IOM workshop tackles issues of mixed migration with stakeholders
The International Organization for Migration hosted a two day workshop on “Building Migration Management Capacity among stakeholders in Durban.
The workshop aimed to strengthen first line officials’ awareness on the international and regional legal instruments for the protection of vulnerable migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the context of mixed migration. It brought together stakeholders from civil society and government to discuss migration issues in their respective fields.
Over 40 participants from Durban’s Children’s court, the Departments of Home Affairs, Social Development and Labour, South African Police Service and Lawyers for Human Rights deliberated on migration policy and on ways to improve its implementation.
The Department of Home Affairs (DHA) shared with participants a presentation on the newly publicised Green Paper on International Migration and the steps taken by government to improve the current migration policy.
The original policy, according to the department, was not sufficiently holistic in addressing significant gaps that exists in areas such as management of emigration, SADC labour flows and protection of asylum seekers and refugees. Although there have been significant economic, social, legislative and regulatory changes, there has not been a comprehensive review of migration policy to reflect and respond to those changes.
The DHA public consultation process is already underway. Extensive communication and consultation activities are taking place in order to inform the public about the new international migration policy. The process also invites suggestions and contributions from the public on how the policy could be made more relevant and responsive to the national development agenda of the country.
The Green paper is available on the DHA website (www.dha.gov.za) as well as on the government website (www.gov.za). Interested persons and organizations are invited to submit comments or presentations to GreenPaper@dha.gov.za by no later than 30 September 2016.
Lawyers for Human Rights based in Durban also took an opportunity to highlight the challenges and lengthy processes they come across when they have to deal with cases of ‘stateless persons” who are in the country. According to the 2014/15 study done by UNHCR there are approximately 10 million people globally who are regarded as stateless persons.
Major factors leading to people becoming stateless include issues of unregistered children at birth, renunciation of nationality without securing another and loss of documents whilst migrating from one country to the other. Oftentimes, the regulatory system of the host country does not recognise stateless persons either as refugees nor asylum seekers.
LHR emphasized that South Africa is one of the countries which has not signed a convention which supports stateless persons in the country.
The workshop presented an opportunity to stakeholders to sign a petition drafted by LHR to invite the South African government to implement a policy on statelessness.
IOM remains engaged with governments to seek adequate responses to such challenges. With its Irregular Migration Programme, IOM seeks to address the root causes and challenges associated with irregular migration.