Leaders must prioritise people over borders

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(Valletta, 12 November, 2015) – European and African leaders must follow their promises of collaboration on migration at the Valletta Summit with policies that protect people over reinforcing borders, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Migration and Development Civil Society Network (MADE) said today after participating in the summit.

“The summit rightly committed to tackle root causes of displacement and to protect those who flee their homes, but now we need concrete steps to put these words into action,” said Odile Faye, coordinator of the MADE Africa steering committee.

The summit’s Action Plan is weak on the long-standing demand from aid agencies, UNHCR and civil society groups to open more safe and legal routes to Europe, the organisations said. These include a substantial increase in resettlement, humanitarian visas, extended family reunifications, sponsorship programs and educational scholarships for those at risk.

In Valletta, EU member states agreed to implement their earlier commitment to resettle 22,000 people in need of protection in the EU. This is welcome but should have already occurred, and the number should be increased, the organisations said.

The decision by EU and African leaders to establish a pilot reception centre for migrants and refugees in Agadez, Niger raises concerns about unfair restrictions on the movement of people and goods in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), NRC and MADE said. It also risks the “externalisation” of EU migration and asylum policy, which relies on other states to assume Europe’s responsibilities.

The new EU Trust Fund to address stability and root causes of migration in Africa is welcome but also raises concerns. First, €1.8bn is too little to address Africa’s vast development needs. Second, the funds may be used for law enforcement and border security rather than for development and poverty reduction.

“Development aid and the new fund should be used for schools, health care and poverty reduction and not for security and border control,” said Valerie Ceccherini, EU advocacy advisor at NRC.

For more information, please contact:

Odile Faye, MADE: ndoumbef@yahoo.fr, +22 177 3325047

Valerie Ceccherini, NRC: valerie.ceccherini@nrc.no, +32 483 588 085

EU and African governments attending the Valletta Summit have published the Final Declaration and Action Plan. The MADE network, along with other civil society partners, will provide a deeper analysis and commentary on the main points described in the plan over the following weeks and continue monitoring the developments and actions derived from this Summit.

MADE is an evolving global civil society movement working and networking to promote policies for the well-being and protection of all migrants and communities. For more see: http://www.madenetwork.org/latest-news/valetta-summit-dialogue-civil-society.

The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) is an independent, humanitarian, non-profit, non-governmental organisation which provides assistance, protection and durable solutions to refugees and internally displaced persons worldwide. For more, see: http://www.nrc.no/.

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