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Eight African migrants drown,  several others injured off the Horn of Africa 

 

Staff from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) today (05/10) assisted Djiboutian authorities as they attended to the grim task of recovering and burying eight drowning victims whose remains washed ashore after a lethal journey from Yemen over the weekend.

The victims—from a total of 34 mainly Ethiopian and Somali migrants seeking to return to Africa after attempting to find work in the Arabian Gulf—make even more tragic a recent wave of Africans arriving in Djibouti.

“It was at night and the smugglers turned off all the lights on the boat, claiming we were being followed the Coast Guard. But they were lying,” 19-year-old survivor Galgalou Haji Wacho from Oromo, Ethiopia, told IOM.  “There was no Coast Guard. They started hitting us with sticks and iron bars.”

Mr. Haji Wacho said he was in the water for nearly two hours, struggling to make out the coastline ahead. “I could not see anything,” he recalled. “It was pitch black. I did not know whether I was dead or alive.”

He and twenty-five others, some of whom suffered injuries, today are receiving medical treatment at IOM’s Migrant Response Centre in Obock.

READ  IIOM provides food, water to latest group of Rohingya rescued in East Aceh, Indonesia

While thousands of African migrants remain stranded Yemen, authorities fear some of those may be waiting for a chance to re-cross the dangerous waters many already braved to get to the Arabian Gulf just months ago. Thus, the prospect grows of more fatalities in the coming weeks and days.

Said Stephanie Daviot, Chief of Mission, IOM Djibouti, “This tragedy is a wake-up call. Migrants are arriving in Djibouti in large numbers from Yemen. Regional governments and the international community must come together to address a situation of dangerous journeys facing migrants in the region since the outbreak of COVID-19. Migrants who are unable to move forward in their journey and with no means to return home.”

She added: “Risking their lives, facing exploitation from smugglers, and in this instance, very tragically, death and injury, these migrants run a gauntlet that makes a mockery of respecting migrants’ human rights and dignity. IOM is concerned there could be further drownings.”

The tragedy follows the arrival of some 2,678 migrants from Yemen into Djibouti since July, according to IOM data. Say others who have arrived here in recent weeks, most are trying to return to Ethiopia and other nations after having failed to reach the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia despite managing to leave Africa for Yemen.

READ  Nigeria Immigration intercepts irregular Cameroonian migrants

Due to COVID-19 related border closures, and the extreme danger facing migrants in the Gulf state, many have given up on their hope of finding jobs and opportunities in the Kingdom.

IOM Djibouti has been providing emergency medical care, food, water, tents and counselling on COVID-19 awareness and prevention measures to those arriving in Obock. Moreover, IOM has assisted an estimated 1,239 migrants who already had been stranded in Djibouti for months.

Meanwhile, across Djibouti’s border in Ethiopia, IOM has been assisting returnees with food, water, clothing and other essentials they need for their journeys home.

In August, IOM launched a USD84M appeal – Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen (RMRP) – to respond to the needs of migrants in the Horn of Africa and Yemen taking such journeys, and to help an estimated 14,000 migrants currently stranded in Yemen. Many want to go home and rely on smugglers to do so for lack of alternatives.

READ  IOM returns over 18, 000 migrants

IOM is advocating for humanitarian access to those in need of help and is working with regional governments to help those who want to return home.

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Dominican Republic, IOM clear hurdles for 100,000 Venezuelan migrants

The Migration Normalization Plan will allow Venezuelans living irregularly in the Dominican Republic to work, move without risk of deportation, open bank accounts and join the country’s social security system.  Photo: IOM / Francesco Spotorno

 

 

Santo Domingo – The first group of almost 100,000 Venezuelan migrants without legal status in the Dominican Republic have received visas allowing them to work, open bank accounts and join the social security system under the country’s Migration Normalization Plan.

Created by the Dominican government and launched with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the plan aims to regularize the Venezuelan population in three stages: application for extension of stay, visa, and residency. Since April, when the first phase began, 43,000  Venezuelans have registered to extend their stay and, on 1 July, the first group of 21 Venezuelans received their work visa.

“Now that I have my visa, I feel that for others like me a lot of opportunities are opening. We will be able to establish more safely and formally to offer a better future to our children,” says Gabriela Rivero, who arrived in the country with her husband and daughter in 2018.  “Once we settled, we did not imagine how difficult it would be to get a job because the lack of documentation closed all doors.”

READ  UNHCR releases supplementary COVID-19 appeal to meet exceptional refugee needs in 2021

Since 2019 Gabriela has led a support organization for Venezuelan migrants in Santiago de los Caballeros called FEV (Fundación Emigrantes de Venezuela), which offers free orientation and helps hundreds of migrants daily to complete their normalization plan applications.

With IOM support, eight Venezuelan migrant organizations have created orientation hubs to assist the Venezuelan population who are applying to the plan. Of the 43,000  registered through the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) web page, around 9,000 have visited the hubs for help on the procedure. The promoters and coordinators of each hub – mostly Venezuelan migrants – have learned the process with the support and guidance of the DGM team and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX). Besides being trained for orientation, they became the pilot group of the plan to receive their extensions and visas.

“The idea of this process is that we are the ones at the front of the hubs, a migrant helping a migrant, a Venezuelan helping a Venezuelan,” says Iván Carrera, a lawyer from Caracas and legal adviser of FUNCOVERD (Fundación Colonia de Venezolanos en RD). Carrera works as a promoter at the orientation hub in El Sambil Santo Domingo, one of the locations with the most people requesting support for their application.

READ  A decade of death, destruction and displacement must not sap our solidarity with Syrians

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

READ  Asylum seekers especially those living in the big camps were deprived of their rights in so many ways during the lockdown

Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

READ  IOM returns over 18, 000 migrants

“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

READ  Hondurans, Salvadorans relive abusive experiences at US border

 

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