IOM & Internal Affairs Ministry Sign Cooperation Service Agreement

Cooperation Service Agreement.jpg

By Foday Moriba Conteh

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the Ministry of Internal Affairs (MIA) have signed a cooperation service agreement to tackle migration challenges both within Sierra Leone and internationally. This agreement was formalized on Friday, 14th June, during a ceremony at the Ministry’s Conference room on Gloucester Street in Freetown. As part of this collaboration, the IOM donated essential office equipment to bolster the Ministry’s migration management efforts.

The donated items included computers, executive chairs, desks and a Migration Information and Data Analysis System (MIDAS). The latter will significantly enhance the Ministry’s capability to monitor and manage migration issues. The MIDAS system is particularly valuable for tracking entries at Lungi Airport and border crossings such as Gbalamuya at the Guinea border.

Christos Christodoulides, the IOM Head of Office in Sierra Leone, emphasized the importance of the agreement, highlighting the crucial role of the Ministry of Internal Affairs in migration management.

He detailed that the agreement includes cooperation on border management, voluntary return assistance for Sierra Leonean migrants and broader migration policies.

Christodoulides praised the agreement as a significant milestone for the IOM and commended Sierra Leone’s commitment to global migration initiatives, noting its status as a migration champion country and a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council.

On his part, Major General (Rtd) David T.O. Taluva, Minister of Internal Affairs, underscored the importance of the collaboration, especially following the Government’s adoption of the National Migration Policy in 2022, with the IOM as the primary implementation partner. He stressed that the IOM is the principal agency relied upon by the Government to repatriate stranded Sierra Leonean migrants abroad. “Without such agreements,” he noted, “stranded migrants would face dire consequences, which is against the Government’s interests.”

Minister Taluva also called on IOM to assist with internal migration issues further pointing out that the rural-to-urban migration trend is causing environmental problems in Freetown, such as flooding due to unregulated housing developments and deforestation.

He expressed a desire for the IOM to support rural development, making these areas more attractive for residents and reducing urban migration pressures.

The Minister highlighted the successful repatriation and reintegration of over 3,000 stranded Sierra Leonean migrants with IOM’s help.

Overall, this cooperation agreement marks a significant step forward in managing migration effectively, ensuring the welfare of migrants and addressing both international and internal migration challenges.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here