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Ethiopian protests, Greek pushbacks, and a Myanmar mystery: The Cheat Sheet

By from TNH English. Published on Jul 03, 2020.

A weekly read to keep you in the loop on humanitarian issues.

Sudan Prepares to Receive Returning Nationals

By jojusayan from News. Published on Jul 03, 2020.

Khartoum – The Government of Sudan last month began facilitating the return home of the first of an estimated 15,000 Sudanese nationals stranded overseas, many in urgent need of assistance, with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM). 

IOM, which has been advocating for the creation of predictable, safe return mechanisms that balance mobility with the need for the robust public health response to COVID-19, is working with the World Health Organization (WHO), to strengthen health surveillance measures at points of entry including Khartoum International Airport, Port Sudan New International Airport and Swakin seaport. 

“Khartoum International Airport has completed all the necessary preparations to receive Sudanese residents who have been stranded abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Ibrahim Adlan, General Director of the Civil Aviation Authority.   

“The airport is taking all the necessary precautions in compliance with international guidelines and procedures set by the Ministry of Health to test all passengers  before boarding and upon arrival in the country, to ensure the safety and health of everyone including workers and passengers.”  

The majority of those wishing to return home are in the Middle East, North Africa and Asia. Priority has been given to the elderly and those needing medical treatment. 

IOM has provided Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), including over 50,000 masks, 63,000 gloves, 1,600 hand sanitizers and five thermo-scan thermometers for use at Khartoum International Airport. Terminal signage for physical distancing and COVID-19 awareness and prevention was also provided.  

“IOM is delighted to be able to help support with the return of Sudanese residents back to their own homes and reunite them with family and friends,” said Andrew Gray, the head of Migration Management and Development at IOM Sudan.   

Additional support to the airport will include the rehabilitation of screening and isolation facilities, and the training of front-line border officers on infection prevention and control, Gray said. 

In the wake of COVID-19 Sudan declared a nationwide health emergency, closed all airports, seaports and land crossings points, and introduced a countrywide curfew. As of 27 June, the epidemic had claimed the lives of 572 people in Sudan with 9,257 confirmed cases, according to the Federal Ministry of Health. The epidemic has burdened an already stretched national health system. 

During a previous 48-hour window in March, the government opened its borders to allow about 2,000 Sudanese migrants to return via Khartoum International Airport.  

Support for this activity was funded by the European Union under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa, the Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the United States Department of State and Sudan’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).  

Through its COVID-19 Sudan Response programme with WHO, which currently amounts to Euro 11.5 million, the EU further supports efforts boost the capacity of Khartoum International Airport to receive returnees and other travelers. 

For more information please contact Lisa George at IOM Sudan, Tel: +249 922 406 601, Email: IOMSudanmedia@iom.int or Wilson Johwa, Tel: +254 701 838 029, Email: wjohwa@iom.int 

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Friday, July 3, 2020 - 12:58
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IOM helps screen airport staff for COVID-19 symptoms in Khartoum, Sudan 

IOM helps screen airport staff for COVID-19 symptoms in Khartoum, Sudan 

IOM helps screen airport staff for COVID-19 symptoms in Khartoum, Sudan 

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United Nations in West and Central Africa Concerned Over Increased Vulnerabilities of Migrants Amid COVID-19

By jojusayan from News. Published on Jul 03, 2020.

Dakar – The Regional United Nations Network on Migration together with the Regional UN-SDG COVID-19 Executive Committee in West and Central Africa are concerned with the wellbeing of millions of migrants across the region amid the COVID-19 crisis. While they face the same health threats from COVID-19 as any other human being, migrants may be exposed to a higher level of vulnerability linked to discrimination and exclusion in their living and working conditions or in their access to basic services including healthcare. Under these difficult circumstances, migrants may be at risk of abuse and other human rights violations. 

Over 30,000 migrants are currently stranded at borders and more than 2,000 are waiting to be assisted in overcrowded transit centers where they are at heightened risk of COVID-19 infection. Since the outbreak in the region, thousands were abandoned in the desert by smugglers and traffickers along migratory routes. Some were deported, putting their lives and health at risk and others are being targeted with discrimination, hate speech, and xenophobia. 

As governments in West and Central Africa are taking preventive measures such as border closures to protect their countries from the spread of COVID-19, migrants, including those in irregular situations, may find themselves disproportionately impacted, unable to access healthcare, social services or protect themselves. In addition, border closures further limit regular migration options including return, while forcing migrants to take more dangerous migratory routes and putting them at risk to be exploited, extorted, or abused.  

Building on the principled commitments and actions outlined in the Global Compact for Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration (GCM), the Regional Network calls on governments to make every effort to address and reduce migrants’ vulnerabilities by incorporating their health and other vital needs in national and local responses and recovery, taking into consideration the special needs of women and children; by upholding human rights at international borders ; by confronting discrimination, xenophobia and anti-migrant narratives, and by operationalizing relevant recommendations on the human rights protection of migrants in vulnerable situations.   

Member States should ensure that all migrants – regardless of their migration status – are able to protect themselves and their communities from COVID-19 and can avail themselves of COVID-19 testing and treatment without fear of detention, deportation or penalty. To that end, the Regional Network calls on Member States across the region to urgently expand the availability and flexibility of safe, regular pathways for migrants in vulnerable situations (GCM Objective 5), including pathways for entry and stay based on human rights, compassionate or humanitarian grounds; to cooperate in facilitating safe and dignified voluntary return of migrants on the basis of their free, prior and informed consent; to suspend all deportations during COVID-19, and to ensure that no one faces the risk of refoulement by being returned to places where their life, safety or human rights are threatened, including to uphold the prohibitions of collective expulsions and arbitrary pushbacks at borders (GCM objective 21).  

Moreover, the Regional Network stresses the need for Member States to prioritize the protection of migrants’ rights, dignity and wellbeing, and to provide safe access to basic services, including COVID-19 treatment and integrated prevention services to all migrants, including those with pre-existing health conditions, and who may already have limited access to healthcare, including those in an irregular situation. All migrants, regardless of status, should be included in national COVID-19 preparedness, response, recovery and containment plans that guarantee non-discriminatory and equitable access to treatment, care, information, and social protection (GCM Objective 15).  

Particularly for children moving unaccompanied or separated, prolonged family separation due to border closures, coupled with limited access to psychosocial support and protection services, increases their mental distress and their exposure to violence and exploitation. The Regional Network calls upon Member States to uphold the best interests of the child at all times, as a primary consideration in situations where children are concerned (GCM Objective 7). 

The Regional Network reaffirms Members States’ commitment to eliminate all forms of discrimination, hate speech, xenophobia and intolerance against migrants and their families (GCM Objective 17). COVID-19 doesn’t discriminate, and neither should we. To this end, the Regional Network stands ready to support Member States establish mechanisms to prevent, detect and respond to systematic instances of xenophobia and discrimination against migrants, and to raise awareness of COVID-19 to inform public perceptions of migrants and to reshape the narrative on migration. 

Finally, the Regional Network underlines that mobility and other restrictions will need to meet the requirements of legality, necessity and proportionality, and be non-discriminatory (GCM Objective 11). The COVID-19 response does not have to be an obstacle to mobility in the region, and mobility is not an obstacle to mitigate the impact of this pandemic. 

The United Nations Network on Migration was established to ensure effective, timely and coordinated system-wide support to Member States in their implementation, follow-up and review of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration. 

In releasing this statement, the Regional Network reminds States of their commitment in the GCM to address and reduce vulnerabilities in migration and to provide access to basic services for migrants. The COVID-19 pandemic has created momentum to promote an integrated and safe approach to border management as a viable and sustainable solution to mitigate public health challenges while ensuring the health and economic security for all. 

The United Nations Network on Migration is committed to supporting all partners in pursuit of the implementation of the GCM, recognizing that this cooperative framework provides an invaluable tool for ensuring all in society can contribute to a collective response to COVID-19 and are protected equally against its impact. 

Contact details:  

IOM, Florence Kim: fkim@iom.int, Tel: +221 78 620 6213 

OHCHR, Patrick Ifonge: consultant.ifonge@ohchr.org; Tel: +33 6 51 87 95 50 

UNICEF, Sandra Bisin: sbisin@unicef.org, Tel +221 77 819 23 00 

UNHCR, Romain Desclous: desclous@unhcr.org 

ILO, Jennifer Patterson: patterson@ilo.org; Adam Bowers: bowers@ilo.org 

UNODC, Alejandra Amaya Escoto: alejandra.amayaescoto@un.org; Henna Mustonen henna.mustonen@un.org 

UNDP, Njoya Tikum: njoya.tikum@undp.org 

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Friday, July 3, 2020 - 09:34
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Due to the border closures decreed by governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across West Africa, at least 30,000 migrants are stranded at borders. IOM/Monica Chiriac. 

Due to the border closures decreed by governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19 across West Africa, at least 30,000 migrants are stranded at borders. IOM/Monica Chiriac. 

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Panamanians, Migrants Closer to Health Services, Better Coexistence

By jojusayan from News. Published on Jul 03, 2020.

Panama City – The project was called “Strengthening Communities for Primary Health Care,” implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in close coordination with the Ministry of Health (MoH) of Panamá. It ended a few weeks ago, after being funded by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) of the US Department of Health and Human Services. 

While aiding migrants, the project also helped locals learn about the newcomers in their midst, including many Venezuelans. 

Albis is Panamanian. "Although my relationship with migrants was always good, I never took a deeper look at them," she confessed. That changed when she joined the IOM project as a health promoter. 

"I discovered many stories," Albis explained. "But there is one that marked me: Fiorella, a Venezuelan woman, pregnant, with a threat of abortion, and afraid to go to the health facilities. We helped her to be treated first in a health center and then in the hospital.”  

Sadly, Fiorella lost her baby, but the team saved her life, provided follow-up and emotional support. She has recovered and has resolved to become part of a community network that orients other migrants about the health facilities they can access. 

More than 7,000 migrants from different countries and vulnerable Panamanians from the districts of San Miguelito and La Chorrera, two of the areas with the highest proportion of migrants in Panamá, benefited from the support of health promoters like Albis. These community-based workers provided orientation and information on health promotion and disease prevention topics and referred cases for health care, while offering support and follow-up.  

Through this project, IOM strengthened the MoH's efforts to improve health care access among migrants in vulnerable situations and their host communities. The community outreach and communication campaign fielded eight health promoters who were trained on sexual, reproductive and mental health, vaccination, prenatal care, epidemic-prone diseases, MoH programmes for children and adolescents, and other topics related to migration., such as trafficking in persons, exploitation, xenophobia, among others. Also, 14 volunteer community leaders were identified and trained to support in the referral of cases. 

From five health centers, action teams visited metro stations and supermarkets, and carried out vaccination sessions, interventions in the communities, and virtual training sessions. Among the people reached by this project, 351 were referred for vaccination and medical care, including 15 suspected cases of COVID-19, all cases that turned out to be negative.  

"This project is important because foreigners in our country are often unaware of the Ministry of Health's scope and find difficulties in accessing our services," said Thays Noriega, Head of International Affairs and Technical Cooperation of the Ministry of Health.  

"One of the next steps will be to follow up on the population reached, in conjunction with the health districts," added Gonzalo Medina, IOM's National Programme Officer in Panamá.  

Better access to health services was not the only impact of this project. "Now I see more than a Venezuelan. I see a human being who, because of the situation in his country, was pushed to leave behind his family, friends, and customs," says Albis, the Panamanian health promoter. "They have gone from being skilled professionals with vast experience to being street vendors, reinventing themselves, becoming entrepreneurs, and living with fears in a place different from their land." 

"This is an excellent initiative for us. With this project, I have learned a little more about the costs in the health centers, the attention of some specialists, the medicines, the vaccines that Panamá offers," said Josnelly, a Venezuelan volunteer in the project. 

For more information, please contact Mayteé Zachrisson at IOM Panamá, Email: mzachrisson@iom.int,  Tel: +507 6312 5700. 

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Friday, July 3, 2020 - 12:55
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The health promoters are community-based workers who provide orientation and information on health promotion and disease prevention topics, and who refer cases for health care. Phot: IOM. 

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Inside Congo’s Ebola emergency

By from TNH English. Published on Jul 02, 2020.

All our reporting on the second deadliest Ebola outbreak yet recorded.

Despite COVID-19 setbacks, displaced Kachin women keep their families afloat

By Ring Nu Awng, Nhkum La Nu, Emily Fishbein from TNH English. Published on Jul 02, 2020.

COVID-19 has squeezed aid and income to a trickle in Myanmar’s north. Three displaced women, who lead their households, explain how life has changed.

The West’s humanitarian reckoning

By from TNH English. Published on Jul 01, 2020.

Race, power, and relevance were among issues addressed in a TNH online conversation on humanitarianism in the midst of #BlackLivesMatter and COVID-19.

Readers react | #BlackLivesMatter and challenging Western power structures in aid

By from TNH English. Published on Jul 01, 2020.

Here’s what readers are saying. What do you think?

Russia holds key to UN Syria aid operation

By Aron Lund from TNH English. Published on Jul 01, 2020.

Another diplomatic dispute over cross-border aid is playing out as civilians face war, economic crisis, and the pandemic.

In the news: India’s northeast faces ‘twin disasters’

By from TNH English. Published on Jul 01, 2020.

Severe monsoon floods have hit more than a million people, after COVID-19 lockdowns sapped livelihoods and left river embankments unfortified.

Global Diaspora Coalition: Message of Solidarity with Victims of COVID-19 Related Xenophobia, Discrimination

By jojusayan from News. Published on Jul 01, 2020.

Geneva- Leaders of diaspora and community organizations from around the world are coming together today to send a clear, unified message of solidarity with those facing xenophobia, discrimination and even violence due to COVID-19. 

More than 200 federations and associations supporting diaspora communities in over 150 countries signed a joint statement over the past month whose goal is to create a ‘new normal’ where societies find further strength in diversity and mutual support. 

Organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through its iDiaspora platform, the statement was co-convened by the UK Federation of Chinese Professionals, Africa-Europe Diaspora Development Platform, Africa Diaspora Network (ADN) and Coalición por Venezuela.  

“It reaffirms the importance of racial and social justice, and the need for unity between peoples regardless of origin, race, skin colour and cultural background at this challenging time and into the post-pandemic recovery,” said IOM Director General António Vitorino 

“Now more than ever, the safety of our society as a whole depends on the effective protection of the most vulnerable. Xenophobia and discrimination undermine our response to the COVID-19 pandemic and efforts to address the socio-economic impacts that disproportionately burden the most vulnerable and marginalized elements of our societies including migrants.” 

Moving from words to actions, the signatories will convene to form a Global Coalition of likeminded diaspora organizations committed to working together to address the challenges arising from the current situation.  

The first virtual meeting of the Coalition will be organized on 8 July at 16.00 (GMT+2). All signatories and other interested organizations are welcome to take part in this formative meeting to decide the structure and priorities of the Coalition. Its aim is to support as many vulnerable diaspora communities as possible by sharing and taking forward effective measures to tackle COVID-19 challenges affecting the global diaspora and the communities where they reside. 

The conveners and signatories of the joint statement are already undertaking important actions and would like to use these examples to inspire joint actions at the regional and global level. For example, the UK Federation of Chinese Professionals has established the first national support and third party reporting centre for East and South East Asian communities in the UK, and its chairman has also recruited 800 professionals from over 50 countries to set up a global virtual support centre for a local charity in consultative status with UN ECOSOC to safeguard the most vulnerable communities in Cameroon. 

Similarly, the ADN believes that in the current context the global community has an opportunity to hold leaders accountable and is engaging in advocacy and educating grassroots actors to address institutional discrimination, racial violence and police brutality that exist in systems around the world that have been laid bare against the backdrop of the pandemic.  

It is proposed that moving forward, member organizations of the Coalition will work together to identify the regional challenges and collaborative solutions with supportive entities including the IOM and national governments. Diaspora leaders closely coordinate in the global response to COVID-19 to safeguard vulnerable communities from xenophobia and discrimination.  

 

For more information, please contact IOM's Roberto Cancel, rcancel@iom.int  

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Wednesday, July 1, 2020 - 11:09
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Battling the generals: A briefing on Sudan’s transition to democracy

By Sara Creta from TNH English. Published on Jun 30, 2020.

Almost a year after protestors pushed Sudan’s military into a power-sharing transition, they took to the streets again today to protect the goals of the revolution.

Climate Change and Migration: Converging Issues, Diverging Funding

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 30, 2020.

This MPI Europe discussion explored different migration policy options related to climate adaptation and the evolving landscape of climate finance tools. Speakers also examined what funding gaps and opportunities exist for collaboration with partner countries and what funding instruments might address the most pressing needs. The conversation also explored the implications of COVID-19 for migration and climate adaptation funding approaches.

Former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Arizona State University President Michael Crow Co-Chair New MPI Advisory Board

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 30, 2020.

WASHINGTON — The Migration Policy Institute’s newly constituted advisory board convened for the first time on June 29, assembling members with distinguished records in government, the corporate and philanthropic sectors, the legal and education fields, immigrant service and advocacy, research, diplomacy and academia in the United States, Europe and Latin America.

Rescued Rohingya Grateful for Local Support, But Concerns Grow for Boats Still at Sea

By jojusayan from News. Published on Jun 30, 2020.

Rescued Rohingya Grateful for Local Support, But Concerns Grow for Boats Still at Sea  

IOM REPORTER VIDEO 

North Aceh, Indonesia – IOM Indonesia continues to provide round-the-clock care to the 99 Rohingya rescued and allowed to disembark in North Aceh last week, as concerns are being raised about another boat currently at sea with an estimated 500 Rohingya on board, according to authorities in Jakarta.   

Malaysian officials have also reported at least 300 are on a vessel off the coast of Koh Adang island in Thailand. 

No further details are available but roughly 1,400 Rohingya have been stranded at sea during the 2020 sailing season, which typically ends with the arrival of the monsoon in late May. According to various estimates at least 130 have died.  

At the centre in Lhoksemauwe, Aceh, where the Rohingya are being housed, the IOM team – a nurse, an interpreter and psycho-social and operational staff – are working alongside other partners to provide much-needed support to the group who have expressed gratitude for the support they have received from the local community after more than 120 days stranded at sea. 

“With the hospitality of local people, I am happy,” said a 22-year-old woman.  

“Getting food on time, I can sleep without fear. I can also take a shower. But I miss my siblings and mother in Bangladesh and my husband in Malaysia. It would have been better if I could talk with them over the phone.” 

A 17-year-old boy said: “Our boat was floating in the sea for over four months. I thought, ‘we are going to die in the boat and my dead body would be thrown in the sea’. But finally, we could land in a country; I am alive. I feel so happy to be alive.” 

In addition to food and water, IOM and partners are also providing WASH support through the provision of water tanks and personal hygiene kits. IOM has also ensured that the group has a high level of COVID 19 awareness and prevention information and our medical teams are working in close coordination with government health entities, filling a gap in health care referrals and hospitalization needs. 

“IOM teams have been on the ground, working with local community and government, and providing direct support to the new arrivals,” said IOM Chief of Mission Louis Hoffmann. “After four months at sea, and as they recover their health and their spirits, more details have begun to emerge in particular about how they left and the stressful conditions they had to endure to make this journey.” 

Hoffmann commended the local community for their role in ensuring that the Rohingya were rescued and brought to land. He also lauded the efforts of the local authorities together with various agencies operating alongside IOM in north Aceh. 

“The past several months of the sailing season have resulted in scores of lives lost at sea, as people have sought protection and refuge in the region. The gesture and support from the local community in Aceh, and the coordination that’s been happening across the national government to allow for this disembarkation have been, in a word, life-saving,” Hoffmann said. 

The group comprised of 23 families (73 persons), 11 single adult females, nine female unaccompanied children, four single adult males and two male unaccompanied children. Guardianship arrangements have been made for the unaccompanied children and IOM is assisting the ICRC to make family links where needed or possible. 

During the 2015 Andaman Sea crisis, Indonesia agreed to accept several stranded vessels loaded with migrants on humanitarian grounds. A total of 1,820 Rohingya and Bangladeshi nationals were assisted by IOM in Indonesia during the crisis. 

IOM’s work to support the Rohingya in Aceh is being funded by the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO). 

HERE IS THE VIDEO   

For more information, please contact Patrik Shirak, at IOM Indonesia, Tel: +622157951275, Email: pshirak@iom.int  or Itayi Viriri at IOM Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Tel: +63 917 890 8785, Email: iviriri@iom.int  

 

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Tuesday, June 30, 2020 - 13:00
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IOM Indonesia MHPSS staff interacting with the children from the group. Photo: IOM/Martini Sitompul  

Identifying unaccompanied children in the group. Photo: IOM/Wira Surbakti 

IOM with funding from ECHO and a local NGO provided water trucks. Photo: IOM/Said Rizki 

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Briefing: Coronavirus and the halting of asylum at the US-Mexico border

By Eric Reidy from TNH English. Published on Jun 29, 2020.

Critics say that new Trump administration policies use the virus as a pretext to effectively end access to asylum at the US-Mexico border.

Q&A: Want to know about COVID-19 in Haiti? Ask a nurse

By Sarah Holcomb from TNH English. Published on Jun 29, 2020.

Frontline caregivers have few ways to share their on-the-ground information about the pandemic with policymakers or the public.

Rethinking and Restarting: What Should the Returns Process Look Like Post-Pandemic?

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 26, 2020.

Part of MPI Europe's webinar series exploring what the migrant-return and reintegration process might look like in the post-COVID period, this first webinar in the series showcases speakers from Belgium's Fedasil, the French Office of Immigration and Integration, and the International Organization for Migration discussing the counselling of (potential) returnees to increase the uptake of voluntary return – a return option that is generally seen as more humanitarian, practical, less expensive

IOM Indonesia Assists Rohingya Rescued After Four Months at Sea

By jojusayan from News. Published on Jun 26, 2020.

North Aceh, Indonesia - The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has joined coordinated efforts to help 99 Rohingya, mostly women and children, rescued by local fishermen on Wednesday after being stranded at sea for more than 120 days. 

The group comprised of 23 families (73 persons), 11 single adult females, nine female unaccompanied children, four single adult males and two male unaccompanied children were allowed to disembark yesterday with the agreement of the local community who were concerned about the welfare of the children.  

IOM Indonesia’s advance team is providing medical and operational support with registration and the initial assessment of the group, as well as much-needed food, water and hygiene packages.  

Speaking this morning to IOM staff via an interpreter, a spokesperson from the group said they set off from Balukhali camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh four months and 10 days ago. 

He said they were all originally from Rakhine state, Myanmar.  

He added that one woman died during the journey leaving behind two children. Another three children, two of them siblings, and a 10-year-old girl were unaccompanied. The group also included one pregnant woman.  

The spokesperson said, “We set off on foot, through the hills to Shamlapur [Cox’s Bazar] from where we took small boats that brought us to a bigger boat at sea. The captain of the big boat was a man from Myanmar. Our original destination was supposed to be Malaysia, where we were supposed to pay 10,000 Ringgit (USD2,300.00) each upon arrival.”  

He said the boat was arranged by a ‘Rohingya who lived abroad’.  

“Rapid tests for COVID19 conducted last night reveal that all tested negative,” said Louis Hoffmann, IOM Chief of Mission in Indonesia. 

“This is good news as we are very mindful, of course, of community concerns over public health issues and we are providing ongoing support to the authorities through our medical teams alongside UNHCR’s registration team.”  

Roughly 1,400 Rohingya found themselves stranded at sea during the 2020 sailing season, which typically ends with the arrival of the monsoon in early June. At least 130 have died. Malaysian officials report at least 300 are on a vessel off the coast of Koh Adang island in Thailand. 

On May 28, IOM issued a statement urging Rohingya stranded at sea to be allowed to disembark. 

“A coordinated response to this situation, inclusive of search and rescue operations and safe disembarkation, is urgently needed to ensure that those who are still stranded at sea can be brought to safety on land,” IOM’s Director General António Vitorino said at the time. 

During the 2015 Andaman Sea crisis, Indonesia agreed to accept several stranded vessels loaded with migrants on humanitarian grounds. A total of 1,820 Rohingya and Bangladeshi nationals were absorbed into IOM’s caseload.  

For more information, please contact Patrik Shirak, at IOM Indonesia, Tel: +622157951275, Email: pshirak@iom.int or Itayi Viriri at IOM’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific in Bangkok, Tel: +63 917 890 8785, Email: iviriri@iom.int 

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Friday, June 26, 2020 - 13:00
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IOM staff assist some of the 99 Rohingya who disembarked in Aceh, Indonesia. Photo: IOM Indonesia 

Some of the 99 Rohingya who disembarked in Aceh, Indonesia after being stranded at sea for over 120 days. Photo: IOM Indonesia 

Some of the 99 Rohingya who disembarked in Aceh, Indonesia. Photo: UNHCR

The 99 Rohingya who disembarked in Aceh, Indonesia are taken to local centre. Photo: IOM Indonesia 

Some of Rohingya women being taken to a local centre. Photo: IOM Indonesia 

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Migration Project for Moroccan Students in Spain Surmounts COVID-19 Challenges

By jojusayan from News. Published on Jun 26, 2020.

Madrid – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and partners are working swiftly to adapt a pilot mobility programme appropriate to the COVID-19 situation – ever mindful of movement restrictions – that has impacted nearly 100 Moroccan post-graduate students currently in Spain.  

IOM is an implementing partner of the “Young Generation as Change Agents” project. Funded by the European Union and launched in 2019, this project helps qualified young people migrate safely and legally to Spain from Morocco and then return.  

The first-of-its-kind project is helping Moroccan graduates to earn a master’s degree in Spain during a one-year programme and then return to Morocco to contribute their learning and share skills within strategic sectors of the Moroccan economy, through entrepreneurship and other means. 

All students are in good health and continue their studies online. University lectures switched to a digital format to keep courses moving and students active during the lockdown.  

The students were scheduled to return to Morocco at the close of the academic year in July. This now will depend on progress in COVID-19's containment.  

Mouad Rahmouni, a 25-year-old student of engineering, spent one year achieving his master’s degree in the Polytechnical University of Madrid. 

“I am really grateful to have been granted this opportunity in Spain, since it allowed me to expand my technical skills in engineering. I am eager to put the skills I acquired at the service of my country,” he said.  

Some 98 post-graduate students participating in the skilled “circular” migration project find they currently are unable to return to complete the programme in Morocco, until movement restrictions due to the COVID-19 pandemic are lifted.  

“Obviously, the COVID-19 outbreak came with several operational challenges, but we are pleased to see that everyone involved in the YGCA European project is doing their utmost to ensure the best possible conditions for the students” explained Coral Martínez Íscar, Director of SEPIE, the organization that holds this project coordination.  

IOM, together with its partners – the Spanish Service for the Internationalization of Education (SEPIE) and the Ministry of Universities – has been working to come up with a solution.    

“Things were not easy for the students, especially being far from home during Ramadan. But contact was maintained on a nearly daily basis through WhatsApp,” said Oussama Elbaroudi, IOM’s project head in Madrid. “I was impressed by the solid group dynamic. Good humour was definitely important for lifting spirits and keeping morale high.” 

In addition to monitoring the progress and wellbeing of the students, IOM and partners are liaising with the Moroccan Embassy to keep all informed about their citizens’ situation while assessing any potential vulnerabilities.  

“Spain and Morocco have built solid cooperation on migration for decades,” said María Jesús Herrera, Chief of IOM’s mission in Spain. “The fact that both states have agreed to enact new schemes such as this shows a growing recognition of the importance of improving common and comprehensive migration governance tools.” 

“We strongly believe that this European project is a win-win action for both countries of origin and destination and could pave the way towards a more regular programme,” added SEPIE Director, Coral Martínez. “Giving opportunities to younger generations is our best investment.”  

For more information please contact Oussama Elbaroudi, IOM Spain, Tel:  +34 915 943 670, Email: ouelbaroudi@iom.int  

Or: Miguel Angel Milan Arellano, SEPIE, Tel: +34 91 550 67 61, Email: miguelangel.milan@sepie.escomunicacion@sepie.es  

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Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:35
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Moroccan students at an IOM pre-departure orientation session in Rabat prior to leaving for Spain and the outbreak of COVID-19. Photo: IOM 

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IOM Niger Goes Digital to Empower Communities to Deter Fake News

By jojusayan from News. Published on Jun 26, 2020.

Niamey – “Fake news” is the modern shorthand for humankind’s ageless penchant to engage in rumor, hearsay and gossip – all of which can harbor deadly consequences during a public health emergency. Like now.  

Pandemics have been strongly linked to the spread of fake news which can often pique the curiosity of audiences through unusual content – whether it’s wild exaggerations of contagion levels or stigmatizing suspected carriers or the promise of miracle cures. Traveling up to 70 per cent faster than reliable news, erroneous information can be harmful not only to one’s health by encouraging unproven health practices, but also to the trust populations have in authorities or public institutions.  

IOM’s Niger Community Cohesion Initiative (NCCI), together with partner GeoAnalytics Center, launched this week a nationwide online campaign “Fake News”, with the goal of reducing its proliferation across the country.  

The GeoAnalytics Center is a Nigerien NGO whose purpose is to strengthen technological programmes in the fields of education, gender and governance. The NGO works on the premise that when adapted to local conditions, technology can serve an essential role for communication, and empowerment.   

The NCCI programme addresses key drivers of conflict, including youth unemployment, increased reach of violent extremist organizations, and feelings of exclusion among different ethnic groups. It has been implemented with support from the United States Agency for International Development/Office of Transition Initiatives (USAID/OTI) starting in 2014.   

Although it trails neighboring countries in internet penetration, Niger has been advancing steadily, expanding its 3G networks and making smartphones more affordable, increasing the use of social media, especially among the young.  

As beneficial as digitalization is, social media also unleashes harmful consequences – such as spreading hate speech, radical messages and anti-migrant sentiments.   

“Harmful disinformation is rapidly spreading on social media,” said Alan Bobbett, NCCI Chief of Party and Programme Manager in Niger. “We hope through the launch of this online nationwide campaign to promote critical thinking around the consumption of fake news.”  

In the context of the current global health crisis, Niger’s GeoAnalytics Center notes, it’s crucial to share accurate information to raise awareness in the difference between real and fake news.   

Under a previous effort with NCCI, the NGO trained a hundred young civil society leaders from the Tillabéri region in the use of social media, as well as in critical thinking and the detection of fake news. Nigerien filmmakers previously trained by the NGO have encouraged other young people to participate in the creation of campaign videos.   

“Without trust, basic interactions between people collapse and polarization in societies increases,” explained Eduard Peris Deprez, the centre’s director.   

In its Fake News campaign, audiovisual products are created and disseminated online. Short videos and “memes” address themes using humor and a vocabulary adapted to the target audience.  

Videos are being produced in local languages with French subtitles – and made available in low resolution to ensure a wider dissemination despite internet connectivity issues in some of Niger’s regions. To create a snowball effect, audiovisual material is to be published via WhatsApp and Facebook, Niger’s most popular social networks.  

WhatsApp remains the most popular application among the young people surveyed by the NGO (85% of men, 91% of women), independently of the level of education. This is due particularly to the audio option offered by the app, which allows illiterate users to access it with ease.  

For more information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email: mchiriac@iom.int   

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Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:40
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IOM launched this week the nation-wide online campaign “Fake News Project”. Photo: IOM/GeoAnalytics Center

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IOM, UNICEF, and São Paulo City Hall Facilitate Distance Learning for Refugee and Migrant Children in Brazil

By jojusayan from News. Published on Jun 26, 2020.

Brasília – Almost four thousand refugee and migrant children up to 8 years old and enrolled in the Municipal Education System of São Paulo have begun receiving the educational materials, “Learning Paths,” in several languages.  
 
The objective is to ensure greater inclusion of this population that lacks Portuguese fluency. “Learning Paths” will support them during the period of remote education, due to the closure of the schools caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the refugee and migrant children who are beneficiaries of this initiative arrived from Bolivia, Venezuela or Haiti. 

After mapping and identifying the presence of migrants, the Municipal Education Secretariat (SME) of São Paulo identified languages for translation.  

“In times of social isolation, the Racial Ethnic Education Center (NEER in Portuguese) understands equity as a basic principle and seeks to meet the educational needs of girls and boys enrolled in the Municipal Education System. Everyone has rights. Translating ‘Learning Paths’ provides access,” explained Jussara Santos, the coordinator of NEER.  

The material translated into EnglishFrench and Spanish, (from the official content already available in Portuguese) will support the task of family members in the learning routine and will promote a more sustainable integration of this population. Printing and distribution are being carried out with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF). 

"IOM is committed to ensuring that migrants and refugees in Brazil have access to education, facilitating their sustainable economic integration in the future, reaching every boy and girl, leaving no children behind," said the IOM Brazil Chief of Mission, Stéphane Rostiaux. 

“It is essential to reinforce efforts to ensure that refugee and migrant children and adolescents maintain their link with the school and continue to learn during this pandemic. It is also essential to build strategies for these students to return to schools as soon as they reopen,” explained UNICEF’s Representative in Brazil, Florence Bauer. 

For Edith Q., 34, a Venezuelan woman who arrived in Brazil about a year ago and now lives in São Paulo, this material will facilitate the family's daily life during this period of social isolation. Her 4-year-old son, Dylan, is enrolled in the municipal preschool program. 

"I am very happy with the possibility of supporting my son while learning at home. It has been difficult, but the material in Spanish facilitates my understanding of the topics and I can help him studying and answering his questions," Edith explained. “It is very important for our integration in Brazil. I really appreciate the work and attention that IOM, UNICEF, and the Brazilian government are giving." 

São Paulo is the Brazilian municipality with the highest number of registered migrants and refugees, currently accounting for more than 360,000 people, according to data from the Federal Police. It is also the second Brazilian municipality to receive more Venezuelans via the federal government's “interiorization” programme bringing beneficiaries to cities with capacity to accommodate newcomers. So far there have been over 2,400 beneficiaries.  

IOM support in this activity is carried out within the “Opportunities – Integration in Brazil” project, funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). 

For more information please contact Juliana Hack at IOM Brazil, Tel: +55 61 3771 3772, Email: jhack@iom.int  

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Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:45
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A Venezuelan woman using the distance learning tool in Spanish to teach her four-year-old son. Photo: IOM 

A Venezuelan woman using the distance learning tool in Spanish to teach her four-year-old son. Photo: IOM 

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Stranded for Three Months, 338 Malians Come Home Via Humanitarian Corridor

By jojusayan from News. Published on Jun 26, 2020.

Bamako – On Tuesday (23/06), 159 Malians returned home on a charter flight thanks to a humanitarian corridor opened by the governments of Niger and Mali. The cohort had been waiting in transit centres in Niamey, Niger’s capital, since March owing to the border closures decreed by governments to prevent the spread of COVID-19.  

This is this month’s second charter organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through European Union funding this month. On 4 June, 179 Malians returned. 

As COVID-19 shattered the hopes for an imminent return of thousands of migrants in transit across West and Central Africa, IOM has been negotiating with host governments and governments of origin the opening of humanitarian corridors to allow for the voluntary return of migrants waiting in overcrowded transit centres after a perilous journey towards North Africa. 

"This humanitarian corridor ends the frustration of many Malians who have been waiting for more than three months for some in centres and for families who had lost hope of seeing their husbands, sons, fathers and relatives again," said Pascal Reyntjens, Chief of Mission of IOM in Mali.  

“Just a few days left,” Abdoulaye kept repeating to IOM staff while waiting for three months in a transit centre run by IOM in Niger, before boarding his homeward flight. 

Upon their arrival, all migrants were subject to the national COVID-19 prevention protocol, including the disinfection of their luggage, the provision of masks and hydro-alcoholic gel, health screenings and COVID-19 tests. Upon arrival in Bamako, Mali’s capital, they started a 14-day quarantine in a transit centre run by IOM’s partner before they reach their community of origin.  

"During this COVID-19 period, the most fragile and vulnerable populations are stranded migrants in the sub-region,” said the Representative of the Ambassador of the EU Delegation in Mali, Mustapha Zlaf. “Through the voluntary return of migrants, the European Union, in collaboration with IOM, is supporting the government of Mali to protect and assist their most vulnerable citizens,” he added.,  

"I am happy to return to my country. I suffered a lot during my trip. I was rescued in the desert by IOM’s team. I still have friends stranded in Niger. I hope they will safely return to Mali soon,” said Boubacar, one of the returnees, who had left Mali in 2019 to go to Algeria in search of better opportunities. 

In the coming weeks, the returning migrants will receive reintegration assistance based on their needs. They will benefit from psychosocial, social and economic support to rebuild their lives at home.  

This return was made possible thanks to the European Union funding through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration

For more information, please contact Valerie Tamine at IOM Mali, Tel: +223 92 40 49 21, Email: vtamine@iom.int.    

For more information on IOM’s regional COVID-19 response, please contact Florence Kim at the IOM Regional Office for West and Central Africa, Tel: +221 786206213, Email: fkim@iom.int.     

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Friday, June 26, 2020 - 12:50
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Malians returning home on a charter flight thanks to a humanitarian corridor opened by the governments of Niger and Mali. Photo: Moussa Tall/IOM Mali 

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As #DefundThePolice Movement Gains Steam, Immigration Enforcement Spending and Practices Attract Scrutiny

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 24, 2020.

Calls by activists to "defund the police," in the wake of a string of deadly encounters for Black community members, echo earlier demands to "abolish ICE" and reflect broader criticism of enforcement systems perceived as overly aggressive. Budgets have ballooned at federal immigration agencies and within the immigrant detention system as enforcement has become increasingly muscular in the post-9/11 period.

Taking Monitoring and Evaluation to heart: Turning refugee sponsorship programmes into a sustainable model that can be scaled up requires an evidence base

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 24, 2020.

BRUSSELS — A growing number of European countries have launched or are piloting refugee sponsorship programmes, where community members and civil-society groups take on responsibilities for the reception and integration of refugees into their new communities. Yet even as the popularity of these programmes, also referred to as community or private sponsorship, increases, evidence remains relatively scant regarding whether they are living up to expectations and which programme elements are most effective.

Measuring Up? Using Monitoring and Evaluation to Make Good on the Promise of Refugee Sponsorship

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 23, 2020.

A growing number of countries, particularly in Europe, have piloted or implemented refugee sponsorship programs in recent years. Yet there is limited evidence of how well these programs, which tap community members and civil society to take key roles in refugee resettlement, are working and how they can be improved. This issue brief explores how building monitoring and evaluation activities into sponsorship programs can help answer these and other critical questions.

Climate Change and Migration: Converging Issues, Diverging Funding

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 19, 2020.

Rethinking and Restarting: What should the returns process look like post-pandemic?

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 18, 2020.

Migrants in Africa & COVID-19: From Emergency Measures to Inclusive Social Protection Systems

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 18, 2020.

This MPI Europe discussion explores what emergency measures have been deployed by African governments and aid actors in response to COVID-19 to assist migrants in need, along with what the health crisis says about social protection systems, the incentives for inclusionary systems for all, and how to make some of these measures sustainable.

Addressing Equity Concerns for English Learners: Where Do Native Language Assessments Fit In?

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 18, 2020.

This webchat marks the release of a report examining the role native language assessments play in addressing equity concerns for English Learner (EL) students. The conversation offers participants an introduction to the key policy and practical considerations in the implementation of these assessments, particularly in a time of pandemic-induced disruptions for schools and looming budget cuts.

MPI Board of Trustees Approves New Members with Distinguished Experience in Government, Private Sector & Law

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 16, 2020.

WASHINGTON – The Migration Policy Institute (MPI) Board of Trustees has elected four new trustees to the board, selecting candidates with distinguished track records in policy, diplomacy, business and law in North America and Europe. The four, who were formally approved at the June 17 board meeting, will join the board next January.

The new trustees are:

Educators and State Policymakers Would Benefit from More Research, Federal Input in Shaping Use of Native Language Assessments for English Learner Students

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 15, 2020.

WASHINGTON — Educators and policymakers rely on standardized test scores to track how well public school systems are educating students, including those from traditionally underserved populations such as students of color and English Learners (ELs), and to target resources to low-performing schools. Yet test scores for ELs may not fully reflect how much they have learned if they cannot demonstrate their knowledge in a language they are not yet fluent in.

Native Language Assessments for K-12 English Learners: Policy Considerations and State Practices

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 15, 2020.

With high stakes attached to standardized tests in U.S. education, it is critical that these assessments accurately capture what students know and can do in a subject. For English Learners, this may be a challenge if they cannot fully demonstrate in English what they have learned. Native language assessments are one promising tool for overcoming this hurdle, though questions about when and with whom they are most effective remain.

USCIS Budget Implosion Owes to Far More than the Pandemic

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 15, 2020.

Citing coronavirus-related disruptions, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services urged Congress to provide $1.2 billion to address its severe budget shortfall. Without this emergency infusion, the agency warned it might have to furlough up to 80 percent of its staff by mid-July 2020. Yet a deeper look at USCIS operations shows it was facing serious budget problems long before the pandemic—ones that are the logical results of actions undertaken by the Trump administration.

COVID-19 Spotlights the Inequities Facing English Learner Students, as Nonprofit Organizations Seek to Mitigate Challenges

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 12, 2020.

The transition to remote learning for school districts across the United States during the COVID-19 pandemic has been a challenge for most families, but especially those with English Learner (EL) and immigrant students. This commentary outlines how the pandemic has brought new focus to well-known equity gaps and spotlights ways in which nonprofit organizations can be important partners in mitigating the effects of school closures and anticipated spending cuts.

Cuban Immigrants in the United States

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 11, 2020.

Cuban immigration to the United States has slowed in recent years, rising by 2 percent from 2017 to 2018. Overall, Cubans represent 3 percent of all immigrants in the United States. Compared to the overall foreign- and U.S.-born populations, Cuban immigrants are less likely to be proficient in English, have lower educational attainment, and earn lower household incomes. Learn more about the 1.3 million Cuban immigrants in the United States with this data-rich article.

Incorporating a monitoring and evaluation culture into refugee resettlement programmes can improve their sustainability and result in stronger integration outcomes

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 09, 2020.

BRUSSELS — As displacement has risen to new highs in recent years, there has been a flurry of activity around refugee resettlement, with a number of countries around the world launching resettlement programs for the first time or scaling up existing efforts. Within the European Union, resettlement has become a bigger priority and could take on even greater importance with a New Pact on Migration and Asylum on the horizon later this year.

Beyond the Border: U.S.-Mexican Migration Accord Has Ushered in Sweeping Change in Mexico in Its First Year

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 09, 2020.

Following months of rising Central American migration through Mexico to the United States, the U.S. and Mexican governments on June 7, 2019 signed a joint declaration pledging to work together to manage and reduce irregular migration. At the agreement’s one-year anniversary, MPI researchers engaged in discussion with former U.S. and Mexican Ambassadors and a veteran journalist about the changes it has sparked. 

Using Evidence to Improve Refugee Resettlement: A Monitoring and Evaluation Road Map

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 09, 2020.

There has been a flurry of activity around refugee resettlement in recent years, with countries in Europe and elsewhere piloting or scaling up operations. To support the sustainability of these programs, particularly in light of the hiatus forced by the COVID-19 pandemic, strong evidence of what works and under what conditions is essential. This report explores how countries can launch or expand their monitoring and evaluation (M&E) activities, and the value this can bring.

Las políticas de migración y refugio de México, así como las condiciones en la frontera México-Estados Unidos, se han transformado significativamente en un año desde que se firmó el Acuerdo de Cooperación Migratoria entre ambos países

By Migration Policy Institute from Migration Policy Institute. Published on Jun 07, 2020.

WASHINGTON – El 7 de junio de 2019, tras meses de presenciar un aumento en la migración proveniente de Centroamérica a través de México y hacia Estados Unidos, los gobiernos de ambos países firmaron un acuerdo comprometiéndose a controlar el flujo de solicitantes de refugio y otros migrantes en la frontera sur de Estados Unidos.

Welcome

Welcome to the Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement

The Centre for the Study of Global Human Movement aims to build on strong institutional engagement by the University with one of the greatest societal challenges of the 21st Century, that of human movement, dispersal, mobility, and migration to create a transdisciplinary centre of research excellence.

 We do hope you will get involved