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Europe , human rights , integration , migration


Event review: Brussels conference

20 Jun 2013

Last Friday 14 June, IPPR held an event with five international partners: PICUM (Belgium), the University of Sussex (UK), dRPC (Nigeria), CCME (Morocco) and Eaves (UK) at the European Commission in Brussels. The event brought together participants from across Europe and Africa in order to discuss the major issues caused by irregular migration for countries north and south of the Mediterranean, to hear the latest research and good practice, and to plot a way forward in this challenging and highly politicised area.

Beyond Irregularity, Brussels conferenceThe event featured speakers from across sub-Saharan Africa, the Maghreb and Europe. Presenters included the Moroccan ambassador to the EU, representatives from the European Commission departments of Home Affairs, Justice and Development and Cooperation, and representatives from NGOs, trade unions and governmental organisations from Morocco, Nigeria, Kenya, Geneva, Brussels France, Spain and the UK. Download the conference programme.

IPPR's Myriam Cherti at the Brussels conferencePresenters discussed the shortcomings of current EU responses to preventing irregular migration. While Europe has stepped up efforts to strengthen its borders through stopping most legal migration from sub-Saharan African countries the numbers of clandestine entrants and overstayers is not going down. They also shared experiences of the wider humanitarian implications of this security approach including a growing group of sub-Saharan migrants ‘stuck’ in north Africa unable to get to Europe or to return to their country of origin and without access to basic services, irregular migrants in Europe experiencing exploitation and abuse yet having limited recourse to safety and migrants who have been apprehended and removed experiencing destitution and hardship on return to their country of origin.

IPPR's Jenny Pennington at the Brussels conferenceDelegates also discussed the findings and conclusions from new IPPR field research conducted in Morocco, Nigeria and the UK. This research explores these current problems, identifies ways to support countries to prevent and manage irregular migration while resolving human rights concerns and sets out recommendations for a new approach to addressing irregular migration. Further information about the discussions, presentations and conclusions that were reached through the conference as well as interviews with key speakers will be made available on IPPR’s website shortly.

More photos from the event are available on PICUM's Flickr page.

If you would like to find out more about this work, receive conference updates and materials or would like to speak about opportunities for future activities please contact

Practical tips for community organisations

14 Jun 2013

IPPR’s Beyond Irregularity partner PICUM developed two toolkits for community organisations working to support the rights of migrants. The toolkits provide practical information and advice on ways to advocate for the rights of all migrants effectively. They can be used by civil society organisations to develop their advocacy work in this area.

The Nigerian toolkit was developed in partnership with IPPR the dRPC. It is based on IPPR research in Nigeria and from a workshop with local civil society organisations organised in Abuja, Nigeria, on 23 January 2013.

The Moroccan toolkit is based on IPPR research in Morocco and from a workshop with civil society organisations organised in Rabat, Morocco, on 4 July 2012.

Out now: French-language editions of new Morocco reports

13 Jun 2013

Ahead of Beyond Irregularity conferences in Belgium and Morocco in June, we have published French-language editions of the final two reports in the Beyond Irregularity series, focusing on transit and returns in Morocco. English-language editions will be published in the summer.

Briefing papers: Returning irregular migrants

22 Feb 2013

We are currently working on forthcoming case studies on the experiences of irregular migrants returning to Morocco and Nigeria from Europe. Based on in-depth qualitative interviews involving over 100 returnees in both countries, we will be investigating how we could ensure more effective policy responses to the return and reintegration of these migrants.

In advance of these two in-depth IPPR case study reports, we have published two short briefings:

Returning irregular migrants: How effective is the EU’s response?

Returning irregular migrants: Is deportation the UK’s only option?

Stakeholder roundtable, fieldworkers training and steering committee meeting

20 Apr 2012

At the beginning of April, IPPR with its partners CCME and PICUM organised a series of meetings over three days in the capital of Morocco, Rabat.


The stakeholder roundtable benefited from the attendance of over twenty five representatives from the non-governmental, international and governmental sectors. The event debated the issue of access to services for irregular sub Saharan migrants – either in transit or as permanent residents in Morocco. The meeting also served as a platform for exchanging good practices on access to rights and sharing ideas regarding the gaps in the current Moroccan policy and legislation. The roundtable discussions reiterated the need for better stakeholder engagement and the importance of identifying new potential players in the migration field. The ideas exchanged have a valuable complementary role to the IPPR analysis of fifty-four interviews with sub-Saharan immigrants to Morocco and twenty stakeholders.

In preparation for the start of the field research of the project’s third case study research on the return and reintegration of irregular migrants in Morocco, a two day training session with the new fieldworkers. The fieldwork will be based on sixty qualitative interviews with returnee irregular Moroccan migrants from Europe.

In a separate event, the project’s steering committee members met for the third time since the start of the project and discussed the overall progress of the work taking place in Morocco. They also shared ideas on the policy briefing on the current legislative framework which influences access to rights of Sub-Saharan migrants living in Morocco. The paper is due to be published by early June.

Stakeholder meeting and fieldworkers training

20 Apr 2012

On 2 April IPPR staff made the first in a series of visits Nigeria and Morocco as part of Beyond Irregularity project - a major programme of work into irregular migration from Sub Saharan Africa to Europe. IPPR staff met with Development Research and Partners Centre (dRPC), IPPR’s Nigerian partner organisation, for a stakeholder roundtable and training of fieldworkers in Abuja.


During the course of the visit dRPC and IPPR staff delivered training to four field researchers who will be interviewing people who have returned to Nigeria having previously migrated to Europe irregularly. This will form part of research to be published later in the year investigating the policies needed for the return and reintegration of migrants that is both effective and safe.

All four fieldworkers brought fascinating individual expertise in this area. Three currently worked for high profile organisations working with vulnerable migrants in Nigeria including WOTCLEF in Abuja and Save the Child in the Northern city of Sokoto. One had recently returned from running an NGO providing humanitarian assistance to Sub Saharan migrants who were living ‘in transit’ in Libya and seeking passage to Europe.

On the final day, the team convened a roundtable event with fifteen stakeholders from NGOs, Nigerian and UK government agencies and international bodies. Participants discussed the findings from Beyond Irregularity’s first ‘case study’ looking at human trafficking from Nigeria to the UK. The research investigates the scale, characteristics and current policy responses to this issue. It sets out the actions needed to provide a collaborative and sustainable response to the issue from stakeholders in the UK, Nigeria and internationally. The research encompasses forty in-depth interviews with trafficked people in the UK, a representative poll in Nigeria on trafficking awareness and fifty interviews with Nigerian and UK stakeholders. Findings from this study will be published in the summer.

New video: Why does irregular migration matter?

13 Mar 2012

Following the advisory group meeting, we spoke to the members about why this major programme of research on irregular and transit migration from sub-Saharan Africa through Morocco to the EU is so timely and important.

The partners and advisory group are (in order of appearance):
- Dr Hermione Harris, SOAS, University of London
- Det Con Andy Desmond, Metropolitan Police
- Michele LeVoy, PICUM, Belgium
- Dr Yahya Hashim, dRPC, Nigeria
- Abigail Stepnitz, Eaves Housing for Women Ltd

The Beyond Irregularity partners and advisory group on the importance of the project

Event update: Stakeholder seminar 9th March

09 Mar 2012

In advance of publishing our primary research on human trafficking in the UK, IPPR convened a stakeholder seminar on the 9th March 2012.

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Beyond Irregularity stakeholders meeting on 9th March 2012 at IPPR

A wide range of experts and practitioners met to discuss the research preliminary findings on human trafficking from Nigeria to the UK and its implications for trafficking policy in the UK.

This seminar proved to be a timely initiative. The need for collaboration both within the UK and across the border with European and source countries was emphasised in the seminar debate. Many stakeholders also shared concerns about the high number of people trafficked from Nigeria and the specific challenges that this type of trafficking posed.

In addition to the IPPR project team, its partner organisations and the project advisory board, seminar attendees were from a variety of interested institutions and organisations, such as the Home Office, UKHTC, Hibiscus, Stepping Stones, Salvation Army, Stop the Traffik and Anti-Slavery International.