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23 May 2016

IOM Calls for Leadership at the First World Humanitarian Summit

Turkey - Migration is set to play a central role at the first World Humanitarian Summit which opens in Istanbul today (23/5). At the two-day event, IOM Director General William Lacy Swing will discuss with leaders of the international community the state of humanitarian aid, notably its parlous financing and the global displacement crisis.

He will help to lay out an agenda for further improvements in the manner in which aid is delivered to internally displaced people, refugees and other vulnerable populations in need of assistance.

Seven High-Level Leaders’ Round Tables and 15 Special Sessions will be convened, with the participation of some 60 Heads of State and Government, ministers, representatives of international organizations, civil society and the private sector. A further one hundred issue-specific side events will also take place over the course of the Summit.

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Internally displaced women in South Sudan. Photo: IOM/Muse Mohammed
Thin on Influence, World Humanitarian Summit Will Tackle Aid Crisis

United Nations — Conflicts last longer. Soldiers and rebels break the laws of war without so much as a shrug. Millions of people are driven from their homes by wars and natural disasters. And aid workers complain that they are overstretched, underfunded and in greater danger as they try to deliver relief to the people who need it most, writes Somini Sengupta for The New York Times.

The machinery of humanitarian aid is not only broke — but, according to many critics, also broken.

To address these problems, the United Nations is sponsoring the first World Humanitarian Summit, starting on Monday in Istanbul. But most of the world’s most powerful leaders — those whose soldiers and diplomats can end wars and hold accountable those who violate international humanitarian law — are not going.

President Obama is not planning to attend, nor is his top diplomat, Secretary of State John F. Kerry. Neither is President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, who has rebuffed the five “core commitments” that United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants countries to embrace at Istanbul. Those commitments include respecting existing humanitarian law, preventing conflicts and donating more money for aid. In any event, they are not legally binding.

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Last week, we asked you to identify an “Internally Displaced Person” through our twitter polls. Here is the IOM definition:


Migration in the News


  • Inter Press Service reported that refugees are now more likely to live in cities than in refugee camps, bringing with them planning challenges, but also opportunities for economic growth.

  • BBC reported that thousands of people will try to reach Europe this year from Iraq, but a growing number of Iraqi refugees are returning home.

  • Reuters reported that Libyan coastguards intercepted about 850 migrants on Sunday at sea off the western city of Sabratha.
  • Kathimerini, Greek Reporter and Sofia News Agency reported that the European Commission has approved EUR 56 million in emergency funding to improve living conditions for migrants and refugees in Greece.

  • Al Jazeera reported on the plight of Yemeni refugees in Greece, ineligible to be resettled in the European Union, but unable to return home due to the war.

  • Xinhua reported that according to UNOCHA, over 5,000 families have fled Da'esh control in the Libyan coastal city of Sirte. Many have gone to Bani Walid, Tobruk, Misrata and Tripoli.

  • Reuters reported the launch of IOM’s migration governance index in South Africa.

  • Lidtime reported comments by UN Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights of Migrants François Crépeau criticizing the treatment of migrant and refugee children in Greece.

  • Swissinfo.ch reported on a new study by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) addressing the impact of climate change on migration flows.

  • Zimbabwe’s Herald reported that delays in TB diagnosis among migrants are commonly associated with difficulty in accessing healthcare, lack of education, poor health behaviors, stigma and marginalization.

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  • Spiegel noted that the refugee debate creates an incorrect impression of unprecedented mass migration. The real question, when we look at migration globally, is why there is so little of it.

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