Response from the African Union to the migration of thousands of African persons from the continent to Europe and does the African Union envisage what can be done to stem such migration

QUOTE

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

FOR ORAL REPLY

QUESTION NO. 476 (NO4460E)

PUBLISHED IN INTERNAL QUESTION PAPER NO: 15-2015 OF 28 OCTOBER 2015

Mr L K B Mpumlwana (ANC) to ask the Minister of International Relations and Cooperation:

What (a) has been the response from the African Union to the migration of thousands of African persons from the continent to Europe and (b) does the African Union envisage can be done to stem such migration? NO4460E

REPLY:

a) The African Union at its recently held 25th Ordinary Assembly of Heads of State and Government in Johannesburg issued a Declaration on the need to urgently address the challenges of migration from Africa to Europe.

b) In this Assembly, the AU requested the African Union Commission to arrange an Executive Council (African Union Foreign Ministers) Retreat to have in-depth discussions on Migration and to work towards the development of a Common Position for Africa before the Malta Conference on Migration with the European Union that is due to take place in November 2015. The Commission is expected to report on the implementation of the Declaration at the next African Union Assembly in January 2016.

The full text of the Declaration on Migration issued at the 25th African Union Assembly of Heads of State and Government held on 14 and 15 June 2015, in Johannesburg, Republic of South Africa, reads as follows:

Quote: Following our discussion on the strategic issue of Migration, hereby individually and collectively reaffirm our previous commitments aimed at accelerating mobility and integration on the continent, migration in development while addressing regular and irregular migration; we commit to undertake the following actions:

i) Speed up the implementation of continent-wide visa free regimes including issuance of visas at ports of entry for Africans and based on the principle of reciprocity where those countries that offer free movement should receive the same;

ii) Offer all Africans the same opportunities accorded to the citizens of countries within our respective Regional Economic Communities (RECs) by 2018;
iii) Expedite the operationalization of the African Passport that would, as a  start facilitate free movement of persons that will be issued by Member States;

iv) Establish a harmonised mechanism to ensure that higher education in Africa is compatible, comparable, with acceptability and enable recognition of credentials that will facilitate transferability of knowledge, skills and expertise;

v) Establish a mechanism on practical modalities for the empowerment of African women and youth in education and, encourage their sustained growth in knowledge acquisition; and to include exchange programmes and self-employment in the education curriculum;

vi) Strengthen efforts to combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants through the implementation of the provisions of the UN Convention on Transnational Organised Crime and its supplementing Protocols against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants by improving legislation, provision of victim support enhanced international cooperation and training;

vii) Assist in the stabilization of the elected government of Libya.

1. REQUEST the Commission (of the African Union) to urgently organise a retreat of the Executive Council (African Union Foreign Ministers) to consider:

i) The issue of Mobility and Free Movement of people in Africa;

ii) The development of a common position for Africa before the Malta Conference on Migration with the European Union in November 2015;

iii) The development of a Protocol on Free Movement of Persons;

iv) In collaboration with Member States engage in the process of developing capacity to manage migration flows within the continent.

2. ENDORSE the Horn of Africa Initiative on Human Trafficking and Smuggling by the African Union Commission and the outcomes of the Regional Conference on Human Trafficking and Smuggling held in Khartoum, Sudan from 13 to 16 October 2014 including the Terms of Reference, Declaration, Strategy and Plan of Action; and REQUEST the Commission to report regularly to the Executive Council on the Initiative.

3. DECIDE to remain seized with the matter and REQUEST the Commission to report to the Assembly on the implementation of this Declaration in January 2016.

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