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03 January 2018

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Rohingya refugees waiting for a rice delivery on a foggy morning at the Nayapara refugee camp near Cox's Bazar, Bangladesh on December 25, 2017. Photo: Marko Djurica / Reuters

Desperate, Destitute, Damaged: The Plight of Myanmar's Persecuted Rohingya Muslim Refugees

Bangladesh (IOM) – When a major upsurge in violence broke out in Myanmar’s northern Rakhine state on August 25, it started an exodus that sent almost half a million of the mainly stateless Rohingya Muslim minority fleeing over the border into Bangladesh in just two months. As the year comes to an end, the number of new arrivals is now more than 655,000.

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Some 11,074 migrants have gone back to their home countries since IOM scaled up its return assistance efforts from Libya in the beginning of October. Photo: Lucas Chandellier/IOM

Voluntary Humanitarian Return Flights Resume January 1 as UN Migration Agency Continues Efforts to Assist Migrants in Libya

Tripoli (IOM) – On Monday, 1 January, the UN Migration Agency’s Libya mission chartered its first flight of 2018 under the Voluntary Humanitarian return (VHR) programme, assisting 142 returnees departing from Libya to Gambia.

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Khursheda Ilchibekova (center), a business owner who is expanding her business through an IOM grant, consults with IOM staff. Photo: George Williams/ IOM

Doing Business on the Roof of the World

Tajikistan (IOM) – The Tajik-Afghan border stretches for over 1300 kilometres through remote, inaccessible, and extremely mountainous terrain. It cuts through the Pamir Mountains, the so-called “Roof of the World”, home to some of the world’s highest mountains at the junction of the Hindu Kush, Tian Shan and Himalayan ranges.

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Maria Magdala: "It is necessary to recognize the xenophobia that we have in ourselves. Only then will we be able to deconstruct and destroy it."
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Migration in the News


  • Voice of America reported that Rohingya women who say they fled mistreatment by the military in Myanmar have told tales of horror that leading human rights groups have documented.
  • The National published a report on the plight of Myanmar's persecuted Rohingya Muslim refugees.

  • New Strait Times published an op-ed that calls to raise global awareness of the citizenship rights and basic human rights of the Rohingya.

  • Dhaka Tribune reported that some 500 more Rohingyas have arrived in Bangladesh over the last few days, bringing the total number of refugees to 655,500, IOM said.

  • Xinhua reported that IOM has repatriated more than 19,000 irregular migrants from Libya in 2017.

  • AFP reported that the year 2017 marked what Italian authorities hope was a turning point in the nation’s struggle to manage a chaotic and deadly rush of migrants to its shores.

  • Reuters reported that migrant arrivals to Italy by sea fell by a third in 2017 compared to a year earlier, the Interior Ministry said, as Libyan authorities helped to slow departures during the second half of the year.

  • Xinhua reported that many Gambian youth have begun to realize that with good self-initiated projects they can lead a fulfilling life on their home soil without embarking on perilous Mediterranean journeys to Europe.

  • Euro News reported that more than one hundred irregular migrants from The Gambia have been sent home from Libya by the UN's Migration Agency under IOM’s voluntary return programme.

  • The Local reported that new data has revealed that a total of 481 people drowned at Spanish swimming spots during the whole of 2017, a rise of ten percent on the year before.

  • Newsweek reported that dozens of Nigerian migrants freed from Libya are now returning home and have recounted abuses suffered at the hands of traffickers, jailers and bosses who bought them or rented them as slaves.

  • Voice of America shared the stories of some of the hundreds of migrants who came back to Sierra Leone last year.

  • The Manila Bulletin reported that of the nearly $3 billion remitted by overseas Filipino workers in 2017, a big slice was contributed by the 2.5 million Filipino women working abroad, mostly in the Middle East.


Trending on the Internet


  • The Guardian reported that researchers plotted temperature rises against the number of asylum applications and are predicting that as the southern hemisphere heats up, the number of people migrating to the EU each year will triple.

  • The Economist published an article by Michael Clemens, an economist at the Centre for Global Development who noted that free movement would make the world $78 trillion richer.


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