Hargeisa — IOM, the UN Migration Agency in collaboration with Somaliland’s Ministry of Rehabilitation, Resettlement and Reconstruction, Hargeisa Migration Response Centre (MRC), the Ethiopian Community Centre in Hargeisa, the Ethiopian consulate in Somaliland, Somaliland’s Immigration Department and Somaliland’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, assisted 68 vulnerable Ethiopian migrants to return home on 6 December 2017.
This Assisted Voluntary Return (AVR) movement was supported by the Regional Mixed Migration Program funded by the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (BPRM).
After the 68 migrants were selected, IOM contacted the Ethiopian consulate in Hargeisa to carry out a nationality screening exercise and issue travel documents. The men, women and children were provided temporary shelter, food and onward transportation assistance to their final destinations upon arrival in Ethiopia. IOM missions in Hargeisa and Ethiopia worked together to verify their final destinations. The returnees were flown to Addis Ababa and received at the Bole International Airport by IOM Ethiopia on the same day.
“The IOM AVR programme is an indispensable part of a comprehensive approach to migration management aimed at orderly and humane return of migrants who are unable or unwilling to remain in host or transit countries and wish to return voluntarily to their countries of origin,” said Fesial Mohamud, a Project Officer with IOM Somalia’s Migrant Assistance Division.
There has been an increase in the number of Ethiopians deciding to return home in the recent past, according to the Hargeisa MRC database. The database also reveals that Ethiopian migrants who move to Hargeisa hoping to improve their economic status often opt to return home due to economic and social challenges.
Between January and November 2017, IOM Somalia through the Hargeisa Migration Response Centre (MRC) received over 230 applications for AVR from Ethiopians residing in Hargeisa. Many of the applicants were single mothers and the elderly who said that they would have found it difficult to make the trip home without support.