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Belarus has actively participated in IOM activities since 1994. The office in Belarus was opened in December 1996 in Minsk, and 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.
In the years of 2004, 2005, 2007, 2008 and 2009, IOM Administration officials visited Belarus several times 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 funding 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. In 2008, IOM 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.
IOM Director General William Lacy Swing during his visit to Belarus, 2009