Magazine article Forced Migration Review

Humanitarian Border Management

Magazine article Forced Migration Review

Humanitarian Border Management

Article excerpt

Humanitarian border management is one of the tools that can supplement the humanitarian response for migrants caught in a crisis situation

Not all patterns of mobility during crises and not all people on the move during crises are comprehensively covered by current frameworks at the international, regional and national levels. The International Organization for Migration (IOM) recognises the need for improved coordination and capacities and has therefore developed a Migration Crisis Operational Framework (MCOF); this focuses on the vulnerabilities of a variety of people on the move and affected communities, whose needs and specific vulnerabilities can be overlooked in crisis response.1

The MCOF takes into account a number of migration management tools that can supplement the humanitarian response for migrants caught in a crisis situation, among which is humanitarian border management. The police, immigration and border management agencies have key roles to play in the event of a migration crisis. When entire regions find themselves in turmoil, states facing political instability may primarily be concerned about security aspects of border management, closing affected borders as a measure to curb increasing crossborder mobility. States need to be equipped with alternative response mechanisms that recognise the crucial importance of upholding humane governance at borders in situations of increased pressure, in order to help protect vulnerable mobile populations in conformity with existing international law.

Building the capacities of border-managing agencies includes working on technical aspects such as sound contingency plans, early warning systems, search and rescue operations and mobile registration units, but also on developing an enhanced awareness of vulnerabilities among mixed-migration flows during crisis and referral systems for the protection of vulnerable individuals and groups. …

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