No Borders Network | 23.09.2002 18:54
With Franck Duvell – German activist
Wed 2 October at 7.30PM
@ LARC 62 Fieldgate St Whitechapel London E1
(nearest tube stations: Whitechapel/Aldgate East)
A shadowy group called the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has recently opened an office in London.
It takes over the responsibility of enforcing repatriation of foreign nationals. The home office has increasingly turned to outsourcing their business such as private companies running detention camps. There is also a tradition of funding NGOs such as the Refugee Council to cover some aspects of asylum and immigration policy. The IOM has established several schemes and co-operations. These include Voluntary Assisted Return Programme, Return and Re-integration to Somalia regions, Return and Re-integration of Qualified Ugandan Nationals.
The IOM was founded in 1951 as a counter agency to the United Nations Human Rights Council. Whereas the UNHCR was founded on humanitarian principles, the IOM was founded on economic considerations. Whilst the UNHCR is bound by international law, the IOM is a membership organisation, therefore subject to no regulation.
Since 1989 the IOM has been transformed into a transnational agency for the global management of migration for the sake of economics and the new world order. Its individual programmes are embedded in a wider approach of migration management that is based upon neo-liberal ideology which makes an economically founded distinction between desirable and undesirable migration. The IOM has rapidly expanded its influence by opening 19 regional offices and over 100 field offices. These offices cover the whole world. Since their founding, they have interfered in the lives of over 11 million people, and in 2000 alone, facilitated the movement of over 450 000 people. For this purpose, the IOM negotiated a 60% flight discount for many airlines, German activists have accused them of being the world’s largest human trafficker.
The IOM claims only to support voluntary returns, these are normally disguised deportations. These are often desperate asylum seekers who having been refused all benefits, are forced by their plight to sign deportation papers with the IOM. Its offices described as an ‘early warning system on migration’ represents nothing more than a global network of spies against migrants and their supporters. These offices detect migration routes and patterns, to give advice to governments and to train border guards on new technology. Their information campaigns run in Sangatte, Macedonia and Azerbijan. They target professionals or migrants and often disguise meetings to prevent women trafficking although the overall aim is to discourage further migration.
No Borders Network