EUROPE / AFRICA : ROUNDTABLE ON THE ACCOMMODATION AND INTEGRATION OF MIGRANTS FORCIBLY SENT BACK TO AFRICA
The Foundation urges all actors to take concrete measures to help forcibly returned migrants from the European Union to Africa
(Brussels, 8 September 2016) – The migrants sent back by the European Union to African countries should be supported with training, micro-credit projects, structures and legal frameworks to help them succeed in their socio-economic and cultural reintegration, declared the “Fondation pour l’Egalité des Chances en Afrique” at the Roundtable at the European Parliament.
The “Fondation pour l’Egalité des Chances en Afrique” organized a roundtable of stakeholders concerned with the issue of migration. Representatives of the African Union, the European Commission, the International Organization for Migration, the Office of the United Nations for Refugees, the International Organization of the Francophonie and a dozen countries from West and North Africa, as well as members of civil society and Diaspora, debated the issue of deported migrants.
“We are facing a problem that neither Europe nor Africa alone can tackle separately. Rather, in the context of legal migration, it would be useful to reflect on the idea of moving towards a sustainable integration framework for returning migrants. It is essential to help our partner countries to welcome and reintegrate the returnees”; said Louis Michel, Minister of State, MEP and former European Commissioner for Development. “We must stop blaming migration. We must stop demonizing this eminently humanistic issue. No one should be limited to a town or a country. Migration is a natural phenomenon that must be accompanied, shaped and given a positive image,” he added.
The roundtable was intended to lead to concrete proposals and establish an agenda to restore dignity and hope to migrants deported by the European Union to Africa.
"We do not want to believe in fate, which is why the Foundation has taken the gamble of bringing all stakeholders around the table to reflect and find solutions all together," said Georges Henri Beauthier, Member of the Foundation’s Board and lawyer specialized in the rights of foreigners. "The Foundation wants to sensitize all stakeholders on the need to provide migrants turned back to Africa with opportunities and means of taking their destiny into their own hands."
Every year, thousands of Africans are expelled from Europe, without hope and real support, to different countries of which they are sometimes not nationals. Repressed migrants are one of the most vulnerable and the least supported. Forced return is usually accompanied by various problems ranging from economic and financial misery and social detachment. They are often victims of marginalization before and after the expulsion and their socio-cultural and economic integration is risky.
"The marginalization and discrimination from local communities that express shame, fear and rejection of deported individuals represent another real reintegration issue", said H.E Ajay Bramdeo, Ambassador of the African Union in Brussels. "Enhanced financial and technical provisions to support deportees through the period of arrival and reintegration will assist in enabling individuals to become responsible, contributing members of their communities and in preventing possible continued irregular migration.”
The actors have agreed to pool their efforts for better public accountability on the issue of the integration of deported migrants. The Foundation will invite the participants for an evaluation meeting of the work accomplished during the next three months. The aim is to consolidate the solidarity and responsibility of the European institutions, African governments, international organizations, donors, local and international NGOs to provide economic, social and sustainable humanitarian solutions.
The “Fondation pour l’Egalité des Chances en Afrique” is a philanthropic organization recognized of public utility by Royal Decree in 2015. It was created by businessman Mohamed Bouamatou and lawyers specialized in the defense for Human Rights. Its main mission is strengthening, in Africa, the rule of law, democracy and equal opportunity through transparency in public life and the fight against corruption.