The IOM a secondary issue?

Wy a campaign against the International Organisation for Migration [IOM] makes sense

27.Sep.02 - Q: During the presentation of the IOM issue at a meeting an immigration lawyer argued that the IOM was no real target to him. He is working very much on refugee issues and knows about IOM (or more exactly, their work in Germany) since maybe ten years. From his point of view, IOM is just an organisation to help migrants on "voluntary return" by paying them the flight and maybe some additional money for a new start in their home countries. Of course he knows that these "voluntary returns" happen only due to real pressure on the respective migrants, but he said the point is that this pressure is not coming from the IOM (how should it) but from the state, so IOM really has a secondary meaning in the whole expulsion thing...

A: It is a good example as it shows exactly what is so vicious about the IOM but also why a campaign is necessary to expose the real nature of the IOM.

In the case of Germany, the IOM usually offers solutions to 'cases' that are otherwise difficult to solve, and they offer it quicker and cheaper than any other agency, because of their established links with airlines and the 60 % discount they have. They manage 'return' flights to destinations, mainly crisis regions, that are otherwise difficult to enforce. Behind this simple-looking service of providing a ticket lies the liason with the German government. The IOM's office in Berlin is not simply implementing this practice/the politics of the German government, it is designing this kind of politics, sells it to the government, that pays for it and orders the IOM to implement that. For that purpose the IOM has contracts with welfare agencies such as the AWO, who 'sell' the product to a refugee. In such a case, it is the AWO staff who puts pressure on the individual refugee, but he does that on behalf of the IOM, who again has been authorised by the government. What the lawyer deemed as 'helping migrants on voluntary return' is only the last step in a system of breaking migrants' commitment and whish to be here and to be safe, and the IOM is involved at any step (fighting migration in the sending and transit countries, helping the migration enemies, designing return strategies, finally returning people) and not just at the end of the process. The lawyer may not know this.

In fact, the IOM is the leading global organisation in migration policy matters. They accumulate their member states' knowledge, techniques and politics, merge it into a comprehensive system of global migration control and aim to 'harmonize' migration policy all around the globe for the sake of economics, the new world order, and its member states. As it has been said in an earlier message, the IOM is the central mastermind. Isn't that enough?!

Whatever they do needs to be seen in the wider context of their politics. 'Orderly management of migration', as their aim is, is not exactly the same as 'freedom of movement', 'global justice' and 'equality', it is an alianated politics of ruling over other peoples' lives, informed by neoliberalism and social control. That builds on segregation and selection between the wanted and the unwanted.

The IOM builds on three tactics to disguise their real aims: First, they sell themselves as a humanitarian organisation, second, they hide themselves behind NGOs, whom they functionalise and who may not necessarily know about the wider context, third, in the West they give the impression of only being a service business whilst in the East there behavior is much more aggressive.

As it has been said elsewhere, the IOM is an agency with may faces, and there are many questions left unanswered. They do have humanitarian elements, but would you call the Worldbank a humanitarian agency because they official aim is to overcome global poverty?!

[back to top]