Joint African and European recommendations for the Valletta Summit



The African and European Civil Society Joint Statement is based on consultations conducted by the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) Europe, the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) and Caritas Senegal in its role as MADE Africa Coordinator with several African and European civil society platforms and organisations during September and October 2015. The statement comes ahead and in preparation of the Africa-Europe Valletta Summit on Migration on 11-12 November 2015, focused on reinforcing existing cooperation processes between Europe and Africa, particularly the Rabat and Khartoum processes on migration, and the EU-Africa Dialogue on Migration and Mobility. The Valletta Summit will result in a political declaration and an action plan.

Europe is facing an upsurge of people arriving by both sea and land to seek safe haven and new opportunities, with an estimated 700,000 people arriving since January 2015 and as recorded by IOM. The current focus on external border enforcement, coupled with a lack of legal avenues for migration to Europe, push individuals and families towards dangerous and exhausting journeys, feeding a multi-million trafficking and smuggling industry. Human lives are constantly being lost and maritime rescue efforts have been upscaled to face this humanitarian emergency.

Political solutions have come in the form of ongoing packages of measures, announced during several high-level meetings over summer and autumn 2015. However, these measures have so far been insufficient in ending the tragic loss of human lives during the journey and inadequate to provide long-lasting solutions based on respect for human rights. 

Civil society has been at the forefront in calling for a greater focus on humanitarian management of inflows rather than enforcement. MADE Africa has issued repeated calls for African leaders to react to the continuous loss of lives of their citizens, perishing while en route to Europe. ICMC has been coordinating the civil society response to the ongoing government consultations in all regions of the world under the MICIC Initiative. 

The African and European Civil Society Joint Statement was drafted with a view to influence the Valletta Action Plan and calls on African and European leaders to take decisions that respect the right to mobility and focus first, on human rights, decency, dignity, well-being and welcoming of people in need. African and European leaders should work as equal partners, and in collaboration with civil society, to deliver a plan that improves migration management and governance through nine key actions:

  1. Tackle the root causes that force people to migrate, while respecting rights to mobility 
  2. Ensure safe and regular migration routes to Europe, to prevent migrants and refugees’ deaths and suffering
  3. Ensure effective implementation of anti-trafficking legislation and plans - with a focus on victimcentred and gender-sensitive provisions
  4. Strengthen international protection to ensure that refugees’ rights are respected and that their needs are met 
  5. Ensure that the protection of human rights in all return operations and in the negotiations of any migration cooperation agreements, including readmission agreements
  6. Support African countries to develop coherent migration and asylum policies and improve migration/asylum governance at the national and regional levels 
  7. Facilitate and support migrants’ and diaspora’s contributions to development
  8. Include a Partnership principle to ensure that funding priorities match the needs in the region and that civil society contributes to the programming process of the EU Emergency Trust Fund 
  9. Support citizen mobilization to change perceptions on migrants and refugees in host countries

As a follow-up to this statement, a one-day event will be held in Brussels on 5 November 2015. The 'Valetta Summit: Dialogue with civil society' will be the occasion for civil society to call on African and European leaders to focus first on human rights, decency, dignity, wellbeing and welcoming of people in need. 

For more information:

Download the African and European Civil Society Joint Statement

Register for the one-day event in Brussels in preparation for the Valletta Summit