REFRAME THE MIGRATION DISCOURSE

Key points for consideration at the Rabat meeting
Nunu Kidane, Africa Moves: A Pan African Migration Platform
REFRAME THE MIGRATION DISCOURSE

  • There is only ONE Africa. geographic and historic divisions have not served us well. Sub Saharan Africa and North Africa are not two separate sections of a continent, there is only one Africa and one people.
  • Reclaiming the African migration narrative: dominant media and research about migration of Africans is conducted and disseminated by, and for, Western, mostly European media, academic and research institutions.
  • African migration is presented in context of impact on Europe and ‘stopping the flow’ with little regard of what is happening to migrants, refugees and displaced persons within Africa.
    • There is an imperative to respond to policy recommendations at national, regional and global level by diverse sectors of African CSOs who are migrants, diaspora, labor, women, L and development workers.
    • We need to tell “our stories” from regional, historic and human experiential perspectives
  • The majority of African mobility happens within the continent of Africa, nearly 70% move within Africa.
  • Africa is one of the youngest regions in the world with the median age at 39 years old. The age of our leaders is the oldest of any region. This gap in active engagement of young people contributes to outflow of young people.
  • There is alarming increase (in a single generation) of African women’s mobility. Africa is largely agricultural economy where the majority of farmers are women. Women’s mobility, unlike that of men, affects production of food, protection of environment, social and cultural knowledge production. The level of vulnerability of women migrants and those forcibly trafficked needs to be cornerstone of our policy lens.
  • The “root causes” that drive African people are frequently mentioned as poverty, conflict, corruption and weak institutions. State and institutional solutions are typically presented as need for more development and more trade. Trade imbalances and unregulated development exasperate Africa’s underdevelopment, polluting our waters, destroying our environment, disposing land from indigenous communities. Unethical arms trade from Europe and the US fuel our conflicts into perpetual wars.
  • African reframing is needed to address the outflow of migrants and refugees
    • Economic policies should take “human development” as fundamental measure
    • Addressing disenfranchisement of young peoples from democratic participatory political space. Address shutting down of civil society space and actors.
    • Western discourse on ‘root causes’ needs to add historic lens of Europe’s colonial rule over all of Africa, and the political and economic repercussions of today. This should include acknowledgement of forced removal of enslaved and labor exploitation of nearly 30 million Africans over 3 centuries.
  • Migration is a growing and highly sensitive policy matter for national, regional and international actors. Policy matters however at regional, and global level do not include those directly impacted, nor serve the interest of the most vulnerable

RESPONDING TO CURRENT POLICY

  • The Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration is a process that will reshape migration policy at global level.
    • UN processes are designed and led by majority of policy experts and issued by heads of state, with minimal space for inclusion of civil society voices. This is especially true for Africa than any other region
    • African CSOs are disconnected from the Compact discourse. There is need to address inclusion and capacity building within sub-regions and at regional level.
  • The Valetta Agreement between the African Union and the European Union, signed in Valletta Malta in November 2015 has radically reshaped migration policy. ( Morocco was not a member of the African Union until January 2016)
    • Operationalization of Valletta is led entirely led by governments with NO space for civil society actors.
    • There is lack of policy coherence between bilateral agreements on the one hand, regional or sub-regional, and the global compact at the global level. (example: Italian government’s secret agreement with 60 Libyan tribal leaders)
    • The externalization of European borders means that Europe is using highly militarized systems of intervention and monitoring of borders and movement of African peoples.
    • The ‘trust funds’ established by the European Union to finance repatriated migrants (read deported) also called ‘cash for migrants’ system is immoral and violates human rights conventions.
    • Europe’s development aid is now conditional to flow of migration from Africans. This is an immoral proposal that will cost the lives of millions.
  • In line with the Valetta Agreement , the Global Compact process proposes removal and returns of migrants. This process is supported by all governments and strongly condemned by civil society from across the world
  • The Compact has solid framework on the recognition and protection of human rights of all people on the move. This needs to cohere and be in line with domestic laws.

 

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