the outcome of this conference sets the stage for steps that must be taken to better address #HumanTrafficking
AU Regional Ministerial Conference Calls for Stronger Collaborative Approach to Tackle Human Trafficking and Smuggling in the Horn of Africa
Khartoum, the Sudan, 16 October 2014: Ministers from more than 15 countries of migration source, transit and destination along with High level delegations from the African Union, United Nations agencies called for a stronger collaborative common approach to tackle human trafficking and smuggling in the Horn of Africa. This comes at the opening of the AU Regional Ministerial Conference on Human Trafficking and Smuggling in the Horn of Africa, held at the Police Club House, Khartoum, the Sudan.
Organized by the African Union (AU) in collaboration with the Government of the Sudan, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM). The Regional Ministerial Conference aims to explore cooperation among the member states in the region in addressing the challenges of trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants within and from the Horn of Africa, and to come up with a common approach in addressing this issue.
Opening the Conference, the Vice President of the Republic of the Sudan, Mr. Hasabo Mohamed Abdelrahman, emphasized the Sudan’s commitment of supporting the collective efforts of the region and the world in combating this phenomenon. He affirmed that Sudan is considered to be one of the pioneer countries in combating human trafficking through a very effective, proactive, legislative and procedural initiatives, this is due to the longstanding and distinguished experience of Sudan in hosting a large number of refugee camps and migrants from neighboring countries.
The Vice President highlighted the procedures tackled by the Sudan in order to face the rapid growth challenges imposed by the migratory flows and human trafficking and smuggling. He expressed the readiness of Sudan to cooperate at the regional and international levels. Furthermore he stressed that Sudan is looking forward to a greater cooperation with the international community by lifting the unjust sanctions and economic embargo against Sudan.
In his opening remarks, Dr. Olawale Maiyegun, AUC Director of Social Affairs stated that the African Union with the support of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organization for Migration (IOM), have been promoting the need for a regional dialogue and coordination mechanisms on migration management, supporting Member States in strengthening their capacities and responses to transnational organized crimes, notably human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, as well as the protection of victims in general, particularly refugees and asylum seekers within the Horn of Africa region.
Addressing the audience, the Director highlighted the situation of migrants who have been reported to be victims of loss of life due to exposure to harsh conditions, being forced to flee persecution, conflicts and vulnerable situations and walk long distances in the desert without basic life supplementary, as well as physical and sexual abuses, human rights violations, from traffickers and smugglers including extortion and threats to organ extraction.
Speaking on behalf of the High Commissioner for Refugees, Mr. António Guterres, Ms. Ann Encontre, Deputy Director of the UNHCR Bureau for Africa, appreciated the declaration adopted today that acknowledges the scope and severity of this problem, and recognizes the effect smuggling and trafficking have on refugees and asylum seekers who are among the world’s most vulnerable people…
She emphasized that the outcome of this Conference sets the stage for the next important steps that must be taken to enhance regional cooperation and better address the scourge of human trafficking. “This has a significant impact on the protection of our persons of concern, and UNHCR offices in the concerned countries will continue to work with the authorities and other partners to fight trafficking and smuggling, reinforce asylum space and improve the protection of those persons of our concern affected by it”, she added.
Mr.Eugenio Ambrosi Special Regional Advisor for Europe – Representing the IOM Deputy Director General said that this meeting was aimed at identifying solutions for maximizing the benefits of migration for all. IOM is firmly committed to supporting countries of origin, transit and destination in developing responses to these complex migration flows across the Horn of Africa towards the Central Mediterranean.
He highlighted the multiple stakeholders findings for the critical need to protect vulnerable migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in line with the international protection standards; and to prevent exploitation from the outset by addressing the root causes of irregular migration while ensuring demand reduction en route and at destination. He focused on the necessity to ensure legal migration channels; and uphold the rule of law including border management leading to a migration governance.
In their meeting today, the Ministers will conduct a dialogue on the issues of human trafficking and smuggling of migrants in the region. They will consider the deliberations and recommendations adopted by the senior officials meeting, held on 13-14 October, and endorse the strategy, action plan as well as release a high level political statement through a Declaration.