SIHMA | Scalabrini Institute For Human Mobility In Africa

June Press Review


Little protection for the vulnerable, even on major migration routes: UNHCR

UN News 4 June 2024

The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) confirms that hundreds of thousands of people risk their lives to migrate from Sub-Saharan Africa in search of asylum. Migrants are without access to immediate assistance, leaving many to face unavoidable dangers such as trafficking and lack of shelter. Vincent Cochetel, the UNHCR Special Envoy for the Central Mediterranean, explains that the absence of critical services places migrants and refugees "at great risk of harm and death" (UN News, 2024). Services for trafficking victims remain scarce, leaving many at risk of the dangers migration entails. The UNHCR states that 108.4 million people are forcibly displaced, with more than 280 million international migrants on the move, representing 3.6 percent of the global population (UN News, 2024).

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Small boats migrant arrivals top 7,500 this year 

BBC News, 1 May 2024

More than 7,500 migrants arrived in the UK by small boats, traveling from the UK to other European nations. A Home Office spokesperson explains that most of the people who continue to cross the Channel arrive in the UK through flights from Rwanda. The boats are often dangerous, with many people being crushed and injured throughout the journey. Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has stated that he will “stop the boats,” leaving many migrants without the opportunity to seek asylum in other European countries. The English Channel is known as one of the busiest yet most dangerous migration routes in the world, yet migrants continue to make the journey in search of safety.

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South Africa: Toxic Rhetoric Endangers Migrants

Stop Scapegoating Foreign Nationals Ahead of Elections

Human Rights Watch, 6 May 2024

The general election in South Africa took place on the 29th of May. This election cycle has prompted anti-immigration rhetoric from political candidates, heightening concerns of xenophobic violence. South African political candidates are continuously exploiting migration issues to gain votes, oftentimes blaming undocumented immigrants for certain issues within the country. In this article, Human Rights Watch addresses the growing political tensions against South African immigrants and the ways in which immigration will impact the 2024 election.


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SA elections 2024: Why migrants who can't vote have a stake

TRT Afrika, 28 May 2024

Mike Spencer Madizvo, a Zimbabwean immigrant who has lived in South Africa for 13 years, struggles to find work. The South African unemployment rate continues to rise for both migrants and citizens, leaving Mike to drive taxis since being laid off from his job. With the continuation of xenophobia throughout South Africa, Mike and his colleagues face hostility in their day-to-day lives, both inside and outside of work. Many migrant workers hope that in the upcoming election, xenophobia will be addressed more effectively by political candidates. For now, Mike exemplifies his hope that the hatred will diminish, and he will continue his work within the taxi industry.


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How Immigration Issues are Steering South Africa’s 2024 Elections

Good Authority, 25 May 2024

Expert and assistant professor Beth Wellman from the University of Memphis discusses the significant role immigration plays in the 2024 South African election. South Africa is an attractive destination for migrants throughout the African continent. Due to mass immigration, South Africa continues to struggle with asylum systems and is implementing severe restrictions on legal migration. Xenophobia is very common in South Africa, with politicians and people blaming migrants for unemployment and crime. Political parties and anti-immigration groups have begun taking extreme anti-immigration agendas in the midst of the 2024 election. With votes from the diaspora, the DA gains significant support from South Africans abroad, potentially allowing new parties to influence the political system.


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Somewhere to call home; the migration dynamics in Africa

African Union, 5 June 2024

The African Union has established the Migration Policy Framework for Africa (2018-2030) to help manage migration trends. Migration in Africa is becoming more common and complex issues arise due to conflict and unstable socio-economic conditions in different countries. Migration can be a helpful tool for development, but if not managed properly, irregular flows of people due to human trafficking and smuggling can impact the safety and flow of migration. The African Union has provided guidance in eight areas: Migration Governance; Labour Migration and Education; Diaspora Engagement; Border Governance; Irregular Migration; Forced Displacement; Internal Migration; and Migration and Trade. These eight areas aim to balance security concerns and ensure migration can be used to help with development and economic advancements throughout Africa.


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In post-coup Niger, migration becomes legal again

The New Humanitarian, 6 May 2024

Niger’s military government took power last July, altering the country's relationship with Western countries. Niger’s ruling junta has declined many agreements with the EU and the United States, indicating a shift towards a partnership with Russia. After declining a migration partnership with the EU in 2015, migration trends have increased in Agadez, a key transit city in Niger for immigrants moving to North Africa and Europe. Agadez has transformed from a tourist destination to a migratory destination due to the effects of terrorism and conflicts within the region. The 2015 law criminalized migration, causing economic hardships in the country. Despite the law, many people still seek asylum by migrating to Europe through North Africa. The EU’s effort to slow down migration did not significantly reduce it; instead, it just made migration more dangerous. Agadez continues to be a destination for migrants passing through Libya and Algeria in hopes of reaching Europe.

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Tunisia: The migration trap 

Al Jazeera 10 May 2024

In Sub-Saharan Africa, migrants flee in an attempt to find safety. Corruption and conflict leave many people in search of asylum in European nations. Tunisia has adopted strict limitations on migrant arrivals, with security forces raiding temporary camps and forcing more than 500 refugees onto buses to the Algerian and Libyan borders, leaving many migrants to sleep in fields or olive groves, where they face mass discrimination. Living standards in Tunisia are falling due to high unemployment and a president who blames "traitors" for the immigration crisis that is taking hold. Italy and the EU point blame at Tunisia and Libya for the influx of migrants coming into Europe. To combat migration, the EU continues to seek partnership with Tunisia in order to control migration trends. As summer approaches, the waters between Europe and Africa are calm and easier to travel across, making irregular migration to Europe more common.


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Written by: Paige Poulin



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