«Berlin, September 2010 Foto auf dem Cover: Internally displaced persons in a tent camp in Girdassen, Dahuk gov ernorate in Iraq. © IOM 2007 (Photo: ...»
Education Access to education is a further, salient matter in the lives of Iraqi refugees. Before the war, Iraq benefited from a relatively well-developed education sector and the country was re garded as having one of the most educated populations in the Middle East. Expectations among the refugees concerning education are thus high and for many, securing a good edu cation for their children is the prime motivator for seeking resettlement abroad.76 However, in most cases, Iraqi refugees have no hope of accessing good quality, higher edu cation in either Syria or Jordan. Although Iraqi children are allowed to attend public primary and secondary schools in Syria and Jordan, various economic and bureaucratic hurdles have been identified as explanations for why school attendance remains low among Iraqi children.
Currently available percentages of Iraqi children attending or not attending school should be Syria." ed. UNHCR ICMC. Beirut.
treated with caution, especially as these figures are closely linked to how much donor sup port to the governments, UNHCR and international NGOs is forthcoming. According to an international NGO providing education assistance to Iraqi children, 60% of Iraqi children do not attend school. However, in a group of around 40 Iraqi children aged 9-12 attending a Caritas-funded sports event in October 2009, each one was found to be attending school.77 Sometimes it is difficult to obtain the right documentation, sometimes money for stationary and school uniforms is missing and more frequently, children have work to contribute to household earnings. While UNHCR in Syria provides material assistance to help children attend school and even covers the university fees for a small number of Iraqi students, the agency is by no means reaching all potential pupils.
Access to university places is more complicated, and in Jordan, Iraqis are only allowed to attend prohibitively expensive private institutions. In Syria, Iraqis are in principle allowed to attend state universities, however have to pay fees. Also, as entry into university in Syria is extremely competitive and narrowly determined by final school grades, Iraqi youth who have suffered years of disruption to their study are severely disadvantaged in this competition for places.
6. Conclusion As presented throughout this brief report on security concerns related to post-2003 Iraqi mi gration into Syria and Jordan, this large-scale movement of people has to date resulted in only one major incident; the three suicide attacks carried out by Iraqi nationals in Amman in November 2005. In the current situation, the most severe threat presents itself to the human security of the Iraqi migrants. Syria and Jordan, which are both not party to the Geneva Refugee Convention, do not extend meaningful protection to Iraqis, regardless of whether they are recognised as legitimate refugees by UNHCR or not. While both governments cur rently exercise a regime of tolerance to illegally residing Iraqis, without firm residency rights this tolerance can end at any moment. Combined with a blanket employment ban (Syria) or heavily restricted employment options (Jordan), Iraqis can currently only exist precariously in both states.
Data and statistics available on the Iraqi presence in Syria and Jordan are patchy and dis puted. UNHCR produces reliable figures on how many persons have registered at its centres (ca 215 000 for Syria, ca 52 000 for Jordan), these stand in marked contrast to the figures claimed by the respective governments (1.2 million for Syria, around 500 000 for Jordan).
Nevertheless, both countries face a number of mid to long term security risks that arise out of Iraqi immigration, which is reflected in the stricter controls that both countries have begun to place on Iraqis since 2006. Increased inflation, at least partially linked to the influx of Iraqi capital has already had an economic and social impact on growing poverty and widening income gaps. Both Syria and Jordan face difficult economic conditions in the next years and the question of how to integrate and/or feed the Iraqis during this time remains unsolved.
Regionally, the Iraqi presence could become a destabilizing factor in both Syria and Jordan, should the diaspora be manipulated by outside players and become politically active.
Events in Iraq will play an important role in the development of Iraqi migration into the region.
The currently greatest and possibly most likely risk is an outbreak of war between the central Iraqi government and the Kurdish regional government (or at least Kurdish forces) in the Interviews/observations in Damascus, October 2009 north, as high tensions have been reported and the US has been required to continue its presence in cities in the north, to prevent clashes. Any increase in violence is likely to lead to an upsurge of migration into all of Iraq’s neighbouring states.
To promote regional security and ameliorate the situation of Iraqi refugees, the international community should continue to fund UNHCR operations, which, particularly in Syria, have shown great flexibility and creativity in their approach. Governments in Europe and the US should speed up the resettlement process for Iraqis that have been referred to them for re settlement by UNHCR and provide them with sufficient assistance and support to make inte gration possible. Finally, diplomatic efforts to urge the governments of Syria and Jordan to sign the Geneva Refugee Convention should continue, as should efforts to find a regional settlement solution for those Iraqis who cannot be resettled further and who cannot return to Iraq.
The worst effect of the crisis has been on the Iraqi refugees themselves, who continue to live in a legal limbo and without residency or work permit in any country, while Iraq remains too unstable for them to return. Most of them appear to survive by ‘muddling through’: by circum venting work prohibitions, taking on menial jobs, sacrificing their children’s education to send them to work or by attempting to smuggle themselves to Europe. Without a legal resettle ment in the region or abroad and in the absence of stability in Iraq, this, in all likelihood, will continue to be their dominant survival strategy for years to come.
Figure 1: Refugee populations in WA, 1994-2008 Box 1: The case of Côte d’Ivoire: resources, identity and conflict Box 2: Tuareg Community in Mali and Niger Box 3: Regional cooperation and national government policies Abstract The debate on African migration is disproportionately dominated by extra-continental flows, mainly to OECD countries, and generally informed by the latter’s security concerns. Yet the bulk of African migration in general and West African in particular is internal (within and be yond national borders) and these population movements pose a multitude of security chal lenges at individual, national and regional levels. Migration in West Africa is characterised by a complex web of movements that reflect both social mobility and the pressure of political, economic and environmental factors. They can be divided into voluntary and forced move ments of people. Whereas voluntary movements are motivated mainly by economic consid erations, family links and studies, forced movements can generally be attributed to political factors (persecution and armed conflicts), natural disasters and, to a lesser extent, human trafficking. Migration patterns in the region indicate a non-linear dynamic between sending, transit and receiving countries, indicating the capacity of migrants to assess new opportuni ties and the insertion of West African migration in the global migration system. The main se curity challenges associated with migration in West Africa are to be found at individual, na tional and regional levels. Individual migrants sometimes face exploitation and see their basic rights violated in transit and receiving countries. A shortage in production capacities and loss of skilled manpower with implications for food and human security constitute some security consequences of migration for sending communities or countries. At the national) and re gional levels, security risks of migration include tensions between migrants and locals, rising rates of crime, and diplomatic tensions between the sending and receiving countries in case of the latter offering political asylum to migrants from the former. But migration also presents some development and even security opportunities in the region, such as remittances and brain gain.
As a result of various internal and external factors, migration flows have dramatically in creased in Africa in the last two decades. Although this surge in population movement fol lows a rather worldwide trend, the nature of migration in Africa has its own dynamics and specificities. The bulk of migration flows in Africa is internal, either within national boundaries or towards various countries of the continent; often in the same region. A recent World Bank funded study released in 2007 on the South-South migration found that of the estimated 14.5 million Sub-Saharan Africans living outside their home countries, 10.2 million of them are residing in other Sub-Saharan African countries, with only 4 million in High-income OECD countries (Ratha & Shaw, 2007:6). Of all Africans, West Africans are among the most mobile populations. This is the result of the combined effects of history (colonialism), geography, culture, politics (persecution, conflicts and displacement due to natural disasters) and econ omy in a region, which has adopted and is striving to fully implement the principle of free movement of goods and persons.
The Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) released in late 2007 some data indicating that an estimated 3% of the West African population reside in other countries of the region with some major hikes in countries like Côte d’Ivoire (ECOWAS/SWAC, 2006).
The current debate on African migration has disproportionately been focused on extra continental flows, mainly to OECD countries, and in the context of security threats posed to these countries. Yet the generally neglected intra-African movements do pose some security challenges to the national and regional authorities that request the increased attention of policy-makers. But beyond the risks posed by migration in West Africa, population move ments also provide some development opportunities for the region by allowing a circulation of talents and remittances.
The aim of this study is to provide a general overview of the nexus between migration and security as well as its implications for development in the West African region. To do so, it reviews the state of research on this issue and looks at the challenges that migration poses at regional, national and human/individual levels. Particularly, the study focuses on risks but also on opportunities generated by migration to receiving, transit and sending countries. Poli cies of national governments in the region as well as those of the ECOWAS are mentioned in their capacity to address the phenomenon.
Migration in the region is characterised by both voluntary and forced movements of people.
Although this is true for both the colonial era and since independence in the early 1960s, the study focuses on the latter period. Voluntary movements are motivated mainly by economic considerations (i.e. trade and search for greener pastures), family links and studies, while the forced ones can generally be attributed to political factors (persecution and armed conflicts), natural disasters and, to a lesser extent, human trafficking. In the post-colonial era the gen eralisation of refugee movements in the region began with the Liberian civil war that started in 1990 even though there were isolated refugee movements and internally displaced per sons prior to 1990, such as during the Nigerian civil war (1967-1970). The three-year period from 1997 to 1999 constitutes the peak of these movements, with the refugee population reaching a high of 2,886,799 in 1998 (UNHCR, 2000).
West African countries can be divided into five main categories in terms of their migration status. They are either net sending countries (e.g. Burkina Faso and Niger), net receiving countries (i.e. Côte d’Ivoire and The Gambia), both sending and receiving countries (e.g.
Guinea and Benin), sending and transit countries (e.g. Guinea-Bissau and Mali), or countries that encompass all these categories such as Nigeria, Ghana and Senegal (see Table 1 be low)78.
The security challenges posed by migration in the region are considered at three levels: indi vidual, national and regional. It appears that the main security challenge of migration re volves around the risks posed to individual migrants, who are sometimes exploited and their basic rights violated. With regard to sending communities or countries, the main security consequences of migration can be seen in the shortage in production capacities and loss of skilled manpower with implications for food and human security. At the national (receiving) and regional levels, security risks of migration include tensions between migrants and locals around scarce resources, rising rates of crime, including political and religious extremism, as well as diplomatic tensions between the sending and receiving countries in case of the latter offering political asylum to migrants from the former.
But migration also presents some development and even security opportunities in the region.
For example, knowing that a significant number of its citizens reside in a neighbouring coun try might dissuade such a country from engaging in any hostile activity with this country, thereby preventing any soaring of relations between the two countries. Development oppor tunities include remittances and brain gain.
This section provides a brief historical overview of migration in West Africa since independ ence, looking at the national and regional dynamics that may be said to account for the phe nomenon, the nature of migration and the state of research in this regard.
1.1. A brief historical overview on migration Judged by a long history of mobility that dates back to pre-colonial times but which was am plified by the latter, West African populations seem to have a ‘culture of mobility’ (De Bruijn et al, 2001). Most West African populations are connected through ethnic/linguistic linkages. A number of large ethnic groups, such as the Fulani/Peul, Mandinka/Dioula/Mandingo, Yoruba and Hausa can be found in more than five countries (Adepoju, 2005). Some of those still have strong family links, with multiple nationalities being found among the members of a sin gle extended family. Even though colonial borders have created strong national identities, formal and informal trans-border links characterise the daily life of West-African populations (Fall, 2004; SWAC/OECD, 2006).
Recent history of migration in West Africa can be divided into three main periods: the colonial period; the period from independence to around 1989; and since the 1990s. In addition to creating new forms of authority, space, identity and production, colonisation also generated a wide range of population movements. The most important were in the form of forced labour This finding is based on the analysis of general trends as reflected in the existing literature
for construction projects plantations as well as gold and diamond mines (Ki-Zerbo, 1978:
445-46; Suret-Canale & Boahen, 1999). There were also significant movements from the Sahel to the much richer coastal regions (Konseiga, 2005). The creation of a colonial civil and military service, and the extensive farming of cash crops (particularly in coastal areas like Côte d’Ivoire and Ghana), created a regime of migration that heavily impacted on the composition of population groups within the region even after independence (Clark, 1994:403).
Table 1: Main sending, transit and destination countries of migrants within West Africa
* These two countries can be considered as net destination countries within the region.