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|Somaliland: IOM Denies Supporting Deportations|
|Tuesday, 10 April 2012 14:43|
By: Yusuf M Hasan
HARGEISA (Somalilandsun) – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has denied that it supports the deportation of irregular migrants anywhere in the world.
According to the IOM's Mixed Migration Awareness Raising Project Assistant Mr. Dayib A. Askar, the intergovernmental organization is categorically opposed to deportations and only provides assisted voluntary return packages where voluntary return is requested from migrants wishing to return home on their own volition.
The clarifications were made jointly by the Ministry of Resettlement & Rehabilitation and IOM during a meeting with Somaliland Sun at the Minister's office in Hargeisa.
The IOM Hargeisa office, which also gave figures of voluntarily assisted migrants it has assisted to return to their countries of origin in close coordination with the Ministry of Resettlement and Rehabilitation and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) was reacting to a story published recently by the Somaliland entitled 768 Illegals Deported Last Year (See link http://somalilandsun.com/index.php/community/451-somaliland-768-illegal-immigrants-deported-last-year).
"While your article gave factual information, the use of the word deportation made it appear otherwise because IOM does not support forced return of irregular migrants" said Dayib
At the same time Hon Abdirazak Ali Osman the Minister of Resettlement & Rehabilitation who thanked IOM for their continued assistance, said that the intergovernmental agency has not only assisted the Government of Somaliland to voluntarily return a number of foreigners back to their homes but assisted the return of Somalilanders and Somalis stranded in other countries as well.
"We recently returned 766 Ethiopian migrants to their areas of origin in Ethiopia who requested to return home out of a total of 1,043 migrants registered in the last six months of 2011 including vulnerable children, women and elderly migrants.
The Minister also said that 105 Somalilanders were also returned to their homeland, (Somaliland) due to the civil war in Libya and these Somaliland returnees were intercepted in Libya towns. Their return operation was a coordinated operation of MRR and R and international agencies such as IOM and UNHCR.
The Minister also stated, that following the eruption of a civil war in Yemen the Government of Somaliland and its partner organizations assisted 176 Somalis who had requested to return home to their respective regions.
Both the IOM and Ministry of Resettlement & Rehabilitation pledged continued support to any vulnerable migrants in the country including Somalilanders and Somalis stranded anywhere in the world so long as it is voluntarily requested.
The Somaliland Sun takes this opportunity to clarify that the government of Somaliland together with its partner's did not deport 786 Ethiopians from Somaliland or citizens and Somalis from other countries but assisted in their voluntary return to their respective countries of origin.
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