Switzerland Backs IOM's Humanitarian Evacuation of Migrant Workers from Syria

from International Organization for Migration
Published on 05 Oct 2012

Press Briefing Notes
Friday 5th October 2012
Spokesperson: Jean-Philippe Chauzy

The Swiss Federal Office for Migration (FOM) has contributed US$ 300,000 towards IOM's evacuation operations of most vulnerable migrant workers caught up in the Syrian crisis.

IOM will use the contribution to evacuate up to 250 extremely vulnerable Third Country Nationals (TCNs). These include minors, the elderly, pregnant women, people in detention due to their irregular status, those with medical conditions and nationals of countries with no diplomatic representation in Syria.

The majority of TCNs in Syria are female domestic workers who originate from more than 23 countries, including Indonesia, the Philippines, South Sudan, Ethiopia, India and Bangladesh. Many have lost their jobs and are now stranded in conflict areas and at risk.

Their return to their countries of origin is hindered by a host of factors including a lack of travel documents, debts owed to recruitment agencies, inability to purchase flight tickets and insecurity around them.

The funding will also facilitate the issuance of exit visas, the provision of transport to safe locations prior to departure, pre-departure health screening, and the provision of food, water and medicine in transit areas.

To date, IOM has helped some 2,000 vulnerable migrants to leave Syria. It has received 6,000 requests for evacuation from embassies and consulates inside Syria and in neighboring countries. As of June, there were an estimated 120,000 migrant workers in Syria.

IOM recently appealed for US$ 20.7 million to continue the repatriation of vulnerable migrants from Syria, the distribution of non-food relief items in Syria, Lebanon and Turkey, and the provision of transport and medical services for refugees fleeing from Syria into Jordan.

The Swiss contribution brings the amount of funding received since June 2012 to US$ 3.3 million. Other donors include the USA, Slovakia, Chile and the UN Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF.) The UAE has donated two ambulances and six buses for transporting refugees from the Syrian border to Za'tari camp in Jordan.

IOM has also allocated US$ 900,000 from its Migration Emergency Funding Mechanism (MEFM) for the provision of life saving services to people affected by the Syrian crisis.

For more information, please contact the Donor Relations Division at IOM Geneva, Tel: + 41 22 717 92 71; Email: drd@iom.int

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