from 29 august 2002
blue vol II, #52
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What Is The
International Organization for Migration?

IOM website

by Gasper Kralj

The world´s migration policies are exploiting and bringing destruction into the countries, which the migrants come from. They are encouraging brain drain, thus eliminating the potential of those countries to develop on their own.

Headhunters are in search for refugees, migrants and other contemporary nomads. They carefully distinguish between useful professions, much needed cheap workers and ‘surplus people’. Autonomous migrations, irregular border crossing, ‘sans papiers’ and their support networks are declared public enemies. Special squads and migration agencies on both national and transnational level are being constituated in order to fight them. On the other hand those same agencies are managing brain drain, as well as manpower drain of young men and women for temporal construction sites, service work and ‘industry of pleasure’.

For some fifteen years a global migration regime has been emerging with the aim of introducing schemes for ‘migration management’. There is neither laissez-faire nor autonomy, but rational selection of the useful and the unwanted.

This corresponds with global management of finances and trade by WB, IMF, WTO, GATT, NAFTA, MERCOSUR etc. Whilst those agencies promote the free flow of goods and money, another set of agencies aim to manage, to control and restrict the free movement of people.

These are namely IOM (International Organization for Migration), IGC (Inter-Governmental Consultations on Asylum, Refugee and Migration) and IOL (International Organization for Labour).

IOM was founded in 1951 as a counter-agency to the UNCHR. It is a relic of cold war and as such reflects the Truman doctrine. IOM played an important role in an early brain drain from the Eastern Bloc to the West and in establishing new pro-capitalist states. Under the leadership of the USA, the IOM has not been based on humanitarian principles but on economical considerations. Their basic policy is not concerned with the well being of people but the well being of economies. Their ideology is based on racist principles of homogenous ethnic states and the xenophobic concepts of home. That says it all! In an era of globalization migration appear as a major social movement against the imperialist concept of zones of differentiated reproduction cost. The IOM has been best prepared to implement concepts of enforcing the borders necessary to uphold such regime and to conform to new forms of neoliberal migration management.

Today IOM has its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. 79 member states enjoy full status, whilst further 43 are granted a status of an observer. With 110 administrative personnel it spends 36 mio Chf annually on administrative costs only. The projects are financed with voluntary contributions of the members and these numbers are much higher than the above stated one. Its Technical Cooperation Centre is based in Vienna and is policing South, Central and East Europe, whilst Polish policy is overlooked from the Berlin office. IOM has 19 regional sub-offices: the Brussels office covers cooperation with most other West-European governments, Germany and Italy have their own representatives in Bonn an Rome, the Helsinki office works towards Balticum, the Budapest office covers southeast Europe etc. its over 100 field offices and representations act as a ‘warning system migration’.

They spy on migrants, support networks of activists and NGOs. They report back to the EU and USA and recommend action. Wherever migration occurs, new border regime is erected and new technologies introduced under the hospice of the IOM. They recommend migration hostile policies, they sell the latest cry of control technology, they train police officers and border troops to combat migration, they plan and bulid control posts, detention camps and centers for extermination of the foreigners.

IOM is the one who manages the migration regime of the European Union.

Working with EU, the IOM has developed an arsenal of anti-migration and anti-refugee offices and executive agencies. It started with Trevi and Ad Hoc Committe Immigration and continued with Schengen Agreement. High Level Working Group Asylum and Migration, the Strategic Committe for Migration, Borders and Asylum, the Centre for information Discussion and Exchange on Asylum (CIREA), the Centre for Information, Discussion and Exchange on the Crossing of Borders (CIREFI), the International Border Police Conference are the tools of EU migration policies.

Their aim is to standardize migration policies of the member states' governments, whilst at the same time the applicant states must to accept those same standards unconditionally before joining the EU. As throughout the world also Slovenian national legislation is subdued to the demands from IOM. We are witnessing erection of new offices and agencies whose work is confidential. They operate out of the public eye, therefore in totally undemocratic manner. Confidential decisions on forcible political instruments; closings of refugee camps, building new centers for asylum seekers, that all to often remind us on concentration camps of the present time are made by bureaucrats, police chiefs, junior government officials whose common sentiment is animosity towards refugees, migrants and other ‘foreigners’ or inability to resist the neoliberal migration regime.

It is high time to reveal their true inhuman nature, to bring to public their cruel economic ideologies, to criticize the underlying racism and to promote concrete actions in the name of justice and equality!

–  Gasper Kralj & IGC


IGC - "think tank" of opponents of the free movement of people. It stands for Inter-Governmental Consultations on Asylum, Refugee and Migration and is an informal alliance of 15 countries that has a form of a forum for "innovative solutions and strategies". It is based in Geneva, Switzerland. It has a close cooperation with IOM and the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD) based in Vienna. Since founding in 1985 they act as ‘peacemakers’ in border armament with the aim to influence the migration policies of the countries in conflict. Their roles as a ‘think tank’ is in production of key concepts and strategies to fight the migrants and their supporters and to promote ‘international machinery’ in order to control them. We can assume that the terms such as ‘human trafficking’ were constructed on their meetings. Its immediate role is hard to define, whilst most of its activities are secret.

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