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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09LILONGWE105 2009-02-27 14:43:00 UNCLASSIFIED//FOR OFFICIAL USE ONLY Embassy Lilongwe
Cable title:  

IOM BI-REGIONAL WORKSHOP HIGHLIGHTS HORN OF AFRICA

Tags:   SMIG PREF PHUM KTIP 
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1. (SBU) Summary: The International Organization for
Migration (IOM) recently held a three-day bi-regional
workshop on irregular migration flows from Eastern to
Southern Africa. The workshop brought together
representatives from eleven governments spanning Ethiopia to
South Africa to discuss potential collaborative solutions for
migration issues in the region. A presentation on a
forthcoming IOM assessment of irregular movement of males
from the Horn of Africa found no evidence of trafficking due
to a lack of exploitation at the destination. However, the
presentation highlighted the deception, human rights abuses,
complicity of government officials, and lack of legal
deterrents that affect those smuggled enroute to South
Africa. While most governments were eager to benefit from
freer migration in the region through increased remittances
and job prospects for their citizens, only the government of
Rwanda joined South Africa in supporting free movement,
employment, and potential regularization for migrants. End
Summary.

Migration From Horn Spurs Workshop


--------------------------





2. (SBU) In February, the IOM held a three-day workshop in
Blantyre, Malawi to address regional concerns regarding
irregular migration flows to Southern Africa. The workshop,
which included government representatives from Ethiopia,
Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Uganda, Tanzania, Mozambique, Malawi,
Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa, sought to find a
collaborative solution for migration issues in the region.
The conference, organized by IOM at the behest of the
government of Malawi, focused primarily on migration from the
Horn of Africa to South Africa and the affects on countries
along this route.



3. (SBU) Among the key issues identified by participants was
the need to increase data collection and information-sharing
regarding migrants. Some suggested that a shared asylum
system could help stop migrants from "shopping" for a country
and speed asylum claim adjudications in the region. Many
participants also pointed out differences in their respective
national immigration laws that encourage migrants to flock to
more accommodating countries.

IOM Research Reveals Deception, Abuses, and Complicity


--------------------------



--------------------------





4. (SBU) Of interest to all participants was a presentation
of a forthcoming IOM assessment (funded by the State
Department's Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in
Persons) of irregular movement of males from the Horn of
Africa. The research found no evidence of human trafficking,
primarily due to a lack of exploitation at the destination,
but did highlight many abuses. In particular, smugglers
deceived the smuggled about the cost, duration, and mode of
transportation for the journey. Additionally, smugglers
often subjected the men to human rights abuses including
beating and starvation. Smugglers also used robberies and
imprisonments along the way to extort additional money from
the smuggled, who were forced to call family and friends to
wire additional funds, often delaying the trip by days.



5. (SBU) The draft assessment also found government officials
complicit in the smuggling route. Over 80% of the smuggled
men who were interviewed said they saw their smugglers pay
bribes to government officials at some point in their
journey. Overall, the assessment estimated that over 16,000
men move from Somalia and Ethiopia to South Africa per year,
mostly by land. The average trip takes eight weeks to
complete and the smuggled pay fees of approximately $2000 to
smugglers. Researchers said that approximately 80% of all
Somalis and 60% of all Ethiopians smuggled to South Africa
used the Dzaleka refugee camp in Malawi as a transit point.
The assessment also noted that for many, South Africa is just
another temporary waypoint in their ultimate journey through
South America to the United States and Canada.

Many Wary of Economic Impact of Migrants


--------------------------





6. (SBU) In a roundtable discussion, most governments were in
favor of freer regional movement in principle, citing
benefits such as increased trade, remittances, and
employment. However, many were more concerned about migrants
taking local jobs in their countries. Notably,
representatives of the government of Rwanda voiced their
support for allowing migrants free movement, employment
opportunities, and even the possibility of regularization
through dual citizenship in Rwanda. The Rwandans cited
positive economic impacts immigrants can make in a country.

Unswayed, most countries voiced the need for increased
funding to both combat illegal migration and make legal
migration more efficient in the region.



7. (SBU) Comment: As noted in the IOM assessment, Malawi has
become a nexus for migrant smuggling to South Africa.
Malawian government officials remain disturbed that, in their
view, northern neighbors continue to allow Somali migrants to
pass southward while southern neighbors force the same back
to Malawi. Like Malawi, many of the participating
governments seemed to prefer attempts to turn back irregular
migration. Rwanda's advocacy of free movement, employment
opportunities, and potential citizenship for migrants clearly
surprised many attendees, but did not seem to change any
minds. The IOM assessment's findings on official corruption
facilitating smuggling in the region was met with few
comments; only the representatives of Mozambique asked for
more proof. End Comment.
BODDE

facilitating smuggling in the region was met with few
comments; only the representatives of Mozambique asked for
more proof. End Comment.
BODDE