Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania join forces to curb irregular migration

The governments of Ethiopia, Kenya and Tanzania have agreed to work together on migration issues. The three countries will combine efforts to reduce the southward flow of irregular migrants from the East and Horn of Africa while protecting the human rights and physical safety of those stranded on route.

The agreement was reached at a series of meetings held 2-4 April 2019 in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. With support from the International Organization for Migration (IOM), technical experts from the three countries developed a series of recommendations.

They called for conditions in detention centres to be improved and for alternatives to detention to be considered. They also discussed strategies for the prevention of unsafe, irregular migration and best practices for return and reintegration.

Many Ethiopian and Eritreans try to migrate to South Africa. They travel through Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe without valid travel documentation. Often they are caught by the authorities and detained.

As a result, Addis Ababa has been working with the IOM and the governments of transit countries to organise the safe return of stranded Ethiopian migrants.

Applauding Ethiopia’s decision to open an embassy in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s Home Affairs Minister Kangi Lugola said, “Since its opening, a total of 301 Ethiopians who were in different prisons in Tanzania have been returned back home.”

He added, “the move signals the concerted efforts of both the Ethiopian Embassy and the Tanzania Immigration Department to address issues of irregular migrants.”

Qasim Sufi, IOM Chief of Mission in Tanzania also praised the countries’ collaborative approach to tackling irregular migration. “Hopefully the donor community will continue to step forward to support efforts for the safe return and reintegration of vulnerable migrants,” he said.

The renewed commitment to tackling irregular migration comes in response to the high number of migrants who are suffering the financial and physical costs associated with these clandestine journeys. Migrants usually have to pay large sums of money to smugglers with no guarantee that their attempt will be successful.

Some migrants have even lost their lives while attempting the trip. In October last year, seven Ethiopian migrants drowned after a boat carrying 13 people capsized off the coast of Tanzania while on route to South Africa.

TMP – 17/04/19

Photo credit: Shutterstock

Photo caption: Many Ethiopians and Eritreans attempt to migrate irregularly to South Africa