On the migration dynamics 


Migration is a central issue. It is increasingly important in the field of international relations. At the start of the 21st century, international migration has intensified to the point where it has become a global issue and one of the world’s major challenges. The concept of migration is more evocative of movement. It is defined as “the movement of a population from one territory to another to settle there, either permanently or temporarily”. Thus, the notion of migrants is often associated with a voluntary movement, unlike refugees, for whom movement is provoked by coercion. In addition to this clarification, it should be noted that today the term “mobility” is used instead of “migration” in a broader sense.

Human migration is the movement of people from one place to another and is still a very old and topical phenomenon. However, it should be pointed out that human migration can take many different forms. There is permanent economic migration, forced migration (of refugees) and “religious migration”. It was essentially these refugee migrations, justified by compulsion, i.e. various forms of persecution, that led to the creation of the Geneva Convention. Persecution can be of various kinds: ethnic, and religious, resulting from civil wars or unjust political regimes. Migration has also become one of the most important global issues.

In the African context, the focus is mainly on emigration, particularly to developed countries, as intra-African migratory flows remain largely hidden*. Debates in the media focus mainly on issues such as brain drain and money transfers, but few empirical studies have focused on the subject. Moreover, the phenomenon of migration at both regional and international levels has taken on a very worrying scale over the last ten years or so as a result of the multiple crises, armed conflicts and natural disasters at the global level and in the sub-region, particularly accentuated recently by the security crises, and the economic and social context. International and regional migration therefore has security, political, economic and social implications for Africa.

Protecting migrants. However, it should be pointed out that in Europe, migration is often approached from a security perspective. Given this, we asked ourselves whether the protection of migrants is effective. Given the scale of the phenomenon, solutions need to be tailored to the needs of the respective countries and continents. In other words, migration needs to be analysed from the angle of regionalism. Indeed, if regionalism meets needs that are not satisfied by the universal legal order or by national sovereignty alone, it is because States believe that its advantages outweigh its disadvantages, at least at certain times. By way of illustration, the phenomenon of “Talibé” children is observed in Africa, mainly in Senegal. These children, unaccompanied and separated, are left to fend for themselves. They often base their hopes on smugglers who do not hesitate to take advantage of their situation. These children are vulnerable to all forms of physical and moral exploitation. This category of migrants is very often overlooked in analyses of migratory flows at the regional level.

Without denying the universality of the international dimension of migration, we must not forget the need to adopt solutions at the regional level to respond to the concerns raised. In light of our research, we are convinced that African law must also internalise certain specificities linked to the context if it is to provide more articulated protection that meets Africa’s needs. It is therefore through a skilful blend of the particular and the general, or the reconciliation of what Maxime-Emile Chauveau already called the “particularist” and “cosmopolitan” tendencies of international law, that its unity will be achieved and “from unity, its universality will be deduced”.

Dr Fatimata Alassane Ba defended her thesis in public law at Cheikh Anta Diop University in Dakar. She specialises in international migration law and is the Executive Director of the Centre for Research and Strategic Analysis on Migration and Human Rights in Africa (AWI) in Mauritania. She teaches at the Faculty of Legal and Economic Sciences at the University of Nouakchott. Email: bafatimata91@gmail.com

*AGIER Michel, «Le couloir des exilé. Être étranger dans un monde commun », Bell combe-en-Bauge, Editions du croquant, 2011, 120p.

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