IOM's latest Vountary Humanitarian Return program aims at sending back Ethiopian migrants to Addis-Abbaba, here is what to keep in mind:
By: Louise Requin/ GICJ
The conflict in Yemen as well as the deteriorating conditions of life under the Covid-19 pandemic has driven the immigrant population of Yemen to the direst straits. IOM is setting up regular flights to Addis Ababa after at least 11.000 people have tried returning to the Horn of Africa in the past years. GICJ salutes this effort and stresses the necessity to meet appropriate resettlement standards, and to keep in mind specific vulnerability of the Tigray migrant population in Ethiopia.
Since 2015, Yemen is torn in a conflict opposing Iran-backed Houthis rebels to the government itself backed by a Saudi-led coalition. Houthi leaders have been sanctioned by the UN Security Council for their brutal methods which include arbitrary executions, the enrollment of children soldiers, diversion of food aid, as well as countless occurrences of maiming, killing, torture and enforced disappearances.
As a response, the Saudi-led coalition has imposed a blockade to try and drain the supply lines of the Houthis. This has caused severe famine and what is known to be the most severe contemporary humanitarian crisis.
In hopes of safely returning those trying to leave, IOM is setting up bi-weekly flights to Addis Ababa until the end of the year. The IOM is therefore calling for urgent funding from the international community. We welcome this effort to provide safe routes and encourage the funding of the Yemen VHR program.
Geneva International Center for Justice emphasizes the specific vulnerability of the Tigray migrants, who could be exposed to serious harm upon returning to Ethiopia.
Perhaps more importantly, we emphasize the specific vulnerability of the Tigray migrants, who could be exposed to serious harm upon returning to Ethiopia. The ongoing civil war and genocide targeting Tigray Ethiopians raises alarming concerns for such return programs. We urge the international community and the IOM to take this specific context into account when organizing returns and resettlement.
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