IGAD member states to meet over free movement

By Vicky Wandawa

The revised draft protocol and its revised draft road map will be presented to IGAD member states for negotiation and adoption starting April 2019.

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KAMPALA - High-level experts are set to meet on Monday to review the draft protocol on free movement of persons in Intergovernmental Authority on Development (IGAD) region and review the draft road map for its implementation.

According to a press release by IGAD, the meeting which will take place on March 18 – 21, has drawn high-level experts from African Union, Platform for Disaster Displacement, International Trade Union Confederation, Switzerland and US governments, as well as Makerere University and Bristol University, among other organizations.

“On day one and two, the technical experts will undertake a review and finalize the themes of the draft protocol which include entry, stay and exit [immigration and border management], labour mobility, right of residence, right of establishment, disaster-induced displacement, special groups [refugees, pastoralists] and standard legal provisions,” it reads.

On day three and four, the technical team of experts will also review and finalize the draft road map for the implementation of the protocol, citing the key themes.

The revised draft protocol and its revised draft road map will be presented to IGAD member states for negotiation and adoption starting April 2019.

The agreement establishing IGAD (1986) calls upon IGAD member states to deepen regional integration through, among other things, creating a regime of free movement of persons, right of residence and right of establishment.

In 2012, IGAD launched the Regional Migration Policy Framework which further elaborates the actions of IGAD to deepen regional integration. IGAD has also been part of the process towards the continental free movement regime by African Union. Currently, the urgency to create a well governed, orderly, safe and beneficial migration is justified due to the continued rise of mixed migration movements in the IGAD region and beyond.

Accordingly, with support from the European Union trust fund, IGAD Secretariat has undertaken 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.