Brussels, 1 June 2015/ ACP: Ministers from the African, Caribbean and Pacific countries, alongside colleagues from the European Union reiterated their condemnation of the criminal networks which organise human trafficking with complete disregard for human lives, and called for urgent actions to combat such networks.
Meeting for the annual ACP-EU Council of Ministers on 28-29 May to discuss a number of critical issues, including the post-2015 development agenda, financing for development, and trade matters, ministers endorsed a set of recommendations on human trafficking and smuggling of migrants, developed by experts working under the ACP-EU Dialogue on Migration and Development framework.
The Co-president of the Joint Council, Hon. Meltek Sato Kilman Livtuvanu of Vanuatu, speaking on behalf of the ACP ministers added: “We consider that even if the military and security approach is meant to discourage and respond immediately to the issue, there is an urgent need to have a comprehensive approach to deal with the root causes of this phenomenon, in partnership with all the countries involved.”
The endorsed recommendations include enacting comprehensive legislation on both trafficking in human beings and smuggling of migrants, stressing the differences between both phenomena, while also implementing relevant national laws.
Currently, the vast majority of the victims are neither identified nor protected, while most of the criminal networks act in impunity and are neither dismantled, nor prosecuted.
The recommendations promoted a “victim-centred” approach from a human rights and gender perspective, while also stepping up efforts to dismantle criminal networks and prosecute both traffickers and smugglers, as they represent a direct threat to the lives of migrants.
Proposed initiatives include awareness-raising and training for all persons in a position to identify victims or provide useful information for dismantling these networks. Cross-border and international cooperation was also cited for countries of origin, transit and destination, with experts calling for bilateral Memoranda of Understanding between countries, both North-South and South-South, on this issue.
Post-2015 Development Agenda
In addition to migration, ACP-EU ministers discussed post-2015 sustainable development agenda, in particular financing for development and climate change, in preparation for the global discussions on these issues in Addis Ababa, New York and Paris later this year.
Several trade-related issues, in particular the state-of-play of the Economic Partnership Agreements, the impact of TTIP on ACP countries, as well as specific commodities issues of particular relevance to ACP countries, were also on the agenda. Ministers exchanged views on the future of private sector development in ACP countries,
“I am very pleased by the open, substantive and constructive discussions that we had with our partners from the ACP countries. Our exchanges of view on a number of key issues such as the post-2015 development agenda and migration once again underlined the importance of our partnership,” said Co-president on the EU side, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, Latvian Parliamentary State Secretary for EU Affairs in a statement.
The ACP-EU Council of Ministers meets annually in either a European or ACP country. It is the highest joint decision-making body under the framework of the ACP-EU Cotonou Partnership Agreement.
(Photo: ACP-EU Council Co-Chairs, Hon. Meltek Sato Kilman Livtuvanu and Zanda Kalnina-Lukasevica. Photo by European Union).
For more information, contact ACP Press Attache, Ms. Josephine Latu-Sanft at +32 2 7430617 or