18 Bangladeshi migrants return from Lebanon
A group of 18 Bangladeshi migrants who had been stranded in Lebanon arrived in Dhaka today from Beirut, after the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in close coordination with the governments of Bangladesh and Lebanon, facilitated their return.
Prior to departure, the migrants underwent health checks including PCR tests, were offered pre-departure transportation assistance and counselling services, and were screened for underlying protection vulnerabilities by IOM in Lebanon.
They were also provided with post-arrival reception assistance in Bangladesh and will receive reintegration support.
This movement is part of a coordinated effort from the Bali Process, through its Voluntary Returns Support and Reintegration Assistance Program, and IOM's Cooperation on Migration and Partnerships for Sustainable Solutions (COMPASS) initiative funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands, to support and protect stranded migrants, particularly against human trafficking and smuggling.
A recent IOM survey of more than 1,000 migrants in Lebanon showed that nearly half wanted to return home. With the economy in deep crisis and a political stalemate after the government resigned following the devastating Beirut Port explosion a year ago, embassies have also seen a sharp rise in the number of migrants asking to return to their countries of origin.
"Living in Lebanon has been extremely difficult as we are not able to meet basic needs, nor support our families back home," said one of the returned migrants, adding that "migrants in Lebanon need support to survive and return to their country of origin. I am grateful to IOM for arranging my return to Bangladesh."
"The economic crisis coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the vulnerabilities of Bangladeshi migrants in Lebanon," said Giorgi Gigauri, IOM Bangladesh's Chief of Mission. "We will continue to work with the relevant governments, donors, and partners whose efforts are highly appreciated to facilitate voluntary return and reintegration of migrants in vulnerable situations," he added.