The International Organization for Migration (IOM)
The International Organization for Migration was established in 1951. IOM is the inter-governmental organization in the field of migration. On 19 September 2016, as a result of the joint signing of the UN-IOM Agreement, IOM became part of the UN System as a related organization with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Furthermore, IOM also leads the UN Migration Working Group.
IOM is committed to the principle that humane and orderly migration should benefit migrants and society.
As a leading international organization in the field of migration, as well as the United Nations Agency for Migration, IOM, together with international partners works to:
• assist in addressing the increasing practical challenges of migration management;
• develop an understanding of migration issues;
• promote social and economic development through migration;
• protect the human dignity and welfare of migrants.
Cooperation of the Kyrgyz Republic with IOM
May 26, 1993 - Kyrgyzstan joined the IOM observer states.
April 15, 1997 - Official opening of the IOM office in the Kyrgyz Republic.
February 9, 1998 - An agreement on cooperation in the field of migration between the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and the International Organization for Migration was signed.
November 2, 2000 - At the 80th meeting of the IOM Council, Kyrgyzstan was unanimously adopted as a full member state of the IOM.
August 12, 2002 - Opening of the IOM office in Osh.
September 1, 2010 - IOM opened a Mission with coordinating functions in Nur-Sultan (Astana), to coordinate regional initiatives and efforts in the field of migration in Central Asia. The IOM mission in Kyrgyzstan is part of this strategy and structure in Central Asia.
Since the opening of its representative office in Kyrgyzstan, IOM has implemented more than 80 projects with a total value of 33 million USD.
Legal framework: Agreement between the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic and IOM on cooperation in the field of migration signed on February 9, 1998, in Bishkek and entered into force on April 15, 2003.
IOM Programs and Activities in the Kyrgyz Republic
IOM supports the Government’s efforts to develop a comprehensive science-based migration policy based on protecting the rights of migrants. In May 2019, IOM was appointed co-chair of the interagency working group to develop a draft concept for the migration policy of the Kyrgyz Republic. In partnership with the State Migration Service, IOM provides information and advisory services to migrants on the issues of regulated, safe and decent migration and reintegration opportunities in the Kyrgyz Republic. IOM is actively involved in the compilation and publication of annual reports on the migration profile of the Kyrgyz Republic.
Providing technical assistance in border management
Since the opening of the IOM office in the Kyrgyz Republic, several technical assistance has been provided in the form of the creation of the first automated passport control system (ASPK). In addition to developing software for ASPK, several international checkpoints were equipped as part of this project in the early 2000s, and a number of trainings were conducted.
Emergency preparedness program
IOM implemented the project “Enhancing the capacity of local authorities and communities in disaster-prone areas of Kyrgyzstan” as part of the DIPECHO program, funded by the Department of the European Commission for Humanitarian Aid. The project’s main objective was to reduce the vulnerability of the population in areas of Kyrgyzstan prone to natural disasters, increase public awareness, and strengthen the capacity of local administrations in planning and preparing for natural disasters.
Peace and Conflict Prevention Program
On January 26, 2011, IOM launched the Peace Building Program for Youth and Children of Kyrgyzstan with the support of the Government of Japan. This project was developed specifically for young people to create favourable conditions for their development and interaction between different ethnic groups. The project provided vocational training for various ethnic groups of young people, as well as teaching children for tolerance as an important component of the world.
Migration and Development Program
In 2010, in close collaboration with UN Women and the World Bank, with financial support from the UK Department for International Development, IOM launched a joint regional program on labour migration in Central Asia.
This program was a logical continuation of the IOM project on labour migration in Central Asia, which was carried out from 2007 to 2009. The main participants in this program were the governments of Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan, which acted as countries of origin, as well as Kazakhstan and the Russian Federation as destination countries.
In 2012-2013 IOM has implemented a project to promote the primary vocational education system in the Kyrgyz Republic “Towards an Improved Vocational Education and Training system in Kyrgyzstan”.
IOM has been working actively assisting the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in implementing state policy in the field of preventing and combating trafficking in persons.
The IOM mission in the Kyrgyz Republic carries out an extensive information campaign aimed at both migrants and the general population. Also, as part of the program, 7 hotlines were opened and are successfully operating - in the cities of Bishkek, Karakol, Talas, Osh, Jalal-Abad. For the period 2007-2018, hotline operators provided more than 62,000 consultations.
In Kyrgyzstan, with the support of IOM, shelters for victims of trafficking are functioning, including a special shelter for the rehabilitation of child victims of trafficking and minors at risk. IOM also provides practical assistance to victims of trafficking, including assisting in their return from abroad, providing them with professional medical, legal, psychological and reintegration assistance. Practical assistance to victims of trafficking in persons, in cooperation with partner NGOs, is provided in the following areas:
• Providing travel documents;
• Escort to the airport (other destination if necessary);
• Meeting at the airport;
• Escort and transportation to the destination.
• Provision of temporary safe shelter ;
• Providing social, legal advice
• Providing psychological, medical assistance if necessary
• Providing opportunities for vocational training;
• Providing re-integration scholarships;
• Subsequent employment.
IOM implemented the project “Assisting the Government of the Kyrgyz Republic in Strengthening the Legal and Technical Basis for Combating Trafficking in Human Beings”, funded by the Office of Monitoring and Combating Trafficking in Human Beings of the US Department of State (J/TIP), under which the Kyrgyz Government was assisted in improving national legislation and bringing it in line with international standards.