Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR): Aden

Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR): Aden Update March 2020 [EN/AR]

(reliefweb)—On 2 and 3 March 2020, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) supported the voluntary return of 247 Ethiopian migrants from Aden, Yemen, to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The two charter flights were the first to be conducted by IOM under its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) programme in 2020. A majority of those travelling were children (under the age of 18) who had approached IOM and partners in Aden seeking return assistance. The Organization plans to carry out regular flights, given the significant desire of migrants to return from Aden and surrounding governorates. IOM’s team in Ethiopia provided post arrival assistance, which included onward transportation assistance, medical and psychosocial support, temporary shelter for the most vulnerable including victims of human trafficking or unaccompanied and separated children, and family tracing and reunification.


Migrants travel to Yemen typically en route to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Many experience human rights abuses on their journeys and lack access to essential services. Given the difficulty and danger of the route, some decide not to continue. The VHR programme in Yemen provides stranded undocumented Ethiopian migrants with the option of returning home safely. IOM gives priority to the most vulnerable including unaccompanied and separated children, women, the elderly, medical cases, and persons who have experienced grave human rights violations.

All migrants receiving VHR assistance are individually counselled and provided with necessary information to make an informed decision in line with their needs. During counselling, IOM makes an initial assessment of any risks of ill treatment, persecution or other human rights violations that the migrant could suffer should they return to their country of origin. Persons with such protection concerns are referred to UNHCR. IOM provides pre-departure assistance consisting of movement logistics, nationality verification and issuance of emergency travel documents -when applicable – in coordination with officials from the Government of Yemen and the country of origin, a medical fit to travel assessment, and family tracing for unaccompanied children in coordination with UNICEF and its partners.