Somalia: IOM Assists Ethiopian Migrants Stranded in Somaliland with Return Home

Published: September 19, 2011
Hargeisa Airport
Hargeisa Airport,/By: CharlesFred (Flickr)

IOM Assists Ethiopian Migrants Stranded in Hargeisa/Somaliland with Return Home and Reintegration

IOM is currently carrying out an operation to assist some 500 Ethiopian migrants stranded in Hargeisa,Somaliland, who wish to go home voluntarily. This IOM Assisted Voluntary Return Operation (AVR) planned for the last three months following requests by this group of migrants to return to their areas of origin in Ethiopia, is part of IOM Mixed Migration (MM) Programme. The Government of Japan and the U.S. State Department’s Bureau for Population, Migration and Refugees (PRM) generously fund the MM programme.
This IOM return operation has been closely coordinated with the Government of Ethiopia, who dispatched two immigration officials to Hargeisa on 10 September, 2011 to screen the migrants. It has also been 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 inAddis Ababaand the Mixed Migration Task Force (MMTF). The screening is progressing well at the Migration Response Center (MRC) in Hargeisa, with half of the migrants screened. Operations are to begin within the next week.
Following completion of the screening in Hargeisa, the migrants will be assisted by IOM to return home. IOM has ensured that security arrangements have been made.  Upon arrival in Jijiga, they will receive a reintegration grant and proceed 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 reachYemen,Saudi Arabia,Europeand 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 Hargeisa who signed up voluntarily to go back to Ethiopiaafter 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 Hargeisa – 

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