Posted on 2010/01/03



A conference jointly organized by the Programme for the Study of Global Migration (Graduate Institute, Geneva) and the Institut d’Ethnologie (Université de Neuchâtel), with the support of the Division for International Protection Services of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).

In today’s world of high mobility, the challenges of global migration are becoming ever more apparent. Since the late 1980s in particular, the perceived intensification, diversification and complexification of migration dynamics together with a decrease in economic growth have generated increasingly restrictive migration and asylum policies. As access to legal migration has been limited, increasing numbers of asylum seekers and migrants now turn to the same trafficking channels to evade control and claim asylum to enter Western countries. This new political context along with the complexity of migratory patterns has led governments to further restrict immigration and curb asylum claims. This raises particular challenges to refugee and human rights protection. Indeed, the priority given to controlling borders and irregular migration negatively impacts on governments’ willingness to take into account their international obligations in terms of refugee protection, including non-refoulement. On the same note, strict immigration policies, lack of financial resources and of knowledge of their rights may leave undocumented immigrants vulnerable to all forms of abuse and human rights violations, from economic to physical exploitation.

In this perspective, the concept of ‘mixed migration’ has recently been developed by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and adopted by a wide range of actors. The term refers to migratory movements – usually irregular ones – of people taking the same routes and same means of transport but travelling for ‘different reasons’ and having ‘different protection needs’. Academic research has also significantly participated in reflecting on the evolution of the international refugee regime, as well as the complexification and diversification of migratory routes. However, there remains much to be done with regard to the most recent developments and consequences of restrictive migration and asylum policies.

The general objectives of the conference will be to:

1)    Review the historical and institutional context in which the notion of “mixed migration” has emerged;

2)    Clarify the meaning and analyze the interpretations of some key terminology often used in migration related discourse such as ‘stranded migrant’ or “people with other protection needs” etc;

3)    Analyze on the basis of case studies the extent to which migration and asylum policies are adequate to address new migratory movements and what impact they have on migration dynamics and on the lives of migrants and refugees. The aim will be to describe the sociological reality the notion of “mixed migration” intends to describe: How have migratory movements actually evolved in different parts of the world and have they really increased everywhere? What are the various and interrelated causes for departure and the conditions of movements of people on the move? How do recent migration and asylum policies affect conditions of movement, while offering new possibilities to mobilize various legal categories?

4)    Analyse the relevance of current institutional responses. From a legal and policy perspective, debates still need to be held on whether and which tools are needed to ensure proper refugee and human rights protection in the current context, and how to better articulate different bodies of law and policies.

Call for Papers
This call for papers relates specifically to a series of 4 working panels which will aim to examine selected case studies linked to ‘The Phenomenon of Mixed Migration’ (sessions 2 and 3 of the provisional agenda).
These case studies shall relate to one of the following four regions of the world: West and North Africa; the Horn of Africa & Middle-East; Central America; South-East Asia.

The submissions of the selected candidates are expected to highlight the different issues raised by mixed flows of migrants in a given region. Contributors will explore the complexification of migration dynamics and look at the consequences of recent migration and asylum policies on conditions of movements, and highlight both the constraints and coping strategies they entail. When feasible, the panels will also discuss past experiences and historical responses to ‘mixed migration movements’ and compare them with present situations. Reflections on recent initiatives related to this phenomenon and on local understandings of the concept as well as on the challenges ahead are welcomed.

The conference organizers welcome contributions and presentations from academics and researchers. Junior researchers (doctoral and post-doctoral students) are particularly encouraged to respond to this call for papers. The presentations at the conference can be in any of the following formats: 1) individual paper presentations of applied research or documented experiences and 2) presentations on research findings or successful experiences and 3) post-graduate feedback sessions on ongoing research projects.
The conference is based on a multidisciplinary approach, involving historical, anthropological, and legal researchers and experts, as well as stakeholders from relevant international institutions and non-governmental organizations.

They should 1) have a solid methodological approach, 2) have a strong evidence basis and 3) discuss implications for inclusive public policies that advance migrants’ rights and reduce their vulnerability to the multidimensional challenges of mixed migration.
Papers and presentations submitted should focus either on these regions specifically or should discuss relevant applied research and experiences reporting on policy proposals that could possibly be transposed to these regions.

Please refer to the proposed agenda for more information on the sequence of the presentations.

Financial Assistance
There is no conference registration fee. Grants covering transportation costs may be provided to scholars and researchers who have been selected to present their papers/projects.

Contact information
Dr. Jérôme Elie, Coordinator of Activities
Programme for the Study of Global Migration
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Programme for the Study of Global Migration

Please, send an email indicating your willingness to participate in the conference to no later than January 4, 2010, together with an abstract of approximately 500 words in PDF format and a short CV.