Three places, but the same conversation in Somalia – Somalia

Somali nationals are active on the three main migratory routes out of the Horn of Africa: the “eastern route” to the Arabian Peninsula, the “northern route” to Libya and Europe, and the “southern route”. To South Africa.

But not everyone who embarks on one of these trips succeeds. Some find themselves stranded in transit or even in the intended destination countries. When this happens, migrants may wish to return to their home communities. To do this, they often seek the assistance of the Joint EU-IOM Initiative for the Protection and Reintegration of Migrants (the Joint EU-IOM Initiative).

The program was launched a year after the 2015 Valletta Migration Summit, organized to address the urgent need to protect and save the lives of migrants, as well as to strengthen migration governance along the migration route from the central Mediterranean. It was then extended geographically and at scale.

However, the EU-IOM joint initiative has retained its original goal of offering stranded migrants the opportunity to return to their communities of origin, where they can also benefit from support based on their needs to rebuild their lives.

The program also supports the three Migration Response Centers (MRCs) in Somalia. In total, there are 12 RCMs located along the main migration routes of the Horn of Africa, which provide assistance to migrants in difficult and sometimes fatal situations.

The EU-IOM joint initiative celebrated its 5th anniversary on December 16 and three events were organized in Somalia to celebrate the occasion, as well as the International Migrants Day, which is commemorated annually on December 18.

The guests were mainly returnees and members of the communities of origin.

In Mogadishu, the venue was the MRC whose director, Mohiadin Abdullahi, highlighted the risks associated with irregular migration which he said could potentially endanger the lives of migrants.

“We had a great conversation and not only were the risks of irregular migration discussed, but we also got to talk about the skills returnees can bring to their returning communities,” said Hussein, a local youth.

Salaad Abdullahi, a returnee from Libya, said: “It was an important event where returnees and young people discussed the positive contributions to their communities and to the country as a whole, in addition to skills and experience. acquired abroad.

In Bossaso, the local university held celebrations that brought together students and returnees for a discussion.

“I have never been able to sit down and talk to the young people who have migrated and have now returned to the country, but today I had the opportunity to listen to their stories and to discuss with them the issues that I am facing. also concern, ”said Naasir Ali. , one of the students of the university.

Abdikadir Awad, Dean of Social Sciences at Bossaso University, added: “Migration by legal means and with a reason is not a bad thing. The Prophet Muhammad emigrated from his hometown of Mecca in search of a better life to the city of Medina. So young people should always know about it.

The main objective of the interactions in Bossaso was to raise awareness about irregular migration in general and to highlight the services that IOM provides to migrants and returnees.

In Hargeisa, the celebrations took on another dimension, although the underlying purpose was also to raise awareness. The highlight was the screening of a film in the presence of representatives of the National Agency for Displacement and Refugees (NDRA), returnees, members of host communities, UNHCR staff and others from the Ethiopian community center.

The film was about the “Eastern Migration Route” to the Middle East and featured two Ethiopian migrants whose goal was to travel to Saudi Arabia in search of a better life. But they did not succeed and found themselves stranded in Somalia, albeit for different reasons.

“I never thought that migrants suffer so much on their journey. I hope that my friends who had migrated before and who have now returned to their country have recovered from all these pains, ”said Adam, a young person from the region.

Among those present at the event was the head of IOM’s sub-office in Somaliland, Ria Rashid. “December 18 is a special day to celebrate the role and contributions of migrants and returnees to host communities around the world and on this important occasion, IOM advocates for safe, regular and orderly migration and no not encourage irregular migration, ”Rashid said.

NDRA President Abdikarim Hinif paid tribute to IOM and the EU for their support to migrants and returnees. “Thanks to the joint EU-IOM initiative, nearly 500 migrants have been returned mainly from Libya to Somalia and we therefore encourage returnees to use the reintegration program provided by the program to resettle sustainably in their communities.

About the EU-IOM Joint Initiative

Launched in December 2016 with the support of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), the program brings together 26 African countries from the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Horn of Africa and North Africa, as well as the European Union and the International Organization for Migration, around the goal of ensuring that migration is safer, better informed and better governed both for migrants and their communities .

For more information, please contact Masood Ahmadi, email: [email protected] or Wilson Johwa, email: [email protected]

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