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UN Welcomes IOM to the Table

UN General Assembly adopts the International Organization for Migration as a related body

112th plenary meeting of the seventieth session of the General Assembly. UN Photo: JC Mcllwaine

Director General of the International Organization for Migration states that “This is an historic day, not only for IOM and the UN, but for migrants and their families across the globe” as UN General Assembly unanimously votes to make the organization a related body of the United Nations.

On Monday July 25th, the General Assembly of the United Nations voted on a resolution to make the International Organization for Migration (IOM) a part of the UN as a related body, passing it unanimously. Earlier in the year, the General Assembly had called on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to take steps towards bringing this agreement to pass, and this agreement comes on the heels of the Council of the IOM’s approval on June 30th of the draft agreement that the Secretary General put forward.

An intergovernmental organization, the IOM was founded following the end of World War II with the intent to aid in the resettlement of Eastern European refugees. While it has worked closely with the United Nations on many occasions since it’s creation 65 years ago, this agreement is expected to tighten the ties between the two organizations, and increase their ability to work closely with each other. (See full text of draft agreement here.) In a statement issued on behalf of the Secretary General during the July 26th noon press briefing, Farhan Haq, Deputy Spokesperson for the Secretary General, expressed the belief that “The relationship agreement will contribute to a more effective global response to the challenges posed by large and sudden population movements.” 

In a statement released by the Secretary General on Monday, July 25th, he addressed the current emphasis on closer cooperation with bodies that deal with migration and refugees, saying that “At a time of growing levels of migration within and across borders, a closer legal and working relationship between the United Nations and IOM is needed more than ever.” IOM Director General William Lacy Swing also placed his full support behind the agreement, stating that “now, becoming a part of the UN family will give IOM a vital voice at the UN table to advocate for migrants and their rights worldwide…This is an historic day, not only for IOM and the UN, but for migrants and their families across the globe.” In today’s modern climate, in which growing rates of displaced persons are causing issues of xenophobia to rise in many countries, the agreement is a step forward in addressing the alarming statistics, and combating the numerous related issues which arise from a large global population of refugees and migrants. (It is also expected to help facilitate aspects of the global sustainability agreement Agenda 2030, as many goals of the agenda are directly linked to migration.)

The agreement between the two organizations will be formally signed at the UN Summit for refugees and migrants, which takes place on September 19th, 2016. This action is expected to bring UN member states together to discuss the the large movements of migrants across the globe, and how to better address this dilemma.

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