United Nations

IOM Missing Migrants Project

Berlin Germany
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Country of operation
Region of operation
Europe and Central Asia , Global
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The International Organization for Migration (IOM)’s Missing Migrants Project records incidents in which migrants, including refugees and asylum-seekers, have died at state borders or in the process of migrating to an international destination. It was developed in response to disparate reports of people dying or disappearing along migratory routes around the world, and particularly in the wake of two shipwrecks in October 2013, when at least 368 people died near the Italian island of Lampedusa. The Project hosts the only existing open-access database of records of deaths during migration on the global level. These data are used to inform the Sustainable Development Goals Indicator 10.7.3 on the “[n]umber of people who died or disappeared in the process of migration towards an international destination.” Missing Migrants Project is also a concerted effort towards informing the Global Compact on Migration’s Objective 8, which commits signatory states to “save lives and establish coordinated international efforts on missing migrants.”

Besides the database, the Project publishes reports, briefings and infographics (available on the Publications page) with analysis of the data by geographic region, risks on irregular migration routes, issues related to the identification of missing migrants, the challenges and coping mechanisms of families of missing migrants and data collection methodology. Information that could help those looking for missing migrants is available on the Resources for Families page. The Missing Migrants Project is a joint initiative of IOM's Global Migration Data Analysis Centre (GMDAC) and Media and Communications Division (MCD). The Project’s data is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. This means that Missing Migrants Project data and publications are free to share and adapt, as long as the appropriate attribution is given. This includes, at minimum, stating that the source is "IOM's Missing Migrants Project" and indicating if changes were made to the data. Ideally, a link to this website should also be included.

IOM's Missing Migrants Project is made possible by funding from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA) and Germany’s Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community (BMI). It was also supported by UK Aid from the Government of the United Kingdom. The views expressed here do not necessarily reflect the official policies or positions of the Governments of Switzerland, Germany or the United Kingdom.

More than 40,000 people have lost their lives during unsafe migration journeys since 2014. The data collected by Missing Migrants Project bear witness to one of the great political failures of modern times. IOM calls for immediate safe, humane and legal routes for migration. Better data can help inform policies to end migrant deaths and address the needs of families left behind.

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