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29 November 2018

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Nelmy Ponce signs up with IOM to return to Honduras. Photo: The Washington Post/Carolyn Van Houten

Faced with Months-long Wait in Mexico, Some Caravan Migrants Decide to Go Home

Tijuana, Mexico (The Washington Post) – Nelmy Ponce and her three children are tired of sleeping on the ground, rain or shine. They’ve had enough of the insults – passersby screaming “pigs!” at them – just because they’re foreigners.

When they first joined, the migrant caravan seemed like a way to escape the precariousness of living amid Honduran gangsters. Now she says it feels like its own kind of purgatory, with no chance to apply for asylum in the United States anytime soon.

“God is telling me to return home,” Ponce said.

“They make the decision for a variety of reasons,” said Ivonne Aguirre, a program coordinator with the International Organization for Migration (IOM), which is assisting migrants with returning home. “Some have sick relatives, some miss their families, some are surprised by the conditions here, which are not what they imagined.”

And so Ponce, a 46-year-old taco vendor, and her three children on Wednesday sat in plastic chairs under a small tent advertising an option some of the most desperate here are now considering: “assisted voluntary return.”

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Refugees from Côte d’Ivoire walk along a forest trail to find safety and shelter in eastern Liberia. Photo: UNHCR/G.Gordon

What Ghana Can Teach Us About Integrating Refugees

(World Economic Forum) – Refugees in Ghana have the same legal rights as ordinary citizens. They can live, work, and own businesses and properties, just as any other Ghanaian national.

Not much attention is given to the refugee situation in Ghana, but it should be. Its refugee community has been off the radar because it is small. With 14,000 registered refugees across five camps, the population is largely considered a non-issue. Nevertheless, it deserves special attention.

The refugee ‘problem’ in Ghana is small enough to manage and big enough to test economic and social integration solutions. In addition, policies that allow refugees to live and work in Ghana provide ample opportunities for governments and international organizations alike to prototype and create integration solutions without hindrance. These solutions could be replicated across different refugee and migrant communities.

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Migration Policy Institute Podcasts:
IOM’s Nicola Graviano joins other experts to discuss migrant return and reintegration.

Click here to listen


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Sajad: “We faced enormous difficulty then, but when we crossed to this country things got a little bit better.”

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  • AP reported that Mexico’s President-elect Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador signaled that his government would be willing to house Central American migrants on Mexican soil while they apply for asylum in the United States.
  • Voice of America reported that more than 400 Ethiopian migrants stranded in Yemen will be airlifted home by the end of this week. This is the first time since 2015 that IOM has airlifted migrants out of Yemen.

  • Sri Lanka’s Daily FT and Colombo Page reported that during 109th IOM Council in Geneva  Sri Lanka’s ambassador to the UN urged countries that have for ‘decades valued and sustained migration as a source of national economic advancement’ to unreservedly endorse the Global Compact for Migration.

  • ANSA Med Med highlighted the start of the third edition of IOM’s Global Migration Film Festival, which will showcase documentaries and films exploring the theme of migration and human mobility. 

  • The Guardian reported that countries are failing to take actions needed to counter climate change, adding that, according to a UN report, commitments made in the 2015 Paris Agreement won’t be met unless governments introduce such measures as a matter of urgency.

  • Indonesia’s Tempo reported that human trafficking, especially of women, must be closely monitored following a devastating earthquake striking Palu in September.

  • Reuters reported an Australian court has sentenced a Papua New Guinean to five years for people smuggling after convicting him of bringing Chinese nationals to an island off the coast of Queensland.