Humanitarian Workers in Belarus Master Skills in Case Management

IOM countertrafficking specialist Heather Komanda addresses the Minsk workshop last week

Minsk, Belarus – Belarus is increasingly becoming a transit and destination country for vulnerable migrants. According to a recent IOM report, there are over 9,000 Ukrainian refugees and 1,300 other vulnerable migrants in the country. Hhuman trafficking remains a significant phrenomenom, with 97 victims of trafficking – 40% of whom are children – identified and assisted by IOM in 2022.

From summer 2021 thousands of migrants have become stranded in Belarus, and the number was shaprly augmented the following year when thousands of Ukrainians fled the war through or to Belarus.

Now that the cooperation and referral mechanisms are in place, specialists working directly with vulnerable people need support in improving their skills and a platform to discuss real-life cases.

Last week, IOM brought together representatives of NGOs working with migrants and victims of trafficking to the capital Minsk, together with IOM field staff for training on protection and assistance to vulnerable migrants and trafficking victims.

“Migrants are considered vulnerable overall, however some of them have significant protection risks”, said IOM Belarus Chief of Mission Mahym Orazmuhammedova in her opening remarks. “Women, children, including unaccompanied ones, persons of older age and people with disabilities may be subject to increased insecurity, poverty and marginalization, exacerbating their vulnerabilities to all types of violence, exploitation, and abuse. Provision of protection-sensitive support to them along with basic assistance is increasingly crucial”,

The training itself is unique not only for Belarus, but for the whole region. It focused on equipping frontliner workers with practical tools to apply a protection-sensitive case management approach to cases. Experts from IOM’s regional office in Vienna walked the participants through the whole process of working with a beneficiary – from meeting a person for the first time through to the provision of assistance, to case monitoring and closure.

“I am now well positioned to assist migrants throughout the whole process. I know where to start, how to follow-up and where to finish”, commented one of the training’s participants.

The frontline workers enhanced their knowledge of case management, including essential counselling, individual needs assessments, provision or referral to targeted protection services to ensure human rights and fundamental freedoms of beneficiaries are observed.

SDG 17 - Partnerships for the Goals
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities