Accepted paper:

Implications of a securitised migration regime on Somali refugees in Nairobi, Kenya

Author:

Margaret Monyani (University of the Witwatersrand)

Paper short abstract:

The paper unpacks migration governance in an era of 'war on terror' which is characterized by a myriad of surveillance techniques, through which migrants are depoliticized and placed within spaces of exception, and how such spaces of exception become regularized and legalized within the polity.

Paper long abstract:

Contemporary governance of refugees globally is exercised through the prism of crisis, threats and risks especially for host states that seek to "manage" them through regimes of increasing securitization. Indeed, current anxieties associated with global conflict and refugee flows, particularly from the Middle-Eastern and sub-Saharan African migrant itineraries through Northern Africa, have refocused global attention on refugees. Their criminalization by sanctuary-states has in a way led to the growing difficulties of refugees to live decently and without fear in their new, "hosts" settings. This paper is about such global dynamics associated with refugee governance from an African standpoint by focusing on the livelihood situations of Somali refugees in Nairobi, Kenya. The paper focuses on the growing securitization of refugee management in Kenya which generates increasing challenges for the everyday livelihoods of these urban Somali refugees and their families which compels them to respond in creative, adaptive ways so as to cope with these constraining dynamics of securitization. The paper unpacks migration governance in an era of 'war on terror' which is characterized by a myriad of surveillance techniques, through which migrants are depoliticized and placed within spaces of exception, and how such spaces of exception gradually become regularized and legalized within the polity. The paper argues that securitisation of the urban Somali refugees is a cyclic and multi-layered process that not only involves various government agencies at various levels, local citizens as crucial agents to the process but also the refugees themselves through their innovative resistance to the seclusion.

panel Pol22
Migration and inequality: the African migrant and access to public services