IOM, Countries of the Indian Ocean Commission discuss Dialogue Mechanism on Migration

IOM, Countries of the Indian Ocean Commission  discuss Dialogue Mechanism on Migration

Mahe, Seychelles – “As a small island developing State, in the middle of the Indian Ocean, Seychelles is not spared from maritime threats, such as acts of piracy, drug trafficking, illegal migration, and human trafficking. It is therefore vital that we utilize platforms such as this one, built on inter-state dialogue and cooperation, with the aim of executing preventive measures and consolidate concrete remedial actions,” recognized H.E. Mr. Vincent Mériton, Vice President of the Republic of Seychelles, at the opening ceremony of the first consultative inter-State Migration Dialogue for the Indian Ocean Commission Countries (DiMOI), held in Mahe, Seychelles, from 26-28 August 2019.

The meeting, which was facilitated by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in collaboration with the Indian Ocean Commission (IOC) and the Government of the Republic of Seychelles, convened high level delegates from member state countries of the IOC, notably the Union of Comoros, France / Réunion, Madagascar, Mauritius and , to discuss the possibilities of establishing a consultative process on migration that will tackle the related challenges particular to the  South Western Indian Ocean region.

“While the IOC countries belong to the Southern African Development Community (SADC) – with the exception of France -, and actively participate to the yearly Migration Dialogue for Southern Africa (MIDSA), this region of island states and territories has its own specific migration dichotomy and challenges. The establishment of an informal and non-binding consultative process would give IOC member states the platform to discuss matters such as maritime security, migration environmental climate change, trafficking in human beings, and free movement of persons, as is the case in Western and Eastern Africa,” said Mr. Charles Kwenin, IOM Regional Director for Southern Africa.

Delegates of the IOC member states spent 2.5 days taking stock of the migration management priorities of their region, and formulated recommendations toward the establishment of an IOC countries’ migration dialogue mechanism.

“These discussions are taking place as a result of a decision by the IOC Council of Ministers for mechanisms to effectively manage the free movement of persons and goods in the Indian Ocean region. Within our partnership with IOM, and through inter-state consultations, we will identify and address the challenges and opportunities for the IOC region vis-à-vis matters of migration,” said Mr. Hamada Madi, IOC Secretary General.

According to the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, as of 2017, each IOC country hosts several thousand migrants from within the Indian Ocean region.

“We hope that this meeting, and the process that will ensue, will bring the establishment of a mechanism that will give IOC countries the opportunity to own and share migration data of our region, and coordinate such data through the IOC secretariat, thus better guiding our inter-state migration management policies and practices,” said Mr. Dev Phokeer, Director of Cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration of the Republic of Mauritius.

Guided by contributions from IOM experts, the discussions of the IOC member states delegates recommended that the establishment of the Migration Dialogue for the Indian Ocean Countries (DiMOI) be tabled at the 34th IOC Council of Ministers meeting.

For more information, please contact Céline Lemmel at