Doc. 11351

9 July 2007

Activities of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)

Report

Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population

Rapporteur: Mrs Gultakin HAJIYEVA, Azerbaijan, Group of the European People’s Party


Summary

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is today the principal intergovernmental organisation in the field of migration with 120 member states as of December 2006, of which 40 are Council of Europe members. Its annual budget (2006) was almost US$ 1 billion. The organisation is set up to respond to concrete needs regarding different aspects of migration management with more than 5,400 operational staff world wide and around 290 offices.

The increasing emphasis given to international migration has prompted the IOM to expand and diversify its migration services, which it offers to governments and other stakeholders, including the private sector.

This report presents some of the services that the IOM can offer with special emphasis on activities of direct relevance to the Council of Europe and its member states. It also seeks to illustrate how the Council of Europe and the IOM could continue to develop their co-operation, in particular on issues related to the core values of the Council of Europe, i.e. human rights, democracy and the rule of law, as applied to migrants and migration processes.

A.       Draft recommendation

1.       In the current context of globalisation, migration has become an essential, inevitable and potentially beneficial component of the economic and social life of every country and region. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) can assist migrants, governments, home and host communities, civil society, and the private sector in realising the positive potential of migration in social, economic and political terms.

2.       The Parliamentary Assembly recognises that migration will be one of the major policy concerns of the twenty-first century, and it welcomes the United Nations initiative, which led to the organisation of the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in September 2006. This event was followed by the organisation of the first Global Forum on Migration and Development, hosted by Belgium in July 2007.

3.       The Assembly is, however, concerned about the increase of phenomena such as irregular migration, smuggling and trafficking of migrants, problems of integration of migrants, and also xenophobia and intolerance affecting migrants, including the incorrect and unfortunate link made between migrants and extremism and terrorist acts. The IOM is devoting considerable resources to assisting states and migrants in addressing and seeking to resolve these problems, and helping the victims thereof.

4.       The Assembly congratulates the IOM on its flexibility and its efforts to adapt to the changing needs of migration management and for its work in assisting governments to draw up and implement efficient and coherent migration management policies, design implementation measures and improve migration law.

5.       It also welcomes the services offered by the IOM to migrants, host countries and countries of origin regarding assisted voluntary return and re-integration of migrants.

6.       Recalling its earlier recommendations on the activities of the IOM, the Assembly believes that the Council of Europe and the IOM, on a complementary basis, should continue to work in close co-operation with the aim of maximising the societal and human development potential, but also the development of democracy and the respect for human rights, related to global labour mobility.

7.       The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers take appropriate steps to strengthen co-operation between the Council of Europe and the IOM, also with a view to avoiding duplication of efforts and promoting Council of Europe core values, notably human rights, democracy and the Rule of Law with regard to migrants and migration processes. The following areas should be given particular attention:

7.1.       fundamental rights of migrants, with special emphasis on the protection of the rights of migrant children and youth, elderly migrants and migrant women as well as gender equality and domestic violence;

7.2.       integration of migrants, including their participation in democratic processes and their access to the labour market;

7.3.       combating intolerance and xenophobia regarding migrants and the development of extremism that can lead to terrorism and other crimes;

7.4.       combating trafficking in human beings;

7.5.       improving and strengthening co-operation and partnership between countries of destination, origin and transit in the context of labour migration (integration and migration management), which will be the theme of the 8th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Migration Affairs, Ukraine 2008.

8.       Furthermore, the Assembly reiterates its recommendations to the Committee of Ministers, in particular the most recent Recommendation 1607 (2003):

8.1.       to instruct the Council of Europe Development Bank to study the possibility of co-funding feasibility studies (trust funds) and joint projects with the IOM, in particular to ease irregular migration pressures through job-creating projects, including by the use of micro-credit schemes;

8.2.       to encourage all Council of Europe member states to provide political and financial support to the IOM in the fulfilment of its tasks, including within the Global Migration Group, and to encourage those Council of Europe states, not yet members of the IOM, to consider membership.

9.       The Assembly also recommends that the Committee of Ministers encourage the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (North-South Centre) to develop a partnership with the IOM regarding migration and development.

10.       Finally, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers urges member states to give their support to the IOM’s work aimed at preventing irregular migration and developing more legal migration opportunities, including circular migration. Member states should also help the IOM in its work towards achieving a better management of migration and development, including remittances management, poverty reduction strategies included in development projects and the involvement of diasporas for economic, social and democratic development.

B.       Explanatory memorandum by Mrs Gultakin Hajiyeva, Rapporteur

I.       Introduction

1.       During your rapporteur’s visit to the IOM headquarter at the end of September 2006, Mr. Brunson McKinley, Director General, declared that “Migration is one of the defining issues of the twenty-first century. It is now an essential, inevitable and potential beneficial component of the economic and social life of every country and region. The question is no longer whether to have migration, but rather how to manage migration effectively so as to enhance its positive and reduce its negative impacts. Well-informed choices by migrants, governments, home and host communities, civil society, and the private sector can help realize the positive potential of migration in social, economic and political terms. IOM is committed to working with all key stakeholders to achieve the goal of managing migration for the benefit of all.”

2.       It became clear during our discussions at IOM that migration will be one of the major policy concerns of the twenty-first century. According to the UN’s Population Division, there are now some 200 million international migrants. This is equal to ¼ of the population of Council of Europe member states, and it is more than doubling the figure from 1980. About half of all migrants are today women.

3.       A further proof of the increased importance of migration was the organisation of the High-level Dialogue on International Migration and Development at the UN Headquarters on 14 and 15 September 2006. Belgium offered to host the first meeting of the Global Forum on Migration and Development in 2007 to let countries build relationships of trust and mesh the best ideas on how to facilitate remittances (an estimated $167 billion last year), engaging diasporas, and exploring new ways to reduce poverty and build educational partnerships.

4.       A final point of agreement between your rapporteur and Mr. McKinley was that human rights of migrants deserve greater attention. Trafficked migrants are routinely exploited, mistreated or even killed. Migrant workers often find themselves without protection or recourse, either from their own governments or in the country where they are working. IOM is dedicated to assisting migrants in distress.

5.       Diasporas could also increasingly become a vehicle for democratic and human rights developments in countries of origin.

II.       The International Organization for Migration (IOM) (http://www.iom.int)

6.       The IOM was established in 1951 as the “Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration”. Since then it has steadily developed and assumed its present status in 1989. It is today the principal intergovernmental organisation in the field of migration. Its membership has increased from 67 states in 1998 to 120 states in December 2006. 40 Council of Europe member countries are members of IOM; Russia and San Marino have observer status. Andorra, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Monaco are neither members nor observers of the IOM. IOM is not part of the UN system, but works closely together with UN organisations through the newly established Global Migration Group (GMG). The current members of GMG are: ILO, IOM, UNCTAD, UNDESA, UNDP, UNFPA, UNHCR, UNHCHR, UNODC and the World Bank.1

7.       Its annual budget (2006) is almost US $ 1 billion, which is 4 times the budget in 1990. The Organisation is set up to respond to concrete needs and is therefore essentially field based with around 290 offices and more than 5400 operational staff world wide. It largely works through projects, of which it managed more than 1400 in 2006, up from 686 in 1998. 95 % of its budget is earmarked for operations, 3 % for core administrative structures and 2 % of its budget is discretionary income, which is mainly used for financing strategic new activities. IOM’s support costs are among the lowest of all international organisations.

8.       The migration management activities of IOM can be placed in four categories: Migration and Development, Facilitating Migration, Regulating Migration and addressing Forced Migration, including victims of natural disasters and armed conflict. As an essential feature to operations undertaken, several cross-cutting activities are included in IOM’s work, such as: Technical Cooperation and Capacity Building, Migrants’ Rights and International Migration Law, Data and Research, Policy Debate and Guidance, Regional and International Cooperation, Public Information and Education, Migration Health, Gender Dimension, Integration and Reintegration. However, one of the possibly most important roles of the IOM is to help its partners understand the complex phenomenon of migration, and to enhance the political profile given to migration.

9.       Your rapporteur has chosen to give a few examples of IOM’s work rather than make an academic description of IOM’s overall work programme. In doing so, special emphasis has been given to migration and development issues and to activities corresponding to priority areas of the Council of Europe, ie human rights and dignity, democracy and the rule of law.

III.       IOM migration activities

10.       To illustrate the IOM’s various migration activities, your rapporteur has chosen to mainly present examples from Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan has a refugee and displaced persons population of close to one million, which is almost 12 per cent of the total population. This high number is due to immigration from former Soviet republics after the collapse of the USSR, and unfortunately also caused by the continuing occupation of 20% of the territory of Azerbaijan by Armenian forces. Moreover, as a result of conflicts in the surrounding regions (Chechnya, Afghanistan and Iraq), Azerbaijan has been receiving refugees from these places.

11.       Hundred thousands of Azerbaijanis, are working part-time or full-time in other countries, mainly men and most of them in Russia. It sharply opposites to the situation in Indonesia, with 75 % of its migrants being women, which has created important social tensions and a new cultural situation. But Azerbaijan is also itself hosting regular and irregular migrant workers employed mainly in the construction and oil and gas industry.

i.       Technical cooperation on migration management

12.       Azerbaijan is hosting 3 IOM offices and IOM has implemented several projects in addition to assisting the government in migration capacity building. But in my point of view the most crucial and timely activity undertaken by IOM in Azerbaijan was launched in a very ancient region of Azerbaijan – Nakhchivan. Being an enclave territory and bordering with Armenia, Iran and Turkey Nakhchivan has no direct road communication with motherland – Azerbaijan. The shortest way of car as well as railway communication which used to be so frequent in the past is absolutely blocked by Armenia. Car road via Iran and Turkey is very long and unaffordably expensive. This situation undoubtedly impact very seriously and negatively upon the migration tendencies in the region.

ii.       Migration and development: prevention of irregular migration

13.       IOM has implemented two very effective projects in Nakhchivan. The first one, directed to restoration of very ancient irrigation system – Kehriz as a result of which 24 old natural water sources were put into exploitation. The second initiative was a micro credit project which also was very successfully implemented and within very short period of time had 99 % of credit return.

14.       Both projects had a very positive impact on the social and economic development of this region. These projects and particularly consequences of their realization clearly show how the creation of necessary condition for living will also reduce the emigration pressure by giving the population a meaningful possibility to stay.

15.       In view of the 2006 Nobel Peace Prize being awarded to the Grameen Bank of Bangladesh and its founder, Muhammad Yunus, for pioneering work in pulling millions of women out of poverty through small loans, IOM should put more emphasis on micro credit schemes as an efficient contribution to development.

16.       Your rapporteur would also recommend a closer co-operation between IOM and the Council of Europe Development Bank for the launching of projects of the same kind as the micro credit investment in Azerbaijan. A more flexible use of the Bank’s new Trust Fund should be examined in this context. Job creation is an important investment in social stability for democratic development. Diasporas could play an important role for socio-economic as well as democratic development in this context.

17.       The IOM has already identified and is working with 30 projects for Africa, involving diasporas. In the Social services sector (water, schools, etc.) some 40 projects worth $130 millions are under way. These projects aim at creating employment opportunities and thereby reduce irregular migration pressures. The IOM is further assisting countries in integrating poverty reduction strategies into their migration and development policies.

iii.       Migration and development: remittances

18.       IOM’s aim in the area of migrant remittances is to facilitate the development of policies and mechanisms that:

19.       In Azerbaijan, the IOM is currently focusing its efforts on the development of a specific labour migration project in close cooperation with relevant governmental institutions. Activities include conducting comprehensive research on labour migration in and from Azerbaijan and on implementing different activities based on the results of the former assessment. One of the important parts of the project will be assisting the Government in the establishment of a new national management system to facilitate and improve remittances from almost 2 million Azerbaijani migrant workers (mostly men) working part-time or full-time, mainly in Russia, Ukraine and Turkey.

iv.       Migration policy dialogue and labour migration

20.       Finally, the new IOM proposal for an International Migration and Development Initiative (IMDI) to increase the development benefits of labour migration should also be mentioned. Existing gaps between the supply and demand for labour are projected to increase in coming years, with aging and declining populations in much of the industrialised world, and growing populations in much of the developing world. Wage and opportunity disparities between and within the developed and developing worlds are also expected to continue, and will provide a continuing impetus for mobility of labour (South-North, South-South, East-West, etc.).

21.       The IOM together with its partners in the Global Migration Group is proposing a mechanism to better match the supply with the demand in safe, legal, humane and orderly ways that maximize the societal and human development potential of global labour mobility, with the involvement of public and private stakeholders. On a voluntary and non-legally binding basis, with participation open to governments, the private sector and relevant international organisations, the initiative aim potentially at addressing all types of economic migrants, moving on a temporary and permanent basis.

22.       The three main goals of the initiative are to:

23.       In order to achieve these goals, the IOM will engage governments as well as the private sector, and it will create synergies between intergovernmental organisations on migration and development activities. The latter is in line with recent initiatives to enhance co-operation between agencies dealing with migration from various angles (e.g. refugees, migration, development, trade, etc.) through the creation of the Global Migration Group (GMG), which is an expansion of the Geneva Migration Group, set up in 2003 on the initiative of IOM.

v.       Assisted voluntary return

24.       The IOM continues to provide in many European countries assisted voluntary return and reintegration services to failed asylum seekers and irregular migrants. The Parliamentary Assembly has repeatedly underlined the importance and relevance of such assisted voluntary return schemes, so your rapporteur would like to congratulate the IOM for its great efforts undertaken in this work-field. Of particular interest are newer initiatives which aim to thoroughly include economic reintegration assistance in such voluntary return programmes, eg. the support of income generating activities in the countries of return. The returnees themselves, the receiving countries and the former host countries are all winners if voluntary return goes hand in hand with the creation of new jobs and the improvement of living conditions in returnees’ home countries.

vi.       Facilitated migration services

25.       While on the one hand irregular migration continues to be a challenge for the international community and a source of great risk for the concerned migrants, there are today on the other hand more legal migration opportunities (eg. temporary labour migration schemes) springing up – a positive development the IOM strongly supports. By offering so-called “facilitated migration services”, eg. to support states to handle visa requests from migrants more quickly and more efficiently, the IOM has taken up the challenge to contribute to a greater mobility of persons in the world. This is of specific interest for citizens coming from poorer countries, such as Azerbaijan, which are at risk of otherwise being left behind despite today’s greater mobility brought by globalization.

26.       It may be useful to remind us that it is a human right to leave and re-enter your country but states maintain the sovereignty to decide which foreigners will be allowed to enter their territories. Globalisation has resulted in the free movement of capital and goods, but not of people. Here, it would be appropriate to note that during recent years in the fight against illegal migration, EU member States have tightened very much visa procedures. Even though these measures are understandable and necessary, in the light of dynamic European integration processes the imposed restrictions to free movement should be proportionate, in particular, with respect to the citizens of Council of Europe member States.

27.       Another challenge for achieving orderly migration is the establishment of a balance between labour demand and labour supply at the international level. This is a pressing issue especially for a number of European countries with ageing population.

vii.       Labour migration management

28.       Your rapporteur wishes to congratulate the IOM, the ILO and the OSCE for having jointly drawn up a comprehensive Handbook on Establishing Effective Labour Migration Policies in Countries of Origin and Destination. It is the hope that this book will be of use to decision-makers and practitioners in their work with migration management, facilitation as well as regulation of migration, and in addressing forced migration. Many countries were already assisted by the IOM when drawing up their migration laws.

29.       The Handbook accompanied by training will help countries of origin and destination to improve their management of migration and also improve their capability of fighting criminal activity linked to irregular migration, smuggling and trafficking in human beings. Interesting co-management projects that should be mentioned include the circular labour migration project between Italy, Sri Lanka + Moldova in the social sector and between Canada and Guatemala for other sectors. Both examples illustrate how interstate co-operation can help increase legal migration opportunities (and thus reduce irregular migration) for the benefit of migrants and their families as well as for the countries of origin and destination.

30.       Any management strategy must take account of the increasingly complex patterns of migration, with temporary and circular migration as well as permanent migration reflecting the new challenges of international labour mobility. Due account should also be taken to gender specific issues of international migration. Diasporas could become increasingly important partners for achieving orderly migration and also in facilitating, and NOT hampering, integration into host societies. One aspect that the IOM has taken up in this context is the theme of Migration and Religion in a Globalized World.

IV.       Migration and democracy, the Rule of Law and human rights

31.       The reality regarding migration and integration is a complex one, including abuse and exploitation, irregular movements, xenophobia, lack of integration, trafficking and smuggling. In this context, the growing tendency of intolerance towards the migrants in some European countries is raising serious concerns and this matter requires constant attention of national authorities, civil societies and international organisations.

32.       The Violation of the human rights of migrant men, women and children are at the heart of the migration debate in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. This is the reason why your rapporteur in the following sections will pay special attention to trafficking in human beings, most of the victims being women, and more generally to women migrants, elderly migrants, migrant children, and to the participation and integration of migrants in our societies.

i.       Counter trafficking

33.       The IOM, and also the Council of Europe, started debating and take action against the trafficking of women and children in the countries of Central and South-Eastern Europe following the gradual demise of the bipolar global system, allowing for the free movements of millions of citizens. The disintegration of former Yugoslavia also had and continues to have an important impact on migration.

34.       According to the IOM’s counter trafficking data base, Moldova, Romania, Ukraine, Belarus and Bulgaria account for most of the victims. Almost 68 per cent of the victims are in the 14 – 24 age bracket. As many as 30 per cent had no work experience. 57 per cent had had some work experience, but only 50 per cent of all victims worked at the time of recruitment. 75 per cent of victims were mothers or single mothers. The data base also registers recruiters and type of exploitation. 78 per cent of victims were sexually exploited.

35.       This data base has been very useful for IOM’s counter trafficking work in Central and South-Eastern Europe and has served to elaborate IOM’s strategy and objectives for this work for 2006 – 2007. The main activities will be as follows:

36.       Taking Azerbaijan as an example, the IOM has assisted the government in the formulation of a National Action Plan to combat trafficking in human beings; the IOM is currently assisting the government in the implementation of this action plan. The specific support from the IOM mission comprises the training of national NGOs on the management of the shelters and telephone hotlines for (potential) victims of trafficking.

37.       The IOM will also pay more attention to the users of sexual services of trafficked persons in order to identify new tools for addressing demand and thus diminish the market for traffickers. The fight against networks trafficking in humans will be stepped up. According to IOM, trafficking in Central and South-Eastern Europe has not diminished, but has merely become less visible as criminal organisations change their methods of operation. In the case of sexual exploitation, trafficking has moved from public locations into private apartments, and more use is made of the Internet or telephone communication.

38.       There is a clear convergence between the Council of Europe’s and the IOM’s activities in the field of trafficking. The CoE has since the late 1980s been active in the fight against trafficking in human beings. The CoE has taken various initiatives in this field: among other things, it has produced legal instruments, devised strategies, conducted research, engaged in legal and technical co-operation. On 3 May 2005, the Committee of Ministers adopted the CoE Convention on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings, (CETS No. 197) which was opened for signature on the occasion of the 3rd Summit of Heads of State and Government on 16 May 2005 in Warsaw. A CoE Campaign to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings was launched in 2006.

39.       So far, this convention has been signed by signed by 36 countries, but ratified only by 7. It seems evident that the IOM and the Council of Europe should work closer together in this field and draw on each others experiences.

ii.       Migrant women

40.       Apart from the fact that half of the worlds international migrants are women, and that many of them fall prey to trafficking as we have seen above, little is known about the millions of women who succeed in their mobility. Who make something of their lives and support their families? Who remit billions of US $ to their countries, regions and villages of origin? Who become successful entrepreneurs or executives or even politicians? Who are important actors of change and development?

41.       At the meeting with the IOM it became evident that statistics do not include enough gender analysis on migration and migrants, and not enough data on the economic and social empowerment of migrant women. Your rapporteur believes it is important to know more about what half of the global migrant population does and accomplishes and what impact those movements and accomplishments have on economies and societies.

42.       There has been much talk recently about the feminization of poverty and alleviation of that poverty. The Nobel Peace Prize for 2006 address exactly this issue, but only one Millennium Development Goal makes explicit reference to women: - that of promoting gender equality and empowering women, while recognizing and hailing the enormous potential of women in development.

43.       Education, work experience and economic independence abroad can release women from traditional roles and enable them to exercise their rights more effectively. This empowerment thus also contributes to promote gender equality. Women become aware that their voices count within the family as much as those of men. This reinforced position within the household sometimes leads to a better balance between the partners and to a reduction of domestic violence. This independence can also be perceived through the self-respect generated by being a source of family income.

44.       Migrant women have also become significant agents of change, modifying the family structural relationships in their communities of origin. By becoming the principal source of family income, they help conceive strategies for the transition between the standards and values of their societies of origin and those of the host societies. They also become role models for younger generations. The cascading effect of development and migration policies in favour of women would be to help realise gender equality.

iii.       IOM and elderly migrants

45.       Elderly migrants face specific needs, which still have to be researched and addressed appropriately. In general, too little has so far been done for this growing group of migrants. Nevertheless, IOM has already been undertaking first pilot activities to address special concerns of elderly migrants. In the humanitarian field for example, IOM provided free cataract surgery to the elderly internally displaced persons living in tent campuses around Muzaffarabad/Pakistan after the earthquake. In Europe, IOM had been designated under the Holocaust Victim Assets Litigation (Swiss Banks) to administer humanitarian assistance for needy, elderly survivors of Nazi persecution: mainly elderly Roma survivors in Eastern Europe were supported with social and humanitarian assistance. Besides the welcome material aid, the beneficiaries highlighted the importance of the (albeit very late) recognition, expressed through this aid, of the incredible injustice to which they were subjected during the Nazi period.      

iv.       IOM and migrant children

46.       Addressing the needs of migrant children figures among IOM’s priorities. Following the exigencies of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child, the “best interest of the child” is the Leitmotiv of any IOM activities in this field. Assistance for child victims of human trafficking is just one example. But IOM also concerns itself with unaccompanied migrant minors: Together with UNICEF and UNHCR, IOM is part of the CoE-CDMG working group “Life Projects”, where guidelines as to how to respond to the specific needs of the migrant minors are developed. Such cooperation between CoE and IOM should be further encouraged in the future. Migrants minors’ concerns are also taken care of in IOM’s various family reunion programs around the world. And in the field of Facilitated Migration Services, for some destination countries, IOM also arranges special orientation sessions for children and youth.

v.       International migration law

47.       The IOM has recently established a new International Migration Law and a Legal Affairs Department to increase awareness and knowledge on International Migration Law (IML) and to contribute to a better understanding of the legal instruments that govern migration at the national, regional and international level. Through research, training and capacity building, it contributes to increase the understanding and awareness of the IML. Your rapporteur is convinced that this new strategic activity of the IOM will be of great relevance and benefit to the concerned migrants. The Council of Europe and the IOM should strengthen their cooperation in this field.

vi.       Migration and democracy

48.       Migrants should be better involved in the democratic processes in their home countries. This is particularly true in post-conflict situations where the proper involvement of refugees and migrants abroad in the democratic processes of their home country can be of great relevance. Over the last years, the IOM’s various election support activities, such as the support of the Election observer Mission of the EU and also “Out of the Country Voting (OCV)” support projects for migrant diasporas have become an increasingly important and visible part of the IOM’s operations.

vii.       The positive side of migration and the IOM’s action against racism and xenophobia

49.       As stated above, for IOM (the International Organization for (not against!) Migration), migration is an essential, inevitable and potential beneficial component of the economic and social life of every country. Promoting the positive side of migration must therefore in the eyes of your Rapporteur be one of the main characteristics of the Organization. While it is acknowledged that IOM is already active in this respect, the Organization should be encouraged to become more active and bolder, even if such proactive approach might be met with some reservation by some of IOM’s member governments.

50.       In this sense it is essential that IOM’s public awareness and information activities support our joint fight against racism and xenophobia. Especially in Eastern Europe, IOM has recently undertaken some positive initiatives in this regard. For instance in Ukraine, where IOM, following the violent death of several African migrants killed in racist attacks, has started implementing activities to highlight this issue. In December 2006, IOM Kiev organized an international workshop on migration and xenophobia and racism in coordination with governmental counterparts.

51.       Successful integration of migrants is often the key to help eliminating prejudice and misunderstanding, which can lead to xenophobia. Successful integration is a two-way adaptation process. On one hand, the success of integration depends on the willingness and commitment of newcomers to adapt to their new environment; while on the other hand, it also depends on the preparedness of host communities to accept the newcomers. IOM addresses both ways: Information on rights and obligations of migrants are disseminated at the origin and destination countries, advisory services and counselling related to resources available are provided, as well as support programs to enhance migrants’ skills. Parallel activities are organized to improve the quality of reception assistance and perception by the host community of the newcomers.  Discrimination and xenophobia are often born out of a lack of knowledge and understanding of different cultures.  IOM activities attempt to limit or combat those through awareness raising and information campaigns. These include organizing workshops with public officials and local service providers regarding the provision of services; and establishing cooperatives for migrants that provide employment opportunities and develop networks among them.  These activities are mostly implemented in Eastern Europe and the CIS republics. IOM could be teaming up more with human rights organizations (such as Amnesty International or the Helsinki Committee) and UNHCR issuing constructive public statements and organizing public events which focus on the positive aspects of migration, on the respect for human rights of migrants and on tolerance.

52. While IOM assists in integration activities for migrants, it recognizes that there is no one-size-fits-all model and that every state needs to find a solution that suits its needs best.

53. IOM is against linking migration and terrorism. That said, it considers that immigration policy can be an important vehicle for addressing the threat or terrorism, particularly to ensure better application of law enforcement and intelligence. Immigration authorities can contribute to national/international intelligence through direct encounters with migrants, both regular and irregular migrants, and through partner networks with other law enforcement and immigration agencies. Broader migration policy can also help address aspects of social stability in diverse societies to reduce the potential for ethnic or other conflicts.

V.       Conclusions

54.       The IOM is a field based and service-oriented organisation for its members and other clients and other beneficiaries, especially the concerned migrants in need. It has built up an important capability and capacity for the design and implementation of migration management projects and for conducting policy debates on specific migration issues. Projects mostly respond to practical challenges by organising orderly migrant movements and assist governments in building migration management capacity and designing relevant laws and regulations. It also runs projects aiming at the creation of better living conditions in regions and countries of origin from where migrants move, thus reducing migration pressures and in many cases contributing to alleviating poverty. An important role is also that of explaining and help understand the complex phenomenon of migration.

55.       In the light of an increasing and steadily more complex international migration, your rapporteur will propose recommending to all Council of Europe member states to use the IOM’s expertise and capacity for dealing with migration issues and problems. Those member countries not yet members of the IOM should be advised to ask for membership.

56.       Human rights of migrants and their integration, including the rights and integration of migrant children, elderly migrants and migrant women clearly constitute an area that could lend itself to a closer co-operation between the Council of Europe and the IOM. The participation of migrants in democratic processes, their access to the labour market as well as the fight against intolerance, xenophobia and the rice of extremism are all common concerns of the two organisations.

57.       Given the experience the IOM has for the design and implementing of development projects to ease migration pressures by creating more jobs where migrants come from, it seems highly desirable that the IOM and the Council of Europe Development Bank should work closer together. Especially, more flexible uses of the Trust Fund could give new impetus for co-operation.

58.       The Committee of Ministers, in the field of trafficking, should instruct its relevant committees to take advantage of the IOM’s practical experience gained from its counter trafficking work, by involving the IOM more closely in the CoE’s activities in this field, and in particular in the ongoing Campaign on Action against Trafficking in Human Beings.

59.       The Council of Europe should also involve the IOM more closely in its work regarding gender equality and domestic violence, given the IOM’s experience in these fields with regard to migrants and refugees.

60.       The European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (the “North – South” Centre) could highly benefit from a closer co-operation with the IOM on all its activities regarding migration and development.

61.       The IOM should be invited to contribute with its experience in the preparation and holding of the 8th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Migration Affairs, which is planned to take place in the Ukraine in the autumn of 2008. The main theme will be: improving and strengthening the co-operation and partnership between countries of destination, origin and transit in the context of labour migration (integration and migration management).

62.       Finally, the Council of Europe should more actively use its observer status with the IOM to explore issues and means of closer co-operation, and at the same time promote its aquis in its core competence areas, i.e. human rights, democracy and the rule of law, with regard to migrants and migration processes.

Reporting committee: Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population

Reference to Committee: Doc. 10809, Ref. No. 3178 of 27 January 2006

Draft Recommendation unanimously adopted by the Committee on 25 June 2007

Members of the Committee: Mr Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu (Chairperson), Mr Jean-Guy Branger (1st Vice-Chairperson), Mr Doug Henderson (2nd Vice-Chairperson), Mr Ibrahim Özal (3rd Vice-Chairperson), Mrs Tina Acketoft, Mr Pedro Agramunt, Ms Donka Banović, Mr Ryszard Bender, Mr Akhmed Bilalov, Mr Italo Bocchino, Mrs Olena Bondarenko, Mrs Mimount Bousakla (alternate: Mr Paul Wille), Mr Márton Braun, Lord Burlison, Mr Sergej Chelemendik, Mr Christopher Chope (alternate: Mr Michael Hancock), Mr Boriss Cilevičs, Mrs Minodora Cliveti, Mr Ivica Dačić, Mr Joseph Debono Grech, Mr Taulant Dedja, Mr Nikolaos Dendias, Mr Karl Donabauer, Mrs Lydie Err, Mr Valeriy Fedorov, Mr Oleksandr Feldman, Mrs Gunn Karin Gjul, Mrs Angelika Graf, Mr John Greenway, Mr Andrzej Grzyb (alternate: Mr Piotr Gadzinowski), Mr Ali Riza Gülçiçek, Mr Michael Hagberg, Mrs Gultakin Hajiyeva, Mr Jürgen Herrmann, Mr Bernd Heynemann, Mr Ilie Ilaşcu, Mrs Iliana Iotova, Mr Tadeusz Iwiński, Mr Mustafa Jemilev, Mr Tomáš Jirsa, Mrs Corien W.A. Jonker, Mr Reijo Kallio, Mrs Eleonora Katseli, Mr Hakki Keskin, Mr Dimitrij Kovačič, Mr Andros Kyprianou, Mr Geert Lambert, Mr Jean-Marie Le Guen, Mr Massimo Livi Bacci, Mr Younal Loutfi, Mr Jorge Machado, Mr Andrija Mandic, Mr Jean-Pierre Masseret, Mr Slavko Matić, Mr Giorgio Mele, Mrs Ana Catarina Mendonça, Mr Morten Messerschmidt, Mr Paschal Mooney, Mr Gebhard Negele, Mrs Vera Oskina, Mr Grigore Petrenko, Mr Leo Platvoet, Mrs María Josefa Porteiro Garcia, Mr Cezar Florin Preda, Mr Gabino Puche (alternate: Mr Adolfo Fernández Aguilar), Mr Milorad Pupovac, Mrs Mailis Reps, Mr Marc Reymann, Mr Alessandro Rossi, Mr Richard Sequens (alternate: Mr Walter Bartoš), Mr Samad Seyidov, Mr Steingrímur J. Sigfússon, Mr Luzi Stamm, Mrs Terezija Stoisits, Mr Giacomo Stucchi, Mr Vilmos Szabó, Mrs Elene Tevdoradze, Mr Tigran Torosyan, Mrs Ruth-Gaby Vermot-Mangold, Mr Andrej Zernovski, Mr Vladimir Zhirinovsky, Mr Emanuelis Zingeris.

N.B.: The names of the members who took part in the meeting are printed in bold

Secretaries of the Committee: Mr Lervik, Mr Neville, Ms Karanjac, Ms Kostenko


1 ILO- International Labour Organisation, IOM- International Organisation for Migration, UNCTAD-United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, UNDESA- United Nations Development of Economic and Social Affairs, UNDP- United Nations Development Programme, UNFPA- United Nations Population Fund; UNHCR- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, UNODC- United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime.