Ethiopian migrants detained in Tanzania for irregular migration return to Addis Ababa

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it has helped to repatriate 67 Ethiopian migrants who entered Tanzania irregularly, en route to South Africa.

In collaboration with the Tanzanian government, the UN agency for migration said the migrants were released from detention, and given travel documents for their return to Addis Ababa. Returnees were also given medical screening and clothes before they left the Tanzanian capital Dar Es Salaam. All 67 migrants arrived in Bole International Airport on 28 September 2018.

These voluntary returnees later underwent an interview to determine their reintegration needs. IOM said they will receive personalised reintegration assistance in Ethiopia based on their identified vulnerabilities, which will facilitate their long-term reintegration into their communities of return.

In addition to traveling north to Europe, the route down south to South Africa is also increasingly popular. In July 2018, the African Union signed a protocol to facilitate free movement of Africans across Africa. The protocol needs to be ratified by at least 15 countries to come into force. However, Tanzania has gone in a different direction, reversing visa-on-arrival options for various nationalities this week, including Ethiopia, Nigeria and Djibouti. Ethiopians wanting to travel to Tanzania will now need to apply for a visa at least three months in advance.

This is not the first group of Ethiopians returning home from Tanzania. In June, IOM-Tanzania secured the release and return of another 300 irregular migrants from Ethiopia that had been held in several detention facilities in Tanzania.

Thousands of Ethiopian migrants make the long overland journey from Ethiopia each year, via Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi and Zimbabwe seeking economic opportunities in South Africa. While crossing, the migrants usually pay huge sums of money to traffickers with no guarantee of arriving. Those who are caught by border guards and immigration authorities of these transit countries end up in detention.

TMP – 19/10/2018

Photo credit: IOM. Ethiopian migrants at Julius Nyerere International Airport, Dar Es Salaam