It’s 10 o’clock at night time, and out of doors the arrivals corridor of Dakar’s fundamental airport, two Senegalese males are taking a second to get used to their freedom.
Hassan Odjo, forty two and Issa Ba, 23 have simply stepped off a flight from Libya, the place that they had been trapped for months.
“I used to be praying day by day to Allah to provide me the prospect to return house,” says Hassan, an enormous smile unfold throughout his face.
“I noticed individuals dying in entrance of my eyes. Day by day I used to be praying to be again in my nation. In the present day is the happiest day for me, it is prefer it’s my birthday.”
Each Hassan and Issa have returned house beneath a voluntary repatriation programme run by the International Organization for Migration (IOM).
That they had travelled by means of Mali, Burkina Faso, Niger and ended up in Libya – the place they turned trapped, unable to go additional.
Hassan had tried to cross the Mediterranean, however after his boat acquired into hassle he was picked up by native militia and held in detention.
Hassan tells me of the struggling dealing with financial migrants in Libya, and describes being held in a room with 300 individuals, being given solely bread twice a day, and dangerous water.
“Once they catch you they lock you in jail, beat you or maltreat you, ask you to name your mother and father to ship cash.”
In Libya detaining migrants has develop into a enterprise in itself, he says.
“They’re promoting black individuals like espresso, like a cup of espresso. Sure I am telling you the reality!”
Confronted with this actuality, it is not shocking that extra migrants are opting to return residence.
The Worldwide Organisation for Migration has entry to the Libyan detention centres, and works with nationwide consulates to supply individuals the selection to get out.
Thus far this yr, the IOM in Senegal alone has helped greater than 2,000 individuals return house. Most of them have both been flown in from Libya, or bussed again from Niger. Others have been introduced again from Morocco and Tunisia.
Sitting quietly subsequent to Hassan is Issa Ba. He cuts a contrasting determine; he appears visibly shaken and for him the homecoming is bittersweet.
“I really feel comfortable as a result of I’m going to see my mother and father once more, however on the similar time I am very disillusioned. It is a disgrace you already know, it is a dishonour going again with out attending to Europe.”
Listening to all that is Seydine Ken, the IOM case-employee who’s on the airport to satisfy the 2. He is used to seeing these type of reactions from returnees.
Seydine says: “The social strain is actually troublesome as a result of once they organise their journey, the household mobilises cash, and sells their items to pay for it.
“And it is very troublesome for them to return again, and see what their household invested within the [failed] migration.”
Seydine is a part of the federal government welcome celebration; and on the airport he offers pocket cash and knowledge to deal with quick wants, and in addition questions the 2 about their migration expertise.
He is a daily on the airport and says he could be there twice every week to welcome returnees.
“They haven’t met their dream. They’re very dissatisfied, bodily they’re very drained and psychologically they’re very weak. These individuals need assistance – monetary assist, well being and private improvement.”
The IOM’s chief of mission in Senegal is Jo-Lind Roberts Sene. Again and again she notices the intense ignorance concerning the realities of migrating.
“It is very irritating when every time we’ve a constitution flight, I get to the airport and have the identical exchanges again and again – they did not have enough info, they knew the journey was harmful however by no means knew to what extent.”
Jo-Lind says that round Dakar there’s extra consciousness concerning the risks, however that within the countryside and different areas – residence to a whole lot of would-be migrants – there’s not this consciousness. Voluntary returnees like Hassan and Issa play an important position in serving to change individuals’s views.
One of many areas the place younger males are being re-absorbed is Tambacounda in japanese Senegal, near the border with Mali.
Being a poor, rural area, it’s the lack of nicely-paying jobs for younger those that encourages them to go away within the first place.
So makes an attempt are being made to reintegrate returned migrants into the group – giving them one thing to do and a method of incomes a dwelling.
One challenge is a maize farm within the rural group of Jalakoto. It is run two European NGOs, Coopi and La Lumiere, together with the IOM, and helps round one hundred younger males within the surrounding villages.
For males like Mamadou Biagey, who got here again from Libya three years in the past, it is the one factor they’ve.
“Since I arrived I’ve lived in hardship as a result of all the cash I had I used to journey to Libya. For 2 years I stayed right here with out doing something – it is solely this yr that I began doing one thing.”
The Jalakoto venture can also be designed to provide younger males considering of leaving for Europe a purpose to remain – not simply by offering an revenue and a function, but in addition by encouraging them to rub shoulders with individuals who can speak of their experiences travelling to Europe.
“Typically in our debates there are younger males who ask, ‘what did you do and the way did you do it to get to Libya?’,” says Mamadou Biagey, “however I attempt to discourage from going.”
A fast present of arms among the many 15 males working in a single area reveals one man who says he initially meant to go away.
“At first I solely needed to go and I saved sufficient cash,” he explains.
“Afterward they introduced us the undertaking and defined what it was about they usually satisfied me. That is how I made a decision to not go.”
In Tambacounda and all through Senegal there’s a battle happening between two narratives of what migration to Europe truly entails.
Again within the city, Issaga Cee, a faculty principal for thirteen years, explains how actual-life accounts of the risks of the journey compete for area with obvious success tales on social media.
“Individuals talk rather a lot by way of WhatsApp – its very straightforward to inform the story of somebody who has succeeded,” he explains.
“Most of those that return at the very least have an expertise of all of the difficulties in Libya, in order that they have turn into lecturers about that very troublesome journey and its penalties.”
The IOM’s Jo-Lind Roberts Sene says returning migrants have an important position to play: “If it is a message that comes from Europeans it will not undergo.
“If it is somebody who’s tried it, and hasn’t made it, and may actually clarify what it was they skilled alongside the best way, then it can take time – however they are surely those that may put the message throughout.”
A word on terminology: The BBC makes use of the time period migrant to confer with all individuals on the transfer who’ve but to finish the authorized means of claiming asylum. This group consists of individuals fleeing conflict-torn nations corresponding to Syria, who’re more likely to be granted refugee standing, in addition to people who find themselves in search of jobs and higher lives, who governments are more likely to rule are financial migrants.
Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *
Sign me up for the newsletter!
The content is the property of the Roznama Urdu and without permission of the publisher will be considered copyright infringement..