IOM, LaLiga Partnership Highlights International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination

Diversity and Integration

Cairo – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) signed a partnership with LaLiga, the Spanish top tier football league, under the auspices of the Egyptian Ministry of Youth and Sports Thursday, on the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination. 

“Racial discrimination is an unfortunate existing situation – still vivid, even increasing – in several continents. Xenophobia affects societies and human beings all over the world,” explained Laurent De Boeck, IOM Egypt’s Chief of Mission. “Migrants are the primary victims of such abuse, and IOM strongly believes that discrimination is a direct attack against basic integrity and fair treatment of human beings.”

The signing ceremony in Cairo, was attended by the Deputy Minister of Youth and Sports, Dr. Amr El Hadad, De Boeck and LaLiga’s Official Delegate in Egypt, Juan Fuentes Fernandez.

The unprecedented partnership will pave the way for future collaborations between the two institutions joining efforts to combat racial discrimination and other issues related to migration where football can help raise awareness.

"There is no doubt that football is a tool that can help us to achieve our goals, since it is a leading sport to which everyone pays attention," said De Boeck.

Fuentes Fernandez said: "Professional football is a sport which involves a significant number of players moving between countries, and all players who come from outside Spain are migrants. That is why partnering with IOM is important and necessary to raise awareness on migration, discrimination in societies." 

While football and sports in general are an excellent vector to gather people in an atmosphere of games, it is vulnerable to abuse, especially for the exploitation of young players. Traffickers and smugglers pose as fictitious or illegitimate agents from European teams, offering dreams to hopeful youth wishing for a career in football.  

Worldwide, IOM works daily on combating trafficking in persons, along with governmental officials, launching awareness-raising campaigns to the migrants and their host communities.  

IOM also provides direct support to abused youth. Such was the case, De Boeck said, of ‘Gerard’, a young man who was trafficked from Guinea to France. With his parents ill and unable to work, ‘Gerard’ planned to become the next breadwinner in the family. He paid an agent almost USD 5,000 as advance for the plane tickets and the expenses to migrate to France. The agent disappeared and left him in the suburbs of Paris, without documents and money, facing humiliation and failure.

IOM later helped ‘Gerard’ return home, where he found a job which allowed him to support his family.  

Through this agreement LaLiga and IOM will contribute to Egypt’s Sustainable Development Strategy: Vision 2030, by supporting the social justice pillar. The partnership will also be in line with the Sustainable Development Goals, namely Goal 10: Reduced Inequalities, Goal 16: Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions and Goal 17: Partnerships for the Goals.

For more information, please contact Omar Awwad at IOM Egypt, Tel: +2 02 2736 5140/1 and Mobile +20 103 2049144, Email: [email protected]

  • Laurent De Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission in Egypt speaks at the launch of partnership with LaLiga. Photo: IOM

  • Laurent De Boeck, IOM Chief of Mission in Egypt (r) and Juan Fuentes Fernandez, LaLiga’s Official Delegate in Egypt. Photo: IOM