Stranded migrants: giving structure to a multifaceted notion


This paper represents a holistic study of the multifaceted notion of stranded migrants, which gained renewed attention by international actors in the past decade, and especially in relation to the 2011 uprising and consequent conflict in Libya and the current crisis in Syria. However, the call for new action concerning the protection of this group of migrants appears to be constrained by a lack of analysis of the phenomenon. This paper therefore studies the notion from a historical perspective, interrelated with a survey of the situation on the ground, and a review of previous and current international understanding of the notion. After deriving concrete characteristic of the group of stranded migrants and concluding, that stranded migrants can be found anywhere, unrelated to geography and previous legal status, the paper focuses on vulnerabilities of migrants and stranded migrants. In specific from two perspectives: first, the concrete kinds of vulnerabilities; and second, factors causing different degrees of vulnerabilities. These factors are put into a vulnerability nexus, allowing evaluating various levels of vulnerabilities. Concluding, the paper offers a categorization of vulnerability for migrants and stranded migrants, exemplified in an inverted pyramid, culminating in a call for the international community to collaborate in a more systematic approach to the phenomenon of stranded migrants. In the view of the authors, this could best be initiated through concrete actions endorsed at the upcoming High Level Dialogue on International Migration and Development of the UN General Assembly in October 2013.