On Monday, seven NGOs launched a mixed migration platform to deliver research, analysis and policy recommendations for a better understanding of mixed migration patterns in the Middle East and enhance the protection of, and information available to, people on the move.
The Mixed Migration Platform (MMP), funded by the UK and Switzerland, aims to provide quality information and protection-sensitive analysis to improve decision-making, both for people on the move through the Middle East and Europe, as well as host governments and humanitarian organisations who are involved in the response.
“Switzerland is convinced that the tenor of policy and public discourse on refugees and migrants must be shifted from one of global threat and national security to one of international responsibility-sharing, cooperation and partnership. The protection and promotion of human rights of all people on the move, irrespective of their status, should be at the center of international governance of migration,” Federal Councilor Simonetta Sommaruga said in a speech at the UN High Level Meeting on Addressing Large Movements of Refugees and Migrants last month.
With more than one million refugees, asylum seekers and other migrants arriving in Europe in 2015 alone, a lot remains unknown about their needs, motivations and the validity of the information that has led them to move.
“Migrants and refugees should be listened to and their hopes and aspirations should systematically become part of our plans and discussions,” Sommaruga added.
Information gaps have resulted in an inadequate response in countries of origin, destination, and transit, putting people on the move at risk and and leading them to make misinformed and dangerous decisions.
“People have been smuggled, have risked their lives and those of their loved ones and have sought refuge in countries that are foreign to them, the least we can do is try and understand what is driving them to move and what are their needs to be able to respond to them,” Peter Klansø, Danish Refugee Council MENA Regional Director said.
MMP will provide qualitative, holistic research on mixed migration in the region to help inform any comprehensive and coherent future response strategy.
The MMP will also use existing channels, including News That Moves, Rumour Tracking bulletins and refugeeinfo.org, to disseminate information to people on the move in Europe in Arabic, Farsi and Greek. Through publication of data and directly answering migrant questions, the MMP will function as a two-way communication channel.
“Providing information to mixed migrants travelling within Europe in their own language is vital. Information which is not accessible, or only partially understood can lead to dangerous or misinformed decision making which can have disasterous consequences. Translators Without Borders looks forward to working with the consortium partners to ensure a greater number of information products are accessible to a mixed language audience,” said Marta Zaccagnini, European Refugee Crisis Project Director, Translators without Borders.
“There is a critical need for better information on mixed migration so that the best possible assistance is being provided to people on the move. ACAPS will, through information collected from panels of experts, contribute with insights on trends and critical issues affecting mixed migrants.” said Lars Peter Nissen, Director of ACAPS.
“We need to listen to the people on the receiving end of aid and empower them to express their views and experiences as refugees, asylum seekers and migrants. Ground Truth Solutions’ micro-surveys will provide a regular stream of perceptual information on how people themselves experience humanitarian assistance which can help guide actions by the international community to improve the response. The Mixed Migration Platform is a great way to share this vital information among humanitarian actors and we are excited to contribute to the project.” Nick van Praag, Director of Ground Truth Solutions.
Collaboration amongst different NGOs is a great opportunity to improve the shared context analysis necessary in order to provide adequate response to complex scenarios, such as the current, large-scale migration crisis. INTERSOS will contribute to the new mixed migration platform, focusing on the countries where our organization is currently operating in the Middle East (Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon). We firmly believe that the final output of this initiativewill be the implementation of even more effective protection programs focused on meeting the protection needs of the migrant population.
“Over the past year, REACH has been supporting operational partners and decision making in better understanding migration trends in the Middle East, Europe and beyond. We are very excited to join forces with other partners and make sure that we jointly bring a cleared picture of their needs and intentions and support them with adequate information throughout their journeys”. Gaia van der Esch, Deputy Director – IMPACT Initiatives.
“Please voice our concerns to the authorities. We are powerless. We do not know anything here,” Middle-age Afghan woman in Athens.
“Tell them that we do not care where we sleep and what we eat. We just want to know what is going to happen to us and when,” Middle-age Iranian-Kurdish man in Stonehouse, Piraeus port.