Refugees & Migration
Debates over EU responsibility to rescue and save these migrants from drowning have become more contentious in recent years and at the center of the current debate are the humanitarian NGOs trying to fill the gap left by the EU’s increasingly draconian migration policies.
Afghanistan is witnessing a particularly violent month with multiple bombings, street protests and a violent crackdown by police.And in this mayhem, several countries are actively deporting Afghan refugees back to the country.
Today marks World Refugee Day. Once again, this past year was record breaking for refugees and the forcibly displaced, albeit all the wrong records.Refugee hosting and resettlement remains a controversial topic among the countries most able to contribute, while new crises threaten to continue to overwhelm the international refugee system.
This week France started the long-awaited shutdown of the notorious Jungle refugee camp outside the city of Calais. Billed as a humanitarian measure, the eviction of nearly 7,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the camp is becoming just as controversial as the camp itself as questions remain about what will happen to those who once called the Jungle home.
According to the International Organization for Migration, for at least the third year in a row the Mediterranean represents the most deadly migratory route in the world. With three main methods of crossing the Mediterranean, known deaths in the Mediterranean account for almost 75 percent of global migrant deaths.
Delegates of the Refugee Congress meet with members of the U.S. Congress as part of their national meeting. Sharing their stories, of how they came to the U.S. and their experiences once here, gives insight to the lawmakers responsible for setting refugee policy and programs designed to help new refugees integrate into their new lives in America.
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Australia announced yesterday that it would be closing its controversial migrant detention center on Manus island in Papua New Guinea following a court order earlier this year. Refugee and human rights groups welcomed the announcement, although it remains unclear what lays ahead for the more than 800 asylum seekers currently housed at Manus and the many others in the same situation at other offshore detention facilities.
At a time when immigration has again become a hot-button political topic across the West, President Obama announced new measures last month to help people from Central America escape the daily violence that defines many of their lives.
The Brexit fallout contains multitudes, and there is now a good chance that thousands of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants will soon have a far easier time making it to British soil. This could bring the Syrian refugee crisis to the UK in a way it has largely escaped until now.
Three months after the EU-Turkey deal went into effect, very few of the estimated 2,000 refugees on the Greek island of Chios feel lucky. Instead, out of the international spotlight and with no information on what their future may hold, they feel forgotten and left behind.
Unlike other refugee groups that fall under the mandate of UNHCR with the 1951 Refugee Convention, the UN created the Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) in 1949. The long-standing nature of a temporary agency has led to some unique challenges in serving those who have held refugee status for 66 years.
The World Humanitarian Summit set out to coordinate an international relief effort by asking attendees to commit to specific action on issues from education to emergency response. Some participants were optimistic about the outcome, but there was also skepticism from aid agencies and humanitarian observers.
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The World Humanitarian Summit ended yesterday evening — and though it may come as a surprise to many, much of the discussion in Istanbul focused squarely on the Sustainable Development Goals – the set of 17 anti-poverty goals established at the United Nations Summit last September.
UN Dispatch talked with Jan Egeland, the secretary general of the Norwegian Refugee Council and special advisor to the Syrian peace talks on the issue of humanitarian access and the protection of civilian. As one of the largest organizations in the world working on the issue of displacement, Egeland is in a great position to explain what needs to come out of the summit, as well as what needs to be done now.
As the international community met in Istanbul today to call for greater accountability in adhering to humanitarian law and upholding the rights of those forcibly displaced around the world, the Greek government announced that it plans to clear a large refugee camp that has built up at the Macedonian border.
As the international community prepares to address the ongoing needs of the global refugee crisis at the World Humanitarian Summit later this month, it got a nasty surprise last week when Kenya announced it would be closing the Dadaab refugee camp in central Kenya.
While there are many reasons to believe the deal made between the EU and Turkey to stop the flow of refugees will ultimately fail, its existence highlights the lengths Europe is willing to go to get refugees off its doorstep, regardless of the potential human cost.
It is clear that the status quo on humanitarian funding is no longer feasible. While gaps in what was needed have always existed, the current “megacrises” have created a system where what is lacking almost matches what is being given.
After a quiet year in 2015, migrants fleeing violence in Central America are crossing the US border in numbers rivaling the massive influx that occurred in 2014. But in a significant policy shift, the US announced last week it would formally open its refugee resettlement program to those fleeing violence in Central America, marking a significant change in how these children and families are treated.
The decades old system of international laws and agreements intended to facilitate the safe and dignified processing of refugees is now clearly broken. Unless the international community substantially updates these policies to reflect the realities of the 21st century, the old system is bound to fold under the pressure.
With all the focus on the current refugee crisis in Europe, it is easy to lose sight of the fact that refugees have been coming to Europe from Africa and the Middle East for years. The experience of those refugees and migrants are instructive to understanding the current crisis, and how far Europe needs to go in creating humane policies that uphold the rights of refugees.
One of the exciting things about the opening of the UN General Assembly in the wide variety of politicians, activists and civil society organizations it brings to New York every year. This year, one of those activists was Graça Machel, an international activist for women and children rights as well as the former first lady of Mozambique and South Africa. In a briefing following her appearance at the Social Good Summit, she talked about the launch of the SDGs and the challenges that lay ahead.
As Europe struggles to find solutions to the ongoing Mediterranean refugee crisis, countries further afield are also struggling with their responses. Across the Atlantic, the US and Canada have both offered settlement plans for Syrian refugees while across the Indian Ocean, Australia is also asking tough questions about what its policy should be in the face of a global refugee crisis.
What’s in a name? That is a question journalists, politicians and policymakers are asking themselves in addressing the Mediterranean refugee crisis. Although the terms “refugee” and “migrant” are often used interchangeably, the terms have very different meanings and attach different rights and responsibilities. As a result, it is important to understand what we are talking about when discussing how to deal with the crisis.
As Greece continues to capture headlines over the most recent economic bailout and its potential to still derail the Eurozone, another crisis is unfolding in the country. As thousands of refugees pour into Greece in search of the safety of the EU, their numbers and the inability of Greece to cope is setting off a chain reaction that could result in a far bigger political crisis down the line.
Ahead of World Refugee Day on June 20, the United Nations High Commission for Refugees released their annual “Global Trends” report on the state of refugees in the world today. The data is staggering. There are now more refugees and internally displaced persons in the world than at any point since World War II – estimated at nearly 60 million that have been driven from their homes by conflict and upheaval.
As fighting between the government and pro-Russian rebels continues in Eastern Ukraine, displacement from the conflict is reaching new heights. By October, UNHCR estimated that more than 800,000 people have been displaced, representing the largest displacement of people in Europe since the Balkan wars. It is the latest refugee crisis in a year that has seen several, and is stretching resources thin.
Long a controversial issue, Australia’s treatment of asylum seekers is getting renewed attention after two boats sank in the Indian Ocean last week. Although the government had been tracking both boats for days, no attempts were made to lend assistance until after they disappeared from radar. Furthermore, the government opted not to recover the bodies discovered in the subsequent rescue operation, instead leaving the bodies to nature in the water. These incidents have renewed the debate over how the country treats asylum seekers trying to reach Australia through irregular maritime arrivals. And while such renewed attention is needed, recent events suggest that Australia is continuing to head in the wrong direction on refugee rights.
As the civil war continues to unfold in Syria, a new refugee crisis is emerging with massive flows of Syrians escaping the country for relative safety in Turkey, Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. Last week as many as 30,000 Syrian refugees crossed into Lebanon in just 48 hours while thousands more have crossed into Iraq, Jordan and Turkey.