IOM Migration Conversation 24052018 049

UNICEF Regional Director of East and South Africa, Leila Pakkala addresses participants during the Second Migration Conversation hosted by the University in partnershipwith the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) on Thursday, May 24. PHOTO: ANTONIO LONGANGI

By Diana Meso

On Thursday, May 24, USIU-Africa in partnership with the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund (UNICEF) hosted the Second Migration Conversation at the auditorium. Through the theme “Children on the move in East and Horn of Africa” the event was aimed at discussing the safety and dignity of children migrating in East and the Horn of Africa.

IOM Regional Director for East and Horn of Africa, Jeffery Labovitz, pointed out that since 1 in every 70 children do not reside in countries where they were born, massive vulnerabilities now exist on migration journeys which must be addressed. He further added that his organization was working tirelessly to ensure the orderly and humane management of migration, promote international cooperation on migration issues and assist in research on practical solutions to migration problems.

Present at the event was UNICEF Regional Director of East and South Africa, Leila Pakkala, who emphasized on the causes of human migration such as natural disasters, high poverty levels, political unrest and a search of a better life. She added that while migrating children are faced with challenges such as missing identity documents, detention, sexual harassment, lack of access to basic services, among other issues.She also pointed out that UNICEF had come up with programs that support young migrants, urging participants to contribute to creation of awareness on the rights of children on the move, and thus ensure they are protected. She further encouraged participants and organizations present to partner and create an enabling environment for the migrants where ever they may be found.

DVC - Academic and Student Affairs Amb. Prof. Ruthie Rono concurred with Ms. Pakkala, adding her voice to the need for futher engagement in the migration conversation. While congratulating UNICEF and IOM for their initiative, she underlined USIU-Africa’s desire to continue partnering with respective institutions to support migrants.

IOM is the leading inter-governmental organization with over 169-member states aimed at promoting humane and orderly migration for the benefit of all providing services and advice to governments and migrants.UNICEF works with the United Nations and other United Nations agencies to make sure that children are on the global agenda, and strike a balance between thorough research and practical solutions for children.