Climate change was not the reason for leaving Libya
In April 2015, a boat sank on its way from Libya to Italy. 700 people died that day, many of them from the rural Sub-Saharan. Media refers to this people as climate refugees – the reason for migration was to get away from the impact of climate change. Is it really the reason?
To find out, a team of researchers, founded by the Swedish International Centre for Local Democracy (ICLD), led by Prof Jesse Ribot and Dr Papa Faye, went to the region in Senegal were many of the drowned migrants came from. After meeting their families, the researchers get surprised. They were told a completely different story.
Climate change is not the reason for leaving. It is the lack of dignity in life, especially for those young men and boys. By making the dangerous trip to Europe they thought they would get back the respect and make their family proud of them again.
– If we only focusing on climate change as the driving force of migration we are erasing the histories and existing knowledge of crisis and the many local, national, international, social and political and economic forces, says Professor Jesse Ribot.
He and his team of scientists and researchers can conclude that climate stress is not the main reason that young men and women are fleeing Africa. “The people we are working with in the Sahelian zone are oppressed and exploited. They are victims of an economy and political environment that systematically takes away any profits they generate – leaving them continuously destitute”.
Jesse Ribot, Professor of Geography and of Anthropology, American University
Phone: +1 202 374 7572
Ana Maria Vargas, PhD, Research Director, Knowledge Centre,
Phone: + 46 72 569 88 14, firstname.lastname@example.org