President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf has opined that migration has become an issue of concern throughout the world due to problems and circumstances associated with it.
“Just last week, some 40 young men and women died from thirst in the Sahara Desert while thousands perished in the Mediterranean Sea while they were trying to make their way to countries in and around Europe to seek greener pastures,” the Liberian leader emphasized.
President Sirleaf made the observation when she officially launched the High Level Panel on International Migration in the C. Cecil Dennis Auditorium at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Monrovia Tuesday.
President Sirleaf lamented that several migrants who reach Europe are found in the streets under conditions that can best be described as inhumane, adding, “That is the ugly face of migration.”
“Amidst these negative vices associated with migration, there are also positive aspects of the movement of people across borders; migration is an integral part of human history, and Africa being the origin of humanity we can rightly say that the movement of the people of Africa has populated the world,” she pointed out.
She added: “Liberia as a nation was heralded by migration; in the 1870s freed slaves from America moved on these lands to start what has now become Liberia, a country which has attracted people from across the world and as such, we are well placed to know the positive and negative aspects of migration.”
President Sirleaf, meanwhile, highlighted that the establishment of the High-Level Panel on Migration is geared towards pushing migration issues to the top of policy agenda through the engagement of major stakeholders and partners.
Chaired by President Sirleaf, the panel comprises representatives from Liberia, Canada, China, Malta, and Norway, as well as the International Labor Organization (ILO).
She explained that the establishment of the Panel was based on a resolution passed by African Ministers of Planning, Finance and Economic Development at the 9th Joint AU Technical Committee meeting on Finance, Monetary Affairs, Economic Planning and Integration in Addis Ababa in April 2016.
According to Pres. Sirleaf, the ministers in the resolution mandated the UN Economic Commission for Africa and the AU Commission to provide the necessary technical support to the High-Level Panel to reflect on issues surrounding migration throughout the continent.
She disclosed that the role of the High-Level Panel is to carry out advocacy and sensitization and to hold consultations to promote main issues and challenges of African migration as well as develop knowledge and policies on African migration.