News from and about Ukraine & Ukrainians: Ukrainian Community Press Releases
BRAMA, July 26, 2002, 9 am ET
Extended Hotline Hours Improve IOM Service for German Forced Labor Claimants
GENEVA, 19 July 2002 -The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is extending the hours of its German Forced Labour Compensation Hotline.
In order to provide better service to claimants spread across the globe, a multilingual IOM team now answers queries and questions regarding compensation and status of claims Monday through Friday from 7.00 a.m. to 7.00 p.m. (GMT + 1) or 1.00 a.m. and 1.00 p.m. (EST)
As of 22 July, the new Hotline number is +41-22-5928-230.
So far, IOM has made first payments to almost 30% of the estimated 70,000 eligible claimants under the German Forced Labour Compensation Programme. Approximately 260,000 of the applicants who filed a claim with IOM will not receive compensation because they do not satisfy the criteria of the German Foundation Act. This figure includes, for example, more than 130,000 claims from Italian Military Internees (IMIs) and 70,000 from Western European forced labourers.
Under the Swiss Bank Settlement, IOM has received 23,000 claims and 300 Holocaust survivors have received their full compensation payment.
More than 50 years after the end of World War II, a majority of claimants no longer have the documents needed to support their claim.
To help those claimants who cannot provide the required evidence, IOM is working with the International Tracing Service in Bad Arolsen, Germany to gather enough evidence to make sure claimants receive compensation.
IOM is also working with victims' associations, ethnic organizations and other partners, and consults with the German Foundation, to find supporting evidence in order to settle imcomplete claims as quickly as possible.
Unfortunately, each of these additional steps to provide proof adds to the processing time for the claims.
"As a rule we give priority to processing claims of victims themselves, rather than those of heirs, because we are very concerned that many of the elderly claimants will not receive this humanitarian gesture while they are still alive," Dirk De Winter, the Director of IOM's compensation programmes, emphasizes.
Compensation for slave and forced labour under the German Forced Labour Compensation Programme is paid in two instalments, the second of which will only be paid after all eligible victims have received the first payment. Payments for property loss will be made in a single instalment after all claims have been processed. The programmes are expected to be completed by the end of 2004.
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