IOM appreciate the Government of Ethiopia for its engagement in addressing irregular migration

In a briefing on migration trends and responses held in Addis Ababa at early July 2015, the IOM Chief of Mission and Representative to AU/ECA and IGAD Mr. Josiah Ogina expressed the Organization’s gratitude to the donor community and appreciated the exemplary engagement of the Government of Ethiopia in the struggle against trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.

The Chief of Mission told the gathering that people from the Horn of Africa opt for irregular migration in substantial numbers with sometimes dramatic consequences in an alarming context pushed by conflicts, drought, food insecurity, severe poverty and other factors.  As a result, 1,875 migrants have already lost their lives while attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea (since 1 January 2015), which represents 70% of all casualties caused by irregular migration in the world (IOM). He also stated that Ethiopia, as the most populated country in the Horn of Africa is one of the major source countries for irregular migration in this region.

In his opening remarks, the Chief of Mission highlighted the main initiatives taken by the Government of Ethiopia to counter human trafficking such as the drafting of a five year National Action Plan against Trafficking in Persons aligned to the Growth and Transformation Plan II. The plan goes in line with the major regional initiatives such as the Khartoum Initiative launched by Horn of Africa members states of the African Union who agreed to cooperate in all areas of counter-trafficking including in addressing root factors making people vulnerable to trafficking in persons. This initiative was followed by the process of the same name launched jointly by the African and the European Union in order to foster cooperation between source, transit and destination countries in the struggle against trafficking in persons.

Presentations on the global and Ethiopian migration trends also highlighted the need to further build the capacity of key stakeholders to manage migration and to protect vulnerable migrants with a global stock of migrants expected to double by 2050. IOM’s strategy was presented in brief following five key areas of intervention: data collection and management, prevention of trafficking in persons and irregular migration, protection of victims of trafficking and other vulnerable migrants, prosecution of the perpetrators of such crimes and partnership with all relevant stakeholders.

Participants were able to raise their concerns on the strategy in order to make it consistent over the longer term. Following this consultation, the strategy will be further reviewed in order to be soon operationalized for a better management of migration and protection of vulnerable groups in Ethiopia and the wider Horn of Africa.

The briefing was attended by the Ambassadors of Brazil, Canada, and Zimbabwe. Representatives from numerous line Embassies and UN Agencies, all stakeholders engaged in counter trafficking in persons also took part the event.