Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz and IOM Director General William Lacy Swing signed a new headquarters agreement for the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) today. "We greatly appreciate the IOM as a reliable partner", Kurz said. "Migration is not a new phenomenon, but recent years have seen a significant increase in global migratory movements and these have also become more complex. Austria is also facing new challenges, which we must address with great responsibility."
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) currently has 155 member states and is the leading international organisation dealing with migration on a global scale. The IOM's tasks are to assist states in migration issues and to support the integration of migrants in their host countries. Another objective is to improve the understanding of migration phenomena and their interaction with social and economic development to contribute to a humane treatment of migrants and promotion of their well-being.
Founded in the year 1951 as the "Intergovernmental Committee for European Migration", the IOM was given its current name in 1989, and has had a representation office in Vienna since 1954. In 2011, the IOM established a regional office for Eastern and Southeastern Europe and also Central Asia in Vienna, underlining the important role of Vienna where numerous international organisations are located.
"It is very important for Austria that we can draw on the cooperation with an experienced and competent expert organisation, such as the IOM. It enjoys an excellent reputation and its work is greatly valued by all countries", Foreign Minister Kurz said. Austria relies on the IOM's support in many areas: in projects fighting human trafficking, in projects that make a voluntary return of migrants to their home countries possible, and most recently in taking in Syrian refugees from the crisis region. Austria has received frequent IOM support in refugee matters over many decades; for example in 1956/57 when thousands of Hungarian refugees came to our country, or in the nineteen-nineties when a very large number of refugees from former Yugoslavia were seeking refuge in Austria.
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