The Khartoum Process, a further step in Euro-African dialogue

At the end of November, following on from the Rabat process (2006), a conference took place in Rome and brought together the ministers of the 28 EU Members States and of several African states (Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Soudan, Sudan and Tunisia), as well as representatives of the European Union and the African Union. At the end of the meeting, they adopted a declaration aiming at launching the “EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative”.

The goal is of this initiative is to give new impetus to a regional cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination, particularly regarding the route between the Horn of Africa and the EU. This includes:

  • Developing a cooperation between countries of origin, transit and destination in order to fight against irregular migration and criminal networks, especially through initiatives concerning technical assistance, training and exchange of information and of best practices.
  • Upon request, cooperating with countries in the region to strengthen their capacities in the field of migration management.
  • Assisting countries in implementing prevention measures such as information campaigns aiming at raising awareness on the risks of irregular migration (trafficking of human beings, smuggling).
  • Strengthening the coordination between all services involved in order to tackle human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
  • Identifying and prosecuting criminal networks.
  • Setting up criminal law frameworks or strengthening the existing frameworks and fostering the ratification and the implementation of two additional protocols to the “United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime”: the “Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Air and Sea” and the “Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children”.
  • Supporting the victims of human trafficking and protecting the human rights of smuggled migrants
  • Fostering sustainable development in transit and origin countries in order to tackle the causes of irregular migration.
  • Upon request, assisting countries in setting up and managing reception centres, in ensuring access to asylum procedures and in counselling migrants.
  • Developing a regional framework to facilitate the return of migrants –including voluntary return- and their reintegration in the country of origin.

AEDH notes the continuity with which the EU, obsessed by the protection of its borders requests the assistance of third countries to this end! Indeed, the Khartoum Process is a further step in the policy of externalisation of the management of migratory flows: despite the declarations of intention on the respect of the fundamental rights of migrants, the aim is to arrange the material conditions to avoid that they come to Europe, especially by establishing asylum processing centres. It is also about facilitating the return of “undesirable” migrants.

Our association is particularly shocked by the fact that this cooperation includes countries whose reputation is well-established among the countries undermining freedoms, violating fundamental rights and perpetrating violence against populations. Some of them rank high among asylum seekers’ countries of origin and, as Filippo Miraglia said in Il Manifesto, the situation of these asylum-seekers is such that Member States often grant them international protection. Yet it would be necessary for them to be able to reach the EU!!!

Read the Declaration of the Ministerial Conference of the Khartoum Process (28 November 2014, Rome). 

To learn more, read the opinion column written by Filippo Miraglia, vice-chairman of ARCI, an Italian member organisation of AEDH: Italian (column published in Il Manifiesto on 3 December 2014); French (translation published on the blog Dormira jamais).

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