UN Migration Agency Facilitates Workshop on Protection of Vulnerable Migrants in Zimbabwe

Published Date

Harare – IOM, the UN Migration Agency, recently facilitated a two-day training workshop in Zimbabwe on the protection of vulnerable migrants, to advocate for the institutionalization of mixed and irregular migration curricula within government institutions. The workshop was held in Kadoma from 27 to 28 June 2018 and was attended by 20 officials (17 men and 3 women) from the ministries of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage, Labor and Social Welfare and Finance, as well as government departments such as the Zimbabwe Republic Police, Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services, the Department of Immigration and the President's Department.

The workshop aimed to improve knowledge and understanding within key government institutions of vulnerable migrants’ protection needs in mixed migration flows, in order to improve protection and service delivery for migrants.

The workshop was conducted under a regional project entitled "Addressing Irregular and Mixed Migration Flows in Southern Africa Phase VIII" funded by the United States Department of State Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migrants (PRM). The objective of the project is to support governments in the SADC region to manage migration in a humane and orderly manner with a specific focus on upholding the rights of vulnerable migrants.

Participants identified various groups of vulnerable migrants involved in mixed migration flows. These include Unaccompanied and Separated Children, victims of trafficking, refugees, asylum seekers, stranded migrants and other vulnerable groups. The officials were also sensitized on the rights of migrants and the relevant international and regional conventions and legal instruments that are in place for upholding migrant rights and protections. The workshop underscored the importance of interviewing techniques for officials to be able to identify vulnerable migrants.

The outcome of the workshop was consensus among participants to integrate and mainstream protection of vulnerable migrants in mixed migration flows within the training curricula of key government ministries in order to create awareness of the protection needs of migrants among the old and new staff members. The participants will also endeavour to cascade training on protection of migrants to their principals and other staff in their respective ministries and departments, share information on migrants and strengthen coordination of protection of vulnerable migrants through coordination structures such as the Inter-Ministerial Committee on Migration and the Anti-Trafficking in Persons Inter-Ministerial Committee.

Irvine Chiwaura, Senior Research Officer in the Ministry of Home Affairs and Cultural Heritage implored participants to take a lead in implementation of the new knowledge acquired during the workshop. “As front-line officials who have acquired new skills in dealing with vulnerable migrants, I encourage you to immediately go out there and make a difference in as far as protection of migrants is concerned,” he said

Zimbabwe is a country of origin, transit and destination for regular and irregular migrants. In 2017 IOM provided assisted voluntary return support to 146 vulnerable migrants who were in detention for flouting the country’s immigration laws. Migrants often spend several months or even years in prison for being irregular migrants. The government, with support from IOM and other partners is pursuing considerations for Alternatives to Detention to address this challenge. Zimbabwe is also host to over ten thousand refugees encamped at Tongogara Refugee Camp in Chipinge District.

For more information please contact Gideon Madera at IOM Zimbabwe, Tel: +263 772 863172, Email: gmadera@iom.int