High level experts from the Inter-Governmental Authority on Development are set to convene in Kampala on Monday to review the protocol towards the Free Movement of Persons in the region.
A statement released from the IGAD Secretariat in Djibouti said there have been fruitful deliberations on the protocol between the seven member countries including Uganda, Kenya, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Eritrea, Somalia, Sudan and South Sudan.
“Following successful consultations towards the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons at national level in each of the seven Member States, the IGAD is holding a Regional Experts Review Meeting of the Draft Protocol on Free Movement of Persons and its Road Map for Implementation at the Commonwealth Speke Resort Munyonyo in Kampala, 18-21 March, 2019,” said the statement.
The event is also expected to attract contributors from the continental, international, academia and individual countries like German, USA and Switzerland.
“Participants IGAD meeting has drawn high level experts from AU, UN ILO, UNHCR, IOM, Platform for Disaster Displacement, EAC, ECOWAS, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), GIZ, EU, Governments of Switzerland and USA, as well as Universities of Makerere and Bristol to deliberate on the final draft provisions of the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in IGAD Region,” statement added.
The objective of the meeting is said to be undertaking a thorough technical review of the Draft Protocol on Free Movement of Persons in IGAD Region and review the Draft Road Map for the implementation of the said Protocol.
Items 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.
The revised Draft Protocol and Draft Road Map will be presented to IGAD Member States for Negotiation and adoption from April 2019.
The agreement establishing IGAD (1986) in articles 7 and 13 call upon 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 AU.
Currently the urgency to create a well governed, orderly, safe and beneficial migration is justified due to continued rise of mixed migration movements in IGAD region and beyond.