Migrants, mobility and the state in the Horn of Africa Getting beyond the headlines in the upcoming issue of the Horn of Africa Bulletin

Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) on the road, Sudan. Creative Commons: UN Photo/Tim McKulka

At a briefing session at the Institute for Peace and Security Studies (IPSS) on 2 July, Philip Bob Jusu, Migration Manager of the African Union‘s Social Affairs Department admitted that the non-binding nature of its resolutions hampered its results.

In 2015, the rising number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean to reach Europe, the accidents they meet at sea and the political crisis that immigration has led to in the European Union (EU), has drawn a lot of attention.

In the upcoming issue of HAB we turn our attention to migration between the countries in the Horn of Africa. There are key gaps in our understanding of migratory flows and their impact in the Horn. The patterns and flows of migrants inter-regionally between states in the Horn region have yet to be studied comprehensively. The push and pull factors that explain these movements and their relationship to migration to the Middle East, Europe and North America is also a major lacunae in our knowledge of mobility in the Horn. The political and economic interaction between migrants, host communities and host states in the Horn is a relatively underexplored area. While remittance flows from immigrant communities from Europe, North America and the Middle East are regarded as a key economic/financial resource for the Horn, the economic impact of migrants in Horn countries, on their countries of origin and host countries is a complete blank.

Very little is known for instance regarding the legal and regulatory frameworks at the national level that govern migration and migratory flows in the IGAD (Inter-Governmental Authority on Development) region. The experience of the member states of the IGAD also reveals interesting idiosyncrasies in the treatment of migrants and refugees from neighboring states where migrants and refugees receive differential treatment depending on their point of origin. Only a few studies have explored the socio-political impact and pattern of interaction between migrant communities on the one hand and host communities and states on the other. In the past, the political instrumentalization of migrants by host governments and insurgent movements has been well documented but contemporary studies on such phenomenon in the Horn are rare. There have also been unconfirmed allegations that migrants and immigration from neighboring countries are key concerns for the Djiboutian political elite.

The upcoming issue of the HAB in focusing on the theme of migration between the countries in the Horn region will be a preliminary and tentative attempt in filling the blanks.

We are accepting submissions until 10 August 2015.

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