Meet the PROMIS* Champions

16-11-2020

Every week, we introduce you to one of the PROMIS project champions. People from all over West Africa who, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, have continued to defend the rights of migrants and victims of human trafficking throughout the global health pandemic.

*The PROMIS project is a joint initiative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) that aims to strengthen the capacity of West African states to develop a human rights-based response to migrant smuggling and to respond effectively to human rights violations related to irregular migration. The initial implementation of the project focuses on Mali, Niger, Senegal, The Gambia, and Côte d'Ivoire, with a subsequent extension to other West African countries.

The champion of the week:

Ibrahima Dieng is the Communication Officer and Programme Officer of the Peace and Security Network for Women in the ECOWAS Region (REPSFECO), which is a regional organisation working on issues of gender, migration, political participation, peace and security.

Below is an excerpt from the interview conducted with OHCHR. To read the full interview (in french), click here

 

The network works on the issue of Gender, Peace and Security. In this perspective, how to deal with the issue of migrants and their rights? 

We always favour an approach based on human rights. We put in synergy the different actors in our actions of advocacy, defence, awareness raising and support.

The organisation is involved in the PROMIS project, what is your mission and contribution to this project? 

As coordinator, I prepare project concept notes, reference situations, terms of reference for activities before sharing and validation. I also follow up and share experiences between the different countries. I also prepare the reports.

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected your activities, in general, and your contribution to the PROMIS project, in particular?

We have had to work at a distance. And since the target could not travel, we had to change strategies. The WhatsApp group that was set up helped us a lot to feed back information.

How is REPSFECO organised to ensure continuity of activities and projects during this COVID-19 pandemic? 

The strategy has been reviewed. We favour a proximity approach. The actions in border areas are monitored by the local managers and the exchange group manages the rest. As we can now move from one region to another, we are planning field trips.

What trends or problems have you been able to identify since the beginning of the pandemic, concerning the issue of migrants, particularly within the framework of the PROMIS project?

We have noted many violations of rights and the pandemic has accentuated this. Many women have lost property before the closure of the borders and have seen their income reduced or destroyed.

In relation to the issue of migrants, what would be the situation or story - which you have experienced since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic - that you would like to share with us? 

I have in mind the situation of women, shopkeepers, blocked on the other side living in precarious housing conditions without their families and with incomes that are crumbling every day because of the cessation of activities. If this situation continues, it will surely lead to more poverty.

 

For more information:

Discover the PROMIS* champions who are working for the protection and promotion of the human rights of migrants during COVID 19

The interview in full (in French) : Ibrahima Dieng