International Organization for Migration (IOM)
Frank Laczko, Ann Singleton and Julia Black
Date of Publication: 
Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Since 2014, IOM has documented nearly 25,000 migrant deaths around the world. As discussed in the first volume of this report, the quality and coverage of data on missing migrants varies widely by region. The available data are often not comparable because of different data collection methods and definitions of who is a missing migrant. The global picture is distorted by the fact that more data are available for Europe and North America than for other regions of the world. This availability of data partly reflects the high incidence of deaths in these regions and partly is a result of more resources being available for the data collection tasks. Nonetheless, as is the case across the globe, many bodies (an unknown number) are never recovered or identified in Europe and North America.

Gathering more and better-quality data on missing migrants is especially important at a time when States are discussing how best to achieve safer and more orderly migration. Finding better ways to measure and document unsafe migration is also important, given the inclusion of migration in the 2030 Global Agenda for Sustainable Development. All countries have agreed, according to this agenda, to work towards promoting safe, orderly and regular migration. This language is also used in the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migration signed in September 2016, which will be followed by the signing of a global compact for migration in 2018. Building upon the New York Declaration for Refugees and Migrants, the global compact for safe, orderly and regular migration will set out a range of principles, commitments and understandings among UN Member States regarding international migration in all its dimensions. Better quality data on all aspects of migration and the deaths that occur during migration will be essential to improving the evidence base for these policy discussions.

Each chapter of this report presents, as accurately as possible, the best available data on the number and profile of missing migrants regionally, and the data on the numbers of persons who are identified. Each chapter also discusses how such numbers are collected. Furthermore, the report explores how data collection could be improved in regions of the world where anecdotal and unofficial reports indicate that many migrant deaths and disappearances occur. For example, it is evident that in some regions of the world, the percentage of missing migrants identified is much higher than in other regions (see Table a). This information suggests that there is scope to increase identification rates, and that there are practices in some regions which might potentially be adopted in other regions.

Type of Resource: 
Research & Analysis
Publication Year: