Djibouti Inaugurates National Coordination Mechanism on Migration with IOM support

Published Date: 
Fri, 07/30/2021

Djibouti – The Government of Djibouti inaugurated yesterday (29 July) the office of the National Coordination Mechanism on Migration, a key milestone for migration management in the country. This office will coordinate all migration issues in Djibouti and will be the main interlocutor for partners working on migration at national, regional and global levels.

Djibouti serves as a key destination but also transit point for migrants coming from the East and Horn of Africa. In addition to the 150,000 irregular migrants who have settled in Djibouti city, many other migrants cross through the country to reach Gulf States in search of economic opportunities.

The so-called ‘Eastern Route’ via Djibouti and Somalia to the Gulf is by far the most travelled route in the region, with the majority (77 per cent) headed to the KSA via Yemen. Migrants who have reached the Gulf but are unable to sustain a living or continue their travels due to COVID-19 related movement restrictions, have been increasingly returning to Djibouti. The journey is perilous and at least 51 migrants have died in two shipwrecks in the first four months of 2021 alone.

Last year, approximately 112,000 migrants were recorded at IOM’s flow monitoring points across Djibouti, equivalent to only half of pre-pandemic levels. Along with the easing of restrictions, during the first half of 2021, migration flows continue to increase and are now reaching pre-pandemic levels.

Migrants traveling to Djibouti endure extreme temperatures during their long journeys on foot through the desert, and have very little access to food, water, and shade. They often fall ill or die from exhaustion and dehydration. Other hardships faced by migrants include a lack of access to basic services and increased risk of extortion by smugglers and traffickers, as well as physical and psychological abuse, including gender-based violence.

Due to the array of complex issues surrounding migration in Djibouti, a centralized, government-led coordination mechanism is a welcome relief for humanitarian actors, as it will help all migration stakeholders to meet the growing needs of migrants and host communities throughout the country. IOM is providing furniture and material for the office and will deploy a consultant to support its organization.

The Djiboutian Prime Minister, Aboulkader Kamil Mohamed, led the inauguration in the presence of the Ministers of Interior; Defence; Women and Family; Environment; and Commerce, as well as Ambassadors of the European Union, the United States, Japan and Ethiopia.

The establishment of this office, which is placed under the Ministry of Interior, follows ongoing discussions between the Djiboutian Government and partners from the UN and the civil society since 2017. This initiative will also allow the Djiboutian Government to capitalize on the benefits of migration, particularly in terms of development and labour migration.

“The establishment of the National Coordination Mechanism in Djibouti is a significant achievement in terms of migration management,” says IOM Djibouti Chief of Mission Stéphanie Daviot. “We congratulate the Government of Djibouti for taking this decisive step and remain available to support this initiative in coordination with our partners from the UN and civil society.”

This key achievement comes as IOM is receiving an additional EUR 3.5 million from the European Union to support the Government of Djibouti in managing migration in a safe, orderly and dignified manner.

For more information, contact IOM Djibouti Chief of Mission Stéphanie Daviot, Email: sdaviot@iom.int

SDGs: 10, 17

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