Date Published: 
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Migrants at the Immigration Department in Dar Es Salaam. Photo: IOM
Ethiopian migrants boarding the flight at the Julius Nyerere International Airport, Dar Es Salaam. Photo: IOM
Ethiopian migrants at the Julius Nyerere International Airport, Dar Es Salaam. Photo: IOM

Last Friday (28/09) the UN Migration Agency (IOM) office in Tanzania successfully secured the release and return of 67 Ethiopian irregular migrants who were detained in Tanzanian prisons.

All 67 irregular migrants were escorted from different prisons in Tanzania to Dar es Salaam by IOM staff who assisted with the issuance of travel documents and other preparations for their return. During their trip from Dar es Salaam to Addis Ababa, the migrants were accompanied by delegates from the Ethiopian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Immigration Department, as well as staff from IOM Ethiopia.

Prior to their departure and in line with IOM’s voluntary return procedures, all 67 migrants underwent fit-to-travel medical examinations. They were provided with non-food items including clothes and toiletries and received departure assistance at the Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam.

Upon their arrival at Addis Ababa, they were received by the IOM Ethiopia team, which provided post-arrival support in the form of psycho-social and medical assistance as well as an orientation session.

IOM Tanzania Chief of Mission Dr. Qasim Sufi expressed his appreciation for the collaboration between the Governments of Tanzania and Ethiopia, and for the IOM staff efforts in securing the release of all 67 irregular migrants who had been detained for several months in various prisons throughout Tanzania. He further thanked the representative of the newly opened Ethiopian Embassy in Tanzania for facilitating the issuance of travel documents for the returning migrants and applauded the presence of an Ethiopian embassy in Tanzania that will speed up the process of migrant returns back to Ethiopia.

Gerald Kihinga, acting Commissioner General of Immigration, thanked IOM for the continuous support that it provides to the Government of Tanzania to manage migration in the country. He further added that more collaboration and coordination between the Governments of Tanzania and Ethiopia is needed to address the increasing number of Ethiopian migrants irregularly entering Tanzania.

The return of the 67 migrants was made possible with generous financial support from the project Improving Protection of Migrants, Horn/Gulf of Aden/Yemen, Phase VIII. The project is funded by the United States Department of State’s Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM) and managed by IOM Ethiopia.

Heba Abdel Latif, the IOM Coordinator for the project, was delighted to see that the IOM joint-country efforts had a successful outcome. She further added that the returnees will receive personalized reintegration assistance in Ethiopia based on their identified vulnerabilities, which will facilitate their long-term reintegration into their communities of return.

The Horn/Gulf of Aden/Yemen: Improving Protection of Migrants, Phase VIII project aims to enhance the management of mixed migration flows in the Horn of Africa and Yemen by supporting governments and protecting the rights of migrants.

The project also focuses on ensuring that vulnerable migrants benefit from improved protection, assistance at Migration Response Centres and protection services, aligned to international standards and provision of direct assistance (this includes assisted voluntary returns, non-food items, and medical supplies to assist vulnerable migrants). 

For more information please contact:
Gracia Anthony at IOM Tanzania, Tel: +255 716 204156, Email:
Heba Abdel Latif at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 983 85 86 55, Email:
Yves Hatungimana at IOM Ethiopia, Tel: +251 989 82 28 87, Email: