#InternationalOrganizationforMigration; #IOM; #Assistingmigrants; #Maliangovernment
Bamako, Nov 19 (Canadian-Media): Assisting migrants to return to their countries of origin sometimes requires creativity and the cooperation of several IOM member states. This month, Mali stepped up to offer its territory as a transit point for West and Central African migrants heading to eight countries of origin after being stranded in Algeria.
108 migrants stranded in Algeria arrived in Bamako on November 13.
Photo credit: IOM/Hamed Diallo
Last week (13/11) the International Organization for Migration (IOM) assisted 108 stranded migrants to voluntary return from Algiers, Algeria’s capital, to their countries of origin. Thirty of those passengers had migrated from Mali, itself. The other 78—including 24 women—returned to eight different countries: Guinea, Nigeria Ghana, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin, Cameroon and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
On this second flight from Algeria, the passengers were selected for their vulnerability and special circumstances—for example, many were women—including single mothers—and children. IOM spokesperson Florence Kim explained having Mali as a transit point averts leaving smaller groups of migrants originating from countries—such as Benin—having to remain stranded in Algeria and it allows to organize their returns by air or land directly to their countries.
“It is essential to guarantee the safety of migrants willing to return home. The 78 non-Malians transited through Mali to avoid being stranded in Algeria too long,” explained Pascal Reyntjens, IOM Chief of mission in Mali. “An efficient transit reception mechanism also helps ensure a thorough identification of the assisted migrants including the confirmation of their vulnerabilities.”
Before departing, IOM protection team assessed the passengers to ensure their safe and sustainable return. Upon arrival in Bamako, Mali’s capital, non-Malian migrants were accompanied by IOM Mali staff to their respective countries of origin via land and/or air, where they received with post-arrival and reception assistance.
Regardless of the country of return, all returnees will receive immediate assistance upon arrival, including food, pocket money and onward transportation to their final communities of origin. In-kind reintegration assistance will also be available to start a new life back home.
The charter was made possible thanks to the cooperation and support of the Algerian government, the Malian government, in partnership with Air Algérie and with the contribution of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation. All governments of origin provided travel documents to their nationals.
UN, Nov 16 (Canadian-Media): Demonstrating empathy, humour and intelligence, a group of young film-makers have been recognized for their short videos, which tackle the weighty issues of discrimination, intolerance and misogyny in a creative and entertaining way, at a ceremony held at UN Headquarters.
PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival winners at UN Headquarters who were selected for their coverage of migration, diversity and social inclusion. The winning-videos were chosen among 1200+ submissions from almost 70 countries. Image credit: UNAOC
The PLURAL+ Youth Video Festival, held on Wednesday, is a joint initiative by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), and UN Alliance of Civilizations (UNAOC) and, which, over the last 11 years, has become an important global platform for youth media, with screenings held around the world.
The top prizes (International Jury Awards) went to the Spanish makers of “Seeking Refuge”, which follows the story of a young refugee girl as she tries to adapt to life in a new country; Mexican video “Tags”, which explores the issues of discrimination and pre-conceived notions; and “We are Enough: A Message of Girl Empowerment”, made by a young Jordanian director, which examines the expectations placed upon women and girls by society.
‘I am enough: every woman should feel this way’
Faced with a “barrage of discrimination and stereotypes”, Jordanian Lina Abojaradeh decided to send an open letter to society with her powerful video “We are Enough: A Message of Girl Empowerment”, which won the International Jury Award in the 18-25 category.
Speaking to UN News, Ms. Abojaradeh explained that her work, which examines the expectations placed on women and girls, was inspired by her experience of breaking off an engagement, and the way she was subsequently treated by society: “I realized then that I could not look for acceptance from society or another person, and that this was a message that many women could benefit from”.
Winning the award has given Ms. Abojaradeh more confidence in her abilities and, she says, the drive to continue using art to raise awareness about important issues. Her upcoming plans include a documentary project, and a book of poetry.
Showing solidarity with refugees
In “Seeking Refuge”, a young refugee, forced to flee conflict in her home country with her mother and sister, struggles to adapt to her new surroundings in Spain, but eventually learns the language, makes friends and begins to enjoy her new life.
The video was made entirely by a group of nine-year-old children, all of them under the age of 12, who were part of a Spanish initiative called “Telekids Workshop”, which helps young people to learn about all stages of the film-making process. The group were represented in New York by Eva Limones MacDonald, who performed several roles behind the camera, including directing the actors.
Her teacher, Jacqueline Sanchez-Carrero, explained that the inspiration for the video came from a book based on true stories of refugee children: “In the workshop, we show children the problems that other children of their age have, so that they develop human values. At just nine-years-old, they already have a basic knowledge of media literacy: for now, they want to continue making movies, but we will see what will happen in the future!”
No soccer, no samba: fighting Brazilian stereotypes
A special award, for the Prevention of Xenophobia, went to the film “Brazilian, But Not Soccer Player”, which takes a comic look at the prejudices faced by against people from different cities, countries, and cultures.
The video was made by Patrick Melo, a young Brazilian from the northeast of the country, who now lives in Rio de Janeiro. Patrick told UN News that he made the video after realizing that many others have to deal with a caricatured, stereotyped image of the region: “Some people see the northeast as a joke, and even use it as a synonym for inferior people with little intelligence. This is untrue, and I have been trying to raise awareness of the reality of my region, using humour”.
Patrick, who was invited to the UN along with the other award winners, found the experience enriching: “I met people from very different places, and I realized how much they care about their own culture, just as I love Brazilian culture. I understood the importance of respecting others' culture in theory but taking part in the PLURAL + festival taught me to do it in practice”.
These young filmmakers have not allowed the negative narratives of migration to rob them of their empathy. António Vitorino, Director-General, IOM
The IOM’s Rahma Soliman, one of the organizers of the festival, told UN News that the primary goal of PLURAL+ is to ensure that youth are engaged in the critical topics of migration, social inclusion, and diversity: “Throughout the years, PLURAL+ has not only provided young people with an effective platform to express themselves on crucial migration and diversity issues but also reinforced the belief of IOM and UNAOC that youth are powerful and creative agents of social change.”
For Thibault Chareton from UNAOC, and the co-organizer of the festival, “Brazilian, But Not Soccer Player” was this year’s standout video: “I liked that the video is funny. In today’s context, humor remains a great way to share important messages and to call upon the public’s shared humanity and universal values of tolerance and acceptance”.
In all, 25 filmmakers, from 70 countries, won awards, and were given the opportunity to screen their work in front of an audience, which included ambassadors, UN representatives, journalists, and filmmakers.
Praising the young artists, António Vitorino, IOM Director-General, said that the festival recognized two powerful forces, youth and film “Combined, they hold the power to bring about positive change, to shift divisive narratives, to promote peace and dialogue – put simply, to make a better world.”
“The videos are evidence of the resilience of young people”, he said, adding: “These young filmmakers have not allowed the negative narratives of migration – so popularized in contemporary media – to rob them of their empathy.”
Watch the 2019 award-winning PLURAL+ videos here
#VenezuelanRefugees; #LatinAmerica; #UNHCR; #IOM
Latin America, Nov 13 (Canadian-Media): A $1.35 billion appeal has been launched to meet the increasing humanitarian needs of Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean and to support the communities hosting them.
Wheelchair-bound María, with her husband and grandson, who spent ten days travelling across Colombia, arrive at the border with Ecuador just before the implementation of new visa laws, and are now heading to Quito to reunite with relatives. Image credit: © UNHCR/Jaime Giménez Sánchez
The ongoing political and economic crisis in the South American country has forced more than 4.6 million citizens to flee, nearly 80 per cent of whom are sheltering in the region.
If current trends continue, numbers could reach 6.5 million by next year, according to the UN refugee agency, UNHCR, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which launched the plan on Wednesday.
“Only through a coordinated and harmonized approach will it be possible to effectively address the large-scale needs, which continue to increase and evolve as the current crisis deepens”, said Eduardo Stein, Joint UNHCR-IOM Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants.
The 2020 Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP) includes actions in nine key sectors such as health, education, protection, nutrition, shelter and humanitarian transport.
It also puts a strong focus on ensuring the social and economic inclusion of refugees and migrants.
The 2020 RMRP, as the plan is known, is the result of a wide-ranging consultation process that involved host Governments, civil society and faith-based organizations, local communities and donors, but also refugees and migrants themselves.
It is a coordination and fundraising tool established and implemented by nearly 140 organizations working across the region.
Mr. Stein underscored the need for increased resource mobilization.
“Despite many efforts and other initiatives, the dimension of the problem is greater than the current response capacity, so it is necessary that the international community doubles these efforts and contributions to help the countries and international organizations responding to the crisis”, he said.
“More support to governments is needed, with a focus on development concerns, in addition to immediate humanitarian needs.”
#UN; #Italy, #Refugees, #YoungRefugeesArriveInITaly, #Migrants; #LackSupport
United Nations, Nov 9 (Canadian-Media): United Nations agencies on Friday highlighted the dire needs of thousands of unaccompanied and separated children who have arrived in Italy as refugees, lacking the proper support to transition through to adulthood.
Omar (17), far right on second row, and other unaccompanied migrant boys at an abandoned church in Sicily, Italy. Most of them were transferred without a choice to this very small village. Image credit: © UNICEF/Stefano De Luigi
Between 2014 and 2018, around 60,000 of them arrived in Italy by sea, 90 per cent of whom were between the ages of 15 and 17, according to a new report issued by the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The report, At the crossroad: Unaccompanied and separated children in the transition to adulthood in Italy, highlights the ‘triple transition’ young refugees and migrants face when they turn 18 – from adolescence to adulthood, from living in one country to another, and through the emotional pain and trauma experienced when leaving home and during dangerous journeys.
“Recognizing the complex nature of the children-adult distinction and acknowledging that persons coming of age have specific needs lies at the heart of this research”, Roland Schilling, UNHCR Representative for Southern Europe, said in a joint statement.
The report revealed that in June, there were 7,272 UASC (short for unaccompanied or separated children) living in Italy and that over the last five years, some 60,000 had turned 18.
“The potential loss of continuous support for tens of thousands of young people – due to an artificial, age-based distinction – will put them at further risk of social isolation, violence, abuse and an uncertain future”, added Anna Riatti, UNICEF Country Coordinator for the Migration Programme in Italy.
With a focus on possible pathways for these youth to transition to adult life, the report zeroed in on Sicily, Lombardy and Latium, the three regions hosting the highest numbers.
It examined areas that are influenced by the legal status and residence permits of UASC and those who have turned 18, including access to education, vocational and on-the-job training; adequate housing solutions; and relationships with families of origin and the possibilities of family reunification.
The research has shown that Italy’s legal framework recognizes UASC's rights and protection.
It also highlights that the reception these children have received is closely linked to social inclusion issues, problems transitioning to a new culture, and overcoming past traumas as refugees.
Formal and informal relationships, both with adults and between peers, represent an important support for these young people, particularly educators in reception facilities and volunteer guardians.
School and vocational training are recognized by this vulnerable group as “fundamental milestones of their inclusion pathway”.
Greater attention needed
The report makes three recommendations designed specifically for the Italian authorities, the European Union (EU) and civil society.
Among other things, it suggests that beyond age definitions, Italy adopt relevant policies that reflect the complexity of the triple transition processes to adulthood and focuses on the specific needs of these young people.
It should also ensure national and local coordination with the institutions responsible for UASC issues, including youth policies, training and education.
Italy must also promote safe and appropriate family or community-based alternative care arrangements, as well as supervised independent housing solutions.
The report advocates that the EU employ “rapid and effective” reunification procedures; ensure cooperation between Member States in securing “the principle of the best interests of the child”; and that Member States “safeguard the rights and opportunities of young refugees in transition to adulthood”.
“This research draws attention to the best practices to disseminate,” concluded Laurence Hart, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean.
#SouthSudan; #IMO; #UnconditionalReleaseOfAbductees
South Sudan, Nov 1 (Canadian-Media): The International Organization for Migration (IOM) continues to call for the unconditional release of a female volunteer and a four-year-old child abducted in South Sudan during gun-battle on Sunday morning that claimed the lives of three IOM humanitarian workers.
IOM South Sudan staff mark a moment of silence for two humanitarian colleagues who were killed on Sunday. © IOM South Sudan 2019
“There are efforts are being made at this time to try to locate the whereabouts of our missing colleague and the child,” IOM South Sudan Chief of Mission Jean-Philippe Chauzy said this morning.
“All possible action is being taken with the goal of trying to get our colleague released from her abductors immediately without any pre-conditions.”
On Sunday a group of IOM volunteers were caught in the crossfire between two armed groups in Isebi, in Morobo County, in South Sudan’s Central Equatoria region.
In addition to two men and one woman who were killed, two other male volunteers suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The abducted child is the son of the woman who was slain.
IOM’s humanitarians were working in Ebola screening point in border areas between South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, tracking the spread of the deadly disease.
Chauzy and a small team from Juba flew to Yei the largest town in the area where the incident occurred yesterday for an emotional meeting with IOM volunteers and colleagues of the deceased, and later the deputy governor.
"It was extremely important to meet with our volunteers, to listen to their concerns, their stories about the people who died. It was raw but I also want them to know that no effort is being spared to ensure their safely and to locate the missing," Chauzy said.
IOM began operations in southern Sudan in early 2005 and established the IOM South Sudan mission after the country’s independence in July 2011.
Since the outbreak of the conflict in December 2013, IOM has provided support to thousands of host communities, returnees, and internally displaced people including those seeking protection at the United Nations Mission in South Sudan Protection of Civilians sites.