Bosnia & Herzegovina

BiH: IOM launches e-course to help border guards address COVID-19 challenges

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized an e-course aimed at helping Border Police officers safely execute their duties under the confusing circumstances of COVID-19.

The IOM notes that the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically changed many aspects of migration, including human movement, trade patterns, and border management. Despite the restrictions, border officials continue their work, processing travelers and detecting and assisting migrants crossing borders illegally.

“As more countries think about lifting restrictions and reopening borders, the new measures are essential to protect officials and migrants and enable safe and orderly cross-border movement. This is especially true in the Western Balkans, where the International Organization for Migration (IOM) has just launched an COVID-19 e-learning course at the Access Points. The five-module course is designed for officials who come into direct contact with people on the move, ”says IOM.

Based on recent guidance from the World Health Organization, expected course outcomes include familiarizing officials with the history, main symptoms, transmission, and methods of preventing COVID-19. The course is also expected to enhance their understanding of the international legal framework that guides the COVID-19 response to entry points and about key steps to detect and manage sick travelers. Finally, he will present the basics of psychological first aid and highlight the importance of protecting the rights of migrants in the context of COVID-19.

“This crucial new course is both timely and globally important,” said Renate Held, Director of the IOM Regional Office for South East Europe, Eastern Europe and Central Asia. “It will contribute to the revival of cross-border mobility by preventing the spread of COVID-19 and protecting the rights of migrants. It draws on IOM’s long experience in addressing migration and border health security challenges and provides invaluable assistance to our Member States. ”

Hilde Hardeman, Director and Head of the European Commission’s Foreign Service Instruments Service, said the course would go a long way in helping protect the health of migrants, travelers and border guards. “This is about protecting the health and really the dignity of all those concerned. “Adherence to international health regulations in border management and migration is and will remain key to this today and every day, even when we decide behind the current pandemic,” she added.

The online course was developed with the support of the EU through the project entitled “Addressing the COVID-19 Challenges within the Response of Migrants and Refugees in the Western Balkans”.

The project, a partnership between IOM and UNHCR, responds to the challenges generated by the COVID-19 pandemic in border management and migration.

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