Justice and security

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

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.

The report argues for a new approach and engagement on mixed migration in the Horn of Africa. This new approach is one that closely involves people in the region, and takes their experiences, concerns and rights seriously. It involves active participation in policymaking and implementation, and a conceptual shift that recognises migration, particularly forced migration, as a logical response to a deep-seated governance crisis in the region. Addressing this crisis also requires a rights-based approach that focuses on both adequate human rights protection in individual countries, and the protection of the rights of refugees and migrants across the region. In this regard, partnerships and international cooperation need to move beyond the technocratic and managerial project approach taken to date.

Ultimately, this approach entails acknowledging how the actors involved, both states in the Horn of Africa and in Europe, have created, sustained and contributed to the very conditions that their current initiatives are meant to tackle. Such a self-reflexive, critical and contextual approach is feasible. It would be more demanding for the actors involved as it would require fundamental reforms of governance in the HoA and of the EU’s and European states’ approach to migration and refugees from the region. However, without such changes and without adequate mechanisms to monitor respect for rights and ensure protection, it is almost certain that any initiatives taken will not succeed in creating the conditions needed to make them effective and sustainable.

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