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2008-08-14: International Migration Workshop

THE City  of  Johannesburg  and  its  partners,  the Un-Habitat, the South African  Human  Rights  Commission, The Hague Process and the International Centre  for  Migration  and  Health,  are hosting a three day International Migration  Workshop,  which  focuses  on Migration, Urban Inclusion and the Empowerment  of  All  City  Residents,  Global Insights Into the Health and Housing Agenda.

The  workshop  started  on  13  August  2008, focussing on migration, urban inclusion  and  citizenship, day two, 14 August was the official opening of the  workshop  and  the last which is 15 August will focus on finding a way forward.

The  Joburg  workshop  is the third migration and urban inclusion workshop, flowing  from  The  Hague Process. The first workshop was in Copenhagen, it focused  on  equal  opportunities  and  access  to  employment.  The second workshop  was  in  Porto  Alegre  in  Brazil and it looked at the issues of education and empowerment.

Executive  Mayor Masondo said "humans are know to have migrated extensively throughout  history.  Today, migration is a fairly well known international phenomenon.  Like  urbanisation,  it  seems  migration  can  and  should be managed. It cannot be completely controlled let alone halted".

He  continued  to say that "local government in South Africa, including the City  of  Johannesburg,  is  committed  to ensuring that all those who live within  its  jurisdiction  and  abide  by its laws have a decent quality of life'"

It  is  important  that  local  governments  continue  to  grapple with the challenges  of migration, diversity and urban governance. This should be so in spite of their limited resources and sometimes even a limited management capacity.

"Local  governments  need  a  sound theoretical framework as well as actual practice  to  manage diversity and promote integration amongst residents in their own areas of jurisdiction", Masondo said.

The  City  of  Johannesburg's  long-term  goal  is  to  ensure that "social exclusion  is  addressed  through  the  building  of  prospects  for social inclusion amongst all people who live in Johannesburg.

The City of Johannesburg has established a Migrants Help Desk in 2006.

The Desk provides the following services:
· Advice on how to access government and other services;
· Co-ordinate the City's support for migrants;
· Provide relevant information;
· Ensure Community networks; and
· Together with foreign nationals identify and address key concerns and challenges.

The  Executive  Mayor  conveyed  on behalf of the residents and citizens of Johannesburg,  the  City's even country's' unreserved apology and clarified the following:
· "The attacks on foreign nationals in South Africa is something that makes us bow our heads in shame. This is the shame not only to our democracy but indeed to the whole continent.
· These unfortunate outbreaks threatened to undermine progress made by our continent in forging social cohesion and in the strengthening of the bonds of human solidarity. In fact, in Johannesburg, we have had a long history of peaceful co-existence between South Africans and foreign nationals. For years, we have stayed, worked, played and worshipped together.  Ours has been and will continue to be an inclusive country.
· We condemn all criminal activities. We also condemn all violent attacks especially the abuse of women and children, which can never ever be
· We will continue working with organisations of civil society and members of the Diplomatic Corps to address this and other related problems.

We  are  grappling  with endeavours aimed at providing humanitarian support and the re-integrating of displaced persons back to communities".