Last Updated: Wednesday, 27 August 2014, 08:39 GMT

Burkina Faso: Would-be migrants stuck on border

Publisher Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN)
Publication Date 4 February 2009
Cite as Integrated Regional Information Networks (IRIN), Burkina Faso: Would-be migrants stuck on border, 4 February 2009, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/498ab640c.html [accessed 27 August 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

OUAGADOUGOU, 4 February 2009 (IRIN) - More than 30 West African would-be migrants are stranded in Burkina Faso four days after being expelled from Equatorial Guinea, according to Burkina Faso's regional governor, Kilimite Theodore Hien.

Hien told IRIN the returnees arrived at the Burkina Faso town of Nadiago -- near the border with Benin -- at 5am on 30 January, saying they were from Burkina Faso, Côte d'Ivoire, Guinea and Senegal.

"They were dumped without papers or luggage. Their expulsion was regrettable," said Hien. The governor told IRIN the migrants said they were deported from Equatorial Guinea to Benin's economic capital Cotonou, where they were put in trucks headed to Burkina Faso.

Governor Hien told IRIN the returnees, all males, reported being forced out of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea. The island nation is one of the world's top 30 oil producers, according to its government, and has increasingly become a destination for job-seeking migrants.

In Equatorial Guinea's capital Malabo, an airport police commissioner who preferred to remain anonymous told IRIN he was not aware of any recent migrant deportations.

But Burkina Faso Governor Hien said the recent returnees are ample proof. "The fact that we discovered them [in these conditions] at the border is very deplorable," he said.

Hien told IRIN officials are arranging for 21 would-be migrants who identified themselves as Burkinabe to return to their homes, while foreign embassies are being contacted to handle the remaining returnees.

Mass deportation

International agreements to prevent mass deportation include the 1950 European Convention for the Protection of Human Rights and Freedoms and the 1990 UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of All Migrant Workers and their Families.

But sub-Saharan African governments and international migrant rights organisations have noted continuous mass deportations by security forces in both Europe and Africa.

Work programme

Some 4,000 Burkina Faso citizens work in Equatorial Guinea's two largest cities, Bata and Malabo, according to Burkina's Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

President Blaise Compaoré visited Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo last November to discuss a temporary work visa programme for Burkina Faso residents, according to Burkina Faso's government.

"This expulsion does not affect the process of reaching an agreement for legal migration between Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea," said Sibiri Michel Ouedraogo, an inspector with the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

He told IRIN Burkina Faso will soon open a consulate in Malabo,  Equatorial Guinea's capital. "The main problem is that the [Burkina Faso] embassy at Abuja [Nigeria], which is covering Equatorial Guinea, cannot handle all those seeking to migrate [to Equatorial Guinea]."

The UN has identified landlocked Burkina Faso as a country of emigration with more migrants leaving annually than arriving. Currently more than 11,000 Burkina Faso citizens live in Gabon and four million in Côte d'Ivoire, according to the Foreign Affairs Ministry.

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