Posted in Development, environment



Forced migration has grown considerably over the last 30 years becoming a major political and social issue in many parts of the world. It not only includes refugees and asylum seekers but anyone forced to leave their homes by violence, persecution, natural disasters, development projects or man-made catastrophes. Migration whether permanent or temporary has always been a traditional response or survival strategy of people confronting the prospect, impact or aftermath of disasters (Hugo 1996).

Causes of Forced Migration

Outbreak and spread of diseases,
Infectious diseases have been known to go viral killing millions of people in a country forcing residents to flee to secure countries whereby if their migration is not monitored can spread to the host country. Example; outbreak of Ebola in 2014 Sierra Leone and Liberia killed over 8000 people forcing residents to migrate to boarder countries. This foresaw countries evacuating foreigners in those countries, travel advisories were established and also flights heading to those nations cancelled.
Conflict and wars,
Disagreement among people, organization, political parties has been a threat to countries where mortality rates escalate, destruction of property and homes facilitating a push in migration. Example; in Kenya during the post-election violence of 2007-2008, political differences caused chaos that saw many lives lost, homes torched and citizens fleeing to safer neighboring nations. Al-shabaab militia gang in Somalia has been over the years since 2012 a major threat to the nation and its surroundings’. The United States of America has over the years been under threat from Iraq and Palestine gangs Al-Qaeda due to misunderstandings and security concerns forcing citizens to migrate to safer states.
Economic pressure,
Inflation rates in Zimbabwe for example has resulted to its citizens seeking a stable economic growth from nations like South Africa. Poor economic growth lagged behind by insufficient resources, poor infrastructure, high poverty levels, high illiteracy, unemployment and many more force citizens to migrate into stable economies where they can meet their demands.
Natural disasters,
These are known as forces from God and cannot be controlled by man. They have displaced millions all over the world forcing them to move into safer places. Example; Hurricane Katrina in 2005 affected 6million citizens in the United States with at least 1800 mortalities. Drought in Ethiopia in 2000 and 1984 in Eritrea has up to date continued to cause these countries to suffer and rely on food aid.
Environmental problems,
Desertification, drought, erosions has affected many parts of the world as many pastoralists for example move in search of greener pastures. The Sub-Saharan Africa due to its dry conditions has forced residents to move to other areas. Pollution by industries has resulted to health issues forcing occupants to migrate to sustainable environmental areas.
Fragile states,
Weak governance, poor leadership has often made states vulnerable to attacks from opposition parties, cartels, and military coups. Example; Sudan been a young nation has been experiencing war and conflicts as Presidents Salvar Kiir and Raek Machar continue to disagree and the power imbalances has seen a number of Sudanese refugees taking refuge in countries like Uganda and Kenya while foreigners continue to be evacuated.
Development projects,
The transition from underdevelopment to development has facilitated the implementation of various projects that render people homeless as they have to move to facilitate the new infrastructures.
Violent criminal gangs and rebels like Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al-Shabaab in Somalia have continued to make nations vulnerable to attacks that end up slowing down the development of nations. This in turn forces a large population to migrate to other safer states that are secure.
Forced migration has historically been addressed by the international humanitarian community as questions of aid delivery and legal protection. Averting forced migration is a challenge for international community. Preventing persons who have a well-founded fear of persecution from fleeing is a violation of international law. Rather should focus on reducing causes of forced migration, finding alternatives for those who need protection and supporting sustainable repatriation and reintegration when forced migrants can return home. Safety, security and dignity of millions of people depend on finding solutions to forced migration.

Adelman, Howard (2001) ‘From Refugees to Forced Migration’ UNHCR and Human Security
Oxford University Press, David James’ 14th August 2014
Stephen Castles Refugee Studies Centre; University of Oxford
New wave: Forced Displacement Caused by Organized Crime in Central America and Mexico