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Quarterly Mixed Migration Updates, July to September 2021

This article presents the key updates on mixed migration from five regions around the world during the third quarter of 2021. Links to the full Quarterly Mixed Migration Updates per region are included below.

 

Latin America and the Caribbean

Key Updates Quarter 3 – 2021

  • The number of Venezuelan refugees and migrants who intend to move onward from a first migration country due to the economic repercussions of the COVID-19 pandemic decreased, with some exceptions, contrary to the trend among refugees and migrants from other nationalities (mainly Haitians) who have undertaken onward movements to other countries, primarily towards the U.S.
  • On August 14, Haiti was shaken by a 2 earthquake causing 2,207 deaths, affecting more than 137,000 families and destroying over 53,000 homes, adding to already existing migration drivers. Weeks later, two boats with Haitian nationals onboard were captured while trying to reach Florida and Puerto Rico, respectively. In September, more than 4,000 Haitians were detained on the northern border of the Dominican Republic while trying to enter the country.
  • Attempts to reach the U.S. by sea by Haitian, Dominican and Cuban nationals have increased due to the continued implementation of summary expulsions under Title 42 of people on the move trying to enter the U.S. through its southern land border.
  • Panama and Colombia restrict the passage of people on the move through the Darien Gap. In August, the two countries agreed to allow 650 refugees and migrants to cross the Darien Gap daily. Starting in September, entry into Panama was reduced to 500 people per day, but Panamanian authorities are registering more than the allotted quota.
  • The U.S. is expelling people on the move deep into the south of Mexico – considered by the U.S. as a safe third country – to prevent the re-entry (recidivism) of those who had already been expelled across the U.S.-Mexico border under Title 42. Mexico is, in turn, expelling people on the move from other nationalities into Guatemala through two border crossing points: El Ceibo and El Carmen.
  • Increased homelessness among refugees and migrants due to the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since 2020, many people on the move have been evicted from their homes and had difficulty accessing housing. By mid-September, media outlets reported 4,015 Venezuelans being homeless in a town near the Brazilian border, Pacaraima – a 243% increase compared to figures in May. By end of September, sources confirmed near 3,500 people on the move, mostly from Venezuela and Colombia, stranded and homeless in Iquique, Chile.
  • Four caravans, mostly made up of refugees and migrants from Central America, Haiti and South America, departed Tapachula, Chiapas, in less than one week heading toward the north of Mexico but were broken up by immigration authorities in Huixtla, Chiapas.

Thematic Focus: Haitian mixed migration flows

Read the full QMMU

 

North Africa

Key Updates Quarter 3 – 2021

  • Land and sea arrivals to Italy and Spain from North Africa through the Central (CMR) and Western Mediterranean Routes (WMR) increased by 32% compared to the same period in 2020.
  • 9,998 refugees and migrants were intercepted at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard in Q3, representing a 159% increase compared to roughly the same period in 2020.
  • 526 refugees and migrants were reported dead or missing, of which 399 were along the CMR and 127 along the WMR, from July – September 2021. This marks an increase from 285 fatalities in the same period in 2020.
  • In Q3, Tunisians continued to represent the top nationality to arrive in Italy via the CMR between July – September 2021, representing 28% of arrivals.
  • The Libyan authorities continued to deport refugees and migrants, including 120 Tunisians from Libya to Tunisia, after being released from detention, as well as 140 Egyptians back to Egypt.
  • Eastern Sudan continues to receive refugees impacted by the Tigray crisis. From November 2020 up until September 2021, an estimated 55,785 Ethiopian refugees from Tigray arrived in the eastern states of Kassala, Gedaref and Blue Nile.

Thematic Focus: Chadians in Sudan

Read the full QMMU

 

West Africa

Key Updates Quarter 3 – 2021

  • Displacement in and from Burkina Faso: By the end of August, the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Burkina Faso had reached some 1,423,378. UNHCR also expressed concerns about cross border displacement, as they reported that the number of Burkinabè refugees and asylum seekers in the region had nearly doubled from January through July, with 17,500 new departures bringing the number to approximately 38,000.
  • Algeria expulsions to Niger: According to the NGO Alarme Phone Sahara, during the third quarter of 2021, Algerian officials forcibly expelled an estimated 4,697 people to Niger. Some 2,651 persons of primarily Nigerien origin, including substantial numbers of minors, were expelled in “official” convoys taken into Niger. Another 2,046 of other mainly West and Central African nationalities were expelled in “unofficial” convoys which typically leave people at the border in the desert.  Alarme Phone Sahara estimates that at least 16,580 people have been expelled from Algeria to Niger in the first eight months of the year.
  • Cessation of Ivorian refugee status: The Abidjan Joint Declaration on the Updated Roadmap for Comprehensive Solutions for Ivorian Refugees, issued by Côte d’Ivoire, neighboring states and UNHCR, has “recommended the application of the cessation clause of their refugee status” for Ivorian refugees, due to take effect as of 30 June 2022. Over 5,000 Ivorian refugees were repatriated to Côte d’Ivoire during the quarter.
  • Canary Islands arrivals: Some 4,905 refugees and migrants arrived by sea in the Canary Islands during the quarter, according to a compilation of UNHCR’s Spain Weekly Snapshots. As of 15 August, there had been almost 5 times as many arrivals since the beginning of the year as in the same period in 2020, and with the typically favorable weather conditions of October and November, further increases are expected.
  • Deaths at sea along the Atlantic route: IOM reported over 780 deaths of refugees and migrants along the Atlantic route to Spain’s Canary Islands in the first eight months of the year.  However, the recording of deaths at sea is notoriously difficult, and the NGO Caminando Fronteras has estimated a death toll closer to 2,000 so far this year, a 526% increase compared to the first half of 2020.

Thematic Focus: Needs of Young Refugees and Migrants in Urban Transit in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger

Read the full QMMU

 

Asia

Key Updates Quarter 3 – 2021

Thematic Focus: The impact of the Afghanistan crisis on migration – Increasingly securitized borders will only make migration riskier and more dangerous

  • Taliban takeover casts further shadow on humanitarian crises and increases the risks of irregular migration for Afghans: Since the Taliban took controlof Afghanistan’s capital city of Kabul, thousands of Afghans have been displaced and forced to seek refuge in neighboring provinces and across borders in nearby countries as political instability has mounted.
  • Continued challenges prevent the full inclusion of refugees and migrants in COVID-19 responses across Asia and the Pacific: Despite being disproportionately affected by the pandemic and its secondary economic impacts, many migrant workers have faced discriminatory obstacles in receiving treatment and assistance from host governments.
  • Isolation, poor conditions and lack of access to services force many Rohingya refugees to risk deadly onward journeys from Bhasan Char: This quarter saw the tragic deaths of at least 11 Rohingya refugees attempting to flee the remote island of Bhasan Char. Movement restrictions and a lack of livelihood opportunities were reported as the main drivers for the journeys.
  • Eight years of Australia’s offshore asylum processing: Since 2013, more than 3,000 asylum seekers who sought to reach Australia by boat have been forcibly transferred to offshore processing camps in Papua New Guinea and Nauru. Years of living in substandard conditions with reported inhumane treatment and medical neglect have caused immeasurable suffering for the already vulnerable group.
  • 70 years of the Refugee Convention, however challenges lie ahead: While the convention is needed more than ever, there are rising concerns over increasing attempts by some governments to disregard the Convention’s principles. Across Asia pushbacks, arrest and detention of refugees and people seeking asylum have been recorded at record levels.
  • Climate change could force 216 million people to migrate within their countries by 2050: Asia and the Pacific are among one of the most highly exposed regions to Climate Change. A new report from the World Bank has predicted there will be 49 million internal migrants in East Asia and the Pacific and 40 million internal migrants in South Asia by 2050.

Read the full QMMU

 

East Africa and Yemen

Key Updates Quarter 3 – 2021

  • Spreading conflict in Ethiopia disrupts migration routes east and south: Disruption in Afar has affected the flow of Ethiopian migrants into Djibouti heading towards Yemen and the Gulf. Further, the Oromo Liberation Army’s (OLA) plan to mount an offensive that could cut off a major highway linking Ethiopia and Kenya via Moyale, threatens movements from Ethiopia, through Kenya and further south, towards South Africa.
  • Over 40,000 Ethiopians repatriated from Saudi Arabia: More than 40,000 Ethiopians have been repatriated from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia this quarter as deportations continue. Tigrayan returnees comprised 34% of returns in July and 20% in August.
  • Over 400 migrants intercepted along the Southern route: Authorities in Kenya, Tanzania arrest and detain East Africans including Ethiopians, Burundians, Rwandese and Ugandans for various crimes including lack of documentation. Malawi deported 123 migrants out of a larger group of 134 Ethiopians stranded at its borders between November 2020 and March 2021.
  • First group of Afghan refugees arrive in Uganda: 51 Afghan refugees, arrived in Uganda on request from the US government and UNHCR. Uganda agreed to temporarily host over 2,000 Afghans until they are repatriated.
  • Somali trafficker arrested in Libya: Hassan Qeidi, was arrested by Libyan authorities in Bani Walid for crimes including leading a human trafficking network in and outside Libya, killing dozens of migrants, sexual misconduct against female migrants and mistreating migrants for ransom from their families.

Thematic Focus: Looming camp closure in Kenya: the same, but different

Read the full QMMU