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20 September 2016


IOM Director General William Lacy Swing (seated left) and UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon at the signing ceremony at UN HQ, New York on 19 September 2016. UN Photo/Rick Bajornas 2016

Summit on Refugees and Migrants Opens as IOM Joins United Nations
Posted on Tues. September 20, 2016

United Nations, New York - The UN Summit on Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants, which took place on Monday (19/09) in New York, created a singular opportunity for the global community to forge a greater consensus on managing the world’s movements of migrants and refugees. This mega-trend of the 21st Century now represents unprecedented human mobility, with one of every seven people worldwide living or working somewhere other than their place of birth.

“We are gathered here today for an historic Summit – the first ever to assemble Heads of State from around the world to address the question of refugees and migrants,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing in his opening remarks to the Summit at the UN General Assembly.

With representatives of nearly two hundred nation states looking on, DG Swing and UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon signed a document formally linking IOM to the UN. It established IOM as a “related organization” of the UN, giving the UN for the first time, an explicit migration mandate.

The signing signalled the culmination of a process that began in June 2016 when IOM Member States unanimously endorsed the process to join the UN. DG Swing noted that the decision reflected a growing recognition of the importance of migration and the need to better link human mobility with related policy agendas, including in the humanitarian, development, human rights, climate change and peace and security domains.

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Mediterranean Migrant Arrivals Reach 298,474; Deaths at Sea: 3,213
Posted on Tues. September 20, 2016

Italy - IOM reports that 298,474 migrants and refugees entered Europe by sea in 2016 through 18 September, arriving mostly in Greece and Italy. This figure is well short of the 469,869 arrivals recorded by IOM at this point in 2015.

Some 165,409 people have arrived in Greece and 130,561 in Italy during 2016.

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Migration in the News
  • UN News, Xinhua, Voice of America, Prensa Latina, Huffington Post, Deutschland Radio and others reported on the outcomes of the UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants, the adoption of the New York Declaration and IOM’s entry to the UN. They quoted IOM DG William Lacy Swing. BBC interviewed IOM’s Richard Danziger. Huffington Post posted a blog by DG Swing.

  • The US State Department published remarks by Secretary John Kerry welcoming IOM’s admission to the UN.

  • Project Syndicate ran an Op-Ed by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, who noted that as part of the UN, IOM is expected to play a leading role in making migration governance more coherent and efficient.

  • Al Jazeera reported on the plight of Sudanese refugees from Darfur living in Jordan, who say they have been long ignored by the international community.

  • The Guardian reported claims that over 1,000 Syrian refugees in Turkey have been blocked from resettlement in the US and other countries by the Turkish authorities because they have university qualifications and are therefore “less vulnerable.”

  • Mashable reported on an exhibit designed to remind the world of the risks refugees take to reach safety. Some 2,500 lifejackets, 625 of which were worn by children, were placed outside the UK’s Houses of Parliament.

  • China Daily posted an Op-Ed by China's ambassador to Ethiopia, La Yifan, who noted that jobs have to be created in large numbers in the Middle East and Africa to reduce the number of migrants trying to reach Europe.

  • Bangkok Post reported that the situation of the Rohingya boat people may have eased for now, but "humane and sustainable solutions" are still a long way off, according to an IOM report.

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  • Bloomberg reported that a new OECD report confirms that migration to its (rich) member states is climbing again, having tailed off in the wake of the 2007-08 financial crisis.

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