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07 May 2021

Families of Missing Migrants: Their Search for Answers, the Impacts of Loss and Recommendations for Improved Support

Country report: Ethiopia

This report explores the challenges and needs of Ethiopian families who have relatives who went missing or died in the context of international migration, against the backdrop of the legal, policy and institutional frameworks applicable to issues of missing migrants in Ethiopia. It is based on qualitative interviews with stakeholders and families, as well as participant observation and desk research, which were conducted in spring 2020, and is part of a project carried out by IOM’s Global Migration Data Analysis Centre that aims to raise awareness of the challenges and coping mechanisms of people with missing migrant relatives in Ethiopia, Spain, the United Kingdom and Zimbabwe. The research documents the personal, legal and financial challenges faced by Ethiopian families when searching for their missing loved ones and when trying to repatriate the remains in the event of death. In the absence of State-funded tools and services to adequately address their needs, the families push their cases forward and develop their own networks and support structures to search for the missing – and in the process, cope with immense grief and hardships. The report concludes with 10 recommendations aimed at government and other relevant actors on how to improve the situation of families who are missing their loved ones.