Don't talk to the IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has landed in Manchester. To launch their new office they held a conference in the Hilton Hotel in Beetham Tower today. A few No Borders people went to have a look and hand out a leaflet titled "Don't talk to the IOM". Unsurprisingly No Borders was quickly engaged into a conversation with IOM and UK Border Agency officials who were trying to present us with their 'humane side'. In an "imperfect world", they were trying to argue, their hands were bound.

The arguments against the IOM are well documented by the international No Border network and in our leaflet text below:

Don't talk to the IOM - against migration management

A shadowy organisation calling itself the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) is launching its new North West office in Manchester at 49 Piccadilly House. Manchester No Borders says: you are not welcome!

Why? The IOM is a service agency that answers to its 125 or so member states. In the UK, the government drives ‘undesired’ migrants into destitution, disperses them across the country, bans them from taking up a job, locks them up in detention centres, and threatens them with dawn raids and forced deportation. The IOM’s role is to effectively blackmail migrants who have been pushed into poverty or desperation to return ‘voluntarily’ with a little sum of money to the countries they left. If forced removals are so costly and cause a lot of fuss, the logic goes, why not do it another way, while pretending to be compassionate and humane. If detention is the stick, the IOM are the carrot. Both are part of the same system of migration management.

Unsurprisingly, most asylum seekers and immigrants who get sent IOM literature won’t be tricked and it goes straight into the bin. But when immigration authorities withdraw all means of support (financial, accommodation, healthcare etc.) and the right to work, some are left with no alternative but to take up the bribes. The dismantling of the IOM’s ‘voluntary return’ programmes thus has to come hand in hand with the end of deportations, detentions and destitution.

In the pay of state and capital

We oppose the IOM because, in the current border regime, no return can be deemed voluntary. But we deplore the organisation also because it aims to control people in the interest of governments and their economies.

The organisation claims to promote economic development through migration management. This falls into the same category as the governments point-based system for immigration that makes a distinction between economically useful and useless people. Migration is encouraged when it benefits the rich, and it is prohibited migrants are ‘not needed’. We oppose this system that only sees economic value in people and tries to restrict our autonomy to go where we please.

The IOM also promotes a language of nationalism in the interest of states who want to create separate rules for ‘foreigners’ and for ‘the indigenous population’. The language of ‘return’ and ‘repatriation’ sees national identities as fixed and assumes that people always belong in their land and ‘culture’ of origin. This leads to a practice whereby the IOM trains and assists border forces and administers detention centres for unwanted migrants.

Posted byManchester No Borders at 7:06 AM