ABSTRACT

This chapter considers IOM’s identity and evolution through the lens of its work in Haiti and Libya. The analysis of IOM’s engagements in Haiti considers the agency’s involvement in community stabilization and migration regulation activities beginning in 1994, before examining its involvement in the response to the catastrophic earthquake of 12 January 2010. The discussion of IOM’s roles in Libya begins with analysis of its involvement in migration management efforts in the latter years of the Gaddafi regime, before turning to its role in humanitarian responses to the 2011 revolution, including the evacuation of migrant workers displaced from and within Libya. It also probes IOM’s role in post-Gaddafi Libya, including the agency’s involvement in controversial activities such as training the Libyan Coast Guard, providing aid in migrant detention centres, and facilitating returns from detention. IOM’s operations in Haiti and Libya offer critical insights into the agency’s development in the humanitarian sphere and more broadly, as they are among the largest in IOM’s history, and have shaped its involvement and approach in other countries. IOM’s work in Haiti and Libya has not been exclusively humanitarian. Rather, these cases bring into focus the tensions associated with IOM’s position as a “multi-mandate” agency that engages in humanitarian action as well as development interventions and other forms of migration management.