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Issue 507/ 15th - 21st Oct 2011
IOM Assists Ethiopian Migrants Stranded in Hargeisa/Somaliland with Voluntary Return and Reintegration
Hargeysa, Somaliland, October 15, 2011 – IOM facilitated assisted voluntary return (AVR) for 531 Ethiopian migrants stranded in Hargeysa, Somaliland, on September 29, 2011 to October 3, 2011, who wished to go home voluntarily. This IOM Assisted Voluntary Return Operation (AVR) planned for the last three months, followed requests by this group of migrants to return to their areas of origin in Ethiopia. Voluntariness determination is a precondition to the involvement of IOM in any return endeavor. This AVR activity is part of the IOM Mixed Migration (MM) Programme which is generously funded by the Government of Japan and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM).
This IOM return operation was closely coordinated with the Government of Somaliland and Government of Ethiopia. IOM invited two Immigration Officials to Hargeysa on 10 September, 2011 to screen the migrants. This operation was fully coordinated with key actors in the Somaliland Government such as the Somaliland Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reintegration (MRR&R), Ministry of Interior (MoI), as well as with IOM officials in Addis Ababa and the Mixed Migration Task Force (MMTF). The migrants were screened at the Migration Response Center (MRC) in Hargeysa and pre departure medical assessments, food and beverages were also provided by IOM to returnees throughout the journey.
Following completion of the screening in Hargeysa, IOM provided logistical support that assisted the migrants to return home. IOM, in collaboration and support by the Somaliland and Ethiopian authorities, ensured that security arrangements were in place. Upon arrival in Jijiga, the migrants received a reintegration grant and then proceeded onwards to their areas of origin.
Every year thousands of Ethiopian migrants embark on very dangerous journeys attempting to cross the Gulf of Aden to reach Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Europe and beyond in search for stability, security, better economic opportunities, education and health.
Many of these migrants suffer serious human rights abuses at the hands of smugglers and all of them incur large debts. “We really just want to go home now and try to start all over again. Many of us are sick and we want to get help at home,” said an Ethiopian migrant in Hargeysa who signed up voluntarily to go back to Ethiopia after becoming stranded in Somaliland.
IOM’s Mixed Migration Programme comprises six key components assisting migrants:
1. Outreach and advocacy (mass information campaigns) targeting migrants and host communities.
2. Emergency assistance including Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR).
3. Support to livelihood projects in home and host communities.
4. Capacity building for local authorities and local partners.
5. Countering human trafficking.
6. Support for a medium to long-term approach to encourage regional dialogue and cooperation.
For more information please contact Hisham Halim, IOM Hargeysa – email@example.com at +252 2 570 753 or +252 242 510 23