Voluntary Return Flights of Ethiopian Migrants from Yemen Resume – IOM

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According to IOM, more than 600 Ethiopian migrants – including 60 unaccompanied migrant children – have so far returned to Addis Ababa from Aden on the first three repatriation flights of the year. Additional flights are due from Yemen to Ethiopia in the coming weeks.

Thousands of migrants stranded in Yemen have expressed their wish to voluntarily return to Ethiopia. IOM Yemen organizes flights, offers pre-departure advice and liaises with authorities to ensure safe passage and transit.

Upon arrival in Ethiopia, returnees receive food, temporary accommodation, medical assistance, counseling and other services.

“Migrants in transit or stranded in Yemen are among the most affected by the deteriorating humanitarian situation in the country,” said Christa Rottensteiner, IOM Representative in Yemen, in a statement. According to the UN agency, these migrants endure “life-threatening situations”.

More than 25,000 Ethiopian migrants deported from Saudi Arabia in two months

They arrive daily at IOM intervention centers after having suffered “inhuman treatment such as arbitrary detention, forced transfers, exploitation and torture”.

Ultimately, these repatriations are “the only option for a safe return from Yemen and constitute a lifeline for thousands of stranded migrants”, added Ms. Rottensteiner.

In addition, Addis Ababa is mobilizing in a separate operation to welcome thousands of Ethiopians expelled from Saudi Arabia. More than 25,000 Ethiopian migrants have been returned by Saudi Arabia since March 30 following an agreement between the Ethiopian and Saudi governments.

In the coming months, an additional 75,000 Ethiopian migrants will be returned as part of the ongoing operation. According to the IOM, Saudi Arabia has returned almost half a million Ethiopians since 2017. Hundreds of thousands of Ethiopians currently reside in the Saudi Kingdom, according to Ethiopian authorities.

These migrants may need assistance upon arrival in Ethiopia if they are also to be returned. Under these conditions, IOM believes that a coordinated multi-sectoral response is essential to ensure that returnees receive essential services such as medical care, food, shelter and psychosocial support, as well as specialized protection services to mitigate their immediate needs, risks and vulnerabilities and enable their return home in safety and dignity.

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