• Text size Normal size text | Increase text size by 10% | Increase text size by 20% | Increase text size by 30%

Carribbean Regional Conference on the Protection of Vulnerable Persons in Mixed Migration Flows (22-23 May 2013)

Migration, 23 May 2013

Conference Poster

On May 22-23, 2013, UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration organized a regional conference in Nassau, the Bahamas, on the protection of vulnerable people in mixed migration flows in the Caribbean.

The conference was the latest in a series of regional conferences in recent years on refugee protection and international migration. Aimed at promoting cooperation and identifying good practices, it also received funding support from the United States Department of State.

Almost 100 delegates attended the meeting, including representatives of governments and civil society from 25 nations across the Caribbean as well as international and regional organizations such as the International Maritime Organization, the Organization of American States, the International Committee of the Red Cross, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, the World Health Organization and the International Detention Coalition.

Specific goals included fostering regional cooperation, inter-State dialogue and partnership and promoting a protection-sensitive and solution-oriented approach to mixed migration management in the region; assisting states to address the protection needs of vulnerable people in mixed migration flows; and identifying and sharing good practices and experiences in managing mixed migration flows in the Caribbean.

The conference also focused on data collection and analysis of migration profiles; protection-sensitive entry systems; rescue at sea operations, interception and disembarkation; identification and protection of vulnerable people within mixed migration flows, including victims of trafficking and unaccompanied minors; international and regional cooperation mechanisms; and access to solutions for refugees and other vulnerable groups, including assisted voluntary return and reintegration.

Participants stressed the need to enhance regional cooperation and partnership to improve the management of mixed migration flows and identified possible next steps in boosting regional cooperation and partnership; enhancing national and regional capacities; and identifying solutions.

Conference Documents

1. Main Conference documents

2. Conference Background documents

3. Conference Conclusions

4. Conference Statements

5. Conference Plenary Presentations

6. Media

7. Conference Poster




International Migration

The link between movements of refugees and broader migration attracts growing attention.

Gulf of Aden People-Smuggling: International Help Needed

An alarming number of people are dying trying to reach Yemen aboard smugglers' boats crossing the Gulf of Aden from Somalia. Over a three-week period in late 2005, at least 150 people perished while making the journey. These deaths are frequently the result of overcrowded boats capsizing or breaking down and going adrift without food or water. Those who survive the voyage to Yemen often give brutal accounts of smugglers beating passengers or forcing them overboard while still far off shore – in some instances with their hands and feet bound.

In response, UNHCR has issued an urgent appeal for action to stem the flow of desperate Ethiopian and Somali refugees and migrants falling prey to ruthless smugglers in a bid to reach Yemen and beyond. The refugee agency has also been working with the authorities in Puntland, in north-eastern Somalia, on ways to inform people about the dangers of using smugglers to cross the Gulf of Aden. This includes production of videos and radio programmes to raise awareness among Somalis and Ethiopians of the risks involved in such crossings.

Gulf of Aden People-Smuggling: International Help Needed

Going home

During the past two weeks, UNHCR has worked with the Tunisian government, Tunisian Red Crescent and the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to respond to the dramatic influx of over 90,000 people fleeing the violence in Libya. The majority are migrant workers from Egypt, Tunisia, Bangladesh, China, Thailand and Vietnam. Tens of thousands were flown home following an appeal from UNHCR and IOM to governments to send flights to evacuate them.

Going home

New Arrivals in Yemen

During one six-day period at the end of March, more than 1,100 Somalis and Ethiopians arrived on the shores of Yemen after crossing the Gulf of Aden on smuggler's boats from Bosaso, Somalia. At least 28 people died during these recent voyages – from asphyxiation, beating or drowning – and many were badly injured by the smugglers. Others suffered skin problems as a result of prolonged contact with sea water, human waste, diesel oil and other chemicals.

During a recent visit to Yemen, UNHCR Assistant High Commissioner for Protection Erika Feller pledged to further raise the profile of the situation, to appeal for additional funding and international action to help Yemen, and to develop projects that will improve the living conditions and self sufficiency of the refugees in Yemen.

Since January 2006, Yemen has received nearly 30,000 people from Somalia, Ethiopia and other places, while more than 500 people have died during the sea crossing and at least 300 remain missing. UNHCR provides assistance, care and housing to more than 100,000 refugees already in Yemen.

New Arrivals in Yemen