IofC International becomes an observer in the IOM to address challenges in migration and the refugee crisis
On 5 December 2016, Initiatives of Change International (IofC International) was granted Observer Status to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) Council along with 17 other non-government organizations at the 107th Council organized by IOM in Geneva, Switzerland. The event, which marked the 65th year of IOM’s establishment, was the first Council since the IOM officially became a Related Organization to the United Nations in July 2016.
IOM is an inter-governmental organization in the field of migration that works closely with governmental, intergovernmental and non-governmental partners to promote humane and orderly migration of refugees or migrants.The Director-General of IOM, Ambassador William L Swing, who was also the keynote speaker at the official opening of the Caux Conferences last year announced during IOM’s 107th Council, 'Migration is a mega-trend of our generation.'
With the rise of war and conflict in countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Somalia, there has been an increase of migrants and refugees fleeing to Europe, the Americas and the Middle East.Thus, there is an imperative need for host communities and countries to foster durable partnerships with refugees or migrants.The Observer Status grants IofC International the opportunity to be a non-voting participant at important meetings of States where the most pressing issues pertaining to migration are deliberated and discussed.
The President of the UN General Assembly, Peter Thomson, was the keynote speaker at the historic IOM council. He encouraged IOM to continue working steadfastly in addressing the challenge of the largest humanitarian and refugee crisis since the Second World War. 'This challenge requires all of us to work collaboratively and compassionately. It requires us to apply the Golden Rule; to treat others as we would wish to be treated ourselves,' expressed Thomson. He also emphasized on IOM’s important role in creating a process of migration that takes place in a way that upholds dignity and the well-being and fundamental human rights of migrants and refugees. With the current complex situation of migration in the world, and all other adjacent issues that it affects, the divides are extremely apparent.Through IofC’s work in creating spaces for dialogue with diaspora communities, such as trustbuilding workshops between migrants and local communities and seminars to allow for healing the past in both conflict and non-conflict settings, IofC is constantly working for and with migrants.
Ongoing collaborations between IOM and IofC have taken place in Caux, particularly on the Caux Dialogue on Land and Security dealing with land degradation, climate change and peacebuilding. As IofC now turns its focus to addressing extremism of all kinds, it will seek to collaborate with others in creating an atmosphere of trust where prejudices regarding ‘migration’ in general can be ‘de-mystified’. IofC International’s newly obtained Observer Status will allow both IofC and IOM to gain from each other and contribute to this cause, particularly at the intersection between migration and peace. In the quest to make meaningful improvements in a complex process involving various factors and actors and alleviate challenges facing migration we must work together.
Chargé de Mission
Initiatives of Change International
Top photo: UN in Geneva by Wimox on Wikimedia Commonss
Top photo in text: Director General of IOM holds press briefing (UN Photo Laura Jarriel)
Bottom photo: Rainer Gude