PRINT ME subscribe
Unable to see images? Click here Comments/questions:
22 June 2016

Afsoon Donna Houshidari and her mother Mali Vafa'i invited Dennis Scown (left) and Mark Davidson, who worked under him at the Islamabad visa post when her family was interviewed for resettlement to Canada in the mid-1980s. (Photo courtesy of Afsoon Donna Houshidari)

Visa Officer, Refugee Meet Again in Tearful Reunion 30 Years Later

When Afsoon Donna Houshidari started practising refugee law, she decided to examine her own family’s journey from Iran to Pakistan and ultimately Canada as government-sponsored refugees.

She pulled out her family’s buried old documents and found the worn-out landing paper, IMM 1000, issued by the Canadian visa post in Islamabad in 1985 — the ticket that allowed her, her parents and older sister a way to escape a life in limbo as persecuted Baha’i for new opportunities in Canada.

There began her personal search for the visa officer who interviewed her family and forever changed their lives. There was one problem, though: the signature at the bottom of the landing paper was barely legible. She could make out the initial “D” and a short last name that ended with “own.”

But fate would intervene.

Read on


For the latest Mediterranean Update data on arrivals and fatalities please visit: #MigrationEurope



Europe / Mediterranean | Migration Response

Migration in the News
  • Cuban News Agency reported on the official visit of IOM Director General William Lacy Swing to Cuba where he met with Foreign Minister Bruno Rodriguez.

  • TV5 Monde for the Journal d’Afrique, and other media outlets reported on the discovery of the bodies of 34 migrants in the desert in Niger.

  • Huffington Post reported that Giovanna Martelli, a member of Parliament for the Italian Left, and her sister have taken in three refugees from Nigeria who arrived in Italy by boat last year after long and arduous trips.

  • Voice of America reported that more than 7,000 children allegedly took the central Mediterranean route from North Africa to Italy from January to June 2016, according to a UNICEF report.

  • Xinhua reported that Namibia launched its migration profile which will be used to formulate effective migration policies.

  • UN reported the release of $15 million from the UN Central Emergency Response Fund to provide urgent life-saving assistance for people affected by the conflict in Fallujah, Iraq.

  • Buzzfeed reported that more than 60,000 people have been forced to flee their homes in Fallujah, Iraq.

  • AP reported that Indonesia has allowed international humanitarian organizations to assist Tamil migrants stranded in Aceh after bad weather foiled much-criticized plans to tow the group's boat back into international waters. Xinhua also reported that UNHCR and IOM are still lobbying the Aceh authorities to move the 44 asylum seekers to a detention center in the province.

Trending on the Internet

  • The New York Times’ Lens blog featured photos from the Spanish enclave of Melilla, bordered by Morocco and the Mediterranean, where desperately poor young Africans wait to hop on a freighter and make their way to Spain and a new life.

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