additional tens of thousands of civilians – beyond the 160,000-plus individuals currently categorized as “displaced” in the Mosul region after four months of combat.

Nonetheless, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) has identified a recent spike of internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning to their location of origin across the country – including in the Mosul area – despite simultaneous displacement movements.

As of 16 February, DTM identified a cumulative total of 217,764 IDPs (36,294 families) displaced as a result of the Mosul operations that started on 17 October 2016.

Yet today only 160,302 individuals (26,717 families) remain displaced; of these, 93 percent are hosted in Ninewa Governorate. Most (78 percent) are from Mosul district in Ninewa Governorate. The remaining 57,462 individuals (9,577 families) have returned to their location of origin.

Context here is important. Since January 2014, the DTM has identified over three million internally displaced persons (a total of 505,000 families), dispersed across 3,661 locations in Iraq.

Yet for the same period, DTM has recorded nearly 1.5 million returnees (a total of 249,327 families), that is, IDPs who believe their communities are safe enough now to return to. This represents an overall increase in the returnee population of 7 percent (98,946 individuals) just in the past month.

With Iraq’s military retaking areas from ISIL, IOM has provided figures and identified locations of significant returns, which will facilitate the efforts of the Government and humanitarian agencies in directing assistance for people likely to return to their homes this year.

During the spring and summer of 2016, IDPs began returning to retaken areas of Anbar Governorate. By early February 2017, Anbar recorded the highest increase in returnees – 73,386 individuals – to districts including Falluja, Ramadi and Heet. Smaller numbers of IDPs returning were recorded in the districts of Salah al-Din, including Al-Shirqat and Tikrit.

Among the challenges faced by returnees are security regarding the presence of militias, risks of unexploded ordinance, and the destruction of infrastructure, including housing and other private property. 

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Weiss said: “Displaced Iraqis have had their lives uprooted and communities have been deeply affected. Those returning home need the full support of the humanitarian community. In cooperation with the Government of Iraq and humanitarian partners, IOM is providing returning Iraqis with a variety of support mechanisms including shelter rehabilitation, livelihoods, non-food items, and light infrastructure projects, to support their ability to resume their lives and provide for their families.”

In the town of Gwer, IOM is currently the only organization working with returnees.  “Thanks to IOM’s livelihoods programmes, people are encouraged to return because they receive support in finding employment or income-generating activities, said Herash Husain Hasan, Gwer’s Mayor. “That helps them to rebuild their homes.”

Shortly after ISIL took control of areas in Gwer in 2014, most schools were closed and therefore children have missed out on education for the last for two years. Currently, of the seven schools in Gwer, only three are open.

Three weeks ago, IOM turned to rehabilitating Gwer’s schools, where classrooms were burned, latrines destroyed, and furniture broken. This includes cleaning the buildings, supplying desks and white boards, painting, plastering and repairing plumbing. These efforts are expected to be completed by mid-March.

“Once schools and health centres are rehabilitated, people will have the courage to stay in the community,” the Mayor of Gwer added.

In Gwer, nearly 200 individuals recently benefitted from 26 business support packages and 6 business enhancement packages. These packages are supporting a coffee shop, barbershop, bakery, butcher, hairdresser, and a clothing rental shop.

IOM is also rehabilitating Gwer’s health centre, re-wiring its electrical system, painting, plastering, plumbing, and providing furniture. The works began in February and will be completed by the end of March 2017.

While the health centre is being rehabilitated, an IOM medical team in Gwer is operating out of two caravans, providing health consultations and medicines for adults and children. Since November 2016, the team has provided more than 3,500 primary health care consultations.

In an effort to support further returns of displaced populations in Iraq, IOM is chairing the Returns Working Group (RWG), established by the UN Humanitarian Country Team to develop recommendations for Iraqi governorates affected by returns and to provide technical advice to humanitarian partners, government authorities and civil society organizations to support returns in accordance with international standards.

The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul operations are available at: http://iraqdtm.iom.int/EmergencyTracking.aspx.

Please click to download the latest:

IOM Iraq DTM report, providing country-wide displacement and return figures from January 2014 - 2 February 2017: 

http://iraqdtm.iom.int/downloads/DTM%202017/February%202017/Round%2064%2...

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Factsheet:

http://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq_DTM-M...

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Data Snapshot:

http://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq_DTM-M...

For further information, please contact IOM Iraq:

Hala Jaber, Email: hjaberbent@iom.int, Tel. +964 751 740 1654

Sandra Black, Email: sblack@iom.int, Tel. +964 751 234 2550

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:07Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 12,381; Deaths: 272

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:17
Language English

Switzerland - IOM reports that 12,381 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 15 February – just under 9,500 to Italy, just under 2,000 to Greece, and 1,000 to Spain. This compares with 84,645 arrivals during the first seven weeks of 2016 – 90 percent of whom arrived in Greece.

Today’s numbers show a significant increase in arrivals to Italy compared with the same period last year – 9,448, up from 6,123 – while the traffic to Greece has practically dried up. IOM Athens reports daily average arrivals in Greece of 42 in 2017 - compared with nearly 1,500 during the same period last winter.

IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports an estimated 272 deaths at sea on various Mediterranean routes this winter, compared with 417 at this time last year.

It is important to note that 2016’s Mediterranean death toll at this point was mostly on the eastern route. Some 320 people – three quarters of the total – died between Turkey and Greece. This winter, the route has accounted for just two fatalities. 

The central Mediterranean route between Libya to Italy has recorded 232 fatalities through February 15.

Another 38 deaths have been recorded on the western route between North Africa and Spain. Last year only seven people died on this route.

During the whole of 2016, Missing Migrants recorded a total of 70 deaths along this route, which means that 2017’s total already has passed last year’s half-way mark after just seven weeks.

Missing Migrants has reported three incidents since January 30 – including two this week – that have resulted in 14 fatalities along this route.

On 30 January, three migrants were reported missing, while 11 were rescued by Guardia Civil units off Almeria. On 12 February three migrants landed on the Spanish coast at Tarifa, telling authorities two other members of their party drowned when their small craft foundered. Then on Wednesday (15/2), nine migrants were reported lost in the Strait of Gibraltar. Two were rescued in that incident.

No landings have taken place in Italy since Sunday. But Italy’s Ministry of Interior has released data on the top nationalities arriving by sea as irregular migrants through January. (See chart below.)

Of the top ten sender countries, all but two – Iraq and Bangladesh – are from Africa, with all but one of those African countries – Morocco – considered Sub-Saharan. Cote d’Ivoire, with 839 arrivals reported the highest tally, followed by Guinea (796), Nigeria (483), Senegal (431), The Gambia (359) and Mali (282). Morocco (257), Bangladesh (224), Iraq (131) and Cameroon (117) surpassed more traditional senders like Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia and the Sudan. Many Eritreans and Ethiopians have been recorded as fatalities this year, so it is somewhat surprising that relatively few people from these countries arrived in Italy this year.

 

Arrivals by sea in Italy - Main Countries of Origin
Total 2017/2016 Comparison
(Source: Italian Ministry of Interior)

Main Countries of Origin

January 2017

January 2016

Cote d’Ivoire

839

332

Guinea

796

504

Nigeria

483

905

Senegal

431

493

The Gambia

359

676

Mali

282

393

Morocco

257

483

Bangladesh

224

N.A.

Iraq

131

N.A.

Cameroon

117

96

Total All Countries of Origin

4,467

5,273

In terms of the number of worldwide migrant deaths, IOM’s Missing Migrants Project reports that 2017’s total of 435 men, women and children is just over half of 2016’s total through February 16. This appears to be a statistical anomaly that may be due to a lack of data coming from key spots like the Horn of Africa and North Africa’s Sahara Desert, rather than changes in migration patterns.

With nearly 110 migrant deaths reported in the Americas – compared to 78 a year ago at this time – IOM has noted that accurate data collection often is a function of proximity to large population centres, while the deaths themselves occur in remote places and are therefore reported weeks or months after the fact.    

Deaths of Migrants and Refugees: 1 Jan - 16 Feb 2016/2017

Region

2017

2016

Mediterranean

272

417

Europe

9

10

Middle East

10

27

North Africa

0

179

Horn of Africa

0

49

Sub-Saharan Africa

0

18

Southeast Asia

36

35

East Asia

0

0

US/Mexico

38

29

Central America

2

12

Caribbean

68

27

South America

0

10

Total

435

813

 

 

 

For the latest Mediterranean update infographic: http://migration.iom.int/docs/MMP/170216_Mediterranean_Update.pdf
For latest arrivals and fatalities in the Mediterranean, please visit: http://migration.iom.int/europe
Learn more about the Missing Migrants Project at: http://missingmigrants.iom.int

For further information please contact:
Joel Millman at IOM Geneva, Tel: +41.79.103 8720, Email: jmillman@iom.int 
Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int  
Sabine Schneider at IOM Germany, Tel: +49 30 278 778 17 Email: sschneider@iom.int
IOM Greece: Daniel Esdras, Tel: +30 210 9912174, Email: iomathens@iom.int or Kelly Namia, Tel: +30 210 9919040, +30 210 9912174, Email: knamia@iom.int  
Julia Black at IOM GMDAC, Tel: +49 30 278 778 27, Email: jblack@iom.int 
Mazen Aboulhosn at IOM Turkey, Tel: +9031245-51202, Email: maboulhosn@iom.int
IOM Libya: Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Maysa Khalil, Tel: +216 29 600388, Email: mkhalil@iom.int
Hicham Hasnaoui at IOM Morocco, Tel: + 212 5 37 65 28 81, Email: hhasnaoui@iom.int

For information or interview requests in French:
Florence Kim, IOM HQ, Tel: +41 79 103 03 42, Email: fkim@iom.int 
Flavio Di Giacomo, IOM Rome, Tel: +39 347 089 8996, Email: fdigiacomo@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:06Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSwitzerlandDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Launches Documentary ‘In Their Own Words and Voices’ in Kuwait

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:16
Language English

Kuwait - On Sunday (12/2), IOM launched the documentary In Their Own Words and Voices in Kuwait. The film showcases the agency’s humanitarian efforts in several war and crisis-ridden countries in the Middle East, as well as the positive impact the support of the Government of Kuwait has had on IOM operations and affected populations.

The launch was held under the auspices of H.E. Sheikh Sabah Khalid al-Hamad al-Sabah, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, at the National Library of Kuwait. It opened with keynote speeches by IOM Director General William Lacy Swing and the First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs.

Ambassador Swing thanked the Amir of Kuwait, His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah, noting: “The generous assistance of His Highness has contributed to giving hope to those who feel hopeless about life amid displacement and wars.”

Ambassador Swing also credited His Highness as the innovator behind a new term – Humanitarian Diplomacy – that reflects the leading role of Kuwait during this period of unprecedented conflict and suffering that is affecting of hundreds of thousands of people in the Arab region.

The screening of the hour-long documentary was followed with testimony from refugees, internally displaced persons and migrants living in Syria, Lebanon, Jordan, Iraq, and Turkey.

The documentary was filmed over a period of six months under the direction of IOM, and is an expression of appreciation for the humanitarian leadership shown by the Government of Kuwait in the region, and for their invaluable contribution towards IOM’s work.

For further information, please contact Mohamed El Zarkani at IOM Kuwait, Tel: +965 99394157, Email: melzarkani@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:05Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastKuwaitDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Over 4,800 South Sudanese Refugees Moved to New Camp in Gambella, Ethiopia

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:16
Language English

Ethiopia - IOM last week (9/2) transported 816 South Sudanese refugees from the Pagak entry point on the South Sudan-Ethiopia border to the new Nguenyyiel refugee camp in Gambella Region, Ethiopia, bringing the total number of refugees moved since the beginning of 2017 to 4,833.

This latest movement was part of IOM’s an operation designed to move newly arrived South Sudanese refugees to places of safety in an organized and dignified manner. IOM medical escorts accompanied the refugees and provided drinking water and food for the trip. Some 95 buses, carrying a total of 1,436 families, have been used in these movements.

“We are happy to be going to the camp – we can get help there,” said Nyawech, a South Sudanese refugee travelling with her four daughters and several grandchildren. “Fighting came to our village [in South Sudan] so we walked day and night for one week to get here,” she added, before boarding the bus. Insecurity, severe food shortages, and searing temperatures in South Sudan mean a perilous journey for the refugees who travel to Pagak.

Gambella already hosts some 330,211 refugees from South Sudan, due to the ongoing conflict in the country, which continues to displace people inside the country and force them into neighbouring countries. Ethiopia is currently the second largest receiving country for refugees from South Sudan, the vast majority of whom have found shelter in Gambella.

The day before refugees board the bus, IOM medical teams conduct medical screenings to ensure that they are physically able to make the journey. Those refugees for whom the journey may be too difficult due to health problems are referred to IOM’s medical partners working in Pagak. Alternative transportation is then provided at a later date. The most common medical conditions are acute diarrhoea in children and complications related to pregnancies.

“IOM will continue to ensure the safe and dignified movement of South Sudanese refugees in Gambella to places where they can get the help they need, as part of our comprehensive efforts to manage the ongoing influx,” said Miriam Mutalu, IOM Head of Sub-Office in Gambella.

IOM’s transportation services for refugees in Gambella are funded by the UK Department for International Development (DFID), the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) and UNHCR. The movements are carried out in partnership with the Ethiopian Government’s Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA).

For further information, please contact Miriam Mutalu at IOM Gambella, Tel: +251 94 6692 501, Email: mmutalu@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:04Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastEthiopiaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Libya Helps 334 Migrants Return Home to Nigeria and Senegal

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:16
Language English

Libya - On 14 and 16 February, IOM organized two charter flights to help two groups totaling 334 migrants to return home to Nigeria and Senegal from Libya.

On 14 February, 162 migrants, including 101 women, 43 men and 18 children, returned home to Nigeria on the first flight. A second flight on 16 February returned 172 migrants, including 171 men and one woman, to Senegal.

The charter flights were coordinated in close cooperation with the Libyan authorities, the Directorate for Combating Irregular Migration (DCIM), the Nigerian Embassy in Tripoli, the Senegalese Embassy in Tunis and IOM offices in the countries of origin. They departed from Tripoli’s Mitiga Airport.

IOM interviewed the migrants before departure and provided health checks to ensure that they were fit to travel. All the migrants also received clothes and shoes, as part of IOM’s pre-departure assistance. 

Many of the migrants spoke of the hardships they had endured in Libya, the difficult economic situation that resulted in them losing their jobs, and how they had become stranded.

Two young women, aged 20 and 18, told IOM they had been in Libya since October last year. They came to Libya aiming to reach Europe. But after losing three of their friends at sea, they decided it was better to return home.

Fisayo*, 28, spoke of a similar experience. He sold everything he owned and paid 3,500 Libyan dinars to reach the coastal town of Zuwarah. He eventually decided that the Mediterranean route was too dangerous and decided to return home to Nigeria.

Hannah, 23, used to work as a fashion designer in Nigeria. When she was four, she lost her parents and since then she has been struggling to take care of her four siblings. She decided to try to find work in Libya. But on arrival she was kidnapped and subjected to forced labour. The harsh working conditions made Hannah reconsider and when she was able to escape, she asked IOM for help to go home.

Dorcas, 24, left a miserable life of poverty in Nigeria, together with her husband and one-year-old baby, Felix. They decided to try to reach Europe, but while in Libya, Dorcas’ husband decided to go on alone to test the route. “He left us and he will not come back,” she told IOM. One day, back in Nigeria, she said that she will tell her son: “Your father died at sea going to Europe.”

Among the 334 migrants, 56 were also eligible for reintegration support, which aims to provide them with an opportunity to start afresh in their countries of origin by, for example, starting a business or continuing their education.

Among the migrants were also nine unaccompanied migrant children, who were interviewed by IOM protection staff and helped to call their families from the detention centres. The minors also received family tracing support, in coordination with IOM Nigeria and IOM Senegal. 

The return assistance was made possible through the funding by the UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (UK FCO) and falls under IOM’s return assistance programme.

So far in 2017, IOM has assisted 396 returnees, including 117 entitled to reintegration support.

In 2016, IOM Libya helped 2,777 stranded migrants return to their countries of origin, of whom 556 were eligible for reintegration assistance.

*Please note that all migrants’ names have been changed for security reasons.

 For further information, please contact IOM Libya. Othman Belbeisi, Tel: +216 29 600389, Email: obelbeisi@iom.int or Ashraf Hassan, Tel +216 29 794707, Email: ashassan@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:03Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastLibyaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Japan Backs Health Assistance for Crisis-Affected Populations in DR Congo

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:16
Language English

Democratic Republic of the Congo - The Government of Japan has provided additional funding to IOM’s Migrant Health Assistance for Crisis-Affected Populations project, which seeks to strengthen and improve the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) government’s capacity to prevent, detect and respond to diseases outbreaks and other public health occurrences along the country’s border with Angola. 

The USD 525,000 supplementary grant builds on and reinforces Japan’s earlier emergency funding in support of IOM’s response to last year’s yellow fever outbreak that started in Angola and spread to the DRC. According to the World Health Organization, the DRC has reported 2,987 suspected cases, 81 laboratory confirmed cases and 16 deaths since the start of the outbreak in December 2015.

This new funding will allow IOM to expand its work with the DRC’s National Programme of Hygiene at Borders (PNHF), roll out a mobility health mapping at the provincial level and boost public health capacities in higher risk areas. This will ultimately allow the PNHF and other state institutions to better prevent, or prepare and coordinate responses to future epidemics and other public health risks.

‘‘This funding is crucial as it allows IOM to continue its support to our government partners to help them better coordinate and address public health emergencies from the angle of migration and human mobility, with an emphasis on early detection and response,” said Jean-Philippe Chauzy, IOM Chief of Mission in the DRC.

“With an estimated 100,000 people crossing the long and porous border between Angola and the DRC every month to trade in crowded border area marketplaces, the need for better disease prevention, detection and response is paramount,” he added.

As part of the project, awareness raising activities will be carried out using radio, TV and other mass media tools.

The Government of Japan’s emergency funding in 2016 allowed IOM to train and equip 135 border health officials in Integrated Disease Surveillance and Response (IDSR) and yellow fever response best practices.

IOM’s migration health activities in the DRC are carried out in partnership with the Ministry of Health. They aim to provide equitable access to health-care services and psychosocial support for migrants, mobile populations, internally displaced persons and other vulnerable persons, including victims of sexual and gender-based violence.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is a high disease burden country - HIV, tuberculosis, malaria and other communicable diseases are especially prevalent. IOM intends to engage with the Ministry of Health’s national programmes on HIV, tuberculosis and malaria to ensure that migrant-inclusive policies and health services are included in their respective national strategies and action plans.

For further information, please contact IOM DRC. Aki Yoshino, Tel: + 243 82 971 56 52, Email: ayoshino@iom.int or Eddy Mbuyi, Tel: +243 997 41 41 04, Email: embuyi@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:02Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastDemocratic Republic of the CongoDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM, EU Engage Somali Communities to Combat Human Trafficking, Gender-Based Violence

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:16
Language English

Somalia - IOM, with support from the European Union (EU), has been working with communities in Puntland, Somalia, to help prevent human trafficking and gender-based violence (GBV) through public information campaigns and law enforcement trainings. 

IOM recently (28 January) concluded its fourth social mobilization and information campaign in Somalia: Prevention of Child Trafficking and Gender-Based Violence (GBV) as well as Protection and Care for Victims in Somalia. The information campaign aimed to help local communities in Bossaso, Puntland to prevent, recognize and report human trafficking cases, and reached over 40,000 people.

The information was disseminated through open-air speeches, performances, testimonials from affected families, clothing with strategic behavioural messaging and media broadcasts. Flyers and posters were distributed and placed in popular public places.

A cross-section of the community participated in the campaign, including internally displaced persons, heads of local village committees, youth, women organizations, local government and city council officials, representatives from the local city council, community and religious leaders, and police officers.

This marks the close of a three year EU-funded project that was designed to prevent the trafficking of children and gender-based violence, as well as protect and care for victims in Somalia, Puntland state and central Somalia, particularly in the regions of Bari, Mudug, Nugal and Galgdud. The three campaigns that preceded this one were held in Garowe, Bossaso and Galkayo.

In addition to the information campaign, 25 Somali prosecutors and police officers were trained (24-26 January) on Puntland’s new human trafficking legal framework in preparation for the expected parliamentary approval of a human trafficking law developed by the Puntland government, with IOM’s support. The training was conducted by a legal expert from IOM’s Migration for Development in Africa (MIDA) project.

During the training, participants discussed the increasing amount of human trafficking in Puntland, what the new human trafficking law constitutes, and how it will be implemented once approved. They also shared ideas about measures that need to be put in place to prevent, detect and address cases of human trafficking.

Many of the boats that leave Puntland’s expansive coastline are laden with trafficking victims being taken to the Gulf States and even beyond, to Europe.

“This training is a good opportunity for the prosecutors and CID police officers to increase their understanding of human trafficking and build their capacity to use, understand and implement the human trafficking legal framework. The trafficking law is needed to help address incidents of potential and actual cases of human trafficking of which more cases are being reported in Puntland,” said Puntland’s Deputy Attorney General, Mohamed Hared Farah.

For further information, please contact Tagel Solomon at IOM Somalia, Tel: +254 712 835 079, Email: tsolomon@iom.int  

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:01Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSomaliaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Guatemala Remittances - 97 Percent from USA: IOM Study

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:16
Language English

Guatemala - A new IOM study shows that 97.1 percent of people who send remittances to Guatemala live in the United States of America, followed by Canada (0.8 percent) and Mexico (0.7 percent). The survey was conducted among over 3,000 families in 170 Guatemalan municipalities.

The Survey on International Migration of Guatemalans and Remittances 2016 also indicates that remittances allow recipient families to afford the basic food basket and to remain slightly above the poverty line. Additionally, transfers enable them to access health and education services, and new technologies.

Most of the remittances recipients live in the departments of Guatemala, Huehuetenango, San Marcos, and Quetzaltenango.

IOM conducted this study in August 2016 to develop a profile of migrants abroad, the characteristics of returnees, and the volume, destination and investments made with remittances.

In 2016, the annual remittances to Guatemala reached USD 7.27 billion, 99 percent as money transfers, and 1 percent in kind, according to the research. The frequency of transfers ranged from 58.1 percent who received them monthly, 9.1 percent annually, 7.3 percent every two to four months; 6 percent every quarter, and 5.3 percent every six months. Some 3.4 percent of the recipient families usually received more than 13 transfers a year, and the remaining 4.5 percent got their transfers at non-regular intervals.

IOM surveyed both remittance recipient families and returnees. The report found that the leading reasons why returnees migrated were economic (64.1 percent), family reunification (9.1 percent), violence (3.3 percent), and because of sexual diversity discrimination.

The main causes why surveyed people would migrate during the next 12 months were to seek for employment (31 percent) or economic reasons (24.2 percent). Other motivations to migrate would be for family reunification (18.6 percent), because of discrimination based on their sexual identity (2.4 percent), insecurity (1.7 percent), problems with the gangs (“maras”) or threats (1.2 percent), and violence (0.5 percent).

The presentation of the study was chaired by the IOM’s Chief of Mission in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Jorge Peraza Breedy, and the Director of the Inter-American Dialogue’s Migration, Remittances and Development Program, Manuel Orozco. Officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Bank of Guatemala and the National Institute of Statistics also attended the event.

“The study included the municipalities where we have identified higher international migration, where we collected reliable data. We are grateful for the openness we encountered both among families and the local and national authorities,” Peraza said.

“The results of this survey will allow us to better understand migration dynamics and to make informed decisions. This information will also help the Guatemalan government to strengthen policies and actions, and families will better identify how to optimize the investment of their remittances.”

The Survey on International Migration of Guatemalans and Remittances 2016 is part of the project Initiative of Management of Information on Human Mobility for the North Triangle of Central America (NTMI, as in Spanish), financed by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). NTMI program, implemented by IOM, aims to strengthen the capacities to gather, analyze and share information on human mobility to support humanitarian action and protection of vulnerable populations in El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras.

IOM recognized in the event the progress that Guatemala has made in guaranteeing migrant’s human rights and, at the same time, reaffirmed its commitment to support all actions that help this population, both at national and local levels.

For further information please contact Melissa Vega at IOM Guatemala, Email: mevega@iom.int, Tel. +502 2414-7401. Or Alba Amaya at IOM El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras, Email: aamaya@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 18:00Image: Region-Country: AmericaGuatemalaDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM, Partners Organize First Human Trafficking Forum on Peru-Ecuador Border

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:15
Language English

Peru - The first meeting of the Permanent Forum on Trafficking in Persons in the Peru-Ecuador Border region took place this week in the city of Jaen in the northern region of Cajamarca in Peru.

The Forum’s objective was to facilitate dialogue and exchange of experiences between government authorities and civil society organizations to combat trafficking in persons along the border between Peru and Ecuador.

The event was co-organized by IOM Peru, the Peru Chapter of the Binational Plan for the Development of the Border Region of Peru-Ecuador, the UN Office against Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Pan-American Health Organization (PAHO).

According to statistics from the Peruvian Public Ministry’s Observatory, of the 1,144 possible cases of trafficking in persons identified in Peru in 2016, 12.6 percent were from the border regions with Ecuador. The Peruvian northern border is also third in terms of migration flows in the country, after the International Airport of Jorge Chávez in Lima and the border crossing of Santa Rosa between Peru and Chile.

Statistics from the National Migration Superintendent show that border crossings through the most important posts along the Peru-Ecuador border have increased over 50 percent between 2011 and 2015. A recent study by the NGO CHS Alternativo on trafficking routes in Peru also identified the border regions of Piura and Tumbes as destinations of victims of sexual exploitation.

“The purpose of this Forum is to sensitize people to this crime, which deeply affects our children and adolescents, as well as to articulate efforts by government entities and civil society organizations to combat trafficking with realistic and sustainable commitments,” said Ambassador Harold Forsyth, Executive Director of the Peru Chapter of the Binational Plan for the Development of the Peru-Ecuador Border Region.

Four representative projects were presented at the Forum to promote discussions between participants and encourage replication in the region. The first project focuses specifically on prevention of trafficking. The Ramon Castilla platform (ramoncastilla.pe), created by the Ministry of Interior and IOM Peru was developed to disseminate information, especially to young people, about the risks of trafficking in persons.

Regarding persecution, an updated version was presented of the Training Manual for the Judiciary in the Investigation and Processing of Cases of Trafficking in Persons, developed by IOM Peru and the Institute for Democracy and Human Rights of the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru. The manual is available online and has been used by the Ministry of Interior and the Public Ministry to train police and prosecutors in remote areas of Peru.

The Ministry of Justice also presented its experience providing technical assistance to different regions of Peru to promote the creation or strengthening of regional action plans to combat trafficking.

Additionally, the NGO CHS Alternativo presented its project to provide assistance to victims, through which it provided assistance to 300 victims of trafficking in eight regions of Peru, two of which are along the northern border with Ecuador. 

During the Forum, IOM Peru’s Chief of Mission, Jose Ivan Davalos said: “These inter-institutional exchange mechanisms are extremely important and necessary to ensure we successfully combat trafficking in persons in Peru and its neighbouring countries. Trafficking in persons happens in every region of Peru and traffickers often rely on the displacement of their victims to coerce them.”

For further information, please contact IOM Peru. Ines Calderon, Email: icalderon@iom.int or Diana Gomez, Email: digomez@iom.int, Tel. +51 1 633 0000.

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 17:59Image: Region-Country: AmericaPeruDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

Identity Management and Information Systems on Human Mobility: Ecuador Seminar

IOM - News - Ven, 02/17/2017 - 11:15
Language English

Ecuador - Ecuador’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Human Mobility and IOM, supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, has organized a three-day seminar on Identity Management, E-passports and Information Systems on Human Mobility.

The seminar which ends today (17/02) is being facilitated by three international experts from the Office of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada; the Autonomous Technological Institute of Mexico and IOM.

The experts shared information about the importance of robust identity management, the challenges and advantages of shifting from traditional to electronic passports, and the scope for implementing effective information systems for human mobility management, as required by Ecuador’s new law on human mobility.

During the first day of the seminar, Nelson Goncalves, an IOM expert on biometric registration systems and identity management, highlighted the need for creating synergy between identity systems, including those serving citizens and foreigners.

The seminar emphasized the importance of applying integrated and inter-operable biometric registration systems for governments. “Such systems protect both citizens and foreign residents,” explained Goncalves.

Participants also learnt about regional experiences with electronic passports and migration information systems, including the implementation of the Canadian e-passport and Mexico’s trials to create comprehensive information systems and coordination mechanisms for policies on human mobility.

IOM Ecuador Chief of Mission Damien Thuriaux said: “As an intergovernmental organization, IOM is committed to providing technically and commercially neutral assistance to its Member States by promoting effective mechanisms for evaluating and supporting security improvement for identity documents. We are supporting the creation of migration governance mechanisms that allow the mainstreaming of migration in political planning based on migration information systems.”

IOM – in cooperation with the International Civil Aviation Organization’s Implementation and Capacity Building Working Group (ICBWG) – globally promotes the proper application of security standards in the handling and issuance of travel documents, with the aim of facilitating human mobility and migrant protection.

For further information, please contact Carolina Celi at IOM Ecuador, Tel. +593 23 934400, Email: cceli@iom.int

Posted: Friday, February 17, 2017 - 17:58Image: Region-Country: AmericaEcuadorDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Appeals for USD 76.8 Million to Help Most Vulnerable in South Sudan

IOM - News - Mar, 02/14/2017 - 11:02
Language English

South Sudan - Needs in South Sudan have reached unprecedented levels as the crisis enters its fourth year. Some 7.5 million people are in desperate need of aid, having exhausted coping mechanisms, faced multiple displacements and struggled with a failing economy.

To provide lifesaving assistance to displaced and conflict-affected populations across the country in 2017, IOM is appealing for USD 76.8 million.

Some 4.9 million people are facing severe food insecurity and 1.84 million are displaced internally, in addition to approximately 1.2 million who have fled to neighbouring countries.

“Needs soared over the course of 2016 as the crisis spread to previously relatively stable regions, and deepened in Greater Upper Nile,” said IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission William Barriga. “As civilians continue to bear the brunt of the violence, a political solution to the ongoing crisis is needed urgently.”

As needs grow and worsen, humanitarian workers are facing increasing difficulty in accessing affected populations due to insecurity and bureaucratic impediments, complicating efforts to reach the most vulnerable and compounding existing needs.

In response to the expanding crisis, IOM’s 2017 consolidated appeal highlights emergency humanitarian assistance based on existing capacity, focusing on the most urgent needs through health, logistics, shelter, and water, sanitation and hygiene assistance, as well as camp coordination and camp management and mental health and psychosocial support programming.

IOM will continue providing assistance at displacement sites, including protection of civilian sites, collective centres and other areas of displacement. Response teams will sustain robust efforts to reach populations in remote and often volatile areas.

Mindful of the need to protect development gains that were achieved prior to the July 2016 crisis and build the foundations for post-conflict recovery, IOM continues to carry out multi-dimensional programmes guided by peace-building and development principles. IOM’s Transition and Recovery and Migration Management programmes will continue to operate alongside the overall humanitarian response in areas where conditions allow, emphasizing the link between relief and development.

IOM has had an operational presence in South Sudan since 2005, establishing a country office in 2011 following the country’s independence. Immediately after the conflict erupted in December 2013, IOM restructured its activities in response to the emergency. Today, IOM South Sudan remains one of the Organization’s largest missions, with 450 staff stationed across the country to implement humanitarian, transition and recovery, and migration management activities.

View the IOM South Sudan 2017 Consolidated Appeal here.

For further information, please contact Ashley McLaughlin at IOM South Sudan, Tel: +211 922 405 716, Email: amclaughlin@iom.int.

Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 18:00Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastSouth SudanThemes: Humanitarian EmergenciesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM to Build Transitional Shelters for South Sudanese Refugees in Gambella, Ethiopia

IOM - News - Mar, 02/14/2017 - 10:57
Language English

Ethiopia - Later this month, IOM will begin building the first transitional shelters for South Sudanese refugees in Gambella region, Ethiopia.

The nearly 900 transitional shelters will be built in the new Nguenyyiel camp, which opened in September 2016, to accommodate roughly 4,400 people.

The camp currently hosts 27,620 refugees who fled South Sudan due to a conflict which shows no signs of ending soon. Transitional shelters represent a significant upgrade from the more basic emergency shelters currently being used by refugees in the camp, which are mostly covered by plastic sheeting that makes the interiors unbearably hot during the current dry season.

The transitional shelters will be built using local techniques and materials, with the refugees themselves playing a large part in the building process. The livelihoods of the refugees and the communities hosting them will be supported through the construction phase. The new shelters will be a significant improvement on previous emergency shelters.

“Upgrading the shelters used by refugees in Nguenyyiel camp has been identified as a key need by IOM, our partners, and the refugees themselves. The new transitional shelters and the ongoing relocations are vital in our ongoing efforts in managing the inflow of South Sudanese refugees into Gambella in a way that really responds to the needs of refugees,” said Miriam Mutalu, the Head of IOM Ethiopia’s Sub-Office in Gambella. “The journey the refugees take to reach Ethiopia is a long and dangerous one, which is why IOM’s assistance on this side of the border is so important,” she added.

Construction of the transitional shelters is part of IOM’s response to the Gambella refugee flow supported by the United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID). DFID funding also allows IOM to relocate refugees at the South Sudan–Ethiopia border to camps in Gambella by either bus or boat, in a safe and dignified way. The relocations happen after IOM medical teams conduct screening and referrals at the entry points used by refugees.

In 2016, IOM provided pre-departure medical screening and evacuations to 53,240 refugees in Gambella.

IOM’s shelter and relocation efforts are carried out with the invaluable support of the Government of Ethiopia via the Administration for Refugee and Returnee Affairs (ARRA) and the Gambella Regional Disaster Prevention and Food Security Agency (DPFSA).

For further information, please contact Miriam Mutalu, Tel: +251 94 66 92 501, Email: mmutalu@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 17:45Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastEthiopiaThemes: Refugee and Asylum IssuesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Develops Mobile App to Help Prevent Human Trafficking in Slovakia

IOM - News - Mar, 02/14/2017 - 10:45
Language English

Slovakia - “Be prepared, spread the word, and recognize the signs” is the tagline of a free new mobile application called SAFE Travel & Work Abroad developed by IOM in Slovakia to raise awareness about the risks of human trafficking through an interactive game. 

Designed as a preventative and educational tool, the application presents a scenario where four main characters are planning journeys abroad. The app user steps into their shoes and makes decisions that will influence the direction of their lives, confronting and learning about the pitfalls of human trafficking along the way.

Whether the protagonists end up travelling and working abroad safely – or fall into the traps set by traffickers – is in the hands of the player.

In addition to the interactive game, the application provides vital information about human trafficking, including warning signs to look out for. It also provides tips for safe travelling and working abroad, including emergency contacts, and information on employment services and labour agreements. 

The app is available in five language versions: Slovak, English, Czech, Polish, and Hungarian.

IOM has developed a brief companion manual for professionals working with youth on how to use the application as part of educational activities. The manual is available for free in the same language versions as the app.

IOM Slovakia and its partners in the Czech Republic, Poland and Hungary are presenting the application to prevention specialists and to students to raise their awareness about human trafficking and the principles of safe travel.

IOM in Slovakia has been contributing to various counter-trafficking activities since 2003. In addition to awareness-raising campaigns and training activities that are implemented in cooperation with state institutions and NGOs, IOM Slovakia provides and assists voluntary returns with pre-departure assistance for victims of human trafficking who want to go back to their home country in safety and dignity.

Between 2006 and 2016, IOM identified 213 victims of trafficking in Slovakia and helped 123 of them to voluntarily return home.  They also ensured that they were referred to specialized partners within National Referral Mechanisms depending on the individual needs of the person who had been a victim of trafficking.

The new application was developed by IOM Slovakia as part of a project called SAFE – Smart, Aware, Free, Enjoy – Information Campaign to Prevent Human Trafficking which is supported financially by the International Visegrad Fund and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Bratislava. The project is being implemented by IOM in collaboration with partner organizations La Strada in the Czech Republic and Poland, and Baptist Aid based in Hungary.

The application is available for free on the App Store, Google Play and on the website www.safe.iom.sk.

For more information on IOM Slovakia counter-trafficking activities, please visit: http://www.iom.sk/en/activities/counter-trafficking-in-human-beings

For the Manual for mobile application SAFE Travel & Work Abroad visit: http://www.iom.sk/en/publications?download=247:iom-manual-for-mobile-app...

For further information, please contact Zuzana Vatralova at IOM Bratislava, Tel: + 421 2 5273 3791, Email: zvatralova@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 17:22Image: Region-Country: Europe and Central AsiaSlovakiaThemes: Counter-TraffickingDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM

IOM Iraq Publishes Community Stabilization Handbook

IOM - News - Mar, 02/14/2017 - 10:21
Language English

Iraq - IOM Iraq’s Community Stabilization Handbook, published last week, provides an overview of the situation in 15 Iraqi governorates, including 51 communities, and of the achievements of IOM’s Transition and Recovery initiatives in Iraq.

More than 3 million Iraqis are currently displaced by the crisis, which began in January 2014. The presence of displaced persons places additional pressure on public services, including health, education and infrastructure in host communities. The displacement and the effect of the conflict cause hardship for communities and individuals, who both must cope with uncertain economic and social conditions.

The governorate profiles present data including demographics, displacement trends, security, socio-economic conditions and public services, shelter type and needs of displaced families. The book is divided into chapters covering a majority of Iraq's governorates.

Data was gathered through assessments during 2015 to 2016 under the Community Revitalization Programme (CRP). IOM targeted 51 communities across 15 governorates of Iraq. The program is funded by the US Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM) and carried out in co-operation with the Government of Iraq and local authorities.

The community profiles provide additional specific information, gathered by IOM staff during field assessments, including population breakdown, and information on the sectors of health care, education, public infrastructure, social welfare, the economy and employment.

Data for the community profiles was gathered through conversations of IOM field staff with community leaders, local government representatives, focus group discussions with community members and by using direct observations to identify the services needed.

The community profiles include an overview of completed interventions under Community Revitalization Programme (CRP phase V) in each community in the sectors of: livelihoods assistance, small infrastructure projects and social cohesion. Each community profile highlights resources, vulnerabilities, and recommendations for future projects.

IOM Iraq Chief of Mission Thomas Lothar Weiss stated: “As the crisis in Iraq continues, sustained efforts are required to support the livelihoods of displaced Iraqis, returnees and host communities, and to assist communities that are hosting large numbers of displaced Iraqis. The Community Stabilization Handbook contributes to the knowledge available to humanitarian partners, government representatives and academics, to better understand the situation of these communities.”

Since 2006, through its Community Revitalization Programme and predecessor project, IOM has been supporting Iraqi individuals and their communities in efforts to support the recovery of local economies, improve access to essential services, promote good governance, increase human capital – ultimately contributing to stability of Iraq through enhancing resilience and promoting social cohesion. In light of the crisis in Iraq, IOM CRP aims to go beyond supporting the populations’ immediate needs, by implementing a comprehensive community transition and recovery approach, and aims to foster social cohesion by improving socio-economic conditions.

The handbook can be accessed at:
http://iomiraq.net/reports/iom-iraq-community-stabilization-handbook-2015-2016

IOM’s strategy also includes the Rapid Recovery Programme (RRP), which aims to provide immediate support to basic and often life-saving infrastructure and emergency livelihoods, in direct response to the urgent needs caused by the Mosul offensive. The RRP lays the groundwork for further recovery programming in conflict-affected areas.

The IOM Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) Emergency Tracking has identified nearly 154,000 individuals who are still currently displaced by Mosul operations; the cumulative total of displaced since 17 October 2016 to date is more than 199,000 individuals. The majority (78 percent) are from Mosul district in Ninewa governorate.

The latest DTM Emergency Tracking figures on displacement from Mosul operations are available at: http://iraqdtm.iom.int/EmergencyTracking.aspx.

Please click to download the latest:
IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Factsheet:
https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq-DTM_Mosul_Operations_Factsheet-No15.pdf

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Operations – Data Snapshot:
https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq_DTM-Mosul_Operations_Snapshot_14Feb2017.pdf

IOM Iraq DTM Mosul Corridor Displacement Analysis:
https://www.iom.int/sites/default/files/press_release/file/IOM_Iraq_DTM-Mosul_Corridor_Displacement_Analysis_13Feb2017.pdf

For further information, please contact IOM Iraq, Sandra Black, Tel. +964 751 234 2550, Email: sblack@iom.int

Posted: Tuesday, February 14, 2017 - 17:17Image: Region-Country: Africa and Middle EastIraqThemes: Community StabilizationHumanitarian EmergenciesDefault: 
Categorie: Press Room IOM