160 more stranded expats return from Libya
Published : Wednesday, 5 May, 2021 at 1:21 PM Count : 322
The government has brought some 160 Bangladeshis, stranded in Libya due to the coronavirus pandemic and ongoing conflicts, back home on Wednesday with the help of the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
A chartered flight of Buraq Air, carrying the Bangladeshis, landed at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport in the capital in the morning.160 more stranded expats return from Libya
A press release issued by the Foreign Ministry, said the flight took off from Benghazi Airport on Tuesday.
Body of a Bangladeshi national, who died in Libya, was also brought back by the flight.
Necessary measures have been taken for their health check-up at the airport on their arrival, the release said adding that all the migrants have come back home voluntarily.
Of the returnees, nine are sick and seven are infected with Hepatitis B. For that reason, they were kept at Libya's Safar Jail.
UNB adds : Prior to departure, the returnees underwent health checks, were offered pre-departure transportation assistance, counselling services and screened for underlying protection vulnerabilities by IOM.
Given the current COVID- 19 situation, all returnees were also provided with personal protective equipment (PPE) and took a COVID-test (PCR) prior to departure.
In Dhaka, government officials and IOM Bangladesh staff received and supported the migrants at the Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport.
At the airport, the returnees each received cash for transportation from IOM to help them get home.
Besides,, the returnees will each receive a reintegration grant from IOM.
Reintegration support is particularly important for migrants who, in some cases, have experienced physical and psychological trauma while stranded in Libya.
One of the returnees said, “Life in Libya was very dangerous as hostilities continued there. I decided to return to my country as I could not earn enough money. It was very difficult to stay over there. I am grateful to IOM and the Government of Bangladesh for arranging my flight home. I am very happy that I will see my family after years.”
Giorgi Gigauri, IOM Bangladesh’s Chief of Mission said stranded Bangladeshi migrants find themselves in precarious conditions in Libya, and COVID-19 has exacerbated their vulnerabilities.
"It is our number one priority to provide these returnees with a safe and dignified way to get home, and to support reintegration into their communities. To do this, we continue to work closely and constructively with the Government of Bangladesh, and I thank them for their ongoing efforts.”
IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return Programme can be life-saving for migrants stranded or in detention, especially in conflict-ridden countries. Since 2015, a total of 2,942 Bangladeshi migrants have returned from Libya through the Programme, which is a part of the larger EU-IOM Joint Initiative for Migrant Protection and Reintegration.
The programme facilitates orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration management through the development of rights-based and development-focused policies and processes on protection and sustainable reintegration.
The necessity of the VHR programme was magnified in 2020, when 30 migrants—including 26 Bangladeshis—were shot and killed in a smuggling warehouse in the Libyan town of Mizdah.
The flight was made possible with support from the EU Trust Fund for Africa (EUTF) through the EU-IOM Joint Initiative, supported by the European Union.