UNODC and OHCHR welcome the 2nd annual PROMIS Steering Committee in Dakar, Senegal

Funded by the Kingdom of the Netherlands

West African countries face several interconnected challenges related to poverty, climate change, rapid population growth and political instability. These factors jeopardize human security and well-being and have pushed many individuals to migrate, becoming increasingly vulnerable to human rights violations. 

To address this threat, the UN Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), jointly with the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), developed the project "Protection for Migrants: Justice, Human Rights and Migrant Smuggling", better known as PROMIS. PROMIS is active in five (5) countries (Côte d'Ivoire, The Gambia, Mali, Niger, and Senegal) and aims at strengthening the capacities of West African countries to develop an innovative human-rights based approach to smuggling of migrants and to address human rights violations related to irregular migration. This cutting-edge approach to the issue of smuggling of migrants enables a "shift from migrants as a burden to migrants as human beings", as outlined by Andrea ORI, OHCHR's regional representative at the PROMIS Project steering committee.

In the framework of the PROMIS Project, UNODC and OHCHR welcomed a delegation from the Netherlands for the second PROMIS Steering Committee meeting, on 10 October 2018. The Netherlands, the project's main donor, were represented by two representatives of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs traveling from The Hague and one representative of the Dutch Embassy in Senegal. Also represented were OHCHR policy and human rights officers along with UNODC experts from multiple branches: Trafficking in Persons/Smuggling of Migrants (TIP/SOM), Global Maritime Crime Programme (GMCP), the Sahel Program and the Research branch. 

This 2 nd meeting was the opportunity to discuss the continued relevance of the PROMIS project, given the challenging region and its fast paced evolving migration routes, as well as to present the project's achievements during the first semester (January - June 2018) and approve the workplan and strategy for the second semester (July-December 2018). 

Steering Committee Members 

In Côte d'Ivoire,  The Gambia Mali, Niger, and Senegal, the PROMIS project provided technical assistance and legislative drafting support to enhance legal frameworks on smuggling of migrants as well as provide capacity building for the criminal justice system to reinforce, detect, investigate and prosecute SOM related crimes. 

In Mali and Niger, data was also collected on the modus operandi of smuggling of migrants and linkages with other forms of transnational organized crime in order to propose evidence-based recommendations. Furthermore, within the framework of PROMIS, a Nigerian prosecutor was deployed to Sicily as liaison magistrate for the Nigerian Central Authority to enhance legal cooperation and information sharing. This initiative illustrated the extent to which legal cooperation between West African States and European countries is pivotal in tackling transnational organized crime.

Lastly, regional consultations were organized by OHCHR for NHRIs of West Africa and the Sahel jointly with the UN Office for West Africa and the Sahel (UNOWAS) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) to share experiences and discuss the enhancement of respect for human rights in the context of migration and formulate recommendations for the region. 

For more information:

Definitions and tools on human trafficking and migrant smuggling

UNODC Regional Strategy for Combating Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants 2015-2020