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Guidelines on voluntary return and reintegration of migrants adopted in Somalia



I was so happy to go back to my country and reunite with my family

GENEVA, Switzerland, November 16, 2021 / APO Group / –

Somalia is a key origin and transit country for migrants, although many of its nationals also return, sometimes due to unforeseen problems on major migration routes or in places of destination.

Since 2017, more than 950 Somalis have been assisted to return voluntarily under a program funded by the European Union, known as the Joint EU-IOM Initiative for the Protection and Reintegration of Migrants in the Horn of Africa (“the EU-IOM joint initiative”).

Support for stranded nationals allowed them to return home in safety and dignity. Among them was Fatima, 23, repatriated from Sudan and also a mother of a child. “I was so happy to return to my country and to be reunited with my family,” she said. “Since I couldn’t reach my destination country, which was Germany, there was no other reason for me to stay in Sudan.”

Following a vulnerability assessment, returnees assisted under the joint EU-IOM initiative can be further supported to restore their lives to their communities of origin. Options include the possibility of enrolling in vocational training or being funded to set up a micro-enterprise.

Children are helped to enroll in school while returning communities can also be assisted in setting up initiatives that tackle some of the drivers of irregular migration.

More than 780 returnees have benefited from reintegration assistance since 2017.

One of these beneficiaries was Mohamed (26), a returnee from Libya, who chose to open a small store in Bosaso. He said he was familiar with this type of business and was doing well.

However, until now, there were no agreed national standards for the management and reintegration of migrants returning to Somalia. But that changed in early November when partners adopted guidelines for Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR), a process long supported by IOM.

The spearheading agreement on the guidelines was the Office of the Special Envoy (OSE) for the rights of migrants and children, which reports to the Office of the Prime Minister of the Federal Government of Somalia.

OSE is IOM’s principal counterpart in Somalia at the strategic and political level and chairs the Return and Readmission Working Group (RRTF) which coordinates assistance to returnees and migrants at the federal and interstate level. members.

The RRTF is the main coordination mechanism for the main interventions of the Joint EU-IOM Initiative in Somalia.

With the agreement on national guidelines for AVRR, partners can now expect a coherent approach to the return and reintegration of vulnerable migrants and returnees.

Ambassador Mariam Yassin, Somalia’s Special Envoy for Migration and Children’s Rights, paid tribute to IOM and the EU for supporting the RRTF’s consultations on SOPs. She said government buy-in was the most crucial element in the consultation process that dates back to 2018.

Richard Danziger, IOM’s head of mission in Somalia, said the migration situation in Somalia, particularly in Puntland, required a strong government response, adding that SOPs would facilitate a coordinated response for various government institutions.

Puntland – particularly its port city of Bosaso – is the busiest sea crossing in the East and Horn of Africa and is mainly used by Ethiopian migrants seeking to travel to the Arabian Peninsula via Yemen.

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