The European Union (EU) Delegation to Liberia head Ms. Emma Sundblad says unless Immigration Officers are enabled to do their jobs effectively, the ECOWAS Protocol and Common Approach will remain an objective rather than a reality in the country.
She was speaking recently at the closing ceremony of training organized by the Liberia Immigration Service (LIS) in collaboration with the ECOWAS and its partners.The training concerned the roll out of the ECOWAS regional border management and free movement manual for 40 officers.
The training took place at the Gbarnga Regional Hub, Bong County from August 6 to 9. Madam Sundblad said evidence shows that properly managed international migration can reduce poverty and contribute to economic development in both sending and receiving countries.
She said it is in recognition of the benefits of migration that ECOWAS has adopted the Protocol on Free Movement of Persons, Right of Residence and Establishment and the ECOWAS Common Approach on Migration.
According to her, through the Program Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa, the EU provides funding at the regional, national and local levels.
She said that funding is meant to support ECOWAS in achieving the goal of free movement. “This training is part of that program, because Immigration Officers have a key role to play in the management of migration,” she said.
She expressed hope that the training that the officers have received will enable them to carry out that role with confidence and professionalism. She reminds officers that they are on the front line of ensuring not only the prevention of illegal cross-border activities such as people trafficking and smuggling, but also in facilitating the smooth passage of legitimate travelers.
By Joseph Titus Yekeryan in Bong–Edited by Winston W. Parley