152 migrants stranded in Libya return to Chad, over 1,000 since 2018
N’Djamena – Last Thursday (24/02), 152 Chadians safely returned to N’Djamena from Tripoli with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. The group of returning migrants which included 14 women and girls, had been stranded in Libya some for several months. Their homecoming brings to 1,175 the number of Chadians who received voluntary return assistance from IOM to Chad since January 2018.
With an area of over 1.2 million square kilometers, Chad, one of the largest countries in Africa bridging Sub-Saharan Africa, the Sahel and North Africa is an important migration hub in the continent. Over 200 000 migrants were observed across the country through IOM’s Flow Monitoring Points in 2019. Among them, the majority, which were young men, migrated for economic reasons. A number of young Chadians, affected by insecurity, the lack of viable livelihoods and the effects of climate change and environmental degradation have risked their lives on irregular migration routes in search for better living conditions.
“Chad is one among the countries most vulnerable to the effects of climate change and environmental degradation where climate extremes such as sudden floods or droughts affect livelihoods and force populations to migrate in search for alternative livelihoods”, explains Anne Kathrin Schaefer, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Chad. “As people, and particularly youth leave their rural communities, they are coerced by false hopes and some have report falling into modern slavery and human trafficking schemes”, IOM’s Anne Schaefer adds.
In Chad, IOM provides comprehensive support to the Government on migrant protection which includes assisted voluntary return and direct assistance to vulnerable stranded and in-transit migrants, capacity-building and institutional support, migration data management and awareness raising. To better address the increase in migrant returns in recent years, the Government of Chad, with support from IOM, set-up in 2021 an Interministerial Migrant Return Working Group which brings together the Ministries of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Territorial Administration, the Ministry of Social Action, the Ministry of Health, the National Security Agency, the National Police as well as IOM. The Working Group is coordinates migrant return movements, ensures that all returning migrants are welcomed in a dignified manner, and that reintegration activities are well implemented.
Through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, 1,431 migrants have been assisted to return to their countries, 332 government officials including 85 female have been trained on migrant protection, return and reintegration and counter-trafficking. In partnership with youth associations and civil society actors, a multidimensional awareness raising campaign on safe migration has reached over 3,000 persons last year.
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