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‘Migration cannot be stopped, but can be managed’

Piri Kati, EU MP, summarises a report from a group discussion in Kampala. PHOTO LOUIS JADWONG

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | The 4th International Conference NOW in Kampala on “African Youth and Migration” concluded on Tuesday with a call to the African (AU) and European Union (EU) to try to develop common concepts of managing – not stopping – migration.

“The AU and EU should work towards establishing another narrative of migration which does not consider it to be a danger, but a standard,” the September 3-5 conference in Kampala resolved.

The 4th NOW Conference also recommended that the international community should give full support to the extraordinary efforts of Uganda and some other African countries in receiving and supporting refugees on the basis of integration and inclusion.

The preliminary recommendations, from the Kampala conference that brought together over 45 participants from more than 10 Sub-Sahara African countries, European experts, politicians, refugees and young activists, will be refined and presented at the forthcoming 5th EU Africa Summit in Abidjan, Ivory Coast in November.

The central theme for the Abidjan Summit will be ‘Youth’, which has become a key priority for Europe as well as Africa, in a context of African demographic trends creating major challenges for young people in terms of migration, security and employment.

A participant moderates a discussion on migration in Kampala.

At a final press conference in Kampala that featured, Hannes Swoboda, President of the International Institute for Peace IIP, Victor Ochen AYINET Uganda Executive Director, Piri Kati, Member of the European Parliament, Bella Nshimirimana from Burundi, who is Uganda’s refugee woman of the year, and Mathias Esene of ICMPD Nigeria, Uganda was praised for her welcoming approach to handling refugees.

Uganda currently hosts Africa’s largest number of refugees, more than 1.2 million people.

The other preliminary recommendations to the AU/EU summit were:

  • The international community should recognise that the biggest responsibility for the support and reception of refugees is borne by African countries themselves
  • The AU-EU summit is the opportunity to address the issues of flight and migration, which is of great concern to the young generation, from a positive perspective and to try to develop common concepts of managing – not stopping – migration in a humane way.
  • All the issues, which are of concern to the African and European youth should be discussed in close cooperation and mutual exchange by the youth themselves
  • The AU and EU cooperation should be built on a true partnership, especially fighting the root causes of forced migration in common. (See full recommendations page 2)

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