The University of Johannesburg’s Institute for Pan-African Thought and Conversation held a meeting in Brussels last week on African Migration to Europe with the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung and the 79-member African, Caribbean, and Pacific Group. In December the UN Global Compact for Safe, Orderly, and Regular Migration is due to be agreed in Marrakesh. My brief presentation in Brussels focused on issues relating to Africa’s “boat people” crossing the Mediterranean to try to reach “Fortress Europe”, one of the world’s most under-reported tragedies. An estimated 3,200 Africans died last year in aquatic graves, and 1,730 have already perished this year. This phenomenon — though much smaller in scale and voluntary — echoes the deaths at sea of hundreds of thousands of Africans during the four centuries of the Atlantic slave trade. This issue must be seen in the broader context of the politicisation of migration issues. Many of the EU’s 28 governments view migration largely through a securi...

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