Afghanistan + 1 more

IOM press briefing notes 14 Jan 2003: Afghanistan, South Pacific

Spokesperson: Christopher Lom
AFGHANISTAN - IOM Implements USAID Projects to Empower Afghan Women - IOM, working in close cooperation with the Afghan Ministry of Women's Affairs (MOWA), is to implement a US$2.5 million, USAID-funded program to build and equip 14 provincial women's centers in Afghanistan.

The centers, which will extend MOWA's work to promote the social and economic empowerment of women throughout the country, will focus on delivering literacy and skills training to Afghan women.

The project is part of IOM's USAID-funded Afghanistan Transition Initiative (ATI) program, which has promoted community and infrastructure development in concert with the Afghan transitional government since the beginning of 2002.

ATI projects targeting Afghan women and girls totaled US$2.2 million in 2002. They included:

  • The construction / rehabilitation of 33 schools serving some 35,700 girls in 11 provinces around the country.

  • Support for the Intermediate Medical Institute (IMI) in Mazar-e-Sharif - one of five Afghan institutes providing training for 700 nurses, midwives, dentists, pharmacologists and lab technicians every year.

  • Rehabilitation work at the MOWA complex in Kabul, including the equipping of eleven offices, and support for technical advisors to help MOWA to set up operations and develop programs.

SOUTH PACIFIC - Iraqi and Afghan Refugees Resettle in New Zealand - An IOM charter flight carrying 145 Iraqi and Afghan refugees destined for resettlement in New Zealand will leave the Pacific island of Nauru on Thursday.

The refugees will include 80 Iraqis from the IOM-managed migrant processing center on Papua New Guinea's Manus island, and a further 20 Iraqis and 45 Afghans from IOM-managed processing centres on Nauru.

The IOM charter, which will pick up 54 Iraqi adults and 26 children in Port Moresby before flying on to Nauru, follows a similar IOM operation to move 124 refugees from the processing centers to New Zealand for resettlement in August 2002.

In Nauru, the chartered Air Holland Boeing 757 will pick up four Afghan and two Iraqi families, two single Iraqi women and several Afghan and Iraqi single men, before flying on to Auckland on New Zealand's North Island.

The refugees, who were intercepted at sea en route to Australia, have spent over a year in the centers in Manus and Nauru, while their asylum claims were processed by the Australian authorities.

Their departure will leave some 550 asylum seekers in Nauru and only 10 in Manus, from an original combined population of over 1500. The remaining Nauru caseload will include about 390 Afghans and 110 Iraqis.=A0=A0

After Thursday's charter, IOM will have facilitated the resettlement of some 609 refugees from Manus and Nauru. Australia has accepted 312, New Zealand 269, Sweden 14, Canada 8 and Denmark 6.

New Zealand accepted a further 131 asylum seekers intercepted at sea - mostly families from the Norwegian container ship Tampa - at the outset of the crisis in September 2001.

Over 230 Afghans in Nauru whose asylum claims were rejected by Australia voluntarily returned to Afghanistan with IOM in 2002. Under the agreement, each received a AU$2,000 (US$1,100) reintegration grant from the Australian government.