We need social dialogue at the core of our strategy to achieve durable solutions for refugees. Universal and lasting peace can only be achieved through social justice. It should be our ultimate goal.
Alexio Musindo, Country Director for the ILO in the Horn of Africa
Alexio Musindo, Country Director for the ILO in the Horn of Africa and Representative to the African Union, who addressed the closing ceremony said, “We offered three key solutions to the conference, access to labour market, right to work and access to training for refugees. We need social dialogue at the core of our strategy to achieve durable solutions for refugees. Universal and lasting peace can only be achieved through social justice. It should be our ultimate goal.”
Additionally, IGAD and EAC Member States adopted resolutions regarding the joint IGAD-EAC Multi-Stakeholder Regional Durable Solutions Pledge, which will be presented at the
upcoming Global Refugee Forum in December 2023
Eleven Member States endorsed the declaration, including the Republic of Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the Republic of Djibouti, the State of Eritrea, the Federal Democratic Republic of Ethiopia, the Republic of Kenya, the Republic of Rwanda, the Federal Republic of Somalia, the Republic of South Sudan, the Republic of Sudan, and the Republic of Uganda.
The signing of the declaration was witnessed by esteemed representatives, including H.E Fathia Alwan, the Representative of the IGAD Executive Secretary; H.E Dr Irene Isaka, the Representative of the EAC Secretary General; Mr Michel Nshimba, representing H.E. Mrs Minata Samate Cessouma, the African Union Commissioner for Health, Humanitarian Affairs, and Social Development; and H.E Ambassador Yasir Mohammed, representing the Executive Secretary of the International Conference on the Great Lakes Region (ICGLR).
The ILO team at IGAD and EAC at High-Level Ministerial Conference in Uganda ©ILO/IGAD Secretariat
The event also welcomed representatives from refugees and host local governments, signifying the inclusive and collaborative nature of this important endeavour. Stephen Opio, Chief Technical Advisor of the ILO PROSPECTS Programme in Uganda said, “Our support to Refugee participation in the High-Level Conference was intentional and aimed at providing Refugees with the opportunity to voice their concerns and make contributions towards finding solutions to the challenges they face. We are glad that the declaration reflects the voices of refugees, and it is now upon us to support the implementation of this Declaration on Durable Solutions for Refugees in the EAC and IGAD region”
Ms. Anny Sybille Izere, a Burundian refugee living in Uganda and founder of a locally based Community Organization in Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda attended the High-Level Ministerial Conference. She shared, "One of the points that stood out for me from the Declaration is the States considering the free movement of refugees. For many years, refugees are considered as a stateless persons. Unlike the EAC members, refugees thus have to pay visa fee to move between these countries. I was super happy that IGAD and EAC member States are considering lifting this hinderance to our mobility as refugees.”
The signing of the declaration concluded with concrete follow-up and called an expert session in September 2023 in Arusha, Tanzania to develop a comprehensive plan of Action for the implementation of this Ministerial Declaration on Durable Solutions for Refugees in East and Horn of Africa.