Kampala Lord Mayor Erias Lukwago used the 5th Mayoral Forum on Human Mobility, Migration and Development in Marrakech, Morocco to ask authorities in the Middle East to protect the many young Ugandan migrants.
“I take this honor to implore all of us key players to take keen interest in protecting the lives of our people. Uganda is a host country to a very large number of Refugees and migrants from many countries,” said Lukwago.
“We have, however, been receiving many horrendous stories about our young people that go to work especially in the Middle East and Asia being subjected to inhuman and degrading treatment, including outright murder. We ask the International Community to work on securing the lives of our people,” he added.
Lukwago was submitting to hundreds of Mayors and City Administrators that are deliberating under the theme “City Leadership in Implementing the UN Global Compacts “.
The Mayor’s calls comes against the backdrop of increased concern over mistreatment of Ugandans doing odd jobs in the Middle East.
The Ministry of Gender, Labour and Social Development recently rolled out the External Employment Management Information System (EEMIS) to counter such abuses.
The Forum which Lukwago addressed explores the strategic role of cities and regional authorities in achieving the commitments of the Global Compact for Migration and Global Compact on Refugees.
This preceded the launch of the Mayors Migration Council in Marrakesh ahead of UN Conference on Migration Council led by Mayors of Los Angeles, Athens, Montreal, Milan, Freetown, Kampala, Amman, Bristol among others.
Cities have played a leading role in responding to the Refugee and Migration challenges of recent years, pioneering practical solutions for both welcoming and integrating newcomers.
The Council, for which Lukwago is among the founding Mayors, will help cities share experiences to shape and inform international policy debates on migration with representatives from over 70 cities.
“City residents and local leaders have enormous experience in successfully integrating migrants and refugees,” said Montreal Mayor Valérie Plante, noting that cities were not formally party to the UN negotiations.
“That’s why Mayors around the world came together and successfully influenced the text of the Global Compact for Migration.”
“The Mayors Migration Council will now ensure that local governments have a permanent and powerful voice on the international stage, so that polices are grounded in the lived experience of cities, which is where most of the world’s migrants and refugees live,” Plante added.
The Council will support cities to gain access to and actively participate in migration policy deliberations at the regional and international levels.
It also will help Mayors elevate experiences of successful integration practices that can serve as models for international policies and action by cities around the world.
Beyond their work on the Global Compacts, local leaders are making progress in institutionalizing their presence in the international arena.
The state-led Global Forum on Migration and Development (GFMD), for instance, is establishing a “Mayor’s mechanism” to formally convene Mayors and provide a conduit for their engagement alongside states, civil society, and the business community.
The Mayors Migration Council is supported by the Open Society Foundations.