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The International Organization for Migration (IOM) facilitated this week the voluntary and safe return of 113 Gambian, Liberian, Sierra Leonian and Senegalese migrants (5 women, 87 men, 1 girl, 20 boys) from Algeria through two special return flights.
The voluntary returns flights organized in close collaboration with the governments of Algeria, The Gambia and Liberia, departed on 18 and 19 July from Algiers to Banjul and Monrovia respectively. Thanks to a joint and coordinated effort, migrants were able to return home before the Eid Al Adha and spend the holidays with their families.
From Banjul International Airport, Sierra Leonian migrants continued their travel on commercial flights while Senegalese migrants continued their trip home using land transportation. Liberian migrants departed from Algiers directly to Monrovia. IOM has supported the migrants with airport formalities such as check-in, verification of documents and exit procedures.
Prior to departure, the returnees underwent health checks and got tested for COVID-19 (PCR). IOM has also provided them with pre-departure counselling services, protection screening and transportation assistance. IOM offered targeted assistance to migrants with specific situations of vulnerability such as unaccompanied migrant children, victims of trafficking and migrants with medical conditions.
“Due to the sanitary crisis, I decided to return home. I contacted IOM to benefit from a safe return to my country,” said Mohamadou, one of the returnees.
Throughout the return process, COVID-19 prevention measures were carefully followed in line with international standards. All returnees were also provided with prevention kits that include masks, hand sanitiser, information materials on COVID-19 prevention measures in different languages.
Upon arrival in their countries of origin, IOM staff received and supported the migrants. To ensure the sustainable reintegration of the returnees into their communities of origin, eligible returnees will receive reintegration assistance which may include economic, social and psychosocial support following the development of tailored reintegration assistance plans based on their needs.
The voluntary return movement was made possible thanks to the efforts and coordination between IOM offices and both government and consular authorities in Algeria, Liberia, Senegal, Sierra Leone and The Gambia. All beneficiaries, except Senegalese, were assisted with remote identity verification through interviews and subsequent issuance of emergency travel documents. IOM staff in The Gambia provided crucial support through transit assistance to migrants that arrived throughout the night from 18 to 19 July prior to their onward travel by air in the morning to Sierra Leone, as well as by land to Senegal, while IOM Liberia was able to complete necessary administrative arrangements thanks to the generous support of Liberian government.
The return movements were made possible with financial support from the European Union, the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the US Department of State, and the Kingdom of Denmark. Since the onset of the COVID-19, IOM assisted over 1500 migrants to safely return to their countries of origin from Algeria.
Distributed by APO Group on behalf of International Organization for Migration (IOM).