Migration experts from several African countries are meeting in Uganda to develop a common continental policy on migration.
The Ugandan President, Yoweri Museveni, who was represented by the Prime Minister, Ruhakana Rugunda, said at the opening of the three-day meeting on Third Pan African Forum on Migration (PAFoM) that migration was a topical issue all over the world.
He said “many countries now have to humanely deal with this topical issue especially by not closing their borders.
“Africa has abundant resources and, therefore, its people should not be dying on dangerous journeys on the Mediterranean Sea in hope of better opportunities in Europe.”
He stressed the need for African governments to study and share information on the current migration dynamics, trends and patterns to keep abreast with emerging issues.
“We also need reliable data on migration at the national, regional and continental level to find sustainable and workable solutions to the challenges of migration in Africa.
“It is my hope that this forum will enrich the African consensus on governing migration, with recommendations to be presented to the AU summit next year as Africa’s input to the Global Compact on Migration,” Museveni said.
Global Compact on Migration was generated by the UN General Assembly last year as a blue print for international response on migration issues.
The meeting, dubbed Third Pan African Forum on Migration (PAFoM) is held under the theme “Towards a Common African Position on the Global Compacts on Migration and on Refugees.”
The PAFoM is an AU initiative with the support of the International Organisation on Migration and Regional Economic Communities.
The first PAFoM meeting took place in Ghana in 2014, and the second was in Zambia in 2016.
At the end of the meeting that brought together experts from the UN and civil society organisations, there would be a Draft Common African Position on Migration and on Refugees based on existing continental and regional normative and legal frameworks on migration and refugees.
Rosa Malango, the UN Resident Coordinator in Uganda, told the meeting that as it drafts a common position on migration, it has to put into consideration the protection of human rights, facilitating orderly and regular migration and looking at the factors that compel people to move.
“African states have a lot of experiences to share among each other and also with the world not only on issues and concerns of refugees and migrants but also on durable solutions to transform migration into an opportunity for peace and sustainable development,” she said.
The summit came in the wake of the heightened EU refugee crisis. Many refugees who cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe are said to come from Africa.
Eritrea is said to be the leading source of migrants to Europe, followed by Somalia, Ethiopia and Nigeria in Africa.
According to the EU border control agency, Frontex, in 2015 alone, 108,000 Africans made their way illegally to Europe, representing an increase of 42 per cent over 2014. (Xinhua/NAN)