EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa Kick-off Meeting in Somaliland

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Hargeisa – The European Union (EU) funded “Reintegration Facility” project was kicked off on Tuesday (24/04) in an event hosted by the Somaliland Government, EU and IOM, the UN Migration Agency. The project activities will help migrants from Somaliland who have become stranded in African countries to return home voluntarily and reintegrate into their communities. It will also assist Ethiopians in Somaliland return home and provide them with reintegration support.

Representatives from the Government, Civil Society and the United Nations (UN) attended the event, coordinated with the National Displacement and Refugee Agency (NDRA).

“Somaliland’s new administration has established NDRA to respond to returning migrants. IOM through the EU is supporting us to help reintegrate returning migrants into their communities. We are happy that we are launching a project covering this issue and we hope all participants will contribute to the implementation of this project.” – Mr. Abdulkariim Ahmed Mohamed, NDRA Chairman.

“Even though Somaliland already has many unemployed youth we accept our people who want to return home. However, we need to support the returning migrants when they come back, and we specifically are requesting support for the migrants to start businesses as part of a full reintegration scheme, with follow-up until they stand on their own feet.”  – H. E. Abdirahman Abdilahi Ismail (Saylici), Vice President, Somaliland.

Collective responsibility to act and support migrants in need 

IOM Chief of Mission, Dyane Epstein said, “For the programme to be truly effective in supporting returning migrants and their communities, it must be a ‘joint initiative’ between all stakeholders.” She continued by describing how, the ‘Joint Initiative’ will help to develop further this essential close co-operation to facilitate safe, humane and dignified voluntary return and reintegration.

Pilar Palmero, Head of Cooperation and Chargé des Affaires at the EU Delegation, pointed out that “the situation of migrants stranded in African countries is a priority for the EU and we are very keen to make sure that those who want to return are supported not only with onward travel but also with reintegration assistance for them and their communities”.

The project will increase the capacities of partner countries and relevant stakeholders to develop or strengthen return and reintegration policies and processes, facilitate safe, humane and dignified assisted voluntary return processes among partner countries, and 3) facilitate sustainable reintegration across three dimensions: successful economic reintegration and strengthened livelihoods, social reintegration and psycho-social reintegration.

Background 

The project is part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration, which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration. The EU-IOM Joint Initiative, backed by the EU Trust Fund, includes close collaboration with 26 African countries.

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