IOM Uganda hosts experts to discuss Global Compact on Migration
October 31, 2017
On 17-18 October 2017, IOM Uganda hosted experts from various sectors for a consultation on what Uganda would like to see included in the Global Compact on Migration (GCM).
The National Consultation Mechanism on Migration (NCM) meeting was held at Laico Lake Victoria Hotel Entebbe. It brought together experts from the Government, UN agencies, the private sector, academia and civil society, among other sectors. It was opened by the State Minister for Internal Affairs, Hon Obiga Mario Kania, who reiterated Government’s commitment to ensuring progressive migration policies and practice.
Honourable Kania urged deeper international cooperation if the world is to handle migration challenges in line with international human rights standards. He acknowledged that Uganda’s National migration policy had delayed, but promised it would soon be presented to Cabinet.
The GCM was born out of the 2016 United Nations Summit on Refugees and Migrants. IOM has since been tasked to support the search for global consensus on how to tackle migration questions. Meanwhile UNHCR was asked to support another compact on refugees.
Opening the Entebbe meeting, State Minister Kania pointed out that Uganda is an origin, transit and host of migrant populations, and has, therefore, real interest in migration issues. The minister said many Ugandans often cross borders for work not regulated by labour laws and with risks of exploitation and abuse.
“Yet despite these challenges, migrants make invaluable contributions to both origin and destination countries,” he said. “For example, in 2015 alone, Uganda received over 1.2 billion U.S Dollars of remittances.”
The minister added: “Therefore, a strong human rights-focused response to migration challenges such as human trafficking, migrant smuggling is paramount, requiring cooperation both at national and international level for the full potential of migration to be realized.”
With inter-Governmental negotiations on the GCM set to start next February, the minister urged the NCM to come up with robust recommendations on migration issues relevant to Uganda, including human rights and decent work for migrants, human trafficking and irregular migration, as well as international cooperation.
The IOM Uganda Chief of Mission, Mr Ali Abdi, said that with one in every seven persons in the world being a migrant, migration needs to be seen in positive light – so that it is safe, humane and orderly.
“IOM’s vision is for a world in which migration is well governed for the benefit of all. A world in which people migrate as a matter of choice and not necessity. A world in which migration does not occur at the expense of human dignity,” Mr Abdi said.
He added that migration is a key development issue, recognized in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), especially target 10.7: “to facilitate orderly, safe, regular and responsible migration and mobility of people, including through the implementation of planned and well-managed migration policies.”
In brief remarks, Mr David Apollo Kazungu, the commissioner for Refugees in the Office of the Prime Minister, said the National Coordination Mechanism on migration brought together key state and non-state agencies, with a migration related, hence promoting whole-of-Government and whole-of-society approach to migration governance.
While presenting an overview of the migration situation in Uganda, Prof John Mushomi from Makerere University, called for more structured and detailed monitoring and study of migration trends, including through a separate migration survey, and setting up a national migration institute.