June 12, 2019 (DJIBOUTI, Djibouti): The Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) today closed a workshop during which experts reviewed the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in preparation of the upcoming IGAD Member States meeting to discuss the document in Uganda June 24-28, 2019.
Experts in migration matters from IGAD, the African Union Commission, the East African Community, the Economic Community of West African States, the German development agency GIZ, and the UN International Labour Organisation were invited to this ‘Experts Technical Review Meeting of the Draft Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in the IGAD Region’.
In a brief opening session, the Director of the Health and Social Development, Ms Fathia A. Alwan, reminded the audience that the Free Movement of Persons is in the IGAD Charter of 1996. ‘We started working on the task in 2013 and it is since 2017 that we have been getting financial support from the European Union,’ she said before thanking the African Union and the International Labour Organisation for their technical contribution to the process.
She also highlighted that, this meeting being the last experts meeting to review the Protocol before it is submitted to Member States, experts had to ‘agree to a clear and concise document that will incorporate the comments and observations from Member States collected during the national level consultations’.
The experts undertook a thorough review and finalised the following themes of the Draft Protocol:
- Entry, Stay and Exit
- Labour mobility
- Right of Residence
- Right of Establishment
- Disaster Induced Displacement
- Groups such as Refugees and Pastoralists
- Standard legal provisions
During the last couple of years, IGAD Secretariat undertook national consultative meetings with all its Member States to get a clear understanding of the benefits and barriers to free movement of persons in the region as well as get inputs of the Member States experts into the thematic provisions of the Draft Protocol with support from European Union Trust Fund.