IOM Resettles 350 refugees on a first-of-its-kind charter flight to the US

17 April 2024, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia – Following years of minimal refugee departures, over 350 refugees depart Addis Ababa bound for the United States. Utilizing charter flights, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with strong support from the Government of Ethiopia is scaling up refugee resettlement operations in order to meet the United States ambitious 2024 refugee arrivals goal.

Dating back to 1951, the UN Migration Agency, IOM, has a long history for assisting governments to manage migration, including refugees, as well as to support solutions for displaced populations- including through refugee resettlement. IOM teams throughout Ethiopia provide support to refugees and receiving countries through the provision of support to country selection missions, health assessments, pre departure orientation as well as travel support.

The United States has committed to receiving more than 4500 refugees from Ethiopia in 2024 and IOM teams have ramped up activities in order ensure that these targets are met. IOM, through dialogue and cooperation with the Government of Ethiopia, IOM teams are exploiting all avenues in order to safely depart refugees. IOM will undertake a series of charter flight movements, as well as group bookings on commercial airlines in order to ensure that the thousand of refugees in the resettlement pipeline are able to reach the United States. It is anticipated that 4,608 refugees will reach the United States by June of this year.

Third country resettlement is a durable solution for refugees that are unable to return to their country of origin. Ethiopia has a long history of hosting refugees from throughout the region and have been a strong partner in facilitating third country solutions. Their innovative new refugee exit processing modality, allows for a more predictable departure of refugees, at scale.

Refugee resettlement requires the coordination of many partners, most notably, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees, the Government of Ethiopia (and various technical departments) and in the case of resettlement to the United States, the Bureau for Population Refugees and Migration. 

IOM works closely with Governments, UNHCR, NGOs and other partners, such as Ethiopian airlines and airport authorities, to enable resettlement. In the last decade alone, IOM has organized the resettlement movements of more than 1.19 million refugees and other vulnerable persons of concern from 166 locations around the world. 

In 2023 IOM has resettled 5,304 refugees from Ethiopia. Out of these, 1,194 were the US.
For more information contact Alemayehu Seifeselassie, IOM Ethiopia,