International Organization for Migration
CRISTINA CAZACU CHINOLE
Center for Ethics and Public Policies, Bucharest and Iasi, Romania
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is an intergovernmental organization that has been established in 1951 to promote humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. Having 100 offices all over the world, 127 Member States, and another 17 holding an observer status, this agency works closely with governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental partners being the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration.
As a core value, IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits both migrants and society, as well. Therefore, the scope of the organization is to safeguard the management of migration flows, promote international cooperation on migration issues, and assist in finding the appropriate solutions to various problems raised by migration.
Having offices and operations on every continent, the Organization offers support for governments and civil society to find solutions to migration issues, such as: rapid humanitarian responses to sudden migration flows, post-emergency return, and reintegration programs; support to immigrants in building a new life; aid to immigrants in distress; identification of mechanisms to combat trafficking of children, women, and other groups at risk; measures to respond to medical and public health issues in relation to migration; and research, education, and information on immigration issues.
The Organization cooperates with governmental, intergovernmental, and nongovernmental partners in the four broad areas of migration management: migration and development, facilitating migration, regulating migration, and forced migration. Crosscutting activities of IOM specialization are linked to the elaboration of international migration law, policy debate and guidance, protection of immigrants' rights, migration health, and the gender dimension of migration. Furthermore, IOM provides humanitarian assistance to immigrants that are in need of help, including refugees and internally displaced people.
In terms of regulating migration, IOM offers tailored technical assistance to governments in the development and implementation of migration policy and the proper legislation and necessary administrative mechanism that regulates migrant labor and other migratory movements, as well as training courses for public servants in terms of border management, visa systems, regulating entry and stay, and collecting and using biometric information.
Since the IOM Constitution gives explicit recognition to the link between migration and economic, social and cultural development, as well as to the right of freedom of movement of persons, the work of the Organization is centered on the promotion of an international policy dialogue and toward policy-oriented research and programs and activities to build capacity of governments, improve remittance management, build human capital through labor migration programs, facilitate return and reintegration, and promote empowerment of immigrant women.
In terms of forced migration, IOM offers assistance for refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) who are a different category of immigrants. These people are “on the move” but they need a different type of assistance. The Organization offers help for refugees after emergencies and facilitates their resettlement in a new country, if this is a durable solution. The Organization seeks also to find solutions for internally displaced persons (IDPs), former combatants, and populations in transition or recovery environments.
IOM also offers support and technical advice to governments with the aim of facilitating migration, so to have the capacity to properly regulate the migrant labor and other migratory movements. The Organization is active in offering assistance for governments and immigrants, as well, with issues such as: selection/recruitment, language and cultural orientation, consular services, training, reception, integration, and return.
As health issues affect all immigrants and potentially cut across all areas of IOM's work, the Migration Health Department within the Organization responds to the health needs of migrants throughout all phases of the migration process, and to the public health needs of host and home communities. The Department coordinates health operations, offers health policy advices, and contributes to public health research.
Some of the issues that the Department is in charge of include: control of infectious, emerging, and Page 935 | Top of Articlereemerging diseases; health activities in response to population movements caused by natural or man-made disasters, ecosystem change, chronic diseases, mental health, and psycho-social health concerns, including culturally appropriate health services; the human rights of immigrants and mobile populations; immigration health management; and many other issues that affect the immigrants' health and the communities they live in or transit through.