More of relevant training vital in combating illegal migration

05Dec 2019
The Guardian
More of relevant training vital in combating illegal migration

SECTIONS of the media time and again carry reports of the arrest and arraignment of foreign nationals entering – and attempting to move across – our country illegally.

Many of them, believed to be Ethiopians or Eritreans, do so using perilous means of conveyance – hiding under the ‘bellies’ of trucks or tucked deep inside sealed ship containers.

There are several cases of some of these hapless people being found already dead, many from suffocation, hunger and thirst.

The situation is much similar in many regions of Africa and beyond – in Europe, Asia and the Americas. For instance, scores of Vietnamese citizens were last month found dead in a container on a ship in England as they were being ‘smuggled’ into that country.

US President Donald Trump was meanwhile once busy fighting it out with immigrants from Latin America to the point of erecting a wall along the Mexican border to ensure none crossed over.

In the Mediterranean, thousands of people from northern Africa have drowned in the past few years as they sought to cross into Europe in hazardous marine vessels, but thousands were successful, resulting in the most severe migration issue in Europe for centuries.

Just over three centuries ago, our ancestors were rounded up in Africa and shipped into America to work in plantations as slaves. Many resisted and some even jumped from the vessels and drowned in high seas rather than be transported to foreign countries. And now: people drown in the Mediterranean as they seek to make it to foreign countries, mostly apparently in a hunt for “greener pastures”.

The migration issue is a complex one as it has political, economic, social, cultural and other aspects that call for a comprehensive approach based on openness, cooperation and shared responsibilities if a lasting solution is to be found.

Some might be hard to agree that migration is the fashion of the future much like it has hitherto been critical in deciding the sustenance and survival of many people.

Although many years have passed since the adoption of the International Convention for the Suppression of the Traffic in Women and Children, trafficking in persons has now assumed even more alarming proportions than ever before and is considered as one of the most lucrative international crimes.

Many countries also take respect for human dignity and consideration for the interests of countries of origin and countries of destination as vital elements since migration is a phenomenon that keeps evolving.

It is also observed that mitigation measures now tend to be placed on the pursuit of criminal syndicates perpetuating the phenomenon while the plight of the victims, who suffer sexual and/or economic exploitation, is often taken for granted.

Even though instruments treated trafficking in humans as a transnational crime it must be approached from the point of view of human rights.

The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) last month signed a two-year agreement with the Tanzanian government relating to the provision of training meant to help immigration officers in the country become more knowledgeable on how to control illegal immigrants.

This is a hugely laudable effort, while the fact that the training is conducted at Tanzania’s Zonal Immigration College at Moshi is added bonus for the country which should go into making efforts to tame the tide of illegal immigration and the various challenges it poses easier to manage.