Alternatives to refugee camps: Can policy become practice? With refugee crises becoming more protracted and camps harder to fund, humanitarian actors are emphasizing the importance of alternatives. However, the crucial question is whether these policy positions will be translated into practice. (IRIN – 7/10/14).
Miscounting human trafficking and slavery: Professor Ronald Weitzer argues that ‘two recent ‘studies’ [on human trafficking and slavery] have attracted a lot of international attention. [However] each presents incredibly flawed findings.’ (Open Democracy – 08/10/14).
Poverty, inequality, discrimination – Let’s stop human trafficking at the roots: Three United Nations human rights experts called for a concerted global response to fight the transnational scourge of trafficking in persons. They said that trafficking is a grave violation of human rights, yet it remains pervasive because its eradication requires coordinated efforts to address its root causes across multiple sectors. They emphasized the importance of countries of origin, transit, and destination, working together to tackle poverty, inequality, discrimination, and other factors causing vulnerability. (OHCHR – 18/10/14).
The Survivors: Comments from the Executive Director of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime on the European Anti-trafficking day and UK Anti-slavery day. (Inter Press Service – 18/10/14).
Migrant detention "abuse" can scar children for life: ‘An increasing number of migrant children are being detained in countries where they are seeking asylum despite a growing body of scientific evidence that such incarceration leads to long-term psychological and developmental difficulties.’ (IRIN – 21/10/14).
Criminalization ‘no solution’ to irregular migration – UN Committee on Migrant Workers: During the presentation of its annual report, the Chair of the UN Committee on Migrant Workers said that ‘criminalizing people for crossing or attempting to cross borders does nothing to tackle the issue of irregular migration, but contributes instead to rising intolerance, xenophobia and the social exclusion of migrants.’ (OHCHR – 24/10/14).
François Crépeau: A Q&A with the UN special rapporteur on migrants rights: The UN Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants says ‘human rights should not be seen through the prism of citizenship and privilege…[He added] in international human rights law, all human beings have all human rights, wherever they are, except two: The right to vote and be elected, and the right to enter and stay in a country. Only citizens have those rights.’ (Al Jazeera America – 24/10/14).
Put human rights of migrants at heart of new development agenda, UN urged: In a report to the General Assembly, the UN Special Rapporteur for the human rights of migrants said ‘the millennium development goals (MDGs) had served to widen inequalities and had been viewed by some governments as an agenda for economic growth rather than a means of improving human rights. [He argued that the] post-2015 sustainable development goals are an opportunity for governments to show their commitment to human rights; that they are indeed indivisible and applicable to all regardless of one’s immigration status,’ (The Guardian – 24/10/14).
Costa Rica serves as a corridor for Asians, Africans migrating to the US: ‘Extra-continental migrants – people traveling to the United States or Canada who are not from the Western Hemisphere – have been using Central America as an entrepôt to reach North America for decades…What is new…[is] the diversity of nationalities traveling north.’ According to an IOM official: ‘These extra-continental flows usually start in South America and move up slowly. The journey could take two to three years for someone from Yemen or Eritrea or Somalia to cross Africa, reach South America, [and] travel to North America. [It] is a very long journey with lots of vulnerabilities.’ (The Tico Times – 07/10/14).
Central America’s Other Refugees: This article canvasses the journey of an Eritrea refugee on a route less traversed by Horn of Africa asylum-seekers. The Eritrean’s ‘typical’ story involves a journey from Eritrea, to Sudan, Kenya, Dubai, Cuba, Ecuador, Panama, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Guatemala, Mexico – and finally the US and to safety. (Foreign Policy in Focus – 23/10/14).
Horn of Africa:
AU Regional Conference on Human Trafficking and Smuggling in the Horn of Africa: Ministers from more than 15 countries of migration source, transit and destination along with High level delegations from the African Union, United Nations agencies called for a stronger collaborative common approach to tackle human trafficking and smuggling in the Horn of Africa. One of the Conference’s objectives was to adopt a common approach to tackle the phenomenon. [The joint press release may be accessed here.] (African Union – 16/10/14).
Hugely important advance in relations with Horn of Africa countries, says Italian Minister: The Italian Deputy Minister for Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation (who is also the Representative of the Council of the European Union) said that the Regional Conference on Human Trafficking and Smuggling in the Horn of Africa marked the opening of an enhanced dialogue between African countries and the European Union for strengthening cooperation in human trafficking and smuggling. (Capital Eritrea – 16/10/14).
EU confirms support to Horn of Africa ahead of high-level visit of international organisations to the region: ‘The EU has confirmed that it will support the wider region of the Horn of Africa with a total of €3 billion in development cooperation until 2020…The EU is a key political and economic partner of the countries in the Horn of Africa…The largest share of this will be channelled through bilateral funding to Ethiopia, Eritrea, Uganda, Somalia, Djibouti and Kenya; parts will also go to regional organisations.’ (European Commission – 27/10/14).
Horn of Africa to receive $8 billion development aid: ‘International donors pledged $8 billion in development aid for projects across the Horn of Africa. The money is aimed to boost economies and stem conflict and hunger across the region.’(Sabahionline – 27/10/14).
AU Calls on Europe to Support Horn of Africa Anti-Human Trafficking Campaign: The ‘African Union [has] called on the European countries to provide political and financial support to Horn of Africa states to assist in curbing [the] human trafficking phenomenon.’ (Sudan Vision – 28/10/14).
Regional Mixed Migration Committee for Horn of Africa and Yemen Meets in Ethiopia: The Regional Committee on Mixed Migration for the Horn of Africa and Yemen held its 4th annual meeting in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. ‘The two-day meeting aims to improve multi-state collaboration to make and endorse recommendations that will serve as a roadmap for influencing policies affecting migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers in the region.’ (IOM – 28/10/14).
Eritrean survivor of Lampedusa tragedy returns to honour the dead, meet Pope Francis: Almost a year after she nearly lost her life off the tiny Italian island of Lampedusa, Letebrhane from Eritrea overcame her fear of the sea and return to remember the thousands who have lost their lives trying to reach Europe across the Mediterranean on smugglers' boats. (UNHCR – 2/10/14).
Africa Europe migration: Lampedusa survivor remembers: An Eritrean remembers the fatal journey in which 360 migrants/asylum-seekers died. (BBC – 2/10/14).
A year after the Lampedusa tragedy, refugees continue to flood into Germany: ‘On 3.10.2013, more than 350 refugees drowned off the Italian island of Lampedusa. A new EU refugee policy has done nothing to ease the situation - police in southern Germany continue to detain refugees on a daily basis.’ (Deutsche Welle – 03/10/14).
Parliamentary Assembly adopts landmark resolution calling for an end to child immigration detention: the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) debated and adopted by a vote of 46 – 2 a landmark resolution calling on member states to prohibit the immigration detention of children. (International Detention Coalition – 03/10/14).
EU-wide crackdown on irregular immigration on the way: Human rights organisations have strongly condemned the EU’s plan to launch a massive EU-wide police operation called “MOS MAIORUM” to hunt irregular immigrants from 13th to 26th October 2014. The operation, which was approved by the Council of the European Union on 10th July 2014, will be implemented in the framework of the Italian Presidency of the Council of the European Union (News Africa – 07/10/14).
Frontex Joint Operation 'Triton' – Concerted efforts to manage migration in the Central Mediterranean: ‘As from 1 November 2014, at the earliest, the Frontex coordinated joint operation 'Triton' will start its activity in the Central Mediterranean in support of the Italian efforts. The details of Triton, including the operational area and the necessary assets, have been agreed between Frontex and Italy on the basis of the requests made by the Italian authorities.’ (European Commission 07/10/14).
160 asylum seekers protest at Waterford direct provision centre: ‘Some 160 asylum seekers at a direction provision centre in Waterford…[protested] against conditions at the centre and the entire direct provision system.’ This included delays in the processing of their asylum applications. (The Irish Times – 08/10/14).
Europe’s sea of death for migrants is a result of war and escalating inequality: Opinion arguing that in light of rising global inequality it is surprising that migratory pressures are not as strong as is currently being experienced. It warns that if the current world economic model persists the current movements, when reflected on in the future, will look like a trickle. (The Guardian – 09/10/14).
New refugee proposals: Send them back: Two Danish opposition parties have seriously ratcheted up the rhetoric in the ongoing debate about Denmark’s responsibility to take in refugees. The right-wing Danish People’s Party (DF) and the libertarian party Liberal Alliance (LA) are calling for Denmark to stop accepting refugees and instead send them back where they came from and offer them help closer to home. (The Local – 09/10/14).
EU mulls quotas for refugees: ‘EU interior ministers want to more fairly allocate refugees within the bloc. Sea rescue operations would also be restricted.’ (Deutsche Welle – 10/10/14).
President welcomes ‘milestone’ report on child migrants in Malta: The Maltese President welcomed an IOM/UNHCR report on alternatives to detention of child migrants as being ‘a milestone for the wellbeing of Maltese society.’ (Malta Today – 13/10/14).
Migrants are being forced sell their organs to pay for being trafficked from Africa to Europe: An Italian Police Investigation alleges that ‘an international human trafficking ring forced migrants to sell their organs as payment for their journey from Africa to Europe.’ The ring is said to have members of Libyan and Eritrean nationality. (Daily Mail online 13/10/14).
Chaos at Calais as hundreds of striking French police block road in protest over lack of manpower to deal with tide of refugees desperate to reach Britain: ‘Police officers in Calais block road in protest over refugee crisis in town. Strike caused long delays for cars trying to board ferries to Britain. [It is reported] there are not enough officers to deal with the 2,000 migrants near the port. Police union says it cannot cope with violence between rival refugee gangs. (Daily Mail online – 13/10/14).
Most refugees are now from Syria: ‘After years of receiving most of its refugees from Eritrea and Somalia, Norway is now seeing the biggest increase among those fleeing the civil war in Syria. More arrived in Norway from Syria in both August and September, and officials at immigration agency UDI (Utlendingsdirektoratet) expect the numbers to keep rising.’ (Views and news from Norway – 13/10/14).
Frontex Triton operation to 'support' Italy's Mare Nostrum: EU border agency Frontex's Triton naval mission in the Mediterranean will not replace Italy's Mare Nostrum migrant sea search-and-rescue operation, Frontex chief executive Gil Arias Fernandez reaffirmed Thursday (Ansamed – 16/10/14).
Thousands of African child migrants feared in thrall to Italian traffickers: Thousands of Eritrean, Somali, and other African child migrants are feared to have fallen victim to forced labour and sexual exploitation in Europe. (The Guardian – 17/10/14).
EU work to eradicate trafficking in human beings: from words to actions: To mark the 8th EU Anti trafficking day of 18 October, the European Commission issued a package of three documents on trafficking in human beings, testimony to the commitments and priority given to this area. The documents are: a midterm report on trafficking; a Eurostat report on trafficking in human beings; and a communication on the use of an EU Directive on residence permits to non EU victims of human trafficking. (European Commission – 17/10/14).
UNHCR concerned over ending of rescue operation in the Mediterranean: UNHCR is concerned over the announcement of the ending in October of the Italian operation Mare Nostrum without a similar European search and rescue operation to replace it. According to UNHCR, this will undoubtedly increase the risk for those trying to find safety in Europe, and could lead to more refugees and migrants perishing at sea. It is estimated that 3,343 people have lost their lives this year while making such journeys, 2,755 of them since the start of July. (UNHCR – 17/10/14).
Onboard with Mare Nostrum: [Video news clipping] After the refugee drama off Lampedusa's coast last October, Italy founded the rescue mission Mare Nostrum. Over the last year, ships have tracked the boats of refugee smugglers and helped migrants, rescuing more than 100,000 refugees. But for financial reasons, the mission will come to an end in the near future. (Deutsche-Welle – 18/10/14).
Home Office ‘chaos’ over asylum appeals: Thousands of decisions by the Home Office to refuse asylum seekers and migrants permission to remain in the UK have been withdrawn before a series of appeals. Critics say the Home Office’s actions have left the immigration status of some claimants unclear, contributing to a backlog of cases that have yet to be decided. (The Guardian – 18/10/14).
Shipwreck Was Simple Murder, Migrants Recall: Palestinian migrants narrate the factors that led them to take the fateful boat journey across the Mediterranean in which hundreds of migrants died. (New York Times – 20/10/14).
Spain says 60 migrants enter northwest African enclave after multiple border scaling attempts: The Spanish government says several hundred African migrants staged multiple attempts to scale the border fences separating enter Spain's North African enclave of Melilla from Morocco, with some 60 managing to get across. (Fox News – 20/10/14).
Migrants’ tales: ‘I feel for those who were with me. They got asylum in the sea’: Why is 2014 proving such a terrible year of migrants crossing the Mediterranean? The answer, according to some, is a combination of factors: war, upheaval and economic rout on Europe’s periphery; the cynicism of smugglers who can charge as much as $10,000 (£6,200) to facilitate movement; the breakdown of law and order in one of the principal conduits for migrants – Libya; and the Italian rescue mission which paradoxically may be encouraging more people to risk everything in overladen fishing vessels ill-equipped for the job. (The Guardian – 20/10/14).
Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights calls on the Netherlands to reduce the use of detention for migrants The Commissioner voiced his concern about the extensive use of administrative border detention of asylum seekers and migrants. Despite being allowed only as a measure of last resort, for the shortest possible period of time and when no effective alternative is applicable, current practice shows that in the Netherlands all asylum seekers who arrive at external borders are systematically detained for a period of up to 14 days, during which their asylum claim is processed. At the time of the Commissioner’s visit children were also subject to detention at the border but this is no longer the case. Since September 2014 children are immediately transferred to an open reception centre. (Asylum Information Database 20/10/14).
Eritrean asylum seekers find refuge in famous Swiss monastery: Switzerland’s most famous monastery is housing Eritrean asylum-seekers. "Like every other country in Europe, we have experienced a mass influx of asylum seekers, most of them Eritreans, since July," explained a Swiss migration official. (AFP – 21/10/14).
European Court Slams Italy, Greece on Migrants’ Rights: The European Court of Human Rights issued a ruling condemning Italy’s practice of sending undocumented migrants and asylum seekers found on ferries from Greece back to Greece within hours without adequately considering their particular needs or desire to apply for asylum. The court found that Greece had violated the migrants’ rights by not providing them access to an asylum procedure and exposing them to the risk of being deported to Afghanistan. (Human Rights Watch – 21/10/14).
Ten myths about migration: Writers from a number of European media houses address some common claims about migration and assess whether they are true in their country. (The Guardian – 21/10/14).
Moas rescues another 274 migrants: The Migrant Offshore Aid Station reported that it ‘rescued 274 people, including 200 Syrians, from a 15-metre wooden boat in distress.’ Six Eritreans were among the rescued. (Times of Malta – 21/10/14).
Germany Tightens Asylum Policy: A political debate on deportation enforcement has developed in Germany as 59.4 percent more asylum petitions have been submitted this year to German immigration authorities than in 2013. According to a spokesperson in the German government ‘there is a significant lack of enforcement in terms of mandatory leave’. (Telesur – 22/10/14).
New Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs: The Junker Commission has been approved by the European Parliament in a plenary vote and Mr Avramopoulos has become the future Commissioner for Migration and Home Affairs. (European Commission – 22/10/14).
Fundamental rights and forced returns of migrants: Ombudsman opens investigation: ‘The European Ombudsman, Emily O'Reilly, has opened an investigation into how Frontex ensures the respect of fundamental rights of migrants who are subject to forced returns from the EU to their countries of origin.’ (European Ombudsman – 22/10/14).
Now desperate mothers drag their babies 5,000 miles to squalid Calais refugee camps to find husbands who have already crossed channel into Britain: ‘Increasing numbers of lone women are queuing up to get into Britain. They follow husbands who have already made the 5,000 journey on lorry. Mother who brought two-year-old says: I don't want her to grow up in [Calais].’ (The Daily Mail Online – 23/10/14).
Germany struggles to house rising number of asylum seekers: ‘Over 130,000 asylum applications were made in Germany between January and September this year, by far the largest caseload in the European Union in terms of absolute numbers…Meanwhile, Germany's infrastructure for housing asylum seekers is showing signs of buckling under the pressure, with conditions deteriorating at overcrowded refugee shelters.’ (IRIN – 24/10/14).
Migrants in Calais: who are they and why do they see no option but to try reach the UK?: ‘A new report by France terre d’asile dispels many myths around the situation of migrants and refugees in Calais, in northern France.’ (ECRE – 24/10/14).
'More Will Die' As Britain's Decides Not To Help Refugees: ‘Britain's decision to not support efforts to save desperate immigrants who risk drowning will see "more people needlessly and shamefully dying on Europe's doorstep," it has been claimed.’ The UK said it will not proactively participate in search and rescue missions because they encourage migrants to undertake the dangerous journey. (Huffington Post UK – 28/10/14).
Migration policy hurts competitiveness, minister says: Calais Mayor says that migrants and refugees are desperate to reach the UK because of state benefits. This perception has placed pressure on Conservative government to get tough with immigration. (Financial Times – 28/10/14).
Italy 'to continue migrant rescues in Mediterranean' ‘The Italian navy says it will continue search and rescue missions for migrants in the Mediterranean in parallel with an EU operation starting [in late October].’ – (BBC – 28/10/14).
We know how many Eritrean children reach Europe on their own, but not how many die trying – UN expert: According to the UN Special Rapporteur for Eritrea, more than 4,000 Eritrean minors (including more than 3,200 travelling without their parents ) have arrived in Italy in in mid-October since the beginning of 2014. (OHCHR – 28/10/14)
UNHCR concerned over attempt to legalize automatic returns from Spanish enclaves: ‘UNHCR is concerned over a proposal by Spain to legalize automatic returns of people trying to cross border fences into its enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla located in North Africa. Under this initiative, a person trying to access Ceuta and Melilla irregularly without the required documentation, would be automatically rejected and would not be entitled to the legal guarantees foreseen in national and EU law relating to the right of an individual to seek asylum.’ (UNHCR – 29/10/14).
In job-hungry Italy, neo-Fascists await young migrants: Italy has received more than 60,000 arrivals of refugees and migrants in 2014. Many Italian youth link the influx with deteriorating labour conditions and consider it a reason to join right wing political parties. (PRI The World – 28/10/14)
More than 10,000 asylum-seekers 'left in limbo': ‘More than 10,000 asylum-seekers who have lived in Britain for more than seven years are still waiting for an initial Home Office decision on whether they can stay.’ (The Independent – 29/10/14).
Home Office minister defends asylum policy from attack: ‘The [UK] government's decision to withdraw support for future search-and-rescue operations for migrants in the Mediterranean has come under attack.’ (BBC – 30/10/14).
Spain: Abandon Abusive Migration Plan: ‘The Spanish government should immediately drop its plans to provide a legal basis for summary returns from its enclaves in North Africa, 13 human rights groups said today. The Spanish and international organizations wrote to the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the rights of migrants, François Crépeau, and the Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights, Nils Muižnieks, urging them to press the Spanish government to withdraw a proposed amendment to Spain’s immigration law.’ (Human Rights Watch – 30/10/14).
Twenty African migrants drown in Mediterranean boat sinking, just days after Britain said it would stop supporting rescue of asylum seekers: The ‘Italian coastguard saved 93 would-be immigrants when their boat capsized. But in total there were 113 people on vessel which was off coast of Libya.’ Leading to fears that at least 20 migrants after the boat sunk. (Mail Online – 30/10/14).
'Europe / Migrants: "Let them die, this is a good deterrence" - UN Human Rights Expert': According to the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants: “Governments that do not support the search and rescue efforts have reduced themselves to the same level as the smugglers,” the human rights expert stressed. “They are preying on the precariousness of the migrants and asylum seekers, robbing them of their dignity and playing with their lives.” (OHCHR - 30/10/14).
Russia : Stop Mass Arrests of Migrants: ‘Between 23 October and 2 November 2014 the authorities of Moscow are implementing “Operation Migrant 2014", aimed at cracking down on “illegal” migration. 7000 migrants were arrested in the first four days during mass raids in which police have used violence.’ (FIDH – 31/10/14).
Amid Record Waves of Refugees, Italy Finding Limits to Its Compassion: ‘Tattered migrants arriving from Africa bring harrowing tales of escape, and new challenges for Europe.’ (National Geographic – 31/10/14).
Italy to end sea rescue mission that saved 100,000 migrants: Italy announced it will end the Mare Nostrum operation, which began last year. This comes after weeks of speculation on whether or not its search and rescue operation will continue along with the more limited EU operation headed by Frontex. Civil Society organizations have responded to the news with dismay arguing that it is likely more deaths will result along the Mediterranean crossing. So far it is estimated that 3,300 people have died. (Reuters – 31/10/14).
IOM Applauds Italy's Life Saving Mare Nostrum Operation: "Not a Migrant Pull Factor": 'IOM paid tribute...to the heroic work of Italy's maritime forces in rescuing at sea thousands of migrants seeking safety in Europe. And 'despite the rising number of migrants rescued, IOM does not believe that Europe is faced with an "invasion" along its southern coast, nor that the safety net provided by Mare Nostrum represented a "pull factor".' (IOM - 31/10/14).
Escaping Eritrea’s 'open prison': Eritrean asylum-seeker says he saw the risky journey across the Mediterranean as the only way out of the ‘open prison’ that is Eritrea. (Al Jazeera – 3/10/14).
Between the desert and the fire: In this documentary, Al Jazeera explores factors that continue to drive Eritreans from their own country; the poor conditions they often encounter in refugee camps across the border; and the smuggling and human trafficking surrounding them. It also looks at the pressure the Sudanese government and international aid agencies are under in dealing with the problems that arise. (Al Jazeera – 8/10/14).
Criminals demand millions for Eritreans: ‘Tens of thousands of Eritreans are held and tortured for ransom in the Sinai. The tentacles of the organised kidnapping groups extend to Europe, including Switzerland. But authorities are hardly aware of the issue.’ (swissinfo.ch – 14/10/14).
Spike in the number of Eritrean refugee arrivals in Ethiopia: The Office for the Humanitarian Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that more than 200 Eritrean refugees (including unaccompanied minors) are arriving in Northern Ethiopia on a daily basis. This marks a sudden spike since September and is causing congestion at the reception centre. As of 16th October, Ethiopia hosts 104,343 Eritrean refugees. (UN OCHA – 20/10/14)
We know how many Eritrean children reach Europe on their own, but not how many die trying – UN expert: According to the UN Special Rapporteur for Eritrea, more than 4,000 Eritrean minors (including more than 3,200 travelling without their parents ) have arrived in Italy in in mid-October since the beginning of 2014. (OHCHR – 28/10/14)
Eritrean resistance steps up pressure on President Isaias Afewerki: Through a secure connection, two members of the Eritrean resistance speak of the political, economic, and social conditions in Eritrea. They said that: ‘”Essentials like water, electricity or petrol have disappeared.” And food is so expensive that even middle-class families find it difficult to find enough to eat.’ (The Guardian – 29/10/14)
Statement of Ambassador Girma Asmerom during the Interactive Dialogue of Special Rapporteur Shila Keetharuth: The Ambassador criticized the UN Expert on the human rights situation in Eritrea as biased and misinformed. [His full statement can be accessed here. It is estimated that 4,000 flee the country every month.] (Tesfanews – 29/10/14).
Ethiopian Workers Struggle After Repatriation from Saudi Arabia: ‘More than 160,000 Ethiopians working in Saudi Arabia were expelled last year and sent back home due to new stricter labor regulations in the kingdom. Those forcibly repatriated are doing their best to adjust, but are having difficulty making ends meet.’ (VOA News – 08/10/14).
Preventing Illegal Migration 'Demands Bolstering Societal Participation': According to the Ethiopian National Taskforce Council for Illegal Migration, out of 160,000 Ethiopians deported from Saudi Arabia since November 2013, permanent jobs have been created for 54.1%. The Taskforce says the number of illegal migrants and the number of smugglers has decreased enormously over the last year. The Taskforce said controlling irregular migration and smuggling requires societal participation to bring attitudinal change. The Ethiopian Government is also in the process of signing international agreements with countries for employment of Ethiopian nationals abroad and the safeguarding of their rights. (Ethiopian Radio and Television Agency – 14/10/14).
UNHCR lauds Ethiopia’s efforts to train refugees: UNHCR lauded Ethiopia's efforts to train refugees in addition to hosting them. UNHCR’s Acting Representative (speaking on the graduation day of 500 refugees who received vocational and technical trainings) commended Ethiopia’s efforts in providing trainings for refugees to improve their skills. (Reliefweb – 18/10/14).
Spike in the number of Eritrean refugee arrivals in Ethiopia: The Office for the Humanitarian Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs reports that more than 200 Eritrean refugees (including unaccompanied minors) are arriving in Northern Ethiopia on a daily basis. This marks a sudden spike since September and is causing congestion at the reception centre. As of 16th October, Ethiopia is hosting 104,343 Eritrean refugees. (UN OCHA – 20/10/14)
EU Increases Humanitarian Funding For Refugees In Ethiopia: ‘The European Commission is providing an additional EUR 5 million to respond to the needs of the growing number of refugees in Ethiopia. The country has become the largest refugee-hosting nation in Africa by sheltering more than 643,000 refugees. Most of them are fleeing the conflict in South Sudan and are facing malnutrition and the risk of epidemics.’ (RTT News – 23/10/14).
South Sudan refugees in Ethiopia reach quarter of a million: ‘The UN refugee agency (UNHCR) said South Sudanese refugees continue to flee to Ethiopia in large numbers. UNHCR officials said that since conflict in South Sudan erupted in mid-December last year, 245,000 South Sudanese, mostly women and children, have crossed the border.’ (Sudan Tribune – 27/10/14).
South Sudan Refugees Hope for Peace: ‘Young South Sudanese refugees in camps in Ethiopia speak their minds about the South Sudan government, the rebels and their failure to end 10 months of fighting…The fighting has displaced nearly 2 million people. And over 200,000 have fled to neighboring countries such as Ethiopia’ (Voice of America – 28/10/14).
South Sudan Refugees Stranded Between Floods and Fight: ‘Given a choice between braving floods in her refugee camp in Ethiopia or returning home to war in South Sudan, [some South Sudanese] prefer the deluge of water.’ (Bloomberg – 28/10/14).
Ethiopia 'targets' Oromo ethnic group, says Amnesty: According to Amnesty International, ‘Ethiopia has "ruthlessly targeted" its largest ethnic group for suspected links to a rebel group.’ (BBC – 28/10/14).
Gal-On: Netanyahu should repent over how the High Court came to condemn his government: Meretz Chief spoke out against Prime Minister Netanyahu's decision to take away powers from the High Court following the decision to open Holot detention center. (Jerusalem Post – 3/10/14)
HIAS pans Netanyahu for seeking refugees’ detention: The ‘Jewish organization’s criticism comes after the Prime Minister urges ministers to draft new legislation’ on African asylum-seekers for their continued detention. (The Times of Israel – 10/10/14).
Family life forbidden for migrant workers in Israel: Legal advocates decry Israeli policies toward blue collar migrant workers as inhumane and claim that they violate the laborers’ human right to family. (+972 – 15/10/14).
A fatal blow to Israel’s human rights: Israel’s Ministerial Committee for Legislation will debate a proposal by a member of the Knesset to amend the Basic Law on Human Dignity and Freedom. The proposal will introduce a provision that will allow the Knesset to effectively overturn the High Court’s ruling ordering Holot Open Detention Facility closed. (Haaretz – 22/10/14).
Court voids Israeli order to detain African asylum seeker: The Be'er Sheva District Court voided a summons ordering an Eritrean asylum seeker to report to the Holot detention center and criticized the government for not canceling such summonses following the High Court’s order last month to close the facility. (Haaretz – 22/10/14).
Sa'ar: I don't plan to compromise on migrants in final days at my job: Israel’s outgoing Interior Minister has said that the Government’s ‘new policy on illegal migration will not adopt every change the High Court called for in its rulings overturning its last two laws on the issue.’(The Jerusalem Post – 27/10/14).
Interior minister-AG spat delays amendment of migrant detention law: ‘Outgoing Interior Minister Gideon Sa’ar seeks to limit length of stay at Holot facility to two years, but Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein believes maximum term should be shorter.’ (Haaretz – 27/10/14).
Detained asylum seekers petition high court for immediate release: ‘The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants has submitted a petition to the High Court of Justice demanding the release of 138 Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers who have been held in detention facilities for more than two years.’ They remain detained despite a High Court order in September 2014 ordering the closure of the Holot detention facility. (Haaretz – 27/10/14).
A life of forced labor: Why Israel's Eritrean refugees fled home: ‘Israel is home to about 35,000 Eritrean asylum-seekers. While the Israeli government claims that they are work migrants, so as not to violate its own laws, Israel does not forcibly deport Eritreans back to their country of origin. As long as Eritrea is ruled by the current regime, the millions of Eritreans living outside of their homeland cannot return, but is it possible that the regime in Eritrea will soon collapse.’ (+972 – 28/10/14).
Bill to punish employers of African migrants shot down by Yesh Atid: ‘A bill allowing employers of illegal migrants to be sentenced to up to five years in jail was frozen on Tuesday after the Yesh Atid party unexpectedly opposed it…A member of the Yesh Atid party said that barring employers from hiring asylum seekers would violate a High Court of Justice ruling “that allows the infiltrators to work for a living.”’ (Haaretz – 29/10/14).
Israel's human rights record is no source of pride: [Opinion] ‘High Court rulings are used to portray Israel as a country that safeguards human rights, even as the government and the Knesset flout them.’ (Haaretz – 30/10/14).
From persecution in Sudan to prison in Israel: A story of a Sudanese asylum-seeker who ‘was an anti-government activist. [But] fearing for his life, he ran to Israel. And [in Israel] he had a choice: detention or jail.’ (Haaretz – 31/10/14).
Somalia's Falis Abdi Mohamud in Netherlands asylum bid: ‘A popular Somali band has been forced to seek asylum in the Netherlands after Kenya revoked its refugee status, its lead singer has told the BBC.’ (BBC – 14/10/14).
Embu Court Sends 11 Illegal Ethiopian Immigrants to Jail for Three Months: A magistrate Court convicted 11 Ethiopian nationals for being in the country without permission. Upon completion of their sentence they will be deported. The Ethiopians said they were fleeing Ethiopia after experiencing hardship and were en route to Nairobi where they were promised ‘good jobs’. (The Star – 15/10/14).
Dadaab Leaders Demand IDs For Locals: The leaders who spoke in Dadaab during the official opening of the Dadaab sub-county offices said that it had completely become difficult for the locals to secure jobs or travel and open bank accounts because they lack ID (identification) cards. The leaders accused the government of treating Dadaab residents as second rate citizens. The Member of Parliament for Dadaab said that the presence of the refugee camps in the area had made matters worse for locals as the government uses it to deny them key services. (Citizen News – 15/10/14).
Keep your refugees, Kenya tells Denmark: A proposal by opposition parties in Denmark to send Somali refugees to Kenya has angered the government. The Interior ministry said Kenya would flatly reject such a request, terming the proposal “condescending and ridiculous”. “It almost borders on racism. In an unrelated statement, a spokesperson of the Ministry said Kenyan authorities have arrested 170 foreign undocumented nationals in the past three weeks. (Daily Nation – 18/10/14).
Huawei joins Vodafone to bolster E-learning in refugee camp: Huawei has joined Vodafone’s philanthropic arm in an initiative to supply over 18,000 refugee students in Dadaab Refugee Camp, with tablet PCs for education. (Biztech Africa – 20/10/14).
Media favoured the government's views during Operation Usalama Watch- rights activist: The media’s coverage of the Government’s Operation Usalama Watch (a security sweep triggered by a spate of terrorist attacks in Kenya) was criticized during a meeting assessing the protection asylum-space in Kenya. One activist suggested that the media failed to act as the public’s defender. (The Star – 22/10/14).
Fishing for a living in the desert wastes of northern Kenya: With ingenuity, determination and support from UNHCR, a Burundian refugee, who fled to Kakuma Camp, now earns a living by harvesting fish. (UNHCR – 22/10/14).
Kenya plans to have new refugee law early 2015: According to a government official, Kenya plans to have a new refugee law by the end of February 2015. "The new law will replace the Refugees Act of 2006 which was unable to address some of the current challenges such as terrorism", says the Chief Refugee Management Officer of the Ministry of the Interior and Coordination of National Government. (Shanghai Daily – 23/10/14).
Kenya plans to have new refugee law early 2015: ‘Chief Refugee Management Officer of the Ministry of Interior and Coordination of National Government, told a refugee forum in Nairobi that the new law is meant to beef up security by putting in place mechanisms to screen refugees.’ (Shanghai Daily – 23/10/14).
UNHCR Kenya Kakuma Operational Update 17 – 23 October 2014: As of 23rd October, 43,940 new South Sudanese arrivals have been received in Kakuma Camp since the beginning of influx. This brings the total camp population to 178,922. (Reliefweb - 23/10/14).
One killed, 8 injured as S. Sudanese refugees clash in Kenya: ‘At least one person was reportedly killed and more than eight other seriously injured when South Sudanese rival communities clashed on Sunday at Kakuma refugee in western Kenya. Sources said the clashes between Nuer and Dinka communities, the largest and belligerent ethnic groups in South Sudan, occurred when a 9-year old Nuer girl-child was allegedly raped by a Dinka man, leaving her in critical condition.’ (Sudan Tribune - 27/10/14).
Refugees may become citizens under new law: ‘Refugees in Kenya [will be able to] apply and be granted citizenship, if a proposed law is passed and adopted... The bill considers granting citizenship to refugees who have stayed in the country for at least five years upon applying.’ (The Star – 27/10/14).
Kenya opens website for the Diaspora to send distress messages, get job guidelines: ‘The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International trade has launched an online platform for addressing various Diaspora issues including distress calls.’ (The Star – 29/10/14).
UN chief Ban Ki-moon lauds Somali refugees in Dadaab camp: The ‘UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Thursday visited the sprawling Dadaab refugee complex and praised the resilience of more than 350,000 Somali refugees there while expressing sympathy for their suffering.’ (UNHCR – 30/10/14).
Sex and labour child trafficking on rise in Kenyan cities: experts: ‘Trafficking of Kenyan children from impoverished villages to towns and cities for domestic labour, sex work and to beg is on the rise, experts said, with most victims being adolescent girls.’ (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 30/10/14).
2 Die After Fight Erupts At Kakuma Refugee Camp: ‘Two people died after a fight erupted at Kakuma Regugee Camp in Turkana County’ on the night of Thursday 30th October. ‘According to the Refugee Affairs Commissioner Harun Komen, the fighting was between refugees from South-Sudan and those from Burundi.’ (Citizen – 31/10/14).
180,000 Mozambicans affected by human trafficking: study: A study released in Maputo shows that about 180,000 Mozambicans have been trafficked in parts of Mozambique and across its border mainly into the neighbouring South Africa. (ShanghaiDaily.com – 22/10/14).
Rwanda steps up human trafficking fight, rescues 150 victims: According to officials, ‘Rwandan police have rescued more than 150 people from trafficking in the last four years.’ (Reuters – 9/10/14).
From Saudi Arabia to Yemen: the vulnerability of expelled work migrants: Severe poverty often drives workers to seek employment abroad. Yet, in some cases migrants are vulnerable to exploitation and deportation, which can put their very lives at risk. (European Commission – 03/10/14).
Making visible the experiences of migrant domestic workers in Saudi Arabia: ‘In “Almaz. A story of Migrant Labour” PositiveNegatives visualizes the real and all too common experiences of migrant domestic workers (MDW) in Saudi Arabia; based on the account of a former Ethiopian domestic worker.’ (Migrant Rights – 03/10/14).
‘Govt bodies stalling on Saudization’: The Ministry of Civil Services said that insufficient numbers of Saudis were available to replace expatriates in the public sector, with 74,000 foreigners currently employed with the government. [In 2013 and in line with its decision to restructure its foreign labour policy, Saudi Arabia deported thousands of irregular labour migrants.](Arab News – 21/10/14).
Saudi Arabia to Deport One Million People in Anti-Immigration Crackdown: Saudi Arabia is to deport more than one million people who live and work illegally in the kingdom. The Interior Ministry made the announcement after police arrested more than 99,000 illegal residents in the port city of Jazan in the past three months. (International Business Times – 21/10/14).
Marine patrols detain 29 migrants, rescue 73: Saudi Arabia’s Eastern Province Guard’s reported that 29 illegal migrants, most of the of Asian origin, were arrested. A recent report they issued showed 200 boats were stopped for various offenses, while the Guard’s carried out 11 rescue and one anti-smuggling operation in desert areas. In another development, a police officer in Asir said that said security forces arrested 38 unidentified ‘encroachers’ and 15 ‘encroachers’ of African origin at a mountainous area in a village, as well as seizing a smuggled car at the Wadi Qarda. (Arab News – 28/10/14).
African Union appoints team to investigate AMISOM rape allegations: The African Union (AU) has appointed a four person team to investigate allegations that AMISOM troops raped women in Somalia and traded sex for food. The team’s report is due on November 30th. The formal AU investigations followed a report by Human Rights Watch on the subject. (Sabahionline – 21/10/14).
Somalia: Forced returns to South and Central Somalia, including to Al-Shabaab areas a blatant violation of international law: ‘Amnesty International considers that forced returns to south and central Somalia amount to a violation of international law. [It] is seriously concerned about continued attempts by the Dutch government to effect such forced returns.‘ (Amnesty International – 23/10/14).
At least three million people in Somalia need humanitarian aid and the country is threatened with famine: ‘At least three million people in Somalia need humanitarian aid and the country is threatened with famine.’ (Reuters – 30/10/14).
African Union hits back at Somalia rape allegations: The Special Representative of the Chairperson of the African Union (AU) Commission for Somalia criticized a Human Rights Watch report alleging that AU troops traded sex for food and sexually assaulted internally displaced persons in Somalia. The Special Representative described the report as ‘marked by "imbalance, misrepresentation and inaccuracies."’ His comments follow an earlier decision by the AU Commission Chairperson to carry out independent investigations on the matter. (Sabahionline – 31/10/14).
Waiting for change at Lindela: ‘In September the South African Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) stepped in and said it required a long list of specific actions by the department of home affairs – the department responsible for the deportation of illegal immigrants – that will in effect make the commission responsible for oversight of [the] Lindela [Repatriation Centre]. (Mail & Guardian – 10/10/14).
Study: South African Teachers Do Show Ubuntu to Migrant and Refugee Children: Two academics researching on the educational challenges faced by child migrants and refugees found that despite the struggles faced by such children, and despite South Africa’s xenophobic reputation, a surprising number of teachers worked hard to support refugees at school. (UNISA Press – 14/10/14).
Refugees: Out of the frying pan and into the fire of South Africa’s healthcare system: ‘Although South Africa is a signatory to the UN refugee convention, and boasts arguably the most progressive Constitution in the world, obtaining refugee status is a lengthy, laborious process, and access to healthcare is just one more battle that forced migrants have to fight.’ (Daily Maverick – 16/10/14).
South Africa's health system shuns asylum seekers: Confusion arising from Gauteng’s draft guidelines for managing non-South African patients is leading hospitals to charge refugees and asylum-seekers with no income for treatment that should otherwise be free. (IRIN – 31/10/14).
South Sudan rescinds order chasing away alien workers: ‘President Salva Kiir of South Sudan has withdrawn the controversial order banishing alien workers from his country.’ (The Standard - 04/10/14).
South Sudan situation report as of 30 October 2014: UN OCHA reports that 'tensions remained high in Bentiu and Rubkhona, Unity state, following three days of heavy fighting starting on the 27th of October. Nearly, 1.9 million people have been displaced since December 2013, 78 percent of whom are internally displaced.' (UN OCHA - 30/10/14).
Sudan Pledges to Cooperate on Combating Human Trafficking: The Sudanese Minister of Justice, disclosed, before the opening session of the African Union’s regional conference on human trafficking and smuggling in the horn of Africa, that Sudan has exerted great efforts to overcome the challenges that face the state in combating human trafficking and illegal migration. (Sudan Vision – 14/10/14).
Sudan calls for more support for efforts to combat human trafficking: Sudan has called for more support for its efforts to combat human trafficking in the Horn of Africa region, expressing its commitment to participate in regional and international efforts to fight the trans-national crime. (Sudan Tribune – 16/10/14).
Italian Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Participates in Conference on Human Trafficking and Smuggling in Khartoum: According to the Italian Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs: “Migratory issues and the fight against trafficking and smuggling of human beings is a top priority for Italy”. As chair of the European delegation in the “Khartoum Conference on Human Trafficking and Smuggling in the Horn of Africa”, he underscored the importance of the establishment of an “effective Dialogue with the Countries of origin and transit of migrants to curb the phenomenon of irregular migration”. (Sudan Vision – 17/10/14).
Human trafficking increased in eastern Sudan: A Sudanese MP from a constituency in Kassala state, said that human trafficking has increased lately as well-organised networks are now operating in the three states of eastern Sudan. He accused “certain government officers” of “being more than lenient in dealing with cars used for smuggling operations”. “After confiscation, they often return the vehicles to their owners for a low price.” (Radio Dabanga – 21/10/14).
Sudan Gate Guard of International Security: [Opinion] Sudan set to play a leading and pivotal role in combatting regional human trafficking and smuggling. (Sudan Vision – 22/10/14).
UN Secretary General's Humanitarian Envoy and UN High Commissioner for Refugees praise Sudan for generously welcoming South Sudanese refugees: The leaders of both organizations commended Sudan for the hospitality it continues to extend to South Sudanese refugees. They also appealed to the donor community for further financial support to ensure that incoming refugees’ needs are met. (UNHCR – 23/10/14).
Head of UNHCR and UN SG’s Humanitarian Envoy urge donors to step up funding for refugees: UN SG’s Humanitarian Envoy and head of UNHCR urged donors to step up funding to meet the needs of over 100,000 South Sudanese refugees in Sudan. By 24 October 2014, 103,743 refugees from South Sudan had arrived in Sudan since the start of the conflict in December 2013. There are a total of 167,908 refugees in Sudan. (UN OCHA – 26/10/14).
IOM Helps Detained Ethiopian Migrants to Voluntarily Return Home from Tanzania: Over 450 Ethiopian migrants held in Tanzanian prisons for immigration offenses are set to be assisted to return home to their families with the help of IOM and the Government of Japan. (IOM – 10/10/14).
Tanzania grants citizenship to 162,000 Burundian refugees in historic decision: The UN refugee agency has welcomed Tanzania's decision to grant citizenship to 162,156 former Burundian refugees, marking the largest group in UNHCR's history to which naturalisation has been offered by a country of first asylum as a solution to decades in exile. In total, 200,000 refugees are expected to be naturalized. (UNHCR – 17/10/14).
Tanzania’s new citizens to get land, voting rights: Over 162,000 former Burundian refugees, who were recently granted Tanzanian citizenship after living in the country for over four decades, will now be able to buy and own land and vote, said a senior government official. The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has hailed the move. Most of the former refugees have been living in camps in the western Tanzania regions of Tabora and Katavi since 1972. Tanzania's President Jakaya Kikwete began the refugees’ naturalization process on 14 October 2013. (IRIN – 17/10/14).
Tunisia’s seaborne samaritans rescue stranded migrants: In Tunisia, fishermen plying the Mediterranean have become saviours, rescuing boatloads of illegal migrants to Europe setting out from the shores of Libya. According to one fisherman: “we can’t leave people out there in an overflowing boat to die, because we’re Muslims” (IRIN – 14/10/14).
Gov't unveils passports for refugees: The Ugandan ‘Government has started issuing passports to refugees living in Uganda to ease their movement to other countries. According to Hillary Onek, the Minister of Relief and Disaster Preparedness, the move will enable legal refugees to seek study, business and medical opportunities abroad. It is also designed as a security measure as well as a strategy to determine the number of refugees currently in the country.’ (New Vision – 30/10/14).
United Arab Emirates:
Beaten, trapped, abused and underpaid – migrant domestic workers in the UAE: According to Human Rights Watch, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has failed to protect female migrant domestic workers from beatings, hunger, overwork, underpayment and forced labour. It urges authorities in the Gulf State to end the traditional kafala visa sponsorship system, which perpetuates much of the exploitation. (The Guardian – 23/10/14).
Domestic workers suffer under the enduring kafala system: [Opinion] (Memo Middle East Monitor – 27/10/14).
UAE reaffirms commitment to continuous improvement of protection for foreign workers: The UAE criticized Human Rights Watch for its recent report accusing it of failing to protect female migrant domestic workers. The UAE said that “sweeping conclusions [were drawn] based on a small, unrepresentative sample…[and that it remains] committed to the continuous improvement of protections for foreign workers" (Gulf news – 24/10/14).
2014 becomes the deadliest year at sea off Yemen: The UN refugee agency reported that there has been a sharp increase this year in the number of migrants and asylum-seekers losing their lives in attempts to get to Yemen, mainly from the Horn of Africa, with more deaths at sea in 2014 than in the last three years combined. The latest tragic incident happened earlier this month, when 64 migrants and three crew members died when their vessel was sailing from Somalia, and sank in the Gulf of Aden (UNHCR – 17/10/14).
IOM Aids Zambia Prisons Service to Protect Rights of Migrants: ‘IOM Zambia, with support from the IOM Development Fund, is building the capacity of the Zambia Prisons Service to protect the rights of migrants in detention. Estimates indicate that Zambian prisons currently host more than 260 men, women and children who are detained on a broad range of immigration-related offenses.’ (IOM – 28/10/14).