What is IOM?
- Director General
William Lacy Swing
Established in 1951 outside the UN system, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) is the leading intergovernmental organization in the field of migration. IOM is dedicated to promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all. It does so by providing services and advice to governments and migrants, as well as facilitating a forum of states for the exchange of views and experiences and the promotion of international cooperation on migration issues. IOM joined the UN on 19 September 2016.
Message from IOM Tokyo
- Chief of Mission
More people are on the move today than at any other time in recorded history: 1 billion people – comprising a seventh of humanity. A variety of elements – not least the information and communications revolutions – contribute to the movement of people on such a large scale. Among these, the following stand out: climate change, natural and man-made catastrophes, protracted conflicts, demographic trends – ageing industrialized population and exponentially expanding jobless youth population in the developing world, widening social and economic disparities.
For 65 years, in close collaboration with the international community, IOM has been responding to migration challenges by addressing the effects and root causes of irregular and forced migration, enhancing capacities of governments to better manage migration, facilitating existing programmes that supports national migration policies and practices, harnessing the positive aspects of migration thus promoting human development, and arranging forums where governments can exchange ideas, experiences and lessons learned on migration.
IOM established its presence in Japan in 1981 in the context of Indochinese refugee crisis, where IOM facilitated onward movement of refugees on temporary protection status in Japan en route to third country resettlement. IOM operations later expanded to include family reunification for Indochinese refugees resettled in Japan. IOM-Japan relationship started to develop stronger in early 1990s when Japan joined other governments in providing aircrafts to support IOM’s emergency humanitarian airlift operation to return home hundreds of thousands of stranded migrant workers affected by the first Gulf War.
Today, IOM Tokyo has two functions: strengthen cooperation and partnership with Japan in support of displaced persons, vulnerable migrants and refugees worldwide; and support Japan in meeting its own migration challenges. Japan is a major donor supporting the work of humanitarian agencies globally, and IOM is fortunate to be one of the recipients of Japan’s generosity. In Japan, IOM works with different Ministries and local partners in implementing: return and reintegration assistance to victims of trafficking, refugee resettlement, and assisted voluntary return and reintegration. And together with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, IOM co-organizes the annual “international workshop on acceptance and integration of foreign nationals in Japan.”
The UN General Assembly adopted a resolution on 25 July 2016 approving the agreement to make IOM a “related organization” of the UN, which paved the way for the signing of the agreement on 19 September 2016 between the UN Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon and the IOM Director General Amb William Lacy Swing at the “UN Summit for Refugees and Migrants” in New York. Being part of the UN gives IOM a vital voice to advocate for migrants and their rights worldwide.