2 April 2012
IOM?s Regional Director for Eastern, South-Eastern Europe and Central Asia Ms. Renate Held conducted a familiarization visit to Ukraine on 25-30 March 2012. During the meetings with Ukrainian authorities, inter alia, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the State Migration Service, the State Border Guard Service, the Ministry of Social Policy, and the Parliament, Ms. Held underlined the progress Ukraine has achieved in migration management. IOM?s Regional Director also assured the Ukrainian Government counterparts that IOM is ready to provide further support in the implementation of best international migration-related practices.
Renate Held also met with the donors? and diplomatic communities, UN Resident Coordinator and Heads of the UN Agencies in Ukraine.
During her stay in Ukraine Ms. Held had a number of field visits. Inter alia, she toured the Migrant Accommodation Centre (MAC) in the Chernihiv region to see firsthand the conditions in which apprehended irregular migrants are living in. The Chernihiv MAC was equipped by IOM with EU funding and opened in 2008. IOM?s Regional Director welcomed such MAC practices, as regular access of migrants to NGO legal and humanitarian assistance, and the possibility for migrants to receive medical treatment not only in the Centre but in the local hospitals as well.
IOM?s Regional Director also visited the National Academy of the State Border Guard Service (SBGS) of Ukraine in Khmelnitskiy. IOM has provided support to the Academy since 2005, helping to usher in reforms that have streamlined recruitment and training procedures throughout the SBGS. Ms. Held was impressed by the Academy?s facilities, management and instructors, and welcomed the introduction of EU standards in border management in Ukraine, stressing the importance of accountability and the customer service-based approach being adopted by the SBGS.
In Ternopil, Ms. Held met with the NGO ?Revival of the Nation?, one of IOM?s long-term national civil society partners that play an important role in countering trafficking in persons at the local level. The NGO operates the National Toll-Free Counter-Trafficking and Migrant Advice Hotline, serves as a focal point for victims of trafficking identification, referral and reintegration as well as implementing a number of important components of larger IOM projects. Ms. Held also met former victims of trafficking who received reintegration assistance through the NGO and are successfully running small enterprises started through IOM?s economic empowerment initiative. Ms. Held complimented the work done by the ?Revival of the Nation? as a best practice that could be disseminated to the wider region she?s responsible for.