The Analyst (Monrovia)

22 January 2013

Liberia: 'Beware of Destabilizing Criminals' -Justice Min. Issues Warning Against New BIN Migration Policy

Acting Justice Minister Cllr. Benedict Sannoh Friday warned against those he termed as destabilizing criminal elements.

Cllr. Sannoh's caveat was contained in a speech delivered Friday on behalf of Justice Minister Christiana Tah at the BIN's official launch of the National Migration Policy.

BIN Friday launched a new migration policy aimed at promoting an enabling and predictable environment for investment, trade and commerce without compromising national security, integrity and environment; providing a framework to facilitate legal and orderly cross-border and third country movements.

Other areas focused in the BIN new migration policy include the vigorous protection of the country's national borders from operation or infiltration by undesirable persons, goods and services; developing a national responsiveness to migration-related region integration needs (Free Movement Protocol of ECOWAS).

Despite the well-intentioned nature of the new migration policy, the Acting Justice Minister warned the BIN to be mindful of destabilizing criminal elements who may want to use the situation to stir trouble in the country and the region in general.

"We must also not lose sight of the fact that some of the movements across borders also include destabilizing criminal elements that further pose threats to peace and stability both in the receiving state and in the country of region, as demonstrated by the conduct of ULIMO, LURD, and the NPFL during the Liberian conflict" Minister Sannoh warned.

"There are a number of issues associated with migration, some positive and some negative" he said, adding,  "On the positive side for the country of origin are the benefits growing out of remittances  from migrants through  bank transfers, Western Union and  Money gram among others ; and secondly the impact of return migration with substantial economic capacity for investment at home.

"On the negative side are the concerns for human trafficking in children and women, drug trafficking, terrorism and counter terrorism, and organized crime" the Minister added.

In order to make the BIN achieve its set goals as prescribed by the new policy document, Minister Sannoh recommended: "The National Migration Policy should seek ensuring that there is coherence between migration policies and other existing policies that address, or are affected by migration.

"Hence, migration issues that would inform development of the policy of Liberia which may range from Labor Migration, Border Management, Irregular Migration, Forced Migration, and Collaboration with diaspora Liberians, Enforcement of Migration Regulation, obsolete Laws as well as Migration Data Collection.

"Considering the importance attached to the realization of this national endeavor, the development and implementation of the Migration Policy should rely on the support of a wide spectrum of stakeholders including the government, national and international partners with the view to: Conduct a comprehensive  migration management assessment to support the drafting of an evidence-based national migration instrument; Permit national migration actors to contribute to the content of the policy and to share their ideas/views a defined strategic approach; and Build capacity of migration officials including individuals/officers involved in implementing the policy."

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