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Africa/Global: Migrants' Rights Roundup
May 26, 2016 (160526)
(Reposted from sources cited below)
At the World Humanitarian Summit (https://www.worldhumanitariansummit.org/) in Istanbul on May 23-24,
the informal consensus was that the system of humanitarian response
to today's crises is "broken." The calls to "leave no one behind"
highlighted the particular vulnerability of the displaced. But it is
clear that such non-binding resolutions will only be implemented by
extensive mobilization on many fronts, including both those most
affected and their allies.
Each issue of AfricaFocus requires selection from a wide array of
sources. Normally this is for reposting of excerpts from a small
number of sources, with a few additional links to additional
resources. Sometimes, as for this Bulletin, that choice is just
overwhelming, and I have opted for a roundup of links or very short
excerpts, to include a much wider set of sources that have been called to my
I hope this will serve as a resource for readers who can pick and
choose what to followup. I particularly urge readers to view the
multimedia resources highlighted at the beginning, and to pass them
on to others who may be interested, by email and through social
This AfricaFocus Bulletin contains a roundup of links on migration
issues, particularly related to protection of rights of refugees,
other international migrants, and internally displaced people.
Although it is far from comprehensive, the range of sources included
show increasing recognition, in Africa and globally, that migration
and forced migration creating extreme vulnerability is a complex
phenomenon, closely linked to other economic, social, and political
and to fundamental human rights of all people.
In addition to the wide range of sources below, previous AfricaFocus
Bulletins on migration are available at
++++++++++++++++++++++end editor's note+++++++++++++++++
Multimedia Perspectives on Migration
Rosebell Kagumire at World Economic Forum for Africa, Kigali, May
20 minute video. Good questions from audience & good thoughtful
nuanced answers about African migration from this leading
Ugandan journalist, who formerly worked at International
Organization for Migration in Geneva. Migration is not just to
Europe but also within Africa and with Middle East and Asia as well.
Fortunately most of the time with questions and actions. Goes far
beyond the stereotypes.
"New York Immigrant Advocates Launch Black Immigrant Engagement
Initiative," May 11, 2016
15 minutes interview on BRIC TV, the first 24/7 television channel
created by, for, and about Brooklyn. Hadiyah Harrison, Project
Manager at the New York Immigration Coalition, and Carl Lipscombe,
Policy & Legal Manager at Black Alliance for Just Immigration
[For additional recent articles from BAJI, visit
Op-ed by Opal Tometi of BAJI in Time magazine
Grassroots call to decriminalize the U.S. immigration system, #Fix96
on-line petition - http://tinyurl.com/h2lfbyx]
Laeila Adjovi, "The Town of Women," BBC, 2 December 2015
- Photo essay on the town of Beguedo in Burkina Faso and migration to
Italy. For more on the photographer, see http://laeila-adjovi.com/
Anne Paq, "Migrant domestic workers take to the streets in Beirut.
Demonstrators called for basic rights, including a minimum wage and
at least one day off per week.", photo essay, Al Jazeera, 7 May 2016
New Blog and Facebook Page
AfricaMoves: A Pan African Migration Platform
On Facebook at http://tinyurl.com/h22qj3u
Organizations contributing to the establishment of Africa Moves
include: Priority Africa Network; Black Immigration Network;
PanAfrican Network in Defense of Migrants' Rights; Consortium for
Refugees & Migrants in South Africa; Africa Speaks 4 Africa. Edited
by Nunu Kidane.
Kenya's Refugees in Kenya & Beyond
Samar Al-Bulushi, "Kenya's Refugee 'Problem'"
Africa Is a Country, May 25, 2016
"Integrally tied to this pending humanitarian crisis is the global
architecture of counter-terrorism. The Kenyan government is but one
actor among many who produce, and profit from, the specter of
terrorist threat, which allows for the discursive slippage from
civilian, to potential Al-Shabaab sympathizer, to potential
Chico Harlan, "For many Somali refugees, this industry offers hope
-- then takes it away," Washington Post, May 25, 2016
Feature article: "Though meatpacking plants have long relied on
labor by immigrants, particularly Hispanics, major companies have
moved to hire Somalis, who have the dual advantage for employers of
being legal and relatively cheap. In one slice of a changing lowwage
America, these are the new ideal workers."
Lucy Hovil, "Why is the cost of hosting refugees falling on the
world's poorest states?," The Guardian, May 13, 2016
"The government of Kenya says it plans to close Dadaab, the world’s
largest refugee camp, which hosts approximately 330,000 people, as
well as shutting the Department of Refugee Affairs (DRA). The
announcement, on Friday 6 May, was no doubt a pre-election stunt of
Trump-like proportions that plays to an electorate's fear of
generating instability and outsiders taking jobs, playing to the
same xenophobic narrative that has become commonplace in election
campaigns across the world. [but] As long as rich nations pay lip
service to meeting the needs of the world’s displaced, they cannot
blame Kenya for closing refugee camps like Dadaab"
Jina Moore, "Kenya Is Trying To Close The World’s Biggest Refugee
Camp And This Is Why," Buzzfeed, May 13, 2016
"Kenya says the camps are a security threat, but the move comes at a
time when refugees are big business. ... When Europe began panicking
over its growing refugee population, Kenya took notice. A very
noticeable feature of that crisis is that Europe is willing to spend
cash -- lots of cash -- to end its refugee problems. ... This is not
the first time Kenya has said it will close the camps. Last time it
issued this threat, it got $45 million more in U.S. aid."
Amnesty International, "New 'Refugees Welcome Index' shows Kenyan
government out of touch with public on refugees," 19 May 2016
"The new Refugees Welcome Index, based on a global survey of more
than 27,000 people carried out by the strategy consultancy
GlobeScan, found that 65% of Kenyans would personally welcome
refugees and that 62% thought their government had not yet done
everything in its power to help refugees. 'This report, coming at a
time of heightened anti-refugee rhetoric from the Kenyan government,
shows that Kenyans are not as unaccepting as their government would
make the world believe,' said Muthoni Wanyeki, Amnesty
International's Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the
Great Lakes. 'It shows that a majority of Kenyans would welcome
refugees into their country and that the government’s decision to
shut down Dadaab refugee camp is not backed by popular opinion.'"
Stephanie Schwartz, "Why Kenya's threat to close its refugee camps
is even worse than you think," Washington Post, May 11, 2016
"Many observers are already questioning whether Kenya will really
follow through on the closure, whether the camps really are a haven
for terrorists, and whether this action violates international law.
An equally important question is: Do these refugees have homes to
which they could return? Probably not. And the reasons aren't just
that Somalia and South Sudan won't magically become peaceful.
Why else can’t they return? Let me explain by telling you what I've
found among Burundian refugees in Tanzania."
New International Reports
Amnesty International, "Refugees Welcome Index shows government
refugee policies out of touch with public opinion, 19 May 2016
"The vast majority of people (80%) would welcome refugees with open
arms, with many even prepared to take them into their own homes,
according to a global survey commissioned by Amnesty International.
The new Refugees Welcome Index, based on a global survey of more
than 27,000 people carried out by the internationally renowned
strategy consultancy GlobeScan, ranks 27 countries across all
continents based on people's willingness to let refugees live in
their countries, towns, neighbourhoods and homes.
The survey shows people say they are willing to go to astonishing
lengths to make refugees welcome. It also shows how anti-refugee
political rhetoric is out of kilter with public opinion."
Bronwen Manby, "Who Belongs? Statelessness and Nationality in West
Africa," Migration Policy Institute, April 7, 2016
http://www.migrationpolicy.org - direct URL:
[Full article contains extensive background and analysis. Brief
excerpt below by permission of Migration Policy Institute.]
"At least 10 million people around the world are stateless,
according to estimates from the United Nations High Commissioner for
Refugees (UNHCR), but the real number may be much higher.
Statelessness severely limits a person’s human rights, including
access to basic services such as health care and education. Often
deemed to be illegally present in their country of birth and
residence--even if their parents were also born there--stateless
individuals may be unable to work in the formal economy, open a bank
account, or buy land. A person without identity documents, usually
dependent on nationality, is unable to cross international borders
through regular channels. ...
Although those lacking documents are generally among the poorest and
most marginalized, an undocumented person who is a member of the
dominant ethnic or religious group and comes from a settled
community and stable family is far less likely to be refused when
applying for a nationality document. Those most at risk of
statelessness are members of social groups facing discrimination,
migrants (especially irregular migrants) and their descendants,
refugees, and children born out of wedlock, separated from their
parents, or vulnerable in other ways. They are left stateless not
only by discrimination in practice and weak administrative systems,
but also by laws that provide very limited rights based on birth in
the territory and that restrict transmission of nationality from
parent to child on the basis of gender or other grounds.
At the regional level, West Africa has moved furthest to address
statelessness, as a result of advocacy from UNHCR and the existing
policies and institutional frameworks of the Economic Community of
West African States (ECOWAS). In February 2015, the 15 ECOWAS Member
States adopted the Abidjan Declaration on the Eradication of
Statelessness, agreeing "to prevent and reduce statelessness by
reforming constitutional, legislative and institutional regimes
related to nationality in order to include appropriate safeguards
against statelessness, in particular to ensure that every child
acquires a nationality at birth and that all foundlings are
considered nationals of the State in which they are found." Of
course, the declaration is just that--a declaration--and does not
necessarily mean the promised action will take place. Nonetheless,
it is a remarkable recognition at the regional level that the
question of nationality in Africa needs to be addressed.
Based on a study commissioned by UNHCR and the International
Organization for Migration (IOM) and presented at the February 2015
Abidjan conference, this article explores the factors contributing
to statelessness in West Africa, including the region's colonial and
migration history and nationality laws, as well as the social groups
particularly at risk. The article then examines the ECOWAS
framework, steps taken to implement the Abidjan Declaration, and the
way forward to eradicating statelessness in West Africa."
Marie-Laurence Flahaux and Bruno Schoumaker, "Democratic Republic of
the Congo: A Migration History Marked by Crises and Restrictions,"
Migration Policy Institute, April 20, 2016
Article provides historical overview as well as analysis of current
"DR Congo has long had both economic and humanitarian migration
exchanges. African countries host the vast majority of Congolese
migrants and refugees, whose numbers have increased significantly
over the last four decades, particularly since the wars of the late
1990s and early 2000s. The lack of recent censuses in several
destination countries (such as Angola) makes it difficult to
precisely evaluate the distribution of Congolese migrants and
changing patterns. Data from the United Nations Population Division
nevertheless show significant changes over the last 25 years. In
1990, an estimated 300,000 Congolese migrants and refugees resided
in one of the nine neighboring countries (Angola, Burundi, Central
African Republic, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Sudan [now South
Sudan], Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia), representing three-quarters
of all migrants from DR Congo worldwide (see Table 1). Their number
had more than doubled by 2000 (to approximately 700,000), and by
mid-2015, had risen to more than 1 million in the neighboring
countries (1.2 million for Africa as a whole; see Table 1).
While Belgium was the main Western destination of Congolese migrants
prior to the 1980s, destinations have increasingly diversified.
France has become the preferred end point since the late 1990s
(Figure 2), possibly as a result of greater ease getting visas and
of obtaining asylum, and better labor market opportunities. Recent
estimates indicate that France and Belgium together host more than
100,000 Congolese migrants, and that more than 50,000 others live
elsewhere in Europe (including Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, and
the United Kingdom; see Figure 2).
Outside Europe, the United States and Canada have also become
increasingly popular destinations since the 1990s (see Figure 2),
each now hosting nearly 30,000 Congolese immigrants. This growing
interest is also found among would-be migrants in surveys conducted
in Kinshasa. Congolese migration to the United States has taken off
since 2005, making the United States the second most popular
Congolese destination outside Africa."
Additional recent international reports and sources
[Thanks to Evalyn Tennant, of Global Migration Policy Associates
(GMPA), for identifying these links and sharing them with me. As
with other global issues, the outcomes for Africa are closely
related to policies set at a global level. As the number of
refugees, migrants, and internally displaced people grows worldwide,
affecting countries in all regions, the global response is
more and more obviously falling short. The policy debates, both in
intergovernmental and non-governmental forums, are becoming more and
UN Summit Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants
Upcoming September 19, 2016
Official UN pages. Second link above has multimedia resources as
well as news.
Secretary General's Report for the Summit: "In Safety and Dignity:
Addressing large movements of refugees and migrants"
Report includes assessment of current issues facing refugees and
migrants and the countries hosting them, as well as calls for global
compacts, one on "Responsibility-Sharing for Refugees" and the other
for "Safe, Regular and Orderly Migration."
Migrants in Countries in Crisis (MICIC), International Organization
for Migration (IOM)
Global Coalition Migration page on MICIC
Civil society coalition page related to MICIC, includes reports on
civil society consultations in West and Central Africa, North Africa
and Middle East, and Central and Southern Africa.
MICIC West and Central Africa regional consultation
MICIC North Africa and Middle East consultation
MICIC East and Southern Africa consultation
Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat for the Horn of Africa and
Forced Migration Review
This journal has a wealth of resources, including Africa-specific
resources. For example, the latest issue (http://www.fmreview.org/solutions/contents.html) has articles
relating to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Ghana, Uganda, Somalia-Yemen
relations, Burundi, and Tanzania.
Joint Labour Migration Program for Africa
The African Union Commission (AUC), the ILO, the IOM and the UNECA
are implementing the Joint Labour Migration Program (JLMP) for
Africa formally adopted in January 2015 by African Heads of State
and Government as a comprehensive programme on labour migration governance for the region.
Global Detention Project
Includes special reports on detention of migrants and asylum seekers
in Europe, the Mediterranean, and the Gulf states, as well as in the
Americas. See http://tinyurl.com/z8rpb64 for reports.
Caritas Europa, "Migrants and Refugees Have Rights: Impact of EU
Policies on Accessing Protection," February 2016
Comprehensive 74-page report with background, policy analysis,
personal stories, photographs, and recommendations.
Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC) GRID 2016: Global
Report on Internal Displacement, May 2016
This is a fundamental report for understanding displacement,
whatever the cause. Brief excerpt from the foreword by Jan Egeland,
Secretary General of the Norwegian Refugee Council:
"Much focus has been placed on the hundreds of thousands of
refugees, asylum seekers and migrants who have put their lives at
risk to reach European shores. Their bravery and despair has drawn
much attention to the phenomenon of displacement. In reality though,
they represent only the tip of an iceberg.
There are now twice as many internally displaced people (IDPs) as
refugees worldwide. In some ways, the distinction between internal
and cross-border flight is unhelpful in a globalised world.
When displacement becomes inevitable, humanitarians attend to more
immediate needs, but they must work with the development sector if
sustainable solutions are to be achieved. There is a clear trend of
displacement becoming more protracted and more of a development
To take some of these considerations into account, we are presenting
our estimates of internal displacement in 2015 in a radically new
way, with figures on people displaced by conflict, by violence and
by disasters in a single report.
The Global Report on Internal Displacement (GRID) aims to provide a
more holistic picture of the phenomenon, regardless of cause. ... It
also discusses types of displacement that receive too little
attention, such as that associated with generalised criminal
violence, gradually-evolving crises such as drought, and development
Additional articles of interest
African Film Festival (in Tarifa, Spain and Tangiers, Morocco)begins
today, May 26, and runs through June 4.
Building links across the Mediterranean, this film festival is in
its 13th year.
Thomas Friedman, "Out of Africa," New York Times, Apr 13,20,27, 2016
http://tinyurl.com/zzycjvq, http://tinyurl.com/hzjy6ck, and
Better than the usual from this New York Times columnist, reporting
from Niger and Senegal on African migration to Europe.
Overseas Development Institute (ODI) Briefing on "Fortress Europe,"
20 October 2015
Ugandan domestic workers in Saudi Arabia
Detention centers in Libya
Sudan crackdown on Eritrean migrants
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