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International Organization for Migration

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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an intergovernmental organization. It was initially established in 1951 as the Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration (ICEM) to help resettle people displaced by World War II. As of April 2015, the International Organization for Migration has 162 member states and 9 observer states. It is the principal intergovernmental organization in the field of migration.

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  • While IOM's history tracks the man-made and natural disasters of the past half century - Hungary 1956, Czechoslovakia 1968, Chile 1973, the Vietnamese Boat People 1975, Kuwait 1990, Kosovo and Timor 1999, and the Asian tsunami and Pakistan earthquake of 2004/2005 - its credo that humane and orderly migration benefits migrants and society has steadily gained international acceptance.


  • From its roots as an operational logistics agency, it has broadened its scope to become the leading international agency working with governments and civil society to advance the understanding of migration issues, encourage social and economic development through migration, and uphold the human dignity and well-being of migrants.


  • The broader scope of activities has been matched by rapid expansion from a relatively small agency into one with an annual operating budget of an estimated $1.3 billion and some 8,400 staff working in over 150 countries worldwide. IOM currently has 162 Member States and a further 9 states holding Observer status.


  • IOM assists some 150,000 Kosovars to return home; and organizes the return by land, sea and air to some 140,000 East Timorese refugees. IOM starts a programme for the identification and indemnification of former forced and slave labourers under the Nazi regime in Germany.



  • In West Africa, IOM assists 30,000 Sierra Leonean refugees returning home from Guinea. After launching a global information campaign, IOM receives and registers more than 300,000 compensations claims - four times the number anticipated by its German interlocutors.



  • In several Eastern European countries IOM launches Humanitarian and Social Programmes for Roma and members of other groups persecuted under the Nazi regime.



  • The Director General and the heads of five other international organizations - ILO, UNHCR, UNHCHR, UNODC and UNCTAD - form the Geneva Migration Group to share information and facilitate inter-agency cooperation.



  • IOM strengthens its role in the development of international migration policy. The "International Dialogue on Migration" focuses on "Migration in a Globalized World." The Global Commission on International Migration begins its work and the two co-chairs discuss their goals with IOM’s membership at the IOM Council as part of the International Dialogue on Migration. Workshops for policy makers include "Data Collection and Management" and "Trade and Migration", the latter bringing together for the first time trade negotiators and migration regulators, in partnership with the World Bank and OECD. As the secretariat for the Swiss Government-led Berne Initiative, IOM develops the Draft International Agenda for Migration Management.



  • By the end of December, IOM completes payments to over 80,000 former slave and forced labour claimants and makes more than 15,000 payments related to property loss under the Nazi regime. The heirs of some 16,000 deceased slave and forced labourers receive awards on their behalf.




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Last updated: Sun Jul 17 2016 13:25:25
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