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Covid- 19: Migrants, refugees, IDPs might not access concomitant human rights enshrined in international law -AU

Libya RETURNEES
With increasing global consensus that migration and mobility restrictive measures should be imposed in line with the strategy to contain the spreading of COVID-19, the African Union has expressed worries that miigrants, refugees, and IDPs might not access concomitant human rights enshrined in the international law .

The AU’s concern was contained in a communique issued by the union in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on April 10, 2020.
In the communique titled: ‘Migration & Mobility in Contexts of COVID-19’, the UA appealed that when adopting and implementing COVID-19 responses, governments should adhere to international law and the respect of the rights and humane dignity of Migrants.

The communique reads: “The African Union fully subscribes to the global mantra and aspiration to facilitate safe, orderly and regular migration. The global number of COVID-19 cases reported by the World Health Organization reached 1 476 819 cases of COVID-19 on 9th April 2020. Precisely, the COVID-19 is a global catastrophe with detrimental and adverse effects on all socio-economic fundamental pillars.

“The African Union recognizes that Migration and Mobility is central in the strategy to subdue COVID-19 and that movements including international traveling have been restricted by many countries as the borders are closed in order to contain COVID-19.

READ  IOM, UNHCR announce temporary suspension of resettlement travel for refugees

Rwandan refugees
“The Africa CDC continues to conduct daily surveillance and produces real time reports on COVID-19. The data shows a deteriorating situation in Africa as countries are reporting increase on infection and mortality rates. Chief among the domains severely impacted is Migration and Mobility. Since Africa CDC and WHO started monitoring of COVID-19 related global mobility restrictions, it is observed that the total number of restrictions issued has increased.”

The African Union commended AU countries’ sovereign COVID-19 restrictive measures to curb the spread of the virus by invoking extreme measures such as State of Emergency in order to bring to a grinding halt all forms mobility at a national level, adding: “While global consensus abounds that Migration and Mobility restrictive measures should be imposed in line with the strategy to contain the spreading of
COVID-19 and having adopted progressive policy Migration frameworks, the African Union is concerned that vulnerable populations such as Migrants, Refugees and IDPs might not access concomitant Human Rights enshrined in the international law.

“These groups of people of concern might have been already in transit or destination countries when the COVID-19 outbreak occurred and thus are trapped in these areas where lockdown or State of Emergency have been declared.

“Notably, African governments continue with commendable solidarity and patriotic gesture of repatriating their nationals stranded abroad. The African Union is alive to the reality that enforcing the promotion, respect and protection of Human Rights approaches in jurisdictions which have declared instruments of extreme human mobility control such as national disaster or state of emergency leading to lockdown, might be extremely challenging.

READ   Controversy as evacuees, Nigerian Ambassador argue over payment for COVID :19 test

“Be that as it may, the African Union calls for scrupulous adherence to international humanitarian law during lockdown as it applies to the persons of concern.

“It is an appeal of the African Union that when adopting and implementing COVID-19 responses, governments should adhere to international law and the respect of the rights and humane dignity of Migrants.

“In this regards, unilateral mass deportations worsen the desperate situation of migrants and can pose immense challenges to countries of origin of the migrants who are making efforts to create safe and humane environment to receive their returning nationals by setting up acceptable centers allowing for medical check and confinement.”

The union went ahead to call for enhanced cooperation between countries on repatriation of migrants in solidarity and mutual responsibility of governments.

“The African Union underscores the inalienable rights of the Migrants, Refugees and IDPs which remain intact at this extraordinary moment of restrictive mobility.

READ  Mobile health teams will provide a lifeline to thousands of Armenia's conflict-displaced

“The African Union further accentuates, the importance acting within the ambit cardinal principles of humane and respect of lives which enforcing measures to avert catastrophe associated with the advent of COVID-19.”

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Dominican Republic, IOM clear hurdles for 100,000 Venezuelan migrants

The Migration Normalization Plan will allow Venezuelans living irregularly in the Dominican Republic to work, move without risk of deportation, open bank accounts and join the country’s social security system.  Photo: IOM / Francesco Spotorno

 

 

Santo Domingo – The first group of almost 100,000 Venezuelan migrants without legal status in the Dominican Republic have received visas allowing them to work, open bank accounts and join the social security system under the country’s Migration Normalization Plan.

Created by the Dominican government and launched with the support of the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the plan aims to regularize the Venezuelan population in three stages: application for extension of stay, visa, and residency. Since April, when the first phase began, 43,000  Venezuelans have registered to extend their stay and, on 1 July, the first group of 21 Venezuelans received their work visa.

“Now that I have my visa, I feel that for others like me a lot of opportunities are opening. We will be able to establish more safely and formally to offer a better future to our children,” says Gabriela Rivero, who arrived in the country with her husband and daughter in 2018.  “Once we settled, we did not imagine how difficult it would be to get a job because the lack of documentation closed all doors.”

READ  Covid 19: UN in West and Central Africa worry about migrants as traffickers abandon victims in desert 

Since 2019 Gabriela has led a support organization for Venezuelan migrants in Santiago de los Caballeros called FEV (Fundación Emigrantes de Venezuela), which offers free orientation and helps hundreds of migrants daily to complete their normalization plan applications.

With IOM support, eight Venezuelan migrant organizations have created orientation hubs to assist the Venezuelan population who are applying to the plan. Of the 43,000  registered through the General Directorate of Migration (DGM) web page, around 9,000 have visited the hubs for help on the procedure. The promoters and coordinators of each hub – mostly Venezuelan migrants – have learned the process with the support and guidance of the DGM team and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MIREX). Besides being trained for orientation, they became the pilot group of the plan to receive their extensions and visas.

“The idea of this process is that we are the ones at the front of the hubs, a migrant helping a migrant, a Venezuelan helping a Venezuelan,” says Iván Carrera, a lawyer from Caracas and legal adviser of FUNCOVERD (Fundación Colonia de Venezolanos en RD). Carrera works as a promoter at the orientation hub in El Sambil Santo Domingo, one of the locations with the most people requesting support for their application.

READ  Covid-19: Dubai evacuees test positive in Nigeria after testing negative in UAE

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IOM launches open South America portal

International Organisation of Migration (

Buenos Aires – IOM, the International Organization for Migration, this week launched the Open South America Portal, a web platform providing migrants and stakeholders in the region with access to reliable and timely information on human mobility restrictions and health and safety measures adopted by governments in the COVID-19 pandemic.

Open South America, available in SpanishEnglish and Portuguese, shares official information by country on the latest measures, including border restrictions, quarantine requirements and COVID-19 tests for migrants and travellers.

The portal also provides updated information on authorized entry points and key places for travellers and migrants, such as consulates, migrant care and health centres, airports, border crossings points and ports. This information can be explored through an interactive map.

The platform, funded by the IOM Development Fund, is also accessible to vulnerable migrants who may be stranded or are at risk of receiving misinformation on migration.

Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, South America has been one of the most impacted regions worldwide. According to the World Health Organization figures, as of 8 July 2021 there were 33,475,765 COVID-19 cumulative cases in the region, which represents 89 per cent of the total cases in Latin America, and 18 per cent of all infections recorded globally.

READ  Emirates Airlines to fly NIgerians abroad back home

Countries such as Brazil, Peru, Colombia and Ecuador all experienced severe outbreaks. For example, Brazil currently reports the third highest number of cumulative cases (18,855,015) and second highest death toll (526,892) globally.

“Open South America will facilitate orderly, regular and responsible migration in South America amid the uncertain times of COVID-19 and after the pandemic,” said Minister Ana Laura Cachaza, General Director of Consular Affairs of the Government of Argentina.

“Migrants’ access to up-to-date information through innovative online tools is essential considering the changing migration dynamic in the region due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Marcelo Pisani, IOM Regional Director for South America.

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29,000 Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians, other Africans migrated through the Mediterranean Sea to Europe in 2021 —IOM

The International Organisation for Migration has said that 29,000 individuals including Nigerians, Ghanaians, Somalians and other Africans have emigrated to Europe through the Mediterranean Sea this year.

About 13,000 were arrested by the coast guards and returned home while 761 migrants were said to have perished in the sea.

Disclosing this to journalists in Abuja on Friday, the Chief of Mission, IOM Nigeria, Mr Franz Celestin, said less than five per cent of migrants usually made it to Europe, adding that the vast majority stay in Africa.

He further said that a lot of migrants were trafficked within the Economic Community of West African States, adding that Mali was the number one destination point for trafficked Nigerian women.

Responding to questions on the number of people who have undertaken the perilous trip to Europe through the Mediterranean, the IOM Chief said, “A combination of unemployment and underemployment is pushing people to migrate.

READ  IOM launches open South America portal

“In this year, 29,000 migrants from Sub-Sahara Africa have migrated to Europe through the Mediterranean. About 13,000 were intercepted by the coastguard while 761 died.”

International Organisation of Migration (

Celestin stressed the importance of tackling human trafficking which he said grossed about $150 billion annually.

“Traffickers make a lot of money and they would continue to do it until a coordinated response is evolved to stop them. We are collaborating with Interpol in this respect; we are connected to the Interpol i/247 database. We connected the MIDAS to the Interpol database where we pass the information on traffickers to the Interpol,” he stated.

Celestin explained that the IOM has been involved in the biometric registration of children in the North-East, noting that the agency has registered no fewer than 17,053 children in 18 different internally displaced person camps between 2019 and May 2021 in Borno State.

The agency chief also disclosed that IOM was involved in the G7 Famine Prevention and Humanitarian Compact for North-East.

READ  Not Alone: Providing mental health and psychosocial Support to Nigerians during COVID-19

 

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