Tanzania Inaugurates IOM-Built, Japan-Funded Immigration Facilities
GENEVA, Switzerland, February 21, 2012/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Tanzania will, on Wednesday and Thursday, inaugurate new immigration and police premises in Kilwa Masoko, Lindi region, and Kilambo, Mtwara region, constructed by IOM as part of a migration management project funded by the Government of Japan.
The US$2.4 million Japanese-funded project was established to help vulnerable, stranded irregular migrants, mainly from the Horn of Africa transiting Tanzania in search of work in South Africa.
A 2009 IOM study "In Pursuit of the Southern Dream" suggested that some 17,000-20,000 mainly young men from Somalia and Ethiopia are smuggled through Tanzania en route to South Africa every year.
According to Tanzania's Immigration Department, more than 1,700 irregular Ethiopian and Somali migrants have been intercepted on Tanzanian soil since the beginning of 2011.
The Tanzanian regions most affected by the flows of migrants are those in the south -Mbeya, Mtwara, Lindi, and Tanga on the coast.
In each location the Japanese-funded project has allowed IOM, in close collaboration with Tanzanian police and immigration counterparts, to construct and extend premises where the migrants can be housed and screened.
It has also provided IT equipment to allow Tanzanian immigration officers to capture biographic and biometric data in order to create a record of all migrants passing through land border posts. The project has also donated 11 cars and three boats.
IOM has also helped to develop Memoranda of Understanding between the police, the immigration department and five shelters in three regions to ensure that child migrants can now be housed in shelters instead of being detained with other intercepted irregular migrants.
For intercepted migrants, the project also offers the option of voluntary return to their country of origin. Since mid-2009 it has allowed IOM to help 2,327 Ethiopians to voluntarily return home from Tanzania and receive reintegration assistance on arrival.