African Countries Discuss Return of Migrants

EU project brings together officials from Libya and Egypt with colleagues from Ethiopia and Sudan to discuss voluntary return and reintegration of migrants

An EU-funded project has held a study tour in Rome bringing together officials from Libya, Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan, to improve cooperation between countries facing the challenge of dealing with irregular migratory flows.

The tour was organised in late June by the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in the framework of the Regional Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) Programme for Stranded Migrants in Libya and Egypt (RAVEL), funded by the EU and co-funded by the Italian Interior Ministry. Its aim was to build capacity, enhance understanding and promote exchange of knowledge on AVRR concepts between some of the key migrant sending and migrant receiving countries, including transit and destination countries.

The tour involved eight senior Libyan, Egyptian, Sudanese, and Ethiopian government officials. The initiative sought to improve the cooperation between different countries facing the challenge of managing irregular migratory flows to and through North Africa, while ensuring that the rights of migrants are duly protected through a discussion on durable solutions presented through AVRR.

During the study tour, the delegates met with Italian authorities working in the field of migration. The study tour served as a platform for the exchange of information, as well enabling the generation of new ideas and viewpoints on the topic of migration management.

Through RAVEL, the IOM has to date provided over 750 migrants with the possibility to return home in a voluntary and dignified manner. The project targets mainly Sudanese, South Sudanese and Ethiopian migrants stranded in Egypt and Libya.

The assistance to returnees provided under the project includes a one-way ticket to the country of origin, pre-departure and post-arrival assistance, and the provision of economic support to ensure successful reintegration in the receiving community. Such support is provided in kind to set up an income generating activity, and the returnee is assisted by IOM staff all along the process, from business planning to equipment purchase, up to the follow-up six months after the end of the assistance.

Ultimately, the project aims at supporting national authorities and civil society in receiving and sending countries so that they are able to establish and consolidate an AVRR operational framework to ensure the respect of returnees’ rights, while at the same time assisting governments in the enhancement of their migration management capacities.

(Source: EU Neighbourhood Info)

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