CARIM Mediterranean Migration 2008-2009 Report

Noted recently in the Newsletter of the Real Instituto Elcano:

CARIM MEDITERRANEAN MIGRATION 2008-2009 REPORT, Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies, San Domenico di Fiesole (FI): European University Institute, October 2009, Edited by Philippe Fargues

MIGRATIONS MÉDITERRANÉENNES, RAPPORT 2008-2009, Octobre 2009, Sous la direction de Philippe Fargues

An excerpt:

“The period covered in this latest report, the years 2007 and 2008, is characterised by the accentuation of the migratory trends described in previous reports1: emigration from South and East Mediterranean countries (SEM) is continuing at a steady rate, while immigration to these countries is increasing, particularly in various irregular forms. [***]

Transit Migrants

Transit migrants in the SEM countries are people who cannot reach the destination of their choice (Europe) for lack of the required visa. They are waiting to find a way to reach this destination and over time their transit becomes stay. All the SEM countries, from Mauritania in the west to Turkey in the East, have, over the course of the last two decades, been transformed into transit countries for those travelling to Europe.

How many transit migrants are there in the SEM countries? The statistics in this area are even more inadequate than those for de facto refugees or irregular migrant workers. Aggregating figures provided by the police and various NGOs allows for a maximum estimation of 200,000 transit migrants in the region (Table 7).

Table 7: Transit migrants present in SEM countries around 2005

Country                        Estimated number

Algeria                           > 10,000

Turkey                           > 50,000

Libya                              > 10,000

Mauritania                   ± 30,000

Morocco                      > 10,000

Egypt, Israel, Jordan,

Lebanon, Palestine,

Syria, Tunisia              Not available

Total SEM                     < 200,000

Sources: CARIM, Irregular Migration Series

According to data collected by an Italian NGO on deaths and disappearances at sea (Table 8), it would seem that the number of clandestine sea crossings from SEM countries to Europe is not increasing (in fact it may even have decreased in 2008) but the routes are changing. The most ancient route across the Straits of Gibraltar is being used less and less and has been successively replaced by that from Mauritania, or even Senegal, to the Canary Islands (on which traffic peaked in 2006), from Turkey to the Greek Islands of the Dodecanese (on which traffic peaked in 2007) and lastly from Libya to Italy on which traffic peaked in 2008).

How many transit migrants are there who attempt (sometimes successfully) the crossing to Europe? And for how many does transit in the SEM countries become a more long period of stay? The rare surveys carried out in the Maghreb or in Turkey do not allow us to assess this. With the extension of their stay in countries initially seen as a place of transit, transit migrants soon become mixed up with the more significant mass of migrant workers in irregular situation. On the other hand, it is not always possible to distinguish them from refugees. The two groups exist side by side in what the HCR calls flows of “mixed migration” where transit migrants and refugees, sometimes from the same countries of provenance, resort to the same smugglers and find themselves in the same circumstances.

Table 8: Dead and missing persons on sea routes of irregular migration from SEM to Europe 2000 – 2008

Year\ Route      Sicily +             Gibraltar +

Sardinia           Ceuta & Melilla

2000                   0                           127

2001                     8                           157

2002                     236                     106

2003                     413                     108

2004                     206                    64

2005                     437                    146

2006                     302                    215

2007                     621                    142

2008                     702                    216

Total                     2,925                1,281

Year\ Route      Canary              Aegean Sea


2000                   16                         32

2001                     40                        102

2002                     39                        94

2003                     130                      81

2004                     232                      103

2005                     185                      98

2006                     1,035                  73

2007                     745                      257

2008                      136                      181

Total                       2,558                 1,021

Year                Total All Routes

2000                 175

2001                   307

2002                   475

2003                   732

2004                   605

2005                   866

2006                   1,625

2007                   1,765

2008                   1,235

Total                  7,785

Source :


Click here for link to full Report in both English and francais.

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Filed under Algeria, Data / Stats, Egypt, France, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Mediterranean, Morocco, Portugal, Reports, Spain, Tunisia, Turkey

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