Showing posts with label Regional Migrants. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Regional Migrants. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Migrants Continue to be Vulnerable in Libyan Conflict

7 Jun 2011 16:46 Africa/Lagos

Migrants Continue to be Vulnerable in Libyan Conflict

GENEVA, June 7, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM Press Briefing Notes

The on-going conflict and political stalemate in Libya has left migrants in a situation of continued vulnerability, with large groups stranded across the country.

During an assessment of the humanitarian needs in various parts of Libya, IOM staff reported on the plight of a large community of mostly African and Filipino migrant workers sheltering in two sites in the capital, Tripoli.

Staff say some of the migrants have been without jobs since the beginning of the crisis as their employers had left the country. Feeling they have nothing to return to, they stay on in Libya in the vain hope that they may receive back pay from their employers or find another job. Others have been left to take care of employers' properties but have not been paid since February.

The majority, from Ghana, Togo, Sudan, Nigeria, Cameroon and other African countries, are unskilled and undocumented workers.

Like the others, they are dependent on whatever food and shelter people of goodwill from within and outside their community can provide with some basic food prices having increased by up to three times since the start of the crisis.

Although the numbers of migrants managing to flee Libya on a daily basis have slowed down in recent weeks, migrants continue to be stranded in towns and cities around the country.

The Malian Ambassador to Tripoli estimates between 8,000-10,000 of his compatriots remain in western Libya, mostly in Sabha, Gadames, Ubari and Murzuk, while the vulnerability of Sub-Saharan Africans in the eastern part of the country has led to Malians there fleeing into Egypt.

Thousands of Egyptian migrants are also believed to be still in the country, according to the Egyptian Ambassador to Tripoli. While most are thought to be in the south in cities such as Gatroun and Sabha, others are in places like Sirt and in need of evacuation.

As these reports emerge, IOM is continuing its efforts to access Gatroun where many Chadians are reported to be stranded. IOM interviews with Chadians who are returning home by truck reveal that many migrants have stayed as long as they could in Libya in the hope of being given months of unpaid wages. Lack of food and water was forcing them to finally leave.

Meanwhile, an eighth IOM mission to evacuate another group of migrants by sea from the port city of Misrata concluded late last week.

The mission, funded by the US State Department's Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migration, rescued 166 migrants, the majority from Sub-Saharan Africa including Nigeriens, Chadians, Ghanaians and Sudanese. The rest comprised Palestinians, Moroccans, Egyptians, Tunisians as well as migrants from Jordan, Britain and Pakistan.

Thirty-six war-wounded casualties were evacuated to Benghazi with the migrants, bringing the number of people rescued from Misrata to about 7,200.

The IOM-chartered ship also delivered hundreds of tons of humanitarian aid and provided the logistics for the deployment of an IOM-led interagency assessment team to Misrata to assess humanitarian needs there after months of fighting.

So far, IOM has provided evacuation assistance to about 31,000 people from inside Libya including the Misrata operations. More than 9,000 migrants including Sub-Saharan Africans have been transported by road from Tripoli to the Tunisian border and nearly 15,000 from Benghazi in the east to the Egyptian border.

Since late February, IOM has helped nearly 144,000 migrants in Algeria, Egypt, Tunisia, Chad and Niger with evacuation assistance back to their home countries.

As the crisis drags on, the numbers of people fleeing across Libya borders continue to mount steadily. More than 952,000 people have so far crossed into its six neighbouring countries or arrived in Italy and Malta.

Source: International Office of Migration (IOM)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Africa opens another chapter in fight against human trafficking

15 Apr 2011 17:24 Africa/Lagos

Africa opens another chapter in fight against human trafficking

ADDIS ABABA, March 25, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Africa has launched a new two-pronged campaign to operationalise its four-year old continental instrument to address the challenges of trafficking in persons, particularly women and children through regional workshops and the launching of the African Union's Initiative against Trafficking (AU.COMMIT) in the Regional Economic Communities (REC”s). The latest initiative, a joint programme of the African Union, ECOWAS, the International Organisation on Migration (IOM) and the UN Office for Drugs and Crime (UNODC), would develop a road map for implementing the Ouagadougou Action Plan agreed by the African Union in 2006.

“The workshop is of critical importance to countries of Africa and to the Regional Economic Communities (REC's) considering that it is the second in a series of planned launches of the COMMIT campaign that has the critical goal of aligning the Ouagadougou Action Plan with those of the various REC's,” ECOWAS President Ambassador Victor Gbeho said in a message to the workshop and launching for West Africa on Wednesday, 24th March 2010 at the ECOWAS Commission in Abuja, Nigeria.

The Ouagadougou Action Plan prioritizes a host of activities for implementation, reflecting the dimensions of the scourge in the areas of prevention, creating awareness, victim protection and assistance, instituting an appropriate legal regime, policy development, law enforcement, cooperation and coordination.

“Exploitation lies at the centre of the concept of trafficking in persons,” Ambassador Gheho said in a message read by Commissioner Adrienne Diop to the 60 participants at the three-day workshop, blaming “certain social and economic realities” for this burgeoning criminal enterprise, particularly the “widespread poverty, unemployment, conflicts, political oppression and insecurity.”

The AU's Commissioner for Social Affairs, Bience Gawanas said the enactment of instruments such as the Trafficking in Persons Protocol and the Ouagadougou Action Plan have served to galvanise member states, resulting in a virtual doubling of the number of states that have enacted anti-trafficking legislation between 2003 and 2008.

These instruments, she further said, have contributed to securing more convictions of traffickers and the rescue of an increasing number of victims and blamed the uncoordinated and slow criminal justice response system as well as the vulnerable economic environment and volatile political situations for the increasing number of trafficked persons. (the complete speech of Commissioner Gawanas is available on the AU website:

In her speech, the UN Special Reporter on Trafficking in Persons, Joy Ezeilo warned that the current global economic crunch could ‘exacerbate the desperation and the quest for human security, survival and development that fuels the trafficking in persons.'

“Trafficking for exploitation is more likely to escalate particularly during this global economic crisis and increasing poverty caused by massive unemployment and the employer's tendency to use cheap labour in order to cut costs and maximize profits,” she told the participants.

In order to address this aspect, the UN official called for training for labour inspectors to enable them to appreciate the interface between migration and trafficking and to enhance the mechanism for the identification of trafficked persons in exploitative and mixed migration situations.

While taking measures to address the root causes, she said “innovative approaches” were needed to combat the huge problem of human trafficking through the synergy of international, regional and national strategies that will address all the dimensions of the scourge.

Furthermore, she urged AU Member States to urgently adopt national work plans, establish an agency or institution specifically with responsibility of coordinating action on human trafficking, and appoint a national reporter to oversee the progress and fast track data collection and ensure proper coordination of anti trafficking efforts. In order to address the cross border dimensions of the challenge and secure the welfare of the victims, she stressed the need to partner with other regions and regional institutions such as the League of Arab States and countries in the Middle East to protect and promote the well-being of trafficking victims.

In opening the workshop, Nigeria's solicitor general said the country had demonstrated its commitment to domesticate relevant international instruments against trafficking in persons by enacting a local legislation that was signed into law in 2003, making the country one of the few in the world with specific national legislations against the activities of human traffickers.

Specifically, he said the establishment of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other Related Matters in August 2003 represents a “strong demonstration of the government's resolve to protect vulnerable citizens, especially women and children to secure the future of our youths.”

In January 2007, the African Union through its Executive Council Decision endorsed the Ouagadougou Action Plan to Combat Trafficking in Human Beings, Especially Women and Children. The decision called upon the Chairperson of the AU Commission in collaboration with IOM and other partners to advocate for the implementation of the Action Plan.

Moreover, it urged the Commission and the IOM to assist Member States with the development and implementation of sound migration policies aimed at addressing this scourge. Under the Ouagadougou plan, the Chairperson of the African Union Commission is required to file periodic reports on the status of implementation of the plan. In addition, it called on the international community to continue providing assistance towards the attainment of the objectives contained in the Ouagadougou Action Plan.

Source: African Union Commission (AUC)

A Girl from Nigeria

Whatever Peter Abel, a celebrated undercover reporter, has been through before, nothing prepares him for the murder of his friend and colleague by suspected women traffickers. Abel gets deeper into trouble with the heinous syndicate of international criminals when he tries to save an underage girl, Alice, who is about to be raped in Lagos. But soon Alice disappears leaving behind a devastated mother, and a violent father.Abel s search for Alice takes him through various human trafficking routes, to destinations including the United States and the United Kingdom. Abel is threatened, shot at and even framed for murder in the US, but he knows he will never find peace until he avenges his colleague s murder and saves Alice, even if it is from the laps of a US Congressman in Washington D.C.

About the Author
Bisi Daniels is the pen name of the prolific writer, Bisi Ojediran. A graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon, he is now the Chairman of the Editorial Board of THIS DAY newspaper. Prior to that, he was Business Editor of two of Nigeria's most influential newspapers, including The Guardian, before he started work in the oil industry. He joined Elf Petroleum as Media Relations Manager in 1995, moving on to Shell Petroleum, and has recently returned to journalism.Bisi has now written over twenty books, including eight novels.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Nigeria Draws Regional Migrants but Loses High Skilled Labour, Migration Profile Finds

20 Jul 2010 14:39 Africa/Lagos

Country Draws Regional Migrants but Loses High Skilled Labour, Migration Profile Finds

ABUJA, July 20, 2010/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- A migration profile of Nigeria released today by IOM finds that the country remains attractive to migrants from the sub-region although increasing numbers of skilled Nigerians emigrate in search of employment abroad.

According to the National Population Commission, the number of immigrants residing in Nigeria has more than doubled in recent decades - from 477,135 in 1991 to 971,450 in 2005. The Profile shows that the majority of immigrants in Nigeria (74%) are from neighbouring Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), and that this number has increased considerably over the last decade, from 63 per cent in 2001 to 97 per cent in 2005.

According to the Central Bank of Nigeria and the Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research, the Nigerian economy grew between 5.5 and 6.4 per cent each year from 2004 to 2007, with the oil sector the primary engine of growth and a magnet for high-skilled migrant workers. However, recent economic growth has also been linked to the informal labour sector, which traditionally attracts low-skilled national as well as international migrant labour.

Although the overall situation in Nigeria has somewhat improved in recent years, the country still has some way to go towards achieving the Millennium Development Goals. The country has the world's third highest number of people infected by HIV/Aids, after India and South Africa and scores low in the United Nations Development Programme's human development index ranking (125 out of 151).

In spite of Nigeria's importance as a destination for migrants in the region, the report however shows that more people are emigrating from, than immigrating to, Nigeria with the negative net migration rate (per 1,000 people) steadily increasing in recent years, from -0.2 in 2000 to -0.3 in 2005, and this trend is expected to continue. According to recent estimates, the net migration rate could reach -0.4 in 2010.

Estimates made by the Development Research Centre on Migration, Globalisation and Poverty (DRC), based on the 2000 Census Round, indicate that 1,041,284 Nigerian nationals live abroad, mostly in Sudan (24%), followed by the United States (14%) and the United Kingdom (9%). Many Nigerian emigrants also settle in neighbouring Cameroon (8%) and in Ghana (5%).

Although it is difficult to obtain empirical data on migrant skills, there appears to be a strong link between high skill level and migration. According to the latest estimates in 2000, 10.7 per cent of the highly skilled population who were trained in Nigeria worked abroad, mostly in Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries.

According to the report, an average of 64 per cent of the Nigerian emigrant population have tertiary education; 14 per cent of all physicians trained in Nigeria work abroad, with 90 per cent of these working in the United States and the United Kingdom.

Regarding the flow of remittances to Nigeria, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) notes a dramatic increase from USD 2.3 billion in 2004 to 17.9 billion in 2007, representing 6.7 per cent of GDP.

The United States accounts for the largest portion of official remittances, followed by the United Kingdom, Italy, Canada, Spain and France. On the African continent, Egypt, Equatorial Guinea, Chad, the Libyan Arab Jamahiriya and South Africa are important source countries of remittance flows to Nigeria, while China is the biggest remittance-sending country in Asia.

The report also notes a marked increase in the number of Nigerians emigrating for educational purposes. From 2000 to 2006, the number of Nigerian students abroad more than doubled from 10,000 to 22,000, the majority of these (some 6,000) studying at universities in the United States.

Consequently, the overall number of tertiary educated persons has been declining, from 90,579 in 2002/2003 to 39,509 in 2005/2006.

One result of this is the lack of human capital to meet the demand for highly skilled workers in the labour market. The Ministry of Health reported that nearly 8 per cent of its 39,210 doctors and 2,773 dentists are foreign nationals.

Despite declining official unemployment rates (from 12% in 2005 to 9.9% in 2008), the overall labour supply continues to outstrip demand and this is likely to continue in the near future as Nigeria is one of the ten most populous countries in the world and has one of the fastest population growth rates (2.38% in 2008).

Based on this growth rate, the Nigerian population will double its currently estimated size of 146 million people, and unless the market is able to absorb the resulting surplus labour, unemployment is likely to increase and lead to still greater emigration.

A review of the data available for the Migration Profile of Nigeria reveals several challenges including: the need for a national migration data management strategy tracking both internal and external migration; inadequate funding for training and staffing of personnel to record and monitor migration trends and provide migration controls at exit and entry points; the absence of a centralized system and official body mandated to coordinate migration issues amongst government ministries.

Having said this, Nigeria is one of the few countries in West Africa to have developed a draft national policy on migration which is pending ratification by the National Assembly. The draft migration policy, amongst other objectives, seeks to establish a central migration authority within the government, and addresses the absence of Migration as a theme in Nigeria's main development plans, such as the National Economic Employment Development Strategy (NEEDS) and the state and local government counterparts (SEEDS and LEEDS).

In addition to supporting full implementation of the pending legislation, the report recommends: clearly establishing the role of the National Commission for Refugees, which will be responsible for coordinating migration management activities; focussing on internal as well as external migration issues given that this is a precursor for international migration, occurs on a relatively greater scale and is vital for understanding the level of development of the country; and government emphasis on the strategic importance of migration in development by giving its full support to formalizing and implementing the national policy on migration.

Source: International Office of Migration (IOM)

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