Migration Movements in, to and from the Horn of Africa: Internal EU-Document

Migration-control.info has received an internal paper on the Horn of Africa – Migratory situation, published 30.03.2023, handed over by the Swedish Presidency to the Working Party on External Aspects of Asylum and Migration (EMWP).

Please find the paper here: HoA MigData

The East and Horn of Africa (EHoA) – a region of origin, transit and destination – is characterized by dynamic and complex migration flows. The EHoA is currently home to 13 million forcibly displaced persons, including 9.2 million internally displaced (IDPs) and 3.8 million refugees and asylum seekers.

The document contains a short introduction, as well as 3 annexes. The last of them is a paper by IOM, prepared for use of the EMWP exclusively, suggesting that the current migration and mobility trends in the EHoA indicate that the region will remain affected by significant mobility flows in the years to come with irregular migration predicted to rise across the various routes.

We generally think that such data is important not only for EU bureaucrats, but also for independent researchers and no border activists, and that the role of IOM should not be producing secret papers.

The Presidency is most interested in the Northern Route, from the Horn of Africa (HoA) to North Africa and Europe. The number of asylum claims is relatively low (150.000 in 4 years), but the presidency warns of increasing numbers in 2023.

According to Frontex, the number of irregular border crossings of migrants from the EHoA region also increased in 2022 compared to 2021 (11 978 compared to 9 294, +29%). The top three nationalities of migrants crossing into the EU from the wider region in 2022 were Somali, Eritrean and Burundian, similarly to 2021, except for Burundian nationals who mainly went through the Western Balkans due to the visa-free arrangement [with Serbia] and replaced the Sudanese as third main nationality. Somali migrants mainly used the Eastern Mediterranean route, whilst Eritreans used the Central Mediterranean route. There are not high numbers of victims of trafficking from the HoA registered in the EU. However, the risk of falling into the hands of traffickers is high given that many people in this area are displaced due to conflicts.

The paper has 3 annexes:

Annex 1 describes the EU actions in the HoA under EUTF up to 2022, and as planned for 2022 – 2027.

Annex 2 provides a brief overview of the current situation in the states of HoA. Sudan, of course, is the biggest source of insecurity in this play at the moment.

Annex 3 is an IOM background paper on Migration in, to, and from EHoA. The paper describes the three corridors of migration there, and predicts rising „irregular“ migration across the various corridors. In this context, it is important to note that the Northern Route was taken by only 2% of the refugees and migrants, while the Eastern Route to Yemen and the HoA route, between Somalia and Ethiopia, were used by 46% of the refugees and migrants each. Find a map with figures on page 18.

Of the three inter-regional migratory routes running from the Horn of Africa, the Eastern Route hosts the largest number of migrants each year. Migration along this corridor originated along historical trade routes, with the surge in irregular labour migration and increased consolidation of broker networks beginning in the late 1990s. Over the last two decades, both regular and irregular labour migration along the Eastern Corridor has increased in response to several push factors including famine, climatic shocks, overpopulation, land scarcity and extreme poverty, with modern-day migration along this corridor occurring in the context of strong and well-established networks between origin communities in Ethiopia and the diaspora abroad. Nowadays, it is one of the world’s busiest maritime migration routes. … Arrivals to Yemen from the Horn of Africa almost tripled (+164%) between 2021 and 2022 (from 27,700 to 73,000). […] Of the migrants tracked by IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix arriving in Yemen, 92 per cent were Ethiopians and 8 per cent were Somalis, while around 76 per cent were males and 24 per cent females. Migration to the GCC countries is a highly gendered phenomenon, with women accounting for most documented movements and men – typically young, single and with low levels of education – for the majority of undocumented flows along the Eastern Route.

The paper points out that the Eastern Route is at least as highly dangerous for the refugees and migrants as the Northern route. As regards the Northern Route, the paper highlights the importance of Sudan:

Most migrants moving North from the HoA transit through the Sudan. Data collected by IOM as part of an ongoing research study along the Northern Route suggest that many Eritreans and Ethiopians living in the Sudan, as well as those who have arrived more recently, are contemplating migrating onward to other countries in Africa such as Rwanda, Uganda and South Sudan, as well as north towards Libya, Egypt and Europe due to the dire economic situation in the country. Eritrean and Ethiopian migrants interviewed in Khartoum reported experiencing economic hardship due to the poor economic situation and inflation in the Sudan. They also reported regularly experiencing violence and extortion as well as regular round-ups by local authorities, impeding their ability to support themselves. Although, Eritreans and Ethiopians in the Sudan generally seem to be aware of the risks of migrating to Europe, research participants suggested that it is: “better to try your luck at living a good quality life in Europe than to die in Sudan”.

Please find the paper here: HoA MigData

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