The Speaker of the National Assembly, Professor Peter Katjavivi, has called on parliamentarians across the world to create awareness in their countries to avoid stereotypes to combat xenophobia.
Katjavivi said this on Sunday when he addressed the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) in Geneva, Switzerland where he also called on parliamentarians not to view migration as a regional problem but rather as a continental and global issue.
“We have to find a beneficial consensus-based solution to the causes of this current crisis. Ignoring the root causes for this mass exodus will not help to solve this problem,” said Katjavivi.
The Assembly, which is being held under the theme “The moral and economic imperative fairer, smarter and more human migration,” ends today.
“As parliamentarians we have a critical role to play, in ensuring a meaningful, balanced and informed debate on this pertinent issue. This is achieved by promoting fair and effective policies to address the real challenges that face all stakeholders and countries worldwide,” he said.
Katjavivi also narrated how Namibians went into exile and were hosted by other countries around the world.
“We are therefore indebted to our friends who have assisted us when we were in dire need under the apartheid regime. This makes the topic of migration close to the experience of Namibians,” he said.
“We are living in what we call the ‘Global Village’ and the challenges faced by one country will certainly affect other countries. We cannot afford to deal with our regional and international challenges in isolation; we cannot afford to deal with migration in isolation,” he said.
“Let us also remember that although immigration may put a strain on limited resources, it can also bring the benefit of new contributors to our ever-evolving societies.”
“When we debate this most important theme, it is imperative that we not only look at addressing migration in an objective manner but that we address it as citizens of the world,” stressed Katjavivi.
His calls come at a time when the Pan-African Parliament (PAP) is reportedly contemplating to relocate its seat from South Africa unless that country gets rid of xenophobia.
Zimbabwe’s state-owned newspaper The Herald on Monday reported some PAP members want the seat to be moved from South Africa because of xenophobia.
The publication further reported that although the motion was moved to open debate on the possibility of relocating the seat of PAP from South Africa, it was deferred to next year.
Katjavivi is leading a Namibian delegation that comprises Margaret Mensah-Williams (President of the IPU Coordinating Committee of Women Parliamentarians), Ignatius Shixwameni, Bernadette Jagger, Victorine Shikongo, Barakias Namwandi, Rosalia Shilenga and Ambrosius Kandjii.