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07 March 2016


IOM Director General’s Message on International Women’s Day 2016

On International Women’s Day 2016, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reaffirms its unwavering commitment to gender equality and empowerment for the hundreds of millions of women and girls across the globe who have left their homes, whether by force or by choice, and often in search of a better life. Like all migrants, these women and girls demand our attention and must be at the centre of our global development agenda.  

The United Nations’ official theme for this year’s International Women’s Day, “Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step It Up for Gender Equality”, promotes a bold vision for ensuring that gender equality, women’s empowerment and women’s human rights play a central role in achieving the recently adopted 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.

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For more on Gender & Migration on International Women's Day 2016


Driving Off Gender Inequalities

As the first female driver in IOM Mission in Bangladesh, Masuma Shemu,  has paved the way for other  women to break into male dominated professions and help strike down gender discrimination in the work place.

“More women should take this challenging job; more women should come forward, I encourage them to join me. It will change the outlook and society will thus understand our problems and become more supportive towards us,” says Masuma.

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A mother and child at Doro refugee camp in Maban County, Upper Nile State, South Sudan. Photo: Mathew Graydon / IOM

A Pledge for Parity

Gender-based violence (GBV) is an umbrella term for any harmful act that is perpetrated against a person’s will and that is based on socially ascribed (i.e. gender) differences between males and females. It includes acts that inflict physical, sexual or mental harm or suffering, threats of such acts, coercion, and other deprivations of liberty. These acts can occur in public or in private.  (IASC Guidelines 2015) #StepItUp4Gender, #PledgeForParity is the theme for International Women’s Day (IWD) 2016.

Beyond just talking, purposeful action needs to be taken by women and men together to advance gender parity.  The focus of IOM’s intervention in 2016 as co-leader of the Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM) Cluster is contributing to the prevention of and response to GBV throughout its interventions in camp and camp-like settings.

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IOM Cambodia Stop Exploitation Campaign

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Migration in the News

  • MENA FN reported that according to IOM estimates 134,905 migrants already have crossed the Mediterranean to Europe this year.
  • Reuters, BBC, Irish Times, International Business Times and Euro news cited IOM figures in reports that 18-25 people drowned attempting to reach Greece after their boat sank off the Turkish coast on Sunday.
  • AFP reported that 135 disillusioned Afghan asylum seekers voluntarily returned home from Germany on an IOM charter flight. Others are expected to follow.
  • CNN reported that over 12,000 people are now stranded in Idomeni on the Greek-Macedonian border, as frontiers across Europe have slowly been closing.
  • CNN and BBC reported that a record 1.2 million people registered for asylum in the European Union (EU) in 2015 – over double the number of the previous year, according to Eurostat.
  • CNN reported that two Syrian men have been sentenced to over four years in prison in Turkey in connection with the sinking that claimed the life of Syrian boy Aylan Kurdi.
  • AFP reported that EU leaders will today back closing down the Balkans route used by most migrants to reach western Europe.
  • CNN reported that the cost to the EU of borders could be as high as EUR 18 billion (US$20 billion) per year, according to the European Commission
  • Irish Times reported that the European Commission has given EU member states until the end of the year to phase out all border checks introduced in the wake of the refugee crisis.
  • New York Times reported that the US government has been paying to feed and shelter thousands of Cubans stranded in Costa Rica as they tried to reach to the US.
  • Al Jazeera America’s “Fault Lines” reported on “Seafood Slaves” - an investigation into the Thai seafood industry’s use of slave labour from neighboring countries.
  • Mongabay reported that the Indonesian government has pledged to make human trafficking a central front in its war on illegal, unreported and unregulated fishing.
  • Thailand’s DVB reported that the Bangladeshi government will next month conduct a census of Rohingya refugees living on the nation’s border with Burma.
  • Reuters reported that Papua New Guinea is suffering floods and mudslides affecting 2,000 people living on a "razor's edge" after last year's lack of rain and frost.

Trending on the Internet

  • BBC reported that hundreds of children stranded in a migrant camp on the border of Greece and Macedonia are suffering from worrying respiratory infections, according to MSF.
  • The Economist reported that while some African migrants chose to cross the Mediterranean in flimsy boats, others take a less risky journey to South Africa, where there are still opportunities for those who are prepared to work hard.

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