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29 February 2016

Syrian and Iraqi refugees trapped at the Greek-Macedonian border block train tracks in protest at closure of the border. Photo: AFP/Louisa Gouliamaki.

Migrants Protest at Greece-Macedonia Border as Bottleneck Builds

Greece – This weekend stranded migrants lay with their children on rail tracks at Greece's northern border, demanding to be allowed to continue their journey, as Germany warned that Europe cannot let the country "plunge into chaos," write Louisa Gouliamaki and Katerina Nikolopoulou for AFP.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was speaking as Athens said that the number of migrants trapped in Greece could triple after Balkan countries announced a daily cap on migrant arrivals.

Tensions between European nations worst affected by the migrant crisis are running high, with Austria's Chancellor Werner Faymann accusing Greece of "behaving like a travel agency" for migrants hoping to start new lives elsewhere in Europe.

"We estimate that in our country the number of those trapped will be from 50,000-70,000 people next month," Greek Migration Minister Yiannis Mouzalas said in an interview with Mega TV, up from 22,000 at present.

Read on

UN HQ in New York. Photo: UN / Andrea Brizzi.

International Dialogue on Migration 2016 - Follow-up and Review of Migration in Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

Intersessional Workshop, 29 February - 1 March 2016
Venue: United Nations Headquarters, New York

United Nations - The 2016 iteration of IOM’s principal forum for policy dialogue, the International Dialogue on Migration (IDM), is dedicated to stimulating in-depth discussions on implementation, follow-up and review of the migration-related SDG targets. The first of two IDM workshops opens today at the United Nations HQ in New York and will run through 1st March 2016.

It will discuss the tools and mechanisms available to help IOM Member States measure progress on migration-related SDG targets and will look at options for “thematic review” of migration-related SDG targets.

The first IDM of 2016 in New York will bring together representatives of governments, UN agencies, civil society organizations, academia, and migration and development practitioners engaged in issues related to the 2030 Agenda and its follow-up and review.  

The results of the 2016 IDM will be consolidated in a publication representing a first contribution to the review of migration aspects in the Agenda 2030.

For more information on the workshop, please go to the IDM page on the IOM website at or contact:

Programme: English / French / Spanish

Migration in the News

  • Voice of America reported that, according to IOM, the number of sub-Saharan Africans dying from asphyxiation in overcrowded boats from Libya to Italy has increased.
  • Xinhua reported that some 120,065 refugees and migrants have reached Europe by sea since the beginning of the year, according to IOM.
  • Euronews hosted a debate on whether development aid in countries of origin is the solution to Europe’s migration crisis. 
  • Vatican Radio reported that aid workers are warning of a humanitarian crisis at the Greece-Macedonia border after Macedonia effectively closed its borders to most refugees.
  • Voice of America reported that IOM is scaling up its repatriation of African migrants suffering abuse and exploitation in Libya, mainly at the hands of militias.
  • AP reported that since reaching a deal with the European Union (EU) in November, Turkey has stepped up its counter-smuggling efforts. But thousands of migrants are still entering Greece every week.
  • Sputnik reported that Greece has drafted an emergency action plan for the EU to control the influx of migrants and refugees.
  • Politico reported that a steady stream of Iraqis, Syrians and Afghans claim to have been abused by Bulgarian police while transiting the country to reach western Europe.
  • Huffington Post reported that Nigerian women abducted by Boko Haram are often rejected by their families and communities once they return home.

Trending on the Internet

  • BBC reported that new census figures in Japan show the population has shrunk by nearly a million in the past five years, in the first decline registered since 1920. Demographers predicted a drop, citing the falling birth rate and a lack of immigration.
  • Independent UK reported six myths about immigration debunked by the fact that the latest figures show a drop in non-EU arrivals.

Media Contacts

For comment / interviews on today's news, please go to the contact(s) listed at the end of each press briefing note.
For other information please contact the IOM Media & Communications team here