IOM DG Visits Niger, Migrant Transit Centres

Migrant Assistance

Niger - On Saturday (11/3), IOM Director General William Lacy Swing began a three-day visit to Niger, where he met with local and regional authorities, and visited transit centres for migrants in the capital, Niamey, and the desert city of Agadez.

While in Niamey, Ambassador Swing met with Niger President Issoufou Mahamadou, Prime Minister Brigi Rafini, Minister of Interior Mohamed Bazoum, Spanish Minister of Interior Juan Ignacio Zoido Álvarez and French Minister of Interior Bruno Le Roux.  Ambassador Swing also consulted with the UN country team, the European Union (EU) delegation and ambassadors from EU member states.

In Agadez, Ambassador Swing met with Mayor Rhissa Feltou and Sultan Oumarou Ibrahim Oumarou. Others taking part in the visit included central and regional government officials and the ambassadors of the European Union, Mali, Senegal and the United States.

During his official meetings, Ambassador Swing noted: “Today’s worldwide anti-migrant reaction needs to change.”

“There is hope that we can create a shared sense of responsibility among everyone from countries of origin, destination and transit,” he said.

Ambassador Swing also visited IOM’s open information centres, where migrants returning from Libya, Algeria and other countries receive support, including water, food, shelter, medical and psychosocial assistance. Stay is voluntary at all of IOM’s five transit centres across Niger.

Many migrants also opt for assisted voluntary return from IOM. This often includes replacing missing travel documents and transportation back to their countries of origin. If migrants choose to return to their countries of origin, they may also benefit from reintegration assistance.

This process is funded by the European Union under the “Migration Resource and Response Mechanism” project.

After hearing some of the migrants’ painful testimonies, Ambassador Swing reassured them that IOM is doing everything possible to support them. “It’s a matter of dignity,” he told migrants whom he met at the centre. “They can take away everything you have, but not your dignity – never forget that,” he emphasized.

For further information, please contact Monica Chiriac at IOM Niger, Tel: +227 8931 8764, Email:

DG Swing during his visit at IOM’s transit centre for migrants in Agadez, Niger on March 12, 2017. Photo: IOM