7 November 2023
Cook Islands, 6 November, 2023:- Tonga will continue to deepen and strengthen its partnerships with the International Organization on Migration(IOM), the Prime Minister, Hon. Hu’akavameiliku told the IOM’s Director General, Ms. Amy Pope in Rarotonga, Cook Islands on Monday, November 6.
Hon. Hu’akavameiliku thanked Ms. Pope for the IOM’s enhanced and ongoing assistance in a number of key areas, including Tonga’s Migration and Sustainable Development Policy (MSDP) two years ago.
Hon. Hu’akavameiliku said the MSDP provided Tonga with a policy planning framework, enabling it to derive maximum development benefits from diaspora investments and remittances for inclusive economic development.
The Government has requested IOM’s support to establish a Migrant Resource Centre, which may address some of the impact and monitor the trends from this socio-economic development issue.
Hon. Hu’akavameiliku said the IOM’s Migrant Protection and Assistance (MPA) is helping Pacific Islands
Countries build capacities to protect migrants and prevent human trafficking and smuggling.
He added that Tonga’s MIDAS project (Migration Information and Data Analysis System) is a landmark border management system and the IOM’s assistance has significantly helped and facilitated the roll-out of the MIDAS installations at key airports and seaports in the Kingdom.
Hon. Hu’akavameiliku said the importance of the development of comprehensive strategies to address migration issues, especially countering Trafficking in Persons (TIP), could not be over emphasised as Tonga is developing a National Action Plan for TIP, to be launched this month.
He added that IOM’s support in climate change and climate resilience programs in Tonga was greatly appreciated.
Ms Pope recognised the lack of representation of Tongans in international bodies including the IOM and
encouraged Tonga to apply for positions in the IOM.