GENEVA, Switzerland, May 27, 2014/African Press Organization (APO)/ -- IOM and UNHCR yesterday hosted a meeting with key stakeholders to discuss the national response to mixed migration challenges in Mozambique. The meeting was part of the preparations for the 2014 regional Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA) conference, which will focus on mixed and irregular migration.
At the meeting, which was funded by the US State Department's Bureau of Population, Migration and Refugees (PRM), government, non-government and UN partners came together to assess the progress of implementation of the regional action plan developed by South African Development Community (SADC) member states in Dar-es-Salaam in 2010.
The meeting was opened by Maria Lavinia M. Hamede, Deputy National Director of Mozambique's Immigration Department, who pointed to the increasing trend in movement of people globally, and especially along the Mozambican transport corridors to South Africa. At the same time rapid economic growth in Mozambique is also attracting significant numbers of regular and irregular migrant workers, she noted.
IOM Mozambique Chief of Mission for Stuart Simpson said that it was crucial for the response to mixed migration to be informed by concerns for the human rights, safety and dignity of migrants.
“Frontline officials have to work in a more coordinated way in screening new arrivals and ensuring that they have access to the correct immigration procedures and assistance when necessary,” he said.
Research conducted in 2012-2013 found that migrants transit Mozambique trying to reach South Africa. They include refugees and economic migrants from the Horn of Africa, notably Ethiopians and Somalis, and the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
The study found that migrants travelling through Mozambique face major health risks, including physical violence from individual attacks, detention and poor conditions in various police holding cells, which resulted in the death of at least one migrant in 2012.
Meeting participants agreed to work towards a coordinated regional response which would benefit society, migrants, and respect migrants' dignity and their contribution to development. The government of Mozambique will bring the issues and challenges raised in the discussion to the MIDSA, which will take place in Malawi in June 30th – July 2nd.