The International Office of Migration (IOM) and Ethiopia’s National Council against Human Trafficking and Smuggling have organized a consultative meeting with religious leaders on irregular migration.
25 religious leaders consisting of Muslim, Orthodox, Catholic, Protestant, Evangelical and Seventh Day Adventists participated in the meeting from Addis Ababa, Amhara, Oromia, Tigray and the Southern Nations Nationalities and Peoples (SNNP) regions.
The UNION understands that aim of the meeting was to actively involve major religious institutes in the fight against irregular migration. The selected regions are known as source areas for irregular migration.
The participants identified best practices and underlined importance of reopening legal channels to reduce irregular migration.
“It has been over three years since the option to migrate regularly has been under revision,” a representative from Tigray region commented.
Participants also acknowledged that awareness of the personal risks taken by migrants has now reached the grassroots level. But the lack of alternative livelihood options is still a major problem.
A statement from IOM sad the participants agreed to work closely with IOM and the government to prevent irregular migration and to promote alternative livelihoods.
The meeting was supported by IOM’s European Union-funded protection project, which aims to support governmental and non-governmental partners to protect migrants’ human rights along the East Africa migration route.
The project is also supported by the governments of the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland