International Migrants Day around the Region

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 Dec 20, 2019

The magical muses of music and cinema were celebrated in Vienna, city of music and migration, as the Global Migration Film Festival ended on International Migrants Day.

A screening of the captivating “All People’s Orquestra” took place in the United Nations Office in Vienna, telling the story of a group of refugees and migrants from the furthest corners of the world who came together to make sweet music in Brazil.

After the screening, a panel discussion heard from Kathrin Zirn, from Open Piano for Refugees, and one of the initiatives brightest stars, Hani Alneab, a 19-year-old Syrian refugee. By leaving pianos in open spaces, Open Piano For Refugees have demonstrated that magic can happen, and cultural borders disappear when music is used as a common language, said Ms Zirn.

Hani won the hearts of the audience at the event at Vienna’s UN HQ when he revealed that he learned to play piano through YouTube tutorials, and that he developed the habit of playing all night and sleeping during the day, because the night-time was the only time he could find a quiet room at his crowded refugee accommodation in Austria.

On International Migrants Day and Albania Diaspora National Day, IOM Albania in collaboration with the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation (AICS) and the Albanian State Minister for Diaspora organized an exhibition  called “Through the Eyes of Diaspora”.  which shows the achievements toof Albanian young diaspora researchers from the University of Florence in Italy, who carried out a  survey of three cultural assets in three villages of Përmet: the Church of St. Mary in Leusë; the Bridge of Katiu in Benjë and the area surrounding of the Church of St. Mary in Kosinë, including earthquake research. The survey is made possible thanks to an innovative 3D laser scanning technique.  

“During the recent month everyone has witnessed the power, mobilization and the support of the Albanian Diaspora. I want to use this opportunity to invite the Albanian Diaspora architects and engineers to join and contribute not only to rebuild what it was destroyed from the earthquake, but to make Albania better and stronger” highlighted Mr. Pandeli Majko, the Albanian State Minister for Diaspora. 

"It was a fantastic experience that allowed us to 'embrace' Albania again, to come in contact with our country from an unusual and beautiful point of view: discovering and studying its natural and cultural determination” said Sezai Celoaliaj, one of the Albanian Diaspora students, engaged in the research. 

In Kosovo, 18 December was chosen as the day to mark 20 years of IOM’s presence in the country. In June1999, following unrest and widespread displacement, an IOM mission was opened. It provided transport assistance to Kosovar refugees to a wide range of European countries, operated a registration database and conducted family reunifications.

Since then nearly one million people have benefited from IOM’s presence. The Organization’s services have extended from evacuations and medical and psychosocial assistance to development and assistance to vulnerable groups, according Alina Mihai, IOM’s Kosovo Officer in Charge, speaking at a high-level function in the capital Pristina on Wednesday to mark 20 years of IOM’s presence in Kosovo.

In a keynote speech, Ulrika Richardson, the UN Development Coordinator in Kosovo welcomed the growing role of IOM within the UN family. “Today, marking the Global Day of Migration, I would like to call upon stronger collective engagement to ensure a wide and sustainable answer for the people on the move, especially the most vulnerable”, she said.

Representing the Regional Office in Vienna, Senior Regional Emergency and Post-Crisis Specialist Dragan Aleksoski took up the theme of International Migrants Day: “IOM is present here in Pristina, and in many other towns in Kosovo, working closely with returnees, minorities, and displaced persons. We are committed to contributing to social integration, cohesion and community stabilization.”

During the event, guests heard the personal story of Vladan Vukadinovic, a former displaced person and beneficiary of EU funded Return and Reintegration Program in Kosovo.  “Even after 10 years spent as a displaced person, the desire for my hometown never vanished. Thus, I took the decision to return. Now, almost a year later, thanks to IOM and my local Municipality my return has become sustainable for me and members of my family.”

The event ended with screening of a selection of movies from Global Migration Film Festival.

IOM Azerbaijan celebrated International Migrants Day at the Museum Center in Baku on Wednesday, together with Government partners, UN agencies, Diplomatic Corps, NGOs, and representatives of civil society and media.

Speaking at the event, which also featured the film "The Lost Boy" as a part of IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival, UN Resident Coordinator Ghulam Isaczai highlighted the dangers of irregular migration. “Since 2000, more than 60,000 migrants have died on the move. And of course, behind every number is a person – a woman, a child, a man, who simply dream for what any of us dream – opportunity, dignity and a better life”.

Vladimir Gjorgjiev, Chief of IOM Mission in Azerbaijan highlighted the importance of International Migrants Day in terms of focusing and informing the public. “Migrants represent over 270 million of today’s world population, and this number is growing every day, with different dynamic around the globe. Today, since year 2000 we are celebrating the International Migrants Day, as designated and recognized by the UN  and we are hearing the voice of these migrants , and of our member states,” said Vladimir Gjorgjiev.

Deputy Head of the State Migration Service Parviz Musayev, appriciated the cooperation between state and international organizations in the field of migration including migration services, legislative and procedural areas and noted that economic development and stability in the state contribute to protection of migrant’s rights. “As a result of rapid socio-economic development, political stability, as well as protection of the rights and freedoms of migrants in the country, the Republic of Azerbaijan has become a country of destination in terms of labour migration,” he said.

At the end of the event, a film titled "The Lost Boy" featuring hard life of teenage migrant was screened within the International Migration Film Festival organized by IOM, as well as  video clips and photos of migrants living in the country and abroad.

In Turkey the GMFF played an important role in bringing attention to migration issues at in the days leading up to International Migrants Day. The Festival reached seven of Turkey’s provinces, with a total of 53 screenings. In the spirit of this year’s IMD theme of social cohesion, IOM Turkey displayed a unique photo exhibition titled “Resilient Communities” at the Institut Francais in Ankara that profiles community initiatives that support the social and economic inclusion of migrant communities in Turkey.

Asel (pictured in the last pciture below) is a an operator of the IOM toll-free “Hotline 1899” which provides consulation on safe migration for the youth of Osh city in Kyrgyzstan. She was present to provide information at the first ever international job fair sponsored by the State Migration Servicesa. Members of the public had the opportunity to learn about work from foreign employers from more than 15 countries, with more than 3,000 vacancies on offer.