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IOM, UNHCR, seek support for Venezuelan refugees, migrants

 

 

International Organisation of Migration (

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, are seeking support forVenezuelan w refugees and migrants.

They said they would  welcome  commitment made by donors today, amounting to USD 2.79 billion, including USD 653 million in grants,  during the International Donors Conference in Solidarity with Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The Conference, convened by the European Union (EU) and Spain, with the support of Canada, Norway, UNHCR and IOM, aimed to mobilize support for one of the largest external displacement crises in the world which is now exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Donors at the conference confirmed funding to support refugees, migrants and host communities in countries across the region where Venezuelans have found safety, healthcare and jobs. “These contributions will make a real difference to the lives of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, who have been extremely hard-hit by the pandemic,” said UNHCR-IOM Joint Special Representative, Eduardo Stein.

“Countries in the region have responded to this unprecedented displacement with remarkable solidarity and hospitality, while facing significant challenges to their own economies and the social fabric of their societies. In the coming months, it will be crucial to maintain the leadership and commitment shown today in support of refugees, migrants and their hosts.”

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To date, more than five million refugees and migrants from Venezuela have sought safety and protection across the world. The vast majority, around 80 per cent, are hosted across countries in Latin America and the Caribbean.

The health and economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic have now wreaked havoc on their lives and that of their hosts. Venezuelan refugees and migrants now face a myriad of challenges, including the loss of daily incomes and livelihoods to cover basic needs such as shelter, food and health care. Many are also at risk of being exposed to gender-based violence, stigmatization, exploitation and abuse.

“Amid the current global health emergency, many refugees and migrants from Venezuela are at risk of being left out of health and social welfare programs, especially those in an irregular situation,” said Stein.

“The commitments made today to support humanitarian efforts offer a ray of hope to many families who have lost everything they had. We thank Spain and the EU for their leadership in this process and now welcome Canada’s commitment today to move this forward.”

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Today’s pledging conference follows the commitment made during a solidarity conference in Brussels in October to mobilize additional humanitarian funding for refugees and migrants from Venezuela and their host communities as well as financial support for their socio-economic integration in receiving countries.

Earlier this month, humanitarian organizations that comprise the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform (R4V) response – across 17 countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, revised the Regional Refugee and Migrant Response Plan (RMRP). The Plan, which was initially launched in November last year, supports the efforts made by governments in the region to address the most pressing needs of refugees and migrants from Venezuela as well as ensure their integration and inclusion in national systems.

The  requirements of the RMRP amount to USD 1.41 billion, around one third of which are for COVID-19-specific activities. Critically underfunded, only 10 per cent (USD 142 million) of the Plan’s funding requirements had been met prior to the conference.

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

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Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

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“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

READ  GFMD Summit begins, focuses on reality of migrants' lives

 

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FG condemns killing of Nigerian footballer in UK

Kelvin

The Federal government has condemned the alleged killing of a Nigerian Footballer, Kelvin Igweani, by the UK police.

Recall that Igweani, a Nigerian Footballer, was shot dead by officers, who attended a call out to a house, where a child was found with serious injuries.

Reacting, Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, Chairman/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), in Abuja on Wednesday described the incident as very unfortunate,and sad.

Dabiri-Erewa condoled with the family of the deceased and the Nigerian communities in the UK while praying that God grants rest to the soul of the departed.

“We call on the UK government for a thorough and proper investigation to be carried out on the incident,” the statement added.

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