UN Migration Agency Holds Regional Seminar on Mixed Migration in Africa

Capacity Building

Dakar – IOM, the UN Migration Agency yesterday (07/09) hosted a one-day regional seminar for the West and Central Africa region with the aim of fostering enhanced coordination and promoting a common understanding amongst key stakeholders on the scope of mixed migration, as well as the management of migration in general.

The seminar featured studies of different elements of mixed migration carried out in East, West, Central and North Africa explored various themes, including the vulnerability of migrants, their migratory experience amongst some of the most utilized irregular routes, and the gaps in providing adequate protection to them along these routes.
Speaking at the seminar, Olatunde Olayemi, Head of the Trafficking in Persons Unit of the ECOWAS Commission, said,

“The concept of mixed migration highlights the contemporary complexity of migratory movements today. Different categories of migrants and refugees on similar routes share similar vulnerabilities in countries of transit and destination.”
Richard Danziger, West and Central Africa Regional Director, added, “In addition, migrants move for different reasons and these reasons can change multiple times during the journey. This also holds true for refugees and asylum seekers who, due to different motivations, might embark on secondary movements.”  

Another speaker, Thomas Munsch, West Africa Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat Coordinator, said, “This increasing fluidity of migratory movements poses a challenge to actors mandated to ensure the protection of migrants and refugees. There is a need to improve understanding of migration and the vulnerabilities that migrants and refugees face.”
“It is necessary to increase knowledge on the strengths and weaknesses of current institutional structures at national and transnational levels to adequately manage contemporary migration and to ensure the protection of people on the move,” said Amanuel Mehari, North Africa Mixed Migration Hub Coordinator. 

This challenge is quite important in West Africa which has a long and complex history of intra and extra regional mixed mobility and has seen an increase in the activities of smugglers and traffickers along migratory routes. “In migrating, many migrants in the region face different levels of vulnerability and do not always have access to adequate standards of protection against exploitation, especially women and children,” said Michele Bombassei, West and Central Africa Regional Migrant Assistance Specialist.  

The seminar, which brought together representatives of ECOWAS, the European Union, the Government of the United States, and international governmental and non-governmental agencies was organised as part of activities under the project Protection of Vulnerable Migrants in West and Central Africa, funded by the US Bureau of Population, Refugees and Migrants (PRM), with a particular focus on capacity building on protection to vulnerable migrants.

To ensure strong coordination both at the regional level and at the national level, activities under the project are coordinated with the Regional Working Group on Mixed Migration and the ECOWAS Commission.

For more information please contact Nnamdi Iwuora at the IOM Regional Office in Dakar, Tel: +221 774 526 136, Email: niwuora@iom.int

  • UN Migration Agency holds regional seminar on Mixed Migration in Africa. Photo: IOM 2017