IOM says forced migration threatening stability in Horn of Africa

NAIROBI, Sept. 8 (Xinhua) -- The escalating crisis of forced migration in the Horn of Africa region, driven by climate change, civil strife and poverty, has undermined stability, peace and sustainable development, a senior official at the United Nations migration agency, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said Thursday.

Muhammed Abdiker, IOM Regional Director for the East and Horn of Africa, said there was an urgency to promote safe human mobility in the region, to achieve stability, inclusive growth, and cohesion.

"The East and Horn of African region have emerged as an epicenter of forced migration hence requiring investments in climate resilience, conflict resolution and rebuilding of economies to restore livelihoods of vulnerable civilians," Abdiker said during the virtual launch of IOM's 'A Region on the Move 2021 report', in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.

Abdiker said that targeted interventions were required to contain the forced displacement of civilians in the Horn of Africa region.

He added that taming the forced migration crisis in the region warranted governments to promote cohesion at the grassroots level, and invest in climate adaptation and sustainable livelihoods for subsistence farmers and nomads.

There were 13.2 million forcibly displaced persons in East and Horn of Africa in 2021, including 9.6 million internally displaced persons and 3.6 million refugees and asylum seekers, the IOM report says.

It notes that conflicts, insecurity, climatic stresses, poverty, unemployment, and pandemic-related disruptions were fueling the forced migration of vulnerable demographics including women, children, and youth.

In addition, the IOM report notes that human trafficking has escalated in the Horn of Africa region, fueled by lax policing at border points and weak mitigation measures.

According to the report, 3,000 cases of human trafficking in the region were identified in the last decade, with women and girls comprising 78 percent compared to 22 percent among men.

Marina Manke, the Chief of IOM's Global Migration Data Analysis Center, said that Horn of African governments should come up with policy and regulatory frameworks geared toward transforming human mobility, ensuring it fosters peace, cohesion, and economic sustainability.

Manke added that leveraging data, robust vigilance, political goodwill, and increased public engagement will be the key to containing the forced migration crisis in the Horn of Africa region.

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