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IOM’s overarching goal is to ensure the protection, respect and fulfillment of the rights and well-being of migrants, including such categories as internally displaced persons (IDPs), regardless of their migration status.    

The Organization promotes migration as a choice through interventions aimed at reducing the risks of violence, abuse, exploitation, and other rights violations. IOM works to foster protective factors that lead to resilience at the individual, household, community, and structural level.

Protection risks may arise from factors that compel individuals to leave their homes and communities, the circumstances in which they travel, or the conditions they face at the destination and upon return. Overall, human mobility, whether internal or international, can expose individuals to protection risks and situations of vulnerability. Using the rights-based approach across all operations, IOM is committed to mainstreaming protection by prioritizing safety and dignity, avoiding causing harm, and ensuring meaningful access, non-discrimination, accountability, participation and empowerment. This approach is grounded in the principle that protection is a fundamental and non-negotiable element of effective migration policies, management and governance.

To decrease protection risks, IOM also has specialized interventions to support States and relevant stakeholders. Specific IOM thematic areas of intervention include: Counter-Trafficking, Child Protection, Addressing Gender-Based Violence, Return and Reintegration, and Community Engagement.  

IOM works to reduce risks for affected populations through a whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach. At the request of States, IOM supports efforts to protect, respect and fulfil the rights and fundamental freedoms of all migrants without discrimination, while promoting the security, well-being and prosperity of all communities within their territories. To this end, IOM partners with:

  • National and local governments
  • The United Nations system and other international and regional organizations, and

  • Migrants, diasporas, civil society, local communities, faith-based organizations, academia, the private sector, parliamentarians, trade unions, national human rights institutions, the media, humanitarian actors, volunteers and other relevant stakeholders.

IOM recognizes the importance of strengthened leadership, increased accountability, fit-for-purpose protection capacity, consistent advocacy, and meaningful participation and partnerships to achieve protection outcomes.