Statistics from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) indicate that 1700 Cameroon migrants are concerned by the merchandising of black Africans in the Maghreb countries. Moreover, despite the growing hostility, illegality and insecurity encountered by migrants, global statistics reveal that 258 million migrants roam the world in search of better living conditions. This was disclosed during the official ceremony co-organised to mark the 2017 International Migrants Day on 18 December 2017, at MINREX by the UN System on the theme; “Cross-border migration: Stakes and challenges for Cameroon”. In attendance was Mrs. Allegra Baiocchi; UN Resident Coordinator in Cameroon.
Mr. Boubacar Seybou; Head of Mission of IOM Cameroon harped on the role of the international community to show solidarity as he emphasised that “Migrants are victims of human trafficking, separated from their families and maltreated. You are a migrant, I am a migrant, we are migrants, together let us take action for migrants wherever and whoever they are, making it a beneficial opportunity for migrants and the countries that welcome them so that they may live well even beyond their borders”.
UNIC’s NIO; Jean Njita presented the storyline and projected the documentary “Wallah Je te jure”, a 24 mins film produced by the IOM. This tells the stories of men and women travelling along West African migration routes to Italy, Senegal’s rural villages, Niger’s bus stations and “ghettos” full of traffickers, Italian squares and houses will be backdrops of these courageous trips, which often end in tragedy. No matter the cost, the goal to reach Europe will be achieved, “Wallah”. But there are those who tired from the journey, turn back home.
Wallah – je te jure (short 23 min English)
Wallah – je te jure (short 23 min French)
Mr. Abou Omar; Director of cooperation with the Islamic world at Ministry of External Relations reiterated government’s commitment in creating a conduisive economic, social and cultural relationships with other countries for a better protection of their citizens who migrate, he cited an example; the Franco-Cameroon convention for social security.
Conference Debate on “Cross-border migration: Stakes and challenges for Cameroon”
Moderated by Mr Yves Tsala of the NGO “Solutions aux migrations clandestine (SMIC)”, the panel discussion had as panelists;
- Boubacar Seybou of IOM who focused on “Migration management”,
- Mrs Njikam Sanatou (MINREX) dwelt on “Refugess and migration issues”,
- Mr Landry Hubert Mbozo’o (National Social Insurance Fund) stressed on “Migration and Social Security”.
The three panelists disclosed that migration in itself was not a bad thing, but illegal migration is. They advised any individual embarking on a journey to obtain the legal documents and avoid the risks and dangers involved in illegal migration. They also insisted on the assistance of the government and its partners such as IOM, to returnees from this dangerous adventure across the Sahara desert (some were present in the hall).
Discussions continued with rich exchanges between panelists and participants, with questions such as;
- What is the difference between a refugee and a migrant?
- Does the IOM organize conferences to sensitize migrants on migration and the economic situations of countries they wish to migrate to?
- How does the government protect her citizens in the other countries? Is there a system which keeps her updated with exact number of migrants in the world?
Dr. Boubacar Seybou insisted that, migrants must not take boats to migrate, it is necessary to migrate in a legal way and this way should not be reserved only to elites but to everyone.
UNIC Yaounde provided information kits comprised of; UNSG’s message on the migrants day (French and English), the storyline of the movie “Wallah je te jure”, and the Africa Renewal edition of December 2016 – March 2017 with a special on “Migrants risk all for better lives”. This kit with specific statistics for Africa was distributed to all participants.