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After alleged 13,000 Ivorian immigrants arrived on the Italian coast in December 2016, the Government analyzed the situation and concluded the phenomenon of migration has reached worrying proportions in Africa in general and in Côte d'Ivoire in particular. While 2,000 immigrants were formally identified as Ivorians, the other alleged Ivorian migrants are in fact nationals of other States in the sub-region or persons not originally from West Africa, some of whom have only resided in Côte d'Ivoire.
To deal with this the government decided to run awareness-raising campaigns to prevent populations from illegal migratory phenomena; to establishment a direct cooperation Italy-Côte d'Ivoire for the identification of suspected Ivorian migrants as soon as they arrive on the Italian coast, to strengthening the means of repression and detection of smuggling networks and to implement better biometric traceability of Ivorian citizens. Further,it decided to ratify the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants of the UN Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, and decreed on the tasks, composition, organization and functioning of the National Committee for the Fight against Trafficking in Persons (CNLTP).
The Ivorian authorities started an operation of repatriation from Libya of its citizens-victims of the illegal migration schemes. Issiaka Konate, Director General for Ivoirians Abroad and former UK representative of LI member Rassemblement des Républicains, welcomed in Abidjan a plane full of returning migrants. He said: “You see that there are young people, some of them very young… It is a great phychological trauma”. Mr Konate explained that “one of the key things is to work on their reintegration” and offered support from “different government agencies” so that “every Ivorian finds itself in the national system.” He further spoke of the financial insetments offered to young people to remain in the country.
Aly Coulibaly, Minister of African Integration and Ivorians Abroad from LI full member RDR, insisted that the international community and the European Union need to support Côte d'Ivoire in this fight. “Not only we need to facilitate the return of these young clandestine migrants, but especially we need to create mechanisms for their reintegration,” he said.
Watch the interview with Issiaka Konate upon arrival of the migrants at the Abidjan airport (in French):