IOM helped 1,473 migrants come home last year
The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has supported 1,473 Bangladeshi migrants in returning home voluntarily last year, the UN migration agency has said.
The number of Bangladeshi returnees with IOM support is the sixth highest among such return home across the world last year, the IOM said in a report titled "Return and Reintegration Key Highlights-2020".
The report was published on Friday.
The UN body last year assisted 42,181 migrants in returning home voluntarily, down by 35 percent from 2019. The returnees included migrants who were stranded or in vulnerable situations.
Mali was the top country of origin with a total of 3,249 nationals assisted in the return process.
It replaced previous year's top country of origin Ethiopia, which saw a decrease of 75 percent in nationals returning and consequently dropped to the fifth place in 2020.
Also, Guinea, Tajikistan and Iraq saw higher number of IOM-supported returns than Bangladesh last year.
The UN body supported the majority 37,043 returns under the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programmes.
Besides, 4,038 migrants were assisted in returning from Libya and Yemen under Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme, as well as 1,100 stranded migrants assisted under the Covid-19 Return Task Force.
Despite fewer migrants assisted in their return home in 2020, the IOM maintained a high level of reintegration support, with 121 country offices in host or transit countries and in countries of origin providing 106,230 reintegration services, the report says.
In a media release on Friday, the IOM said border closures and mobility restrictions imposed by governments worldwide in response to the pandemic last year posed unprecedented challenges to its return and reintegration activities.
"This publication demonstrates that despite the challenging circumstances posed by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, IOM continued to provide critical assistance to migrants returning to their countries of origin in a safe and dignified manner," said Yitna Getachew, head of IOM's Migrant Protection and Assistance Division.
As a consequence of the pandemic, the number of beneficiaries of AVRR in 2020 decreased by 43 percent (from 64,958 in 2019 to 37,043 in 2020), the report says.
In addition, the number of beneficiaries of VHR decreased by 73 percent (from 15,248 in 2019 to 4,038 in 2020).
Globally, Niger remained the main host country of migrants assisted in returning home, with a total of 9,069 migrants, confirming the trend of increasing numbers of beneficiaries returning from transit countries.
Germany was the second largest host country with 5,723 migrants who were assisted in returning to their countries of origin.
On the other hand, the European Economic Area remained the main host region with a share of 39.4 percent of the total number of migrants assisted to return in 2020, down from 43.5 percent in the previous year.
West and Central Africa remained the main region of origin with a share of 35.9 percent of the total number of migrants assisted to return in 2020.
Migrants assisted to return within the same region made up 40 percent of the total. The majority of those movements took place within West and Central Africa (65 percent).