A/DCM Poole Remarks for Dead Body Management and Missing Migrant Workshop

A/DCM Poole Remarks for Dead Body Management and Missing Migrant Workshop
Monday, August 21, 2023
Djibouti Kempinski Hotel

           On behalf of the United States, it is an honor to provide opening remarks, and funding, for this critical workshop on dead body management and missing migrants.  The news of the boat that capsized over the weekend is a stark reminder of the need for such a workshop.  I want to recognize the extraordinary work of the Djiboutian Coast Guard and National Navy who answered the distress call and saved so many of the migrants on that boat.

Sadly, others on that boat did not make it, and such a workshop will be critical in dealing with the aftermath of this “human tragedy.”

I say “human tragedy” because those are the exact word spoken by the Minister of Foreign Affairs, H.E. Mahamoud Ali Youssouf, in March 2023, during a discussion on the migration trends in Djibouti and in the Horn of Africa in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and the International Organization for Migration.  The government of Djibouti called for more international funding to manage the large influx of migrants in the country.  The United States was able to answer the call.

On July 20, the United States, through the Bureau of Population, Refugee, and Migration announced $380 million in humanitarian funding for Africa, including millions of dollars to support work here in Djibouti.  This assistance will help support our international partners, IOM and UNHCR, in meeting the humanitarian needs of refugees, vulnerable migrants, displaced populations, and vulnerable persons affected by conflict, drought, and food insecurity.  Along with the government of Djibouti, we could not have asked for better partners.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude for the excellent work of our partners at IOM, the Ministry of Health, and the Ministry of Interior.  The work you do is invaluable, and it is difficult, and we have witnessed that firsthand.  Last month, the Embassy, including our Chargé d’Affaires, visited the IOM operation in Obock where we saw the needs of the migrant population in the country’s hottest region.  On our way back from the Obock, as they passed by Lac Assal, a group of migrants flagged the Embassy vehicles asking for help.  When they stopped, they saw that one of them had passed away, most likely from heat exhaustion.  The embassy team sent the coordinates to the IOM team present here, Dr. Youssouf Moussa and Chief of Mission Tanja Pacifico, and they dispatched a team from Tadjourah.  IOM, in coordination with the Ministry of Health and the Gendarmerie, identified the migrant who has passed and helped his brother who was with him when he died.   This is one death among the many on the migration corridor, which is why this workshop is critical.

Thank you to everyone that was able to be present to participate in this workshop today and thank you for the important work you do each day.