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Foreign Affairs Minister Odongo Launches Migration Report, Says Gov’t Addressing Challenges Facing Migrant Workers

Foreign Affairs Minister, Gen. Jeje Odongo, has Friday morning launched the research report on migration governance in Uganda.

This was at Fairway Hotel where he said that Uganda as a country of origin, transit and destination, attaches great importance to migration and that “We recognise there is an increasing number of Ugandans including some in the diaspora who are travelling abroad for economic opportunities.”

“This phenomenon is also attributed to the growing pace of economic globalisation and interdependence that has created more migrant workers than ever before. We do also acknowledge environmental factors like climate, natural disasters and droughts influence decisions to migrate,” Gen. Odongo said.

L-R: Amb. Francis Katana, Sam Kutesa, Gen. Odongo, Gen. Ivan Koreta and Prof. Renaud Dehousse at the launch of the research report on migration governance in Uganda.

Whereas the above situation provides opportunities, Gen. Odongo said that it also presents unprecedented challenges such as human smuggling and trafficking, as well as perceptions and negative attitudes against migrants that often lead to prejudices which encourage racism, xenophobia among others.

As the Ministry of Foreign Affairs which has the mandate to promote and protect Uganda’s interest abroad, he said, “we give priority attention to our communities in the diaspora.”

“Their remittances, skills transfer and innovation have undoubtedly contributed significantly to national development. We therefore continue to pursue efforts, working together with relevant Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDA’s), including the diaspora themselves to address the challenges they face that I have alluded to. I therefore welcome this research study which focuses on migration governance with a view to ensuring safe passage and benefits for men and women involved in cross border mobility, including as well their families and communities,” Gen. Odongo said.

According to the Minister, Uganda actively participated in the negotiations leading to the adoption in September 2016 of a Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration.

To this, he said that “We remain committed to its implementation” and as such, “we continue to participate in other frameworks such as the “Khartoum Process”.

“These efforts aim at promoting continuous dialogue and enhancing cooperation on issues of migration and mobility. This is because migration cannot be addressed unilaterally due to the transnational nature of the phenomenon,” he added.

Gen. Odongo says that at the regional and continental level, Uganda has actively participated in the adoption of several protocols to remove barriers to the free movement of persons, goods and services.

“For example the issuance of the EAC e-passports is expected to boost free movement of people in the partner states. I also wish to recognise IGAD that is represented here, for harnessing the development potential of migration through implementing a number of programs in the member countries.  At the national level, a number of bilateral agreements have been concluded by Uganda with receiving countries. In addition, several laws and policies have been passed in order to harness the benefits of migration. This has been possible with the support of development partners,” he said, commending the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) Kampala Office for the support extended to the Government to address migration challenges and building capacity of relevant stakeholders.

He described the research report as timely and that “I do hope it will generate dialogue and debate towards the development and strengthening of Uganda’s national migration governance system so as to deal with both existing and emerging challenges.”

“The report makes the case to bring migration to the top of the policy agenda of government so as to formulate comprehensive national migration strategies; enhancing the policy capabilities of the key institutions with a mandate on migration; and, developing inclusive collaborative platforms for the relevant states and institutions to engage with one another,” he said.

Gen. Odongo said that the Government will study the recommendations and will work jointly with the different stakeholders to consider how to address them, in line with the mandates of the relevant MDAs.

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