Common Agenda or Europe’s Agenda? International Protection, Human Rights and Migration from the Horn of Africa

  • Citation: Crawley, Heaven, and Brad K. Blitz. "Common agenda or Europe’s agenda? International protection, human rights and migration from the Horn of Africa." Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies 45.12 (2019): 2258-2274.
    • Topics:
    • Human Rights
    • Keywords:
    • Sub-Saharan Africa
    • Horn of Africa
    • European Union (EU)
    • human rights
    • migration
    • mobility partnerships

This article examines the relationship between international protection, human rights and migration in the context of the EU Agenda on Migration which aims to ‘tackle migration upstream’ and reduce arrivals to Europe from the Horn of Africa (HoA) (Eritrea, Somalia, Ethiopia, South Sudan and Sudan). This initiative is underpinned by assumptions about the factors associated with migration from the region, including the idea that poverty, rather than political oppression and human rights abuse, is the principal cause. The article draws on interview and survey data with 128 people originating from HoA countries and arriving in Europe between March 2011 and October 2016 to show that conflict, insecurity and human rights abuse in countries of origin and neighbouring countries often drives decisions to move and/or move on. This evidence challenges the underlying premise of the EU Agenda. Moreover, a lack of coherence between Europe’s ambitions to control irregular migration and co-operation with rights-violating States threatens to create further political destabilisation which may ultimately increase, rather than decrease, outward migration from the region. Agreements between the EU and HoA countries should be re-centred to focus on compliance with international human rights standards rather than States’ willingness to prevent irregular migration to Europe.

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