The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has just conducted a three-day training on Humanitarian Border Management (HBM), Human Rights Law and Counter-Trafficking for 15 immigration officers working at Berbera seaport.
Berbera is a coastal city located in the north of Somaliland bordering Gulf of Aden. For the past two years Berbera seaport has been receiving ships and boats carrying asylum seekers and Somali returnees fleeing the conflict in Yemen. As of December 2016, 34,760 migrants entered Somalia from Yemen, and Berbera seaport has been one of the main channels for doing so.
Migrants crossing the Gulf of Aden often arrive without documentation or belongings and are in dire need of support. The training on HBM built the capacity of frontline immigration officers –who are the first to interact with these vulnerable individuals – to ensure that human rights are respected, undocumented migrants are registered and their data protected, and that referrals are made to support those in need.
The immigration officers also received induction training to counter-human trafficking, where they were able to gain an understanding of irregular migration, the differences between trafficking and smuggling, how to detect trafficking cases and how to refer victims of trafficking.
Berbera’s Regional Director of Immigration, Major Hassan Muhumed, said: “Humanitarian border management is a new concept to us…The crisis in Yemen has caused huge numbers of migrants to flee to our country through Berbera Port. We thank IOM for supporting the vulnerable migrants and supporting the Immigration Department in the management of these borders. This training helped us understand how to manage our borders, and address human trafficking during humanitarian crisis.”
The training was the second of such initiative by IOM, supported by the Government of Japan. It followed a successful training for Puntland’s immigration officials at Bosaso Seaport, also on the Gulf of Aden.