Monday, December 18, 2006

Migrants Too Often Overlooked During Crises

Geneva - Despite their critical contribution to the development of the global economy, migrants are often thought of last during times of conflict, says IOM as it marks International Migrants Day.

While the evacuation of Westerners from Lebanon through July and August captured the world's attention, there was little international concern over the tens of thousands of trapped migrant workers from countries unable to help their nationals and because they didn't have the means to flee by themselves.

IOM's humanitarian evacuation of more than 11,000 migrants from Lebanon – mainly women from Asia and Africa working as domestic servants – was the latest operation in the Organization's history helping stranded migrants escape from conflict situations.

Other recent examples include evacuating migrants who'd fled to Jordan from Iraq during the Second Gulf War and migrants fleeing the violence in Liberia and C�te D'Ivoire, also in 2003. Each time migrants are caught up in a conflict, IOM's ability to help is dependent on raising funds which takes time and which inflicts additional pain and anxiety on those requiring assistance.

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