By Nelson Manneh
The International Organization for Migration (IOM), in partnership with the United Nations Migration Agency, has concluded a three-day training workshop on Child protection.
The training workshop which was sponsored by the Swedish Government, started on Monday the 9th of October 2017 and ended on the 11th of October 2o17, at a local Hotel in Senegambia.
The training according to stakeholders, is to strengthen capacity on child rights and to provide direct association with children on the move in order to ensure that their rights are respected.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, Madam Fumiko Nagano, IOM Chief of Mission to the Gambia, said the training was in line with her organisation’s mandate of protecting the rights of vulnerable migrants.
“As the UN Migration Agency, IOM, as part of its mandate, is committed to working with stakeholders to meet the growing operational challenges of migration management, in order to ensure the human dignity and well-being of all migrants,” she said.
Madam Fumiko added that the African region exhibits dynamic migratory patterns with significant movements of people within and outside of the region; that a vast percentage of migrants are children.
She said unaccompanied migrant children are also a common feature of the migration trends within the region.
“Children to a larger extent, are often dependent on adults and are still developing capacities to take care of them and make reliable judgments about people and situations,” she said.
She further added that as border officials are often the first people to come into contact with migrants, it is vital that these officials continue to have their capacities built in understanding their protection mandates and to respond adequately to cases of children in need of protection.
“Bringing a cross section of actors who deal with children on the move, will create a useful platform to dialogue, on enhancing inter-sector collaboration as well as referral mechanisms that will adequately safeguard the rights of children on the move,” she said.
Fanta Bai Secka, the Director of Social Welfare for her part, said their department has recognized the efforts of IOM in connection with child protection.
She added that there are numerous effects on chill trafficking and illegal migration. “Child protection should be a collective responsibility, in which everybody needs to contribute in one way or the other,” she said.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Gambia Immigration Department, Superintended Mamanding S Dibba who represented the IG of the Immigration Department, said training of immigration officers especially those on borders, is very essential.
“This training will help us handle issues related to child protection, in line with the Constitution of the Gambia,” he said
PRO Dibba of the Immigration Department added that their department has recognized the efforts of the IOM in protecting the wellbeing of children. To the participants, he urge them to share their experiences with others who cannot make it to the place.
Participants were issued with certificates at the end of the training.