Wednesday August 5, 2020
Representative image Image Credit: Flickr
Muhammed Hussein Abukar, Somalia’s ambassador to West Africa and Special Envoy to Iran and eleven Somali nationals have safely returned to Somalia after nearly six months of being stranded in the Islamic Republic of Iran due to COVID-19 global movement restrictions, according to a news report by Reliefweb.
They had been facilitated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in coordination with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Office of the Special Envoy on Migrant’s and Children’s rights in Somalia.
The COVID-19 pandemic has necessitated governments to take various containment measures, designed to limit the spread of the virus.
These extraordinary measures, including travel and mobility restrictions, are having an impact on all people, but some are exacerbating the precarious situations and vulnerabilities of migrant populations and in particular, leading to a large number of migrants being stranded.
Loss of jobs and income, lack of employment, loss of residence permits, and lack of resources to return home have all impacted mobility.
Migrants are stranded for various reasons beyond restrictions on travel and the related drop in international flights.
As visas and permits expire migrants are also facing deportation. This increases the possibility of further limiting access to health care and social support, stigmatization, and xenophobia.
This also raises risks of detention in already overcrowded facilities, as well as homelessness
The 11 migrants and the Ambassador had been under lockdown for several months in a hotel in Tehran, as they eagerly waited to be reunited with their loved ones in Somalia.