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Protection of immigrants is paramount

Researchers have challenged to come up with a framework for migration governance that will help the Horn of Africa realize the transformative potential of migration.

The  Principal Secretary, State Department for Immigration and Citizen Services in the Ministry of Interior and
Coordination, Maj.Gen. (Rtd) Dr. Gordon Kihalangwa said Kenya has put in place appropriate government and society multi-stakeholders approach with an aim of securing a predictable and responsible national and international response to migration and refugees.

He  said the National Coordination Mechanism  on Migration Kenya has developed a curriculum for post graduate diploma in migration studies that draws students from Kenya and the rest of IGAD member states to study at the University of Nairobi.

He said East and Horn of Africa region paints a gloomy picture of dangerous, chaotic and irregular migration flows,

besides experiencing some of the most brutal conflicts and political instability, poverty and extreme climate

invariability leading to different forms of mobility.

“We however, have some hope because Africa also presents opportunities making it both an origin, transit and destination to refugees, asylum seekers in the category of tourist and labour migrants,” said Kihalangwa.

The PS in a speech read for him by a Senior Deputy Secretary (SDS), Serser Chelulei during the Regional Scientific Conference on Forced Displacement and Mixed Migration in the East and Horn of Africa in Nairobi.

The  three-day conference is organized by the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD),Maseno University and Organization for Social Science Research in Eastern and Southern Africa (OSSREA).

Dr. Kihalangwa  called  upon  the participants  of  the conference to come up with recommendations that will eliminate and mitigate the plight of migrants  in  situations of vulnerability and abuse, as well as predictions to future trends on labour markets and climate change.

“It  is important for the discussions to strike a balance between the essential need to protect the rights of migrants and the obligation to safeguard the security and sovereignty of states,” said the PS.

He  said Kenya takes migration matters seriously, and this can be seen through its active participation in national,

regional, continental and global fora on migration and its quick response on implanting resolutions and good practices.

“We regularly update our National Migration Profile, the 2018 has already been updated and due for launch this month. We have also finalized the writing of the national migration policy and is ready for adoption process,” he noted.

He at the same time announced that Kenya is working towards reducing and eliminating statelessness in the East and Horn of Africa Region, saying recently the government registered over 1000 stateless members of the Makonde community who migrated into the country since independence.

“The country has also domesticated  the international legal instruments  on  the fight  against  trafficking in persons and adopted coordinated one stop border management practices to tame cross-border criminal activity, and to facilitate seamless movement of persons, commodity and services.

Dr. Kihalangwa  also  urged  the  participants  to address the exploitation of migrants and empower them so that they  can positively contribute to the economic development of both their host and home countries.

Ms. Fathia  Alwan, Director of IGAD Health and Social Development Division in her remarks said there is need for countries to protect the rights of immigrants who are a vulnerable population.

The  World Bank promised to support the affected migrants and governments that supports the migrants.

The  Vice Chancellor Maseno University, Julius Nyabundi said a lot of people in Africa have experienced migration hence there is no need to criminalize it.

“Therefore the basics of what really constitutes migration should be looked at when dealing with the subject,” he

added.

By  Babra  Adhiambo/Bernadette Khaduli

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