IOM, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, European Union and Government of Mali Work Together to Assist More Vulnerable Migrants
Thanks to support from the COMPASS initiative, in addition to the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, 149 migrants in distress in Niger were able to return to Bamako in safety and dignity. Photo : IOM Mali 2022/Moussa Tall
Bamako – One hundred and forty-nine (149) Malian migrants who opted for voluntary return to their country of origin were welcomed at Bamako International Airport on Friday 16 December 2022 by officials from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) in Mali, Netherlands Embassy, European Union Delegation, and Ministry of Malians Abroad and African Integration. The assisted voluntary return and sustainable reintegration of these migrants is the result of cooperation between IOM and the Kingdom of the Netherlands, complementary to assistance provided to migrants under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.
The support to this group of 149 returnees is planned and organized within the framework of the “Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships to Achieve Sustainable Solutions (COMPASS)” initiative funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands and implemented by IOM in partnership with the Government of Mali. Launched in 2021 in 14 countries including Mali, the COMPASS initiative is designed to protect people on the move, combat trafficking in persons and support the voluntary and dignified migrants’ return, while promoting their sustainable reintegration.
The 16 December flight is the second of its kind organized by IOM under COMPASS whose activities in Mali were initially focused on counter-trafficking. According to IOM’s Chief of Mission in Mali, Pascal REYNTJENS, this contribution from COMPASS allows for a wider coverage of assistance for migrant voluntary return and sustainable reintegration. “The support we receive from the Kingdom of the Netherlands through COMPASS allows us to diversify partnerships to support more vulnerable and stranded migrants who wish to return to their country of origin but lack the necessary means to do so,” he said.
The Netherlands Ambassador to Mali, Marchel GERRMANN, highlighted his country’s commitment to protecting vulnerable migrants and fighting against their exploitation. “Through the COMPASS initiative, we are working with IOM and the Malian Government to combat trafficking in persons and human exploitation. Facilitating the safe return of migrants to Mali is part of this effort. Together with the EU, we want to support these people to achieve reintegration in Mali and prevent them from falling into the hands of traffickers,” he said. IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration Programme is an important protection measure and one of the most appropriate options to support vulnerable migrants to return home in dignity and safety, with a view to a new opportunity for socio-economic reintegration.
Since the launch of COMPASS in January 2021, IOM Mali has assisted more than 500 victims of trafficking, as well as the 278 Malian migrants returned on two flights in December 2022. The Assisted Voluntary Return Programme has also been supported by the European Union (EU) since 2017, under the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. “The EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration launched with funding from the EU Emergency Trust Fund for Africa is the first comprehensive programme to save lives, protect and assist migrants along key migration routes in Africa. This initiative provides migrants who decide to return to their country of origin with assistance for voluntary return in conditions that are safe, dignified and respectful of international human rights standards and the principle of non-refoulement," said the European Union Ambassador to Mali, Bart OUVRY.
Thanks to the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration funded by the European Union, more than 36,000 vulnerable migrants from more than a dozen countries, including Guinea, Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Cote d’Ivoire, Niger, Cameroon, and Mali, have benefited from IOM Mali’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme to return home in dignity between 2017 and 2022. This new partnership will allow for a broader response to migrants’ needs.
For more information, please contact IOM Mali Media and Communications Unit, Tel.: +223 90 50 00 06, Email: email@example.com.