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Quarterly Mixed Migration Updates, January to March 2022

This article presents the key updates on mixed migration from five regions around the world during the first quarter of 2022. Links to the full Quarterly Mixed Migration Updates per region are included below.

Latin America and the Caribbean | North Africa | West Africa | East Africa and Yemen | Asia


Latin America and the Caribbean

Key Updates Quarter 1 – 2022

  • According to the latest update of the Regional Inter-Agency Coordination Platform for Venezuelan Refugees and Migrants (R4V), as of February 2022, 041.690 Venezuelans left their country. Key actors at borders reported that mixed migration out of Venezuela remained significant in 2022, but also identified an increase of people returning to Venezuela from the countries in the region. There is no consolidated data on returnees, making it difficult to establish the scope of these return movements.
  • The migration of Venezuelan refugees and migrants to Central and North America increased considerably in 2021 and in the first months of 2022. In 2021, Venezuelans came fifth in terms of irregular entries into Panama (2% of the total number of irregular entries to Panama through the Darien, detected and registered by immigration authorities). In 2022, they became the top nationality, making up 26% of the total number of irregular entries in January 2022. This change has created new migration routes between Colombia and Panama.
  • The S. Customs and Border protection (CBP) reported in January 22.779 encounters the U.S.- Mexico border with Venezuelan citizens, an increase by 76 times compared to January 2021. However, as of February 2022, this figure dropped again to 3.072, a possible consequence of the implementation of the visa for Venezuelans in Mexico.
  • On December 6, 2021, and despite having declared on several occasions wanting to repeal it, the United States federal government ordered the application of an expanded version of the program Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), known as the “Remain in Mexico” program. Under this policy, persons who sought asylum to the U.S. authorities at the border, or after being apprehended while crossing irregularly, were returned to Mexico to await the various steps in the handling of their cases.
  • On April 1, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the agency would stop authorizing Title 42 on May 23, declaring the expulsions are no longer necessary to protect US public health. Three states (Missouri, Arizona and Louisiana) have sued the US government and seek to block the Title 42 termination. The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) is expecting an increase in arrivals at the southern border. Local and international organizations at the US – Mexico border are also preparing for a shift in migration patterns.

Thematic Focus: Double impact: Venezuelan refugees and migrants in Colombia caught up in armed conflict and further displacement

Read the full QMMU

 

North Africa

Key Updates Quarter 1 – 2022

  • Land and sea arrivals to Italy and Spain from North Africa through the Central (CMR) and Western Mediterranean Routes (WMR) increased by 13% compared to the same period in 2021.
  • Data from the Spanish Ministry of Interior show an increase of land and sea arrivals in the first two months of 2022 of 73.2% compared to the same period last year. According to the Ministry’s figures, more than 98% of these arrivals were registered by sea, with most arrivals registered at the Canary Islands.
  • According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), in Q1 of 2022 3,094 refugees and migrants were intercepted by the Libyan Coast Guard (LCG) and returned to Libya.
  • 410 refugees and migrants were reported dead or missing in the Mediterranean in Q1, of which 373 were along the CMR and 37 along the WMR. This marks a slight increase compared to the same period in 2021.
  • In March, media reported on Germany’s announcement that it would no longer participate in the support and training of the LCG in Libya, carried out by the European Union (EU) since 2016, citing cases of mistreatment of intercepted and returned migrants and ‘‘unacceptable behaviour’’ by authorities.
  • The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Food Programme (WFP) warn that combined effects of conflict, economic crisis, and poor harvests are significantly affecting people’s access to food and will likely double the number of people facing acute hunger in Sudan to more than 18 million people by September 2022, having the potential to impact on erupting and resource-driven conflicts and forced internal and cross-border displacements.

Thematic Focus: Arrests of West and Central African students in Tunisia

Read the full QMMU

 

West Africa

Key Updates Quarter 1 – 2022

  • High-level visits to Niger: In February, Niger received visits from the Director General of IOM and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, and in a separate mission, the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs. Both delegations met with the president and other high-ranking government officials and made site visits, including to Agadez.
  • Anti-smuggling operation in Niger. In January, the Nigerien police arrested approximately twenty people in Niamey and Maradi in connection to smuggling of migrants. They were implicated in document fraud and the organization of plane transport to Europe using these false documents
  • Senegal FRONTEX proposal: During a visit to Senegal by a delegation from the EU, the Commissioner for Home Affairs proposed an operational deployment of Frontex to Senegal. Should the Senegalese government accept the EU’s offer, it would be the first time Frontex would operate outside of Europe with its own personnel. Senegal’s Interior Minister has agreed to undertake “technical discussions” on the offer.
  • Cross borders movements and internal displacement continue unabated in the region: In the first quarter, some 17,677 people entered Niger’s western regions of Tillabéri and Tahoua from Mali. During the month of March, ongoing violence and banditry in northwestern Nigeria drove around 8,629 people into the Maradi region of In Burkina Faso the first quarter of the year saw the second biggest spike in internal displacement since the beginning of conflict there, with 160,000 people displaced in January alone.
  • Canary Islands arrivals: There was an increase in irregular arrivals to Spain in the first quarter of 2022 compared to the corresponding period of 2021. The majority of these were to the Canary Islands, which as of 31 March had documented 5,871 arrivals, a 71% increase over the first quarter of 2021.
  • Expulsions into Niger: Based on figures from the NGO Alarme Phone Sahara, some 8,207 people were expelled from Algeria to Niger in the first quarter of the year.[1] While exact numbers are not clear, hundreds of people were also expelled from Libya into Niger during this period.

[1] Total calculated based on figures found on the Alarme Phone Sahara website: “January to March 2022: Mass deportations from Algeria and Libya to Niger” and “March 2022: Arrival of further deportation convoys. Precarious situation in Assamaka and in the cities of Niger.”

Thematic Focus: Motivations and means of entry to engage in migrant smuggling 

Read the full QMMU

 

East Africa and Yemen

Key Updates Quarter 1 – 2022

  • Refugee camp caught in conflict; first food aid delivery in Tigray in 3 months: in Afar, a refugee camp was caught up in the fighting; five people were killed and over 20,000 displaced. Over 500 metric tonnes of food supply were delivered in Tigray for the first time in 3 months following the declaration of a humanitarian truce by the federal government.
  • A new multimillion-pound deal between the UK and Rwanda: will see asylum seekers arriving in the UK irregularly flown to Rwanda to apply for asylum and stay there in case claims are accepted. The plan has received widespread condemnation.
  • The Horn of Africa is facing one of the worst droughts in recent history: The UN estimates that more than 13 million people are food insecure across Ethiopia, Kenya and Somalia, and that conditions have displaced more than 800,000 people since January 2022 alone, with forecasts of an additional 1 million people at risk of displacement. The food insecurity in the region is further compounded by skyrocketing food prices due to war in Ukraine, as many countries in the region heavily rely on wheat from Russia and Ukraine.
  • 69% increase in East African migrant arrivals in Yemen: a total of 19,652 East African migrants arrived in Yemen this quarter, against 11,612 in the final quarter of 2021.
  • Continued deportation of Eritrean refugees from Egypt: In an apparent continuing trend, 31 Eritreans were deported from Egypt during March. Another group of 50 Eritreans are reported to be at risk of deportation and are detained in Aswan City where they are barred from accessing asylum processes.
  • Saudi Arabia set to deport more than 100,000 Ethiopian migrants: More than 100,000 Ethiopians are expected to be repatriated from Saudi Arabia over the next 11 months. Reportedly, more than 5,000 Ethiopians had been deported as of April 8, with thousands more expected each week.
  • More than 200 East Africans evacuated from Libya: In two separate operations, 99 East Africans and 119 East Africans were evacuated from Libya to Italy and Rwanda, respectively, this quarter. The evacuees were held in deplorable conditions in detention for long periods of time.

Thematic Focus: Interception, detention, and deportation along the Southern Route

Read the full QMMU

 

Asia

Key Updates Quarter 1 – 2022

  • Afghan evacuees are stuck in legal limbo: Months after hundreds of thousands of Afghan nationals were evacuated from Afghanistan after the Taliban takeover, many remain stuck in resettlement limbo in the western countries.
  • Myanmar and Bangladesh resume talks on repatriating Rohingya refugees: While the two countries agreed on a repatriation date in June, many Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar say they are unwilling to return to Myanmar before a series of long-standing issues are addressed, including the granting of full citizenship rights and protection from persecution.
  • Rohingya refugees continue onward movements from Bangladesh: On 25 March, 57 Rohingya refugees were captured by the Bangladeshi authorities while attempting to leave for Malaysia by a trawler. This was the second boat to attempt to leave Bangladesh in the first quarter of 2022.
  • Escalating conflicts on multiple fronts displaced thousands of people in Myanmar: Fighting has intensified in Kayah and Kayin states since December 2021, creating volatile new conflict zones. In Kayah alone, up to 170,000 people have been internally displaced and forced to seek shelter in community centers, churches, the jungle, or in the neighboring Shan state after a January military crackdown.
  • Refugees and migrants across the region still face barriers to accessing COVID-19 vaccine and treatment: Refugees and migrants in countries such as Thailand and Indonesia continue to face critical vaccine inequality due to logistical and administrative challenges.
  • Refugees in Australia’s offshore processing centers are eligible for resettlement in New Zealand: On 24 March, Australia announced that up to 450 refugees from its regional processing centers will be resettled in New Zealand over the next three years.

Thematic Focus: The unwelcome: Afghans continue facing pushbacks and deportation

Read the full QMMU