News / Africa

African Nations Move to Protect Migrant Rights

An Ethiopian migrant shows torture wounds he received from traffickers as he waits to be repatriated at a transit center in the western Yemeni town of Haradh, on the border with Saudi Arabia, Mar. 16, 2012.
An Ethiopian migrant shows torture wounds he received from traffickers as he waits to be repatriated at a transit center in the western Yemeni town of Haradh, on the border with Saudi Arabia, Mar. 16, 2012.
Jennifer Lazuta
— The number of international migrants has increased by more than 40 percent since 2000, to an estimated 214 million people.  The complications presented by this increasing flow are challenging border-control authorities worldwide.  Officials from 13 Francophone countries in West and Central Africa met to figure out how to better protect the rights of people on the move.

As the number of international migrants continues to rise, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says it is more important than ever that African governments have the capacity to fight human trafficking and to protect the rights of migrants.

To help West and Central African countries better manage the situation, the IOM organized a two-day workshop in Dakar, which aims to open dialogue and promote cooperation among countries for better border-control management.

IOM Regional Director for West and Central Africa Carmela Godeau spoke to VOA at the opening ceremony Monday. “The workshop today and tomorrow is addressing the issue of irregular migration and the protection of the rights of migrants.  What we try to do always is to create partnerships among governments, because migration is a very big challenge of our century, and no state, no government can succeed alone," she explained. "We have to work all together.”

According to the U.N. Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Africa has an estimated 19.3 million international migrants.  West African citizens are among the world’s most mobile populations.

Many of these migrants move legally throughout the region as part of an agreement by the Economic Community of West African States that allows “the free intra-regional movement of persons."  But the IOM says changing migration patterns and a lack of integrated border management has made it increasingly difficult for law enforcement agencies to control and monitor the flows of migrants.

Godeau said irregular migration -- the crossing of borders without proper documentation and authorization -- is an especially difficult challenge for many countries in the region.

“Why?  Because it is sometimes difficult to distinguish between a migrant, a trafficking migrant, a refugee, an asylum seeker," said Godeau.  "So we want to help the governments in the regions to build their capacity in this field and, in this way, protect the rights of migrants and vulnerable persons on the move.”

IOM Regional Migrant Assistance Specialist Laura Lungarotti said there are no clear-cut solutions to these issues, but consistent migration laws across the region could help reduce migrant smuggling, a form of transnational organized crime.

Lungarotti warned law enforcement agencies must also protect the rights of people legally on the move, while working to combat smuggling. “The option, if we to try to reform entry procedures, is to be able at the same time, on the one side, to accommodate the states’ interest of regulating entry and residency of their citizens, but on the other side, respecting the rights of those who are traveling, either irregularly or regularly.”

The International Organization for Migration says the workshop will run through Tuesday, but they will continue to work with participants to enact migration management best practices.

You May Like

Lebanese Media Unite to Support Palestinians in Gaza

Joint newscast billed as Arab world’s first unified news bulletin in support of Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip More

Photogallery Australian PM Alleges ‘Coverup’ at MH17 Crash Site

Meanwhile, Russia's ambassador to Malaysia denies plane's black boxes were opened before they were handed over to Malaysian officials More

Despite Advances in AIDS Treatment, Stigma Lingers

Leading immunologist tells VOA that stigma is often what prevents those infected with disease from seeking treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Formi
X
July 22, 2014 10:26 AM
Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Relic of Saint Draws Catholics Worried About Immigration Issue

A Roman Catholic saint who is a figure of devotion for those crossing the border into the United States is attracting believers concerned about the plight of undocumented immigrants. Mike O'Sullivan reports from Los Angeles, where a relic of Saint Toribio has drawn thousands to local churches.
Video

Video Ukraine Rebels Surrender MH17 Black Boxes

After days of negotiations, a senior separatist leader handed over two black boxes from an airliner downed over eastern Ukraine to Malaysian experts early Tuesday. While on Monday, the U.N. Security Council unanimously demanded that armed groups controlling the crash site allow safe and unrestricted access to the wreckage.
Video

Video In Cambodia, HIV Diagnosis Brings Deadly Shame

Although HIV/AIDS is now a treatable condition, a positive diagnosis is still a life altering experience. In Cambodia, people living with HIV are often disowned by friends, family and the community. This humiliation can be unbearable. We bring you one Cambodian woman’s struggle to overcome a life tragedy and her own HIV positive diagnosis.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.

AppleAndroid