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Emergency Trust Fund for Africa
News article25 October 2019

How the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme supports maritime security in the Red Sea

Djibouti coast guard

Last July, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) reported that at least 15 Ethiopians had died when their smugglers threw people overboard while crossing the Red Sea. The boat was heading to Yemen and the smugglers had already collected their money.

‘We protect the 800 kilometers of our coastline to create a safe environment. We are facing some challenges to protect people and especially in dealing with transnational organised crime’, Captain Abdillahi Kawdan from Somaliland’s Coastguard, said. ‘But with the support of our colleagues from Djibouti, we can face these challenges more effectively.’

The main Eastern migration route to the Gulf States leads through Djibouti and Somalia. Thousands of migrants head there every year in the hopes of moving on to the Gulf States, to escape poverty and unemployment at home. Smugglers and traffickers have developed extensive networks in this region, thus increasing the vulnerability of migrants facing economic exploitation, physical abuse and gender-based violence during their life-threatening journeys.

As a result of a workshop organized through the Better Migration Management (BMM) programme, the Commanders of the Djiboutian and Somaliland coastguards signed an Aide-Mémoire to establish effective collaboration and communication to counter trafficking and smuggling in December 2018. Following the signing of this Aide-Mémoire, a capacity-building workshop on maritime coordination in the framework of anti-trafficking and smuggling was organised and held in June 2019.

The workshop, organized by CIVIPOL under the BMM, included participants from both the Djibouti and the Somaliland coastguard. It established a platform to exchange information on each other’s practices and procedures regularly. In a practical training course the participants followed a step-by-step plan to coordinate the identification of who to alert, what information is required and what decisions need to be made. In addition, participants were provided with an overview of migration routes along the Red Sea, the international rule of law at sea and human rights aspects of migration. International experts joined the workshop to share good practice in identification, assistance and protection for victims of trafficking. This exchange provided an opportunity for discussions around practical strategies to improve communication, coordination and collaboration between the coastguards from both nations.

‘We are looking forward to having more joint operations with our Djiboutian counterparts’, Captain Kawdan says. ‘Sharing information is crucial for maritime safety and security.’


Publication date
25 October 2019
Region and Country
Horn of Africa
Improved migration management

Programmes in the region

Improving Nutrition and Reducing Stunting in Eastern Sudan

The action aims to enhance the ability of women and children in the States of Red Sea, Kassala and Gedaref to lead socially and economically productive lives, and in doing so strengthen their resilience and that of their communities.