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During the first 10 days of the crisis, some 70,000 people in Libya fled to Tunisia to escape violence UNHCR / A Duclos / 2011
During the first 10 days of the crisis, some 70,000 people in Libya fled to Tunisia to escape violence

About the event

From the end of 2010, a series of unexpected popular uprisings have spread across North Africa and the Middle East. The dramatic unfolding of events has disrupted the ever changing patterns of mobility in the region in new and disturbing ways, including uprooting people, transforming existing migrants into refugees and constraining the movement of mobile populations. Some events, as in Egypt and Tunisia, have been largely peaceful, with political transitions under the mediation of the army. Other events have been brutal, with a witnessing of force of arms and violent suppression of the opposition in Libya, for example.

These diverse crises have resulted in ‘mixed’ migration flows: economic migrants becoming forced migrants and forced migrants entering irregular migration channels in the search for survival, while other migrants have become ‘involuntarily immobile’, such as migrant workers stuck inside Libya.

This workshop provided a space for interested academics, practitioners and policy makers to critically engage with the evolving contemporary crises in North Africa, focusing in particular on the challenges surrounding the displacement of people in their wake, including: migrant workers from across the African continent, internally displaced nationals, and Sub-Saharan African and Middle Eastern asylum-seekers and refugees who had formerly sought refuge within countries including Libya and Egypt. Organized around two panels with presentations by leading academics and practitioners working on the region, this interactive workshop explored two intersecting questions:

  • How have these crises influenced different forms of population displacement?
  • What are the key protection and legal challenges faced by the international community in light of the internal and international displacement of populations as a consequence of the contemporary popular uprisings in North Africa?