Media Listing March 2014

GLOBAL

Human Rights Council holds a High-Level Panel on promoting and protecting the human rights of migrants: A high-level panel discussion on human rights mainstreaming that focused on the promotion and protection of the human rights of migrants was held in Geneva. According to the panelists abuses against migrants were taking place every day and in every region of the world. But it was noted that the growing political readiness to discuss the problems faced by migrants and to identify the best policies to help them  is encouraging .(United Nations Office at Geneva News & Media – 4/03/14)

EU Backs New IOM Migration, Environment and Climate Change Project: (IOM Press Room – 6/03/14)

IOM signs cooperation agreement with INTERPOL to enhance border security: IOM and INTERPOL have signed a cooperation agreement that will enhance cooperation between the two bodies on border security to better combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling (IOM Press Room – 7/03/14) 

Migration on the move: The human development potential of managed migration is highlighted in an opinion piece written by former WTO Director-General Peter Sutherland and IOM's current Director-General William Lacy Swing (Project Syndicate – 17/03/14)

UNHCR report shows leap in asylum applications for industrialized countries: UNHCR issued a report saying there was a sharp rise in asylum claims in 44 industrialized countries over the course of last year, driven primarily by the crisis in Syria. Among the top-10 countries of origin, six are experiencing violence or conflict – Syria, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Somalia, Iraq and Pakistan. (UNHCR News Stories ­ - 21/03/14).

EGYPT

UN urges Sudan, Egypt to take tougher stance on human trafficking: Members of the UN Human Rights Council have called on Egypt and Sudan to take action to investigate and prosecute human traffickers accused of kidnapping, torturing, and killing Eritrean refugees in the Sinai Peninsula. They have also called on both countries to identify and prosecute any security officials who may have colluded with traffickers. (Sudan Tribune – 17/03/14)

ERITREA 

UN expert warns about persisting human rights violations linked to the national service: The UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Eritrea expressed deep concern about persisting human rights violations in the country in the context of the Eritrean national service.  Collecting first-hand information from Eritrean refugees/migrants living abroad, the Special Rapporteur stated that: “The main reasons spurring Eritreans to flee their country are linked to the indefinite national service and the constant fear of being targeted.” (Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights News – 31/03/14)

ETHIOPIA

The life awaiting Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia: Opinion - deporting Eritrean refugees in Israel to Ethiopia would condemn them to a life of misery. Insights from a camp in northern Ethiopia.  (Haaretz – 7/03/14)

Ethiopia struggles with S. Sudanese refugee influx: Thousands of refugees have entered Ethiopia via a single entry point at Pagak, which was only established a few weeks ago. As more refugees arrive, the situation has deteriorated, with aid workers now calling for international intervention. According to UNHCR there are 72,000 refugees from South Sudan in Ethiopia. (Turkish Press.com – 20/03/14)

Humanitarian crisis looms as refugees from South Sudan pour into Ethiopia -Ethiopian official insists borders will not be closed despite influx piling increasing strain in one of the country's poorest regions. (The Guardian – 24/03/14).

EUROPE:

Police stop over 1,500 migrants at Spain-Morocco border: Euronews reports that in two waves 1,500 people attempted to breach Spain’s border with Morocco but were stopped by border agents. Spain’s Interior Minister stated that ‘there is a huge wave of migration, with thousands and thousands of people trying to enter illegally in Spain and …the European Union.’(Euronews – 5/03/14).

Europol Issues Warning to EU Police Forces Over Kidnapping of Eritrean Migrants: Europol has issued a warning to EU law enforcement authorities about the kidnapping of irregular migrants from Eritrea and the subsequent extortion of money from relatives or friends residing in Europe. Europol’s findings and recommendations are available here (All Africa.com – 5/03/14)

Spain Struggles to Halt Migrants at Two Enclaves: According to Spain’s Interior Minister about 80,000 African migrants are heading for Spain’s two enclaves along the Moroccan coast, leaving Spain struggling to contain the efforts that are coming in larger and increasingly coordinated surges in recent days. The Interior Minister added that the situation the Spanish enclaves of Ceuta and Melilla faced was a problem not only for Spain, but for all of Europe and needed to be handled “in cooperation with the European Union.” (The New York Times – 6/03/14)

Spain to Strengthen Border with Morocco in Melilla: Spain’s Interior Minister announced that $2 million will be spent on improving the border fence separating the Spanish city in Africa from Morocco in order to deal with migration pressures from sub-Saharan Africa. The improvements will include an unclimbable net and thermal-imaging monitoring cameras. Army troops will not be deployed to strengthen monitoring. (Latin American Herald Tribune – 6/03/14) 

Interior Minister declares “state emergency” during visit to Melilla: Spanish Interior Minister spoke of a state of emergency in Melilla in which a situation of migratory pressure exists. The Minister also defended Spanish Civil Guard officers who fired rubber bullets at African migrants who were swimming to reach the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. 15 people died in the incident.  According to the Minister, any criticism against the Civil Guard Officers ‘is unjust, undignified and immoral’.(El Pais in English – 6/03/14)

No region prosperity if Mediterranean remains ‘sea of death’ – Letta:   According to the former Italian Prime Minister Enrioc Letta, there will not be prosperity in the region if the Mediterranean remains a sea of death. Addressing the Economist business roundtable organised in Malta, Letta said that irregular migration was one of three main conditions which Europe had to address if it wanted to grow. He added that migration flows should be on top of the EU's agenda. (Malta Today – 7/03/14)

Sea Swallows the Stories of Africans Drowned at Ceuta: The President of the Palma-Palmilla Immigrants Association in Spain says that the actions of the Spanish border authorities cannot be justified. He spoke to Inter Press about the death of 15 migrants who attempted to swim to the Spanish enclave of Ceuta. The Spanish Civil Guard fired rubber bullets to drive back the victims. He called on the Spanish government to hold a ‘proper’ investigation and the prosecution and trial of “those responsible for giving the order to fire” on people “who were neither aggressive, nor represented a danger to anyone.” (Inter Press Service – 10/03/14)

Migrants storm across Morocco-Spain border fence: About 500 migrants stormed through the fog across the border fence from Morocco into the Spanish territory of Melilla Tuesday, the biggest such crossing in nearly a decade, officials said. The charge, described by authorities as "violent" with migrants throwing sticks and stones, raised pressure on Madrid as it struggles with a flood of desperate Africans trying to reach Europe. (AFP – 18/03/14)

Italy navy rescue 600 migrants in overcrowded boats: (Video) The Italian navy said on Tuesday it had rescued nearly 600 Syrian, Palestinian and Eritrean migrants crossing the Mediterranean in two overcrowded boats, including 62 minors. (AFP – 18/03/14)

UN calls for more EU solidarity on immigration: The UN says there is a need for solidarity and responsibility-sharing measures regarding immigration in the EU. The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) says it has repeatedly called upon European and other governments to co-operate in order to prevent loss of life at sea. It has also stressed that apart from strengthening further rescue operations, there is a need to create legal migration alternatives to dangerous irregular movements for refugees. (New Europe Online – 19/03/14)

Legal Migration: EU project gathers Euro-Mediterranean actors to discuss situation and enhance cooperation: The EU-funded EuroMed migration III project held a meeting on legal migration to take stock of progress and focus on ways to enhance labour migration cooperation in the Euro-Mediterranean region. It was attended by representatives from Algeria, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Morocco, Palestine and Tunisia, Libya, as well as a number of EU Member States.  (EU Neighborhood Info Centre- 18/03/14)

Italian ships rescue more than 2,000 migrants in 48 hours: Italian naval and coastguard vessels rescued more than 2,000 migrants travelling in boats from North Africa over the past 48 hours, authorities said on Wednesday, underlining the scale of illegal migration into southern Europe (Reuters – 19/03/14)

Italy rescues more than 4,000 migrants, operations ongoing: Italy's navy has rescued more than 4,000 migrants from overcrowded boats in the Mediterranean Sea south of Sicily in the past four days. This week's warm spring weather has brought calm seas and a surge in new arrivals. Most migrants pay more than $1,000 to criminal gangs in increasingly chaotic Libya to make the crossing to Italy - and the European Union - that killed hundreds last year. ( Reuters – 21/03/14)

Border chiefs’ warning on migration: The EU’s border agency, Frontex, has reached the unsurprising conclusion that, given the political instability throughout North Africa but most especially in Libya and Egypt, this coming spring and summer will witness “high migration pressure” in the central Mediterranean.  (Times of Malta – 21/03/14)

Common European Asylum System: challenges and perspectives:  According to the EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, the 2013 rules on the common European asylum system will lead to fairer, quicker and better quality asylum decisions. There will also be greater protection of unaccompanied minors and victims of torture. (EU Press Release Database – 24/03/14)

Italian navy rescues 128 boat migrants: Italy's navy said on 27/03/14 that it had rescued 128 migrants from Egypt, Eritrea, Sudan and Syria from a boat crossing the Mediterranean which got into difficulty off the coast of Sicily.  (AFP – 27/03/14)

Risking all to journey to Europe on a smuggler's boat: (UNHCR News Stories – 28/03/14)

UNHCR, NGOs welcomes Prime Minister’s statement on detention of children: The United Nations High Commission for Refugees has welcomed an announcement by the Maltese prime minister which indicated an end to the detention of child asylum seekers in Malta (Times of Malta – 31/03/14) 

ISRAEL

Israel's warped refugee policy: Op-ed piece.  According to the author, Israel has turned refugee laws upside down. He argues that the new amendment to the Prevention of Infiltration Law, which passed after the High Court rejected the previous amendment, undermines the refugees’ liberty by making it possible to imprison them in the Holot facility in the Negev without any time limitation. When there is a threat of endless imprisonment hovering over the asylum seekers, “voluntary” departure is not really voluntary. (Haaretz – 5/03/14)

Israel flew migrants to third countries in Africa: Israel’s Interior Minister confirmed that several Eritrean and Sudanese migrants who had been held in detention centers in southern Israel were flown, courtesy of the government, to countries in Africa for permanent resettlement recently. (The Times of Israel – 5/04/14).

Netanyahu aide asks watchdog to censor report on asylum seekers:  An aide of Israel’s Prime Minister asked the Israeli State Comptroller to impose restrictions on the latter’s report in the handling of asylum-seekers. The report (due for publication in May) is reported to complain of a lack of policy and of long-term thinking about asylum seekers living in Israel. It also rejects the claim that the Holot facility will solve the problems caused by the presence of 50,000 asylum seekers in Israel. (Haaretz – 17/03/14)

What are they hiding in the report on asylum seekers?  Op ed piece querying the necessity of imposing a gag order on the state comptroller’s report on Israel’s treatment of asylum-seekers. It argues that If the Israeli state’s behavior toward the asylum seekers were decent, humane and also legal, there would have been no need to conceal or change the report. (Haaretz – 18/03/14)

Israel pledges amnesty for asylum seekers stuck in long visa lines: The Israeli government announces that it will not take any legal steps against asylum seekers who have been unable to renew their visas due to long lines at Interior Ministry offices.  (Haaretz – 20/03/14)

Israel’s Two-Step Solution to African ‘Infiltrators’: To maintain the state’s Jewish ethno-religious character, Israel has implemented a two-step solution to their non-Jewish African problem. The first step has been to shut down the growth of African migrants entering Israel through the Sinai Peninsula by building a 240km border fence with Egypt. The second step has been to clear Israel of those Africans already inside. (International Policy Digest – 25/03/14)

African Asylum Seekers in Limbo at Israeli Detention Center: The Israeli Supreme Court is due to begin hearings in April on a controversial law that has allowed the government to detain thousands of African migrants who are seeking political asylum (Voice of America – 26/03/14)

In Israel, African immigrants find no refuge: (Los Angeles Times – 26/03/14)

KENYA

Immigration control:

Kenya: Police Arrest 19 Ethiopians at Kombani in Kwale County: Investigations are ongoing to determine their hosts and destination country. The police stated that most aliens are headed to South Africa, and the ‘issue [of people smuggling] had decreased but is emerging again’ The Ethiopians will be charged for being in the country illegally. (The Star – 5/03/14)

Refugees & Refugee Camps

Despite police swoops, few Somali refugees in Kenyan camp ready to return home: The United Nations said that fewer than one in a hundred Somali refugees living in Dadaab refugee camp in northern Kenya are interested in returning home despite a push for them to do so. (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 3/03/14)

Mix of fear and hope for Somali refugees in Kenya looking to return home: (Sabahionline – 11/03/14)

Haphazard repatriation of Somali refugees could boost al-Shabaab recruitment: Solving the dilemma of repatriating Somali refugees in Kenya continues to be a struggle between parties with opposing interests, with Kenya's future, the refugees' vulnerability and Somalia's tenuous security all hanging in the balance. (Sabahionline – 24/03/14)

Kenya orders Somali refugees back to camps after attacks: Kenya ordered all Somali refugees living in urban areas to return to their camps in a bid to end attacks by Islamist militants carried out in retaliation for Kenya's intervention in neighbouring Somalia. Until now, refugees who could support themselves or were in need of specialised education or medical care had been allowed to live in urban areas. (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 25/03/14)

Lenku orders refugees back to their camps: (The Star – 27/03/14)

Kenyan order forcing Somali refugees into camps flouts court ruling – rights groups:  Kenya must cancel an order to tens of thousands of Somalis living in urban areas to return to refugee camps, rights groups said on Wednesday, warning that the plan flew in the face of a court ruling which had banned such a move. (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 26/03/14)

Kenya urged to reconsider measure ordering all refugees back to camps – UN agency: The United Nations refugee agency denounced as “scapegoating” the Kenyan Government’s decision earlier this week to order some 50,000 refugees, believed to be mostly Somalis, to report to two camps after a recent upsurge in violence in the region (UN News Centre – 28/03/14)

Kenya uses terror attacks to stigmatize and oppress the Somali ethnic community: Opinion piece (The Daily Nation – 30/03/14)

South Sudan Crisis

Kenya: South Sudanese refugees receive $4.6 million: In response to the urgent needs of the South Sudanese refugees, the Emergency Relief Coordinator approved a US$4.6 million CERF Rapid Response grant. The funds will help aid agencies provide child protection services, clean water, food, sanitation and shelter in Kenya’s Kakuma camp. (OCHA News – 3/02/14).

S. Sudanese accuse Ethiopian embassy in Kenya of denying visas: South Sudanese who recently entered Ethiopia from Kenya have accused the Ethiopian embassy in Nairobi of allegedly denying them travel visas. The refugees who originally fled the current conflict to Kenya and managed to cross the borders to Ethiopia this week claimed Kenyan authorities have restricted both land and air travels for South Sudanese headed to Ethiopia (Sudan Tribune – 31/03/14).

KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA:

Saudis' Mass Expulsions Putting Somalis in Danger: Human Rights Watch calls on Saudi Arabia to immediately introduce procedures allowing refugees, including those from Somalia, to seek asylum or other forms of protection. Saudi Arabia is currently in the process of deporting undocumented workers. According to Human Rights Watch, the deportations which began in late 2013 are anticipated to continue as the Saudis are expected to expel thousands more.   (Human Rights Watch – 18/03/14)

Saudi deports 370,000 migrants over 5 months: Saudi Arabia says it has deported 370,000 foreign migrant workers from the kingdom over the past five months. Interior Ministry says that the foreigners deported have violated labour laws and are form different countries. 18,000 are currently held in detention. Human rights organizations say that many are held in appalling conditions while they wait for deportation. (Washington Post – 20/03/14) 

KUWAIT

Kuwait bans Ethiopian migrants and deports nearly 13,000 domestic workers: Kuwait’s ministry of interior launched raids on recruitment agencies. It arrested 12,984 domestic workers in one night and intends to deport them shortly – without granting them access to legal services or to a trial to contest their status.  Among the 12,000+ domestic workers arrested, 2,136 were Ethiopians; 234 females and 1,902 males. (Migrant Rights.org – 23/03/14).

MOROCCO 

Conference on integration of regularized migrants in Morocco: The Moroccan government is working on implementing a new policy that will include the regularization of several categories of migrants. In order to ensure that the integration of migrants allowed to stay is sustainable, IOM is organizing an international conference in Rabat on 10th and 11th March 2014 titled: "The New Migration Policy: Which Integration Strategy? “ (IOM Press Room – 11th March 2013).

SOMALILAND

Rehabilitation & Resettlement Minister Asserts that immediate Resettlement from Djibouti is not in Offing: Somaliland's Minister for Reconstruction rehabilitation & resettlement has hinted that his ministry does not intend to resettle Somaliland's refugees (who are currently in Djiboutian refugee camps) in Somaliland’s Lughaya town soon. This is because adequate arrangements are yet to be finalized. (Somaliland Sun – 12/03/14)

SOUTHERN AFRICA

 Long delays in processing asylum claims disgraceful: (Thought Leader Mail & Guardian – 6/03/14)

Draft rules for refugees ‘harsh and impractical’: Home Affairs’ draft immigration regulations could be damaging to asylum seekers while failing to stem the tide of immigrants flocking to South Africa, say refugee rights groups. The regulations, which closed to public comment on Friday, are expected to come into force soon – and, according to Home Affairs Minister Naledi Pandor, will “usher in a new era of secure, efficient and sound management of international migration” (IOL News – 9/03/14)

Tighter immigration rules could harm asylum seekers, gay couples: (Business Day Live – 12/03/14)

Zimbabwe: Trafficking in Persons Bill Before Parliament: The Trafficking in Persons Bill which seeks to domesticate the Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially of women and children, was tabled before Parliament on Tuesday. (AllAfrica.com – 28/03/14)

SOUTH SUDAN

Refugees ‘in poor shape’, children hardest hit: UN: People fleeing conflicts in Central African Republic and South Sudan are growing increasingly sick and hungry, with children particularly at risk, United Nations aid agencies said. Many of those fleeing from South Sudan into Ethiopia are also malnourished. (Arab News – 5/03/14)

Forgotten among the forgotten: Foreign refugees in South Sudan's civil strife: Many Eritreans, Somalis, Ethiopians, and others came to South Sudan after 2011 to escape repression or fear. Now they say they have a double portion following the civil conflict that erupted in December 2013. (Christian Science Monitor ­– 18/03/14).

As South Sudan crisis deepens UNHCR warns donors that refugee numbers in surrounding region will rise: In light of the worsening crisis in South Sudan, UNHCR and WFP on behalf of partners appealed to donors for US$371 million in urgently needed support for the thousands of South Sudanese refugees now arriving in neighbouring countries (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 25/03/14)

SUDAN

UNHCR to fund efforts to combat human trafficking in Sudan: The Sudanese government has announced that it received financial assistance from UNHCR to be allocated among the police and other regular forces to combat human trafficking in eastern Sudan. The governor of Kassala state in the past demanded the UN agencies to cooperate with Sudan in fighting against international human trafficking gangs active in the border between Sudan and Eritrea. He added that Sudan and its neighbors have deeply suffered from the inhumane practice. (Sudan Tribune – 05/03/14).

Sudan: Combating Human Trafficking in the East: UNHCR and IOM are implementing a comprehensive strategy to support the Sudanese Government’s efforts to protect migrants (as well as other potential victims) from the risk of human trafficking. UNHCR’s Representative in Sudan stated that the adopted strategy highlights the need for a range of responses to address human trafficking. (Sudan Vision – 08/03/14)

Egypt’s border guard commander in Sudan for talks on joint force: The head of the Egyptian border guard arrived in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum on Monday for discussions on the deployment of joint forces to the borders between the two countries. It is reported that the goal of deploying joint border units is to prevent smuggling and human trafficking. (Sudan Tribune – 17/03/14)

UN urges Sudan, Egypt to take tougher stance on human trafficking: Members of the UN Human Rights Council have called on Egypt and Sudan to take action to investigate and prosecute human traffickers accused of kidnapping, torturing, and killing Eritrean refugees in the Sinai Peninsula. They have also called on both countries to identify and prosecute any security officials who may have colluded with traffickers. (Sudan Tribune – 17/03/14) 

UGANDA:

New risk of waterborne diseases in refugee camps in Uganda: Plan International warns that waterborne diseases could pose a new threat to South Sudanese refugees in Uganda as the rainy season approaches. Camps housing thousands of people stand on low-lying ground and could be prone to flooding. There are concerns that the combination of rain and lack of sanitation could result in diarrhea and diseases. (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 17/03/14)

South Sudanese refugees in dispute with Ugandan hosts over deforestation: Officials from office of the Ugandan prime minister have admitted that there are tensions between some South Sudanese refugees and residents living near the settlements over access to resources. (Sudan Tribune – 21/03/14)

Ugandan authorities struggle to cope with influx of S. Sudanese refugees:  Ugandan authorities say the country has witnessed a huge spike in the numbers of South Sudanese refugees crossing into Uganda. According to statistics from Uganda’s three main resettlement camps about 70,000 South Sudanese refugees crossed into Uganda in the period from December to February. Currently, about 500 are arriving daily. (Sudan Tribune – 22/03/14).

MSF Struggles to Help South Sudan Refugees in Uganda : The emergency medical aid group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) says it is struggling to provide care for the overwhelming number of refugees pouring into Uganda from South Sudan (Voice of America  - 27/03/14)

251 DRC Refugees Killed in Boat Accident: The U.N. refugee agency is moving to help family members and victims of a boat accident that the Democratic Republic of Congo says left 251 people dead. The boat full of Congolese refugees capsized on Lake Albert last Saturday after leaving Uganda, bound for the DRC (Voice of America  28/03/14)

YEMEN

Migrants die in Yemen boat sinking: Forty-two African migrants drowned when their boat capsized off the coast of Yemen (in the southern Shabwa province). A Yemeni naval patrol saved at least 30 people who were taken to a refugee camp in the town of Mayfaa (BBC News – 9/03/14).

Boat tragedy involving refugees and migrants in the Gulf of Aden: UNHCR has urged countries in the region to implement measures to help identify refugees and other people with protection needs among those taking to the sea. UNHCR has also called on donor countries and civil society organizations to become more engaged in mixed-migration issues in the Horn of Africa, so as to improve humanitarian responses and help save lives. (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 11/03/14) 

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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