Malawi speaker Msowoya calls for review of policies affecting refugees and migrants

Speaker of Malawi parliament Richard Msowoya has returned from the 138th General Assembly of the International Parliamentary Union (I.P.U.),an annual event which brings together all Parliaments from all over the world with a call for review of policies affecting fefugees and migrants.

Msowoya: Consider immigrants

The event which took place in Geneva, Switzerland from 24 to 28 March 2018, saw the Speaker deliver a speech entitled: “Strengthening the Global Regime for migrants and refugees: the need for evidence based policy solutions”.

In the speec, Msowoya has called on members of parliament all over the world to review policies that are affecting refugees and migrants.

The Malawi speaker was accompanied on the trip by other members of parliament namely; Dedza South West MP Clement Mlombwa (Malawi Congress Party-MCP),  Mzimba North Constituency legislator Agnes Nyalonje (People’s Party), Mary Navicha of Thylo Thava (Democratic Progressive Party-DPP), and Balaka Central MP Aufi Mpaweni (United Democratic Front-UDF).

Sustaining peace as a vehicle for achieving sustainable development was agenda  of the conference and involved a discussion on the plight of economic migrants and refugees around the world.

According to the UNDP, more than 1.4 billion people, including half of the world’s extremely poor people, live in fragile and conflict-affected areas. Worse still, the number is forecast to grow by a staggering 82 percent by 2030.

Around 244 million people are on the move on earth today, while 65 million people in the world today, have been forcibly displaced.

The International Migration Report for 2017, indicates that there are about 258 million people living in a country other than their country of birth in the world today and this is an increase of 49% within 15 years since 2000.

In his speech , Msowoya said “Refugees in most cases are forced to leave their homes or countries largely because of safety concerns. These are fellow human beings who are at risk of persecution or even getting killed if they are to remain in their homes and the only option they have is to flee leaving behind their homes, loved ones and a way of life at short notice and having no idea as to where they will end up.”

Msowoya in his speech also argued that , currently there are different principles, norms and rules that guide or are followed by different nations and international organisations in dealing with the challenges associated with refugees and migrants.

He highlighted that this has resulted in the treatment of migrants and refugees differently in various states,Yet the majority, if not all such nations, are members of the United Nations.

In trying to bring a solution to the problems highlighted, Msowoya went on to say “in order to ensure there is a common and in some cases a humane approach to the challenges, we should joins hands, as parliamentarians, in calling for a systematic review of all the policies affecting migrants and refugees. Such a review ought to be influenced and informed by evidence based approaches. Only then will we be able to come up with realistic solutions to the challenges of refugees and migrants.”

Speaker also called on the forum to carefully look at the “Responsibility To Protect ” doctrine of the United Nations , claiming it needs to be reviewed in order to widen the responsibility and consequently the capacity of the UN to include “massed forced displacements” in its mandate.

He cited The recent case of the Rohinjya People in Myammar as a reference point .

In the end the parliamentarians agreed several recommendations  on Migrants and refugees that include:Vulnerable groups such as women, children and people with disabilities should be given special protection in migration policies and in the law against exploitaion and abuse; The return of refugees to countries of origin can only take place when all fundamental freedoms and personal safety can be guaranteed; and that More funding for the accommodation of refugees in host countries should be channeled to developing countries where the vast majority of refugees live.

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