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1st Meeting of the Permanent Forum of Arab-African Dialogue on Democracy and Human Rights
The first meeting of the Permanent Forum of the Arab-African Dialogue on Democracy and Human Rights took place from 7 to 9 December 2009 at the headquarters of the League of Arab States in Cairo (Egypt), with the primary objective of examining the impact of migratory flows in these two regions.
Watch the video of the Opening Ceremony

Placed under the high patronage of Suzanne Mubarak, the First Lady of Egypt, the 2009 Permanent Forum of Arab-African Dialogue on Democracy and Human Rights organized by UNESCO and the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights focused on migration in the Arab and African regions.

The goal was to provide African and Arab States’ governments with information for the formulation of policies more consistent with the reality of migration flows in these two regions. The Honorary President of the Forum is Abdou Diouf, Secretary General of La Francophonie and former President of Senegal. Boutros Boutros-Ghali, Chair of the Egyptian National Council for Human Rights and former Secretary-General of the United Nations, is the Forum’s Vice-President.

On this occasion, African and Arab experts on migration held two workshops: on “national migration policies bringing coherence in immigration and emigration policies while respecting the human rights of migrants”, and the other on “inter-regional migration and regional agreements on human movements”.

The opening ceremony was attended by the Director-General of UNESCO, the Assistant Director-General for Social and Human Sciences and high-level representatives of international and regional organizations such as the International Organization of La Francophonie, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCHR), the African Union, the African Parliament, the Arab Transitional Parliament, the Arab Inter-Parliamentary Union, the African Parliamentary Union, the Arab League for Education, Culture and Sciences Organization (ALECSO) and the Islamic Educational, Scientific and Culture Organization (ISESCO).

The Forum also gathered representatives of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), Parliaments and NGOs from Africa and the Arab region

Many issues, particularly relevant for African and Arab States, were addressed, such as transit migration, integration and protection of migrants, the international legal and normative framework of the rights of migrants, their political and labour rights, the ratification and implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families, permission to reside, to live, to work or to buy property, or the state of regional policies for managing international migration. It also discussed cooperation in the fight against irregular migration, to maximize the opportunities for regular migrants, failed transit migration, return migration, circular migration and remittances.

Other related issues, such as the strategies of implementation of the African Charter Democracy, Elections and Governance, before concluding the first Forum by adopting a declaration and recommendations, were also discussed.

While responding to questions last September from SHSviews, Boutros Boutros-Ghali stressed “the importance of democratizing globalization” and strengthening “South-South solidarity”.

So, as all available data point to the fact that migration is not a burden but a benefit: can we build on this benefit and draft better policies? What is the role of non-State actors in the migration process? To what extent should States cooperate in managing migration flows? Should there be an ad hoc institution such as a World Forum to coordinate the efforts of all actors involved?

For more information:Other events relating to UNESCO’s Social and Human Sciences programme in December 2009:
  • 02-03 December: Global Forum on Civilization and Peace. Seoul, Republic of Korea.
  • 02-03 December: Joint UNESCO-Miriam College Workshop on Environmental Ethics Education for All. Manila, the Philippines.
  • 02-04 December: Training of members of the National Bioethics Committee. Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.
  • 05 December: UNESCO Workshop on Ethics and Climate Change. Yokohama, Japan.
  • 07-11 December: 3rd Latin American and Caribbean MOST Summer School. Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
  • 9-11 December: Expert Meeting on Poverty. Paris, France.
  • 10 December: Celebration of the Children's Rights Convention. Paris, France.
  • 10-12 December: International Symposium on Bioethics. Shanghai, China.
  • 12-13 December: 3rd Joint UNESCO-Kumamoto University Bioethics Roundtable: What is Medical? Kumamoto, Japan.
  • 14-15 December: 1st Meeting of the International Network of Women Philosophers sponsored by UNESCO. Paris, France.
  • 18 December: Avicenna Prize for Ethics in Science. Paris, France.
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Author(s) UNESCO - Sector for Social and Human Sciences
Publication Date 02-12-2009
Source SHS e-News 45 / December 2009

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