IOM Supports Debate to Promote Dialogue on Migration in Puntland

Somalia - On 8 October the International Organization for Migration (IOM), with funding from the US Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugee and Migration (PRM), supported a dialogue and debate forum on migration in Puntland. The debate was organized by the Ministry of Education and Higher Education (MEHE), and held at the Puntland State University. The forum covered issues of irregular migration in Somalia, particularly from and through the coastal region of Puntland, which is a major embarkation point for many irregular migrants from various countries in the Horn of Africa. These irregular migrants include Ethiopian and Somalis who cross  the dangerous Gulf of Aden sea route on transit to Arab countries.

IOM and three academic institutions made presentations: the East Africa University (EAU) made a presentation on human trafficking from an Islamic perspective; the University of Bossaso (UOB) presented the findings of a research they conducted on irregular migration in Puntland; and the Puntland State University (PSU), made a presentation on international legal frameworks to address human trafficking and smuggling.

The debate sensitized youth about irregular migration in Somalia, and increased the knowledge of the public on risks, and root causes of irregular migration and human trafficking. Possible measures to mitigate their negative impact were also discussed, and those present had their knowledge enhanced to enable them to detect and report cases of trafficking.  TV stations namely Puntland TV made a documentary about the debate which will broadcasted, Somali National TV, and websites such as Puntlandone.com, Raxanreeb.com, Garoweonline.com, and Galkayo Radio aired Information about the debate.

The forum was attended by the Vice President of Puntland, the Puntland Police Commissioner and seven Ministers, namely the Minister of Education and Higher Education, the Minister of Women Development and Family Affairs (MOWDAFA), the Minister of Youth, Labour and Sports, the Minister of Justice and Religious Affairs, the Minister of Commerce, the Minister of Interior and the Ministry of Information. They all participated in the discussion on irregular migration. Youth drawn from youth clubs, youth associations, different universities and secondary schools got the opportunity to ask government officials questions on trafficking, smuggling and irregular migration.

Speaking during the closing of the ceremony the Puntland Vice President Abdulhakim Abdullahi Omar Amey said, “There are numerous institutional factors causing the youth to migrate and become victims of trafficking. Factors such as youth unemployment, a poor education system, education geared towards equipping youth with skills to be job seekers rather than job creators, poor security, and weak law enforcement institutions among others contribute to irregular migration. Our government lacks sufficient funds to address all these factors, but we will try to address the issues leading to irregular migration.”

For more information, please contact IOM Somalia, Solomon Tagel, Tel: 00 254 791 843 372, Email: tsolomon@iom.int.