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An Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Mission on the state of Migrants trapped in Niger draws to a close

The ECOWAS mission to the Republic of Niger, from 25 to 30 September 2022, on migrants trapped in Niger en route to North Africa and Europe has concluded its deliberations. The mission consequently issued a series of recommendations to Member States, technical and financial partners as well as the ECOWAS Commission.

The mission delegation includedProf Fatou Sow Sarr, the ECOWAS Commissioner for Human Development and Social Affairs, as Head of Mission, representatives of Ministries of Foreign Affairs of the Member States most affected(Guinea, Nigeria, Mali, Senegal, Cote d'Ivoire, Niger, Burkina Faso, Liberia, Gambia, Sierra Leone and Benin),ECOWAS Director Humanitarian and Social Affairs,Dr Sintiki Tarfa-Ugbe,experts from the ECOWAS Commission departments in charge of Human Development and Social Affairs as well as of Free Movement.

While the Mission deplored the increasingly frequent mass deportation of ECOWAS citizens from the Maghreb particularly from Algeria to Nigerien territory, the mission underscored its commitment to uphold respect for migrants in line with international law through dialogue and in an atmosphere of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. Representatives of the Member States present along with ECOWAS Experts issued a recommendation to the authorities of the respective Member States to promote a conducive legal environment for good migration governance and to strive to put a human face on migration management between ECOWAS countries and the Maghreb.

They issued a further recommendation inviting and urging ECOWAS to come alongside the Member States through its platform, Migration Dialogue for West Africa (MIDWA), for concerted migration management with the Maghreb. A subsequent recommendation to development partners involved in migration matters called for the support of initiatives aimed at putting a human face on migration, strengthening of national and transnational collaboration among technical departments, and collaboration with the respective governments on humanitarian actions to facilitate migrant return and reintegration.

For countries of the Maghreb and all other regions, the mission recommended discouraging the forced return of persons who need protection.

Finally, the mission participants commended the efforts of the Government of Niger, development and humanitarian partners, international organisations and the Civil Society in receiving the Maghreb deportees.

At the end of the Niamey mission, Prof Fatou Sow Sarr, on Friday 20 September 2022, met with Niger's Minister for Humanitarian Affairs and Disaster Management,Mr Laouan Magagi, the Interior Minister,Mr Adamou Souley, the Minister for Women Affairs and Child Protection,Mrs Allahoury Aminata Zourkaleini, and the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Higher Education and Research,Prof Ag Arya Moussa.

Distributed by APO Group on behalf of Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
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