NEW YORK (IDN) – A photo exhibit launched at United Nations Headquarters in New York on January 16 by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations TOGETHER initiative seeks to draw attention to the plight of migrants in vulnerable situations around the world.
“The photo exhibit serves to highlight how crisis-related migration flows are growing in scale and complexity and inducing new forms of migration-related humanitarian challenges both internally and across borders,” said Ashraf El Nour, Director of IOM’s Office to the UN in New York. “Migrants need protection as their vulnerability to exploitation, trafficking, and violence heightens during crises,” he added.
According to preliminary figures recently released by IOM, fatalities of migrants and refugees worldwide in 2016 approached 7,500. The three-year totals reached 18,501 in January 2017.
In 2016, Mediterranean migrant arrivals topped 363,348, with deaths at sea totalling 5,079. Many more millions of people remain displaced and at risk within their countries of origin,
As revealed in the exhibit, the absence of protection or timely solutions during crises often leads migrants to adopt negative coping mechanisms and exposes affected populations to significant risks.
Stories of migrants escaping crises rarely make news in a positive light. At the UN Summit Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants on September 19, 2016, the United Nations launched the TOGETHER, a global initiative that promotes respect, safety and dignity for everyone forced to flee their homes in search of a better life.
TOGETHER brings together the organizations of the United Nations System, the 193 UN member countries, the private sector, civil society, academic institutions and individual citizens in a global partnership in support of diversity, non-discrimination and acceptance of refugees and migrants.
TOGETHER engages and mobilizes global citizens to show support for refugees and migrants, speaks to communities hosting refugees and migrants as well as people concerned that refugees and migrants may bring physical and economic insecurity to their lives.
The initiative creates a strong, persuasive narrative of solidarity toward refugees and migrants and showcases the shared benefits of migration to economies and nations, while also acknowledging legitimate concerns of host communities. It provides a platform for stories of and by refugees and migrants and host communities that have benefitted from welcoming them.
TOGETHER tells stories of children on the move. It helps host communities and refugees and migrants to know each other better.
The exhibit can be viewed until January 26 in the 1B Neck area at UN Headquarters, accessible to UN grounds pass holders. It can also be viewed online at http://unofficeny.iom.int/iomun-together-initiative-photo-exhibit-migrants-caught-crisis [IDN-InDepthNews – 17 January 2017]
Photo: IOM Office to the United Nations.
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