Int'l Migrants Day marked urging ban on irregular migration

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Addis Ababa, 19 December 2013 (WIC) - The International Migrants Day was marked here yesterday urging ban on irregular migration highlighting the situation returnees from Saudi Arabia were in and stressing better opportunities at home in the presence of the elderly, youth, returnees and other stakeholders .

Songs and poems presented on the occasion highlighted the immense opportunities and resources to work in Ethiopia. Moreover, the tragic stories of the returnees on their way and in Saudi Arabia moved some participants to tears.

Event participant who wants to remain anonymous said: “I was forced to work without any rest not only for my employees but their relatives without any extra payment. What is more, I was gang reaped by my employer and his colleague.”

Addis Ababa Social and Labour Affairs Office Head Efrem Gezaw said that irregular migration affects human resource and the economy of the nation. He further indicated that detailed plan has been prepared to rehabilitate the returnees in cooperation with stakeholders.

City Mayor Social Affairs Adviser Kamil Ahmed on his part said that irregular migration is an international problem and is the third largest crime next to illicit arms and drug trade. “Thus, the task of awareness creation and rehabilitation we embarked upon calls for the joint effort of all.”

Officer in Charge for the Chief of Mission IOM Ethiopia, Gabriel Okutoi, noted that some of the migrants are coming home with psychological, financial and medical needs. Rehabilitation efforts require extensive coordination with the support of the community they are returning to--- religious leaders, the private sector, members of the international community and the public.

According to him, migration is and will remain a global phenomenon. The number of international migrants worldwide reached 232 million in 2013. The number of Ethiopian migrants returning home following the Saudi government crackdown on irregular migrants has so far reached 135,000, he said.

The UN International Migrants Day is annually marked December 18 to recognize the efforts, contributions and rights of migrants worldwide.

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