Media Listing April 2014

GLOBAL

Ratify treaty on migrant workers’ rights, UN experts urge States: UN experts have issued a renewed appeal to all countries to sign up to a landmark treaty on the rights of migrant workers that came into force some 10 years ago. The International Convention on the Rights of Migrant Workers and their Families (ICRMW) took 23 years to come into force, the longest of any of the 10 core international human rights instruments and has registered the slowest rate of ratification. (OHCHR – 7/04/14)

ERITREA

It's April, which means Eritrea's refugees are headed north: Walking along the roads of the suburbs of Addis Ababa…about half of the Eritrean refugees who lived through the winter in the neighborhood’s immense condominiums [have] departed for Sudan during February — the next leg of their journey as they wind their way northwest in the hope of eventually reaching Europe. (Global Post – 5/04/14)

Eritrea Rejects Special Rapporteur’s Claims, Sends Official Protest to OHCHR – The Permanent Mission of the State of Eritrea in Geneva released a statement rejecting claims by the United Nations Special Rapporteur (Sheila B. Keetharuth) that Eritrean national service is violating human rights and is one of the main reasons spurring Eritreans to leave their country. (Capital Eritrea – 13/04/14).

Alleged Human Smuggler Extradited to Face Charges in Washington, D.C: A national of Eritrea and a citizen of the United Kingdom appeared before a Washington, D.C. federal court to face charges of human smuggling for his role in smuggling primarily Eritrean and Ethiopian undocumented migrants from the United Arab Emirates, through South and Central America and Mexico into the United States. (US Department of Justice News – 28/04/14)

ETHIOPIA

UNHCR, WFP Leaders Witness Shocking State Of South Sudanese Refugees During Ethiopia Visit: As tens of thousands of South Sudanese continue to flee their conflict-torn homeland, the heads of the UNHCR and the UN WFP travelled to Ethiopia's border region of Gambella from neighboring South Sudan to meet refugees who recently fled the conflict. (WFP News – 2/04/14)

Ethiopia: WFP, UNHCR Chiefs Shine Spotlight On Plight Of South Sudanese Refugees (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 7/04/14)

Rainy season adds to South Sudanese refugees' misery: The conflict in South Sudan has displaced thousands of people. Many have crossed the border into Ethiopia only to find themselves in overcrowded refugee camps. The rainy season adds to their woes. (Deutsche-Welle – 11/04/14)

UNHCR flies in more aid for South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia; relocates refugees to higher ground as rainy season approaches: As the number of South Sudanese refugees fleeing to Ethiopia passes the 95,000 mark, UNHCR and its partners are working to improve conditions in the western Gambella region – flying in new tents, building new camps, and moving refugees to higher ground as the rainy season approaches.  (UNHCR Briefing Notes – 15/04/14)

EUROPE

Migrants face 'living hell' in Greek detention: Migrants and asylum-seekers detained in Greece are being forced to endure deplorable conditions, often with devastating effects on their health, according to a report from aid agency Médecins Sans Frontières (The Guardian – 01/04/14)

EU-Africa summit tackles migration, trade, peace: Conflict, illegal migration and fears of more jihadist turmoil look set to dominate a mammoth summit gathering leaders of some 80 African and European Union states in Brussels on Wednesday. (News 24 – 02/04/14)

Italian navy rescues 730 migrants in overcrowded boats off Sicily: The Italian navy rescued 730 migrants from overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily. Some of the migrants are from African nations, particularly Eritrea and Somalia, while others have fled war-torn Syria, officials say. (CNN – 2/04/14)

Clear and coherent legal rules for family members of migrants in the EU: This European Communication follows up on a public consultation on family reunification of third-country nationals which urged the Commission to take further action towards achieving a more effective family reunification regime at EU level. (European Commission Home Affairs News – 3/04/14)

730 drifters rescued as Italy overhauls migration laws: Italy’s lower house gave the green light to a draft bill that would decriminalise illegal immigration Wednesday. The draft law passed by Italy’s lower Parliament decriminalises undocumented immigration, except in cases where a person expelled by the government returns illegally to the country (Arab News  - 3/04/14)

More Promises but Few Solutions for Europe's Illegal Migrants: While the EU has managed to truly integrate its policy-making in some areas, migration remains too divisive. (Wall Street Journal – 3/04/14)

Africa: Human 'Trade' Irks Africa, EU: African and European leaders have pledged more effort in combating human trafficking by strengthening partnership and cooperation in the fight. (Tanzania Daily News – 4/04/14)

EU ignoring migrant suffering, says NGO: Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) in Greece has called for the EU and Greece "to stop shirking their responsibility" when it comes to migrants and take into account the human cost of migration policies across the region (Deutsche Welle – 04/04/14)

Rajoy gets illegal immigration at top of EU-Africa summit agenda: The Spanish Prime Minister told the gathering of world leaders that it was important “to give youngsters in Africa an alternative to irregular immigration…” Madrid is pressuring the EU to negotiate agreements with African nations that will tie economic aid to cooperation in fighting irregular immigration. (El Pais in English – 07/04/14)

Italy rescues 4,000 migrants in 48 hours in escalating crisis: Italy has rescued 4,000 migrants from boats trying to reach European shores in the past 48 hours in a deepening immigration crisis, the interior minister said. (Reuters – 9/04/14)

African Migrants Risk Lives To Reach Europe: The increasing pressure of African immigration is felt across Europe, with the U.N. reporting a 300 percent rise in migrants this spring attempting boat crossings to Lampedusa (Huffington Post  - 9/04/14)

Italy rescues 6,000 people crossing Mediterranean in four days: The UN refugee agency said on 11/04/14 that the Italian navy had rescued some 6,000 people who had set out from Libya in overcrowded boats over the past four days alone. (UNHCR Briefing Notes  11/04/14)

Mediterranean crossings rise in first months of 2014 – many fleeing war and persecution: UNHCR estimates some 6,000 people have been rescued by the Italian Navy from over forty overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean off the shores of Sicily and Calabria in the past four days. Those rescued had set off from Zwara in Libya, and many were fleeing violence, conflict and persecution. The main countries of origin include Syria, Eritrea, Somalia, Nigeria, Gambia, Mali and Senegal. (UNHCR Briefing Notes – 11/04/14)

UNHCR proposes ‘joint processing’ project for migrants’ relocation: UNHCR launches information and statistics on asylum and migration in Malta toolkit for members of the European parliament hopefuls, and calls on the government to develop a framework to facilitate migrants’ integration. (Malta Today – 10/04/14)

Libya coastguard detains hundreds of migrants:  Libya's coastguard has detained more than 400 immigrants, mostly from the Horn of Africa, in its waters in the past two days after they tried to illegally cross to Europe in small boats, Libyan officials say. (Al Jazeera – 11/04/14)

New EU rules to protect migrants outlaw ‘pushback’ operations: New rules on the treatment of migrants who enter the European Union will come into effect this summer as the European Parliament passed a new law governing the operation of Frontex, the EU’s border control agency. (Irish Times – 18/04/14)

 No pushbacks possible in Frontex rules, but critics claim loopholes exist: New rules voted in by Members of the European Parliament for the EU’s border agency Frontex have strengthened the protection of fundamental rights for migrants and refugees saved at sea, but critics from the left-wing parties have not supported the rules because they do not go far enough. (Malta Today – 18/04/14)

Italy’s right calls for end to navy’s rescue of African migrants: Right wing parties in Italy have called for the suspension of the EU-backed mission to rescue migrants who make the dangerous sea crossing from North Africa, putting immigration back on the agenda ahead of next month’s European parliamentary elections. (Financial Times – 22/04/14)

ISRAEL

Israeli judge questions 'proportionality' of law to jail asylum seekers: The High Court of Justice on Tuesday heard the first petition by human rights groups against the newest amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law, which allows the jailing for up to one year of any migrant who entered Israeli illegally after the law passed in December (Haaretz – 1/04/14)

State to High Court: We have 2 nations which are taking migrants:  Two countries have agreed to take some of Israel’s illegal migrants, the state told a maximum-sized nine-justice High Court of Justice panel Tuesday, at a dramatic hearing over whether to declare the state’s policy on the issue unconstitutional. (The Jerusalem Post – 1/04/14)

Tel Aviv residents clash with migrants outside court: Residents of south Tel Aviv and illegal migrants clashed outside the High Court Tuesday over a petition presented by human rights organizations against the new Infiltration Law. (Israel Hayom – 02/04/14)

Israel is sending asylum seekers to Rwanda without status, rights: Israel is flying asylum seekers who’ve agreed to “voluntary departure” to Rwanda, as well as Uganda, according to testimony obtained by Haaretz. (Haaretz – 4/04/14).

'We are prisoners here', say migrants at Israel's desert detention camp: Human rights activists say Israel should be ashamed of its treatment of asylum seekers at Holot, a holding facility for 'infiltrators' deep in the Negev desert (The Telegraph – 4/04/14)

Israel's relocation of migrants within international law, Prime Minister says: Responding to a newspaper’s claim that Israel is financing flights of migrants back to Uganda and Rwanda, the Prime Minister’s office said Friday that “all actions comport with international law.” (UPI – 4/04/14)

Abandonment routes:  Opinion piece arguing that the “[e]xit routes” used by the Israel state to describe its program for flying asylum seekers to Uganda and Rwanda are simply part of the state’s effort to whitewash its deficient policy toward asylum seekers. (Haaretz – 8/04/14)

KENYA

Refugees & Refugee Camps

Kenya should not demonise refugees: Refugees in urban centres will soon be forcibly arrested and returned to Dadaab and the Kakuma camps. The Department of Refugees Affairs Commissioner Harun Komen said yesterday that refugees have no choice but to comply with last week's government directive. (The Star – 1/04/14)

Forced to the camps, exiled journalists' lives just got harder: (The Star – 01/04/14)

Dadaab Legislator Opposes Order On Refugees: Dadaab Member of Parliament Mohamed Dahiye is now asking the government to reconsider its directive that all refugees return to their camps (Citizen News – 02/04/14)

UNHCR says voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees to proceed: The UN refugee agency said on 01/04/14 that the planned voluntary repatriation of Somali refugees living in northern Kenya's Dadaab refugee camp will go ahead. The Head of Operations at the UNHCR sub-office in Dadaab stressed that the repatriation will be "voluntary" with those who chose to remain behind continuing to receive assistance from the agency and other humanitarian agencies based at the camp. (Shangai Daily.com – 02/04/14)

Kenya security: Will action against refugees make a difference? Opinion piece (Al Jazeera – 2/04/14)

Blasts heard near Dadaab refugee camp airstrip: Two powerful explosives rocked the Dadaab airstrip, Garissa County in North-eastern region on Thursday. (Standard Media – 4/04/14)

Kenya partly blames refugees for spate of insecurity: Kenya’s officials have blamed the current wave of insecurity as being partly fueled by the presence of refugees in the country. The Interior Cabinet Secretary told journalists in Nairobi that the country has witnessed an upsurge of criminal activities emanating from refugees (Coastweek – 4/04/14)

UNHCR seeking access to detained asylum- seekers and refugees in Nairobi: UNHCR in Kenya is concerned at the wave of arrests that have taken place during the week end in Nairobi following recent terrorist attacks in the capital. The police sweeps were concentrated in Eastleigh - a neighbourhood where the majority of urban Somali refugees and asylum-seekers live and where some of the attacks occurred. (UNHCR Press Releases – 7/04/14)

Somali terror suspect denies escape from Dadaab camp A Somali suspected of terrorism was yesterday charged in a Mombasa court with residing outside a designated refugee camp. The court was informed that police officers got a tip off from members of the public that there was a Somali national whom they suspected to be a terrorist. It was established that the Somali national had an identity card identifying that he was registered as a refugee in Dadaab camp. He informed the court that he was in Mombasa in search of employment opportunities. (The Star – 8/04/14)

Kenya’s Wide Net Against Terror Sweeps Up Refugees (The New York Times - 17/04/14)

Over 200 refugees deported to camp as swoop continues: The Kenyan government has announced that some 281 refugees have been taken back to refugee camps from Nairobi since Thursday. (Standard Media – 19/04/14)

Kenya Might As Well Be Uganda For Many LGBT Refugees:  Can Kenya provide refuge for LGBT asylum-seekers/refugees fleeing from Uganda? (Buzzfeed – 29/04/14)

Immigration Control

Over 600 arrested in illegal immigrants swoop: Over 600 suspected illegal immigrants were taken into police custody on Saturday morning in a security swoop on Eastleigh Nairobi. Nairobi County Commander [stated] that the suspects were being processed at the Kasarani sports arena due to their large number. (Capital FM – 5/04/14)

1,000 held in Kasarani Stadium in ongoing Eastleigh security crackdown: Police are holding the suspects, including pregnant women and children, at Kasarani Stadium."Kasarani is the sorting ground and it is not just a police operation. It is a multi-agency affair because we also have immigration officials there to ascertain the identities of these individuals," Nairobi police commander said.(Sabahionline – 7/04/14)

More than 1,000 Somalis rounded up in Nairobi, held incommunicado: (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 7/04/14)

UNHCR 'concerned' over mass Kenya arrests: The UN refugee agency has expressed concern over the mass arrest of Somalis and other nationals in Kenya as part of a security force operation to end attacks by militant Islamists. Somalia’s ambassador to Kenya said he had been informed that most of the 2,000 people arrested were Somalis. However, Ugandans, South Sudanese, Ethiopians and Eritreans were also among those being held.  (BBC – 7/04/14)

Keep off Kasarani for now, police tell aid groups: Police declared the Safaricom Kasarani Stadium a no-go zone for humanitarian organisations that want access to those detained there following a terror crackdown. (Capital News – 8/04/14)

 Kenya denies it is targeting Somalis as 4,000 terror suspects arrested: The Kenyan government denied it was targeting ethnic Somalis in an anti-terrorist operation that has resulted in 4,000 arrests. (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 8/04/14)

Respect human rights in Eastleigh crackdown – US : US Ambassador to Kenya has emphasised the need for the police to uphold human rights in the ongoing terror crackdown (Capital News  - 09/04/14)

82 Somali nationals deported in ongoing crackdown on illegal immigrants: The Kenyan government has deported 82 Somali nationals to Mogadishu in an ongoing operation on illegal immigrants.  472 suspects are still in custody. Several refugees have also been repatriated back to their camps. (Standard News – 09/04/14)

Somali detainees held in deplorable conditions – HRW: Human Rights Watch has called on the Kenyan police and other security agencies in the country to stop its security operations in Eastleigh area (Nairobi) which has seen 82 Somalis deported while another 472 arrested in the Tuesday operation are being screened. (The Star -  11/04/14)

 Ethnic Somalis under pressure in Kenyan capital: Thousands of ethnic Somalis have been arrested and detained in an ongoing security operation dubbed Usalama Watch mainly in Eastleigh, a suburb of Nairobi.  (IRIN – 11/04/14)

Kenya, Muslim leaders lock horns on security operation: Kenyan Internal Security Secretary Joseph Ole Lenku and Muslim community leaders locked horns Thursday over an ongoing security operation that has seen thousands of Muslims being detained in a span of few days. (TurkishPress.com – 11/04/14)

Kenya: Somalis trapped in ‘catch-22’ amid crackdown on refugees:  Amnesty International’s Deputy Regional Director of its Africa Programme said that ‘thousands of unregistered Somali refugees and asylum-seekers are in an impossible situation: they face arrest and deportation because they are not registered, but it is extremely difficult for them to register.” (Amnesty News  - 11/04/14)

200 due in court after crackdown – Kimaiyo: The Inspector-General (Kimaiyo) said more than 200 people are expected to appear in court following the ongoing crackdown in Nairobi. Among those due in court are Kenyan citizens and aliens. (Capital News – 13/04/14)

100 aliens seized in Mombasa swoop: More than 100 illegal immigrants from Somalia and other countries were arrested in parts of Mombasa on the night of 12/04/14 as the anti-terror operation spread to the Coast. (Standard Media – 14/04/14). In a separate media report, The Star reported that the police stated those apprehended will be charged with offences including being in the country illegally and residing outside the designated areas without authority.  

18 foreigners arrested in Naivasha:  Police in Naivasha are holding 18 foreigners found travelling along the Nairobi-Nakuru highway without travel documents. The 18 were in a group of 36 Sudanese and Somalis travelling from Nairobi. A source stated that the group was fleeing from the ongoing operation mainly in Eastleigh which targeted foreigners in the country illegally. (The Star – 14/04/14)

Media told to report objectively on terrorism, counter-terrorism: Dadaab Refugee Camp Youth Leader said Kenyan Somalis and Somali refugees are being unfairly targeted in the on-going security swoop in parts of Nairobi and Mombasa. (The Star -14/04/14)

 Police arrest 20 suspected illegal immigrants in Meru: 18 of the suspects are of Ethiopian origin while two are Nigerians. (Daily Nation – 14/04/14)

55 arrested in Mombasa police swoop: More than 50 people were on Monday night arrested in a fresh police crackdown in Mombasa County in what the officers say is their quest to eliminate criminals and illegal immigrants. They added that the crackdown will continue to ensure that all illegal emigrants are netted. (Daily Nation  15/04/14)

225 more aliens being deported after swoop: Some 225 illegal immigrants are set to be deported to various countries in the ongoing crackdown following increased terror threats. (Capital News  16/04/14)

UNHCR disturbed by arrests and deportations of Somali refugees: The UN Refugee agency is concerned over the arrest and detention of over one thousand refugees and asylum seekers who were rounded up during counter-terrorism operations launched by Kenyan security forces in Nairobi since 4 April 2014. The operation is targeting undocumented foreigners. (UNHCR News – 17/04/14)

Illegal immigrants arraigned before Eldoret court: Nine people of Somali origin were arraigned in the Eldoret law Courts for being in Kenya illegally and operating within undesignated areas without permission from immigration authorities. (Standard Media  -22/04/14)

How cartel lets immigrants into the country: According to investigations by Nation, corruption in the Immigration Department and police service has made it easy for foreigners, mainly from Somalia, Ethiopia, Eritrea and Sudan, to enter the country and secure national identity cards. (Daily Nation - 22/04/14) 

Somalia diplomat arrested during swoop: A top diplomat at the Somali Embassy in Nairobi was among people who were arrested during a weekend immigration police swoop in Lavington, Nairobi. (Standard Media – 27/04/14)

Ambassador Nur: Kenya must apologise for Somali diplomat's arrest: Somalia's Ambassador to Kenya says he is "very upset" at how Kenyan police treated a Somali diplomat recently arrested in Nairobi and demands the Kenyan government apologise for the incident. (Sabahi – 30/04/14)

LIBYA

Libya to expel 271 illegal migrants from African countries: Libya plans to expel 271 irregular migrants from African countries including Eritrea & Sudan. This is part of a fresh crackdown on irregular immigration (Reuters – 22/04/14)

10 migrants die, hundreds rescued in Sudan-Libya desert:  Ten immigrants died among some 300 abandoned by smugglers in the scorching Sudanese-Libyan desert, with the others in poor condition. (AFP – 30/04/14)

MOROCCO

Morocco relocation of migrants stirs 'crisis' warning: According to NGOs, Rabat's policy of relocating sub-Saharan migrants, apparently under pressure from Spain to stem a surge in illegal border crossings, is creating a potential humanitarian crisis. (AFP -1/04/14)

OMAN

Raids on Oman expat homes to help catch illegal workers: Raids on expat homes, tighter controls on work permits and tenancy contracts, plus greater scrutiny of landlords and their tenants are some of the measures that a new taskforce, being set up in Muscat to combat illegal immigrants, will be deploying .(Times of Oman – 13/04/14)

PUNTLAND

Stranded Ethiopian Migrants Return Home from Puntland: IOM Ethiopia staff met the migrants at the Somaliland border and provided transport to Addis Ababa. In Addis they were given further assistance. Puntland is experiencing growing numbers of stranded Ethiopians, following Saudi Arabia’s 2013 decision to deport over 150,000 irregular Ethiopian migrants. (IOM News Press Room – 4/04/14)

QATAR

Report of mission to Qatar released by the Special Rapporteur on the human rights of migrants (OHCHR - 23/04/14)

UN calls on Qatar to abolish kafala migrant worker system: The UN has called on Qatar to abolish the kafala system that ties migrant workers to their employers amid trenchant criticism of the conditions endured by those working in a construction boom in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup. (The Guardian – 25/04/14)

SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia imposes fines, jail terms for visa lapses: Saudi Arabia will punish people who employ foreigners illegally or break the terms of their visas, in an effort to encourage local employment. (Reuters – 14/04/14)

SOMALIA

Somalia backs deportation of illegal immigrants: The Somalia Government has declared support for the ongoing security crackdown in Kenya and the deportation of illegal migrants but called for the humane treatment of those arrested. He added that “No refugee has been taken out of Kenya without their will. We received a guarantee from the Kenyan Government…” (Standard Media – 11/04/14)

Massive [internal] displacements in Somalia: Almost 50,000 Somalis have fled their homes during the last month and have sought refuge elsewhere in the country. A very volatile security situation and fear of fighting and violence has contributed to the displacements. (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 17/04/14)

SOUTH AFRICA

Government will not tolerate human trafficking: Media release from the South African Government indicating that it has noted with concern the practice in which people are lured to South Africa with false promises of lucrative jobs. Trafficking is a crime in South Africa and is a serious violation of its Bill of Rights. Furthermore, the issue is receiving urgent government attention in order to combat it. (South Africa Government Communications - 25/04/14)

SUDAN

NISS Foils Human Trafficking Attempt, Frees Nine Hostages: The Kassala-based unit of the National Intelligence and Security Services (NISS) blocked an attempt to transport foreign nationals by human traffickers active at the border between Sudan and Eritrea. A security source stated that the traffickers were arrested including some who are wanted for crimes of human trafficking in the region. (Sudan Vision – 09/04/14)

South Sudanese refugees in Sudan reach over 62,000: The agency further estimates that some 150 refugees arrive on daily basis in the White Nile state from South Sudan’s neighbouring Upper Nile state, adding that they also continue to enter into Sudan through the South Kordofan state without details. (Sudan Tribune  10/04/14)

Sudan to Organize Human Trafficking Control Regional Conference: Sudanese Minister of Interior said that Khartoum will host a meeting next May that includes several neighbouring countries. The objective of the meeting is to discuss cooperation in order to combat human trafficking and smuggling. (Sudan Vision – 12/04/14)

UGANDA

Swelling refugee volumes in Kiryandongo: South Sudanese refugees continue to stream into Ugandan camps. Government officials have reportedly been taken by surprise by the sheer volume ‘that begun as a trickle in December last year and turned into a flood now.’ (New Vision – 2/04/14)

Refugees boost brisk business in camps: Money changers, air time dealers, mobile money, grass, poles, beer, soft drinks and bodaboda riders are opening up shops and providing services in Nebbi and Kiryandongo refugee reception centres. (New Vision – 9/04/14)

Up to 3000 more Sudanese refugees enter Uganda: Up to 3,000 more Sudanese refugees entered the country three days ago, bringing the total so far to the 70,000 mark, the Uganda Red Cross Society has said. (New Vision  12/04/14)

Uganda: Doing Israel's dirty work:  Opinion (Al Jazeera – 13/04/14)

YEMEN

Yemen launches new Polio vaccination campaign: Even though Yemen has battled polio for several decades, the disease has resurfaced on account of Yemen’s ongoing influx of refugee from the Horn of Africa, mainly Somalia where many migrants have been found to have contracted the virus (Yemen Post – 4/04/14)

Contact Us

Regional Mixed Migration Secretariat
DRC Horn of Africa & Yemen
Lower Kabete Road
(Ngecha Road Junction)
P.O.Box 14762, 00800
Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya
Tel: (0)20 418 0403/4/5 (switchboard)
info@regionalmms.org

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