Effective interventions

A coherent European Union policy on mixed migration in the Horn of Africa: Participatory, contextual and rights-based

Horn of Africa
International Refugee Rights Initiative (IRRI)

This is an output from a project that was part of the fifth Applied Research Fund (ARF) on mixed migration flows. The ARF is executed by NWO-WOTRO in close collaboration with the Platform. The call aims to strengthen the evidence-base for security and rule of law policies and programming, addressing the root causes, and the dynamics and consequences of mixed migration flows within and from fragile and conflict-affected settings.

This policy paper argues that current policy initiatives on migration, particularly the Khartoum Process, do not provide a framework or approach that is effective and sustainable to address causes, dynamics and consequences of mixed migration flows from the Horn of Africa. This argument is based on extensive empirical research with Eritreans on the move, in which 67 qualitative interviews were conducted in Ethiopia, Sudan and Europe (See IRRI, SIHA and SOAS, “Tackling the root causes of human trafficking and smuggling from Eritrea: The need for an empirically grounded EU policy on mixed migration in the Horn of Africa.” October 2017). The intention of the report was not to examine the various projects and initiatives being carried out under the framework as these are mostly at the early stages of implementation, but to focus on the overall approach, and suggest why several of its underlying assumptions and key aspects might be problematic. Furthermore, because a large percentage of Eritreans appear to be refugees, it focuses in particular on refugee policy.

The paper starts by outlining key findings from the research. It then presents the model of partnership underlying the Khartoum Process and a number of problematic assumptions on which it is based, before drawing on the findings to propose an alternative approach to international cooperation on migration in the Horn of Africa. The paper ends with specific policy recommendations.

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