Ethiopia + 1 more

Field mission report: Stranded Ethiopian migrants in Bossasso, North East Somalia/Puntland



1.1 Background

Bossasso, Puntland is a port town at the Northeast tip of Africa. For many years, Ethiopian migrants have travelled to Bossasso for the purpose of taking boats across the Gulf of Aden to Yemen and the Arab States in search of economic opportunities. On 8 October 2006, the Puntland Authorities rounded-up 1,370 individuals in Bossasso and deported them by road to Ethiopia. The Puntland Authorities continued to round-up Ethiopians in Bossasso but, at the urgent request of the UN, delayed deportation until a screening process is conducted to identify individuals who should not be deported. Those individuals in need of special protection included: Asylum Seekers, Victims of Trafficking, Unaccompanied Minors and Individuals with Significant Medical Conditions. At the beginning of November 2006 there were approximately 500 Ethiopians residing at a closed centre awaiting the screening process. Puntland authorities estimate that there are about 5000 Ethiopian irregular migrants in the town of Bossasso alone.

1.2 Projected activities of the mission

The major projected activities of the mission include:

1. Work with UN and NGO staff at Bossasso to develop and implement a screening process that identifies potential victims of trafficking.

2. Interview and identify victims of trafficking.

3. In coordination with IOM offices in Addis Ababa and Nairobi, develop a project proposal and budget for the return and reintegration of the identified trafficking victims.

1.3 Scope of the mission

Initially UNHCR made two specific requests of IOM:

1. To screen the population, identify victims of trafficking, and to assist in their return and reintegration.

2. To serve as the focal point with the Puntland Authorities regarding deportation movements to ensure the Puntland Authorities are aware of international obligations for humane and safe movements and ensure that if deportation movements are carried out by the Puntland Authorities they are monitored by the international community at all border points.

MAP: Typical Route of Ethiopian Migrants from Ethiopia to Bassaso, Somalia (as of Dec 2006)