By Ajibola Abayomi
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), Gambia has called for migrants inclusive policy to mitigate the economic effect of post COVID-19.
According to him, nations must adopt the policy as a strategy to manage migration rather than being harsh on the migrants.
The comment was made by the IOM Communication Officer, Mr Miko Alazas at the day-2 of the international online summit tagged Migration; Post COVID-19: The role of stakeholders on Friday organized by the Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM).
Delivering a presentation titled Migration Management And Post Covid-19, he listed migration management to include containment the effect of COVID- 19 and treatment of migrants, dispora remittance, human trafficking, and cross border issues as parts of critical areas media must fucus ob to get the attention of policy makers.
He said developed countries should appreciate the role and intervention of migrants particularly at this pandermic period where thousands of them classified as ‘unregistered migrants’ have been recruited by top country like Germany and others in Europe to make up for the shortage of man power in their health sector.
He charged devoloped nations in Europe to assist migrants to access health care irrespective of their status arguing that they were potential economic developers.
While nothing that the recent huge fall in the diaspora remittance posed a serious threat to the economy of developing nations, he called for monitoring of welfare and protection of the refugees and security against human trafficking.
“Media must look at issues that are under reported like the diaspora remittance. 70 percent of the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of Gambia are dependent on that ditto for others too. Media must investigate and play up issues of food security for migrants.
“The lock down has slowed down many economic activities including the IOM pillotted voluntary returnees scheme. Several migrants are stranded at the border posts. They are vulnerable to coronavirus because no access to food, quality water and drugs.”
Miko added that IOM Gambia had been facilitating migrants voluntary return and reintergration.
He said migrants’ needed hospitality and cautioned privileged countries to refrain from using COVID-19 as an excuse to shut borders against them.
The IOM official admonished the media to show interest in camps and detentions where refugees were kept in order to report any abuse, stigmatization and ensured that social distancing order were obeyed.
“Migrants are vulnerable across the bothers because of the rate of mobility. They are vulnerable actors that need protection because now bothers and airport are shut”.
It would be recalled that JIFORM formed in 2018 held it’s first international migration summit in Abuja, Nigeria in 2019.
The media foundation with over 150 journalists spread across the continents had participated in several International summits both within and outside Africa.
The online summit was the second in the series of events organised by JIFORM amidst the pandermic.