Andie Lamb, Hala Al-Karib and Dr Lutz Oette on a new migration reportYou are right that migrants attempt the journey to Europe even though they know the risks (They know the risks and still they come: why young Africans chase the European dream, theguardian.com, 6 November). This is because they have no choice, and there are not enough safe and legal routes available. They are fleeing persecution, abuse and poverty and migrating is a last resort for the majority. Our new report released this week based on interviews with 67 Eritreans shows that the joint EU-Africa policy intended to help migrants and refugees, known as the Khartoum Process, is in fact part of the problem. It pushes the problem offshore and creates risks for vulnerable people. Our findings show that people decide to cross borders irregularly and take extreme risks when alternative options are perceived to be equally bad, or worse. What policy makers view as an ill-informed decision is often calculated risk-taking. Most of those fleeing persecution, human rights abuses, conflict and poverty are not even attempting to get to Europe and remain in the region. We argue that a new approach is needed – one in which there is a shift in focus on to the political context in which migration takes place, rather than the criminality that it attracts. Tackling the symptoms rather than the causes of migration will do little to change the current equation in which people take considerable risks for want of alternatives.
Andie Lambe International Refugee Rights Initiative, Hala Al-Karib Strategic Initiative in the Horn of Africa, Dr Lutz Oette Centre for Human Rights Law, Soas, University of London
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