08.07.2018 at 13h21
Top government officials drawn from the ministries of labour and foreign affairs of all 55 African Union member states will meet in Nairobi, Kenya, for a two-day symposium to establish a roadmap to promote the rights of African migrant workers.The organizers disclosed on Sunday that the meeting, billed for 10 to 12 July will seek to develop a common position among governments in East and West Africa, on minimum requirements in the development and implementation of agreements that protect labour and social rights of workers migrating from the continent to European Union and member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council, GCC.
The meeting will deliberate on ways in which African countries can enhance safe and orderly labour migration in Africa through policies, legislation and structures.
It will further establish minimum requirements in development and implementation of bilateral and multilateral agreements that will safeguard the human, labour and social rights of migrant workers from East and West Africa to EU and GCC member states.
“It is my sincere hope that at the close of this symposium, we would have a solid strategy in place to tackle some of the key challenges that migrant workers in Africa currently face, in order to start to make them a thing of the past. It is good that a wide range of stakeholders will be here to tackle these issues,” said the International Organization for Migration (IOM) senior regional specialist on labour mobility and human development, Jo Rispoli, said in a statement.
The symposium, dubbed “Fostering Labour Mobility within and from Africa”, is the continent’s effort to implement the African Union Commission (AUC)-led Joint Labour Migration Programme (JLMP), which was adopted by the leaders of AU member states in 2015.
The JLMP estimates that 52.6 per cent of migrants in Africa relocate within the continent; however, little has been achieved in securing the benefits from this movement or regulating it to ensure better protection for migrant workers.
The challenges cited include weak development of the social security systems of some of the countries of origin which fail to cover all the benefits granted by the destination countries; lack of compatibility between different social security systems and insufficient administrative capacities in several states to ensure adequate protection and guarantee an efficient transfer of benefits accrued over several years.
Incidences of labour and other rights abuses of migrant workers, xenophobic attacks on migrants and indiscriminate expulsions highlight the challenges of realising decent work, equality of treatment and protection of human rights according to the standards ratified by many African states.
Representatives from the East African Community, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) will attend the symposium, as well as participants from all the eight African Regional Economic Communities and selected European Union and Gulf Cooperation Council member states.