Showing posts with label migration. Show all posts
Showing posts with label migration. Show all posts

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Immigration operatives urged to work for a borderless ECOWAS region

24 Aug 2011 06:31 Africa/Lagos

Immigration operatives urged to work for a borderless ECOWAS region

ABUJA, August 24, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- The President of the ECOWAS Commission, His Excellency James Victor Gbeho on Monday, 22nd August 2011, called on immigration operatives in Member States to work toward the achievement of a borderless Community through effective implementation of the regional protocol on free movement.

“In seeking to accelerate the attainment of a borderless Community, the ECOWAS Commission is disposed to activate public participation in the protocol implementation with the use of enormous human resources”, the President said at the opening of a train-the-trainers workshop for Nigerian immigration officials on the ECOWAS Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, Goods and Right of Residence and Establishment.

Ambassador Gbeho, represented by Mr. Tony Elumelu, Principal Programme Officer at the Commission's Directorate of Free Movement and Tourism, told the participants that the sustenance of the regional integration drive was contingent on free movement of Community citizen.

This, he said, would complement the Commission's on-going initiative to introduce in West Africa, a Shengen-type visa regime operational in some European Union Member States, adding that on-going sensitization of the operatives and citizens was part of sustained efforts to reduce, if not eliminate, the hardship and cases of harassment and intimidation of Community citizens in the hands of security operatives in the common borders.

Opening the workshop on behalf of the Comptroller General, Nigeria Immigration Service, Mrs. Rose Uzoma, the Assistant Comptroller General, Training, Ayotunde Oredipe, told participants to assume the responsibility as the new drivers of emerging migration trends in the ECOWAS region.

Immigration operatives, he said, should give meaning to the concept of Borderless Border by opening up their operations in line with international best practices.

The Assistant Comptroller General also called on the Commission to address the challenge of dearth of information by sponsoring joint sensitization seminars with emphasis on the new approach to passenger clearance.

Addressing the participants, Air-Vice Marshal Terry Okorodudu (retied), Chair of the ECOWAS Free Movement Monitoring Team, said the essence of the Community protocol on free movement “rests squarely on immigration, (and) without immigration there will be no ECOWAS”.

He stressed the need for the creation of a reliable database that will be accessible to all stakeholders on immigration issues.

The ECOWAS free movement protocol was signed on May 29th 1979 by regional leaders as an instrument for promoting unfettered movement of Community citizens within the region as part of the process of creating a single regional economic space where citizens can avail themselves of the opportunities that abound in Member States and contribute to the region's development.

The text also seeks to enhance intra-Community trade, which presently hovers between 11 and 13 per cent, and contribute to the stimulation of the regional economy.

The 22nd to 26th August 2011 training for the immigration operatives being held at Koroduma, Nasarawa State is one of the activities being pursued by the ECOWAS Commission to address the challenges identified with the implementation of the Free Movement Protocol, including harassment, corruption, indiscriminate road blocks and erection of non tariff barriers.

Source: Economic Community Of West African States (ECOWAS)

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Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another woman journalist jailed for reporting rape allegations in Sudan

Sudan Tribune Sudanese female journalist in a protest against censorship (FILE)

25 Jul 2011 16:01 Africa/Lagos

Sudan / Another woman journalist jailed for reporting rape allegations

PARIS, July 25, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Amal Habani, a woman reporter for the daily Al-Jarida, was today sentenced to a fine of 2,000 pounds (600 euros) or a month in jail for reporting a woman activist's claims that she was raped by members of the security forces. As Habani refused to pay the fine, she was immediately taken to Omdurman women's prison, northwest of the capital, to begin serving the jail sentence.

Photograph of women protesting against rape in war torn Sudan.Credit: Rights Monitoring Organization.

Habani was convicted by Judge Modather Al-Rasheed of the Khartoum media court, who fined her editor, Saadeldin Ibrahim, 5,000 pounds (1,500 euros). Agence France-Presse quoted her lawyer as saying they were found guilty of publishing false information and violating journalistic ethics.

She is the second woman journalist working for Al-Jarida to be tried in the past three weeks for reporting human rights activist Safia Ishag's rape allegations. Fatima Ghazali was convicted on 5 July and was taken to Omdurman prison the same day. She was released two days later after paying her fine.

Seven other journalists and media contributors are due to be tried or are still the subject of judicial investigations for the same reason. They are Faisal Mohamed Salih, Babikir Omer Al-Garrai, Abdalla Al-Shaik, Mohamed Latif, Faiz Al-Selaik, Mohamed Osman and Dr. Nahid Al-Hassan.

More information:,40485.html

Source: Reporters without Borders (RSF)

26 Jul 2011 07:40 Africa/Lagos

Regional Conference On Migration In Africa Promotes Circular Labour Migration

GENEVA, July 26, 2011/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- Migration experts are meeting this week in the Ghanaian capital, Accra, to discuss how Africa and the European Union can benefit from organized labour migration.

The conference which opened yesterday, 25 July, 2011, has been organized by the IOM through funds from the EU's AENEAS 2006 programme, which provides financial and technical support for countries on migration and asylum. It is attended by officials from EU, Africa and Canada as well as major international bodies, such as the African Union, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Southern African Development Commission (SADEC)

The conference builds on a previous event which took place in 2008, during which IOM with funds from the AENEAS 2006 programme, launched a Labour Migration Project for West Africa (LAMIWA). The project aimed at reversing the negative trends of increased irregular migrations from Ghana, Nigeria and Senegal to Europe, with Libya as the main transit country.

The conference is assessing the overall benefits of the LAMIWA programme on the participating countries, namely Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Italy. It also aims to gain understanding of different approaches taken by regional bodies to labour mobility.

One of the key areas for discussion is circular migration - a scheme whereby migrant workers from Africa enter the European labour market for a limited period of time in line with specific country entry quotas and then return home once their contracts are over.

This scheme will benefit migrants and both origin and the host countries. The countries of origin will benefit from the skills and knowledge acquired by the migrant workers, technology transfer, unemployment reduction and the remittances. Host countries will have access to migrant workers willing to fill short-term labour market needs.

Through LAMIWA project, a pilot scheme for circular migration scheme is taking place between Ghana and Italy. As part of the scheme, an initial group of twenty selected Ghanaian migrant workers will depart later this week for Italy where they will spend three months working in the agricultural sector. IOM will provide pre-departure counselling, including information on contract and working conditions as well as return and reintegration assistance in Ghana upon completion of the contract.

Apart from initiating circular migration scheme between Ghana and Italy, the funds provided by EU's AENEAS 2006 programme, have enabled IOM to provide assistance to the governments of Ghana and Nigeria in drafting labour migration policies, and support for the two governments' efforts to reduce irregular migration in the region.

In addition, AENEAS 2006 funding facilitated IOM to conduct national assessment of labour migration policies, legislation and practices in Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal and Libya.

Source: International Office of Migration (IOM)

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26 Jul 2011

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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.