The International Organization for Migration (IOM) in 2020 has repatriated a total of 1,473 Bangladeshi migrants who were stranded in different countries.
The UN organisation on July 10 stated that Bangladesh has been 6th among the top 10 countries of origin of the migrants who had returned voluntarily to their countries of origin.
The Return and Reintegration programme, released important highlights, including trends, figures and initiatives, and efforts to aid and reintegrate migrants returning voluntarily to their countries of origin during the previous year.
The enforced border closures and restrictions of mobility by governments globally in response to the coronavirus pandemic in 2020 has posed never-before-seen challenges to IOM’s return and reintegration activities.
They resulted in several adaptations allowing the organisation to continue providing return and reintegration support to migrants.
In 2020, the IOM aided 42,181 migrants to return home voluntarily, which includes those who were stranded or in vulnerable situations, a decline of 35 per cent from 2019.
From them, 4,038 migrants who lived in humanitarian crisis-hit Libya and Yemen, and 1,100 stranded in various countries because of coronavirus were repatriated.
The European Economic Area remained the main host region in 2020 with 16,649 migrants assisted to return to their countries of origin.
Niger was the primary host country with a total number of 9,069 migrants assisted to return, reconfirming the trend of increasing numbers of returns taking place from transit countries.
From the estimated 42,000 migrants aided, 40 per cent returned within the same region in 2020. 65 per cent of such flows consisted of migrants aided to return within West and Central Africa.
Guided by IOM’s Integrated Approach to Reintegration, which is operationalized in the Reintegration Handbook, country offices worldwide promoted the sustainable reintegration of migrants through reintegration counselling (either pre-departure or upon arrival) as well as economic, social, and psychosocial assistance at the individual, community and structural levels. Despite fewer migrants assisted to return in 2020, IOM maintained a high level of reintegration support, with 121 country offices in host or transit countries and countries of origin providing 106,230 reintegration services.
“This publication demonstrates that despite the challenging circumstances posed by the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, IOM continued to provide critical assistance to migrants returning to their countries of origin in a safe and dignified manner. IOM also devised innovative ways to assist them and their communities with their sustainable reintegration,” said Yitna Getachew, Head of IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance Division.