PREAMBLE We, members of Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), refugee and migrant organizations who collectively advocate for the rights of refugees and migrants in Southern Africa, attended a consultative meeting organised by Africa Unite and the African Diaspora Forum, with the support of the CCFD Terre Solidaire from 17-19 May 2019 at the Parktonian Hotel by Marriott in Johannesburg, South Africa. The participants were from Benin, Democratic Republic of Congo; Malawi; Mozambique, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe and members of the diaspora living in South Africa.
RECALLING that the objectives of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are, among others, to achieve economic development, peace and security, and growth, alleviate poverty, enhance the standard and quality of life of the people of Southern Africa, and support the socially disadvantaged through regional integration;
NOTING that Southern Africa has a long history of population movements for more than one hundred and fifty years (both voluntary and forced); mobility has been a central and defining feature of the region’s politics, economy and culture.
TAKING into account that most SADC Member States are shrewdly strafing improved migration; rather exerting efforts on control and exclusion; most of our countries see migration as a threat, not an opportunity.
NOTING that governments and civil societies in SADC countries are not well prepared or capacitated to respond to sustained, flows of migrants.
RECOGNISING that the involvement of CSOs in the recently adopted Global Compact on Migration exhibited the leading role that civil society can and has to play to ensure that the issue of migration is adequately addressed.
REAFFIRMING our commitment to the achievement of key international and regional development goals aimed at sustainable social and economic development including the Sustainable Development (Agenda 2030) and the Africa Union Agenda 2063 that advocates for the free movement of people as part of the continental integration agenda.
WE REITARATE the need for development of a solid network of relevant organisations within SADC member states and other regional bodies in Africa to establish partnerships and promote complementary service delivery, and the establishment of linkages between local service providers and the international community to aid in local capacity-building and assist in promoting the regional migration agenda.
TAKING INTO ACCOUNT that MIGRATION is mainly defined by two broad categories: Forced migration which include refugees, asylum seekers and internally Displaced persons. The second category is voluntary
migration which deals with migration for the purposes of education, economic considerations, family reunion and other personal reasons. RECOGNIZING that the SADC held its first workshop on the free movement of people in 1993. Since then numerous member states of SADC have experienced various types of situations which caused their citizens to cross borders as undocumented migrants.
FURTHER RECOGNIZING that both forced and voluntary migrants continue to experience various exploitation while in transit or in destination spaces; and hostility in the receiving spaces. These hostilities include the afrophobic attacks (commonly known as xenophobic attacks) and the inhumane treatment of migrants in government institutions such as hospitals, schools, refugee centres, detention or deportation centres.
NOTING AGAIN other challenges that exist including victimisation of women and children in transit, the long turnaround times for processing and approval of asylum seeker permits and refugee status, and the unfavourable relations between countries, both in law and practice, which are unwilling to inculcate more human rights-based migration laws and policies. THEREFORE to address these priorities, we RESOLVE to work towards the establishment of a network of organisations working on migration in SADC called the Southern African Migration Network (SAMIN) with the following objectives:
a) To hold SADC governments accountable to develop and implement human rights-based migration laws and practices b) To strengthen collaboration and networking of different stakeholders in migration issues c) To influence and encourage the implementation of policies and regulations that will lead to the attainment of the African Union Agenda 2063 d) To lobby SADC governments to ratify, domesticate and implement international legal instruments pertaining to migration e) To improve capacity and knowledge management in migration issues across the board.
SAMIN DECLARES the following as Core Pillars requiring our urgent attention at the regional level in view of the challenges:
i. Research & Documentation SAMIN seeks to work with academia to develop research for advocacy and documentation of the state of migration and challenges in free cross border migration.
ii. Lobbying & Advocacy Supported by concrete research SAMIN will advocate and lobby for equal recognition and treatment of both migrants and citizens of host countries. Further to advocate for elimination of the root causes of forced migration.
iii. Dissemination of information To bridge the information gaps that exist about migration in all levels of society including migration officials, security agencies and stakeholders that deal with migration issues.
iv. Share good practices and networking To address capacity and ensure impactful efforts that seek to improve migration in the SADC region.
We further RESOLVE TO relentlessly advocate for the safety and security of migrants in spaces where they are.
SIGNATORIES TO THE DECLARATION
We, the undersigned duly authorized representatives of the following CSOs in SADC working on migration, confirm that we have read and approve this Declaration signed at Johannesburg, South Africa on this the 19th day of May 2019.
- Africa Unite _ South Africa
- African Diaspora Forum (ADF) _ South Africa
- African Diaspora Workers Forum )_ South Africa
- Asikwenze for Development in Africa _ South Africa
- Association of Benin Nationals Living in South Africa (ABNLSA) _ South Africa
- Black Women Caucas / Makhox Women’s League _ South Africa
- City of Johannesburg Social Development Department Migration Unit _ South Africa
- Congolese Board of Refugees in South Africa (COBORESA) _ South Africa
- Consortium of Refugees and Migrants in South Africa (CoRMSA) _ South Africa
- Economic Freedom Fighters Zimbabwe _ Zimbabwe
- Episcopal Commission for Migrants, Refugees and Displaced Persons (CEMIRDE) _ Mozambique
- Forum for National Development (FND) Malawi Foundation for Human Rights _ South Africa
- Institute for Development / Human Rights Missionaries “IDEV/MDH” _ Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
- Jacobs Gonyora Attorneys _ South Africa
- Johannesburg Migrant Advisory Panel (JMAP) _ South Africa
- Catholic Jesuits _ South Africa
- Nacham Wellness Consultancy _ South Africa
- Nqobile Home Care _ South Africa
- Proudly African Dialogues _ South Africa
- Solidarity International _ South Africa
- South African Congress of Non-Profit Organisations (SACONO) _ South Africa
- The Zim-Imbokodo NPO _ South Africa
- Crystal Horizons Youth Centre (CHYC) _ South Africa
- Zimbabwe Catholic Bishop Conference _ Zimbabwe
- Zimbabwe Community in South Africa _ South Africa