Igad delegates in Sudan for free movement talks

Monday November 13 2017

Migrants wait to be rescued by the Aquarius rescue ship

Migrants wait to be rescued by the Aquarius rescue ship run by NGO "SOS Mediterranee" and "Medecins Sans Frontieres" (Doctors Without Borders) in the Mediterranean Sea at the Libyan coast on August 2, 2017. AFP PHOTO | ANGELOS TZORTZINIS 

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Delegates from the regional Inter-Governmental Authority on Development (Igad) are meeting in the Sudanese capital Khartoum to discuss the protocol on the free movement of people.

The meeting of Interior ministers of eight African countries, is also being attended by the European Union and the United Nations representatives.

Achieving the free movement of peoples is one of Igad's as well as the African Union's longstanding objectives.

The Khartoum meeting also aims at looking into ways to enhance the integration and improving the livelihood in the region.

Illegal migration

Further, the meeting aims at combating human trafficking, illegal migration, transitional crimes, including terrorism, and other causes of destabilisation of the Horn and Africa region.

Addressing the opening session, Sudanese Interior minister Hamid Manan reassured of Khartoum's commitment to resolving the migration issues.

A member of the Igad executive secretariat, Mr Abu Zaid Alhasssan, said the free movement of people would help check problems including terrorism, violent conflicts and famines, as well as deepen democracy and development.

“Together, Igad member states have tackled diverse and difficult issues, namely violent conflicts, the emergencies of drought and famines, countering the transitional crimes of extremism and terrorism, countering human trafficking and smuggling and managing illegal migration,” Mr Alhassan explained.

Transit point

The EU representative to Sudan, Mr Jean Michel, re-affirmed the union's full support to the efforts aimed at controlling human trafficking and illegal migration, as well as border management.

The conference that ends on Wednesday will make recommendations on the free movement protocol.

EU has exerted tremendous efforts to stop the influx of refugees from the Horn and East African countries, through the Mediterranean.

Sudan, as a source and transit point of the African migrants, has worked with many European and international donors on refugee issues.

EU has also given millions of dollars to the Horn of Africa countries to address the issues of refugees.