Djibouti: Migration Crossroads

Captured smuggler boats docked along the Djibouti coast, 2013. [State Department photo/ Public Domain]

About the Author: Catherine Weisner serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees, and Migration.

We hadn’t driven more than three dusty minutes before we encountered the first group of men clustered under a scraggly tree for shade, resting from their long journey on foot from Ethiopia. Here they waited for smugglers to take them to the boats they would use to attempt crossing the Red Sea to Yemen. I expected them to be more skittish, but the staff from the International Organization of Migration (IOM) explained that they are known to migrants as a helpful, friendly, and professional organization.

The men freely told us their stories — extremely limited prospects at home led each to pay smugglers the equivalent of US$ 380 — more than a year’s wages in rural Ethiopia. Sometimes whole communities pooled resources to send a few people out; many had borrowed… more »

More: Crisis in the Horn of Africa | How You Can Help

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton delivered remarks on the humanitarian crisis in the Horn of Africa at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on August 11, 2011. Secretary Clinton discussed the ongoing international humanitarian response, as well as how the crisis in the Horn of Africa shows the urgency of investing in sustained food security through efforts such as Feed the Future, the U.S. Government’s global hunger and food security initiative.

Secretary… more »

By: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Andrew J. Shapiro 

I recently traveled to Djibouti, Kenya and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) with Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Vicki Huddleston and representatives from the U.S. Africa Command (AFRICOM), and a colleague from the Department’s Bureau of African Affairs. This was the first trip to the region by an Assistant Secretary for Political-Military Affairs in at least the last 10 years, and a unique opportunity to see first-hand much of the assistance we have provided to the region. My visit reinforced to me the importance of the efforts of the Bureau of Political-Military Affairs in Eastern and Central Africa to train peacekeepers, combat piracy, support military reform, and eliminate excessive quantities of small-arms. These security assistance programs, overseen by our Bureau, support the State Department’s mission to promote stability and good governance and set the stage for humanitarian aid and development…