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Southampton Law School

Dr Nwabueze leads GCRF Saharan and Mediterranean Cross-Border Migration project

Published: 9 November 2020

Saharan and Mediterranean Cross-Border Migration and Deaths and the Impacts on Economic and Social Development of African Countries.

Dr Remigius Nwabueze (Southampton Law School) is leading a research project which aims to identify and address conceptual and practical issues surrounding irregular migration, such as cross-border deaths and those who go missing in relation to migrant attempts to get into Europe, through dangerous crossings across the Sahara and Mediterranean Sea.

The project, which is funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Strategic Development Fund (SDF, brings together colleagues from across the University of Southampton, and more widely, including leading academic figures from Greece, Ghana and Nigeria.

In the last five years, over 1.8 million irregular migrants, including those from Nigeria and Ghana, arrived in the European countries of Italy, Greece, Spain, Cyprus and Malta after dangerous land and sea border crossings; 15,369 irregular migrants died or were missing in the same period. Irregular migration and its devastating consequences have not been abated by the current COVID-19 pandemic. Irregular migration to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea and the ensuing deaths or missing persons remain an enduring economic, social and legal problem of significant proportions for both EU governments and countries of origin in Africa. Irregular migrants from Nigeria and Ghana usually travel to Libya (Morocco or Algeria) before they embark on the dangerous journey to Europe across the Mediterranean Sea onboard dinghies and unseaworthy boats. The journey to Libya, across the Sahara Desert, is notoriously treacherous, involving significant protection risks.

The project will critically examine some identified problems,  and their solutions, that arise from irregular migration and cross-border deaths which are capable of impacting on the realisation of the above institutional goals in Nigeria, Ghana and other African countries, including the securing of economic growth; the need to establish peace, justice and strong institutions; as well as observing human rights and enthroning good governance and social justice in Nigeria, Ghana and other African countries.

The project will see the University of Southampton host an international and interdisciplinary workshop on the subject of irregular migration and deaths and the effects on the economic and social development of African countries.

The GCRF is a five-year £1.5bn fund, launched by the UK Government in 2016 and aims to support cutting-edge research that addresses challenges faced by developing countries.  The fund forms part of the Government's pledge to allocate 0.7% of gross national income to provide Official Development Assistance (ODA) to developing countries in which cutting-edge research is translated into local impact where there is an unmet need, as part of the UK Aid Strategy.

The project team includes:

Prof Joseph Yaro, Director, Regional Institute for Population Studies, University of Ghana, Accra. West African Coordinator, Future Agricultures Consortium.

Prof Joy Ezeilo, UN Special Rapporteur on the Trafficking of Persons, Especially Women and Children (2010-2014); Professor of Law and Dean, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

Prof Felix Asante, Institute of Statistical, Social & Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, Accra.

Dr Mariama Zaami, Department of Geography, University of Ghana, Accra.

Ms Eva Tzavala (Greece)

Prof Nina Jorgensen (Southampton Law School)

Prof David Owen (University of Southampton Department of Politics and International Relations)

Dr Claire Lougarre (Southampton Law School)

Dr C Psarras (Southampton Law School)

Dr A Hameed (Southampton Law School)

Dr M Kazarian (Southampton Law School)

Dr B.M Saunders (University of Southampton Department of Politics and International Relations)

Dr J Vullnetari (Geography and Environmental Science)

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