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".