Bruzgi, Belarus – In the new year, International Organization for Migration (IOM) continues its activities to support migrants stranded in Belarus, including those accommodated at the logistics facility in the vicinity of the Belarus-Poland border.
In December 2021, IOM scaled up its activities. IOM representatives have been regularly visiting the logistics facility in order to deliver humanitarian assistance and to register those willing to return home into the Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme.
AVRR programme implemented by IOM is an important component of an effective migration management system, which offers a safe and dignified way to return home. Being in a difficult situation abroad and making a decision to return home, but not having the means to do so, a person can reach out to IOM and be accepted into the programme. The return occurs only if the person makes a free and conscious decision. In 2021, IOM helped 381 migrants to return from Belarus to their countries of origin, with the majority of these returns (72.4%) taking place in December.
At the end of 2021, IOM established a project site in Grodno, which will enable its regular contact with migrants and will provide an opportunity to carry our regular counselling on voluntary return and register those willing to return home into the AVRR programme. In the first couple of days of 2022, there were 28 such people – they were registered into the programme, and the process of organizing their return began. In all return operations, IOM ensures that the standards for migrant protection are upheld, inter alia, through counselling, ensuring that the return is indeed voluntary, vulnerability screening, and pre-embarkation checks, including COVID-19 PCR tests.
IOM procures and delivers humanitarian aid based on the results of needs assessments, as well as by analyzing the demand for food and non-food items already delivered. IOM provides humanitarian aid on a weekly basis and on 5 January 2022, it handed over another batch of aid – 332 kg of bread and fruit, 50 kg of toilet soap, and 50 L of liquid soap.
The International Organization for Migration will continue to assist in improving the situation and act according to the needs of migrants.