Posted by: APO | 23 November 2007


Press Briefing Notes
Friday 23 November 2007

LIBYA – Funds Needed Urgently to Assist Stranded Migrants
– With many tens of thousands of migrants stranded in Libya without the means to return home, IOM is making an urgent appeal for three million Euros to assist 2,000 of the migrants next year alone.

Since 2006, the Organization has assisted 1,300 stranded migrants to return home voluntary with reintegration assistance, including a 300 Euro support start-up grant for income generating activities to help them re-start their lives. In the coming weeks, another 200 migrants will be helped through this European Commission and Italian government funded IOM programme.

However, with a dramatic increase in the number of requests for help being made by migrants stranded in Libya, IOM will have to suspend its programme unless additional funding can be found.
The North African country, a major transit country for large numbers of migrants attempting to reach Europe each year, is currently hosting many tens of thousands of irregular migrants from West and East Africa as well as from Asia. Most of them use the services of smuggling networks and are often unaware of the dangers awaiting them as they attempt to cross the Mediterranean on rickety boats.

Although Libyan authorities have put in place various strategies for managing migration flows to and through its borders such as increased border patrolling; training its migration officials; requiring labour migrants from some nationalities to have a contract before being admitted and adopting a regularization scheme for undocumented entrants, irregular migration flows remain significant. The effectiveness of forced returns of irregular migrants is also proving to be weak as many migrants make a second attempt to reach the country. The humiliation of returning home empty-handed, in debt and often in a worse economic situation than before they left, is also a situation that forces many migrants to continue staying in Libya with an irregular status.

IOM’s assisted voluntary return and reintegration programme not only offers an alternative to dangerous attempts to cross the sea to Europe, but also provides those who choose to return to their country with an opportunity to build a life back at home again.

ZAMBIA-Repatriation of Congolese Refugees Resumes– An IOM operation to provide voluntary repatriation assistance to Congolese refugees resumed yesterday when a group of 409 persons left Kala refugee camp, in Northern Zambia for Moba, in the Democratic Republic of Congo’s South Kivu province.  

The group travelled onboard IOM chartered buses to Mpulungu, on the southern shores of Lake Tanganyika, where they boarded the MV Liemba, a UNHCR chartered ship for the final leg of their journey home.

Upon arrival, returnees will be met by IOM and UNHCR staff. All will receive food rations for two months from WFP, seeds and agricultural tools from FAO and various household items. IOM will also provide onward transportation to their final destinations.  

Six rotations between Mpulungu and Moba are planned before the end of the year to assist a total of 2,400 Congolese refugees who have expressed their desire to return home after spending in some cases years in refugee camps in Zambia.

Returns by boat were suspended in August after riots led to the UN to withdraw from the town of Moba.

IOM has also been organizing return by land via the border town of Pweto. So far this year, IOM and its UN partners have helped more than 5,600 Congolese refugees return to Eastern DRC.

IOM’s repatriation programme is funded by the European Commission Humanitarian Aid Department (ECHO) and the US Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM)

SOUTH AFRICA – IOM/Saatchi and Saatchi Win Award
– IOM’ s anti-trafficking public service announcement (PSA) won the Best Overall Award at South Africa’s 9th MultiChoice VUKA! Awards this week.

The TV spot was the product of a fruitful collaboration between IOM and international advertising firm, Saatchi and Saatchi. Created pro bono by Lesley Anne Roe of Saatchi & Saatchi and directed by Amy Alais of Fresh Eye Film Productions in Johannesburg, the PSA also walked away with the best soundtrack award. Both awards were won in the Professional Category.

Focusing on a girl in Zambia being lured into prostitution in South Africa with the false promise of becoming a model, the PSA encourages viewers to ‘see the truth’ and to call IOM’s counter-trafficking helpline for South Africa – 0800 555 999.

“We were touched by the IOM’s work and the difference it makes to women who are trapped in appalling conditions,” said Grant Meldrum, Managing Director of Saatchi & Saatchi South Africa, explaining why his company became involved in the project.

“This hard-hitting PSA captures the evil realities of human trafficking and shows how ruthless traffickers shatter the hopes and dreams of their victims,” says Karen Blackman, Information Specialist for IOM’s Southern African Counter-Trafficking Assistance Programme (SACTAP). “Human trafficking is happening in Southern Africa today, but awareness levels remain worryingly low.”

The advert has so far been aired on South African channels SABC 1, SABC 2, SABC 3 and ETV in primetime slots, as well as DSTV, which broadcasts throughout Southern Africa.

During the two weeks of its broadcast at the end of May 2007, the advert resulted in increased calls to IOM’s helpline.
As part of the reward for winning these awards, MultiChoice will screen the PSA free of charge on a range of DSTV channels throughout 2008.

MultiChoice is a premium television entertainment provider, broadcasting 70 video, over 40 audio and 28 radio channels, and more than 6 data channels, 24 hours a day on its DSTV platform.  

Says Jacki Rikotla, Corporate Affairs General Manager of Multichoice: “Every year we dare aspiring and professional filmmakers and advertising creatives to put their skills and energy into making an advert that counts for our society. And every year without hesitation they meet and surpass that challenge.”


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