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Insight into Migrants


Professor Fantu Cheru - Research Director at the Nordic Africa Institute

“The rights of migrants are threatened by anti-migrant sentiment, xenophobia and the criminalisation of migration in places as diverse as Norway, Italy, Libya and South Africa. And the rights of the global majority in developing countries are still threatened by a systematically biased global economic order. Until fundamental inequalities between countries are addressed, the pattern of migration in today’s world will continue to evoke the spectre of South Africa’s apartheid era, when authorities tried to confine blacks to their “homelands”, except when their labour was needed elsewhere."

Vincent William - Director of the Southern African Migration Project (SAMP) in IDASA, a partner organisation of Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung in South Africa.

“It has become incredibly difficult to distinguish between different streams of migrants. There’s just a lot of uncertainty about how to manage mixed flows and concerns about not allowing people to abuse the asylum system."

"Governments are beginning to see migration as a tool for development and working together in developing immigration policies."

Simona Vezzoli - Research Officer, Global Migration Futures research team at IMI

“When we looked at forecasts on migration, we realized there were some shortfalls. Those approaches…can’t take into account all the factors that aren’t quantifiable and those that are very uncertain."

Professor David Everatt - Executive Director of the Gauteng City-Region Observatory (GCRO)

“Virtually every author concludes that violence against African migrants will continue and increase unless some profound socio-economic and attitudinal changes occur. This text thus sounds a loud warning bell to South Africa about our future. And it does so not merely based on the opinions of the authors, but because of the views of ordinary South African citizens that informed the research. ... survey after survey, focus group after focus group, have shown deeply xenophobic attitudes rising steadily over time."

Gabriella Sanchez - Social and cultural anthropologist

“The determination of who is a smuggler is quite problematic. We think about smuggling as becoming more organized and structured, but what we’re actually seeing is how the risk is being transferred onto the migrants and refugees. Most of the people who are prosecuted for smuggling are migrants themselves."

António Guterres - U.N. high commissioner for refugees

"This is a dramatic change in an already difficult humanitarian situation. Not only are refugee numbers suddenly much higher, but the condition that many of these people are in is shockingly bad. Some have been eating tree leaves to survive along the way."

"What we are now seeing are more and more people that are forced to flee because of lack of water, because of lack of food, because of extreme poverty and many of these situations are enhanced by climate change."

Nikola Sander - Research Scientist at the Vienna Institute of Demography of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

"Migrants from sub-Saharan Africa appear to have moved predominantly within the African continent."

"With regards to the flow out of sub-Saharan Africa, a subject of much speculation due to predicted population growth there, if there is no expansion in education – which enables people to move to advanced economies that require skilled workers – then Africa will play a less dominant role in shaping future migration trends than for example Asia, where they are rapidly getting more educated. That said, migration is the hardest of all demographic components to predict."

Tricia Redeker Hepner - Department of Anthropology, Michigan State University

“If refugee flows are a sign of political meltdown, then Eritrea is a level seven nuclear disaster. Figures from the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees indicate that Eritrea, with a population of only about five million, has been among the top ten refugee producing countries in the world for the better part of the decade."

Roni Amit - Researcher at the African Centre for Migration and Society at Witwatersrand University in Johannesburg

“If you try to enter through an official border post and you’re denied entry, then your next step is to enter the country illegally and that’s where smugglers come in."

Guy Goodwin-Gill - Senior research fellow and expert in international refugee law at Oxford University

“As soon as you start talking to refugees you realize there’s always a mixture of motives. The pure refugee does exist, but there are many others who face insecurity because of economic problems and persecution."

Gwendoline Mensah - Head of UNHCR in Mogadishu

“I think there is a significant number who, if the conditions were ripe in their places of origin, would return home. A lot are rural people. It is obvious to them that there is not much they can do here. I don't think they want to wander around Mogadishu."

Dr David Cantero - Head of Mission in Morocco for Doctors Without Borders (MSF)

“The renewed cooperation efforts between Morocco and Spain which, according to these countries, are focused on the fight against cross-border crime, illegal migration and drug trafficking. are having a serious impact on the physical and mental health of sub-Saharan migrants. Migration policies privilege internal security criteria over respect for fundamental human rights."

Christopher Horwood - Coordinator of the Nairobi-based Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat (RMMS)

“There’s too much knee-jerk reaction to migration. Normally, it’s seen as a problem that has to be solved and as some kind of short-term phenomenon that’s going to go away. Everyone is admitting that the borders are porous and uncontrollable, but there are no plans [to address it] at all and no real regional discussion either."

"It’s one of the really central myths that policymakers in the region are labouring under, that stability in Somalia will mean you can empty the refugee camps and that economic growth in Ethiopia will result in Ethiopians never wanting to leave Ethiopia."


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