IOM, European Union and the Government of Ethiopia Strengthen Partnership to Support Migrants during COVID-19
Addis Ababa - With the European Union’s (EU) revitalized commitment to a single cohesive migration policy as set out in its new Pact on Migration and Asylum, a high-level delegation from the European Union visited Ethiopia for a dialogue with the Government of Ethiopia (GoE), IOM Ethiopia and migrants.
The delegation was led by H.E. Josep Borrell, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the EU Commission, and H.E. Janez Lenarcic, the EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, who visited an IOM Transit Centre in Addis Ababa.
Funded by the EU and other partners, the transit centre provides Ethiopian returnees with the post-arrival assistance they need to return to their home communities with dignity and to rebuild their lives. The migration stories shared by migrants and discussions with the GoE led by H.E. Tsion Teklu, State Minister for Business and Diaspora Affairs in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Maureen Achieng, IOM Ethiopia Chief of Mission and Representative to the African Union (AU) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA), reinforced the need to build on proven successes in scaling up return assistance, sustainable reintegration and livelihood development in migration-prone communities.
“During my visit to the IOM Transit Centre for Ethiopian migrant returnees, I met Najat, a 12-year-old girl. She has just been returned from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and her story is beyond what a child should ever have to endure”, said H.E. Josep Borrell.
The delegation also visited European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) -funded projects in the Somali region, including Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in Qoloji hosting over 80,000 people.
The European Union is among IOM’s major donors supporting the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration program, IOM’s response to the returnees from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, humanitarian response in displacement settings and livelihood and reintegration support through the EU trust fund.
Maureen Achieng, on her part, said, “The glaring gap we continue to grapple with is that of reintegration. Trends in recent years in terms of rates of re-emigration underline the critical importance of ensuring returning migrants are sustainably reintegrated. Without this, compelling push and pull factors continue to put many of these vulnerable youth into the hands of smugglers and traffickers. It is critically urgent that we break this vicious cycle.”
Over the past three years, IOM has assisted 20,712 Ethiopian returnees from transit and destination countries on the Eastern, Southern and Northern routes. Out of these returnees, more than 3,600 were provided with reintegration and livelihood support. Reintegration and livelihood support are among the major areas for which Ethiopia’s Government has requested IOM support.