Regional conference on irregular migration kicks off in Egypt with 27 participating nations

Ahram Online , Monday 28 Aug 2023

A regional conference meant to exchange expertise on combating irregular migration kicked off in the Egyptian Red Sea governorate on Monday with the participation of 27 nations.

A boat carrying migrants


The three-day event is being organised by the National Coordinating Committee for Combating and Preventing Illegal Migration and Trafficking in Persons (NCCPIM&TIP). It comes as part of the Egyptian National Strategy for fighting irregular migration.

The conference aims at enhancing the efforts of national bodies operating in fighting migration and protecting immigrants, especially unaccompanied children.

The participants include representatives of 27 countries from Europe, Africa, and North America as well as international organizations concerned with fighting irregular migration.

In a statement to Egypt's official news agency MENA, Naela Gabr, the head of the NCCPIM&TIP, emphasized Egypt's interest in enhancing regional cooperation to fight illegal migration and human trafficking.

"It is very difficult to combat them without regional cooperation and exchanging expertise," she added.

Egypt, which hosts nine million migrants, has repeatedly asserted that it will never be a transit point for illegal migrants eyeing Europe.

The country has been working to address irregular migration since it launched its first strategy on the subject in 2016.

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

In 2022, the law was amended, increasing fines and punishing people who commit crimes but do not report them.

Egypt is also implementing masures to increase household incomes and create jobs in the governorates that are the main sources of irregular migrants in order to address the problem's core causes.

In 2019, Egypt launched the Lifeboats Initiative, allocating EGP 250 million to provide job opportunities in 70 villages nationwide seeing significant levels of irregular migration.

As part of its cooperation with Egypt on reducing irregular migration, the EU gave Egypt in June 80 million euros for border management, search and rescue, and strengthen anti-smuggling activities.


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