Eleven senior officials from the National Coordinating Committee on Preventing and Combatting Illegal Migration (NCCPIM) have undertaken a study visit organized by the International Organization for Migration (IOM Egypt) to Italy on best practices for the protection of vulnerable migrants, with particular emphasis on unaccompanied migrant children (UMCs).
The study visit is particularly pertinent given Italy’s effective child protection mechanisms and in light of Egypt’s trends of irregular child migration. Since 2011, Egypt holds the highest ratio of UMCs among adult irregular migrants reaching Europe. In 2014, 2,007 (49%) of the 4,095 Egyptians arriving irregularly in Italy were UMCs in comparison to only 28 per cent in 2011, making. This upward trend continued in 2015, when 1,711 out of 2,610 Egyptian irregular migrants found in Italy were UMCs (66%).
Considering the scale of Egyptian irregular child migration and protection concerns of UMCs, the study visit is timely to support NCCPIM in operationalizing Egypt’s law on “Combatting Illegal Migration and Migrant Smuggling” which was recently approved by the Egyptian Council of Ministers and revised by the State Council, and is currently under review by the Egyptian Parliament. IOM Egypt provided technical support to NCCPIM for the development of the Law.
“The study visit will feed into the development process of NCCPIM’s 2016-2018 National Strategy on Combating Illegal Migration, especially regarding the establishment and operationalization of a national referral mechanism for unaccompanied migrant children,” highlighted Ambassador Naela Gabr, chairperson of NCCPIM.
“The experience gained from this study visit will help inform the strategy’s priorities, which in turn will ensure that no migrant is left behind; and particularly every child at risk of, and or engaged in, illegal/irregular migration is catered for in accordance to the Egyptian law,” emphasized IOM Egypt’s Head of Office Amr Taha.
IOM and NCCPIM have developed a constructive relationship since the Committee’s establishment by Prime Ministerial Decree in 2014. NCCPIM is the Egyptian government’s focal point for policies and efforts in the field of preventing and combating irregular migration. The Committee comprises 20 different ministries and national entities, in addition to the National Councils on Human Rights, as well as Childhood and Motherhood.