Sirte, Libya (PANA) – Mass expulsion and deportations in Africa have often not respected human rights provisions, African ministers on immigration have observed in a report on the free movement of people on the continent.
They noted that while the African Charter on Human and People’s Rights prohibited mass expulsions and required that deportation be effected only after due process of law, « the practice was such that it was evident that human rights provisions were not respected. »
The report on the African Union (AU) Conference of Ministers on Immigration held in Tripoli, Libya 17-18 June, therefore called for the elaboration of a protocol on deportations and expulsions to address the concerns of due process and respect for human rights.
Forty-four AU member States attended the Tripoli meeting on the establishment of free movement within Africa, with sub-themes on liberalization of visa regimes, right of residence, African passport and deportation and mass expulsion.
The report will be tabled at the 1-2 July AU Executive Council meeting here for deliberation and submission to the 5th Ordinary Summit of AU leaders slated here for 4-5 July.
Free movement of Africans on the continent and a common African passport, proposed by Libyan leader Moammar Kadhafi as a way of fast-tracking African integration, are key agenda topics for the Sirte summit.
The ministers urged AU member States to start negotiations on harmonisation of visa regimes, saying this could « effectively facilitate free movement » in Africa.
Noting that regional economic communities (RECs) were increasingly entering into visa abolition agreements, they called for more visa waivers and abolition to facilitate free movement on the continent.
The ministers also called for « more flexible and accessible » residence permit requirements to realise the benefits of free movement, stressing that residence permit applications from member States be accorded « preferential treatment. »