AU Horn of Africa Initiative
on Trafficking in Persons
and Smuggling of Migrants in the Horn of Africa
Third Senior official Meeting
Intervention of Ambassador NaelaGabr
The National Coordinating Committee
on Preventing and Combating Illegal Migration (NCCPIM)
Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt
2-4 June 2016
Mr. President,Distinguished Delegates, Representatives of UN Agencies & Intl’ Organizations
Summer in the Mediterranean used to be marked with joyful moments. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. As we get closer to the warm weather, the Mediterranean sea witnesses a rise in the number of desperate migrants, notably from our continent, taking a deadly journey. According to the International agencies, last week was one of the deadliest since 2014 as more than 1000 migrants have been killed trying to reach Europe.
Illegal Migration is a complex multi-dimensional issue that needs to be addressed using a comprehensive approach based on ownership andpartnershipamong origin, transit,as well as receiving countries. Our continent, is facing an enormous challenge that imply on all of us to collaborate at all levels in order to prevent the loss of lives of our fellow African nationals exploited by abusive smugglers.
Inter-regional cooperation has become now, more than ever, a MUST to address this critical issue. The Egyptian National Coordinating Committee on combating and Preventing Illegal Migration NCCPIM is following closely all the efforts exerted to achieve this objective. We have participated in several regional meetings hosted by Egypt during the pastyear,reflectingour national will to engage with all our African neighbors in order to reach a consensus on the best way to confront illegal migration from and within the continent in a way that preserve the dignity and life of the African citizen.
Our meeting today is of significant importance, as it gets us one step closer to better communication and coordination inhandling the issue of illegal migrationwith the seriousness it deserves. It gives us an opportunity to share the experiences and knowledge we gained in our fight against illegal migration which, I believe is essential to maintain a sustainable partnership among the African countries.
Allow me now to give you an overview about NCCPIM and its main goals and activities
The NCCPIM, is an inter-ministerial committee comprised of 19 ministries and national agencies as well as 2 national councils, one on human rights and the other on childhood and motherhood. It is mandated to coordinate all the national efforts exerted to combat illegal migration, and to recommend legislations and policies aiming at strengthening these efforts.
NCCPIM has been working since its establishment in March 2014 on five main tracks: legislation, documentation, awareness raising,capacity building as well as regional and international cooperation.
We were able to achieve many of the targeted goals of our first action plan for 2014/2015 notably:
1. The finalization of the draft law on “combating illegal migration and smuggling of migrants”. The Law represents a cornerstone in our fight against illegal migration as it harmonizes the Egyptian legislation with ourlegally binding obligations. Furthermore, it includes, for the first time in the Egyptian legislative framework, a clear definition of the crime of migrant smuggling, providing law enforcement officers with a very important tool to prosecute, sentence smugglers and prevent their impunity. The law has been approved by the Egyptian Cabinet in November 2015, and we look forward to its endorsementby the parliament soon.
2. The finalization of twofield studieson illegal migration among youth as well as unaccompanied children under 18years old. The two studies provided us, among other outcomes, with the list of Egyptian governorates with the highest rate of vulnerable people at high risk of illegal migration in order to be targetedwith our activities.
3. The implementation of many awareness raising activities which included engagement with local and international media, field visits aimed at starting dialogue with youth in targeted areas
4. We have also conducted a study with the assistance of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) on the main components of a public awareness and communication campaign which the NCCPIM plans to launch soon as the migration flows usually reach their peak during this period of the year. The campaign will include:
· the production and dissemination of print material on migrant smuggling and the risks of illegal migration,
· the broadcasting of TV and Radio messages on the risks of illegal migration and the positive alternatives in Egypt.
· the organization of peer leadership program that aimsto develop the personality, mentality and life skills of young people in targeted areas to be able to make sound decisions related to their future.
· The creation and dissemination of Social Media pages (Facebook, twitter, You tube) for the campaign as the study we conducted has proved that social media is a main tool to reach out to both illegal migrants and to the public in general.
Despite the efforts exerted to stop the flow of illegal migration, our experience shows that such efforts will not be successful and bear fruit unless they are accompanied withlocal projects aimed at boosting socio-economic development in the areas of high rates of illegal migration. Providing job opportunities, better access to basic social services, and improving the quality of education and technical educationare critical in addressing illegal migration in our continent.
The NCCPIM has launched a local campaign entitled "Egypt is your future". The campaign aims at providing youth with information on the risks and hazards of illegal migration, as well as available alternativesoffered by national entities, whether employment opportunities or providing support to create micro and small enterprises.
Currently, NCCPIM is working on finalizing the first national strategy to combat illegal migration 2016-2026. The strategy’s vision is based on using a comprehensive approach to promote all elements of development, economic- social and cultural. Under the Strategy, a two year action plan for 2016-2018 will be launched. It is tailored to present a framework for an integrated action to address illegal migration in a rights-based and holistic manner while providing relevant monitoring tools for this action based on objective verifiable key performance indicators.
The interaction with our counterparts on a regional level remains on the top of NCCPIM priority goals. We believe that our committee represents a good institutional mechanism to strengthen cooperation and coordination between the different national entities as well as non- governmental actors.We stand ready to share our experience, and best practices, with the interested African neighbors, regarding the institutional structure of the committee, as well as the legislative and operational framework necessary to combat illegal migration. It is worthy to note that NCCPIM is working closely with the organs of the Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs mandated to strengthen the cooperation with our neighboring African countries, notably the Cairo Center for Conflict Resolution and Peacekeeping in Africa (CCCPA) and the Egyptian Agency for Partnership for Development.
Recently, several European delegations, UN agencies and International organization haveapproached the Committeeto explore possible areas of cooperation that have primarily centered on sharing experiences and organizing workshops to achieve capacity building. Whereas such initiatives are welcomed, we nevertheless would like to highlight the importance of engaging in developmental projects that would have an immediate bearing on the youth in Egypt and in the whole African continent.
The NCCPIMlooks forward to further engage with regional and international partners to help stop the flow of illegal migration .
Thank you for your attention.