On 22 – 23 March 2022, Khartoum Process partners met for the 8th Khartoum Process Senior Officials’ Meeting, which was preceded by a Steering Committee Meeting on the morning of 22 March.

The Senior Officials’ Meeting featured the Chairmanship handover from The Netherlands to South Sudan and marked the commencement of the South Sudanese Chairmanship. Delegates discussed the recent developments within the Khartoum Process and within partner organisations, deliberated upon the Work Plan for 2022/23 and explored new governance strategies for the Steering Committee.

Reflecting on the social and political developments since the last Senior Officials’ Meeting in March 2020, delegates acknowledged the value of the Khartoum Process as a dialogue platform in times of crisis, reactively adapting its agenda and allowing their participating countries to explore COVID-19 implications on mobility and migration, jointly exploring responses to these novel migration dynamics. In this context, delegates stressed the need to further ensure dynamism and flexibility, in particular in the governance of the Process.

A brief update on the European Union-African Union Summit referenced the importance of dialogue platforms such as the Khartoum Process, the Rabat Process and the Continent-to-Continent Migration and Mobility Dialogue, with the encouragement to seek out further synergies between the Khartoum and the Rabat Process, for example through joint thematic or governance meetings.

On 24 and 25 November 2021, Switzerland, with Ethiopia as co-host, welcomed delegates from the Khartoum Process to Geneva for a Thematic Meeting on “Return, Reintegration, and Integration: Finding Durable Solutions”.

The objectives of the meeting were to facilitate the sharing of good practices and harness the strong cooperation built under the Khartoum Process, which benefit the region and the migrants concerned. The Thematic Meeting capitalised on the knowledge and inputs shared by a broad range of experts on the three thematic pillars (return, reintegration and integration) during a Virtual Roundtable held on 21 September 2021. The roundtable was organised as a means of setting the grounds for in-depth deliberations, establishing a conceptual framework of durable solutions in all three fields for the discussion and identifying priority areas for further exploration.

In addition to specific findings and good practice examples pertaining to each thematic pillar, several overarching considerations were highlighted throughout the two-day face-to-face meeting. The themes of return, reintegration, and integration are essential elements of a well-functioning migration system and have to be seen in context with all other elements that make up the migration process. If returns take place, they have to take place swiftly, in a decent and dignified manner, which always involves the three elements: the actual return, readmission and reintegration afterwards and the way to support that. These are also very sensitive issues. Leaving one’s home country is a difficult decision. To turn this decision around and go back is an even harder and more complex process. In this context, three aspects are important. First, migration is not a new phenomenon; people were always on the move. Second, migration can cause severe tensions within societies, between countries and even between continents. Third, and most importantly, there can only be one answer to the challenges of migration and that is international cooperation. In this regard, platforms such as the Khartoum Process provide a valuable space for fostering this kind of much needed cooperation.

The topic of trafficking in human beings (THB) and complementary issues have been addressed during various past Khartoum Process thematic meetings. Since the completion of these meetings, a wealth of initiatives and efforts have been carried out by the Khartoum Process partners.

The 4Ps (Prevention, Protection, Prosecution, Partnership) framework provided the perfect structure to revisit the topic of THB from the perspective of more recent and current good practice examples and initiatives from Khartoum Process members and, if and where applicable, reflect on the transformations triggered by the COVID-19 health crisis on these four areas of collaboration. As a result of the global pandemic and, subsequently, the impossibility of organising in-person meetings, this topic was explored in the format of a 4-Module webinar series, each addressing one of the 4Ps respectively, under the guidance of the Chair of the Khartoum Process, The Netherlands.

In the spirit of partnership and collaboration as the cornerstone of the Process, taking stock of and giving visibility to such national and regional examples provided valuable lessons and inspiration for the broader membership.

To support this virtual exchange of good practices and experiences, and to establish a common base for discussion, four background notes were prepared in preparation for the webinars. The four background notes aimed to gather in a compact form the key relevant theoretical and practical insights on the four respective Ps, thus establishing a backdrop against which the virtual exchanges could take place.

The present document, a reader, aims to give an overview of the four webinars and to bring together the four background notes, for easy reference.

The Webinar Series, the four Background Notes and the present Reader have been organised and developed under the guidance and with the tremendous support of the Chair of the Khartoum Process, The Netherlands.

The Reader can be downloaded below.

Resources:
File
Download this file (KP THB 4Ps_WEB.pdf)KP THB 4Ps_WEB.pdf

On 21 September 2021, Switzerland and Ethiopia co-hosted a Virtual Roundtable titled Return, Reintegration and Integration: Finding Durable Solutions.

The thematic focus of this virtual roundtable is at the core of several guiding documents in the framework of the Khartoum Process. The Declaration of the Ministerial Conference of the Khartoum Process from 28 November 2014 lists addressing irregular migration, including through cooperation on return, in particular voluntary return, and readmission as one of the thematic priorities of the Khartoum Process. Similarly, the Joint Valletta Action Plan outlines strengthening cooperation in order to facilitate the return and sustainable reintegration of irregular migrants as a priority under Domain 5: Return, Readmission and Reintegration.

While members of the Khartoum Process have undertaken significant progress and efforts towards strengthening dialogue and cooperation under this thematic priority, the interrelated topics of return, reintegration, and integration were last explored in the framework of the Process in 2016, on the occasion of the Thematic Meeting on Return, Readmission and Reintegration, co-chaired by Ethiopia and Italy.

As a first step to resuming deliberations on this important topic, this virtual roundtable was organised, as a means of setting the grounds for in-depth deliberations, during an upcoming in-person Thematic Meeting, establishing a conceptual framework of durable solutions in all three fields for the discussion and identifying priority areas for further exploration.

On 29 September 2021, Khartoum Process Steering Committee members convened in person for the first time since March 2020, when they met on the occasion of the Steering Committee Meeting in The Hague, The Netherlands.

Due to the global health crisis, which affected both migration dynamics and the modus operandi of the Khartoum Process, this Steering Committee Meeting provided a most welcome opportunity for Steering Committee representatives to reconvene and jointly deliberate on how the Process can move forward in a way that addresses the needs of the members and accounts for the new realities.

 During this half-day Steering Committee Meeting, held in Brussels, Belgium, the following agenda items were presented and discussed, with a series of key action points agreed upon: updates on the 2021 workplan and proposals for 2022, governance related issues, such as the Chairmanship of the Process, as well as the broader issue of the resumption of the Khartoum Process activities and the need to “reset” the Process in a way that reflects the current realities and several ongoing limitations linked to travel possibilities. Joint Valletta Action Plan (JVAP) update and next steps in this process were also discussed.

Following the three webinars in the 4Ps Revisited Webinar Series, on Prevention, Protection, and Prosecution, the Khartoum Process Secretariat, in cooperation with the Khartoum Process Chair – The Netherlands – organised on 30 June 2021 the last webinar in the series. Naturally, this last webinar focused on Partnership.

The issue of partnership being a cross-cutting one, the first three webinars naturally touched on the importance of partnerships in all areas of work linked to the fight against human trafficking. On these occasions, it has been illustrated how the prevention of this crime, the protection of the victims, and the prosecution of the criminals cannot be successfully achieved without multi-agency, multi-level, cross-border cooperation and partnership.

Against this backdrop, the aim of the fourth and last webinar was to go deeper into the topic of fostering partnerships to combat human trafficking by looking at a number of good practices previously not explored in the framework of the webinar series. Several existing cross-sectoral initiatives in the financial and technology sector, as well as examples of institutional partnerships were explored, in the hope that these emerging types of partnerships will provide inspiration for our partners in the Khartoum Process region, for new and innovative future endeavours.

A first example of partnership was introduced by Mr. Vincent Cochetel, UNHCR. The Rapid Alert System (RAS), a collaborative approach currently being piloted by IOM, UNODC, and UNHCR, is aimed at acting and responding to information about victims of trafficking and others in vulnerable situations by referring information directly or through a third party.

On 26 May 2021, the third webinar the 4-Module Series titled Trafficking in Human Beings:  The 4Ps Revisited was organised by the Khartoum Process Secretariat in coordination with the Khartoum Process Chair, The Netherlands.

This third webinar addressed the topic of Prosecution, with a focus on international cooperation.

Over 100 delegates joined experts from the region and from international organisations in exploring good practices and current challenges linked to the issue of prosecuting human traffickers.

Mr. Johan Kruger, Head of Transnational Organised Crime, Illicit Trafficking & Terrorism Programmes for Eastern Africa, UNODC, set the scene for the discussion by providing a brief overview on the recent developments in the region with regards to ongoing efforts to investigate and prosecute traffickers, as well as current challenges.

His keynote presentation was followed by a first session on joint regional and international investigations and cooperation, with Mr Guy Fourmage, ROCK Technical Advisor, presenting the experience of the Regional Operational Centre in Support of the Khartoum Process and the AU-Horn of Africa Initiative (ROCK). The presentation focused on the rationale behind the ROCK, its modus operandi and some of its achievements to date.  Ms Annalisa Pauciullo, Crime Prevention and Criminal Justice Officer, Regional Office for Western and Eastern Africa, UNODC, gave an overview of the Liaison Magistrate Initiative, designed to foster judicial cooperation through the deployment of prosecutors among African and European states.

The second webinar in the 4-Module Webinar Series titled Trafficking in Human Beings: The 4Ps Revisited was carried out in the framework of the Khartoum Process on 28 April 2021.

The objective of this webinar was to present regional and national good practices linked to the protection of victims of trafficking by exploring structural and policy responses, as well as the direct support and assistance provided to victims. The virtual event gathered over 140 participants from a broad geographical range, welcoming delegates from Khartoum Process member states and institutions, international organisations, NGOs, and academia, laying the grounds for a rich exchange.

In her keynote speech, Ms. Conny Rijken, Professor of Human Trafficking and Globalisation at Tilburg University, set the stage with respect to the issue of human trafficking and victim protection, looking at the importance of understanding victims of trafficking, the (difficult) identification of victims, and lack of self-identification, as well as proper assistance and obstacles thereof. She also highlighted some of her research findings concerning the obstacles in criminal proceedings, among which the duration of proceedings, the detailed questioning or the victims not being believed/taken seriously.

The first session focused on structural and policy measures as prerequisites for the successful provision of support and assistance to victims of trafficking, starting from identification to referral to shelter provision and rehabilitation. Mechanisms such as National Action Plans, National Referral Mechanisms and Standard Operating Procedures are the structural backbone of practical responses. In the Khartoum Process region, there are numerous good practice examples, both in Europe and in Africa. In this session, Mr. Vincent Cochetel, Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean Situation, UNHCR and General Counselor Siham Osman Mohamed – Undersecretary of the Ministry of Justice and Head of the NCCT, Sudan were invited to speak on the importance of National Action Plans and the recent update of Sudan’s National Action Plan to Combat Human Trafficking and the provisions on victim protection.