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IOM Today

An intergovernmental organization established in 1951, IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society.

  • 157 Members and more than 100 observers
  • More than 480 field locations
  • More than 8,400 staff working on more than 2,600 projects
  • More than US$ 1.3 billion expenditures in 2013

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International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Plot 6A
Bukoto Crescent

Tel: +25.63 12 26 11 79
  +25.64 14 23 66 22
  +25.63 12 26 32 10
Fax: +25.64 14 23 66 22



Uganda has been hosting a large number of refugees from neighbouring countries, specifically the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Sudan. However, due to the steadily improving political relationship between Uganda and its neighbours, most of the refugees from South Sudan are returning to their homeland. Internally displaced people (IDPs) in northern and northeastern Uganda pose a major challenge for the government. Improved security has encouraged spontaneous return by IDPs from the domicile camps to satellite camps closer to their locations of origin. However, in some instances the humanitarian situation remains critical and unpredictable. Despite ongoing peace initiatives with the Lord's Resistance Army, attacks on the civilian population still occur.

Uganda also serves as a country of origin, transit and destination for human trafficking, with much trafficking also taking place internally.

IOM will therefore continue to provide programmatic and technical support to the government mainly focusing on targeted responses for IDP populations given their vulnerability. Further, IOM will make efforts aimed at a humane repatriation process for voluntary returnees, and will provide assistance to victims of trafficking and work towards the prevention of human trafficking including capacity building of government and civil society institutions.

Movement, Emergency and Post-crisis Migration Management

Two complimentary programmes launched in April 2008 form a scalable technical assistance intervention, which seeks to improve the state of readiness and responsiveness of the Amnesty Commission to fulfil its mandate for the implementation of the Amnesty Act 2000 in order to ensure the safe, orderly, voluntary return and reintegration of former combatants, supporters and abducted victims of the armed rebellion in Uganda. Embedded IOM staff assists the Amnesty Commission to clean and update their database, GIS mapping for referral services, support for the immediate needs for reporters, family tracing, voluntary return and reunion of reporters with their families, and holding reconciliation ceremonies for reporters.  In the event of a sudden influx of persons seeking Amnesty and reintegration assistance, the IOM team will form a surge capacity to support the Amnesty Commission operations – both within Uganda and cross-border should the need arise. The programme makes provision for initial reception and reinsertion assistance for sudden arrivals in Kampala and onward return transport to communities of return or resettlement. IOM is also facilitating the ongoing peace dialogue between the Amnesty Commission and the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), ahead of the commencement of formal peace talks. IOM is on-hand to provide technical advice and support for the repatriation operations.

Main Projects

  • Technical Assistance to the Amnesty Commission
    • Information Counseling and Referral Services Programme
    • Reception and Reinsertion Assistance Programme
  • Facilitating Government of Uganda and the Allied Democratic Forces to engage into Peace Dialogue

Migration Health

IOM Uganda in partnership with the National Committee on AIDS in Emergency Settings (NACAES) and the Southern Sudan AIDS Commission recently conducted the HIV Hot-Spot Mapping and Situational Analysis along the Kampala-Juba Transport Route. The study revealed existing unsafe sexual practices among truck drivers, trucker assistants and female sex workers. Data collection started in September 2007, and by July 2008, the study findings had been widely disseminated. Consequent to the study, IOM with support from the Joint UN Team on AIDS has embarked on a consultative and participatory process to address the study recommendations. This includes developing the Behaviour Change Communication (BCC) toolkit and assessing modes of service delivery for most-at-risk populations along transport corridors.

Main Projects

  • HIV/AIDS Hot Spot Mapping along the Kampala-Juba Highway
  • Develop a comprehensive HIV/AIDS Behavior Change Communication Toolkit for truck drivers and commercial sex workers along transport corridors (planned)
  • Assessment of Modes of Service Delivery to Most-at-Risk Populations along the Kampala-Juba Transport Route



From January to April 2008 the IOM Mission in Uganda provided medical screening and transportation assistance to refugees seeking resettlement in third countries. By the end of April 2008, IOM had provided resettlement transport assistance to 358 cases. The main countries of resettlement were Canada, the United States, Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands and Sweden. The Migration Health Unit conducted health assessments for 499 individuals. The IOM office in Kampala carried out the health screening for Ireland-bound refugees, the first to be done in East Africa.

The Migration Health Unit also undertook a field assessment to Mbarara/Nakivale Refugee camp in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and the Joint Voluntary Agency to evaluate the existing facilities and services for a possible resettlement operation to start in late August or early September 2008.

Regulating Migration

In 2007-2008 IOM has implemented several counter-trafficking initiatives with funding from various donors. Some of IOM's activities include providing technical assistance in support of drafting the Trafficking in Persons Bill, and awareness training on human trafficking targeted at key district officials including local government, military officials, the police, and national and international NGOs.

IOM has also trained social workers, national and international NGO staff engaged in Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) programmes on basic concepts of trafficking and victim assistance. In the North of Uganda, IOM partnered with the American Refugee Committee International in order to establish a 24/7 confidential hotline for victims to call for advice and assistance. IOM has also carried out various outreach activities in the form of community meetings, theater, music and dance, and open discussions on the dangers of human trafficking.

IOM is a lead agency for victim assistance in Northern Uganda and is an active member within the UN cluster/thematic sector on the gender-based violence and child protection working groups. With the financial support of different donors, IOM has so far supported 109 trafficked Congolese Women and 154 Congolese children as of 31st July 2008 to return to their home countries.

IOM Emergency Response to Trafficked Congolese Women in Northern Uganda: The project aims to urgently assist a group of vulnerable Congolese women and their children stranded in IDP camps and sub-urban areas in conflict-affected areas in northern Uganda. The women live under extremely dire conditions and are threatened by abuses from surrounding communities, including human trafficking. The women requesting voluntary return assistance from Uganda to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) receive immediate assistance and protection, and are provided with voluntary return assistance and reintegration support. Finally, the project aims to support the district and national authorities in better protecting and assisting the women and children, enable them to exercise their human rights, and contribute to an appropriate and dignified return process.

In addition to direct assistance, IOM supported the Women's Parliamentary Association in their efforts to enact counter-trafficking legislation, and to work with various governmental and non-governmental stakeholders to strengthen Uganda's capacity to address human trafficking through greater awareness and coordination. Key activities included technical assistance in the drafting of the Bill; support to the Government in establishing effective referral mechanisms and operational procedures (to improve law enforcement and the identification and protection of trafficking victims); training workshops to build the capacity of stakeholders in the justice sector (prosecutors, police, etc.) to address human trafficking issues and to sensitize and inform the media.

Main Projects

  • Emergency Response to Trafficked Congolese Women and Children, in Northern Uganda
  • IOM Emergency Response to Human Trafficking and Gender-Based Violence in Northern Uganda
  • Ugandan Counter-Trafficking Programme for Legislation and Capacity Building 2007-2008

Facilitating Migration


Since 2002, the IOM Mission in Uganda in partnership with mainly IOM London and other IOM missions have facilitated the reintegration of returnee migrants under the Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Program (VARRP). As of August 2008, 157 beneficiaries and 12 pipeline cases have benefited through provision of reintegration assistance. Beneficiaries are mostly from the United Kingdom (UK) and other European Countries like Switzerland, Poland, Belgium, Ireland and Norway.

Voluntary return and reintegration assistance has been provided to asylum seekers whose application status is pending/ rejected or appeal pending/ rejected. IOM supports beneficiaries in identifying reintegration opportunities geared towards facilitating sustainable resettlement.

The programme focuses on reception assistance and information counseling; facilitation of enterprise development through in-kind grant assistance; training, onsite assessments and business counseling geared towards labour market and income opportunities; capacity building for skills and business enhancement, job placement, education, vocational skills training and apprenticeship; responsiveness to immediate transitional needs for the returnees, monitoring of VARRP funded projects, facilitating networks with service providers, between returnees.

Main Project

  • Voluntary Assisted Return and Reintegration Programme (VARRP)

Migration Policy and Research

This project has provided the newly established National Citizenship and Immigration Control Board (NCIB) and the Directorate of Immigration with requested stage-setting technical assistance in developing an effective Strategic Action Plan for implementing its enforcement and migration service delivery mandates. A Technical Assessment Report along with Strategic and Operational Work Plans of the Directorate and three Operational Departments were finalized. The Minister of Internal Affairs and the Board were in complete agreement with the findings of the technical assessment and approved in all respect the priorities and strategic directions set out in the strategic and operational work plans.

The project designated funding for HF communications equipment, computer equipment for enhancing data management processes, and an automated data management system to maintain client records. Priority was given to ensure HF communications equipment are purchased and installed so that the field major points of service (ports of entry operations and regional centers) could be connected to the network of offices. Thirty HF radios and solar panels for power backup supply were purchased and installation successfully completed.

Project Objectives

  • Formulation of NCIB’s Two-year Strategic Action Plan
  • Technical assessment concerning the present capacity of the NCIB to fulfill the board’s key migration functions, including the status of present legislation and regulatory provisions

Last updated:
Main text: September 2008
Facts and figures:
August 2014

Migration Initiatives

IOM Humanitarian Compendium 2014

HIV and AIDS Mapping