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‘There are still many Sudanese migrants who need to be brought home’

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Continued support by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will enable Sudanese nationals stranded abroad to return safely and to contribute to the country’s reconstruction, especially in the wake of the recent transition.

This is according to Salwa Eltinay of the Secretariat for Sudanese Working Abroad (SSWA), a government agency concerned with Sudanese migrants and those in the diaspora.

Mrs. Eltinay’s remarks were heard during a Participatory Programme Monitoring Meeting (PPMM) of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration in the Horn of Africa (also known as ‘the EU-IOM Joint Initiative’ or just ‘the Joint Initiative’).

She thanked partners that have contributed towards the success of the EU-IOM Joint initiative. “IOM and the Joint Initiative have helped to alleviate the suffering of migrants. They also provided projects in the host communities,” said Mrs. Eltinay, who was represented by a colleague.

Her comments came at a time when the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in the region is winding down after over four years of providing support to migrants, returnees, and communities of origin; including and working to build the capacity of government agencies and local partners.

Through the PPMM - a monitoring, evaluation and accountability process - the EU-IOM Joint Initiative was looking to document the lessons learnt during the programme’s lifespan in Sudan, in addition to improving implementation and collaboration, while also planning for a sustainable exist.

“We are ready for more partnerships,” said Mrs. Eltinay. “I would like to appeal to donors in the international community for more financial support for the Joint Initiative to continue because there are still many Sudanese migrants that need to be brought home to participate in the building of the new Sudan.”

Sudan is a source, transit and destination country at the centre of multiple migration routes. It also hosts several migrant populations. Sudanese nationals are among the largest populations of irregular migrants in Libya, their primary destination, which is followed by the Gulf States and Egypt.

Speaking at the same event, IOM’s Chief of Mission for Sudan Catherine Northing said reintegration support was a vital service provided to returnees, not least because they often struggle to rebuild their lives, especially if they were out of the country for a long time. This is on account of many returnees having to face the same economic, social and psychosocial challenges that prompted them to leave in the first place.

Through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, over 3,300 Sudanese migrants have been assisted to return to Sudan as of August 2021.

Among the returnees who were at the PPMM and shared their experiences in Libya was Mohammed Saifeldeen. The 27-year-old travelled with two friends through Chad and was detained in Tripoli for 21 days. “As soon as I got out of detention all I wanted to do was to return home,” he said.

With support from the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, Mohammed now runs an agricultural machinery repair business in Khartoum’s Hillat Koko district. He is also an MTN merchant for pre-paid electricity and mobile phone recharge cards. “I am very happy with where I am today in my life and have lots of plans for the future.”

Alia Hirji, Programme Manager of the EU-IOM Joint Initiative in Sudan, highlighted the programme’s achievements, including in protection, return and reintegration, and capacity building.

“The core of the programme is now complete and as we look at the sustainability we want to see how our results and achievements can inform the wider migration governance structures and enhanced migration governance,” Ms. Hirji said.

About the EU-IOM Joint Initiative

Launched in December 2016 with the support of the European Union Emergency Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF), the programme brings together 26 African countries of the Sahel and Lake Chad region, the Horn of Africa, and North Africa, along with the European Union and the International Organization for Migration, around the goal of ensuring that migration is safer, more informed and better governed for both migrants and their communities.

For more information please contact: Wilson Johwa, email: wjohwa@iom.int and Fathia Amin, email: famin@iom.int