For the Benefit of Some: The International Organization for Migration and its Global Migration Management

  • Fabian Georgi
Part of the Migration, Minorities and Citizenship book series (MMC)


On 8 August 2003 a few hundred activists of the Sixth Anti-racist Border Camp in Germany made their way from their tents in the Rhine meadows in Cologne to nearby Bonn. Here they demonstrated in front of the office of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), an intergovernmental organization with 127 member states and an annual budget of more than 1 billion US Dollars (USD) in 2008. Its central motto is ‘Managing Migration for the Benefit of All’ (IOM, 2008a). The demonstrators contested this. For them, IOM always acted ‘in the interests of governments and against autonomous migration and unwanted refugees’ (Anti-racist Border Camp, 2003, p. 3, translation F.G.). The rally was the finale of a 2-year campaign under the slogan ‘Stop IOM! Freedom of movement versus global migration management’ organized mainly by the Noborder Network, comprised of leftist and immigrant groups from different European countries. A day of action in October 2002 targeted the IOM offices in Berlin, Vienna, and Helsinki. During the G8 summit in Evian in May 2003 so-called anti-globalization activists demonstrated outside the IOM headquarters in Geneva, hurling stones. Police reacted with tear gas (interview No Border activist, 25.04.2009). At the same time, the NGOs (non-governmental organizations) Amnesty International (AI) and Human Rights Watch (HRW) denounced IOM for violating the rights of migrants: ‘Our research and the research of colleague organizations […] has revealed a range of ongoing IOM activities that appear to obstruct, in whole or in part, the rights of the very people IOM is tasked with assisting’ (HRW, 2003, p. 3; cf. Amnesty International/Human Rights Watch, 2002).


Member State International Migration Migrant Worker Global Governance Migration Policy 
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© Fabian Georgi 2010

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  • Fabian Georgi

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