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Okoduwa, others arrive Genova ahead of Int’l Migrants Day

By Mark Duru

A Senior Special Assistant to Edo State Governor on Anti Human Trafficking Issues, Comrade Solomon Okoduwa has led a delegation to Genova, Italy ahead of the 2019 International Migrants Day which holds 18th December yearly.

It is a global event set aside by the United Nations to identify the major challenges faced by Migrants especially Nigerians in Italy by various Non Governmental Organisations in Italy and major political parties with the Nigeria Association in Italy and Genova.

The head of the cooperative social onlus Mr Maurizio Aletti received the Nigeria delegation headed by Solomon Okoduwa who was on a fact finding mission to Italy as a build up to the event.

Amongst the NGO are the foremost Italian NGO Mater Africa for Humanitarian Aid Initiative led by Alberto Cicala.

The representative of the Nigeria association in Italy Mr. Adewale Adeniji, Secretary General of the Association, Frank Edosa and Mr Benald who are the host and organizers were at the entourage of the Nigeria delegation.

READ  688  killed, three million displaced by flood in Nigeria

On arrival, some Nigerians were very glad to see a team of concerned Nigerians from Edo State who came to hear from them and address some of their challenges.

2019 International Migrants Day

Speaking to the delegation, a Nigerian migrant, Mr Wasiu who hails from Lagos sytate said he has been in the center for the past two years.

He reportedly came in with his wife and a kid. He thanked the authority for their warm reception, urgent medical attention and feeding. But he said the commission has denied his asylum request twice.

Also speaking is an Edo state indegene who hails from Ubiaja in Esan South East LGA said he has not been given documents even he has work for it. He said he was asked to do voluntary work in the farm, he did it for six months, why doing it he was also schooling for three hours daily. He appealed to them to grant it urgently so he can get a better job.

Another Nigerian who raised same issue is Mr Stephen. He pointed out that there has been delay in getting Nigerian passport from the embassy.

READ  UNHCR and partners seek US$ 1.3 billion for South Sudan refugees

Read Also: Nigerian media challenged on migration reporting

He explained that the bottleneck has resulted to frustration of some Nigerians who seek asylum. Stephen however appealed to the Nigeria delegation to intervene so as to enable a quick response.

It would be recalled that while the delegation met with the Nigeria Ambassador in Rome in October 2019, he regretted the agonies faced by Nigerians there and promised to ensure that the embassy always attend to them as well as providing adequate booklet to match with the number of Nigerians who need the passport.

Responding to the issues raised by the Migrants in the Genova camp, Mrs Antonella who is in charge of receiving migrants upon arrival said the camp was doing its part for the settlement of the migrants.

According to her, “when migrants arrived, we take them to the resettlement center, give them medical attention, open up clinic file for them. We will do more.”

READ  Human trafficking generates billions in profit at the expense of victims- A-TIPSOM

Meanwhile, Okoduwa assured that all through their stay in Italy they will ensure that some of the issues raised by the migrants would be addressed.

He said the issues will be brought forward during debates at the 2019 International Migrants Day in Genova, Italy.

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UNHCR and IOM shocked and dismayed by deaths near Belarus-Poland border

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and are deeply saddened by the deaths of four individuals near the border between Poland and Belarus. The organizations express their condolences to the families of the deceased and are calling for an immediate investigation into this tragedy. The nationalities of the all the victims have yet to be confirmed but two Iraqi nationals reportedly died of hypothermia.

In recent months, groups of asylum-seekers and migrants have been transiting through Belarus, to seek asylum in neighbouring EU Member States – Lithuania, Latvia and Poland.

The two agencies have been following with growing concern, reports of pushbacks of people at these borders. Groups of people have become stranded for weeks, unable to access any form of assistance, asylum or basic services. Many were left in dire situations, exposed to the elements, suffering from hypothermia. Some were rescued from swamps.

READ  Evacuated Nigerians won’t be quarantined in hotels anymore- Minister

Recognizing the significant challenges posed by irregular movements, the agencies have called for the situation to be managed in accordance with international legal obligations, and for States to work collaboratively to resolve the situation, prioritising human rights.

UNHCR and IOM call for immediate access to those affected, in order to provide lifesaving medical help, food, water and shelter, especially in light of the approaching winter.

While States have the sovereign right to manage their borders, this is not incompatible with the respect for human rights including the right to seek asylum. Pushbacks endanger lives and are illegal under international law.

UNHCR and IOM have been engaging with relevant authorities to explore various options for the people who continue to be stranded at borders; from access to asylum, family reunification procedures, and voluntary return for those found not to be in need of international protection.

IOM and UNHCR reiterate that asylum-seekers and migrants should never be used by States to achieve political ends. The fundamental responsibility to protect vulnerable people should be shared among States in a spirit of solidarity. Political disagreement on responsibilities must never result in the loss of life, forfeiting States international obligations and commitments.

READ  688  killed, three million displaced by flood in Nigeria

 

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UNHCR calls on Libya to urgently develop plan for asylum seekers and refugees, welcomes authorization to restart evacuation

Libya. UNHCR provides assistance to asylum-seekers caught in crackdown

A refugee feeds her baby while waiting to receive assistance at an emergency distribution by UNHCR and partners in Tripoli, Libya.  © UNHCR/Mohamed Alalem

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, today urged the Libyan government to immediately address the dire situation of asylumseekers and refugees in a humane and rights-based manner. Raids and arbitrary arrests by the authorities this month targeted areas largely  populated by refugees and asylumseekers that resulted in several deaths, thousands detained, and many homeless and destitute.

“Since the start of the security raids and arrests by the Libyan authorities in October, we have witnessed a sharp deterioration in the situation facing vulnerable asylumseekers and refugees in Tripoli,” said Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR’s Special Envoy for the Western and Central Mediterranean Situation. “The Libyan authorities must come up with a proper plan that respects their rights and identifies durable solutions.”

Some 3,000 people are currently sheltering outside the Community Day Centre (CDC) in Tripoli, where UNHCR and its partners have been providing medical assistance and other services. Their situation is very precarious. Many were affected by the raids, demolition of their homes, and have escaped from detention in terrible conditions. Others have joined the group hoping to be evacuated.

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“Many have been left homeless and lost all their belongings as a result of the security operation and are now sleeping in the cold and in a very unsafe environment. This is utterly unacceptable,” said Cochetel.

UNHCR and partners had to suspend operations at the Community Day Centre for security and safety reasons, but remain engaged in an active dialogue with representatives of the protesters outside the CDC to explain the limited assistance it can offer, including cash and food assistance.

Together with other UN agencies, UNHCR stands ready to support an urgent plan of action that could help alleviate the terrible suffering of asylumseekers and refugees in Libya. 

UNHCR continues to call on the authorities to respect the human rights and dignity of asylumseekers and refugees, stop their arbitrary arrest and release them from detention. 

The UN Refugee Agency has welcomed authorization to restart humanitarian evacuation flights, but warns that it is not enough. 

“This is a positive development for some of the most vulnerable refugees, who have been waiting anxiously for many months to depart. Our teams are already working to ensure humanitarian flights can restart as soon as possible,” said Cochetel “But we also need to be realistic: resettlement or evacuation flights will only benefit a limited number of people.”    

More than 1,000 vulnerable refugees and asylumseekers are currently prioritised for humanitarian flights and awaiting their resumption. UNHCR continues to urge the international community to offer more legal pathways to safety outside Libya.

READ  Detained migrants pepper-sprayed for protesting amid coronavirus fears

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Free movement of people a top priority, say West African nations

Aligned migration policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons, says the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Photo: Fredrick Ejiga/IOM

Abuja – Free movement of people and goods, and fighting human trafficking should be top policy priorities, members of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) agreed at talks convened with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the UN Network for Migration and the African Union.

Three days of consultations in Abuja this week offered the first chance for ECOWAS members to collectively assess progress in implementing the Global Compact for Migration (GCM) objectives and to decide key recommendations to be put to next year’s International Migration Review Forum.

Integrated migration governance should be a key goal and Ambrose Dery, Minister of Interior for Ghana, the Chair of ECOWAS Authority of Heads of States and Governments, said it was essential African nations addressed trafficking in persons and its devastating consequences on migrants.

READ  U.S. issues potential irregular African immigrants gentle warning

“Vile stories on international media concerning migrant slavery, as well as mistreatment of young African domestic helps in some Gulf States, call for a reflection on appropriate actions to be taken with a view to finding a lasting solution to this persistent problem that leads to the loss of young Africans, without whom the continent cannot build a prosperous and peaceful future,” Dery said. “In Ghana, the contribution of migrants has played a great role in shaping our national development.”

Governments must address the root causes of trafficking and ensure the free movement of people in a safe, orderly and dignified manner. ECOWAS representatives emphasized the need to join forces and align approaches to prevent and counter smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons to promote rights-based management of migration.

The meeting, which ended Thursday, also heard that policies must be effectively applied by border officials to ease free movement while combatting trafficking in persons.

Aissata Kane, IOM’s Senior Regional Adviser for Sub Saharan Africa, said the Global Compact for Migration was a landmark, multilateral document. “It aims to catalyze and boost combined support and assistance for addressing legal and humanitarian challenges of migration and foster its positive social, cultural and economic dividends within and outside the ECOWAS region.”

READ  UNHCR and partners seek US$ 1.3 billion for South Sudan refugees

IOM has been working with all stakeholders at intergovernmental and national levels, as well as within the UN Network for Migration, to promote safe, orderly and dignified free movement of people and economic exchange among ECOWAS Member States.

Support Voice for African Migrants


Support VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS journalism of integrity and credibility.

Good journalism costs a lot of money. Yet only good journalism can ensure the possibility of a good society, an accountable democracy, and a transparent government.

For continued free access to the best and latest migration, trafficking, displacement and humanitarian reports including thorough investigative reports in these areas, we ask you to consider making a modest support to this noble endeavour.

By contributing to VOICE FOR AFRICAN MIGRANTS, you are helping to sustain a journalism of relevance and ensuring it remains free and available to all.
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