Today, the International Organization for Migration turns 65. Throughout our history, we have been standing #ForMigration.
IOM rose from the ashes of World War Two 65 years ago. In the battle-scarred continent of Europe, no government alone could help survivors who wanted no more than an opportunity to resume their lives in freedom and with dignity. The first incarnation of IOM was created to resettle refugees during this post-war period.
IOM's history tracks the man-made and natural disasters of the past 65 years - Hungary 1956; Czechoslovakia 1968; Chile 1973; the Viet Nam boat people 1975; Kuwait 1990, Kosovo and Timor 1999; the 2003 invasion of Iraq; the 2004 Asian tsunami, the 2005 Pakistan earthquake and Haiti’s 2010 earthquake.
IOM quickly grew from a focus on migrant and refugee resettlement to become the world’s leading intergovernmental organization dedicated to the well-being, safety and engagement of migrants.
2016 has been a landmark year for migration. IOM and UN Member States grasped a historic opportunity to officially bring IOM into the UN system, giving a much-needed voice to migrants in the international community. And on 19 September, the United Nations hosted the first ever Summit on Refugees and Migrants.
Over the years, IOM has grown into 165 Member States. Its global presence has expanded to over 400 field locations. With over 90 percent of its staff deployed in the field, IOM has become a lead responder to the world’s worst humanitarian emergencies.
Today, one in every seven people is a migrant - be it a refugee, a student, a migrant worker or a professional who moves between international postings.
Today, as we look forward to the future, we continue to uphold the beliefs that brought us into being 65 years ago: that migration builds resilience and that migrants are agents of change and development.