News & Events


A delegation of six senior Chinese officials from the Ministry of Public Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs has undertaken a four-day IOM-organized study tour to the United Kingdom.

The visit provided a forum for China and the UK to exchange experiences and enhance dialogue on issues of irregular migration, with a particular focus on alternatives to detention and voluntary return options for irregular migrants.

The tour included technical level meetings between UK and China officials, as well as field visits to various authorities and facilities in the UK.
The visit was part of a broader project: “Improving UK-China Cooperation on Illegal Migration,” which aims to build capacity for migration management in China and strengthen UK-China bilateral cooperation on migration.

The project focuses on increasing cooperation and capacity to manage irregular migration, including the provision of a voluntary return scheme for irregular migrants, with special procedures for the most vulnerable.

It also includes training workshops on international migration legal frameworks, best practices in migration management, and research on key migration policy issues.

”This activity will strengthen UK – China bilateral operational relationships and cooperation in the management of irregular migration, in areas such as identification of nationals, the role of communities in integration, and developing standard operational procedures,” said Pär Liljert, IOM Head of Office in Beijing.

For more information, please contact Pär Liljert, IOM Liaison Office in China, Tel: +8610.5979.9695, Email:

To mark the opening of this year’s Refugee Week, IOM is partnering with the Refugee Council and Sarah Teather MP to host a Parliamentary reception in the Palace of Westminster today. The reception provides an important opportunity to bring together young refugees, parliamentarians and those working with refugees.

Refugee Week will see a UK-wide programme of arts, cultural and educational events and activities that promote a better understanding of why people seek protection abroad. This year, particular focus will be placed on the contributions of young refugees to the UK.

Since 2004, IOM has played a vital role in the resettlement of refugees to the UK via the Gateway Protection Programme in collaboration with the UNHCR, Refugee Council and other refugee support agencies. To date, IOM has supported over 5,700 refugees – many of them children and young people – with activities such as pre-departure health assessments, documentation and facilitating travel to the UK. “IOM ensures the refugee groups are medically fit to travel, that they have adequate documents and receive some cultural orientation. IOM staff accompany the refugees during their travel to the UK, ensuring their comfort and security”, comments Brian Quaife, Resettlement Project Coordinator at IOM UK.

IOM is also supporting with the resettlement of other vulnerable groups, such as via the Direct Entry programme for Iraqi nationals. Under the Syrian Vulnerable Persons Relocation (VPR) scheme, IOM will provide health assessments and travel assistance for those identified for UK resettlement. A total of 33 particularly vulnerable Syrian refugees have so far arrived safely in the UK. IOM also works closely with the British Red Cross on family reunion cases by providing travel assistance to family members of eligible refugees who have been separated around the world. In 2013 over 500 individuals were assisted under this programme.

“The IOM office in the UK is very pleased to partner with Sarah Teather MP, Chair of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Refugees, and the Refugee Council to host this reception and celebrate what promises to be a great Refugee Week for 2014” notes Clarissa Azkoul, the IOM UK Chief of Mission.

For more information, please contact Brian Quaife, +44 207 811 6008

The international community has taken too long to recognize how vulnerable women, girls and children are to gender-based violence in crisis situations, according to IOM Director General William Lacy Swing.

Speaking at the “End Sexual Violence in Conflict: London 2014” global summit yesterday (12/6), he called for international action to ensure that perpetrators never hold positions of power that allow them to commit sexual violence against women. He also called for the creation of a system to compensate victims.

The summit, which is co-chaired by UK Foreign Secretary William Hague and UN Special Envoy Angelina Jolie, is the largest meeting ever held to discuss the role of rape in war and how to stop it. The aim is to create an irreversible momentum against sexual violence in conflict and to find practical ways to impact the reality on the ground.

“IOM is on the front line in the fight against sexual exploitation and abuse, because we work in complex emergencies, including conflicts and natural disasters, where gender violence is widespread,” said Swing. “The prevention of sexual exploitation and abuse (PSEA) must be a priority in emergency response operations and IOM is now integrating PSEA elements into all our activities,” he noted.

The rising incidence of sexual violence associated with human trafficking is another major concern to IOM, he added. “We have identified cases in several recent emergencies, including in Haiti, Libya, Syria, the Philippines following Typhoon Haiyan and in the Central African Republic,” he said.

“Human trafficking flourishes in emergencies because of the increased vulnerability of affected populations, the breakdown of traditional support structures, and weakened state infrastructures and social service support systems,” said Swing. “But, sadly, efforts to combat the problem are rarely given priority in emergency relief operations.”

IOM has responded by ensuring that trafficking is included in the initial needs assessment conducted at the onset of every crisis. IOM staff working in emergencies provide protection and assistance to victims, raise awareness among crisis-affected populations, and work to build the capacity of local authorities to cope with the issue.

Swing also highlighted the importance of programmes to compensate and help the victims of sexual abuse in the aftermath of an emergency. “IOM continues to encounter victims of sexual violence who, years, even decades afterwards, remain without recognition or any effective remedy. This is a key component of peacebuilding and transitional justice after a crisis,” he noted.

For more information please contact Clarissa Azkoul at IOM UK, Email:

Jamaica’s diaspora is among the largest in the world and is estimated to be in excess of three million people, with some 650,000 residing in the United Kingdom. Today, IOM staff from the Jamaica and UK offices are participating in the Fourth Biennial Jamaican Diaspora Conference in Birmingham, UK, to launch an 18-month diaspora mapping project.

Through the project’s website,, members of the Jamaican diaspora will be invited to participate in an online survey in order to determine their location, interests, skills, and willingness to contribute to Jamaica’s development. The results will support the creation of a Logistics Hub which to help address shortages of relevant local skills by identifying persons with maritime industry, logistics, shipping, and engineering experience.

The website will also provide members of the diaspora with a platform to express the needs, concerns and any issues they have in their respective locations. Social media, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram have also been set-up to further promote the project and provide regular updates.

Results from the survey will further guide the Government’s engagement of the diaspora and strengthen partnerships ensuring a mutually beneficial relationship between Jamaica and its diaspora. The government will also be able to determine the availability of skills within the diaspora relevant to specific industries.

The Government of Jamaica has long recognized the benefits of engaging the diaspora, which has been demonstrated through various Government-led initiatives, including the Biennial Diaspora Conferences, creation of a Diaspora Advisory Board, and the recently drafted Diaspora Policy.

“IOM UK is pleased to launch the diaspora mapping project here in Birmingham where there is a large, vibrant and active Jamaican diaspora. We hope that lots of people visit the website and complete the survey which could lead to a matching of diaspora members with specific expertise to particular skills gaps in Jamaica” notes Clarissa Azkoul, IOM UK Chief of Mission.