A newly opened drop-in centre for migrants in Sudan will pay special attention to the needs of vulnerable women and ensure they receive gender-sensitive protection and assistance.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) runs several migrant resource centres (MRCs) in the Horn of Africa, with the newest being inaugurated this week. The MRC in eastern Sudan becomes the second such facility in the country.
Sudan presents a complex and diverse migration profile as a source, transit and destination country at the centre of multiple migration routes and is host to several migrant populations.
Gedarif state, located on the country’s eastern border with Ethiopia, is one of the main transit points for migrants from the Horn of Africa towards North Africa and onwards to Europe and the Arab Gulf states.
Migrants in transit lack access to basic services such as medical, psychosocial and legal assistance and are often vulnerable to exploitation and abuse by migrant smugglers, trafficking or forced labour.
The new MRC is aiming to serve vulnerable migrants in or transiting through Sudan including victims of trafficking, seasonal migrant workers, potential migrants as well as host and migrant communities and local institutions.
In Sudan, female migrants are particularly susceptible to sexual exploitation and domestic abuse. The Gedarif MRC will pay special attention to their needs. For example, when reaching out to migrants in administrative detention IOM Sudan has committed to providing gender-sensitive kits and facilitating female interpreters and doctors through local partners.
IOM Sudan will also address the needs of seasonal workers, among whom women often carry the burden of taking care of children as well as engaging in agricultural activities.
The new MRC in Gedarif was commissioned on Tuesday (5 March), by IOM at a ceremony attended by representatives from the different tiers of government, including the Ministries of Health and Social Development, and of the Interior, as well as migrant and host communities, local civil society actors as well as UN and international agencies.
Also, in attendance were representatives of the embassies of France, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Japan, and the United States.
The establishment of the MRC is part of the efforts by IOM Sudan to expand its migrant protection and assistance and community engagement activities across the country. It is the second centre of this kind, complementing a similar facility that IOM Sudan has been operating in Khartoum since 2015.
The opening of the new MRC was closely coordinated with the State Ministry of Health and Social Development, IOM’s main governmental counterpart in Gedarif.
As part of its migrant protection and assistance programme the MRC in Gedarif will enable IOM to address migrants’ immediate needs for protection and assistance as well as access to information in close coordination with local governmental and non-governmental counterparts and will also promote self-reliance among migrant communities. In turn this will contribute to IOM’s objective of strengthening the humane management of mixed migration flows in Sudan.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, IOM’s Chief of Mission Catherine Northing said: “We’re happy to work closely with the state government towards improving the protection of vulnerable migrants and access to assistance and services of both host and migrant communities.”
The opening of the MRC was also welcomed by the State Minister of Health and Social Development, Huda Ibrahim Elamir, who emphasized the importance of close coordination with IOM Sudan to improve access to services by both host and migrant communities.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).