IOM press briefing notes 5 Dec 2003: Afghanistan & Pakistan, Colombia
Spokesperson: Christopher Lom
AFGHANISTAN & PAKISTAN - DG Meets Government Leaders - IOM Director General Brunson McKinley has made visits to Pakistan and Afghanistan this week.
At the invitation of the Government of Pakistan, the Director General paid a 3-day official visit to Islamabad from 1-3 December, where he met President Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali, as well as ministers and senior officials from the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, Labour, Interior and Women's Development.
The discussions reflected the important challenges that Pakistan faces in migration management and the seriousness of Pakistan's approach to a comprehensive migration strategy. Labour migration is a key issue in Pakistan, a major exporter of qualified manpower. Mr McKinley outlined the different services that IOM can provide in this regard, including how IOM could facilitate the development of new labour markets.
Mr McKinley promised to conduct research into a range of migration-related issues including the potential contribution of the Pakistani diaspora to the country's development. In the context of Pakistan's ongoing efforts to control irregular migration, he expressed his admiration for the measures developed by Pakistan in the area of identity documentation. Talks also addressed the return of Afghan refugee populations residing in Pakistan.
IOM has been present in Pakistan since 1981 and its Regional Office for Central and South West Asia in Islamabad is active in labour migration, technical assistance, counter-trafficking and capacity-building programmes.
McKinley arrived in Kabul Thursday for
a two-day visit. During his stay in Kabul, he met President Hamid
Karzai, former king Mohamad Zahir Shah, Vice President Arsala and other
IOM is currently working in 31 Afghan provinces, implementing projects to support the Transitional Administration. They include the return and reintegration of displaced people, rural reconstruction, the return of qualified expatriate Afghans, research and capacity building in combating human trafficking, and other national and regional migration management issues. Afghan authorities encouraged IOM to continue its programmatic growth in support of the new Afghanistan. IOM has been active in Afghanistan since 1992. DG McKinley has made two previous official visits -- to Kabul and Herat in May 2001 and to Herat in November 2001.
For further information, please contact Armand Rousselot, IOM Islamabad. Tel. 0092.3008502517. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or Julia Hartlieb, IOM Kabul. Tel. 0093. 70 278 817. Email: email@example.com.
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COLOMBIA - Conexión Colombia Website - Conexión Colombia, a project designed to link Colombians abroad with institutions and civil society back home through an internet website run by the popular Colombian magazine Semana, has been launched with the support of IOM Colombia.
The website was launched simultaneously in Bogotá and New York on Wednesday at ceremonies attended by Colombian President Alvaro Uribe Vélez, First Lady Lina María Moreno de Uribe, Foreign Minister Carolina Barco and others.
Through the site, Colombians abroad will be able to access a wealth of information on different topics including educational and job opportunities in Colombia and in several destination countries.
The site, which came about as the result of a broad alliance between Semana, the Foundation Compartamos con Colombia, several private sector companies such as Visa, DHL, Caracol Radio and TV and others, the Colombian government and IOM, will be also used as a vehicle for remittances to channel donations to vulnerable populations in Colombia.
Supported by funding from USAID, it will enable Colombian organizations abroad to make collective remittances to projects that will benefit vulnerable populations in their places of origin. These will likely include internally displaced people, former child soldiers, victims of trafficking and victims of landmines. For further information, please visit the website at: www.conexioncolombia.com
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