UN Migration Agency Supports Voluntary Humanitarian Return of 167 Guinean Migrants from Libya

Conakry – A flight chartered by IOM, the UN Migration Agency in Libya, arrived yesterday (07/12) at the Conakry-Gbessia International airport, Guinea, with 167 Guinean migrants, including seven unaccompanied migrant children, and three women with four children. Among the returnees were three medical cases that were directly transported to the hospital for medical follow up.

The returnees were welcomed by the Minister of Youth, the National Service of Humanitarian Affairs (SENAH), representatives of the Ministry of Guineans Abroad and the Ministry of Social Actions, a delegation from the European Union, and IOM.

Upon their arrival, returnees were provided with immediate assistance by IOM Guinea which included the provision of non-food items. IOM staff then began the registration and profiling process. The questionnaires will provide insight into the profile of the returnees, the reasons of their departure, their migratory path and their living conditions in Libya. It will help adapt the reintegration assistance to the needs of the returnees and their communities of return.

IOM Guinea also gave each returnee pocket money (EUR 50), in order to cover their immediate needs as well as the transportation costs. Within the next three months, IOM will assess the returnees’ situation on a case by case basis to help them find alternatives to ensure their sustainable reintegration in Guinea. IOM provides continuous psycho-social support to vulnerable migrants.

Most of the stranded migrants were held in detention centres in Trig al Matar, Tajoura and Qasr Ben Ghashir in the Tripoli region, Libya. Once they agreed to return, IOM conducted pre-departure interviews, medical examinations and facilitated the acquisition of travel documents and issuance of exit visas for all passengers.

“I was in Libya, and I spent three months in prison, I do not know the name because we never went out, only for beating sessions because I did not have money. I have a lot of pain in my upper body. I have to go to the hospital,”saidFrançois* to IOM staff.

Keita*, another returnee, was arrested in Sabratha together with his friends. After three months, they were sent to Tajoura. “We lost a friend not long ago. One day, we were taken out to eat the only daily meal, as he was not feeling well and he was hanging out, the guards have kicked him in the ribs. After that he started spitting and vomiting blood. Even his stool contained blood. He was sent to the infirmary. When we left, we asked for news about his condition. The doctor told us he had died. His parents do not know anything about it,”said Keita who must now tell his friend’s family about their son’s death.

Aicha*, who also returned on the chartered flight, borrowed the phone from an IOM staff: “Hello, Sister, it's Aicha, I'm at the airport, I'm back in Guinea because I did not want to die, but do not tell anyone. Not even to your own son because I myself did not tell anyone, not my mother, not even my husband. I do not know what they will give us here, but we need to see each other tomorrow. I need you. I came back but I would not stay at home, I have to find a rental even if it's a small room.”

Returning migrants residing in Conakry were able to return directly to their homes, while others from different parts of Guinea were accommodated for one night by SENAH at the Matam Transit Center, from where they will be able to reach their final destinations.

This was the 11th flight organized so far this year by IOM for Guinean migrants stranded in Libya. A total of 3,756 Guinean migrants were able to return to Guinea (including 4 per cent women and 5 per cent minors).

The returns and reintegration assistance are funded by the EUTF-IOM joint initiative for migrant protection and reintegration. Launched in April 2017 in Guinea, the project will be implemented over a period of three years and will cover six administrative regions: Conakry, Boké, Mamou, Labé, Kankan and N'zérékoré. As part of this project, IOM Guinea will support returnees, depending on their profiles and needs, to establish small businesses, as an individual or within a group, or to enroll them in vocational trainings.

*The names of migrants were changed to protect their privacy.

For more information, please contact Lucas Chandellier, IOM Guinea, Tel: +224 628 33 86 53, Email: