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Better solutions needed for mixed migration challenges

The impact of the war in Ukraine as well as the socio-economic legacy of the Covid-19 pandemic are being felt profoundly across the world as prices rise, food insecurity grows, and an economic slow-down takes hold. All these dynamics are impacting upon migration and forced displacement. Better approaches and solutions are greatly needed to address today's mixed migration challenges and protect the rights of all people on the move, says the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC) of the Danish Refugee Council (DRC), in its latest edition of the Mixed Migration Review, its annual publication.

Posted on 06 Dec 2022

"Across the world, we are seeing dangerous trends in mixed migration. These include increasingly high numbers of migrants who go missing or die along mixed migration routes, ongoing commodification of refugees and migrants, and rising violent pushbacks and expulsions at borders. Despite these challenges, refugees and migrants are continuing on their journeys and often taking great risks. It is therefore essential that policymakers develop better migration policies, based on solid evidence and analysis," says Bram Frouws, Director of the Mixed Migration Centre.

The 2022 Mixed Migration Review (MMR) aims to provide a comprehensive overview of mixed migration developments in Africa, the Middle East, the Americas, Europe and Asia. The report reflects on emerging trends and dynamics impacting upon migration and forced displacement, and provides analysis based on 4Mi data from nearly 15,000 in-depth surveys with refugees and migrants globally. There are many suggestions offered for migration policy changes at local, regional and global scales.

Within migration governance, for example, the expansion of regular migration pathways is often offered as a simple solution to reduce irregular migration, but it is more complex than that.

“Of course we need to scale up regular labour migration pathways and expand legal routes to protection, but we also need to question the viability of focusing on 'safe and legal routes' as a solution, as it is unlikely that it will massively reduce irregular migration. People will continue to migrate in an irregular manner, not because they want to, but because they have no other choice,” says Bram Frouws.

As every year, the MMR 2022 provides a sobering overview of what MMC has come to label as ‘normalising the extreme’: policies, actions and attitudes to mixed migration that were considered unacceptable some years ago but are becoming increasingly normalised and mainstreamed.

While the report lists hundreds of examples from all over the world, the ongoing World Cup in Qatar is a prime example, celebrating a global football festival, while so many migrant workers were abused and died while constructing the roads and stadiums, and we see no willingness by FIFA to acknowledge this or fairly compensate workers,” says Bram Frouws.

We are seeing different, and increasingly cynical forms of migration diplomacy and instrumentalization of migration. Just look at what has been happening between Spain and Morocco or between Poland and Belarus. What’s also been striking in the past year is the disparity between how Ukrainian refugees are welcomed, compared to refugees and migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Yemen, or Iraq, who continue to be violently pushed back at the Poland-Belarus border,” says Charlotte Slente, Secretary General of the Danish Refugee Council.

Despite the many harsh actions and attitudes to mixed migration, the report also features several encouraging developments that emphasize how crucial it is to keep pushing for protection, inclusion, integration and well-being of those on the move.

It is clear that we must do better. Extreme and restrictive acts against those on the move must not be normalised. We need more humane and long-term responses and policies for the dignity and safety of all refugees, migrants, and displaced persons,” urges Charlotte Slente.

Mixed Migration Review reports

Mixed Migration Review
Mixed Migration Review

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About MMR

About the Mixed Migration Review (MMR)

The Mixed Migration Review 2022, the Mixed Migration Centre’s flagship annual report, reflects on recent events and emerging trends affecting refugees and migrants globally, attempting to document, analyse, and suggest solutions for alternative approaches to current migration policies.

The report includes a global overview of mixed migration in 5 regions, interviews with experts, short essays on alternative perspectives by young regional researchers and writers, "Normalising the Extreme" and "Resisting the Extreme" features highlighting restrictive acts and policies related to mixed migration as well as positive developments on mixed migration, in-depth interviews with family members of those who have migrated, unique findings from 4Mi data, thematic snapshots, photographs, graphics, maps, illustrations and infographics. 

about MMC

About the Mixed Migration Centre (MMC)

MMC is a global network engaged in data collection, research, analysis, and policy and programmatic development on mixed migration, with regional hubs hosted in DRC regional offices in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, and a small global team in Geneva.  

MMC is a leading source for independent and high-quality data, research, analysis and expertise. MMC aims to increase understanding of mixed migration, to positively impact global and regional migration policies, to inform evidence-based protection responses for people on the move and to stimulate forward thinking in public and policy debates on mixed migration. MMC’s overarching focus is on human rights and protection for all people on the move. 

MMC is part of and governed by the Danish Refugee Council (DRC). While its institutional link to DRC ensures MMC’s work is grounded in operational reality, it acts as an independent source of data, research, analysis and policy development on mixed migration for policy makers, practitioners, journalists, and the broader humanitarian sector. 

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