Regional Mixed Migration in the Horn of Africa and Yemen in 2016: 2nd Quarter trend summary and analysis

from Danish Refugee Council, Mixed Migration Centre
Published on 30 Jun 2016 View Original

Regional Mixed Migration in the Horn of Africa and Yemen in 2016: 2nd Quarter trend summary and analysis

Mixed migration movements were increasingly numerous and complex in the second quarter of 2016. Migration along the northward, eastward and westward routes all showed an increase in numbers, with migrants and refugees being motivated to move by ongoing conflict, political oppression and a lack of opportunities. Internal and cross border displacement in Yemen, South Sudan and surrounding countries also increased, while a pledge to close Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya has generated uncertainty about the protection of hundreds of thousands of Somali refugees.

Irregular Movement from the Horn
Northward (through Egypt into Israel)

Movements this quarter were characterised by an increasing number of migrants and asylum seekers from the Horn of Africa arriving in Egypt and using the country as a gateway for further travel across the Mediterranean Sea towards Europe.

A media report in May 2016, highlighted a growing number of Eritrean nationals, and a sizeable number of Somalis, Sudanese and Ethiopians in Cairo hoping to depart from the Egyptian coast. It appears that the migrants and asylum seekers are using Egypt to circumvent the precarious security situation in Libya, and reported round-ups and deportations occurring in Khartoum, Sudan. Instead, some migrants choose to travel through the eastern part of Sudan and avoid Khartoum, on their way to Egypt. The sea route from Egypt to Europe is also increasingly being used by Egyptian nationals, who made up 5 percent of arrivals in Italy between April and June 2016.

In a continued committal to crack down on irregular departures from Egyptian shores, media reports documented the interception of 331 migrants (including Sudanese, Eritrean, Somali, Ethiopian, and Egyptian nationals, amongst others) by Egypt’s naval forces in June. The migrants were apprehended aboard three boats which were attempting to depart from Egypt’s Alexandria port towards Italy. Egypt’s National Coordinating Committee on Preventing and Combating Illegal Migration stated that Egyptian border guards had managed to stop 5,076 between April and July 2016.

Migration into Israel remained limited as security surveillance at the border wall between Egypt and Israel continued to prevent asylum seekers and migrants from entering the country. However, in a positive outcome for refugee protection, Israel granted refugee status to an asylum seeker of Sudanese origin for the first time ever. Figures from the government’s Population, Immigration and Borders Agency (PIBA) show that between 2009 and the beginning of 2015, Israel has granted asylum to only 4 Eritrean nationals (out of 2,408 applications) and none to Sudanese nationals (of 3,165 applications). Mutasim Ali’s application was the first of its kind to be accepted by the government. Despite optimism shared by Ali and his lawyers, a spokesperson for the Interior Ministry stated that “this is not part of a mass effort” by the government to offer protection to the approximately 45,000 migrants and asylum seekers of Eritrean and Sudanese origin in Israel.