Egypt keen on cooperation with IOM to achieve UN goals, preserve safe migration rights: Emigration minister

Ahram Online , MENA , Tuesday 14 Jun 2022

Minister of Emigration and Expatriate Affairs Nabila Makram stressed the country’s keenness to cooperate with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) and other international organisations to achieve the UN’s sustainable development goals (SDGs) and preserve citizens’ rights to safe migration.

Egyptian Ministry of Emigration
From (L-R) Othman Belbeisi the IOM s Senior Regional Advisor for Middle East and North Africa, Assistant Emigration Minister for International Cooperation Mohamed Khairat, Egypt s Minister of Emigration and Egyptian Expatriates Affairs Nabila Makram, Ugochi Daniels Deputy Director General of the IOM and Laurent de Bock the head of IOM s mission in Egypt pose for an image on Tuesday 14 June, 2022. Photo courtesy of Egyptian Ministry of Emigration Facebook page.


In a meeting with IOM officials in Cairo on Tuesday, Makram reviewed Egypt’s level of cooperation with all international entities — including the IOM — within the framework of achieving the SDGs, providing safe alternatives to irregular migration, and providing opportunities for young people in the largest exporting regions of irregular migrants.

The meeting gathered Ugochi Daniels, deputy director-general of the IOM; Laurent de Bock, the head of IOM’s mission in Egypt; and Othman Belbeisi, the IOM’s senior regional adviser for Middle East and North Africa, according to a statement by the Ministry of Emigration and Expatriate Affairs.

Meanwhile, Assistant Emigration Minister for International Cooperation Mohamed Khairat reviewed the ministry’s efforts in combating irregular migration as well as a number of presidential initiatives, including ‘Etkallem Araby’ (‘Speak Arabic’), which aims to help second and third generation Egyptians living abroad to feel connected to their motherland.

For his part, De Bock voiced appreciation for the great level of cooperation with the ministry in several files and initiatives, which have had positive outcomes in several governorates.

He also hailed Egypt’s launch of the ‘National Strategy for Combating Illegal Migration’, as well as its efforts in providing the necessary training for youths to become more competitive in the labour market.

Egypt has stepped up its efforts since 2016 to deal with irregular migration, setting a legislative framework to combat the smuggling of migrants.

In 2016, President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi launched the country’s first national strategy to combat irregular migration, and Law 82 of 2016 set out penalties criminalising all forms of migrant smuggling, in addition to combating the activities of those involved in such acts.

The law punishes whoever commits, attempts, or is involved in the crime of smuggling migrants with strict imprisonment and a fine ranging from EGP 200,000 to EGP 500,000.

In 2022, the country toughened the law, forcing those who commit the crime of smuggling or aiding in the smuggling of migrants to pay a fine equal to the value of the amount they profited from the operation.

Additionally, those who witnessed irregular migration crimes and chose not to report them to authorities will be sentenced to one year in prison and forced to pay EGP 50,000-200,000 in fines.

Furthermore, public servants who fail in their assigned responsibilities to fight irregular migration will be sentenced to between three to five years in prison.

In 2019, Egypt launched its ‘Lifeboats Initiative’ in order to provide job opportunities in villages seeing significant levels of irregular migration, with EGP 250 million allocated to support and implement it in 70 villages across the country.

About six million refugees and migrants live in Egypt, according to official estimates. President Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi has repeatedly stressed that Egypt is not a transit point for illegal migrants eyeing Europe.

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