UN Migration Agency, Ethiopian Airlines Sign Agreement to Better Help Migrants, Refugees Transiting through Addis Ababa

To better facilitate refugee resettlement, as well as assisted voluntary return, to African countries through Addis Ababa, IOM, the United Nations Migration Agency, signed a cooperation agreement with Ethiopian Airlines on 22 September 2017. 

Addis Ababa Bole International Airport has become one of the major gateways to Africa and Ethiopian Airlines has taken on a major share of refugee resettlement international transportation. IOM Addis Ababa has facilitated the voluntary movement through the international airport, of 6,260 refugees in 2016 and 3,200 refugees in 2017.

This agreement will make it easier for refugees being resettled or migrants returning home through IOM’s programmes to identify where they can find assistance at the airport terminal. Helpdesks will be clearly marked with the IOM and Ethiopian Airline signs.

“Often we have refugees being resettled, or family reunion or assisted voluntary return cases, who do not speak English or the language of the transit country. Unable to communicate, they can miss connecting flights,” said Milun Jovanovic, the Operations Unit Head in IOM Special Liaison Office in Addis Ababa.

“Through the new cooperative agreement, the refugees, and other cases traveling under IOM arrangements, can now be identified, and vital assistance will be provided for them while they are transiting through Addis Ababa.”

Prior to this latest agreement on airport transit assistance, IOM and Ethiopian Airlines signed a Global Agreement and Chartered Flight Agreement for transportation services in August and September of 2016, respectively.

The transiting number of IOM-arranged passengers significantly increased upon the signing of the Global Agreement with the Airline in 2016. The United States takes the largest portion of those resettlement cases with 3,000 refugees resettled in 2017 so far alone.

Ethiopia has also become a host for the largest African refugees, currently hosting more than 800,000 refugees mainly from South Sudan, Somalia and Eritrea.

For more information, please contact IOM Ethiopia: 
Alemayehu Seifeselassie, Tel: +251116611117 (Ext. 455), Mobile: +251911639082, Email: salemayehu@iom.int
Milun Jovanovic, Tel: +251116611477/75 (Ext. 200), Mobile: +251911229752, Email: mjovanovic@iom.int

IOM staff assist migrants at the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. Photo: UN MIgration Agency (IOM) 2017