A 29-year-old woman from Somalia, who was granted asylum in Cyprus, was reunited this week with her six-year-old daughter after a three-year separation, it was announced on Wednesday.
Mother and daughter were able to reunite through the efforts of the missions of the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) in Cyprus and Somalia.
Samia was reunited with her daughter, Manar, last Monday at the Larnaca airport when the girl arrived in Cyprus to live with her mother.
The 29-year-old woman’s journey to Cyprus, IOM Cyprus said in a written statement, “was fraught with difficulties, but she has now managed to secure a better future for herself and her daughter.”
This is the first time that IOM Cyprus has assisted a Somali family in this manner, it said, and only the second time in the mission’s history that a family reunification has taken place.
Samia had applied for asylum on her arrival in Cyprus, and when she was granted one, she applied for family reunification, in order to bring Manar – her only daughter – to Cyprus. Until then, Manar was staying with her grandparents in Mogadishu.
The IOM offices in Somalia and in Cyprus joined forces to assist her.
Prior to Manar’s departure from Somalia, the IOM office in Somalia helped with the young girl’s flight arrangements and provided her with airport assistance until she reached Cyprus.
IOM Cyprus said that thanks to the support of the interior “Samia was finally able to embrace her daughter after three years of being apart.”
“Samia was separated from her daughter for three years. She missed her daughter very much and was thrilled upon her arrival. IOM, in addition to resettlement support, also offers additional safe and legal pathways for migrants, including the most vulnerable family members of refugees,” said Natasa Xenophontos Koudouna, head of the IOM office in Cyprus.
IOM urges all EU member states to consider a programmatic and comprehensive approach to family reunification – first and foremost, of refugees and those holding subsidiary protection status – such as that taken in IOM’s Family Assistance Programme.
In addition to IOM’s Family Assistance Programme, IOM offices in the EU, Norway, Switzerland and Iceland during the first half of 2018 have facilitated the family reunification of over 4,800 persons.