Media Listing February 2014

DJIBOUTI 

Nine Ethiopian migrants die at sea, eight others missing: At least nine Ethiopian migrants drowned after a boat ferrying them capsized in the Gulf of Aden, north of Obock City in Djibouti on 26/02/14. It is believed that 17 people were in the boat when the tragedy occurred and 8 are still missing. The migrants were en route to Yemen. (IOM Press Room – 28/02/14)

EGYPT:

Egypt/Sudan: Traffickers Who Torture: According to a report by Human Rights Watch (HRW), titled “‘I Wanted to Lie Down and Die:’ Trafficking and Torture of Eritreans in Sudan and Egypt,” traffickers have kidnapped, tortured, and killed refugees, most from Eritrea, in eastern Sudan and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula. HRW states that Egypt and Sudan have failed to adequately identify and prosecute the traffickers and any security officials who may have colluded with them. (Human Rights Watch – 11/02/14)

Sudan and Egypt implicated in human trafficking: An exposition of the Human Rights Watch report “‘I Wanted to Lie Down and Die:’ Trafficking and Torture of Eritreans in Sudan and Egypt.”  (IRIN News – 12/02/14)

ERITREA:

Eritreans in Britain forced by embassy to pay 2% diaspora tax: Despite the existence of a 2011 UN Security Council resolution banning Eritrea’s diaspora tax, evidence surfaces that the Eritrean embassy continues to extort tax from its citizens living in the UK. (The Guardian – 11/02/14)

Eritrean president said his compatriots in Israel living in 'concentration camps': In a video interview, the Eritrean President says that Eritreans are living in concentration camps in Israel.  (Jerusalem Post – 13/02/14)

Thousands of Eritreans enslaved in torture camps in Sudan and Egypt:  A news article highlighting the Human Rights Watch report “‘I Wanted to Lie Down and Die:’ Trafficking and Torture of Eritreans in Sudan and Egypt.” (The Guardian – 11/02/14)

 EUROPE

Italy migrant influx incessant and massive, says minister: Italy’s Deputy Interior Minister announces that Italy was subject to an "incessant and massive influx of migrants" in 2013. He said that a total of 42,925 migrants reached Italy by sea in 2013, a 325% of the arrivals in 2012. The figures do not include migrants who died making the perilous sea crossing. (BBC News – 4/02/14)

More than 1,100 migrants rescued off Italy in one day: Italy's navy has rescued 1,123 people from inflatable boats in the space of 24 hours, as clandestine migration from North Africa reaches record levels. They were found in eight boats and a barge, and all were probably from Sub-Saharan Africa according to the Navy. (BBC News – 06/02/14)

Spain denies targeting migrants with rubber bullets: Spain denied its security forces fired rubber bullets at migrants trying to swim to Spanish soil. Nine Africans drowned in an attempt to reach the Spanish territory of Ceuta from a beach in neighbouring Morocco. (New Vision – 8/02/14)

Mali migrants seek better life in Africa rather than Europe: According to data covering expelled Malians, Mali migrants appear increasingly to be seeking opportunities in emerging economies on the continent, rather than attempting to cross to Europe. (The Guardian – 10/02/14)

HRW calls on Morocco, Spain to end abuse of immigrants: Human Rights Watch calls for Morocco and Spain to end the abusive treatment of sub-Saharan immigrants, nine of whom drowned trying to reach Spain's north African territory of Ceuta on the 6/02/14. Morocco’s security forces have increasingly come under fire for beating, arbitrarily detaining and deporting illegal immigrants to Algeria. (AFP – 10/02/14)

Bodies found in Spain's North Africa waters likely brings migrant drownings to 14: Spain's Civil Guard found the bodies of two African migrants in the sea off the country's Ceuta enclave, likely raising to 14 the number of people who drowned trying to swim to the territory on 6/02/14. The migrants who drowned were part of a group of around 200 who tried to cross the border. Some attempted to climb the fortified frontier fence while others jumped into the sea to swim to Spanish territorial waters. (Reuters – 15/02/14)

Death and Summary Returns: European Commission Must Investigate Border Practices in Ceuta and Melilla: Spanish Minister of Interior addressed Parliament regarding the death of at least 12 people and the alleged summary return of 23 people from Ceuta last week. The Minister acknowledged the use of rubber bullets and blank cartridges to deter migrants from reaching Ceuta. He also confirmed that 23 people arrived at the Spanish beach in Ceuta, and were immediately handed over to the Moroccan authorities. ECRE, Accem and CEAR urge the Spanish government to immediately stop all practices that endanger people’s lives and impede their access to international protection. The allegations must be fully and independently investigated by the Spanish authorities. (ECRE 14/02/14)

EU to probe Spain over rubber bullets fired at migrants: EU officials say they will ask Spain to explain why police fired rubber bullets at migrants trying to swim to the Spanish territory of Ceuta. The EU Commissioner for Home Affairs, Cecilia Malmstrom said that the actions of any EU state protecting its borders should be "proportionate", and should respect fundamental rights and human dignity. (BBC News – 15/02/14)

UK launches £2m project in Greece to assist repatriation of African, Asian & Middle Eastern migrants: The British government has launched a £2m project in Greece to assist the repatriation of migrants to countries in Africa, Asia and the Middle East, as it emerged that 18,500 had voluntarily left since the onset of the Greek debt crisis. The UK’s assistance is motivated by fact that UK remains a final primary destination for many of the irregular migrants in Greece. (The Guardian – 19/02/14)

Migrants backed by court in Italy deportation fight: Four asylum seekers challenging deportation to Italy in line with EU rules have been backed by the UK Supreme Court. The court ruled that their case should be re-examined amid claims they could be subjected to "inhuman" treatment. The four - an Iranian and three Eritreans - arrived in the UK via Italy. (BBC News – 19/02/14)

Frontex predicts high migration pressure : A summer of “high migration pressure” in the central Mediterranean has been predicted by the EU’s border agency Frontex, whose intelligence points to thousands of migrants in Libya waiting to cross to Europe (The Times of Malta – 25/02/14)

Warning shots fired as migrants riot during MPs' visit : Riot police fired warning shots in a bid to control riots by Somalis and Nigerians at a Maltese detention centre. The riot was sparked by a visit to the centre by a parliamentary delegation on a fact-finding mission. Seven migrants are to be arraigned for their involvement. (The Times of Malta  25/02/14)

African migrants storm Spanish border at Melilla: Some 300 people attempted to cross into Spain's northwest African enclave of Melilla from Morocco on 28/02/14. The crossing was marked by throwing of objects at the police. More than 200 managed the cross into Spanish territory. (Deutsche-Welle 28/02/14)

 ISRAEL 

For African migrants now calling it home, Holot ‘open prison’ is a prison all the same: African migrants and asylum seekers make their way to Holot. Some perceive that January’s protests against Israel’s asylum-seeker policy have achieved little. (Jerusalem Post – 9/02/14)

For African migrants, Israel is no refuge: (Seattle Times – 15/02/14)

No easy way out for African migrants in Israeli desert detention: (Reuters – 14/02/14)

1,500 African migrants to voluntarily leave Israel by end of month: Israel’s Interior Minister says that Israeli authorities can expect well over a thousand African migrants to voluntarily leave the country over the course of February. The Minister stated that by mid-February over 700 African migrants had opted to take a $3,500 stipend and leave, adding that by the end of the month their number was expected to reach 1,500. (Jerusalem Post – 18/02/14)

Israel begins sending African migrants to Uganda: Israel has begun sending dozens of African migrants to Uganda, an Israeli official said Wednesday, a move that has sparked concerns that they are being coerced into going to a country that may not keep them safe. Migrants and activists questioned the arrangement because it is unclear if there is an official agreement with Uganda, which would secure the migrants’ status. Uganda denied the existence of an agreement with Israel to receive African migrants.  (Washington Post – 19/02/14)

Israel begins deporting Sudanese, Eritrean asylum seekers: reports: (Sudan Tribune – 25/02/14)

African migrants in Israel face "voluntary" return or detention Israel has released figures showing that the number of African migrants choosing to accept “voluntary departure” from the country has been steadily increasing since an amendment to its anti-infiltration law was passed in December 2013, with about 2,200 departures recorded since the beginning of 2014. However, the voluntariness of the procedure has been questioned by migrant rights organizations and the migrants themselves .(IRIN – 27/02/14)

Wages set for illegal migrants at detention facility: Israel’s Public Security Minister has signed new regulations allowing irregular migrants at the Holot open detention facility to work. Migrants at Holot who choose to work may earn up to $227 per month. This sum would be in addition to the allowance given to migrants at the detention facility. (Israel Hayom – 26/02/14)

KENYA 

Refugees & Refugee Camps:

Life in Kakuma: Video clip highlights life at Kakuma refugee camp where South Sudanese tribes are learning to co-exist despite differences. (KTN TV – 2/02/14)

At Kakuma, trading not only earns residents extra incomes but also helps boost ties within and without the camp –  Enterprising refugees at the Kakuma Refugee camp have started businesses, some of which are booming, that are benefiting not only themselves but also fellow refugees and the host Turkana community (Standard Media – 04/02/14)

Duale blames refugees over bad performance in Garissa:  The National Assembly majority leader blames refugee children for Garissa County’s poor performance in the Kenya Certificate of Primary Education examinations. He suggested that schools in the refugee camps ought to be given a different code number from those of Kenyans schools so that their poor performance does not affect the means score of schools in the County. (Standard Media – 03/02/14)

Political will key in repatriating refugees – Lenku: The Interior Cabinet Secretary stated that refugee problems are caused by political differences and political conflicts, and without resolving them it is not possible to end displacement and refugee situations. He added that refugees need to have an open mind and return to their country voluntarily since most parts have achieved peace. (Capital FM News – 10/02/14)

Somalia ‘dragging feet on refugees’:  The Government has called on Somalia to fast-track the appointment of members to the tripartite commission to facilitate repatriation of refugees. Interior Cabinet Secretary Joseph ole Lenku said that all the other parties [UNHCR & Kenya) had appointed their members and were waiting for those from Somalia to kick-start the repatriation process. (Standard Media – 10/02/14)

Sweden And Finland Give More Than US$8 million For Refugees In Kenya: The United Nations World Food Programme welcomed contributions from Sweden and Finland of US$6.9 million and US$ 1.3 million respectively to support refugees in the Dadaab and Kakuma camps in Kenya as well as the Kenyan host community. (World Food Programme Press Release – 11/02/14)

Refugees Turn Kakuma Camp Into A Permanent Home:  Video clip showing that some refugees have been living in Kakuma for23 years and they have no wish to go back citing country and personal insecurities. However, their continued stay means the refugee center, already overcrowded with more than 100,000 refugees, has no more space for the hundreds streaming in daily from the south Sudan turmoil (Citizen News video link – 17/02/14)

Kenya: Somali refugees unlawfully forced out of country: An Amnesty International report, titled ‘No place like home’, states that widespread intimidation, the abuse of human rights and the withdrawal of services are forcing Somali refugees out of Kenya. (Amnesty News – 19/02/14)

Kenya is hostile to refugees, claims Amnesty (The Star – 19/02/14)

IOM, UNHCR begin return intention survey in Kenya’s Dadaab refugee camp IOM, in partnership with UNHCR, has begun a comprehensive four-month return intention survey of Somali refugees living in the Dadaab refugee complex. One of the purposes of the survey is to ensure that refugees’ views and concerns are heard and taken into consideration in the planning process for their voluntary repatriation (IOM News - 25/02/14)

South Sudanese refugees revive economy in Kenya's Kakuma camp: According to residents in Turkana, business in the County has been revived following the civil unrest in South Sudan (that began in mid-December 2005), and the consequent influx of refugees in to Kenya’s Kakuma camp.  Trade in the region is said to have been negatively affected by the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the Sudanese government and the Sudanese People's Liberation Movement in 2005, which saw more than 200,000 refugees leave. (Sahabi Online – 26/02/14)

Kenya intensifies efforts to fight polio: The Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya as well as neighbouring host communities have for the first time conducted a co-administration of oral and inactivated polio vaccine campaign. (UNICEF News – 26/02/14)

Immigration control:

20 Congolese Refugees Dumped In Isiolo Town: Twenty refugees fleeing from war in Congo arrived in Isiolo after they failed to find a home in Burundi, Tanzania, Ethiopia and other parts of Kenya. The Department of Refugee Affairs in the eastern region issued them with movement passes that allows the refugees to move around without being arrested. He also communicated with the head office in Nairobi to plan on how they can be relocated to Kakuma or Dadaab refugee camps. (Citizen News – 11/02/14)

11 Somali Immigrants Arrested in Garissa: 11 Somali immigrants were arrested along the Garissa - Dadaab Highway. The immigrants, in their 20s and 30s, told police they were headed to South Africa in search of employment. According to the police they were in possession of stolen and lost identity cards. (Citizen News – 17/02/14)

Police arrest 35 Ethiopians in Moyale: Police in Moyale arrested 35 Ethiopians in Moyale town The 35 Ethiopians were found in an abandoned house in Butiye village. (The Standard News – 27/02/14) 

South Sudan crisis:

Refugees stream in despite truce in South Sudan : The Nadapal Assistant Immigration Officer says there has been an influx of refugees from South Sudan, with the highest number being women and children. Despite the recent government announcement of a ceasefire, 300 refugees cross over every day and with the facilitation of IOM and UNHCR, they are transported to Kakuma Refugee Camp. The border remains on high alert over the possibility of communicable diseases (Standard Media – 1/02/14)

South Sudan Refugees Flood Kakuma Camp (Citizen News video link – 16/02//14)

S Sudan refugees treated for measles in Kenya: An emergency vaccination programme is underway in Northern Kenya after a measles outbreak at a refugee camp. Eighty-three children are currently receiving treatment. The highly-contagious disease is thought to have originated amongst refugees from South Sudan. (Al Jazeera – 16/02/14).

KINGDOM OF SAUDI ARABIA

Saudi Arabia: 12,000 Somalis Expelled: According to Human Rights Watch (HRW), Saudi authorities have deported more than 12,000 people to Somalia since 01/01/14, including hundreds of women and children, without allowing any to make refugee claims. HRW calls for Saudi Arabia to end the summary deportations, which risk violating its international obligations not to return anyone to a place where their life or freedom is threatened or where they face other serious harm. (Human Rights Watch Press Release – 18/02/14)

MOROCCO 

Morocco: Abuse of Sub-Saharan Migrants: According to a Human Rights Watch (HRW) report titled ‘Abused and Expelled: Ill-Treatment of Sub-Saharan African Migrants in Morocco’ Moroccan security forces commonly beat, otherwise abuse, and sometimes steal from sub-Saharan migrants in the northeastern part of the country. These abuses are said to persist despite some improvements in the treatment of migrants since the government announced a new migration and asylum policy in September 2013. Since that time, the practice of summarily expelling migrants at the border with Algeria appears to have stopped. (Human Rights Watch – 10/02/14)

SOUTHERN AFRICA

South Africa: Home Affairs Uses "Sad and Bad" Court Ruling Against Refugees: The Director General  (DG) of the Department of Home Affairs announced that the department will not reopen the Cape Town Refugee Reception Office, which was the second busiest in the country, nor will it process any applications made after 30/06/12. This means that applicants who applied for asylum after 30/06/12 will have to travel to Pretoria, Durban or Musina for the processing of asylum permits. NGOs argue that the DG’s decision will cause great hardship for asylum seekers who want to reside lawfully in Cape Town. (All Africa.com – 4/02/14)

Rights organisations contest reasons for Home Affairs directive: According to the Director General of the Department of Home Affairs, the reason for directing that no new asylum seeker applications are to be processed in Cape Town is because most asylum-seekers in Cape Town are not genuine and are in fact economic migrants in search of work. His reasoning has been criticized by NGOs and lawyers working with refugees. (Ground-up – 14/02/14)

Lawyer to Home Affairs: treatment of asylum seekers is irresponsible, hard-hearted, incompetent: The policy of the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town, which says asylum-seekers should not extend the renewal of their asylum permits for more than 12 times, has been criticized for breaching their rights.  An NGO reports that those who have extended their permits 12 times are at risk of being undocumented, which may negatively impact their access to services and make them vulnerable to arrest, detention and deportation. (Ground Up – 29/02/14)

Asylum seekers and bridging the gap in mental health: Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) have launched a pilot project, funded by UNHCR, aimed at providing holistic support to traumatized refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa.  Recognizing that the consequences of an inadequately treated psychological disorder are profound. The project has already helped many in need, where refugees and asylum seekers are offered legal assistance, temporary accommodation and counselling.  (Thought Leader Mail & Guardian – 5/02/14)

African refugees in South Africa face xenophobia: Channel News Asia reports that xenophobia is a growing problem in South Africa, and is manifesting itself against Africans who are seeking refuge in the country. One in four South Africans is currently unemployed, and many of them fear the foreigners will steal their jobs. In the last six months, disputes between Somali shopkeepers and South Africans have deteriorated into looting and burning sprees. The situation is so alarming that former Somali Prime Minister Abdi Farah Shirdon is urging the South African government to take action (Channel News Asia – 9/02/14)

Three suggestions to improve the lives of thousands of people in South Africa: An opinion piece makes three suggestions for improving the lives of migrants in South Africa. The first is that the Department of Home Affairs in Cape Town should begin processing new asylum applications once again. Second, the Government issued asylum permit period should be changed to at least three, or even five, years. Currently the must be renewed every few months before their refugee status is determined. Third, immigrants should be pro-actively hired into the police force with the purpose of servicing immigrant communities. (Ground Up: 18/02/14)

Pandor: Asylum system needs changing: South African Home Affairs Minister opined that the South Africa’s asylum system needs changing because economic migrants are abusing the asylum system in order to acquire status thereby clogging up genuine asylum seekers’ rights to access Home Affairs services. She advised the next administration to create legal mechanisms, distinct from the asylum system, to allow economic migrants to have status in the country. (News 24 – 25/02/14)

Public comment period on immigration laws extended: The Department of Home Affairs has extended the public comment period on the draft immigration regulations. Under the new regulations there will be a clear distinction between short-stay visas and long-stay permanent residence permits. Undesirable persons will include persons with outstanding warrants or convictions in South Africa, or, foreign countries for offences relating to human smuggling and trafficking. (South African Government News Agency – 28/02/14)

SOUTH SUDAN 

Due to ongoing insecurity, UN advises against forced returns to South Sudan: UNHCR issues an advisory warning against the return of 130,000South Sudanese who have fled to neighbouring countries due to the continued violence despite January’s ceasefire accord between Government and opposition forces. UNHCR recommends that States should refrain from returning South Sudanese to the country unless cases involve people who may have committed serious human right violations. (UN News Centre – 14/02/14)

SUDAN

Aid institutions & UNHCR estimate 23,300 people have arrived in Sudan from S.Sudan from mid-Dec to end of Jan '14 An additional 2,500 – 3,000 people are estimated to have arrived in Abyei. The Sudanese Red Crescent Society reported that the numbers are expected to increase further. (OCHA Humanitarian Bulletin – 2/02/14)  

White Nile the Largest in Terms of S. Sudan's Refugees: SRC: The majority of people from South Sudan are taking refuge in White Nile State, where two relocation sites have been set up. (Sudan Vision – 9/02/14)

Sudanese Refugees Increase to 24,700 – UN: The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) announced on Saturday that the number of people from South Sudan seeking shelter in Sudan has increased to 24,700. (Sudan Tribune – 16/02/14)

UGANDA:

South Sudan / Uganda: Food and shelter scarce, threat of disease looms in overcrowded refugee camps: There are currently 60,000 South Sudanese refugees in Uganda, according to the UN, but it expects that figure to rise to 100,000 in coming weeks. According to Jimmy Tuhaise, Emergency Response Manager for Plan, the situation is fast becoming a humanitarian catastrophe, as the refugees are living in appalling conditions. (Thomson Reuters Foundation -4/02/14)

No Going Back to South Sudan, Refugees in Uganda Say: Voice of America reports that South Sudanese refugees are reluctant to go back to South Sudan, even though a second round of peace talks is under way in Addis Ababa. One refugee said she will not return to South Sudan unless she’s sure that peace has been restored. (Voice of America – 19/02/14)

In pictures: South Sudanese seeking safety in Uganda: Pictorial of South Sudanese seeking refuge in Uganda. (BBC News – 27/02/14)

YEMEN:

Fewer African migrants and refugees coming to Yemen There has been a massive reduction in the number of African migrants and refugees entering Yemen this past year, according to a Yemeni official. The construction of a wall on the Saudi-Yemen border, along with new Saudi labor regulations applicable to foreign workers is said to have contributed to the lower number of African migrants and refugees making their way to Yemen. (The Yemen Times – 24/02/14)

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Westlands, Nairobi, Kenya
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info@regionalmms.org

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