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BRAMA, June 15, 2002, 11 am ET

Press Release

17,000 slave and forced laborers worldwide have received first payments through IOM –
3,548 of compensated Nazi victims live in the United States, Canada and Mexico

Washington, 13 June 2002 — Under its ongoing program to register, review and respond to German Forced Labor Claimants, IOM paid out DEM 39,022,500 in a fourth round of payments this month. Within this round 10,818 former slave and forced laborers were compensated globally, and of this group, 1616 reside within the United States, 1154 in Canada, and 2 in Mexico.

Overall, IOM has made payments to 16,897 victims since January 2002. This is 25% of all presumably eligible claimants. IOM has undertaken this program and pays out claims on behalf of the German Foundation "Remembrance, Responsibility and Future", set up to compensate victims of the former Nazi regime.

According to Audrey Cash, the IOM Coordinator for the Program in North America, "Over the past 6 months, since the application deadline on 31 December 2001, IOM's work has become much more focused on processing and payment, since outreach and promotion requirements have diminished. The work is painstaking and detailed, since every claimant has his or her own story." IOM makes every effort to assure that all claims received are registered quickly and correctly, in order to ensure rapid decision making by the Foundation's legal team.

Overall individual payments will range from DEM 2,000 to 15,000 each, depending on the category of forced or slave labor. Victims in North America are paid in the equivalent in either US or Canadian dollars. Total payments are expected to be completed in two installments.

Of the more than 311,000 IOM claimants, a maximum of only 25%, that is approximately 70,000, will be eligible for compensation according to the criteria laid down in the German Foundation Act. This discrepancy in the figures is mainly due to the fact that large sub-groups as the Italian Military Internees and certain Western European claimants were only excluded after the implementation of the programme had already started. More than half of the estimated total of 70,000 eligible claimants are not able to provide sufficient evidence as required by the German Foundation Act. In only 10% of those cases, additional supporting evidence can be found through the time-consuming searches in German archives. For the remainder, IOM is currently looking for viable solutions and an efficient processing in close cooperation with the German Foundation.

As foreseen and required by the German Foundation Act, IOM set up an Appeals Body for slave and forced labour claims in Geneva The Appeals Body will work independently of IOM and the German Foundation.

The IOM Appeals Body consists of three members:

  1. ) Mr. Matti Paavo Pellonpaaa, Judge at the European Court for Human Rights
  2. ) Ms. Natasa Zupancic, Counsellor in the International Law Department of the Slovene Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and
  3. ) Mr. Les Kuczynski, National Counsel with the Polish National Alliance.

The composition of the Appeals Body has been the subject of discussions in IOM's Steering Group of Most Involved Victims' Associations, which provided two of its members.

Slave and forced labourers, as well as personal injury claimants under GFLCP, who do not agree with the decision on their claims or the amount awarded, have the right to appeal to the newly established body within six months of receipt of the decision. The appeal must be sent in writing to:

IOM, Appeals Body (FL)
Case postale 174
CH-1211 Geneva 19, Switzerland

For additional information:

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