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NZ becomes 100th member of IOM

NZ becomes 100th member of IOM

New Zealand has joined the International Organization for Migration (IOM), becoming its 100th member country, the government announced today.

Foreign Minister Phil Goff and Immigration Minister Lianne Dalziel announced that the IOM approved New Zealand’s application to join after a special session in Geneva last week.

“Membership reinforces New Zealand’s efforts to protect the international asylum system and to combat illegal migration and people smuggling,” Phil Goff said.

“New Zealand and the IOM worked closely together to support the Bali process, which has focused on the strengthening regional cooperation against people smuggling and people trafficking, and we were impressed by the professionalism and effectiveness of the organisation,” Phil Goff said.

“Membership consolidates our long-standing relationship with the IOM. The IOM has assisted New Zealand in resettling refugees under its quota programme, such as the transfer of Tampa refugees to New Zealand in September 2001 and refugee intakes from Manus Island and Nauru,” Lianne Dalziel said.

“The IOM also arranges medical screening of refugees and conducts document verification on behalf of New Zealand in several countries where we are not represented.

“Membership will equip New Zealand for an active role in shaping the future direction of the IOM’s efforts in general migration issues, and developing constructive responses to problems arising from irregular migration,” said Lianne Dalziel.

The IOM, established in 1951, has a key role as an international agency managing global migration. It undertakes many services on behalf of countries in relation to migrants and refugees, including travel arrangements, resettlement and integration advice, and health screening.

Reducing irregular migration, particularly people smuggling and trafficking, has been a key focus in recent years. The IOM has focussed on prevention, assisting the voluntary return of irregular migrants, and providing protection and consular assistance to migrants. It has also had a major role providing humanitarian assistance in emergency situations, including the Iraq conflict.

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