July 17, 2024


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EAC calls for cross-border cooperation to counter terrorism and transnational organised crime

The EAC Deputy Secretary General in charge of Infrastructure, Productive, Social and Political Sectors, Hon. Andrea Aguer Ariik Malueth has called on Partner States to strengthen cross-border cooperation to counter terrorism and transnational organised crime in the region in order to facilitate the free movement of goods, persons, labour, services and capital.

He noted one of the key areas of the EAC integration process is to promote and strengthen peace and security in the region and good neighborliness as per Article 124 of the Treaty that established the EAC. 

Hon. Malueth further stated that terrorism and transnational organised crime take many forms, including organized violence, financial crimes, narcotics and human trafficking, migrant smuggling, piracy, and cybercrime.

 “It is critical for Partner States to work together and to ensure that the people gain the fruits of integration such as improved livelihoods”

The Deputy Secretary General made his remarks during the opening session of a two-day Regional Conference on Immigration and Border Governance in Bujumbura, Burundi. The conference aims to explore the ever-changing migration dynamics and landscape, focusing on how better and integrated migration management can support development issues within the region.

“I am pleased that this conference will give us an opportunity to identify key achievements while highlighting challenges that would require additional concerted efforts amongst the Partner States to leverage the full potential of integration for sustainable development of the region,” said Hon. Malueth.

Hon. Malueth informed the meeting that in order to have an effective border governance and streamlined immigration processes, the EAC Secretariat has concluded several instruments which are being implemented by Partner States. These include: the EAC Regional Strategy for Peace and Security, the EAC Transboundary Security Framework; One-stop Border Posts Act and Regulations thereunder.

The Deputy Secretary General further disclosed that the EAC refugee policy is being finalized which sets common standards for handling refugee matters in the region.

He underscored the EAC’s commitment to continue working with International Organization for Migration (IOM) and other partners in strengthening regional cooperation among the EAC Partner States to effectively control EAC borders, prevent irregular movements and trafficking, as well as detect and prevent cross-border criminal activities, and terrorism.

The Deputy Secretary General called upon the EAC Partner States to strengthen their research capacity to generate insights into the role of regional integration on development initiatives such as transport corridors and guide on leveraging regional integration as a tool for preventing risk factors for transnational organised crime and terrorism.

On her part, the IOM Chief in Burundi, Ms Vijaya Souri said strengthening border governance is an essential tool to effectively manage migration flows by investing in infrastructure, technology, and training for border officials while balancing security risks.

She said while various regional obligations on regular pathways for immigration exist, their implementation and operationalization need to be enhanced across the region to maximize their efficacy and impact at the local level.

“I would like to pledge IOM’s commitment to continue working with EAC and its Partner States in strengthening regional cooperation and collaboration to enhance regular pathways through immigration and border governance, employing comprehensive policies and practices to foster a fair, ethical, and sustainable global migration system while sharing knowledge and resources among countries.”

The outcomes and recommendations of the conference will develop new alliances and engagements among all relevant stakeholders, including other Regional Economic Communities, AU Member States, and UN partners in EAC in support of Partner States’ collective efforts and strategies in better facilitating safer migration, in the fight against terrorism, proliferation and transnational organised crime in the region.

The conference is being attended by heads of Immigration, customs, and police, representatives of international organizations and entities at the level of senior coordinators and practitioners who are directly dealing with relevant issues pertaining to migration, transnational organised crime, and terrorism at national, sub-regional and regional levels.

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