24-04-2018, Kampala (Uganda): The Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Sudan, H.E. Dr Martin Elia Lomoru, and the Minister for Internal Affairs of Uganda, Hon. General Jeje Odongo, co-presided over the opening session of High Level Experts Meeting Towards the Development of Free Movement of Persons and Transhumance which kick-started in Kampala this morning for Expert participants and officials from South Sudan.
As part of the national consultations towards the development of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in the IGAD Region, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) first held a National Consultative Meeting with the government officials and other national stakeholders in Juba, South Sudan in August 2017. (See story at https://bit.ly/2II8LJX)
The Government of South Sudan then requested IGAD Secretariat for a follow-up meeting to take place from 24 to 26 April 2018 in Kampala (Uganda).
This high level experts meeting is bringing together high level experts from ministries, authorities, commissions and parliament of the Government of South Sudan. The aim of this high level experts meeting is for experts to deliberate on the provisions of the proposed IGAD Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and provide a political endorsement for the fast track negotiation and adoption of the Protocol before the close of the year.
EU, IOM, UN ILO, UNHCR and GIZ Representatives are among the high level dignitaries participating in the Opening Ceremony of this important meeting.
The Minister of Foreign Affairs of South Sudan said that it was his mission to “encourage and guide” the team of Experts so they “see where the interest of South Sudan and its people lies and to be able to advise” the government of South Sudan accordingly. He then touched on some of the points on the draft protocol to be considered again.
The Minister of Internal Affairs of Uganda highlighted the fact that movement of persons and transhumance is inevitable and should be regulated to ease movement to abiding citizens. He also noted that the security aspect should be addressed.
The Director of Economic Cooperation at IGAD, Mr. Elsadig Abdalla, noted that the Republic of South Sudan was “expected to provide to [IGAD] Secretariat expert analysis and recommendations on critical measures and requirements for fast tracking the effective conclusion of this protocol and implementation of its provisions”.
The Head of the International Organisation for Migration Kampala Office, the Director of Health and Social Development at IGAD, and the Ambassador of South Sudan to Uganda gave their opening remarks too.
The Protocol on Free Movement of Persons is enshrined in the 1986 Agreement Establishing the Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD). It aims to facilitate the free movement of persons in the IGAD region in order to enhance regional economic integration and development and facilitate the regularization of the high volume of informal movement that currently takes place in the IGAD region, in order to increase the opportunities for safe, regular and beneficial mobility.