African Union creates migration body

African leaders have created a body to help coordinate national policies on migration, Morocco announced at the African Union (AU) summit on Monday.

AU leaders agreed to set up an organisation called the African Observatory for Migration and Development (OAMD), based in the Moroccan capital of Rabat, Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita told a press conference in Nouakchott, the Mauritanian capital.

"African leaders have taken the decision to task this important new tool with harmonising the national strategies of African states and improving interaction with partners (abroad)," he said.

The scheme, suggested by Morocco, comes amid a fresh crisis within the European Union (EU) over an influx of migrants taking the perilous trip across the Mediterranean.

But Bourita rejected an EU proposal to allow migrants rescued in international waters to request asylum in the EU from so-called "regional disembarkation platforms" located outside of Europe.

"Morocco strongly rejects this platform idea, which it considers inappropriate. It is an easy, counterproductive solution," he said.

At a summit in Brussels last week, European leaders agreed to consider setting up "disembarkation platforms" outside the EU, most likely in North Africa, in a bid to discourage migrants and refugees boarding EU-bound smuggler boats.

Member countries could also create processing centres to determine whether the new arrivals are returned home as economic migrants or admitted as refugees in willing states.

"The tragic fate that awaits African migrants on Europe's doorstep is made worse by the recurrence of intolerable behaviours against them in Africa itself," Moussa Faki Mahamat, the AU's commission chairperson, said in a tweet on Sunday.

"Unless it wants to lose any credibility on this issue, our union cannot condemn obvious human rights violations against African migrants elsewhere and ignore it when similar things happen on the continent."

Hundreds of thousands of Africans have left the continent in a bid to reach Europe in recent years, often taking deadly routes through the desert and across the Mediterranean, as they fled war and poverty at home.

But migration was not on the official agenda of AU summit, which focused on security crises, trade and corruption.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

We live in a world where facts and fiction get blurred
In times of uncertainty you need journalism you can trust. For 14 free days, you can have access to a world of in-depth analyses, investigative journalism, top opinions and a range of features. Journalism strengthens democracy. Invest in the future today. Thereafter you will be billed R75 per month. You can cancel anytime and if you cancel within 14 days you won't be billed. 
Subscribe to News24
Voting Booth
Should the red carpet portion of SONA be scrapped this year?
Please select an option Oops! Something went wrong, please try again later.
Results
Yes, it's inappropriate given the state of the country
93% - 3887 votes
No, it's part of the tradition
7% - 283 votes
Vote
Rand - Dollar
17.71
+0.3%
Rand - Pound
21.43
+0.0%
Rand - Euro
19.00
+0.1%
Rand - Aus dollar
12.32
-0.2%
Rand - Yen
0.13
+0.2%
Platinum
980.16
-0.7%
Palladium
1,666.68
+0.4%
Gold
1,880.18
+0.2%
Silver
22.41
+0.4%
Brent Crude
85.09
+1.7%
Top 40
74,281
+0.4%
All Share
80,278
+0.4%
Resource 10
74,992
+0.4%
Industrial 25
104,498
+0.6%
Financial 15
16,355
+0.1%
All JSE data delayed by at least 15 minutes Iress logo
Editorial feedback and complaints

Contact the public editor with feedback for our journalists, complaints, queries or suggestions about articles on News24.

LEARN MORE