IOM, Latin American Parliament Discuss Global Compact on Migration

Date Publish: 
06/09/2017

Panama - The UN Migration Agency (IOM) and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino) are holding a High Level Parliamentary Dialogue on Migration in Latin America and the Caribbean today (09/06). The topic of the discussion is Realities and Commitments towards Global Compact.

This discussion is the main event of the Parlatino XXXIII General Assembly in Panama City with the main purpose of the meeting being to promote a discussion about the status and the development of a Global Compact for safe, orderly and regular migration, as well as to encourage parliamentary action on this topic. Additionally, a regional document will be formulated as input to establish the global compact.

Some 200 delegates are expected to attend, including Clarissa Azkoul, IOM Deputy Chief of Staff, and Kailash Satyarthi, a Nobel Peace Prize Laureate in 2014.

The regional dialogue on migration will bring together six panels, plenary sessions, and interactive round-tables, discussing topics such as the human rights of migrants, the impact of regular and irregular migration, international cooperation, global governance of migration and smuggling of migrants, and human trafficking. Other concerns to be addressed include the contributions of migrants and the diaspora to sustainable development, and migration due to climate change or armed conflict. 

Azkoul congratulated the members of Parlatino, in particular Blanca Alcalá, Mexican Senator and President of Parlatino, for leading the proposal to dedicate the General Assembly to migration and its global compact.

“The importance of involving Parliaments to the discussions and to the formulation of concrete proposals for the global compact is indisputable,” said Azkoul. “IOM extend their congratulations for this initiative and I would like to take this opportunity to reaffirm our will to build a long-term shared agenda with Parlatino.”

The Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, which was approved on 19 September 2016 in New York within the framework of the 70th first session of the United Nations, set in motion a process of intergovernmental consultations and negotiations, culminating in the planned adoption of the global compact for migration on the occasion of an intergovernmental conference on international migration that will take place in 2018.

For further information, please contact Jorge Gallo at IOM San José Regional Office. Tel: +506 2212-53-52, Email: jgallo@iom.int


IOM organizes double return flight between Belize and El Salvador

Date Publish: 
06 / 07 / 2020

Belize – A plane chartered by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) completed last Friday a round-trip humanitarian flight, carrying 32 Salvadoran nationals from Belize to El Salvador and bringing home 13 Belizeans on the return trip. 

"This is the first large group movement of its kind for stranded migrants in Belize through IOM Assisted Voluntary Return Program," said Diana Locke, IOM's Head of Office in Belize. “This represents a big step in the right direction for the dignified return of migrants in the region.” 

Before the repatriation, IOM staff in both countries provided humanitarian assistance to the returning migrants, including medical and psychosocial support, lodging, food, hygiene kits, and protective gear (masks, face shields, and hand sanitizer). Interviews were conducted remotely, and operations followed the security protocols established by the governments of El Salvador and Belize. IOM also provided pre-departure medical screenings to confirm beneficiaries were in good conditions to travel and to discard COVID-19 related symptoms. Upon arrival in CoO, authorities implemented health protocols at airports and with the support of IOM, facilitated a 14-day quarantine at government-run centers. 

Both groups had been waiting in Belize and Salvador for almost four months due to COVID-19 related border and airport closures. The Salvadoran group included 20 men, 11 women, and one girl. The Belizean group included eight women and five men. 

"There are currently limited routes for migrants to return home. Through the support of and close coordination with government authorities, partners, and IOM teams, we have been able to ensure Salvadorans and Belizeans can reach their countries of origin in a safe and orderly manner," said Malina Gaianu, Project Specialist with IOM Belize. 

IOM supported the Government of Belize and El Salvador in their efforts to return these stranded migrants. These efforts were carefully coordinated with the Ministries of Foreign Affairs of both countries and its embassies, ministries of National Security and Health.  

Among the women returning to Belize was Marta, who was looking forward to reuniting with her elderly mother. Marta went through a health screening.  

"My brothers live here in El Salvador,” she explained “And because they are older people, they have health problems. That is why, from time to time, I come to visit them."  

But with travel restrictions in both countries, such travel became nearly impossible. Marta received news that her mother, 96, had suffered an accident, leaving her gravely injured.  She needed IOM’s help to get home.   

"In coordination with the authorities of El Salvador and Belize, we have managed to provide comprehensive assistance to these people who were eager to return to their countries of residence," added Jorge Peraza, IOM Chief of Mission for El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. "We are especially pleased that this entire process followed the strictest health recommendations." 

Assistance for the return of stranded migrants is part of the Assisted Voluntary Return Programme, an IOM humanitarian project that aims to provide a safe and dignified return for migrants who wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin but do not have the means to do so. The program is funded by the United States Department of State's Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration (PRM). 

For further information, please contact Jorge Gallo, IOM Regional Office Costa Rica. Tel.: + 506 2212-5300; M. +506 7203-6536.  Email: jgallo@iom.int