Tag Archives: ECOWAS

DIIS Seminar: Recreating a Borderless West Africa: Migration Management by ECOWAS (Copenhagen, 24 Oct)

The Danish Institute for International Studies (DIIS) will hold a seminar (English) in Copenhagen on 24 October 2011, 14.00-16.30.  Advance registration is required.  Registration deadline is Friday, 21 October 2011 at 12.00 noon.  Click here for more information.

From the DIIS announcement:  “Historically, migrants have regarded West Africa as a sub-region of free movement. Independence has altered the traditionally borderless migration systems, while recent political and economic crises in formerly labor-importing countries of the sub-region have led to restricted regulations on migration and a series of expulsions. The free movement of persons within the ECOWAS (Economic Community of West African States) community is an enduring achievement of the organization. Targets are set for a community passport and a single monetary zone. This seminar will look closer at the functioning of the ECOWAS secretariat in a context of wavering political support, political instability, inter-state border disputes not to mention increased pressure for migration due to two decades of economic downfall. The focus on migration will increase the understanding of the bottlenecks of an organization that during the first 25 years of existence was largely based on state-to-state relations, but where migration is transforming the traditional linguistic divide between countries that are themselves metamorphosing from immigrant-receiving to transit to migrant-sending countries.

Speakers

Sanoh N’Fally is the Director of Free Movement for ECOWAS under the Office of the Commissioner of Trade, Customs and Free Movement….

Cathrine Withol de Wenden is a Professor at Sciences Politiques in Paris. Her research focuses on the relationship between migration and politics, migration flows, migration policies and citizenship in Europe and in the rest of the world. She is the author of “The Borders and Boundaries of Mobility” in Antoine Pécoud & Paul de gutcheneire (eds), Migrations without Borders: A Global Perspective, (UNESCO/Berghahn, 2007) as well as Atlas of Migration in the World: Refugees or Voluntary Migrants (Autrement, 2005).

Anne Sofie Westh Olsen is a PhD Candidate at the Danish Institute for International Studies. Her current research covers West African migration, both in terms of intra-regional flows and return elite migrants. She is the author of the DIIS working paper Reconsidering West African Migration: Changing focus from European immigration to intra-regional flows.”

Click here for more information.

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DIIS Policy Brief: Europe Fighting Irregular Migration – Consequences of European non-entry policies for West African Mobility

A new Policy Brief from DIIS by Nauja Kleist, “Europe Fighting Irregular Migration – Consequences of European non-entry policies for West African Mobility.”

Abstract: “In collaboration with African countries, the EU is fighting irregular migration to Europe through border control and deportations. However, rather than halting irregular migration, such policies reconfigure mobility flows and make migration routes more dangerous and difficult. The phenomenon of migrants and asylum-seekers crossing the Mediterranean in boats to reach Europe is just one example of this phenomenon.

In this DIIS Policy Brief, Nauja Kleist explores the consequences of EU migration policies and the fight against irregular migration, focusing on West African migration. The overall policy tendency is a differentiation of African migration flows, making mobility easier for educated and privileged groups and more difficult and dangerous for the large majority of migrants. Likewise there is a tendency to conflate migration within Africa – by far the largest and most important aspect of West African migration – with migration towards Europe.

Examining some of the main routes and migration systems between West and North Africa, the brief recommends to ensure evidence-based and context-sensitive migration polices, to carefully consider the human and politics costs of externalizing border control, and to ensure further access to legal and safe migration.”

Click here for full document.

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Filed under Analysis, Eastern Atlantic, ECOWAS, European Union, Frontex, Mauritania, Mediterranean, Morocco, Reports, Senegal, Spain

UNODC Report: The Role of Organized Crime in the Smuggling of Migrants from West Africa to the EU

UNODC released a report on 30 May: The Role of Organized Crime in the Smuggling of Migrants from West Africa to the European Union.  From the UNODC web page: “… The new report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) investigates the involvement of organized criminal groups in the smuggling of migrants from West Africa towards the European Union (EU).  The involvement of organized crime in the smuggling of migrants is a sensitive and controversial issue in West African countries, as the report discusses at various points. The publication contributes to better understand the underlying mechanisms and actors involved in this criminal process as a basis for policy reforms in countries affected.

Information in the report was compiled by a team of researchers from West Africa and Europe using both documentary studies and field research conducted in Mali, the Niger, Nigeria and Spain. …  UNODC, as guardian of the Protocol against the Smuggling of Migrants by Land, Sea and Air, supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime, possesses specific expertise and experience that could be put at the service of all countries affected to support them in matters linked to prevention, legislation, operations or prosecution.”

From the Report’s Summary:  “The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), through the European Union-funded ‘Law enforcement capacity-building to prevent and combat smuggling of migrants in the ECOWAS region and Mauritania (Impact)’, undertook to investigate the role played by organized criminal groups in the smuggling of migrants from West Africa to Europe.

The present report is aimed primarily at decision makers, law enforcement and judicial officials, but also at a wider audience interested in irregular migration. It contributes to a better understanding of the underlying mechanisms and actors involved in this criminal process as a basis for policy reforms in the West African countries concerned.  This report was prepared through desk and field research, conducted in Mali, Morocco, the Niger, Nigeria, Senegal and Spain. Interviews were conducted with over 200 people in Africa and Europe belonging to three main groups: migrants, national authorities and non-governmental organizations, and smugglers.

Four main findings can be mentioned:

• Transnational organized criminal groups are generally involved in the smuggling of migrants from West Africa to Europe. However, there are important differences among them in terms of specialization and professionalism. With regard to trafficking in persons and the smuggling of non-African irregular migrants, criminal groups are clearly well organized and structured, and keep close contacts with operatives in several countries. On the other hand, other would-be migrants in West Africa have to deal with loose networks that are not permanently structured. Various groups of actors usually collaborate for one particular operation, and there are no exclusive relationships between those criminal groups.

• Specialization and the building of transnational criminal networks usually come as a result of increased efficiency in border interdiction. Within West Africa, freedom of movement gives little incentive, if any, to engage in the smuggling of migrants. However, the situation changes when there are natural obstacles, such as the sea, or man-made obstacles, such as surveillance

• In most cases, smugglers are migrants themselves. Realizing that their knowledge acquired through (often painful) experience may be used by other migrants in exchange for remuneration, some migrants decide to enter the business of smuggling of migrants. They may then become specialized professional smugglers, or they use their knowledge to finance the completion of their journey to Europe.

• Irregular migrants generally do not see themselves as victims, and smugglers do not see themselves as criminals. A complex relationship exists between irregular migrants and smugglers. The latter have an interest in maintaining the flow and feeding youngsters with dreams of success. These dreams are also kept alive in some West African countries by families and circles where important social value is attached to those who decide to leave, as well as by those who have made it to Europe, be it legally or illegally, even though their situation in Europe is often worse than it was at home….”

Click here for Report.

Click here for article on UNDOC web page.

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Filed under Analysis, Eastern Atlantic, European Union, Mauritania, Mediterranean, Morocco, Niger, Reports, Senegal, Spain, United Nations, UNODC

15th ECOWAS-EU Ministerial Troika Meeting (Communiqué)

Excerpts From Final Communiqué – 16 June 2009

“1. The fifteenth ministerial Troika meeting between the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the European Union (EU) was held in Luxembourg on June 16, 2009 under the Co–Chairs of Ambassador Bagudu M. Hirse, Minister of State, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Nigeria and Mr. Tomáš Pojar, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic.

“36. ECOWAS and the EU reaffirmed the need to reinforce their cooperation in the area of migration and development. In this context, they welcomed the Declaration adopted at the second Euro-African Ministerial Conference on migration and development, held in Paris on November 25, 2008, which provides a good basis for developing their cooperation. The Declaration encompasses in a comprehensive and balanced way all the issues relating to migration, by addressing the facilitation of legal migration, the fight against illegal migration, as well as the synergies between migration and development. Moreover, the Declaration establishes a three year cooperation programme (2009-2011), which identifies concrete actions and measures to be taken in the relevant areas. Both Parties underlined their commitment to actively work for the implementation of the declaration and of its cooperation programme.

“37. ECOWAS informed the EU on the state of play of preparation of its regional action plan on migration and the EU reaffirmed its willingness to support it through the Regional indicative programme under the 10th EDF.

“38. The two Parties further agreed to step up expert-level discussions on migration related issues involving interested Member States in future meetings of the joint working group on migration, with a view to identifying concrete areas of cooperation that could be developed, in particular within the framework of the Regional indicative programme.”

For the full text of the Final Communiqué, click here.

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Filed under Communiqués, Eastern Atlantic, ECOWAS, European Union