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16 June 2017

Images from the Facebook video depicting hundreds of Somali and Ethiopian migrants and refugees held against their will. Faces have been blurred to protect the people depicted.

UN Migration Agency Briefs UN Country Team on Libyan Torture Victims
Posted on Fri. June 16, 2017

Libya - The UN Migration Agency (IOM), on Thursday with representatives of UNHCR briefed members of the UN’s Libya country team on the ongoing efforts to rescue what are believed to be up to 200 victims of kidnapping and torture in Libya.

The victims, whose plight came to IOM’s attention through contacts in Africa who had discovered video of the migrants in captivity via social media, are known to be Somali and Ethiopian nationals – both men and women – whose families in the Horn of Africa have received ransom demands based on short video clips depicting scenes of active torture. This tactic, which is not new, has been reported for several years across the northern Sahara region and even in parts of Latin America. IOM believes the video is authentic.

“IOM is currently working closely with all partners in trying to locate the migrants. IOM supports the Libyan efforts in the fight against the smuggling networks and we are very concerned about the current situation,” said Othman Belbeisi, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Libya.

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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 77,004 in 2017; 1,828 Deaths
Posted on Fri. June 16, 2017

Switzerland - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) reports that 77,004 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2017 through 14 June, with almost 85 per cent arriving in Italy and the remainder divided between Greece, Cyprus and Spain. This compares with 214,427 arrivals across the region through 14 June 2016.

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IOM Chief of Mission Lado Gvilava signs handover documents with Turkish Coast Guard Captain Ahmet Arslan. Photo: IOM 2017

EUR 20 Million EU Project in Support of Turkish Coast Guard Seeks to Save More Migrant Lives
Posted on Fri. June 16, 2017

Turkey - On 15 June, the Turkish Coastguard (TUR CG) received in Antalya two search and rescue vessels. The vessels are part of a EUR 20 million agreement between the European Union and the UN Migration Agency (IOM).

The Turkish Government responded to the increase in irregular migration by rescuing, since the beginning of 2015, nearly 135,000 migrants and refugees as they tried to make their way to Greece. On land and at sea, Turkish law enforcement authorities have taken effective measures.

The vessels, specifically designed for search and rescue operations, will help maintain the coverage and frequency of coastguard patrols. The vessels are fast and can operate under harsh weather conditions, as they have the capability to right themselves when capsized. In addition, a hydraulic platform makes it easier for the TUR CG to rescue people from the water. 

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Migration in the News

  • Reuters, AP, DPA, Pana Press and Al Jazeera reported that people smugglers and criminal gangs in Libya are using social media to broadcast the abuse and violence they inflict on African migrants in their captivity and demand ransoms from their families back home.

  • Reuters reported on IOM Regional Director Eugenio Ambrosi’s remarks that the European Union must do more to help protect migrants stranded in Libya and to convince its member states to share the burden of caring for refugees who reach Europe.

  • New Europe ran an Op-Ed by Marietta Tidei, Member of the Italian Parliament, who noted that climate change and migration are security challenges that require a comprehensive response.

  • Oxfam has urged the UK government to use changes to immigration laws to do more to help refugees as its new report reveals that the global death toll of people trying to reach safety could reach more than 14,000 by the time Britain leaves the European Union at the end of March 2019.

  • Outbreak News Today reported that UN and Iraqi health officials are investigating a suspected foodborne illness outbreak at the Hassan Sham U2 camp near Erbil that has sickened some 825 mainly internally displaced people from west Mosul. 

Trending on the Internet

  • IFAD released a new report that noted that the amount of money migrants send to their families in developing countries has risen by 51 per cent over the past decade.


Media Contacts
For further comment on today’s news, please contact IOM colleagues listed at the end of each press briefing note. For interviews and other media requests, please contact the IOM Media and Communications team here.