See also:
» 04.07.2008 - Toybou confirmed Anjouan president
» 24.06.2008 - Bacar's extradition ruled out
» 06.06.2008 - French court convicted toppled Anjouan leader
» 15.05.2008 - Bacar denied French assylum
» 12.05.2008 - Anjouan ready for presidential olls
» 28.03.2008 - France holds deposed leader
» 18.03.2008 - Comoros soon goes to polls
» 15.10.2007 - Comoros coup plotter dies

China wholesale online through

Houlihan's coupons

Finn autentiske matoppskrifter fra hele verden på
Gazpacho Børek Kartoffelsalat Taboulé Gulasj Albóndigas Cevapi Rougaille Japrak sarma Zwiebelbrot Klopse Giouvetsi Paella Pljeskavica Pica pau Pulpo a la gallega Flammkuchen Langosj Tapenade Chatsjapuri Pasulj Lassi Kartoffelpuffer Tortilla Raznjici Knödel Lentejas Bœuf bourguignon Korianderchutney Brenneslesuppe Proia Sæbsi kavurma Sardinske calamares

Autentiske matoppskrifter fra hele verden finner du på
Réunion Portugal Aserbajdsjan Serbia Tyskland Seychellene Bosnia Spania Libanon Belgia India Kroatia Hellas Italia Ungarn Komorene Georgia Mauritius Østerrike Romania Frankrike

Réunion and Mayotte | Comoros
Society | Politics

Migrants' new secret door to Europe; Mayotte

afrol News, 21 November - While the European Union (EU) is spending large sums to stop illegal migration via the Canary Islands, over the Gibraltar Straits and over the Mediterranean, a new EU destination is growing in "popularity". The French Indian Ocean island Mayotte is an integrated part of the EU, and now sees a booming number of "boat people" arriving.

A new tragic boom in African illegal migrations to Europe is just about to be discovered by the French public, surely to make it a political issue in France's upcoming presidential elections. Only one day after Interior Minister and probable presidential candidate for the French right, Nicolas Sarkozy, made the new migration flow public, the extreme right party National Front (FN) today "demands" heavy action.

The numbers presented yesterday by Minister Sarkozy were surprising and reflect a humanitarian disaster. Newest French statistics showed that around 45,000 "illegals" now lived in Mayotte, constituting about one third of the island's total population.

And the numbers are only growing. According to Mr Sarkozy, French authorities had registered a 134 percent increase in persons being caught while trying to illegally enter the island. While the Minister used the statistics to prove that border controls had become more effective, the opposition sees the same numbers as proof that the migration flow to Mayotte is booming and "demands" that islanders and France be "protected against" this flow.

In Mayotte, however, the reaction is more balanced. Indeed, most "illegals" have the same nationality as islanders as Mayotte geographically and historically belongs to the Comoran archipelago, but residents voted against joining the nation of Comoros at independence. Until 1995, when the economic situation between the two entities had become very different, residents from other Comoran islands were free to travel to Mayotte without a visa. Since that, Comorans are "illegal immigrants".

Still, it is mostly Comorans travelling illegal to their neighbour EU island, but other African nationalities have also increasingly been registered among Mayotte's underground population, causing fears a new major migration route may be in its establishment.

Most worryingly, the "illegals" use the most rudimentary boats - locally termed kwassa-kwassa - to reach the relatively rich island. According to Noël Mamère, a member of the French parliament representing the Green Party - mortality is extremely high on these illegal boat trips to Mayotte.

Ten years after the island's border were closed, Mr Mamère says that between 2,000 and 5,000 persons have died trying to reach Mayotte illegally. According to him, UN statistics put the number at at least 200 drowning in the attempt each year, while local sources had indicated an annual death rate of around 500. Overseas Minister François Baroin claims there are no French statistics to underpin these estimates, but admits that "clandestine immigrants run considerable risks crossing the barrier reefs" off Mayotte's coast.

Mr Mamère last year urged Paris authorities to look at the historic ties between Mayotte and other Comoran islands, consider the humanitarian disaster caused by the dangerous migration and thus re-establish visa-free movements for Comorans "so that this phenomenon of 'boat people' can cease." Minister Baroin answered it was "by no means in the intention of the government" to ease visa restrictions as this would lead to a boom in migration and "destabilise" Mayotte.

Last year, Mayotte expelled around 8,000 illegal immigrants, most of them coming from Comoros, according to Mayotte MP in the French parliament Mansour Kamardine. This year, taking in account the increase reported by Minister Sarkozy, numbers could be closer to 20,000. Comorans are still dominating, but other nationalities are increasingly present among migrants.

In addition, a large percentage of those trying to reach Mayotte are pregnant women, many of whom are not physically in shape for a fatiguing and dangerous trip with a kwassa-kwassa. The reason for their travel is simple: Any child born in Mayotte automatically has the right of local citizenship, which in turn can give rights to a French and EU citizenship.

The French far right already has an answer to this illegal migration stream, which is boosting control and changing citizenship laws to make it far more difficult to obtain a French passport to stop this "insupportable insecurity," according to the FN.

The issue of illegal immigration to Mayotte is therefore set to become an issue in the French presidential elections - when it is duly discovered by politicians. At a Euro-African ministerial conference on migration in Libya today, the issue was still defined to Spain's Canary Islands and Italy's Lampedusa island. French politicians will be glad to find they have their own Canary Island in the electoral campaign.

- Create an e-mail alert for Réunion and Mayotte news
- Create an e-mail alert for Comoros news
- Create an e-mail alert for Society news
- Create an e-mail alert for Politics news

    Printable version

On the Afrol News front page now

Rwanda succeeds including citizens in formal financial sector

afrol News - It is called "financial inclusion", and it is a key government policy in Rwanda. The goal is that, by 2020, 90 percent of the population is to have and actively use bank accounts. And in only four years, financial inclusion has doubled in Rwanda.

Famine warning: "South Sudan is imploding"

afrol News - The UN's humanitarian agencies now warn about a devastating famine in Sudan and especially in South Sudan, where the situation is said to be "imploding". Relief officials are appealing to donors to urgently fund life-saving activities in the two countries.
Panic in West Africa after Ebola outbreak in Guinea

afrol News - Fear is spreading all over West Africa after the health ministry in Guinea confirmed the first Ebola outbreak in this part of Africa. According to official numbers, at least 86 are infected and 59 are dead as a result of this very contagious disease.
Ethiopia tightens its already strict anti-gay laws

afrol News - It is already a crime being homosexual in Ethiopia, but parliament is now making sure the anti-gay laws will be applied in practical life. No pardoning of gays will be allowed in future, but activist fear this only is a signal of further repression being prepared.
Ethiopia plans Africa's biggest dam

afrol News / Africa Renewal - Ethiopia's ambitious plan to build a US$ 4.2 billion dam in the Benishangul-Gumuz region, 40 km from its border with Sudan, is expected to provide 6,000 megawatts of electricity, enough for its population plus some excess it can sell to neighbouring countries.

front page | news | countries | archive | currencies | news alerts login | about afrol News | contact | advertise | español 

©  afrol News. Reproducing or buying afrol News' articles.

   You can contact us at