Launch of “Going West: contemporary mixed migration trends from the Horn of Africa to Libya & Europe”

The Danish Refugee Council and the Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat launched a report called Going West: contemporary mixed migration trends from the Horn of Africa to Libya & Europe. The launch, which was organized by these two organizations in collaboration with JRS Malta, was held on Thursday 24th of July at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta.

With tens of thousands of migrants and asylum seekers having reached Italy and Malta from North Africa in 2014, and hundreds dying in perilous sea journeys across the Mediterranean, this study contributes to a growing body of evidence highlighting the importance of the westward route of mixed migration from the Horn of Africa to Libya and Europe. It also charts the dynamic and changing nature of smuggler/migrant routes being used in the Horn of Africa and Yemen region and leaving it with especial focus on Eritreans, Ethiopians and Somalis on the move. This report adds strong qualitative information on the modalities of movement, the political economy of the smuggling / trafficking activities between the Horn of Africa and Europe and the severe human rights deficits facing those on the move. It also collates known academic, government level and research-based data while adding new information established in the course of this multi-country study.

Speaking during the launch of the report, JRS Malta director Dr. Katrine Camilleri explained that it was tragic that the migration debate in Malta focused almost exclusively on border control and saving lives. While both were of vital importance, she added, they only formed part of the picture.

“The underlying cause is that people are looking for protection and not finding it. Even if the migrants are officially recognised as refugees, our laws, policies and structures do not guarantee a life of dignity.” She said that the migrants lack protection not only their country of origin but they also kept moving in circles, from one country to the other, since they did not find adequate protection anywhere.

People would keep taking to the sea because they had no choice, she continued, and also because it was the only option available for them to reach a place of safety.

“People will continue to risk their lives and even lose them unless we can guarantee a place of safety. The report confirms what we knew before, what we saw with our own eyes and what we hear from migrants who land in Malta", Dr. Camilleri said.

The full report can be downloaded here.

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