|Wednesday, 20 July 2011|
|Coastguard s from Somalia’s Puntland, Somaliland as well as Djibouti are taking part in an innovative IOM training programme to equip them with the necessary skills to assist and protect irregular migrants and asylum-seekers travelling at great risk through Somaliland, Puntland and Djibouti en route to Yemen and the Gulf States.
The six day workshop, which opened yesterday in Djibouti City, brings together 50 coastguards as part of a Japanese-funded initiative to equip them with the necessary equipment and skills to assist and protect vulnerable migrants, trafficking victims and smuggled migrants.
“This training is critical to enhance the coastguards’ ability to save lives,” says IOM’s Mixed Migration Coordinator Husham Halim. “We are particularly encouraged to see that for the first time, coastguards from Somaliland are taking part in the training alongside colleagues from Puntland and Djibouti. This will no doubt increase their ability to respond at a sub-regional level.”
These workshops are part of a broader IOM programme to strengthen the protection of, and emergency assistance to, irregular migrants and asylum-seekers from Somalia and Ethiopia travelling through the region.
Every year, tens of thousands, mainly Ethiopian and Somali migrants and asylum-seekers, make the hazardous journey from their place of origin across the Horn of Africa and the Gulf of Aden to Yemen and beyond. These individuals, driven by political unrest and extreme poverty face not only dangers at sea but also physical risks, harassment and discrimination during their journey on land.