National Biometric ID Cards in Africa

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) is expressing today its support for the meeting in Niamey, Niger, January 25-26, 2016, of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission Heads of Immigration on “irregular immigration and roll-out of the National Biometric ID Cards.”
The International Organization for Migration (IOM) project called “Support to Free Movement of Persons and Migration in West Africa (FMM) is funded by the European Union (EU).
According to the IOM news release, the meeting focused on “high mobility from and within West Africa, where intra-regional and irregular migration feature prominently in the political agenda of most West African governments.” South-South migration and irregular migration flows to Europe are recognized as a twofold challenge in Africa and the Middle East.
Because ECOWAS believes that intra-regional migration is essential in the African region’s economic growth and stability, the need for the “rapid development of a national biometric identity card” has been recognized. Such a biometric ID card would replace the travel certificate used in the ECOWAS member states.
Of the million migrants that crossed the Mediterranean into Europe in 2015, many of whom were from West Africa, approximately 3,700 died en route. To protect migrants and combat human smuggling, the ECOWAS Free Movement Directorate is going to establish a Task Force on “irregular migration.”
According to IOM, Irregular migration is the “Movement that takes place outside the regulatory norms of the sending, transit and receiving countries. There is no clear or universally accepted definition of irregular migration. From the perspective of destination countries it is entry, stay or work in a country without the necessary authorization or documents required under immigration regulations. From the perspective of the sending country, the irregularity is for example seen in cases in which a person crosses an international boundary without a valid passport or travel document or does not fulfil the administrative requirements for leaving the country. There is, however, a tendency to restrict the use of the term “illegal migration” to cases of smuggling of migrants and trafficking in persons.”
In layman’s terms and law-abiding citizens’ logical understanding, citizens who respect borders and sovereignty, “irregular migration” is illegal immigration dressed up in United Nation’s progressive euphemism and bureaucratic-speak.
The Task Force will “combat irregular migration, fight trafficking and smuggling, and protect vulnerable migrants in the region.” People who abhor 21st century slavery still practiced by a certain religion would like to know if the Task Force considers fighting the human slave trade and sex trade that ISIS is involved in.
The participants in the meeting in Niger are ECOWAS member states heads of immigration, ECOWAS Commission, Spanish and French government representatives, FMM staff, IOM staff, and the European Union Delegation in Niger.
A two-day visit to Agadez is also planned. Agadez is a “primary transit point for irregular migrants crossing from West Africa to Europe.” This begs the question, if all these organizations and the authorities know exactly where the primary transit point for illegal immigration and human smuggling is, why don’t they take measures to stop it?
The reason is probably the fact that the FMM West Africa project, an EU-funded effort implemented by the Consortium of Partners, “seeks to maximize the development potential of free movement of persons and migration in West Africa.”
In layman’s terms, the ultimate goal is to erase borders and establish global citizens. To facilitate the free movement of persons across national boundaries, a U.N.-deemed “right,” a biometric ID card will speed up the process of controlling massive movements of people.

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