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AU Member States urged to ratify the protocol on free movement to achieve free trade

Addis Ababa, November, 17 2019(MaraviPost): The African Union (AU) Ministerial Session for the Third STC on Migration, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons kicked off today. The meeting is organized jointly by the Departments of Political Affairs and Department of Social Affairs of the AU Commission (AUC).

In her opening remarks the African Union Commissioner for Social Affairs H.E Mrs. Amira Elfadil Mohammed Elfadil expressed her honour and privilege to welcome the ministers to the Third Ordinary Session of the Specialized Technical Committee on Migration, Refugees and Internally Displaced Persons. She thanked delegates for finding time to attend this important AU Statutory meeting to provide policy guidance on migration, refugees and IDPs governance on the continent. Mrs. Amira Elfadil emphasized challenges of irregular migration and forced displacement in Africa. “Despite these challenges, positive developments are also taking place including in the area of strengthening the governance architecture on migration and humanitarian crisis in Africa” noted the Commissioner.

Mrs. Amira Elfadil said that the AU Commission (AUC), together with Governments of Mali, Morocco and Sudan, are in advanced stages of establishing the African Centre for the study and Research on Migration in Mali; the African Migration Observatory in Morocco and the Continental Operational Centre in Khartoum for Combating Irregular Migration as directed by the AU Assembly. The host agreements have been signed with all these governments and AUC is now at an advance stage of putting necessary legal and operational institutional framework to ensure their operationalization.

“We are also looking forward to strengthen other aspects of migration governance including supporting Member States and Regional Economic Communities (RECs) in their capacity to manage migration in their jurisdiction. We will continue working together with all partners to ensure that migration and humanitarian issues in the continent are well coordinated and governed.’’ said the Commissioner.

The Commissioner concluded by thanking the Government of the Republic of Rwanda for their leadership as outgoing Chair of the STC on Migration, Refugees and Internally Displacd Persons. She appreciated the role of the AU Commission in organizing the STC meeting and partners for their support.

Hon. Judith Uwizeye, Minister in Office of the President of the Republic of Rwanda and the Chairperson of the outgoing STC, expressed satisfaction with the efforts done by the AU Commission for organizing the STC meeting.

The minister highlighted that the Protocol on free Movement of Persons in Africa requires 15 ratifications to enter into force. She emphasized the importance of Member States to make an effort to expedite ratifications in order to accelerate mobility and integration in Africa. “Without mobility and free movement, even the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) will stay challenged as we cannot achieve free trade properly without free movement” said Hon. Judith Uwizeye. The minister urged other Member States to ratify the protocol in the months to come under the new leadership of this STC so that the protocol comes into force.

The Minister briefed the meeting on the Memodandum of Understanding (MoU) that was signed on 10 September 2019 between the African Union Commission, Government of Rwanda, and the UNHCR for the establishment of the emergency transit mechanism for refugees and asylum seekers in Rwanda to provide protection to vulnerable refugees and migrants in Libya and to provide a safe environment that will enable fast-trucking durable solutions to those who are evacuated to Rwanda. “We are happy and proud to report that Rwanda has received so far 189 migrants and plans are underway to receive more” noted the minister.

The Chairperson of the outgoing STC Bureau thanked all member states for their support throughout her tenure as the Chair of the STC on Migration, refugees and Internally Displaced Persons and congratulated the new Bureau under the charirmanship of the Republic of Mali and assured him of Rwanda’s total support during their tenure.

The Ministers elected the new Bureau of the STC on Migration, Refugees and Internally Dispalced Persons as follows:

Chairperson: (West Africa) – Mali
First Vice Chairperson: (Southern Africa) – Zambia
Second Vice Chairperson: (Central Africa) – Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
Third Vice Chairperson: (North Africa) – Libya
Rapporteur: (East Africa) – Rwanda
The STC meeting will end on Friday 8 November 2019.

Ufulu means 'Freedom' or unschackled - Ufulu is a reporter at the Maravi Post since Inception. He has a Degree in Computer Science and has reported on Technical and development issues.
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