IOM AT 65 Helping Migrants

Since the establishment of the IOM Nepal office, it has been helping migrant workers and refugees in Nepal

Jan. 7, 2017, 5:45 p.m. Published in Magazine Issue: Vol.10, No.10, January 06,2017 Poush 22,2073

Although migration is key to high economic growth and all-round development of different countries, some people treat migrants inhumanly, terming them anything from cheap labour to unwanted people.

According to International Organization of Migration (IOM), one in every seven people is a migrant- call the person whatever, a refugee, a student, a 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 positive change and development,” said a press release by IOM.

As IOM has been working to change the perception about migration globally for the last 65 years, its mission offices around the world has organised programs, with its Nepal mission hosted a panel discussion on the theme, A World on the Move – Migration: A Measure of Human Dignity.

The topic of discussion was timely for Nepal as the country has already sent over 2.5 million people abroad as migrant workers. From hot deserts of Arabian Peninsula to Europe and other parts of the world, Nepalese are working in different parts of the world in different statuses.

Supporting resettlement of Bhutanese refugees and other refugees in Nepal, IOM has also been involved in managing Nepalese migrant workers in Gulf and other parts of the world.

As the world's leading intergovernmental organization dedicated to the well-being, safety and dignity of migrants, it has also supported people in times of manmade and natural disasters. As it would do elsewhere in the world, IOM actively took part in rescue and rehabilitation following the 2015 earthquakes in Nepal.

With the opening of Nepal following the political liberalisation of 1990, the door for migration also opened as Nepalese people started to leave Nepal for different purposes.

“For us, the event is a an occasion to our staff, international and local partners, government counterparts, the media and of course all migrants whose support and engagement has enabled IOM to achieve great results in Nepal,” said IOM chief of mission Paul I. Norton at the panel discussion organized to celebrate the 65th anniversary of IOM. “This is also part of the UN’s new 'together' global campaign to promote diversity and inclusion, for which IOM- the UN Migration Agency, has been asked to play a leading role.”

Deputy Chief of Mission of Embassy of the United States Michael C. Gonzales said that the U.S. is one of the largest recipients of refugees, which received over 90,000 Bhutanese refugees.  DCM Gonzales said, however, that migration was also becoming part of the problem of human trafficking.

Highlighting the importance of migration, the Under Secretary of Ministry of Labour and Employment said that migration was an important factor in economic development of Nepal. “Remittances have a major contribution in reducing poverty and economic development. Migration is also part of the problem of trafficking,” said the under secretary.

“With more than 2.5 million Nepalese migrants aboard, the EU believes that a proper management of labour migration in Nepal will be determinant for Nepal's development in the next years,” said head of Communication Unit of office of European Delegation. “The EU is currently working in 4 projects related to labour migration for a total of 3 million Euros. In addition, the EU recently organised, in collaboration with IOM and the Ministry of labour, the first high level dialogue on employment and migration issues.”

Addressing the program on the theme More-Migration: A Measure of Humanity’s Dignity and Move, IOM Nepal Chief of Mission Paul Norton said migration is a natural process of human society and he expressed the hope that migration should be allowed with dignity.

IOM rose from the ashes of World War II sixty five years ago. In the battle –scared 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 the post-war period.

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 migration.



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