UCLG Africa Secretary General’s message on the occasion of the International Migrants Day on 18 December 2019

Each year on December 18, the United Nations celebrates International Migrants Day.

This celebration gives UCLG Africa the opportunity to reiterate once again that local and regional authorities are at the frontline in the management of migration. Usually, migrants leave a city to settle temporarily or permanently in another city in their country of origin, region, and continent or outside their country of origin. The ways these migrants are received in host communities, the recognition of their rights and duties and those of their families, the way they are integrated into the host society, the opportunity to earn a living, the opportunity to educate their children, the opportunity to care for themselves and their families, all depend on the consideration and dignity with which they are treated.

This is the reason that led the mayors and leaders of African local authorities, meeting at the eighth Africities Summit held in November 2018 in Marrakech, Morocco, to adopt the Charter of African Local Authorities on Migration, which lays down a number of rules to be respected for the management of migrants, those they welcome in their localities, as well as those who leave their homes to settle in other communities.

We encourage cities and territories on the continent to adhere to this charter, and encourage them to develop partnerships and cooperation with their counterparts in other countries, regions or continents in the management of migration and the treatment of migrants.

At a time when migration management is at the root of tensions and tensions between States or regions, and when withdrawal seems to be the preferred answer to these tensions, UCLG Africa is launching a solemn appeal to cities and territories in Africa and other regions around the world to be the guardians of solidarity and equal dignity among human beings; and that they make migration management a ferment of multilateralism in cities and territories, recognizing that migration makes a powerful contribution to the dynamism and development of many African cities and territories.

UCLG Africa calls on all migration governance actors, including the diaspora, to implement the commitments of the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration, and to support African local and regional authorities in the implementation of the African charter of local and subnational governments of Africa on migration, including its provisions on hospitality, solidarity and the protection of migrants’ rights.

UCLG Africa fervently hopes that the day of 18 December will be used everywhere to celebrate the undeniable contribution of migrants to the cultural diversity of the territories, to the dissemination of knowledge and know-how, and to the promotion of conviviality between human groups, a sine qua non condition for the emergence of a world of peace and harmony.

The Secretary General,