Berlin, Kabul – Yesterday (23/02) 125 Afghan nationals departed voluntarily from Germany to Kabul with the help of an Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme implemented by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
The group comprised 107 males and 18 females, of which 10 were children who traveled with members of their families. 13 families in total made the trip home.
They arrived safely in Kabul today (24/02), where they were welcomed by IOM staff.
"We thank the support of IOM for arranging our travel back home,” one returning migrant told IOM staff after landing in Kabul. “I feel so happy to be back at home, and want to make the best of what we have here in our country."
IOM in Afghanistan worked in coordination with the Afghan Government and authorities at Kabul Airport to plan the flight’s arrival and reception.
The office is also arranging onward transportation from Kabul for several migrants to ensure that they arrive safely to their destinations.
“The AVR assistance is a positive alternative to other types of return, or to remaining in the country of destination with limited possibilities of participation in the host society. It offers migrants the opportunity to re-think their future and make an informed choice prior to return”, said IOM Chief of Mission/Special Envoy for Afghanistan, Laurence Hart.
The AVRR programme in Germany (known as REAG/GARP, “Reintegration and Emigration Program for Asylum-Seekers in Germany / Government Assisted Repatriation Program”) is the largest and longest-standing assisted voluntary return program implemented by IOM globally.
Operational since 1979, the programme has assisted over 600,000 migrants in their voluntary return or onward migration to a third country. It is managed by the German Federal Ministry of the Interior and the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees in coordination with the relevant ministries of the 16 German Federal states.
Start-up assistance for voluntary returnees has also been provided since 1989 for nationals returning to countries considered high priority by the German government.
Argentina Szabados, IOM’s Chief of Mission for Germany, said that assisted voluntary returns from Germany to Afghanistan have increased significantly in the last few weeks. She cited the Afghan Embassy‘s information that up to 1,000 Afghan migrants in Germany have expressed interest in returning to Afghanistan voluntarily.
“The migrants have told us that the main reason they want to return to Afghanistan is because they see limited long-term opportunities in Germany and very little possibility for family reunification in the future,” she said.
For further information, please contact IOM Germany: Marian Benbow Pfisterer, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org, Tel: +49 911 4300 120 or Nasir Ahmad Haidarzai, Email: email@example.com, Tel: +93(0)794 100 542
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