William Lacy Swing

We’re Failing Today’s Boat People

By William Lacy Swing

In 1975, the world acted to save Boat People from Indochina; the Boat People of today are ignored

Forty years ago this spring, the world witnessed one of the turning points of the Cold War: the closing of the U.S. Embassy in South Vietnam, followed quickly by the panicked evacuation of Americans and their allies from the region and then the tragedy of hundreds of thousands of so-called Boat People fleeing from Vietnam into the South China Sea.

Migrants Must Be Saved, Not Counted

iom map

By William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General

GENEVA--Easter tells us of mankind's triumph over injustice; Passover of mankind's liberation from dictatorship.

Both holidays should remind everyone today living in peace and security of the terrible price millions elsewhere are paying to achieve the freedom to live in dignity.

IOM’s Principles for Humanitarian Action (PHA): A Policy for the Field - Next Steps

By William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General

Last year we embarked on a pivotal process of defining IOM’s actions vis-à-vis the humanitarian principles of humanity, impartiality, independence and neutrality and to have them embedded in a policy – IOM’s Principles for Humanitarian Action (PHA).

IOM Director General’s Message on International Women's Day 2015

By William Lacy Swing

More women are on the move than ever before. They represent approximately half of the world’s one billion migrants and are approximately half of the estimated 51 million displaced persons.

On this year’s International Women’s Day, IOM calls on the international community to ensure the empowerment of migrant and displaced women through the full realization of their human rights.

As we commemorate the historic twenty-year anniversary and review of the Beijing Declaration and Platform for Action, we must acknowledge that, while there have been many significant achievements in realizing women’s rights, serious gaps remain in making gender equality a reality. This is particularly true for migrant women.

IOM Director General Calls for Action to Save Migrants Lives on International Migrants Day 2014

On International Migrants Day 2014, December 18th, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing is calling for urgent action to save the lives of migrants and stop smugglers from exploiting their desperation to extort huge sums of money.

IOM data shows that the number of migrants dying on dangerous journeys in the hope of finding better lives for themselves and their families, is rising.

Why We Do What We Do: Defining Our Humanitarian Policy

Evacuated from Central African Republic, a girl arrives on a military convoy at Doyaba Transit Centre in Sarh, Chad. © IOM 2014 (Photo by Craig Murphy)

By William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General

Is IOM a humanitarian organization? Yes, is the resounding answer. That’s certainly the way you, the staff, see us. The proof came as recently as 19 August, World Humanitarian Day, when IOM supplied more “humanitarian hero” profiles to the global WHD website than any other organization.

Be Heard on World Humanitarian Day

By William Lacy Swing, IOM Director General

Last week I delivered an address for a graduation ceremony at Oxford University.  Following the ceremony, a student approached me with a smile. “I know all about IOM,” she shared. “I’ve been following your #MigrationMeans campaign on Twitter.”

Order Out of Chaos

By IOM Director General William Lacy Swing

Today, May 8 marks six months since Typhoon Haiyan wreaked untold devastation across the Central Philippines. This largest storm in history provoked an appropriately powerful humanitarian response, led by the Philippines government and supported closely by IOM, and by many individuals through private donations and through their taxes which allowed governments to support our work.

The Double Danger of Being both a Migrant and a Woman

By IOM Director General William Lacy Swing

In today’s increasingly mobile and interconnected world, migration has become an integral part of the lives of over 100 million women. At different stages of their lives, a growing proportion of these women leave their familiar surroundings to study, work, marry, reunite with their families or flee a dangerous situation.