Africa

Migrants facing violence, deaths on routes across African continent -report

By |

Despite commitments undertaken by the international community to save lives and address vulnerabilities, in accordance with international law, the three organisations warn that current international action is inadequate.

New data by the International Migration Organisation (IMO), the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) shows migrants are facing extreme forms of violence, human rights abuse and death on land and sea routes across the African continent.

The data collected in three years warns of an increase in the number of people attempting perilous land crossings and the protection risks they face, which is contained in a new report titled "On this journey, no-one cares if you live or die (Volume 2)."

According to the report, the refugees and migrants are increasingly traversing areas where insurgent coups, militias and other criminal actors operate and where trafficking, kidnapping for ransom, forced labour and sexual exploitation are rife.

Others are; physical torture, physical violence, arbitrary detention, deaths, enslavement, and organ removal. Robbery, collective repulsions and refoulement all of which, the report says are perpetrated mainly by criminal gangs and armed groups.

The three organisations further note that some smuggling routes are now shifting towards more remote areas to avoid active conflict zones or border controls by state and non-state actors, subjecting people on the move to even greater risks.

The report notes that the deteriorating situation in countries of origin and host countries, such as new conflicts in the Sahel and Sudan, the devastating impact of climate change and disasters on new and protracted emergencies in the East and Horn of Africa, as well as racism and xenophobia towards refugees and migrants, are some of the push factors forcing people out of their homes.

The central Mediterranean migration route continues to be among the deadliest in the world.

IOM Director of the Coordination Office for the Mediterranean Laurence Hart noted that, "a very high number of people still take the risk of embarking on very dangerous journeys. Obviously, there's a lot of people who do not choose to move, but they are pushed because of political conflict, instability."

"Huge gaps in protection and assistance prevail across the Central Mediterranean route, pushing refugees and migrants to move onward on dangerous journeys. Specific support as well as access to justice for survivors of various forms of abuse is rarely available anywhere on the routes. Inadequate funding and restrictions on humanitarian access (including in key locations such as informal detention centres and holding facilities) are also hampering support," the report notes.

The organisations added that like-minded partners and several governments have stepped up life-saving protection services and assistance, identification and referral mechanisms along the routes but humanitarian action is not enough.

On his part, Bram Frouws, the Director of MMC said, "last week we heard that 5,000 people died on the Atlantic route to the Canary Islands in the first five months of this year - that's an increase of 700 per cent compared to the same period last year."

He, however, noted that though the figures are an underestimation and that countless others die on the land routes, up to the Mediterranean coast, possibly even more than at sea.

Despite commitments undertaken by the international community to save lives and address vulnerabilities, in accordance with international law, the three organisations warn that current international action is inadequate.

They call for concrete, routes-based protection responses to save lives and reduce suffering, as well as a push to address the root causes of displacement and drivers of irregular movements– through positive action on peacebuilding, respect for human rights, governance, inequality, climate change and social cohesion, as well as the creation of safe pathways for migrants and refugees.

"These should span countries of origin, asylum, transit and destination," they note.

Reader comments

Recent Stories

Budget cuts jeopardise Kenya's commitment to Universal Health Coverage

Budget cuts jeopardise Kenya's commitment to Universal Health Coverage

Friday, July 19, 2024
Protests erupt over land tussle pitting Riyadha Mosque and Mumbai Mall in Gikomba

Protests erupt over land tussle pitting Riyadha Mosque and Mumbai Mall in Gikomba

Friday, July 19, 2024
ICJ declares Israel's presence in Palestinian territory unlawful

ICJ declares Israel's presence in Palestinian territory unlawful

Friday, July 19, 2024
Kenyans in diaspora cut money sent home by Sh4.3 billion in June

Kenyans in diaspora cut money sent home by Sh4.3 billion in June

Friday, July 19, 2024
Win for residents as KDF ordered to vacate 2,500 hectares of land in Marsabit

Win for residents as KDF ordered to vacate 2,500 hectares of land in Marsabit

Friday, July 19, 2024
Setback for Kenya as Uganda secures bid to host AU humanitarian agency

Setback for Kenya as Uganda secures bid to host AU humanitarian agency

Friday, July 19, 2024
Fabregas appointed as Como head coach after promotion to Serie A

Fabregas appointed as Como head coach after promotion to Serie A

Friday, July 19, 2024
Details about Health CS nominee Debrah Mulongo Barasa

Details about Health CS nominee Debrah Mulongo Barasa

Friday, July 19, 2024
Miano poised to make history as Kenya's first female Attorney General if she gets MPs nod

Miano poised to make history as Kenya's first female Attorney General if she gets MPs nod

Friday, July 19, 2024
CBK Report: Mobile financial services see significant growth in 2023

CBK Report: Mobile financial services see significant growth in 2023

Friday, July 19, 2024
Autopsy of slain Kitengela protester registered as road accident victim pushed to Monday

Autopsy of slain Kitengela protester registered as road accident victim pushed to Monday

Friday, July 19, 2024
Julius Migos Ogamba: Machogu's running mate nominated as Education CS

Julius Migos Ogamba: Machogu's running mate nominated as Education CS

Friday, July 19, 2024
Kalonzo leads rebellion against joining Ruto's government.

Kalonzo leads rebellion against joining Ruto's government.

Friday, July 19, 2024
Kindiki, Duale make a come back in Ruto's new Cabinet

Kindiki, Duale make a come back in Ruto's new Cabinet

Friday, July 19, 2024
Kenya receives first batch of Vietnam-era military helicopters from US

Kenya receives first batch of Vietnam-era military helicopters from US

Friday, July 19, 2024
Ole Sapit calls on Ruto to appoint competent cabinet as church faces complicity accusations

Ole Sapit calls on Ruto to appoint competent cabinet as church faces complicity accusations

Friday, July 19, 2024
Interior ministry cleaner faces corruption charges for fraudulently receiving Sh186M for fake supplies

Interior ministry cleaner faces corruption charges for fraudulently receiving Sh186M for fake supplies

Friday, July 19, 2024
Barcelona fans raising funds in TikTok for Williams signing

Barcelona fans raising funds in TikTok for Williams signing

Friday, July 19, 2024
Kenya accuses Ford Foundation grantees of fueling protests, demands accountability

Kenya accuses Ford Foundation grantees of fueling protests, demands accountability

Friday, July 19, 2024
Transport projects face major setbacks due to significant budget cuts

Transport projects face major setbacks due to significant budget cuts

Friday, July 19, 2024
Live Updates