Briefing notes

Mixed migration: Horn of Africa to Europe
Created: 12/12/2016 +

Overview

More than 173,500 refugees and migrants have reached Italy so far in 2016, around 29,000 more than in the same period last year. While the vast majority still use Libya as the departure point to Europe, more are using Egypt and Algeria. The nationality of arrivals is evolving, with fewer Eritreans and more Egyptians.

Protection is a primary concern. The estimated number of deaths on the Central Mediterranean route has grown to over 4,200 people this year, compared to less than 2,900 at the same point in 2015. Many people die on the journey over land to north Africa, but this number is not known. Migrants and refugees also face detention, sexual exploitation, and forced labour. The number of unaccompanied minors arriving in Italy is growing.

Thematic reports

Explosive Remnants of War and Landmines
Created: 15/04/2016 +

Overview

While the physical and humanitarian impacts of explosive weapons, such as mortars, missiles, barrel bombs and IEDs, have been highly visible and documented throughout the conflict in Syria, the unex-ploded remnants of these weapons and landmines have received limited attention but will have long-term implications. In the immediate term, people are killed and maimed, with children making up nearly half of the victims globally. Furthermore, survivors require specialised services that are not available or accessible within Syrian’s public health system, which has been brought to near collapse. Even decades after a conflict has ended, the presence of ERW will negatively affect people’s ability to move freely, return and rebuild their homes, resume their livelihoods and begin to recover. The intensive use of explosive munitions on high-density urban areas and information limi-tations throughout the conflict means that it will take decades of rigor-ous clearance efforts, as ERW are buried among rubble and debris. Beirut and Sarajevo experienced similar ERW contamination in urban areas; the latter city required 8-9 years of clearance efforts, although explosive weapons were used at relatively lower levels compared to Syrian cities. Over time, ERW and landmines will also migrate due to flooding or erosion, particularly in soft, sandy soil, thereby further spreading the contamination risk.

Syrian Border Crossings
Created: 14/04/2016 +

Overview

The border policies of Syria’s neighbouring countries have fluctuated regularly due to the security situation, political developments and the increasing number of refugees. This has caused uncertainty among those try-ing to flee and international responders. Some people try-ing to leave have been trapped inside Syria due to border restrictions, and at the border with Turkey this has led to the establishment of several IDP camps.

Given the various restrictions imposed by the governments of neighbouring countries, irregular and unregulated move-ment of refugees across borders is reported to be wide-spread. The legal status and rights of individuals exiting Syria may be compromised when they enter a country via an unofficial crossing.

Movements across borders also involve the smuggling of goods (food, fuel, medicines etc.), weapons and the move-ment of armed personnel.

Widespread information gaps persist in relation to border areas. The limited access of humanitarian organisations to border areas and scarcity of information hampers under-standing of the situation on the ground and the scale of population movements. The proliferation of armed groups in Syria and the fluid nature of territorial control lead to fur-ther ambiguity of the situation and challenges for move-ment of population into safer areas.

Some border crossing points are in remote, hard to reach and insecure areas making it more difficult for those forced to flee by foot to reach a host country.

Legal Status of Individuals Fleeing Syria
Created: 14/04/2016 +

Overview

By June 2013, over 1.6 million people fled Syria in search of protection and access to essential services. Their legal status is primarily governed by the laws of the host country where they reside. The legal framework applicable to asylum seekers and refugees differs significantly between countries and different laws apply to different groups of people. In Lebanon for instance, the situation varies significantly between Syrians and Palestinian Refugees from Syria (PRS). As a result of this complexity, individuals fleeing Syria are often unaware of their rights and obligations.

Overall, the people fleeing Syria can be divided into 3 different groups, depending on their status in the host-country:

  • Those residing in camps;
  • Those who have the appropriate papers and are therefore regularly residing in a country; and
  • Those who are irregular, meaning residing in a host country without the required documents.

While these 3 groups are not mutually exclusive, the level of access to services and protection differs between the different groups.