N’Djamena – This week (05/10), 110 Malians stranded in Chad safely returned home as part of IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return programme. Among the returnees are Chadians who had been living in Chad for several years and whose living conditions worsened due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This week’s charter flight brings to over 700 the number of migrants who have benefitted from AVR assistance from IOM in Chad in 2021.
Bridging Western and Eastern Africa and connecting Sub-Saharan Africa with the Maghreb, Chad is an important migration hub. Chad is a particularly attractive transit country for migrants hoping to reach Europe along irregular pathways, particularly crossing through the porous border between Chad and Libya. During these dangerous journeys, migrants expose themselves to risks of abuse and exploitation, and can become stranded in the country.
In 2019, IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) recorded over 200 000 travellers at 5 flow monitoring points across the country.
“In 2015, I took all my savings to go with friends to Europe via Libya. From Mali, I travelled to Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon before eventually reaching Chad”, explains Coulibaly Salif, 33. “I experienced abusive detention, deportation, and even disease, etc. I lost everything including valuable time”, he adds.
The charter flight was made possible through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration. Implemented in Chad since 2017, the Joint Initiative aims at strengthening migration management in West and Central Africa by providing direct immediate assistance to vulnerable migrations, strengthening the capacity of Government officials in migration management, and raising awareness for safe migration among migration-prone communities.
783 migrants from more than 10 African countries have safely return home from Chad with the support of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative. 451 Chadians stranded abroad have also benefitted from Assisted Voluntary Return as well as reintegration support.
“IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance activities, including assisted voluntary return, ensure that stranded and vulnerable migrants have access to safe and dignified ways to return home, should they wish to, and reunite with their families”, says Jean-Claude Bashirahishize, Project Manager for Migrant Assistance and Protection with IOM Chad.
The charter flight was coordinated with both the Chadian authorities and the Embassy of Mali in Chad.
“We immensely commend IOM and its partners for their impactful work which complements the Malian Government’ efforts to protect its citizens abroad”, said Mr TOGOLA Oumar, First Counsellor of the Malian Embassy in Chad.
For more information, please contact Francois-Xavier Ada, Communications Officer with IOM Chad. Email: email@example.com.