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‘Migration cannot be stopped, but can be managed’

Ochen speaks at the NOW conference final press briefing in Kampala. He called for more support and funding for local humanitarian organisations.  Looking on left is Hannes Swoboda, President of the International Institute for Peace IIP. PHOTO LOUIS JADWONG

“This conference has been unique. It is the first conference I have attended that heard views of young people themselves. The views are direct from the youth, and not by others on behalf of youth,” Victor Ochen said.

Ochen is a grassroot activist, a human rights advocate and a peace builder with AYINET. Ochen and the African Youth Initiative Network (AYINET) were nominees for the Nobel Peace Prize in 2015.

Kati Piri, a member of the European parliament from Netherlands, said the conference had been an eye opener.

“It was interesting listening to perceptions and aspirations from both side, Europe and Africa. It is important to look at the real reasons why people are migrating.”

Piri said she was impressed to see youth at the conference calling for unity, cooperation and dialogue in efforts to improve the lives of youth in Africa and control migration. Unlike in many parts of the world, she said, it is the grassroots in Africa calling for cooperation on matters of migration and refugees and leaders should grasp the opportunity to effect postive changes.

The Kampala conference also made specific suggestions to African and European nations on how best to handle migration, youth and refugees issues. (see full recommendations below)

“EU and AU should address root causes of migration (not only symptoms), link conflict prevention with migration policy programmes, establish policies to integrate migrants (right to work, to mobility, to healthcare and other social services) and set-up a system of legal migration,” the Kampala conference recommended.

The conference told European nations that, “The EU should stop considering migration as a threat and should not give in to populist anti-migration policies.”

The message to African leaders was that, “Africa should develop and promote its talents and create an environment where Africans can be proud of their homelands and human resources so that emigration can be considered as an opportunity but not the only option.”

The conference was organised by Act.Now in cooperation with the International Institute for Peace (IIP) and support from the Bruno Kreisky Forum and local partner organizations.

It aimed at sharing perspectives from European and African delegates and come out with solutions to make it easier for migrants and also find solutions to encourage youth to stay in Africa.

Musa Ecweru, State minister of disaster preparedness and refugees, opened the conference on Sunday September 3.

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KAMPALA RECOMMENDATIONS

4th International Conference NOW in Kampala 2017 Recommendations by The Independent Magazine on Scribd

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