The UN migration agency said on Friday a new Migration Response Centre (MRC) to cater for the needs of vulnerable migrants returning to Somalia is due to open its doors in Mogadishu.
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) said it has handed over the facility to the Banadir Regional Administration.
The IOM said in a statement issued in Mogadishu that the MRC is part of its efforts to expand its migrant protection, assistance and community engagement activities across the country.
“It will provide migrants with direct assistance, information, counseling, and referrals, as well as play a key role in promoting the sustainable reintegration of Somali returnees provided with Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR),” said Isaac Munyae, a program manager with IOM Somalia.
The city represents a hub for returning migrants both through IOM programs of voluntary return as well as for migrants forcibly returned.
The new MRC is the eighth of its kind in the Horn of Africa and complements the services provided by the two MRCs located in Bossaso and Hargeisa.
According to IOM, the facilities serve as one-stop centers for stranded migrants and returnees, including victims of trafficking as well as for unaccompanied and separated children in need of information and protection related services.
IOM said returning migrants often lack access to basic services such as medical, psychosocial and legal assistance and are in need of support in sustainably reintegrating into their communities of origin.
“There is no question that once they come back, many of these young Somali migrants need support, and the right support on their return will really contribute to the rebuilding of Somalia,” said IOM Somalia Chief of Mission Richard Danziger.
The UN agency said the center will contribute to IOM’s objective towards strengthening the humane management of mixed migration flows in Somalia.
The country presents a complex and diverse migration profile as a source, transit and destination location at the center of multiple migration routes.
Omar Mohamed Mohamud, mayor of Mogadishu within the Banadir Regional Administration, stressed the importance of boosting efforts to protect the rights of migrants and returnees.
“This is a special MRC because it is the first in southern Somalia that will provide services to vulnerable Somali returning migrants,” Mohamud said.