The International Organization for Migration (IOM), Gambia has called on nations to make migrants’ inclusive policy to mitigate the economic effect of post COVID-19.
IOM also said that nations must adopt the policy as a strategy to manage migration rather than being harsh on the migrants.
IOM Communication Officer, Gambia, Mr Miko Alazas made the call at the day 2 at the day-2 of the international online summit tagged, “Migration; Post COVID-19: The Role of Stakeholders organised by the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM).
Presenting a paper titled, “Migration Management and Post Covid-19”, the Gambia IOM Communication Officer listed migration management to include containment of the effect of COVID- 19 and treatment of migrants, diaspora remittance, human trafficking and cross border issues as parts of critical areas media must focus on to get the attention of policy makers.
He posited that developed countries should appreciate the role and intervention of migrants particularly at this pandemic period, where thousands of them classified as ‘unregistered migrants’ have been recruited by countries such as Germany and others in Europe to make up for the shortage of manpower in their health sector.
He charged developed nations in Europe to assist migrants to access health care irrespective of their status, arguing that they were potential economic developers.
He noted that the recent huge fall in the diaspora remittance posed a serious threat to the economy of developing nations, calling for monitoring of welfare and protection of the refugees and security against human trafficking.
According to him, “Media must look at issues that are under reported like the diaspora remittance. 70 per cent of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of Gambia are dependent on that ditto for others too. Media must investigate and play up issues of food security for migrants. The lockdown has slowed down many economic activities including the IOM piloted voluntary returnees scheme. Several migrants are stranded at the border posts. They are vulnerable to Coronavirus because no access to food, quality water and drugs.”
Miko informed that IOM Gambia has been facilitating migrants’ voluntary return and re-integration.
He pointed out that migrants’ needed hospitality and cautioned privileged countries to refrain from using COVID-19 as an excuse to shut borders against them.
The IOM official admonished the media to show interest in camps and detentions, where refugees were kept in order to report any abuse, stigmatization and ensured that social distancing order were obeyed.
In his words, “Migrants are vulnerable across the bothers because of the rate of mobility. They are vulnerable actors that need protection because now bothers and airport are shut”.
JIFORM established in 2018 held its first international migration summit in Abuja, Nigeria in 2019.
The media foundation with over 150 journalists spread across the continent had participated in several international summits both within and outside Africa.
The online summit is the second in the series of events organised by JIFORM amidst the pandemic.