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JWBM poised to tackle migration problems

Oct 20, 2011, 12:09 PM | Article By: Lamin B. Darboe

Justice Without Borders for Migrants (JWBM) Tuesday convened a press conference at the Paradise Suites Hotel where it, among others, briefed journalists on its activities within the African continent and Europe.

The press conference, which saw presentations on the topic: “Spiral of Impunity: Violations of Rights related to Deportation of African Migrants”, also heard discussions on violations of migrants’ rights and strategies and regional and international strategies.

Justice Without Borders for Migrants is a multi-national network that seeks to combat violations of migrants’ rights linked to deportations through transnational action that combines utilization of legal mechanisms, advocacy, documentation, reporting of abuses, capacity building and strengthening collaboration and communications.

Speaking at the conference, Ousmane Diarra, from Mali and a member of JWBM, said this is a kind of an umbrella organization that defines the rights of migrants.

Ms. Naomi Onaga from the United Nations and the European Court of Human Rights said JWBM particularly seeks to address the current gap in international and national laws, which allows very little possibility for migrants who have been deported to seek justice, thereby promoting impunity and fueling violatory policies.

According to her, JWBM’s project seeks to develop a transnational litigation and advocacy network to combat human rights violations against migrants, in particular those who were deported.

Mr. Francis Mkwere from the Nigeria Bar Association of Human Rights Institute gave the migrant situation in Nigeria, noting that Nigeria has recorded cases of abuses of 250 migrants of Nigerian nationals in Europe and other recorded cases of 300 Nigerians who were deported from Libya.

“We also have a quite number of Nigerians who were deported from The Gambia, Mali, Guinea Conakry, Ghana and just recently Nigerians have been subjected to abuses in Libya, and in Nigeria we have the Immigration Act that regulates the issue of migration,” he stated.

He added that with regard to the protection of refugees, Nigeria has the National Commission on Refugees (NCR) which addresses the problems of natural disasters and, most importantly, the Nigerian 1999 constitution that provided for the protection of human rights of all persons.

He opined that rights’ violations against African migrants have exploded over the past years, including racial discrimination, inhuman treatment, torture, sexual violence, killings, violations of due process rights, forced deportations, collective deportations, and denial of access to justice.

A report by the JWBM highlighted that this is taking place in Europe, North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa, but once a person is deported, there is almost total impunity for these abuses and the policies that cause them continue.