Across MENA governments are grappling with issues of mixed migration – refugees, migrants, stateless persons, trafficked persons and others, moving within and through the region. With constant news of both deaths and rescues at sea, reports have circulated that the EU are visiting countries in North Africa, including Morocco, Tunisia and Egypt to scope possibility for migrant centres in north Africa as a way to prevent to boats departing for Europe. It is not clear whether these centres would be closed detention facilities or not.
Seeking similarly to deter maritime arrivals, in Yemen, recent headlines indicate that Yemen has established a ‘maritime security zone’ to deter irregular migration. In Egypt, the plight of Palestinian and Syrian refugees apprehended and subsequently detained whilst trying to leave Egypt by boat for Europe , have made world headlines. The most recent reports indicate 15 children are currently detained, including a 10 month old baby.
In the gulf states, a recent infographic released by migrantrights.org highlights well the plight of migrant workers detained and deported during state efforts to crack down on irregular migrant workers – too often the victims of exploitative labour practices.
The IDC is keen to explore with members how detention in mixed migration contexts can and is being avoided in MENA, and how to better protect migrant workers and prevent use of detention for migrant workers, particularly those fleeing situations of exploitative labour. Junita Calder is the new IDC MENA Regional Coordinator and can be contacted on [email protected]
Junita takes over from Lucy Bowring, who remains with the IDC as the Capacity Building Coordinator.