Alula Berhe Kidani, Photo: Al-Sir Mukhtar
Global Compact on Migration is about developing a global migration framework based on facts
People Are on the Move Like Never Before and This Is Something that the World has to Respond to: IOM –Sudan Head (1)
The Chief of Mission of the IOM (International Organization for Migration) in Sudan Ms. Catherine Northing paid a visit to Sudan Vision office last Thursday 13 Dec. 2018.She was welcomed by Sudan Vision General Manager Ms. Sahar Albushra who said to; I am really honored and glad by your presence in Sudan Vision Office. And let me take this opportunity to stress on that the issue of migration and which is the main domain of IOM mandate is of great concern for Sudan which makes your work here very important for us. And the endorsement of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration two days ago is a clear sign of Sudan commitment to the international norms on the issues of migration.
In this context, rest assured that you and your colleagues will receive every possible support from Sudan vision. Once again welcome in Sudan Vision.
In return the Chief of IOM Mission in Sudan said that: “I am happy to be here particularly few days from the International Migrants Day (18 Dec.) and two days after the endorsement of the Global Compact on Migration and it is a good time to talk about the issues of migration and with Sudan specially been a key geographical area with migration and have a role to play in the different areas of migration”.
This was followed by an extensive discussion between IOM Ms. Northing and Sudan Vision staff.
Q: What is the significance of the 18b December International Migrants Day?
The International Migrants Day is a day in which we celebrate the contribution of migrants but also at sometimes commemorate as the last few years unfortunately have witnessed a lot of fatalities of migrants and in 2018 not less than 2000 migrants died in their attempt to cross the Mediterranean. And the theme of this year, International Migrants Day is “Migration with Dignity”. This is something we are looking at in terms of been able to celebrate the contribution of migrants in Sudan and talk about the wider issues of migration and the contribution migrants bring to society. And, the vulnerability often of some migrants and the need for migrants to be protected. And, this year we are hosting an event that will bring together migrants’ communities here in Khartoum and which include Ethiopians, Eritreans, Syrians, Yemenis, Somalis’, etc. Also, during the day we are bringing together school children from the migrants’ communities, Ethiopians, Eritreans and Congolese who will do some art work, and in the evening the official reception for the government entities and diplomatic community and other partners that we have here in Khartoum.
And they will have the opportunity to interact with the migrants’ communities and see some of their culture and handicrafts that they have made. And at the same time, we will be able taking about the theme of this year; Migration with Dignity.
You know that everyone in seven in the world is a migrant and this include international migrants, national migrants and forced migrants.
But we are focusing a lot of our activities on the vulnerable migrants who need protection. Because even migrants that travel legally needs protection and this is also an issue that we are working on with the Ministry of Labour on migration labour policy.
People are on the move like never before and this is something that the world has to respond to. Migration can be for the benefit of the migrants themselves, the destination country and the country of origin.
We want to discuss on the International Migrants Day with the host governments how to benefit from migration for development and how to harness the benefit of migration for development and harness the contribution of migrants to society. And , yes governments have the sovereign right to control borders and say who can and who can stay but in that process there is also a way of supporting migrants and harnessing the benefits and contribution of migrants , both migrants who came to Sudan but also the Sudanese migrants who can contribute either financially with remittances or with skills that they have gained overseas and then have returned.
Q: How will be the new Compact impact IOM work in world and Sudan?
A: The Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regulated Migration have been two years in the making and have just been endorsed in Marrakesh (Morocco) by over 160-member states of the United Nations. And what was positive is that the Global Compact on Migration was a government led process and the IOM was supporting the process across the Globe but governments where actually leading the discussions. And it was very nice to see Sudan having some local consultations and we had three round tables bringing everyone together to contribute and to feed into the document.
So, it is a non-binding agreement, so is a voluntary process and reaffirm the sovereignty of the states and is designed to enhance safe and orderly migration management and maximize the benefits of migration but also minimize the risks.
So, it is about developing a global migration framework based on facts. The Global Compact is a set of goals to help UN member states to build safe and orderly pathways. Knowing that Migration is a fact of life, the aim is to have safe and orderly migration that benefits both the society and the migrants.
These, the Global Compact is going to act as a blueprint for governments to use to be able to better manage migration. It is a roadmap to help in the process. It contains 23 objectives and commitments and provide a manual for states to use best practices to improve migration systems based on their realities and capacities.
So, it is not one size fits all but a guiding system with objectives and commitments, but then have to be used to make it appropriate for their context.
Now one of the things that the compact will help in is around the issues of smuggling and trafficking because we know people will move looking for a brighter future and often people are not well informed, and which can lead to tragic consequences.
We have seen people drowning in the Mediterranean, in crossing the desert. People been exploited and tortured and we know the stories.
And so, part of the Compact is to protect people from smugglers and traffickers by assisting governments to regulate and understand the role they can play in combating this.
Also, we know that a lot of the drivers for migration is that people are moving in search for jobs or better economic situations.
The Compact will assist the countries and states to regulate that and to be able to review the labour market to see what the gaps are, the skills that are not available in the local labour force and find ways of hearing skills from another country.
It also provides a framework for interaction and creating partnerships and it is not an attempt to impose anything on the member states. It is a non-binding agreement and has been a government led agreement.
It is about supporting the benefits of migration because we know migrants make contributions, provide skills in the country of destination. They also send remittances back home which help brothers and sisters go to school and for general living purposes. They can also invest in business and local initiatives. Additionally, the extra link of culture between the country of destination and origin because when you visit another country, you gain new experiences.
The key about the Global Compact is that everyone will benefit because it is talking about safe and orderly regulated migration and no one get exploited and this will be the key thing. We know that people migrate and are putting their life at risk when they do it in an unsafe way. So, the Global Compact is a way to mitigate these risks and enable people to travel safely to the benefit of the migrants and society.
Q: Will this not encourage people to migrate?
A: Migration is not necessarily a bad thing because if you have someone travelling legally then they are coming because they have something to contribute. They are there within the law and the country decided on the criteria for their staying in that country. The Global compact is to help government how to do that safely and legally. So, it encourages people to use the regular ways for migration.
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