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IRAN: IOM to open academy for migration and refugee studies

ANKARA, 20 Sep 2004 (IRIN) - The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) will launch a project to establish an academy for migration and refugee studies in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Tuesday.

"The opening of this academy leads the way for better management of migration on the national and regional level in Iran," Niurka Pineiro, a spokeswoman for the agency, told IRIN from Geneva. Labour migration needed to be better managed, she maintained, noting pointedly that many states actually needed migrants.

"It's not just allowing people to go in. If you manage it properly, like labour migration projects, then you have better managed migration and everyone can benefit from it."

Her comments coincide with the arrival in Tehran of IOM Director-General Brunson McKinley, who will launch the project on Tuesday as part of a two-day visit to the country. In his address at the launch, Brunson is expected to state that, "The decision of the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran to set up an Academy for Migration and Research and Training is a milestone towards managing migration in the globalised world. The academy may eventually emerge as a regional centre for migration studies."

The launch will reportedly be attended by the ministers from the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs, senior government officials, diplomats and representatives from various other UN agencies.

Under an agreement reached between the IOM and Tehran in late 2003, a board of trustees has been formed with representatives from the Ministries of Interior and Foreign Affairs, academics and IOM to run the facility.

According to an IOM statement announcing the launch, the academy will conduct research, provide training for government officials and serve as a forum for dialogue on migration-related issues, both nationally and regionally.

As part of the opening, McKinley is also expected to present a keynote paper on Managing International Migration in the Contemporary World to participants of the first training course, as well as discuss the IOM's Migration Management Chart, which organises various aspects of migration into four main categories, including migration and development, facilitating migration, regulating migration and forced migration.

Meanwhile, a three-day training course for the heads of the provincial Bureau for Aliens and Foreign Immigrants Affairs (BAFIA) was also being arranged jointly by the academy and the IOM, focusing on migration challenges at both the global and national levels, including trafficking of persons and strategies to manage migration for the benefit of all.

Underlying each of these are a number of common themes, such as migration and health, capacity building, and regional and international cooperation.

"The fact that we have been able to bring the government, IOM, everyone, together in opening this migration institute or academy, where not only will officials receive training to better manage migration, but where better managed migration mechanisms will be discussed on a more regular basis, is a major achievement," Niurka explained. "If officials are properly trained, migrants coming to the country, transiting through the country, leaving the country, will be better treated by officials in border areas."

"Everyone wins by having this labour migration academy," she said. "Better managed migration is what the whole world needs."

The above article comes to you via IRIN, a UN humanitarian information unit, but may not necessarily reflect the views of the United Nations or its agencies. UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs 2004

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