Africa commits to free movement of people, integration

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AU Secretariat:

The Africa Group at the UN has restated its commitment to ensure free movement of people and goods within the region to foster regional integration.

Mr Akinremi Bolaji, Minister Plenipotentiary, Permanent Mission of Nigeria to the UN, stated this when he delivered the Africa Group’s statement at the 51st Session of the Commission on Population and Development.

The theme of the debate is ‘Sustainable cities, human mobility and International migration’’.

Bolaji said: “We recognise the positive contribution of migrants for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

“We also recognise that international migration is a multi-dimensional reality of major relevance for the development of countries of origin, transit and destination, which requires coherent and comprehensive responses.

“We will continue to cooperate internationally to ensure safe, orderly and regular migration involving full respect for human rights and the humane treatment of all migrants regardless of their migration status.

“Each individual should have the right to the highest standard of living.

“In order to achieve this, we are committed to the free movement of people and goods within countries to foster rural-urban inter-linkages, and regional integration”.

According to him, migration issues should be reflected in national development plans and strategies.

He said Africa’s migration policies should maximise the benefits and minimise the costs and repercussions of international migration.

“This implies that they should be evidence-based, particularly aimed at vulnerable groups, especially women and youth, and protect the rights of both migrants and citizens.

“We must reinforce and establish bilateral, regional and global partnerships on migration to progressively reduce barriers on movement while upholding the fundamental human rights of all migrants.

“And we should make migration an instrument of mutual development for the benefit of both migrants and countries. Policies that foster the integration and reintegration of migrants and returning migrants should be promoted.”

Bolaji stressed the need to address investment in people, especially youth and women, recognising that there is a need to unleash the creative initiative and energy of the young population of Africa.

He said this required scaling up investment in early education, access to adequate health services for the youth, scaling up vocational training and increase investment in science, technology, research and innovation. (NAN)