Support for Migration Management in the Islamic Republic of Mauritania
Several years ago, Mauritania experienced chaotic irregular migration that led to numerous tragedies on sea. Thousands of Sub-Saharan migrants travelled to Mauritania with the intent of continuing to the Canary Islands from Nouadhibou in the north-west of the country. Well-known for its hospitality, Mauritania had a legal framework for migration dating back to the 1960s. The issue of migration had never been prominent, despite Nouadhibou’s proximity to the Canary Islands.
The tragedies of irregular immigration during the early 2000s thus served to finally propel the issue of migration into public debate. It was not until 2007 that a law criminalising trafficking of migrants came into force. Well before then, a number of technical and financial partners came together to start financing the implementation of projects on border management by constructing and equipping border posts and training migration officials. The project Support for Migration Management in Mauritania funded by the European Union’s 9th European Development Fund (EDF) was part of this effort.
The project also included an initiative supporting the judiciary by providing training for judges and prosecutors on migration legislation. The objective was to enable judges to rule in accordance with operative law in court cases involving migration.
Another aspect focused on publicity campaigns to raise awareness of the dangers associated with irregular migration by broadcasting a documentary produced by IOM Nouakchott in cooperation with a local NGO. This documentary follows the lives of Mauritanian and Sub-Saharan migrants in France, Italy and Mauritania, showing the difficulties they encounter in these countries. A number of other communication tools, e.g. leaflets, t-shirts and hats etc. have been produced and distributed as part of the project.
It is worth noting that Mauritania – the first country in the sub-region – adopted a migration management strategy in June 2010.
Border Management in Mauritania
Mauritania has recently been confronted with a number of security violations. Several attacks and abductions of foreigners occurred on Mauritanian soil. This compelled the Mauritanian government to define mandatory border crossing points for entering and leaving its territory. This strong political willingness denotes a commitment to securing the country’s borders.
In this context, the project funded by the EU’s Instrument for Stability Fund provides the Mauritanian government with fast and effective support in order to help it secure its borders, especially with respect to the transnational threat to security and all challenges to border management in general.
To this end, the project has already been successful in constructing and refurbishing border posts as well as providing equipment, in training border police officers and in implementing secure communication links between different border posts and the headquarters of the Directorate of Territorial Surveillance (DST).
The overall objective is to enable the Mauritanian government to build its capacity to collect and analyse information on cross-border traffic and to manage this traffic.
Integrated Border Management
This project serves as a continuation of the support for migration and border management in the sense that setting up and equipping border posts as well as training migration officials constitutes the framework for this project. It was necessary to continue supporting the Mauritanian government in order to enable efficient and effective management of its borders.
Since September 2012, IOM Nouakchott administers a project funded by the IOM Development Fund (ex 1035). Focusing on integrated border management, this project is dedicated predominantly to training border management officials; improving inter- and intra-agency cooperation, identifying border related risks and threats, and elaborating a national strategy of integrated border management. The different agencies involved in border management are being encouraged to cooperate more closely by clearly defining the mandate of each one.