Established in 1951, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration benefits both migrants and society in general. As the United Nations Migration Agency, IOM works with its partners in the international community to assist in meeting the growing operational challenges of migration, advance understanding of migration issues, encourage social and economic development through migration, and uphold the wellbeing and human rights of migrants. The IOM constitution gives explicit recognition to the link between migration and economic, social and cultural development, as well as to the principle of freedom of movement of persons. As at the end of 2016, IOM had 166 member states, with eight countries holding observer Status.
“Our thesis is that migration is inevitable in this century owing to the drivers that I mentioned; necessary if our economies and societies are to flourish; and highly desirable if we have responsible and humane migration policies,” said IOM Director General William Lacy Swing as IOM joined the UN in September 2016.
IOM works in the four broad areas of migration management: migration and development, facilitating migration, regulating migration, and addressing forced migration. Cross-cutting activities include the promotion of international migration law, policy debate and guidance, protection of migrants’ rights, migration health and the gender dimension of migration.
In Uganda, the IOM mission was established in 1988 and has since been supporting the Government to address migration challenges, and building capacity of relevant stakeholders. Besides its head office in Kampala, IOM has field sub-offices in Nakivale, Kyangwali and Kyaka II refugee settlements. In 2017 IOM Uganda opened more sub-offices in Moroto (Karamoja subregion) and Moyo and Yumbe (West Nile).
IOM also operates a Migration Health Assessment Centre (MHAC) and a Transit Centre for refugees, in Kampala.
IOM implements a range of programmatic interventions in areas such as Refugee Resettlement; Emergency Preparedness and Response especially for refugees from South Sudan and Democratic Republic of the Congo; Migration Health (Assessments and Promotion); Labour Migration and Human Development; Migrant Protection and Assistance (including counter-trafficking and assisted voluntary return and reintegration); Transition and Recovery (including community stabilization);Immigration and Border Management; and Migration Environment and Climate Change well as Migration policy and data.
In terms of broad objectives, IOM Uganda works to:
- Enhance capacity, knowledge and dialogue on migration, migration management, and migration policy-making among relevant stakeholders.
- Promote safe and regular migration, in full respect of the human rights of all migrants, with a view to improving development outcomes of migration for migrants and communities.
- Build and enhance capacity for responses to migration dimensions of humanitarian crises, with a focus both on vulnerable mobile populations and affected communities.