Saturday, June 6, 2020

Botswana moves to profile migrants – IOM

Government is developing a national migration profile (NMF) to deal with migration management and service provision to access required data for appropriate intervention.

This was confirmed by Kagiso Pelopedi, Officer In Charge, International Organization of Migration (IOM), Botswana Country Office, in an interview with the Sunday Standard.

She explained: “IOM is currently working to support Government of Botswana, through the Ministry of Nationality, Immigration and Gender Affairs, working in collaboration with Statistics Botswana, University of Botswana, Ministry of Finance and Economic Development and other national stakeholders, to develop a National Migration Profile for Botswana”.

According to Pelopedi, the NM P. brings together all migration data in one repository, which is a central point both in the form of an online medium, soft and or hard copy reports for release at agreed intervals thus facilitating ease of access and referral.

Specific information relating to health, statistics and labour market observatory and other resourceful functional data would then be constantly updated at one central source, by all the relevant ministries and stakeholders as per availed mechanisms.

Thus, once established, the NMF is expected to enable government and, both non-state actors and interested civil society organizations, to better influence policy, plan and come up with appropriate and calculated programmes in their respective areas of specialization directed at impacting on better management of irregular migration.

According to the 2011 population and housing census, it was estimated that there were about 165,397 in-migrations and 149,225 out-migrations during 2010-11 including international migrations.

However, the fact that at the moment there is no law targeting specifically migration oriented issues, means that only the immigration law without special regard to migrants applies.

A newly released Report based on 35 African countries, titled 2019 Africa’s Youth; Jobs or Migration of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation laments the absence of common definitions of migration for countries, incomplete and poorly presented migration data as largely responsible for misperceptions about the scale of migration and its true effects.

Further, the Report points to a tendency to focus on border control and asylum policy rather than migration policy. This in turn leads to escalated risks of unmanaged migrations which potentially feed into a growing boom for criminal networks.

Madoda Nasha, Deputy Manager, -Trafficking in Persons, under the Ministry of Defence, Justice and Security (DJS) has said at a workshop on Human trafficking early this week that, there was no study yet to determine the impact of Human Trafficking in Botswana.

There is currently no provision in law for addressing the needs and concerns of vulnerable migrants. For example, Refugees and non citizen populations infected with HIV cannot be enrolled for anti-retroviral therapy despite the fact that 7% all people living with HIV in the country are foreigners, according to Global Coalition on Aids (OGAC).

OGAC’s President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) is currently the one providing for Refugees.

Sunday Standard asked the IOM official whether there were any initiatives in the Sourthern region to correspond with ongoing efforts in East Africa to tackle the problem of irregular migration on what is known as the southern route.

She pointed out: “There is a regional dialogue platform that IOM facilitates known as The Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA). This is a Regional Consultative Process that aims to foster dialogue to fill such gaps and promote cooperation on migration-related issues.”

MIDSA was established in 2000, with the overall objective of facilitating dialogue and cooperation among SADC Member States and contributing to improved regional migration governance

The forum is hosted in different SADC countries, in alignment with the Chairmanship of SADC. The 2019 MIDSA is scheduled for Namibia. Botswana hosted the MIDSA in 2016.

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