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15 December 2021, 16:43

Around 120 refugees agreed to return home under IOM assisted voluntary return program

GRODNO, 15 December (BelTA) - Some 120 refugees currently living in the transport and logistics center near the Belarusian-EU border have agreed to return home under the IOM assisted voluntary return and reintegration program, communications officer at the International Organization for Migration Olga Borzenkova told the media, BelTA has learned.

15 December is the 38th day of refugees at the border. Now they are living in the accommodation facility in the Bruzgi transport and logistics center near the Belarusian-Polish border. There are about 800 people here, 40% of whom are women and children.

IOM representatives visited the center with a technical mission. They proposed the refugees to return home under the IOM assisted voluntary return and reintegration (AVRR) program. About 120 people filled out the relevant applications.

Olga Borzenkova noted that the program provides for various kinds of assistance, including paperwork, a transfer to the airport, and, upon returning to their homeland, a transfer to the end point of the route. "We also provide a little financial support. Pocket money is given for the duration of the trip. For the most vulnerable categories we provide support for successful reintegration at home, for example, support for business or a business idea, purchase of equipment," she said.

"They will be able to return home within 2, 3 or 4 days at most. Last week, we helped 25 people to return home. A flight was organized for them literally on the third day. Those who've signed up for the program today will be able to go to Minsk tomorrow, and then we will work with them and select flights," said Mohamed Refaat. Senior Operations Coordinator, Department of Operations and Emergency at IOM.

Most of those who filled out applications today are Iraqi citizens. There are also nationals of Iran.

IOM representatives plan to continue collecting applications for return home from refugees stranded on the border. Representatives of the organization visit the refugee shelter weekly. A hotline on this topic has been set up for refugees too.

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