Photo: Mary Sanyu Osire / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Somaliland Hosts Migration Film Festival to Mark International Migrants Day 2017

Hargeisa – As part of IOM’s second annual Global Migration Film Festival, and to mark International Migrants Day 2017, the UN Migration Agency organized a screening in Hargeisa and Borama on Monday 18 December 2017 of the documentary ‘Wallah Je Te Jure,’ directed by Marcelo Merletto.

The film tells the stories of men and women travelling along West African migration routes to Italy. Senegal's rural villages, Niger's bus stations and "ghettos" full of traffickers, Italian squares and houses are the backdrops of these courageous trips, which often end in tragedy. No matter the cost, the goal to reach Europe will be achieved, "Wallah." But there are those who, tired from the journey, turn back home.

Photo: Mary Sanyu Osire / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

Organizers of the Global Migration Film Festival invited professional and emerging filmmakers from all over the world to submit films themed around ‘the promise and challenges of migration for those who leave their homes in search of a better life and the contributions they make to their new communities.’

In Hargeisa, a total of 200 people – largely comprising youth – converged to watch the documentary, engage in a panel discussion highlighting opportunities for youth in Somaliland, and enjoy cultural performances at an event IOM hosted in collaboration with the Better Migration Management programme (BMM) which is funded by the European Union and the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) and the Somaliland National Youth Organisation (SONYO). A parallel activity at Hargeisa’s Migrant Response Centre drew an audience of Somalilanders and Ethiopians who marched through the streets of Hargeisa disseminating messages related to protection of migrants and risks of tahriib (irregular migration).  

Photo: Mary Sanyu Osire / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

One hundred kilometres away, another 200 people converged in Borama at sunset to watch the movie, engage in a debate about the risks of tahriib (irregular migration), and enjoy cultural performances at an event IOM hosted in collaboration with the Youth Job Centre in Borama.

During the events, IOM disseminated information about the latest findings of its Displacement Tracking Matrix. Furthermore, the audience was given material designed to sensitize them about the dangers of human smuggling and human trafficking.

In her opening remarks, the Head of IOM’s sub-office in Hargeisa, Ms. Jessamy Garver-Affeldt, noted: “Somaliland is a great example of a society in which migrants and diaspora have made many contributions.  For example you have Ethiopians opening restaurants and supporting agriculture, Yemenis and Indians making our cities more beautiful by designing and constructing lovely buildings, and diaspora Somalilanders contributing resources, skills and new ideas.  All of these groups are helping to build Somaliland.”

Photo: Mary Sanyu Osire / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017

She added: “But Somaliland, like any other society, also faces some challenges related to migration.  Take the issue of tahriib.  How many of you know someone who has lost a family member or friend to tahriib?  This is a large and complicated issue, and it needs more frank and open discussion about why people are going, what risks they will face, and what alternatives they could find.  These conversations need to happen within families, between friends and at the community level.  They need the input of young people, parents, teachers, community leaders and government officials. These conversations also need to be heard by people and governments in destination countries.”  

The event was graced by representatives from Somaliland’s Ministry of Youth, Ministry of Resettlement, Rehabilitation and Reconstruction (MRRR), and the Department of Immigration.

For more information please contact Yuko Tomita, IOM Somalia, Tel: + 254 715 990 600, Email: iomsomaliapsu@iom.int 

Photo: Mary Sanyu Osire / UN Migration Agency (IOM) 2017