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Europe/Africa: Dialogue Unlikely at Migration Summit
November 5, 2015 (151105)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
"There is no dialogue. What we are seeing from the EU is a monologue
that seeks only to impose its own agenda," a high-ranking African
Union official said anonymously in an interview with the Afronline
newsletter. While there are strong critiques of the European
position from both African and European civil society, his
prediction is unlikely to be proved false when heads of state gather
in Valetta, Malta next week.
Leaks of the draft agreement and action plan show that African
states will be pushing for more legal migration channels to the EU,
while European states are focusing on keeping people out and sending them
News reports with details of the drafts and background to the
negotiations are available from Afronline (http://www.afronline.org/?p=40663/) and EU Observer (http://euobserver.com/migration/130960).
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains (1) a short position paper by
Oxfam stressing the legitimacy of "migration" and the need to deal
with the consequences and causes of "displacement" (forced migration
from multiple causes), in contrast to the common assumption that
migration as such is a "problem" to be solved. (2) brief excerpts
from a statement by African and European Civil Society statement on
the summit, and (3) brief excerpts from a new International
Organization for Migration report on Gallup Polls on attitudes
towards migration around the world.
For previous AfricaFocus Bulletins on migration issues, visit
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EU-Africa Cooperation on Mobility, Displacement, and Migration
Oxfam position paper for the EU-Africa Summit on Migration,
La Valletta, 11-12 November 2015
Migration: Challenges and Opportunities
Migration -- movement of people within and across borders -- is and
has been a normal feature of human existence for millennia. Today,
movement across borders continues for many reasons, including:
- As part of regular mobility
- As a coping mechanism in response to: sudden or acute events like
conflict, disasters, abuses and repression, and destruction of
livelihoods, or to chronic problems like climate change, inequality,
and lack of economic opportunity.
Migration is often complex, and people may be on the move for many
and sometimes multiple reasons. Such movement should be managed
effectively for the benefit and safety of all involved, and in full
respect of human rights and the specific rights of refugees; but
never at the cost of stifling mobility or restricting people's
access to protection from persecution or harm.
Mobility and displacement are both elements of migration -- but only
displacement is a genuine problem to be "tackled."
People are on the move for many reasons, including pursuing
educational or career opportunities or reuniting with family.
Moreover, the impact of migration is often favourable, with net
benefits for the receiving countries in the areas of labour market,
taxes and social contributions, and general economic growth.
Migration also has some benefits for communities in countries of
origin, including remittances, which while not a replacement for
aid, have been shown to contribute to poverty reduction and
development. In this respect, migration is positively linked to
development, rather than an issue that development helps to "solve."
Many of the reasons behind migration and its effects are therefore
not problems that need to be "tackled."
However, migration is also
one way people may cope with genuine problems like conflict, the
outcomes of inequality, and climate change. People who move in
response to difficult problems can become part of complex situations
for transit and receiving States, particularly when acute crises
result in large and sudden movements as people flee. They may also
cause difficulties for their country of origin, depriving it of
future and current professionals and even possibly resulting in loss
of a generation. However a focus on stopping migration to address
the challenges faced by transit and receiving States distracts from
addressing the real root causes of threats to well-being, peace,
security, and prosperity. It is these issues that require tackling
in order to improve the safety and well-being of the people affected
by them, regardless of whether they are attempting to cope through
migration or by any other means.
Situations causing displacement require targeted responses to their
root causes as well as interventions to provide for the safety,
rights and dignity of the people affected by them.
Nearly 60 million people worldwide are now displaced from their
homes. There are many different causes, which can range from
conflict in Syria and repression in Eritrea to climate changerelated
drying in the Sahel. The EU must avoid taking a Eurocentric
view of these "root causes" which are many and diverse, and which
principally affect the countries of origin of migrants and their
neighbours. Addressing crises and chronic problems requires
strategies aimed at dealing holistically with these situations and
all their impacts, including, but not only, that of people being
forced to flee.
EU-Africa dialogue on displacement must first of all recognise that
the large majority of those displaced in African countries remain on
the continent, and even in their own country or locality. Addressing
the needs and respecting the rights of these displaced people and
refugees is first and foremost the responsibility of the governments
who host them. However, African and European leaders must work
together to support durable solutions for people who have fled their
homes, and while many African countries are host to the greatest
numbers of refugees and internally displaced people, the EU must
provide a fair share of support to meet their needs.
Development goes hand-in-hand with mobility.
Development is not a "solution" to the "problem" of migration. In
the first place, migration as a whole is not a problem in and of
itself; secondly, evidence suggests that increasing human
development in less developed countries is generally associated with
higher, rather than lower, levels of mobility -- both emigration and
More importantly, the ultimate purpose of development aid is to
reduce and eradicate poverty. 5 It aims to support the social,
economic, political and environmental progress of a developing
country over a relatively long period of time. The basic premise is
that poor people should be put in a position to lift themselves out
of their condition of poverty and inequality. Donors must not
subordinate the ultimate goal of poverty eradication and reducing
inequality to broader domestic or foreign policy interests.
Development aid should therefore under no circumstances be used or
instrumentalised to restrict any kind of mobility, as this does not
pertain to its central purpose of poverty reduction, and may even
work counter to that purpose.
Recommendations for the Valletta Summit on Migration
In the EU-Africa Declaration on Migration and Mobility by the fourth
EU-Africa Summit in April 2014, leaders acknowledged that "the
benefits that migration and mobility can bring to both our
continents, and that a comprehensive approach to migration and
mobility are powerful vehicles for boosting sustainable economic,
social and environmental development for countries of origin,
transit and destination, as well as to migrants themselves" and
committed both to "strengthen international protection" for refugees
and displaced persons and to "advance legal migration and
mobility...between and within the continents." When they meet again
in Valletta in November, EU and African leaders must ensure that
they adhere to the spirit of this declaration.
1. Recognise the distinction between "mobility" and "displacement"
-- and therefore between people on the move voluntarily and those
forced to move -- in national and regional policies as well as in
Africa-EU cooperation on migration. Displacement is a negative
impact stemming from many different causes which need to be
addressed, while people who are displaced are given refuge,
assistance, and support to find a durable solution to their
situation, including opportunities to practice a livelihood and
contribute to the economy.
Mobility contributes to innovation,
economic growth and personal development and should not be stifled.
Mobility and free movement is an important aspect of regional
integration, as demonstrated by the European Union itself in the
formation of its own internal market. Effective implementation of
the existing regional free movement agreements like the ECOWAS Free
Movement of Persons' Protocols, and general support of the letter
and spirit of Article 43 on free movement of persons of the African
Economic Community Treaty, must not be infringed in any way by EUAfrica
cooperation on migration. While there is an important
distinction between mobility and displacement which must inform how
they are respectively addressed, these are both aspects of
migration, and people may be on the move for many and multiple
reasons. In this context, a focus on addressing "root causes" of
migration as a whole is counter-productive and potentially harmful.
Decisions on cooperation between Africa and the EU must be "fit for
purpose" to tackle the situations that cause displacement while
2. Aim to resolve genuine problems of fragility, instability and
crisis for the benefit of affected populations. The Joint EU-Africa
Strategy has achieving human security, political stability and
effective governance as a strategic objective. African and EU
leaders should continue to cooperate on joint actions to prevent and
resolve conflict and instability, situations which put lives at risk
and, amongst other negative effects, force people to flee. In doing
so, they must recognise that insecurity and violence are causes of
displacement, and not their effect. Cooperation to counter terrorism
and instability cannot come at the price of scapegoating displaced
populations or putting the security of states before that of people.
In this respect, migrants should not be portrayed as a potential
"threat" and should be considered first as people in need of
protection and whose rights need to be respected.
needs of displaced populations and host communities require full
support, and people who have fled across international borders must
have their rights as refugees recognised and respected. While
further onward movement may be at times a secondary coping mechanism
for a small number of displaced people, the situations that cause
displacement cannot be addressed appropriately through the lens of
stopping migration to Europe. Africa-EU efforts to contribute to
prevention and resolution of crises must be driven by and focus on
the causes of instability and conflict, not on perceived causes of
3. Ensure that development aid is not diverted, distorted, reduced,
or instrumentalised. Development aid is not a "solution" for the
"problem" of migration; indeed, evidence suggests that mobility and
development go hand-in-hand. Moreover, development aid has a sole
purpose of reducing and eradicating poverty. The EU must adhere to
the letter and the spirit of the Lisbon Treaty in this regard.
Increased development assistance that respects this principle is
needed and welcome. Stronger European support for third countries
hosting internally displaced people and refugees, including in
situations of protracted displacement, is also necessary. However
further aid provided in the context of migration must be in
alignment with the development needs of the recipient country and
its people as laid down in the Busan development effectiveness
principles -- not aimed at addressing a perceived problem for
Europe. In this respect, new and existing cooperation instruments
- Allocate development aid in order to eradicate poverty and reduce
inequality, for the benefit of recipient populations which also
adheres to development effectiveness principles, recognising that
overall migration may increase or decrease relative to development.
"Tackling" migration is not an objective for development aid and
development aid cannot be used to stop migration flows.
- Ensure that geographic allocation of development aid continues in
accordance with need in line with EU's the Agenda for Change; a
country or region's potential to be a source of migration to Europe
is not an appropriate criterion.
- Not be funded at the expense of official development assistance
(ODA). The EU has collectively committed to achieve a target of 0.7%
of ODA as a proportion of GNI. This commitment must be maintained
and achieved with contributions that qualify as ODA for the purpose
of fighting poverty and inequality in developing countries. Aid
given for the wrong reasons - to help the donor more than the
recipient country - is less effective at reducing poverty and
inequality and addressing humanitarian need.
- Not be used as a bargaining chip to obtain agreements or
concessions on areas of strategic interest to the EU. Development
aid must not be linked to or conditioned by agreements on
readmission, stronger border control or stifling of mobility within
Africa, cooperation on organised crime, or other areas not directly
associated with the efficacy of action to reduce poverty and fight
inequality. Such instrumentalisation of aid goes against key
commitments signed under the Paris, Accra and Busan development
4. Put human security, human development and respect for rights at
the centre of all policies and responses to movement of populations.
Regardless of the reasons a person is on the move, national,
regional and Africa-EU joint responses must respect fundamental
rights as well as the specific rights of people in need of
international protection. Security-led approaches to border control
demonstrably fail to stem the movement of people while
criminalisation of irregular migration has only increased the risks
to people's safety and created incentives for smugglers and
traffickers. At Valletta, African and European leaders must instead
take a people-centred approach to protecting migrants, granting
international protection to refugees, fighting trafficking, and
promoting safe and legal channels for migration. This includes:
- Making cooperation on border control contingent upon demonstrated
respect for human rights, mobility principles, and the rights of
asylum-seekers. Cooperation on security, border control and
organised crime cannot be taken forward with governments that do not
respect human rights and the rights of people on the move, including
the Free Movement of Persons protocols and the rights enshrined in
the 1951 Refugee Convention. Past experience with the shifting of
border control to Libya, for example, has demonstrated that such
short-term approach that disregards the respect for basic human
rights is counterproductive.
- Creating more and varied channels for regular labour migration.
Recognising the link between restrictive and security-focused
immigration policies and the growth of smuggling and trafficking on
the one hand, and the benefits of migration recognised by the EU and
Africa on the other, the EU in particular must commit to broadening
its labour migration policies beyond selected highly-skilled sectors
and take a more progressive approach to creating safe, transparent,
temporary as well as permanent option for migrants across sectors.
Doing so is the only realistic approach to a well-functioning
migration management system, but is also incumbent upon the EU in
order to reduce the precarious and often exploitative conditions in
which irregular workers find themselves when there is labour demand
but insufficient legal channels.
- Find durable solutions to displacement and protracted refugee
situations that respect human dignity and the needs of the most
vulnerable. Repatriation, integration and resettlement must all be
considered as potential options for addressing the situations of
displaced people. Europe in particular must do its fair share to
resettle the most vulnerable refugees while supporting other
solutions where appropriate.
African and European Civil Society Joint Statement Valletta Summit,
11-12 November, 2015
[Brief excerpts only - for full text visit
http://www.madenetwork.org/ - direct URL:
In the 2014 EU-Africa Declaration on Migration and Mobility, African
and European leaders acknowledged "the benefits that migration and
mobility can bring to both continents" as well as the need for "a
comprehensive approach to migration and mobility". The leaders also
committed to both "strengthen international protection" for
refugees, asylum seekers and internally displaced persons and to
"advance legal migration and mobility [...] between and within the
When these leaders meet again in Valletta, we call on them to adhere
to the spirit of this declaration. We call on African and European
leaders to take decisions that respect the right to mobility and
focus first, on human rights, decency, dignity, well-being and
welcoming of people in need. African and European leaders should
work as equal partners, and in collaboration with civil society, to
deliver a plan that improves migration management and governance.
And short-term responses to current emergencies should be crafted
with a long-term perspective in mind. With great urgency, it is time
- Tackle the root causes that force people to migrate, while
respecting rights to mobility
- Ensure safe and regular migration routes to Europe, to prevent
migrants and refugees' deaths and suffering
- Ensure effective implementation of anti-trafficking legislation
and plans - with a focus on victim-centred and gender-sensitive
- Strengthen international protection to ensure that refugees'
rights are respected and that their needs are met
- Ensure the protection of human rights in all return operations
and in the negotiations of any migration cooperation agreements,
including readmission agreements
- Support African countries to develop coherent migration and
asylum policies and improve migration/asylum governance at the
national and regional levels
- Facilitate and support migrants' and diaspora's contributions to
- Include a Partnership principle to ensure that funding priorities
match the needs in the region and that civil society contributes to
the programming process of the EU Emergency Trust Fund
- Support citizen mobilization to change perceptions on migrants
and refugees in host countries
How the World Views Migration International Organization for
https://www.iom.int/ - direct URL: http://tinyurl.com/pkdvzlp
[Excerpts from press release - full report available at link above]
"The study, based on interviews conducted by Gallup with over
183,000 adults across over 140 countries between 2012 and 2014,
shows that people around the world are not as opposed to immigration
as may be commonly assumed. Some 43 per cent favour increasing or
keeping stable the numbers of immigrants in their countries, while
only 34 per cent support lower levels of immigration.
People in Europe appeared to be the most negative towards
immigration, with over half of all respondents favoring lower
immigration levels in their countries."
"Attitudes differed substantially between Northern Europe with
people in Sweden, Denmark and Finland being generally positive about
immigration and Southern Europe, where a high percentage of people
in Greece, Malta and Italy wanted to see immigration reduced. The UK
represented the only exception in Northern Europe, with over twothirds
of respondents wanting to see lower immigration levels."
[Excerpts from full report]
Residents of Africa, as a whole, are more likely to favour keeping
immigration levels the same (21%) or increasing them (26%) rather
than decreasing them (40%). Attitudes are most positive in Western
Africa, where the majority would like to see same or increased
immigration levels. In fact, the 33 per cent of adults who want to
see levels increased is not only the highest among all regions in
Africa but also the highest in the world. Nearly half of residents
in Niger (45%) a major transit country for migrants from other
Western African countries would like to see higher immigration
In contrast, residents of nearly every country surveyed in Northern
Africa the gateway to other countries in Europe and elsewhere
are, on average, more negative than positive about immigration.
Several of these countries, such as Libya, where 54 per cent of
residents want immigration levels to decrease, had recently emerged
from conflict at the time the survey was conducted. While many
migrants fled Libya during the upheaval, a large number still
remains and continues to pour into the fragile country from
elsewhere in Africa.
Majorities too in Southern Africa are more likely to want to see
immigration levels decreased in their countries. Rising xenophobic
sentiment has often turned violent in countries such as the main
destination for migration in the region, South Africa, 8 where 56
per cent of residents want to see lower immigration levels.
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