This week (15/10), the International Organization for Migration (IOM) organized its first flight for voluntary return from the southern Algerian city of Tamanrasset to Niger’s capital, Niamey, carrying 166 Nigerien nationals, in close collaboration with the Governments of Algeria and Niger.
This is the first movement of its kind for vulnerable Nigerien migrants through IOM voluntary return activities facilitated by the governments of Algeria and Niger and in close cooperation with Air Algérie. This flight was organized to avoid a long tiring journey for migrants in transit by using a shorter way to go home.
For the first flight, 18 per cent of the returnees, including women and children were selected for their vulnerabilities, including medical needs.
“The successful return of over 160 vulnerable Nigerien migrants through this inaugural voluntary return flight ensures, safe and humane return of migrants who are in need of assistance to get to their country of origin,” said Paolo Caputo, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Algeria. “This movement is the result of the combined efforts of both IOM missions and the Governments of Algeria and Niger.”
IOM staff in Algeria provided medical assistance to more than 10 migrants prior to their flight and ensured that all their health needs were addressed during their travel and upon arrival in Niger.
IOM also provides technical support to the Government of Niger in registering the returned Nigeriens upon arrival in Niger and deliver basic humanitarian assistance before they travel to their communities of origin.
Since 2016, IOM missions in Niger and Libya have assisted over 7,500 Nigerien migrants with their return from Libya through voluntary humanitarian return operations.
Upon arrival, the groups of Nigerien migrants returning with IOM-organized flights from both Algeria and Libya receive assistance, such as food and pocket money, to cover their immediate needs, including in-country onward transportation.
After the migrants have returned to their communities of origin, IOM offers different reintegration support depending on their needs, skills and aspirations. This can include medical assistance, psychosocial support, education, vocational training, setting up an income generating activity, or support for housing and other basic needs.
“This movement today represents a big step in the right direction for the dignified return of migrants in the region,” said Barbara Rijks, IOM’s Chief of Mission in Niger. “We are grateful for the financial support of the Governments of the United Kingdom and Italy who have made this possible,” she added.Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).