Missing Migrants

Facing the Syrian Refugee Crisis, Turkey Must Not Stand Alone

By Isabel Santos

Last month I was part of a delegation from the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly to Harran, Turkey, where we came across a “city of containers” – thousands of them – surrounded by fences and housing some 14,500 refugees. Life goes on day after day in search of a normalcy that such a place can never provide. In one of the container-city’s schools, we met with children who expressed their distress in crayons, drawing planes dropping bombs and scenes of war, bleeding and destruction. The images were populated by mothers and children on trails, leaving their homeland behind.

EU must establish common 'safe' and 'regular' migration paths

From The Parliament Magazine

By Bernd Hemingway, IOM Regional Director for the EU, EEA and NATO

This article was first published in The Parliament Magazine.

The sea is just warming up, and already the number of migrants and asylum seekers reaching the EU's Mediterranean borders is set to surpass totals for all of 2013.

With over 3000 arrivals in Sicily last weekend, the number of people who have made it to Italy by sea from North Africa since the beginning of the year is over 40,000.

Amputee Syrian children rediscovering how to run and play

By Kathy Marks 

A teenager literally danced with joy. A 12-year-old shouted excitedly as she climbed upstairs unaided. And a soccer-mad boy declared: “Now I can be the Messi of Syria!” 

All three had lost limbs as a result of the civil war. Thanks to a programme launched by IOM’s Damascus mission, they had just received an artificial leg – and were rediscovering how to run and play, just like before they were injured.

The $60,000 project – which has already assisted 65 amputees including 12 children – is the result of a partnership between IOM and a Swiss social enterprise, SwissLeg. The latter manufactures lightweight, low-cost prostheses which, unlike most artificial limbs, can be fitted in a few hours and require no rehabilitation.

“Clash of Cultures” exists only in the minds of headline writers

By Naomi Mihara

Modern day conflicts, such as the violence that is currently raging in Central African Republic and South Sudan, are often simplistically viewed as being rooted in ethnic and cultural differences. The reality is far more complex. Political power struggles such as those playing out in Ukraine and Thailand, unequal allocation of resources and poor provision of public services all play a role in the development of intra-national conflicts.

Behind the Numbers

By Tara Brian, IOM Research Department

Sadder but Wiser

By Ihsan Hussein

I woke up early the morning of 7 August, exhausted from the week but ready to move forward with the weekend distributions in Al Obaide Camp. My family was excited all week for the Eid al-Fitr holiday, marking the end of Ramadan, and the large celebration we would have at my parents’ home. However, with complications and the poor ongoing security situation in Anbar, IOM’s distribution of non-food items (NFIs) to Syrian refugees in the camp had been continually delayed until that morning. It had been a long, hot Ramadan, and despite the existence of modest healthcare, sanitation, and electricity, morale in the camp was low.

A night helping trafficked Filipinas back from Syria

By: Romina D. Sta. Clara

It’s the first time I joined the field operations of IOM-Philippines on assisted voluntary return.  In this case, the Government of the Philippines through its embassy in Syria has requested IOM to assist with the voluntary return of about 60 Filipinos. For IOM, this means providing assistance in transportation (from Syria airport until they reach the Philippine airport) and ensuring that the returnees are properly endorsed to government authorities upon arrival at the Philippine airport. For this kind of work, routine coordination is made with the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), Bureau of Immigration (BoI), Overseas Workers Welfare Administration (OWWA),  Department of Social Welfare and Development (DSWD), and the Inter-Agency Council Against Trafficking (IACAT).

Eyewitness to Unspeakable Abuse

By Leonard Doyle

The fate of eighty thousand Ethiopians who risk their lives every year trying to get to Saudi Arabia and the promise of a better life has been put in vivid focus by a report on Newsnight, BBC television’s flagship news programme. The disturbing report highlights the remarkable humanitarian work of IOM staff caring for the traumatised migrants.   

A Road Map for Resilience

By Leonard Doyle

Haiti remains one of the Caribbean countries most exposed to damage during each hurricane season as the above infographic reveals. (Click here to see the animated version) A high level of deforestation over the past three decades has left the country at extreme risk of flooding and landslides.

Last week Tropical Storm Chantal dissipated before it could do any harm, providing a timely opportunity to test life-saving preparations for the upcoming Caribbean hurricane season. The effects of last year’s hurricane season are still felt today. Tropical Storm Isaac in August and Hurricane Sandy in October took lives and inflicted extensive damage to homes and crops, which led to food shortages and price increases, as well as to a substantial increase in the number of cholera cases.

A Very Tall Order for Action

By Leonard Doyle

“Nearly a billion people rely on migration as the best way to increase their personal liberty and to improve health, education, and economic outcomes for their families. If the right policies are put in place, there is clear evidence that states can magnify these positive outcomes, while also generating significant financial and social gains for countries of origin and destination.”

That, in a nutshell, is what Peter Sutherland, the Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General for Migration says is at stake in October of this year, when for only the second time in its history, the UN General Assembly will focus on international migration. If it is to succeed, Sutherland says, the summit must generate action on how to reduce the economic and human costs of migration. It also must determine how states and other stakeholders can deepen their cooperation in solving migration-related problems—“all while avoiding the political axe-grinding typical of most migration debates.”

These are nuanced words from a seasoned public figure and they reward careful reading. As Sutherland points out in his article in the just published Migration Policy and Practice for June 2013, migration is one of the hot button issue of international diplomacy.

now read on here

Flames Lick the Heels of Syria's Refugees

by Abeer Ali, and Veronica Costarelli

Wherever they run, the flames of Syria's civil war are licking at the heels of its refugees. 

“We have fled the flames of war to (come to) this boiling desert,” said a 35-year-old Syrian woman living in a refugee camp in Jordan. Her frustration mounting along other equally disgruntled women, she added: “We just want a decent life.”

Terror on the High Seas

By Ray Leyesa

ICONIC Photos, a photo blog, recently featured photographer Chris Anderson’s past work on Haitian migrants who attempted to enter the United States way back in 2000. Together with journalist Mike Finkel, the two documented the journey of 44 Haitians over treacherous waters in their 23-foot boat. Their journey ended disastrously with the boat sinking in the Caribbean.