Enabling migrants to return in a safe, dignified and voluntary way and to restart their lives in their countries of origin are key objectives the Pilot Action through an integrated reintegration approach. Reintegration can be considered sustainable when returnees have reached levels of economic self-sufficiency, social stability within their communities, and psychosocial well-being that allow them to cope with (re)migration drivers. Having achieved sustainable reintegration, returnees are able to make further migration decisions a matter of choice, rather than necessity. Returning migrants can find themselves in vulnerable situations in their countries of origin. Reintegration support should therefore be needs-based, irrespective of the type return and must not only focus on addressing the individual needs of returning migrants but the communities that the migrants are returning to.
Since the commencement of the commencement of the SAMM project in January 2020, up to 2,000 migrants have been provided with voluntary return assistance and reintegration support at the individual in order to minimize migrant vulnerability upon return, protecting their rights, and supporting them to re-start their lives within the communities of return. Against this backdrop, promoting a whole-of-society and whole-of-government approach to sustainable reintegration within the context of Migration Dialogue in Southern Africa (MIDSA) would provide a strong basis to ensure the successful implementation of the project and overall migration management within the SADC region.
- Facilitate the adoption of national referral mechanism as protection frameworks for the vulnerable migrants.
- Facilitate cross border coordination meetings and workshop among the member states to address the protection needs of migrant in the mixed flows.
- Support the Member States to develop/update Standard Operating Procedures on protection and assistance to stranded and vulnerable migrants including the implementation of alternatives to detention.
- Conduct capacity building for social workers, protection officers and other relevant officials from the Member States on protection and assistance to vulnerable migrants in the mixed flows.
- Set-up a regional direct assistance fund that includes Assistance Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) for vulnerable migrants including refugees
as sustainable reintegration” commits the Member States to facilitate and cooperate for safe and dignified return and to guarantee due process, individual assessment and effective remedy, by upholding the prohibition of collective expulsion and of returning migrants when there is a real and foreseeable risk of death, torture, and other cruel, inhuman, and degrading treatment or punishment, or other irreparable harm, in accordance with our obligations under international human rights law. The Member States further commit to ensure that our nationals are duly received and readmitted, in full respect for the human right to return to one’s own country and the obligation of States to readmit their own nationals. The Member States commit to create conducive conditions for personal safety, economic empowerment, inclusion and social cohesion in communities, in order to ensure that reintegration of migrants upon return to their countries of origin is sustainable.
To realize this commitment, Member States may draw from the following actions:
a) Develop and implement bilateral, regional and multilateral cooperation frameworks and agreements, including readmission agreements, ensuring that return and readmission of migrants to their own country is safe, dignified and in full compliance with international human rights law, including the rights of the child, by determining clear and mutually agreed procedures that uphold procedural safeguards, guarantee individual assessments and legal certainty, and by ensuring they also include provisions that facilitate sustainable reintegration.
b) Promote gender-responsive and child-sensitive return and reintegration programmes, that may include legal, social and financial support, guaranteeing that all returns in the context of such voluntary programmes effectively take place on the basis of the migrant’s free, prior and informed consent, and that returning migrants are assisted in their reintegration process through effective partnerships, including to avoid they become displaced in the country of origin upon return.
c) Cooperate on identification of nationals and issuance of travel documents for safe and dignified return and readmission in cases of persons that do not have the legal right to stay on another State’s territory, by establishing reliable and efficient means of identification of own nationals such as through the addition of biometric identifiers in population registries, and by digitalizing civil registry systems, with full respect to the right to privacy and protection of personal data.
d) Foster institutional contacts between consular authorities and relevant officials from countries of origin and destination and provide adequate consular assistance to returning migrants prior to return by facilitating access to documentation, travel documents, and other services, in order to ensure predictability, safety and dignity in return and readmission.
e) Ensure that the return of migrants who do not have the legal right to stay on another State’s territory is safe and dignified, follows an individual assessment, is carried out by competent authorities through prompt and effective cooperation between countries of origin and destination, and allows all applicable legal remedies to be exhausted, in compliance with due process guarantees, and other obligations under international human rights law.
f) Establish or strengthen national monitoring mechanisms on return, in partnership with relevant stakeholders, that provide independent recommendations on ways and means to strengthen accountability, in order to guarantee the safety, dignity, and human rights of all returning migrants.
g) Ensure that return and readmission processes involving children are carried out only after a determination of the best interests of the child, take into account the right to family life, family unity, and that a parent, legal guardian or specialized official accompanies the child throughout the return process, ensuring that appropriate reception, care and reintegration arrangements for children are in place in the country of origin upon return.
h) Facilitate the sustainable reintegration of returning migrants into community life by providing them equal access to social protection and services, justice, psycho-social assistance, vocational training, employment opportunities and decent work, recognition of skills acquired abroad, and financial services, in order to fully build upon their entrepreneurship, skills and human capital as active members of society and contributors to sustainable development in the country of origin upon return.
i) Identify and address the needs of the communities to which migrants return by including respective provisions in national and local development strategies, infrastructure planning, budget allocations and other relevant policy decisions and cooperating with local authorities and relevant stakeholders