Saturday, June 5, 2010

UN Office to Open in Juarez: Will Follow the "Colombian Model"

For the past two years the violence generated in the drug wars has led to the displacement of countless families, some members of whom have fled to El Paso or other parts of Mexico. And in the Valle de Juarez for several months entire families have been displaced by drug gangs who simply threatened residents with death unless they vacated their homes, threats that have been acted upon in various instances. This has created a pool of displaced persons (the size is still unknown) that has become of object of attention of the International Organization of Migration of the United Nations.

Diario ran a story this morning (click here) announcing the location of an IOM office on the Bridge of the Americas, to help coordinate national government efforts to deal with displaced families.

According to Thomas Lothar Weiss, the chief of mission of the OIM in Mexico, the OIM will follow what they refer to as "the Colombian model," which has been applied by the OIM in various global locations including several cities in Colombia, Afghanistan, Iraq, and the Congo. In Colombia in the mid-1980s the OIM started various small projects to offer alternative paths for demobilized guerrilla soldiers, including training and education that would facilitate their reinsertion into society after years of guerrilla activity. "The model worked well in Colombia and has been adapted and exported to various countries that are emerging from civil war or high levels of violence," he said.

A quick check of the IOM web site revealed it's 2010 global budget was about $650 million (U.S.) for operational costs and about $49 million in administrative costs. Its mission statement can be seen here.

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