No. 65 – January 2016
Author: Nerina Schiavo
The EU-Horn of Africa Migration Route Initiative, better known as Khartoum Process, is the outcome of an international summit held in the capital of Sudan (13-16 October 2014). The initiative, officially launched during the IV Euro-African Ministerial Conference held in Rome on the 27th and 28th of November 2014, involves 28 EU member states and a number of African States including Djibouti, Egypt, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan and Tunisia. In view of the ungovernable state of affairs of Libya, in recent years Europe has started looking for new partners to better manage and contain migratory flows from the Horn of Africa. Despite the importance of involving the Mediterranean southern shore in a more comprehensive management of migration, a series of aspects of the Khartoum Process give cause for concern. For instance, the presence at the negotiating table of Eritrea – whose government is accused of committing systematic human rights violations with impunity, as recently denounced in a UN report – constitutes a controversial issue. Moreover, the attribution of a central role to the fight against human trafficking and smuggling, negotiations will be predictably focused on police cooperation between member countries, aiming at the containment of migration flows, through new readmission agreements and detention centres. Besides being harmful to migrants who will keep on crossing those routes, such an approach would also be short-sighted because it avoids the heart of the problem, that is the absence of legal and safe channels to the Northern shore. Such a report, mainly based on official documents and declarations, constitutes an attempt to analyse the direction that EU-African dialogue on migration is taking and the possible future perspectives from a human rights perspective.