Did you know that one outcome of the fourth EU-Africa Summit held 2-3 April 2014 in Brussels was the “EU-Africa Declaration on Migration and Mobility”? Well, the problem of migration being an issue for us in West Africa, it is important to know what was stated in the declaration.
It stated that the leaders of Europe and Africa, including the president of the European Council, president of the European Commission, president of the African Union and the chairperson of the African Union Commission, acknowledge the benefits that migration and mobility can bring to both continents, and that “a comprehensive approach to migration and mobility are powerful vehicles for boosting sustainable economic, social and environmental development for countries of origin, transit and destination, as well as to migrants themselves.” It continued thus:
“Recognising our common goal to maximise the development impact of migration and mobility, to improve migration governance and cooperation in countries of origin, transit and destination and to promote the role of migrants as agents of innovation and development;
Acknowledging that migration and mobility between and within our continentspresent both opportunities and challenges;
Stressing the importance of addressing the root causes of irregularmigration between Africa and Europe, and bearing in mind the importance of finding alternatives to this phenomenon, including by providing employment opportunities for the youth at regional level;
Acknowledging that further efforts should be made to better organise legal migration and to foster well-managed mobility, as well as to encourage policies that facilitate labour migration, including at the regional level;
Deeply concerned by the serious social and human impact of irregular migration and the loss of life caused by it, and more than ever committed to undertake action to avoid such tragedies in future by effectively tackling irregular migration and adopting a comprehensive approach to migration management, within the context of strict observance of human rights and human dignity;
Expressing great concern that trafficking of human beings as a modern day formof slavery constitutes a serious crime and an infringement of the fundamental human rights of the victims;
Underscoring the importance of prosecuting smugglers and traffickers and dismantling their criminal networks as they present a serious threat to the lives of migrants;
Recognising that Diasporas create strong human ties between our continentsand that they contribute significantly to the development of countries of origin and destination;
Reiterating our common commitment to fight all forms of discrimination, racism and xenophobia, and all acts of intolerance on both continents, and to ensure that the human rights of migrants, including those of the diaspora and victims of trafficking, are fully respected in both continents;
Stressing that fully enforcing the international legal instruments on internationalprotection is an urgent need that should be promoted and placed at the centre of the Africa-EU cooperation;
Recalling the importance of maintaining the link between migration and mobility policies and other policy areas, especially employment and higher education, within the broader framework of the Africa-EU Partnership;
Committing to further dialogue and deepening of our cooperation in the field ofmigration and mobility within the framework of the Joint Africa-EU Strategy, through a global and concerted approach to maximise their development impact on both Africa and the EU;
We express our strong and unambiguous political will to address all the challenges related to inter and intra-continental migration and mobility and to build on their opportunities.
We commit to ensuring that the importance of well-managed migration and mobility as drivers of inclusive growth and sustainable development will be adequately reflected in the post-2015 development agenda.
We commit to undertaking concrete actions to respond to challenges of migration and mobility at the appropriate level in a spirit of partnership, shared responsibility and cooperation.
It is reassuring to have this sort of statement from such an important gathering. We hope “concrete actions” will now follow to address, “in a spirit of partnership, shared responsibility and cooperation,” what is certainly a very contentious issue between Africa and Europe.
“America was indebted to immigration for her settlement and prosperity. That part of America which had encouraged them most had advanced most rapidly in population, agriculture and the arts.”