Rome/Madrid – The International Organization for Migration (IOM) this week (12/11) assisted 15 asylum seekers to relocate safely from Italy to Spain. The relocation – carried out by IOM in cooperation and with the support of the Italian Ministry of Interior, the European Asylum Support Office (EASO), and the Spanish Government, and with coordination from the Directorate-General for Migration and Home Affairs of the European Commission – was the first from Italy to Spain since the outbreak of the pandemic.
“We are happy to continue to support voluntary relocation. This departure – which was carried out in such a difficult context – was another important and concrete demonstration of European Union (EU) solidarity and cooperation,” said Laurence Hart, Director of the IOM Coordination Office for the Mediterranean.
The relocation operations, which are funded by the EU via the emergency assistance strand of the Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF), was one of several movements carried out in the last two months. Since September, 184 asylum seekers have been relocated from Italy to other EU Member States since September 2020, including to France (59), Germany (109), Portugal (12) and Finland (4).
The asylum seekers had been hosted in a single reception centre in the Italian region of Lazio, close to Rome. They departed from Rome’s Fiumicino Airport Thursday morning and arrived in Madrid. The group was then transferred to new accommodations in Madrid.
Before departing, Geraddine, an asylum seeker from Cameroon, told IOM in Rome that he was looking forward to starting a new life in Spain.
“I am grateful for the support I received while in Italy, and I hope I will be able to quickly learn Spanish so that I can support migrants who are going through the same path there,” he said before boarding the flight to Spain.
IOM is responsible for ensuring that relocation beneficiaries travel in a safe or orderly manner. Prior to their departure, IOM provides those being relocated with information and awareness about what lies ahead for them in the country of relocation. Special attention is paid to asylum seekers’ health needs and conditions, as well as necessary precautions concerning COVID-19.
The voluntary relocation programme aims to ensure the safe relocation of asylum seekers from Italy to the other EU Member States as a concrete demonstration of EU solidarity.
IOM and its partners will continue to do their utmost to support the implementation of the programme and to ensure that the human rights and dignity of migrants are upheld throughout the process.
For more information, please contact Flavio Di Giacomo at IOM Italy, Tel: +39 347 089 89 96, Email: email@example.com
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