By Sylvanus Wekesa

Historically, migration has been an important part of human socio-economic activities and has facilitated activities such as trade, search for pasture, adapting to changing climatic conditions among others. In the post-Cold War era and more so in the post-911 period, the establishment of strict migration policies and tighter border control points have significantly hampered the cross-border movement of people.  Despite genuine push factors that necessitate people to migrate, there is an invisible force that tries to hinder this. Countries have tightened their borders, introduced strict anti-immigration laws and host populations are fearful and hesitantly receptive and welcoming of new immigrants.

Migration therefore has become a contentious issue. Many countries receiving huge flow of immigrants complain of the perceived or otherwise negative effects brought by immigrants. In Europe, local citizens complain of increase in crime, stress on the available social amenities and general overcrowding. In Africa, citizens complain of immigrants taking their jobs, women and also in the era of terrorism, that immigrants pose a greater security threat.

February 5, 2009
Some 115 would-be immigrants await rescue on their boat after it ran into difficulties, 48 nautical miles off Malta Armed Forces of Malta Air Wing Reuters

By Desmond Davies

The rising tide of young people from Africa and beyond daring to make the hazardous trip across the Mediterranean in a desperate bid to enter Europe illegally has seen a corresponding rise in the number of deaths across the sea. Desmond Davies looks at why migrants are dying to make the rough journey   

AFTER weeks of debate and soul-searching, the European Union (EU) and other international migration agencies have decided to make concerted efforts to end people smuggling from Libya that, at the time of writing, had left more than 5,000 drowned in the Mediterranean Sea. The delay in reaching consensus on how to deal with this human tragedy was the issue of illegal immigration to Europe. The EU wanted to curtail this and if it sent its navies to rescue people from the sea, then this would just embolden both the smugglers and migrants – encouraging them to continue to make the dangerous journey.

Photo by Reuters

By Barney Walsh

It is not difficult to talk about the securitisation of immigration within a European and British context. Even critics of Barry Buzan’s theory - that speech acts publicising an apparent danger which result in special measures being employed against that threat, constitute a ‘security’ issue - accept that it is perhaps at its explanatory best when being applied to liberal democracies, notably against asylum seekers or migrants. In the UK, at different times and to varying extents media and politicians present migrants as potential terrorists; benefit scroungers; or a threat to public welfare and strain on health services, education, and housing.

May 14, 2014
Around 250 migrants are hoisted onto a landing craft of an Italian Navy ship after being rescued in the Mediterranean between Italy and Libya Giorgio Perottino Reuters

By  Nayanka Perdigao

At least 1,750 people have died this year trying to cross the Mediterranean en route to Europe, a 20-fold increase from the same period in 2014 when 96 people died. The latest deaths in Sicily, Italy occurred just as naval chiefs from 26 European countries were convening to discuss the migrant crisis in Naples, southern Italy. This recent series of deaths at sea and inflow of migrants not only highlights the challenges faced by the so called ‘frontier states’ Italy, Spain Greece among others but have also prompted fresh calls for the European Union to reinstate the full-scale search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean.

Men from Jeppestown hostel make threatening gestures towards foreign-owned businesses in the area Ihsaan Haffejee Al Jazeera
Men from Jeppestown hostel make threatening gestures towards foreign-owned businesses in the area (Ihsaan Haffejee Al Jazeera)

By Moses Tofa

Since the 2008 xenophobic attacks, xenophobia has remained entrenched in South Africa. In March 2015, the Zulu King—Goodwill Zwelithini—made a speech at a moral regeneration rally in Pongola, Kwazulu Natal in which he stated that foreign nationals should pack their belongings and go back to their countries. He criticised them for negatively influencing local cultural foundations and taking income generating opportunities from local people. Edward Zuma, the son of President Jacob Zuma, expressed his support for Zwelithini’s remarks, stating that South Africa is “sitting on a ticking time bomb”. Following these remarks, the country witnessed the resurgence of xenophobic violence in Durban, in which at least seven people were killed while hundreds were not only displaced but were injured and they lost their livelihoods. Scores were repatriated to their countries, particularly Zimbabwe, Mozambique and Malawi.

The African Leadership Centre (ALC) and the Council for the Development of Social Science Research in Africa (CODESRIA), which is based in Dakar, Senegal held a one day Open Forum in Nairobi on Victims in the Workings of International Criminal Justice in Africa: Lessons for and from the Kenya. This meeting was part of the International Criminal Justice, Reconciliation and Peace in Africa: The ICC and Beyond Programme which is a programme CODESRIA has run together with the Social Science Research Council. The broad goal of the programme is to significantly improve the quality of scholarship, debates and policy on international criminal justice, peace and reconciliation in Africa while further democratizing the nature of conversations on the subject through conferences, the conduct and dissemination of studies and policy engagement.

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