In a region that has seen major population movements in the past decade, 2011 stands out not only for the migration dynamics that have flowed into, out of, and within the Middle East and North Africa region, but also for the unprecedented social movements that have transformed the political culture in many countries. New democratic structures and processes are being built in Tunisia, Egypt, Libya and South Sudan, and calls for meaningful political reform echo throughout the region.
In 2011, with 13 offices, 20 sub-offices and 955 staff working on over 300 projects in the region, IOM helped to help foster dialogue and cooperation between governments on both regular and irregular migration, as well as to provide services to people on the move. While migration can benefit migrants, origin and destination countries alike, some migrants still endure unsafe work and living conditions, face exploitation, discrimination and arbitrary detention. IOM and its Member States remain committed to maximizing migration’s positive impacts and addressing these challenges.
Located in Cairo, not far from the iconic Tahrir Square, IOM’s Regional Office for the Middle East and North Africa has had a busy year – not only providing much needed humanitarian assistance to migrants fleeing conflict in Libya, but following political developments in the region. In addition to gauging the impact of these historic events on migrant populations, during 2011, IOM continued traditional migration management activities to support migrants and host governments. This report is a chance to reflect on what IOM and its partners accomplished in this year – IOM’s 60 year anniversary – with hopes that further cooperation and new opportunities to engage in dialogue will result in a safer migration experience for those who leave their homes to make a better life for themselves.