Activities of the International Organization for Migration (IOM)
- Parliamentary Assembly
- Assembly debate on 1 October 2007 (29th Sitting) (see Doc. 11351, report of the Committee on Migration, Refugees and Population, rapporteur: Mrs Gultakin Hajiyeva). Text adopted by the Assembly on 1 October 2007 (29th Sitting).
1. In the current context of globalisation, migration has become an essential, inevitable and potentially beneficial component of the political, economic and social life of every country and region. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) can assist migrants, governments, home and host communities, civil society and the private sector in realising the positive potential of migration in social, economic and political terms.
2. The Parliamentary Assembly recognises that migration will be one of the major policy concerns of the 21st century and it welcomes the United Nations initiative which led to the organisation of the High-Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development in September 2006. This event was followed by the organisation of the first Global Forum on Migration and Development, hosted by Belgium, in July 2007.
3. The Assembly is, however, concerned about the increase of phenomena such as irregular migration, smuggling and trafficking of migrants, problems relating to integration of migrants and xenophobia and intolerance affecting migrants as well, including the incorrect and unfortunate link made between migrants and extremism and terrorist acts. The IOM is devoting considerable resources to assisting states and migrants in addressing and finding solutions to these problems, as well as helping the victims thereof.
4. The Assembly congratulates the IOM on its flexibility and its efforts to adapt to the changing needs of migration management and for its work in assisting governments in drawing up and implementing efficient and coherent migration management policies, designing implementation measures and improving migration law.
5. It also welcomes the services offered by the IOM to migrants, host countries and countries of origin regarding assisted voluntary return and the re-integration of migrants.
6. Recalling its earlier recommendations on the activities of the IOM, the Assembly believes that the Council of Europe and the IOM, on a complementary basis, should continue to work in close co-operation with the aim of maximising the societal and human development potential, but also the development of democracy and the respect for human rights, related to global labour mobility.
The Assembly therefore recommends that the Committee of Ministers take appropriate steps to strengthen co-operation between the Council of Europe and the IOM, also with a view to avoiding duplication of efforts and promoting Council of Europe core values, notably human rights, democracy and the rule of law, with regard to migrants and migration processes. The following areas should be given particular attention:
7.1 fundamental rights of migrants, with special emphasis on the protection of the rights of children and youth, the elderly and women as well as gender equality and domestic violence;
7.2 integration of migrants, including their participation in democratic processes and their access to the labour market;
7.3 combating intolerance and xenophobia regarding migrants and the development of extremism that can lead to terrorism and other crimes;
7.4 combating trafficking in human beings;
7.5 improving and strengthening co-operation and partnership between countries of destination, origin and transit in the context of labour migration (integration and migration management), which will be the theme of the 8th Council of Europe Conference of Ministers responsible for Migration Affairs, Ukraine 2008.
Furthermore, the Assembly reiterates its recommendations to the Committee of Ministers – in particular the most recent on the subject, Recommendation 1607 (2003)
on the activities of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), 1998-2002 – to:
8.1 instruct the Council of Europe Development Bank to study the possibility of co-funding feasibility studies (trust funds) and joint projects with the IOM, in particular to ease irregular migration pressures through job-creating projects, including by the use of micro-credit schemes;
8.2 encourage all Council of Europe member states to provide political and financial support to the IOM in the fulfilment of its tasks, including within the Global Migration Group (GMG), and to encourage those Council of Europe states not yet members of the IOM to consider membership.
9. The Assembly also recommends that the Committee of Ministers encourage the European Centre for Global Interdependence and Solidarity (North-South Centre) to develop a partnership with the IOM regarding migration and development, as well as the link between climate change and migration.
10. Finally, the Assembly recommends that the Committee of Ministers urge member states to give their support to the IOM’s work aimed at addressing the root causes of irregular migration and developing more legal migration opportunities, including circular migration. Member states should also help the IOM in its work towards achieving better management of migration and development, including remittances management, poverty-reduction strategies included in development projects and the involvement of diasporas for economic, social and democratic development.