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Migrants’ remittances drop by over  $100b – UN Chief 

UN refugee agency halts work at Libya facility

The UN Secretary-General, António Guterres, has released a message appealing for “people everywhere” to support migrants, at a time when remittances – the money migrants send home to support their families – have fallen by more than $100 billion, causing hunger, lost schooling and deteriorating health, for tens of millions of families.

In his message, Mr. Guterres recognized the determination of the 200 million migrants who regularly send money home, and 800 million families, in communities throughout the developing world, who depend on those resources.

Following a record $554 billion sent home by migrants in 2019, The World Bank estimated, in April, that the economic crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting shutdown, would cause the “sharpest decline in remittances in recent history”, and projected a fall of 19.7 per cent. Millions of migrant workers have lost their jobs, pushing dependent families below the poverty line.

Migrants near Budapest

In order to help migrants, “engines of the global economy”, who make “crucial contributions to well-being across the world”, the UN chief called for a reduction in remittance transfer costs, financial services for migrants and their families – particularly in rural areas – and the promotion of financial inclusion for a more secure and stable future. Such measures are proposed in the UN’s Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, described my Mr. Guterres as a “key platform for action”.

READ  Removing barriers for immigrant medical professionals is critical to help fight Coronavirus

Migrants facing ‘socio-economic crisis’
At the beginning of June, Mr. Guterres launched a UN policy briefing on the protection of “people on the move”, in which he referred to the “socio-economic crisis” facing migrants, especially those working in the informal sector who have no access to protection schemes, and the drop in remittances which, he said equates to “nearly three-quarters of all official development assistance that is no longer being sent back home to the 800 million people who depend on it.”

The UN chief also called for human dignity to be upheld in the face of the crisis, suggesting that lessons can be learned from those countries which have implemented travel restrictions and border controls while respecting international principles on refugee protection.

On 16 June, from 9:30 to 11:30 Eastern Standard Time, the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) is hosting a virtual observance event for the International Day of Family Remittances: Supporting Remittance Families Build Resilience in Times of Crisis.

READ  International migrants in the SDGs Provided by IOM


International Day of Family Remittances
The International Day of Family Remittances (IDFR) is a universally-recognized observance adopted by the United Nations General Assembly and celebrated every year on 16 June.
The day recognizes the contribution of over 200 million migrants to improve the lives of their 800 million family members back home, and to create a future of hope for their children.

Half of these flows go to rural areas, where poverty and hunger are concentrated, and where remittances count the most.
The Day also calls upon governments, private sector entities, as well as the civil society, to find ways that can maximize the impact of remittances through individual, and/or collective actions.

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Dominican Republic, IOM clear hurdles for 100,000 Venezuelan migrants

The Migration Normalization Plan will allow Venezuelans living irregularly in the Dominican Republic to work, move without risk of deportation, open bank accounts and join the country’s social security system.  Photo: IOM / Francesco Spotorno

 

 

Santo Domingo – The first group of almost 100,000 Venezuelan migrants without legal status in the Dominican Republic have received visas allowing them to work, open bank accounts and join the social security system under the country’s Migration Normalization Plan.

Created by the Dominican government and launched with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the plan aims to regularize the Venezuelan population in three stages: application for extension of stay, visa, and residency. Since April, when the first phase began, 43,000  Venezuelans have registered to extend their stay and, on 1 July, the first group of 21 Venezuelans received their work visa.

“Now that I have my visa, I feel that for others like me a lot of opportunities are opening. We will be able to establish more safely and formally to offer a better future to our children,” says Gabriela Rivero, who arrived in the country with her husband and daughter in 2018.  “Once we settled, we did not imagine how difficult it would be to get a job because the lack of documentation closed all doors.”

READ  Covid 19: UN in West and Central Africa worry about migrants as traffickers abandon victims in desert 

Since 2019 Gabriela has led a support organization for Venezuelan migrants in Santiago de los Caballeros called FEV (Fundación Emigrantes de Venezuela), which offers free orientation and helps hundreds of migrants daily to complete their normalization plan applications.

With IOM support, eight Venezuelan migrant organizations have created orientation hubs to assist the Venezuelan population who are applying to the plan. Of the 43,000  registered through the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) web page, around 9,000 have visited the hubs for help on the procedure. The promoters and coordinators of each hub – mostly Venezuelan migrants – have learned the process with the support and guidance of the DGM team and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX). Besides being trained for orientation, they became the pilot group of the plan to receive their extensions and visas.

“The idea of this process is that we are the ones at the front of the hubs, a migrant helping a migrant, a Venezuelan helping a Venezuelan,” says Iván Carrera, a lawyer from Caracas and legal adviser of FUNCOVERD (Fundación Colonia de Venezolanos en RD). Carrera works as a promoter at the orientation hub in El Sambil Santo Domingo, one of the locations with the most people requesting support for their application.

READ  Journalist Marvin Hokstam speaks about migration, opportunities during COVID, racism and media

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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.

READ  Over 90 Malians return home safely in charter flight from Chad

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.

READ  COVID 19: Thousands of migrants stranded as 220 countries impose travel restrictions

“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  IOM Somalia relocates nearly 7,000 Internally Displaced Persons facing eviction

 

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