Africa

Africa

Forced and Trafficked Workers of Mali

Mali, one of the poorest countries in West Africa, is nonetheless resource-rich in global commodities such as oil and gold. Gold is Mali’s primary export, and the industry surrounding it attracts many at-risk migrant laborers to work in “artisanal mining.” This “mining” consists of women, children, and men panhandling in rivers for meager quantities of gold. Many of these migrants are also refugees from ongoing conflicts in Mali, Nigeria, and Senegal. They are lured to Mali with promises of good-paying work and relocation to Europe but are subsequently trapped by gangs, including some religious extremist groups such as Al Qaeda “affiliates.” Job seekers are forced to work to “pay off” false debts to these gangs. Many laborers are trafficked and forced to become sex workers. Civil society and NGOs like Caritas Mali and the International Catholic Migration Commission (ICMC) may be best positioned to address the needs of Mali’s trafficked workers and prevent labor abuse.

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Caught in the Crossfire: Challenges to Migrant Protection in the Yemeni and Libyan Conflicts

In spite of the prevailing security dynamics in Yemen and Libya, both states continue to serve as areas of transit along some of the world’s largest mixed migration routes, leaving migrants caught in the crossfire of the two conflicts. This article examines the legal framework governing the protection of migrants in armed conflict under international humanitarian and human rights law. It also identifies two adverse incentives produced by the conflict situations that impede the exercise of these legal protections: (1) profits derived from migrant smuggling and trafficking, and (2) the use of migrants to support armed groups. In the absence of stable conditions in Yemen and Libya, individuals have little reason to respect international legal protections and discontinue migrant abuse connected with the lucrative businesses of smuggling and trafficking. The intractable nature of the two conflicts has also led to the strategic use of migrants as armed support, and more specifically as combatants, weapons transports, and human shields. Given these realities, the article outlines several recommendations to address the issue of migrant abuse in conflict. It recommends that states, particularly those neighboring Yemen and Libya, strengthen regular migration pathways to help reduce the number of migrants transiting through active conflict zones. It further advises that the international community increase the cost of non-compliance to international humanitarian law through the use of accountability mechanisms and through strategic measures, including grants of reciprocal respect to armed groups that observe protections accorded to migrants in conflict situations.

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Revisiting the Refugee–Host Relationship in Nakivale Refugee Settlement: A Dialogue with the Oxford Refugee Studies Centre

Uganda has long promoted refugee self-reliance as a sustainable livelihood strategy with progressive land-allocation and free-movement-for-work policies. Framed as a dialogue with Oxford University Refugee Studies Centre (“the Centre”), this article explores sustainable solutions that benefit refugees as well as the host populations that receive them. It explores the self-reliance opportunities that depend on the transnational, national, and local markets in which refugees participate. It acknowledges the Centre’s substantial work and welcomes its focus on economic outcomes. For Nakivale Refugee Settlement in Uganda, however, the discussion of “refugee economies” may not be complete without problematizing the effects on the host populations living alongside the refugees.

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The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness Program: Estimates of the Potentially Eligible

The Liberian Refugee Immigration Fairness (“LRIF”) program is the first US legalization program – creating a path to lawful permanent resident (LPR) status – in many years. There is a significant risk that many eligible Liberians and their family members may not meet the application deadline due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and poor roll-out of the program. To highlight this concern, the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS) has produced estimates – rounded to the nearest hundred – of the Liberian nationals who arrived in 2014 or earlier, and who are not naturalized US citizens or LPRs, and of their non-US citizen, non-LPR spouses and unmarried children who are also potentially eligible to adjust under LRIF.

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Building Blocks and Challenges for the Implementation of the Global Compact on Refugees in Africa

This is the second of three JMHS papers on implementation of different aspects of the Global Compact on Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM) and the Global Compact on Refugees (GCR). The papers have been produced by three think-tanks – the Scalabrini Migration Center (SMC) in Manila, covering the Asia-Pacific region, the Scalabrini Institute for Human Mobility in Africa (SIHMA) in Cape Town, and the Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS). This paper from SIHMA examines the prospects for implementation of the GCR in sub-Saharan Africa. It argues that, given increases in the number of forcibly displaced people in recent years, responses to refugee crises need to shift from a humanitarian system of “care and maintenance,” to more comprehensive and effective development responses. It discusses how best to promote a resilience-based development approach. It recognizes that many development initiatives that have been implemented or that still need to be implemented under the normative framework of the GCR and the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework (CRRF), are subject to a multiyear planning and implementation cycle. Therefore, the article does not seek to evaluate their efficacy or measure their progress.  Rather, it identifies key challenges and it highlights achievements and promising initiatives in sub-Saharan Africa. It particularly focuses on implementation and rollout of the CRRF in Chad, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Somalia, Uganda, and Zambia in Africa.

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Statelessness in West Africa: An Assessment of Stateless Populations and Legal, Policy, and Administrative Frameworks in Ghana

Drawing on qualitative interviews that are complemented by the analysis of government policy documents, this study examines statelessness in Ghana. It addresses a range of policy, legal, institutional, administrative, and other politico-socioeconomic matters attendant to the concept. The study defines statelessness in its strict legal sense. It recognizes populations at risk of statelessness that may be restricted from benefiting from the protection and privileges of their host state. Persons identified by the study as stateless or at risk of statelessness include persons from traditionally nomadic migratory communities, former refugees, persons residing in border communities, members of Zongo communities, trafficked persons, and those affected by gaps in previous constitutions. The study also identifies the consequences of statelessness, including lack of access to healthcare, education, justice, and work. The study offers several recommendations to prevent and reduce statelessness in Ghana.

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María Hernández-Carretero of University of Olso reviews Marriage Without Borders Transnational Spouses in Neoliberal Senegal by Dinah Hannaford.  Dinah Hannaford writes a multi-sited study of Senegalese migration and marriage that showcases contemporary changes in kinship practices across the globe engendered by the neoliberal demand for...

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