This blog is intended to go along with Population: An Introduction to Concepts and Issues, by John R. Weeks, published by Cengage Learning. The latest edition is the 12th (it came out in 2015), but this blog is meant to complement any edition of the book by showing the way in which demographic issues are regularly in the news.

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Friday, June 29, 2018

UN Rejects Trump's Choice for Head of International Organization for Migration

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) was created after WWII to help resettle European refugees from that war. Over time it has become the world's major organization keeping track of international migrants and helping to formulate migration policies. The IOM is based in Geneva and has always had a connection to the United Nations, although that was tightened up in 2016. Since the 1960s, the director general of the IOM has been an American, most recently William Lacy Swing, a long-time American diplomat and ambassador to several countries. He recently retired and the assumption was that another American would take his place. But, no--as multiple media outlets, including The Guardian, reported today.
United Nations member states have emphatically rejected the US candidate to lead the organisation’s migration agency, despite the risk of financial reprisals from the Trump administration. Ken Isaacs finished a distant third in the last round of voting for the position of director general of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), a position that has been held by an American since the 1960s. The decisive vote appeared to be a response to Donald Trump’s policies on migration as well as the rejection of a candidate who had tweeted Islamophobic comments and cast doubt on climate change science.
António Vitorino, a Portuguese Socialist party member who is close to the UN secretary general, António Guterres, was elected despite a determined and well-resourced campaign by the US mission to the UN.
The U.S. has been the biggest donor to the IOM and the Trump administration's response to rebuffs of this type are typically to withdraw support. We'll have to see if that happens here.

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