IOM, EU Delegation and Government celebrate First Year of Partnership on Migrant Assistance and Reintegration in Cameroon
Yaoundé – On July 5 IOM, the UN Migration Agency, the Delegation of the European Union to Cameroon and the Cameroonian Ministry for External Relations marked the first year of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in Cameroon.
“Through this innovative project we have assisted many Cameroonians who were stranded in other countries and in need of assistance to return home. Many of them have suffered from exploitation, violence and abuses” said Boubacar Seybou, IOM Chief of mission in Cameroon. “For their reintegration to be successful and sustainable, it is important they regain control of their lives, and this is why we support them in creating income-generating activities”.
This project aims at strengthening the mechanisms for migrant protection and assistance all along the Central Mediterranean migration route. In addition to facilitating the voluntary return of Cameroonian migrants, the EU-IOM Joint Initiative also focuses on supporting returnees’ reintegration in the country and on raising-awareness on the risks of irregular migration.
Initially foreseen to support 850 Cameroonians in three years, in the first year of this partnership just over two thousand Cameroonians already benefited from assistance to return. Among them, 463 (339 men, 124 women) have already started their income generating activities in fields such as agriculture and herd breeding, retail and services.
«This initiative is fundamental for the European Union, as it allows people who have suffered, to voluntarily return to Cameroon, to benefit from medical assistance if needed, and to be economically reintegrated in their country », has explained Ambassador Hans-Peter Schadek, Head of the EU Delegation to Cameroon.
The Cameroonian Ministry for External Relations reiterates its message that « Migration is an unavoidable reality carried by diverse reasons and perspectives. Although the news has darkened the picture, let us not forget that migrants are also those who travel to study abroad, to find long separated families, to face more challenges in their professional career or simply and legitimately to seek better livelihoods. »
The programme in Cameroon is part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration which facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration governance through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration.
The EU-IOM Joint Initiative, funded by the EU Trust Fund for Africa, covers 26 countries in West, Central, East and North Africa.
For more information, please contact Serena Pescatore, in charge of Communication and Awareness-Raising at IOM Cameroon at firstname.lastname@example.org