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08 January 2018

Comments/questions: editor@iom.int


Geneva – Peter Sutherland, who died yesterday at age 71, was a giant on the international stage and a powerful advocate for migration as key to global cooperation, international dialogue and economic well-being.

An Irish citizen, he distinguished himself as a leading United Nations diplomat and advocate for migration, as EU Commissioner and as a global trade negotiator. Though known as “the father of globalization,” for his work founding the World Trade Organization, Sutherland was most passionate about migration.

He became the UN Secretary General’s Special Representative on migration issues in 2006 and approached the issue with great enthusiasm. He was key to the convening of the first-ever UN summit on migrants and refugees in September 2016 – at which IOM formally entered the UN system. 

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IOM staffer works with a newly arrived family in Bosnia. Photo: IOM

"The Smuggler Destroyed Our Passports and Dropped Us in the Mountains"

Bosnia and Herzegovina (IOM) – While the world’s attention is drawn to the plight of migrants and refugees and Asia and Africa, a small but significant number of irregular migrants continue to arrive in central European counties like Bosnia and Herzegovina, placing huge strains on local authorities.

Rawad (name changed to protect his identity) is one of 735 irregular migrants who crossed into Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2017. He arrived just a few days ago, with his wife, one adult son and four young sons and daughters.

“We are from Syria, from a small town we had to flee about five years ago,” he begins.

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The Times They Are A Changin’ ... Possibly

Geneva (IOM) – Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin’ is always a good one to spin at the start of a year, as we reflect and dream of what was and what is to be.

A good chunk of my work is spent pleasantly but exhaustingly scouring what journalists are saying about the Organization I work for, about migration, humanitarianism, the United Nations and sundry themes, analyzing it all, and working out how best to enter the fray when needed. I also follow how technology is changing humanitarian work, and trends in how aid agencies market themselves. A lot of that debate happens on Twitter, and my new year’s resolution is to do less facebooking and more tweeting (and that’s a sentence that would have made zero sense a decade ago).

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A Returnee’s Tale: Meet Alain, A Returning Migrant from Niger, Set Up for Business

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Julia: "Those who take the initiative to leave home are open and receptive to a new culture and new ways of living."
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Migration in the News

  • Xinhua reported that UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday mourned the death of Peter Sutherland, who served as special representative of the UNSG for international migration for more than a decade.
  • Reuters and NPR reported that the number of migrants who died crossing the Mediterranean Sea surpassed 3,000 for the fourth year in a row, despite an overall drop in the number of refugees making the journey. This also means that half as many migrants landed in Europe in 2017 as 2016.
  • Reuters reported that Nigeria has started flights to evacuate thousands of its citizens from Libya. It noted that IOM in recent months accelerated its voluntary returns programme to repatriate migrants from a number of countries. Nigeria now joins Niger in organizing bilateral returns.
  • The Independent reported that the violence against Rohingyas in Rakhine State of Myanmar continues to force more people to cross into Bangladesh, according to IOM.
  • Reuters and AFP reported that Libya’s coastguard on Sunday recovered the bodies of two female migrants who perished trying to cross the Mediterranean and picked up at least 250 survivors from two boats east of Tripoli.
  • Anadolu Agency reported about the 1.4 million registered Afghan refugees in Pakistan whose fate hangs in the balance after Pakistan refused to extend their duration of stay for another year.
  • The Arab Weekly reported that Iraqis are gradually learning the full costs of defeating the Islamic State (ISIS), whether material or incurred on hu­man lives, as the dust of war settles.

Trending on the Internet

  • Voice of America reported that with winter cold sweeping over parts of Mexico, authorities there are issuing travel warnings and are stepping up aid for migrants traversing dangerous routes.
  • Texas Public Radio reported that every year, thousands of migrants cross the U.S.-Mexico border searching for a better life. But not everyone crosses safely. It shared the story of a farmworker who dedicates his free time to searching for those missing. 


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