Mixed Migration in Asia
Asia is characterized at the same time by fast evolving and complex population movements, including large-scale movement of migrants and refugees, and by a particularly weak legal framework for the protection of people moving as part of these – largely irregular – movements. Due to the lack of a legal and protection framework in many countries across Asia, migrants and refugees are often treated as “irregular migrants” and as such subject to measures such as arrest, detention and deportation. Many take great risks to escape life-threatening situations, such as conflicts, violence, discrimination or natural disasters, embarking on perilous journeys by land or by sea. Some feel compelled to resort to the services of smugglers, and others may fall prey to traffickers. Unlike regular migration in which categories of mobile populations are known and documented, the profile of people travelling in mixed migration flows are not readily evident or identifiable, including those in need of protection as determined by international law, such as refugees and victims of trafficking. Their needs and vulnerabilities, as well as their status, may change significantly during the course of their often long and staggered journey.