Friday, December 27, 2013

Migrants crossing DRC borders to benefit from humanitarian borders trainings


On 4 December 2013, the IOM African Capacity Building Centre (ACBC) from Moshi, Tanzania, completed a seven day Training-of-Trainers on humanitarian border management (HBM) in Kisangani, the capital of Province Orientale of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).  DRC is the first country in Africa to pilot the HBM capacity building model developed by IOM.

HBM addresses border management operations before, during and after humanitarian crises which trigger cross-border migration of affected populations. Therefore, the HBM concept encompasses both preparedness, as well as response of border agencies, such as immigration and border police, to mass influx of persons fleeing natural or man-made disasters.

In September 2013, the ACBC and IOM in DRC carried out a joint HBM assessment exercise at the border regions between DRC, South Sudan and Uganda. One of the recommendations arising out of this assessment, and discussed during a workshop that introduced the HBM concept to the provincial authorities, was to elaborate and pilot a specialized HBM training curriculum that would prepare DRC border agencies for potential migration crises.

Inspired by a similar training already developed by IOM’s Regional Office in Vienna and piloted in October 2013 in Tajikistan, the ACBC designed a seven-day Training-of-Trainers package which encompasses an introduction to relevant international migration legal frameworks, techniques for interviewing vulnerable migrants, biometric registration of displaced populations, search and rescue, camp security, migration health, as well as elaboration of humanitarian response plans.

“The HBM course teaches how to protect borders while at the same time protecting human rights of migrants fleeing a natural or man-made disaster. It is increasingly becoming recognized as a concept that can importantly assist States to prepare for potential migration crises,” says Laurent de Boeck, Chief of Mission of IOM DRC. 

Participants in the pilot Training-of-Trainers included representatives of DRC immigration, border police, border health and quarantine service, customs, as well as representatives of the provincial government. Through presentations, group work, case studies and roles plays, border officials had the opportunity to learn not only theory but also practice their new skills on specific scenarios, themselves based on concrete migration crises that took place in Province Orientale in the past and which were researched during the HBM assessment.

“This training comes at a point when humanitarian border management is a matter of great importance to the Government of DRC. Province Orientale itself has repeatedly appealed to development partners to assist the border management sector in the Province. I hope that the participants will put in practice their new skills to serve populations in the border areas who, more than ever, are in need of humanitarian assistance, security and peace,”said H.E.Mr. Pascal Mombi Opana, Vice-governor of Province Orientale, in his closing speech.

HBM initiatives in Province Orientale are one of the components of a comprehensive border police capacity building programme funded by the Government of Japan