Summit underscores the plight of refugees and immigrants in SADC region

The Southern Africa Migration Network (SAMIN). Picture: Supplied

The Southern Africa Migration Network (SAMIN). Picture: Supplied

Published Jul 2, 2024


The Southern Africa Migration Network (Samin) conducted a two-day conference in Gauteng that brought together leaders and various groups from the southern Africa region to discuss multifaceted migration-related issues.

Some speakers gave moving accounts of the difficulties faced by migrants and refugees in southern Africa, including discriminatory policies, limited employment opportunities, social security, sexual assault, a lack of documentation, difficulty accessing medical facilities, and language hurdles.

Samin, a network advocating for southern African refugees and migrants’ rights, focused on gender-responsive, right-based migration policies and the development community region at this year’s conference.

The network intends to chronicle migration patterns and difficulties through research collaborations with academic institutions, addressing the core reasons for forced migration, and advocating for equal treatment of migrants and citizens.

Speaking with The Star, Samin secretariat’s Basetsane Mosia said they aim to empower and strengthen refugee women, ensuring their voices are never silenced and allowing them to contribute significantly to communities and economies worldwide.

“Every year we host a policy conference under a particular theme, and we deliberate on that.

“At last year’s policy conference, our 4th annual one, was a call for women’s voices to be heard and to be at the forefront. A recommendation was brought forward for the network to organise a summit that would particularly look at the ways in which women migrants are affected. Understanding migration through the lens of how women experience it and what brought us to where we are today.

“With the summit, the objective is really to understand the dynamics that exist around women and migration across the southern African region. Also, to explore how we can advocate for more or better policies that are gender inclusive and that speak to the needs of refugees and asylum seekers.

“What came out of this summit is that we need to factor in the status, because a lot of times when we have these conversations, we factor in the women who are stateless.

“We touched on that; there is an urgent call to action from international bodies and from the government to begin to understand this issue and look at how we can have policies that can better the lives and livelihoods of refugees both in the host and home countries,” said Mosia.

The summit brought together participants from across the Southern African Development Community (SADC), such as Botswana, Mozambique, Madagascar, Lesotho, Angola, Malawi, etc, who are part of women-led organisations and networks in the region protecting and promoting the rights of migrants and refugees, civil society members, the academic community, UN agencies, immigrant activists, and private sector representatives.

The Samin Women’s Summit on Migration provides an opportunity to engage in dialogue and debate the complex challenges related to migration while advancing positive, rights-based solutions that comply with international norms and standards.

The Star

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