IOM Trains Frontline Workers on Protection and Assistance to Vulnerable Migrants and Returnees
Addis Ababa – The East and Horn of Africa region is a major global hotspot for mixed migration including migrant returnees, refugees, asylum seekers, displaced and stranded persons, unaccompanied and separated children, migrant workers and trafficked persons and smuggled migrants.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) trained (15-18/8 and 22-24/8) 30 front-line workers on mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS), and prevention and response to gender-based violence (GBV) as part of efforts to improve protection and assistance services offered to vulnerable migrants.
The trainings happened in the Ethiopian capital of Addis Ababa with funding support from the Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen (MRP) and the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration (EU-IOM Joint Initiative).
Participants were drawn from key government agencies involved in migration management, and civil society organizations supporting migrants and returnees in vulnerable situations in Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, Kenya, South Sudan, Uganda and Yemen.
IOM is providing protection and assistance to migrants in vulnerable situations, including migrant returnees, trafficked persons, smuggled migrants with protection needs, rejected asylum seekers, migrants in irregular situations, stranded migrants, unaccompanied and separated migrant children, and migrants subjected to violence, exploitation or abuse.
IOM collaborates with key stakeholders to improve prevention and response to GBV as well as identification, assistance, and protection of vulnerable migrants in the Horn of Africa by ensuring mechanisms for identification and referral are strengthened and facilitating access to quality mental health and psychosocial support.
“GBV, and sexual violence in particular, is a critical protection concern affecting women and girls in the course of migration and displacement. There is an urgent need to scale up GBV response mechanisms to ensure timely, quality and comprehensive provision of services tailored to the specific needs, risks and vulnerability of the survivors” said Nimo Ismail, Regional Migrant Protection and Assistance Specialist at IOM.
Thousands of migrants originating from, and returning to, the East and Horn of Africa region often follow what is known as the Eastern migration route via Djibouti and onwards across the Red Sea to Yemen in search for work in the Gulf countries. They are vulnerable to protection risks and human rights violations throughout their migration journey, often resulting in a range of physical and mental health as well as psychosocial problems.
The violations and risks include, but are not limited to, intimidation, abuse, torture, sexual violence and death. These negative experiences might determine the pace of victims’ reintegration process back in their community of origin and its ultimate outcomes.
“The protection of migrants is enshrined in the Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen (MRP) framework. MRP partners call for universal mental health care and psychosocial support that leaves no one behind, including migrants and host communities along the Eastern route,” said Memory Mwale, IOM’s Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen Coordinator.
During the workshop, participants shared country experiences, good practices and lessons learnt. Priorities and needs were also identified to inform the development of support and response programing at country level.
The trainings were made possible with funding support from the Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen (MRP) and the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration (EU-IOM Joint Initiative).
About the EU-IOM Joint Initiative
Launched in December 2016, with the support of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), the programme brings together 26 African countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa, along with the European Union and the International Organization for Migration, around the goal of ensuring that migration is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities.
Regional Migrant Response Plan for the Horn of Africa and Yemen is a multi-stakeholder, multi-year and multi-country coordination framework bringing together governments, the United Nations, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) as well as international and national NGOs in Ethiopia, Somalia, Djibouti and Yemen to strengthen humanitarian and protection assistance to migrants in vulnerable situations; support durable and development-oriented approaches to return, sustainable reintegration and community stabilization; strengthen protection of migrants by building the capacities of Governments; and strengthen partnership and collaboration around evidence-based analysis of drivers of migration needs and trends of migration along this route.
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