MIXED MIGRATION THEMATIC WORKING GROUP
Mixed migration is an important feature of mobility in West Africa. Although important progress has been made in the implementation of the ECOWAS free movement framework within West Africa, people on the move in the region, regardless of their legal statuses, continue to encounter situations of vulnerability and violations of their rights, relating to their personal circumstances and the conditions in their countries of origin, in transit and in places of destination.
Addressing mixed migration, the IOM/FMM West Africa (Free Movement of Persons and Migration) supports free movement and migration in the region which aims at strengthening the capacities of the ECOWAS Commission and national governments in the area of Mixed Migration. ECOWAS and member states are working hard to obtain full respect for the individual rights of those on the move and particularly those in vulnerable situations, including people without documentation and in an irregular situation, unaccompanied or separated children, refugees, and victims of trafficking.
The complexities of migration in and out of the region have resulted in other stakeholders supporting member states to conduct a series of training programs for border operatives in Mixed Migration focusing on the complexity of migration flows. This would enable ECOWAS member states border operatives to adopt a holistic approach to the reasons pushing people to move to accord them that respect of their human rights as migrants. The diversity of profiles and needs of those in the bracket of the mixed migration who travel in the region are key to their migration.
It is in this regard therefore to implement appropriate actions to strengthen the protection framework at the regional level which should be often focused or targeted exclusively towards specific categories of people on the move. Although initiatives and guidance exist at the regional level, implementation is weak due to a lack of capacity, strategic coordination and direction on shared objectives.
ECOWAS has made important progress towards strengthening the regional framework for the protection of ECOWAS citizens outside their countries of origin, particularly in the areas of combating trafficking and protecting children on the move. However, actions to strengthen the protection framework at the regional level are often not coordinated in respect of people on the move, including asylum-seekers and refugees, stateless persons, victims of trafficking and children.
While many initiatives and policies exist to strengthen the regional protection framework, they are often not operationalized due to lack of strategic planning, coordination and capacity. Many gaps exist between policy frameworks and guidelines at the regional level and the practices of member states and state authorities. ECOWAS, with the support of international partners and NGO’s, has an important role to play in bridging these gaps.
Objective of the TWG
Defines a number of actions, interventions and activities that ECOWAS can take over the short to medium term to improve the regional protection framework in the context of mixed movements within and outside the region.
Mixed Migration TWG, therefore, aims at précising the mixed migration strategy by clarifying the problems and orientations, and increasing the expertise and training capacities of ECOWAS region and Mauritania. This is to enable Member States border officials gain awareness and understand the trends and challenges rising from mixed migration flows in West Africa and the priorities to better support vulnerable migrants as well as member states in their provision of services to migrants.
Areas to be examined are as follows:
Specifically, the TWG is focusing on: