The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is the principal intergovernmental organization in the field of migration that was established in 1951. The Organization has 149 member states, with a further 12 states holding observer status. More than 7 800 staff members in more than 450 field offices are working in IOM. Since 2008 IOM has been headed by Director General Mr. William Lacy Swing.
IOM works in the four broad areas of migration management: i) migration and development, ii) facilitating migration, iii) regulating migration and iv) forced migration. IOM interventions in those areas include the promotion of the international migration law, policy debate and guidance, protection of migrants’ rights, migration health, gender dimension of migration and many other.
So far cooperation with the International Organization for Migration remains one of the priorities for the Republic of Belarus. The country has actively participated IOM’s activities since 1994. The Agreement on cooperation between the Government of Belarus and IOM was ratified in 1999. On 29 November 2005 during the 90th Session of the IOM Council the Republic of Belarus became a full-fledged member of the International Organization for Migration.
IOM office in Belarus was opened in December 1996 in Minsk. In the years of 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009 there was organized a number of visits for the IOM Administration officials to Belarus to discuss the current situation and perspectives of future cooperation between IOM and the Republic of Belarus.
Over the recent years IOM Minsk has significantly intensified its activities in Belarus focusing on the implementation of projects in such spheres as combating trafficking in persons, integrated border management, development of cross-border cooperation, improvement of the national legislative framework in the field of migration (with a total budget exceeding 5 million US dollars).
Within its Counter-Trafficking project IOM provides reintegration and medical assistance, psychological and financial support to the victims of human trafficking, as well as pays for legal services and training in specialized courses. Moreover, IOM is also the main initiator and co-organizer of major international conferences in Minsk that are dedicated to combating trafficking in human beings and irregular migration.
With IOM’s financial support in 2007 there was opened and successfully operates the International Training Center on Migration and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings (ITC). The Center is regularly hosting a large number of trainings for national and international migration and law-enforcement agencies with reputable foreign experts acting as trainers.
Back in 2008 IOM has signed a Memorandum of Understanding and a respective Action Plan with the Executive Committee of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS ExCom). The signing of this document opened new possibilities for the implementation of migration initiatives on the territory of CIS.