Closed borders, dangerous journeys, trafficking & detention: little opportunity for safety in MENA

Egyptians carry their belongings as theyWithin MENA and on the border with Europe, we are seeing widespread reports of tightening and even closing of borders making movement of people, including refugees fleeing Syria, increasingly difficult (Syria/JordanMorocco/SpainMENA/EUEgypt/Libya).   Recently IOM reported that the Mediterranean Sea is the world’s most dangerous border between countries not at war with each other.

With little opportunity for regular movement, those seeking to move, often seeking protection, may take dangerous journeys at the hands of smugglers, with many lives lost along the way, and/or may become victim to human traffickers.  Children face particular risks: in Africa and the Middle East, two thirds of trafficked persons are children.  There are reports that smugglers are increasingly using children to sail boats from Libya and Egypt across the Mediterranean, leaving those children at risk of criminal charges & jail in Italy.  In Egypt, there are Syrian & Palestinian children amongst a group of refugees detained, now at risk of imminent deportation from Egypt, with fears of refoulment.

In Tel Aviv, where asylum seekers who have survived the incredibly dangerous journey across the Sinai, the Israeli government is yet again looking to push through the much contested Anti-infiltration bill, young asylum seekers detained in Holot  ‘rap of broken promises’.