Matthew Bryden off Sahan Africa: IGAD’s efforts in Ethiopia and Sudan

by | Apr 24, 2017 | World Featured

IGAD (intergovernmental authority on development) is an alliance of African countries in the horn of Africa, the Nile valley and the African great lakes. The coalition is composed of 8 member states: Djibouti, Somalia, Ethiopia, Sudan, South Sudan, Eritrea, Kenya and Uganda. The focus here will be about Ethiopia and Sudan.

Sahan Africa research on Ethiopia:

In June 2012 Ethiopia created a national council to fight issues related to human trafficking and smuggling. According to IGAD and Sahan, the council was a joint effort of several national institutions including “The Ministry of labour and social affairs “,” Ministry of health” and “the Ministry of justice”. The council is made up of 4 different groups that focuses on their corresponding tasks. Each group is headed by a specific Ministry

The Protection Working Group is managed by the Ministry of labour and social affairs and tasked with creating and holding awareness campaigns as well as generating and providing an appropriate working environment for civilians.

The Victims Assistance Working Group is commissioned with the reintegration of repatriated people and it is monitored by the Ministry of health.

The Legislation and Prosecution group is headed by the Ministry of justice who also oversees the law enforcement task force. This group works on applying “international conventions” as well creating national law to combat trafficking and smuggling.

Last but not least the Research, Monitoring, and Evaluation group is task with investigating smuggling networks.

Additionally, the Ethiopian system implemented “local task forces” to raise awareness among civilians of the dangers of human trafficking. The council also drafted a legislation to prosecute smugglers and traffickers “The draft legislation proposes imprisonment of 25 years to life imprisonment or a fine up to 500,000 Ethiopian Birr (approx. US$23,500) for aggravated trafficking”

Regardless of all of these efforts Ethiopian citizens are still questioning the intention of their officials this was clearly stated in the Sahan Study “Discussions with workers assigned to some of these local task forces reveal that coordination and accountability are particularly weak at the local level, and data that is available locally is inexplicably unavailable to the federal authorities”

Sahan Africa Research on Sudan:

Sudan has a national committee to fight trafficking and smuggling as well. This committee is ought to provide the council of ministers with reports each two months, these reports are later forwarded to the head of state who will look into them and calls for action whenever its needed.

In accordance with Sahan and IGAD’s work Sudanese authorities are concerned about the safety of their civilians and refugees this is why Sudan levelled up their punishment acts towards matters of trafficking and smuggling. Police investigations are being held by the Sudanese Police in relation to the smuggling route linking between Kassala and Sinai. These investigations have been on since 2014.

Clashes between Police forces and criminal networks took place in June 2015, Sundanese authorities were able to free 850 victims in various regions. Sundanese authorities confesses the fact that these operations -centred around the northern route- are quite challenging to work on individually.

As an IGAD member Sudan calls for multilateral operations between their country and Libya and Egypt.

Sudanese- Ethiopian investigations:

In July – September 2015 joint investigations were held. They resulted in deporting numerous people involved in smuggling networks to their respective home countries. Unlike the Benishangul-Gumuz region, the Nothern regions of Humera and Matema are harder to operate in. This was stated in Sahan’s study as well “Federal Police officers who serve on the national task force in Addis Ababa, such joint operations do not yet extend to the northern border regions of Humera and Metema”

These aforementioned efforts were taken under IGAD’s watch and advice.

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