International Organization for Migration (IOM)

unct-ye-iom-woman-carrying-mattresses-image-mohammed-muse-2017(Photo: UN Migration Agency/ Mohammed Muse 2017)


Established in 1951, with its Headquarters in Geneva (Switzerland), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration.

IOM continues to grow, currently counting 166 member states, among which is Yemen, and eight states holding observer status. The 11,000+ IOM staff serve in more than 400 field offices in over 100 countries worldwide.

On September 19, 2016 IOM became a member of the UN as a “related organization” giving the UN an explicit migration mandate.

IOM Yemen collaborates with a range of partners, including UN agencies, governmental institutions, civil society organizations, and the donor community, to prioritize and coordinate activities for the benefit of the Yemeni population and migrants in Yemen. IOM is part of several inter-agency fora, including the UN Country Team, the UN Humanitarian Country Team, the National Technical Committee to counter human trafficking, and the Mixed Migration Task Force and the Mixed Migration Working Group (in Aden). IOM also co-chairs the Working Group for Camp Coordination and Camp Management (CCCM), Shelter and Non-food Items (NFIs), and acts as the WASH Focal Point for Abyan.

IOM assists in developing a comprehensive approach and activities to protect and assist vulnerable migrants. IOM works with authorities and states, as well as relevant partners, to strengthen their capacity to tackle trafficking issues. Support to trafficked persons and vulnerable migrants includes temporary, safe shelter, food, water, and NFIs, transportation assistance, health and psychosocial support, voluntary return and reintegration, and consular assistance.

IOM Migration Crisis Operational Framework (MCOF) was developed at the request of IOM Member States. The Operational Framework is based on the understanding that states bear the primary responsibility to protect and assist crisis-affected persons residing on their territory in a manner consistent with international humanitarian and human rights law. IOM supports states, upon their request and with their consent, to fulfil their responsibilities.

IOM launched the Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) to provide regular, timely, and accurate information on displacement patterns, demographics, and vulnerabilities. The gathered data assists IOM and its partners to tailor their activities to the humanitarian needs identified among the displaced.

Yemen continues to be affected by heavy rainfalls, flooding and desertification which can lead to internal displacement.  The Task Force on Population Movement (TFPM) identified 17,800 individuals remaining in displacement owing to natural events across 15 governorates, mainly caused by the Chapala and Megh cyclones that made landfall in November 2015, and the flash flooding in April 2016, while 54,900 returnees have been identified across seven governorates.

The Mixed Migration Task Force (MMTF) is a direct result of the 2008 Regional Conference on Refugees Protection and International Migration held in Sana’a. It aimed at developing a rights-based, inter-agency, strategic framework to ensure a comprehensive, coordinated response to protection and humanitarian needs of migrants and asylum seekers coming from the Horn of Africa to Yemen. The Task Force is chaired by IOM and UNHCR and has strong participation from a range of governmental agencies, as well as national and international non-governmental agencies.

In Yemen, IOM is engaged across many sectors including humanitarian support to internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and conflict-affected communities; it provides food and non-food items (NFIs), shelter, primary and emergency health care and nutrition, access to critical water resources and sanitation, hygiene awareness, counter-trafficking and mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS).

IOM is leading the Pockets of Stability (PoS) approach which is aimed at mobilizing national and international partners towards more targeted assistance in regions where returns are occurring, that focuses on stimulating economic recovery and help creating a stable environment.

In 2017, IOM Yemen signed a cooperation agreement with Youth of Peace (YoP), a local NGO that works on empowering the youth in a positive aspect to effectively utilize their abilities for peace building blocks rather than being segregated by social lines and left to surrender their fate to counterproductive activities that might lead to a catastrophic outcome. IOM Yemen Youth Strategy for 2017 was designed for the purpose of promoting the Youth in the Yemeni society.

IOM provides migrants with primary healthcare through supporting local health facilities, operating mobile health clinics, emergency medical referrals, and awareness raising campaigns to lessen the spread of communicable disease, such as HIV and TB. Activities target migrants through provision of direct services and referrals, response to conflict-spurred and environmental hazards, and capacity building of medical systems to address increased medical needs during times of crisis.

Following an emergency, a violent conflict, psychosocial support is critical to recovery for the affected populations. IOM assists in the development of a more stable psychosocial infrastructure, increased accessibility for remote populations to access psychosocial support, establishment of well-being centres, and child-friendly spaces that offer such support to children and the community. Through the diligent work of IOM volunteers, IOM manages to operate 30 locations nationwide. 

IOM has an operational presence in 22 governorates in Yemen, with a representational and main office in Sana’a, sub offices in Aden and Hudaydah. Migrant Response Points are present in Aden and Hudaydah, and previously in Haradh, but IOM had to withdraw from there due to the conflict.