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Better Migration Management: Protecting people is the top priority

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Protecting migrants from human traffickers and people smugglers.

11.11.2016 – More than nine million people in and around the Horn of Africa have fled their homes in the face of domestic unrest, violent conflict, severe drought and poverty. They face a particularly high risk of falling victim to human traffickers and people smugglers. In its ‘Better Migration Management’ project, the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH is working on behalf of the European Union and the German Government to improve the safety of migrants, in particular women and children. GIZ is heading a consortium consisting of Germany and four other EU Member States – France, Italy, Malta and the United Kingdom – as well as leading institutions from the region. Human trafficking and people smuggling are cross-border problems, so GIZ will be working in 10 African countries to establish standards for migration under humane conditions and thereby make border crossings safer. These countries are Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, and Uganda in East Africa and Egypt and Tunisia in North Africa.

The project will focus on strengthening the rights of migrants and offering them greater protection from violence, exploitation, extortion and abuse. The aim is to meet the needs of vulnerable people more effectively, for example by providing secure accommodation and by setting up mobile teams to offer counselling to victims of human trafficking, who are frequently traumatised. Efforts to bring to justice those responsible for human trafficking and smuggling are to be made more effective. To this end, ‘Better Migration Management’ will also help to improve cooperation between law enforcement authorities, including public prosecutors, magistrates and investigators, and to train these individuals in investigative techniques and human rights aspects. Further important steps are harmonising migration policy in the countries around the Horn of Africa and anchoring human rights and international law in national legislation. These activities will strengthen transnational cooperation on migration and ultimately facilitate migration across borders.

Discussions have been held on specific project activities with the first few countries, including Djibouti and Sudan. Implementation is scheduled to begin before the end of 2016. Plans are in place to create more accommodation in both countries where refugees’ needs can be met adequately. A psychosocial counselling service will be established, targeting unaccompanied young people in particular. For victims of human trafficking, ‘safe houses’ will be made available where they can receive medical care and food.

As a matter of principle, all project activities comply with international law. Existing sanctions and international agreements involving participating countries such as Sudan and Eritrea apply without restriction. Reception camps for refugees and military training, for example, are excluded activities. GIZ is also committed to upholding the values and regulations governing Germany’s and the EU’s development cooperation work, as well as the principles and guidelines of the Development Assistance Committee of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The programme is funded from the EU Trust Fund. The funds available for the programme total EUR 46 million (EUR 40 million from the EU and EUR 6 million from the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development).