Efforts to stop or control migration seems be an enormous task for policy makers and academics. Every new day presents new challenges. Migrants exploits new methods to by-pass border control while at the same time there are loopholes in cooperation between countries and organizations involved along the Mediterranean.
Consequently, the challenges persist. Migrants are left to survive or to fend for themselves. They have little or no rights and receive little or no protection from injury both en route and upon arrival.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) ascertains that 7 in 10 people found crossing the Mediterranean are not legitimate refugees but are economic migrants, while the rest may be in genuine “need for protection”.
Thousands of this migrants travel through Libya and end up as victims to life-threatening insecurity, instability, difficult economic conditions plus widespread exploitation and abuse. It is believed that more than one million migrants from west, central and east Africa are currently in one of the the north African countries, seeking for an opportunity to cross into Europe or simply in detention camps. These claims are backed by UNHCR special envoy for the central Mediterranean, Vincent Cochetel, who said there was “no slowing down” in the human convoys attempting the dangerous crossing.
A more disturbing case is the heavy dead toll in the Mediterranean. Since 2016, close to 5000 migrants mainly from Africa have lost their lives or simply disappeared crossing the Mediterranean. Thousands more die or disappeared on the Sahara desert en route to Morocco, Libya, Algeria or Tunisia. A large number of these are economic migrants on adventure to Europe to seek better living conditions for themselves and their families.
Economic Migration can largely be blamed on little or no information on the part of the migrants before leaving their countries. Prior to leaving their countries, migrants have no understanding on the risks involved , the challenges ahead and the nature of the journey. Most of them are lured, deceived and betrayed into the adventure by human smugglers and traffickers who collect huge sum of money and promise to safely take them to Europe.
The funds will therefore be used to finance information and training sessions , buy tools and equipment and set up teams in three African countries to do cross country campaigns against illegitimate migration.
Guns and border control in Europe cannot solve migration crises. But effective community awareness and participation will. The only way to reduce the number of persons illegitimately moving from Africa to Europe is to educate Africans about the challenges, the risks and especially what to expect when taking illegitimate routes. Migration should be controlled at the departure countries not at destination countries.