Media Listing May 2015

Global

Global warming 2°C target won’t stop climate change’s worst impacts including mass displacement: This article presents findings of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), whose report called for the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change to reconsider the 2°C maximum global warming target. CVF expressed fears that even half a degree increase in temperature would have devastating effects on the global population resulting in mass displacement. (Market Business News – 03/05/2015)

Thailand to open inquiry into human trafficking network: This New York Times article reports on the response of Thai authorities to the uncovering of a mass grave at a human trafficking camp in Songkhla, near the border with Malaysia. According to reports three local officials and one man from Myanmar had been arrested in connection with the detention camp. Speaking on the police force’s strategy, Head of national police General Somyot Poompanmoung stated that, “If there is anyone involved with this case, we will arrest them all – no exception”. (New York Times – 04/05/2015)

IDMC Global Overview 2015: The number of people displaced internally by conflict and violence around the world stands at an unprecedented 38 million people according to a report published by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). This represents a 13% increase from 2013, and includes 11 million people who were newly displaced during the year. There are now twice as many IDPs as there are refugees worldwide. (Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre – 06/05/2015)

People smugglers using Facebook to lure migrants into 'Italy trips': This feature examines the use of social media by smugglers. Interviews show that smugglers based in Egypt and Turkey openly advertise services on social media to drum up business. The article reveals that different smugglers use their groups for slightly different purposes. Some simply advertise specific trips whilst several smugglers use their pages to live-blog the progress of their clients across the sea. Other groups constitute a chat room for migrants to share stories and advice and many pages are used by smugglers to assuage concerns over migrant safety – with varying degrees of credibility. (The Guardian- 07/05/2015)

The deadly business of migrant smuggling: An Aljazeera programme that examines the economic cost of migrant trafficking. The human trafficking industry is estimated to produce $26bn a year, with smuggling not forming part of that figure. (Aljazeera – 09/05/2015)

‘They hit us, with hammers, by knife’: Rohingya migrants tell of horror at sea: This article tells the tale of Burmese and Bangladeshi Rohingya migrants who are stranded at sea because no government in the region is willing to take them in. Between 6,000 and 8,000 migrants are believed to be stuck off the coasts of Thailand, Indonesia and Malaysia, in a situation the UN warns could become a “massive humanitarian crisis”. (The Guardian – 17/05/2015)

Europe’s boat people: An article with infographics depicting the migratory sea paths of migrants from North and the Horn of Africa to Europe, and examining the views of European nationals on immigration. (The Economist – 19/05/2015)

 

Burundi

Burundi Standoff Threatens Central African Stability: The standoff between protesters and President Nkurunziza, seeking an unconstitutional continued third term in office continued into May 2015. According to the UN, over 50,000 Burundians fled the country since mid-April due to pre-election intimidation. (The Wall Street Journal – 06/05/2015)

Humanitarian partners to issue regional refugee response plan: UNHCR has revealed plans to release a 6 month regional refugee response plan to respond to the outpouring of refugees from Burundi into Rwanda, Tanzania and the Democratic Republic of Congo. Close to 55,000 Burundian asylum seekers have sought refuge in neighbouring countries over the past six weeks, following election relation violence in the country.  (UNHCR – 14/05/2015)

 

Djibouti

Surge in Horn of Africa as more than 12,000 flee Yemen crisis: This press release reports on the influx of migrants fleeing violent conflict in Yemen. In Djibouti, over 8,900 migrants had arrived at the time of this report. (IOM – 01/05/2015)

Across the ‘Gate of Tears’: Yemen refugees flee to Djibouti: Interviews with Yemen migrants in Djibouti who have fled the conflict in Yemen. “Many Yemenis want to leave, but the blockade, the rebels firing on the boats, the lack of boats and fuel keeps them in Yemen”, says UNHCR spokesman Frederic Van Hamme. The UN expects more than 15,000 Yemeni refugees will arrive in Djibouti in the next six months.(France 24 – 15/05/2015)

 

Egypt

72 detained for attempting to cross into Libya: This article reports on the arrest of 72 migrants by Egyptian authorities for making an attempt to cross into Libya. (Ahram Online – 19/05/2015)

Five migrants found drowned on Egyptian beach: This article covers reports of the drowning of five migrants of the coast of Egypt in Kafr El-Sheikh. They were reportedly attempting to migrate to Europe via the Mediterranean Sea. (Ahram Online – 25/05/2015)

Egyptian army says it has arrested over 6,000 ‘illegal immigrants’ since October 2014: According to this report, the Egyptian army has announced that it has arrested more than 6,000 illegal migrants in the period between October 2014 and April 2015. The article further reported that armed forces had taken control of 521 smuggling tunnels used by irregular migrants. (Ahram Online – 26/05/2015)

 

Europe

Rescued Mediterranean migrant gives birth to baby girl on Italian navy ship: The article reports on the birth of a baby girl on an Italian navy vessel after her mother was one of the 6,800 migrants rescued in the Mediterranean in three days. The baby and her Nigerian mother were reported to be in good health. (The Guardian – 04/05/2015)

Restrictions on child asylum seekers may be lifted: A proposal to amend the EU’s restrictions on child asylum seekers, under the Dublin Regulations was re-introduced in the European Parliament by a Swedish Member on 6th May 2015. A similar proposal had been introduced years ago but rejected by Member States. Currently, children who arrive in Europe may have relatives in one member state but are unable to apply for asylum there because of the current rules, which state that the first EU country a person enters has to process the asylum request. The new proposal means the member state where the minor is present would be responsible for processing the asylum application unless an individual assessment shows that it would be in the best interest of the child to go to another country. (EU Observer- 06/05/2015)

German, EU police bust human trafficking ring smuggling African to Europe: Europol announce that German police had busted a human trafficking group that smuggled Africans into Europe, predominantly Scandinavia. According to the report, the group was run by three men aged between 22 and 26, who had connections across the European Union. (Sputnik News – 06/05/2015)

X-ray scan reveals boy in suitcase being smuggled into Spain: An eight-year-old Ivorian child was found hidden in a suitcase that was smuggled across the border into the Spanish-governed territory of Ceuta across the border from Morocco. Panish border patrols apprehended 12,549 illegal immigrants in 2014, including 3,000 Syrian refugees. (The Telegraph – 08/05/2015)

EU draws up plans for military attacks on Libya targets to stop migrant boats: The European Union drew up plans for military attacks in Libya to try to curb the influx of migrants across the Mediterranean by targeting the trafficking networks. Senior EU officials stated that Britain drafted a UN Security Council resolution that would authorise the proposed mission. The proposed mission would fall under Italian command, with the participation of around 10 EU countries, including Britain, France, Spain, and Italy. In May 2015, Federica Mogherini, the EU’s chief foreign and security policy coordinator, was scheduled to brief the UN Security Council in New York on the plans for a “chapter seven” resolution authorising the use of force. (The Guardian – 10/05/2015)

Russia Scuttles Brussels plans to destroy smuggler boats: The Financial Times reported that Russia would veto any UN Security Council resolution that would authorise the destruction of migrant boats in Libya. The paper reported that Russia might consider supporting “a more restricted mandate for any EU military mission, which could involve a search and rescue role alongside powers to stop and seize smugglers’ boats at sea.” (Financial Times – 06/05/2015)

Will EU Commission’s quota plan for migrants work?: This article gives an overview of the ‘European Agenda on Migration’ policy developed by the European Commission, calling for mandatory national quotas for the relocation of migrants, and explores the possible legal challenges in passing this into law. The impulse for this far-reaching agenda came from the escalating crisis in the Mediterranean and a 10-point emergency plan from EU governments. It called for "a systematic effort to capture and destroy vessels used by the smugglers". It also said the EU must "consider options for an emergency relocation mechanism" for migrants.  (BBC – 13/05/2015)

Mediterranean migrant mission ‘European operation’, NATO chief: NATO Secretary-General Jen Stoltenberg did not rule out the involvement of NATO in the European response to the migrant crisis in the Mediterranean, stating that while it is a European matter, NATO would “consider them seriously” if Europe made such a request. Mr. Stoltenberg also reiterated NATO’s commitment to “addressing the root causes” of migration. (ANSA – 14/05/2015)

Nearly 3,600 Migrants Rescued in Mediterranean over 2 days: Close to 3,600 migrants were rescued by British warship HMS Bulwark off the coast of Catania, Italy in the span of 48 hours. According to port officials, the majority of those rescued were of Somali and Nigerian nationality. (Huffington Post – 14/05/2015)

German navy to rescue migrants then sink boats:  This article reports that German naval ships operating in the Mediterranean are under orders to destroy migrant ships after rescuing the passengers on board. Reportedly, Bundeswehr ships Hessen and Berlin sunk five boats off the coast of Libya. (DW – 17/05/2015)

Mediterranean migrant crisis: Is military force the solution?: This article examines the motion put forward by European leaders on a military solution to stem the influx of migrants into Europe, including efforts to destroy the boats used by smugglers operating in departure countries, such as Libya. The article also questions whether such action would work, and if not, what would? (BBC – 18/05/2015)

David Cameron won’t ‘cave in’ on migration target despite new figures: The BBC reports on UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s assertion that his government would not budge on its previously announced target of reducing net migration below 100,000 people. He added that the  government was determined to "control and reduce" immigration, stating criminalising illegal workers must go hand-in-hand with other measures to lower demand for migrant labour, such as boosting the skills of UK workers. Whilst the number of irregular migrants in the UK is unknown, the Home Office estimated the number to be above 600,000. (BBC – 21/05/2015)

Vienna Airport staff smuggling migrants to Britain arrested: Police in Austria broke up an operation to smuggle illegal immigrants into Britain through Vienna airport. Austrian police arrested several security employees at Vienna airport over their alleged role in smuggling illegal immigrants with two members of airport security staff held in custody on suspicion of allowing passengers without visas or proper travel documents onto flights to the UK and US. (The Telegraph- 26/05/2015)

Greece deals with sudden inflow of migrants, primarily Syrian and Afghan asylum seekers: After Italy, Greece is the main destination for migrants/refugees, mostly from war-ravaged Syria seeking asylum and a better life in the EU. The EU Commissioner for Migration stated that Greece was “under extreme pressure and is facing serious problems” in dealing with the rising numbers of migrants/refugees and further added that Greece would be one of the first countries to take part in the EU relocation programme. Greece is fast catching up with Italy as the main entry point into Europe for migrants and asylum-seekers. In May 2015, the European border control agency, Frontex, reported that the number of migrants and refugees crossing the Aegean Sea from Turkey to Greece increased by 500% since 2014. (Euro News – 26/05/2015)

EU strikes against Libyan refugee smugglers will set ‘dangerous precedent’: WikiLeaks released two classified EU documents, outlining the planned military intervention against boats travelling from Libya to Italy. The more significant of the two documents was written by the combined military defence chiefs of the EU member states. The plan was formally approved by representatives from all 28 countries on 18 May 2015. Importantly, one of the documents acknowledges that ‘the political End State [of the military intervention] is not clearly defined’ and recommends that the European Commission issue further guidance. The documents laid out a military operation against cross-Mediterranean refugee transport networks and infrastructure and detailed plans to conduct military operations to destroy boats used for transporting migrants and refugees in Libyan territory, thereby preventing them from reaching Europe. (RT – 26/05/2015)

Italy sentences Tunisian smuggler to 'exemplary sentence' of life after boat sank killing 200: Italian courts handed a life sentence to a smuggler convicted of trying to bring refugees and asylum seekers across the Mediterranean from North Africa. Haj Hammouda Radouan, a 23-year-old Tunisian, was in charge of a boat packed with migrants when it sank around 50 nautical miles off the coast of Libya on 12th May 2014 resulting in the loss of approximately 200 lives. His assistant on the voyage, hailing from Morocco was sentenced to 10 years in prison. (The Telegraph – 27/05/2015)

Migrant crisis: EU asks states to accept 40,000 asylum seekers: The European Commission called on EU member states to take in 40,000 asylum seekers from Syria and Eritrea landing in Italy and Greece over the next two years. Under this proposal, Germany, France and Spain would receive the most migrants. However the idea of using quotas to resettle those who have made it to Europe caused controversy in some EU states with the UK government opting out of this plan. France, Spain, Hungary, Slovakia and Estonia also voiced concern. (BBC – 27/05/2015)

Why is EU struggling with migrants and asylum?: This article gives an overview (with infographics) of the migrant crisis affecting Europe – migration flow, migration routes, possible reasons for the rise in migrant flows, and the EU strategy to handle migration. This is despite trends in the UK showing an increase in migration to the country. (BBC – 28/05/2015)

  

Ethiopia

Ethiopia considers new anti-human trafficking law: This article reports on plans by the Ethiopian government to introduce a new law to place harsher penalties on smugglers and traffickers. (World Bulletin – 02/05/2015)

Number of South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia surpasses 200,000: According to UN reports, the number of South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia now tops 200,000 people. According to UNHCR Head of Office in Gambella, Ethiopia, UNHCR is registering more than 10,000 at various entry points in the region. (Sudan Tribune – 03/05/2015)

UNHCR launches relocation of South Sudanese refugees: On 8 May, UNHCR in collaboration with the Administration for Refugees and Returnee Affairs, begun the relocation of South Sudanese refugees from flood-prone areas in Ethiopia’s Gambella region to a newly constructed refugee camp. UNHCR head of sub-office, Angele Djohossou, assured the refugees of protection and better humanitarian services. (Sudan Tribune – 11/05/2015)

Ethiopia evacuates citizens in Libya after ISIS mass slaughter: This article covers the Ethiopian government’s decision to withdraw its nationals from Libya following the mass execution of 30 Ethiopian Christian migrants in Libya by the militant ISIS group in April 2015.  (Sudan Tribune – 07/05/2015)

Ethiopia detains 200 suspected smugglers: The Ethiopian government detained 200 suspected human smugglers in efforts to stem the number of citizens trying to illegally migrate to Europe.  The country’s Minister of Justice also stated that Ethiopia is in the process drafting new legislation providing stiffer penalties for human trafficking in an attempt to stem the wave of ‘dangerous migration’ to Europe’. Ethiopia's current laws stipulate prison terms ranging from 5 to 20 years for crimes related to human smuggling and a maximum fine of $2,500. (The New York Times – 18/05/2015)

 

Eritrea

Eritrea says rights activists to blame for migrant crisis: According to reports by the Associated Press, the Eritrean government claims that human rights activists are to blame for the mass outpouring of its nationals heading to Europe. (Yahoo – 18/05/215)

Norway alone in sending Eritrean refugees home:  This article reports on plans by Norway’s government to repatriate Eritrean refugees from Norway. In an interview with a Norwegian television broadcaster, the Minister of Justice Jøran Kallmyr, is reported as stating that, “if they have been refused a residence permit, it is likely that we can send them back before the end of 2015 if we reach a return agreement”. (The Local – 25/05/2015)

 

Israel

Israeli government to pay African refugees $3,500 to leave: In a move to “protect the Jewish and democratic character” of Israel, the country’s cabinet voted unanimously to approve a plan to pay African refugees $3,500 to encourage them to leave the country. According to a government release, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is reported as saying, “We are determined to remove the tens of thousands of infiltrators who are here, after we lowered to zero the number of work-seeking infiltrators who have entered Israel’s cities”. Migrants who do not take up the offer will be subject to detention in a new facility.(The Independent – 15/05/2015)

 

Iran

Iran will protect ‘oppressed’ in Yemen, Palestine and Bahrain – Khamenei: This article covers sentiments by Iranian Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, criticizing Saudi Arabia for its aggressive policies. (RT – 16/05/2015)

 

Kenya

UN Refugee Chief: Voluntary Return of Somali Refugees a Global Priority: The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, Antonio Guterres, visited Kenya to discuss security and voluntary repatriation from the world’s largest refugee camp, Dadaab, which the Kenyan government had threatened to close in previous months. Guterres met with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta who gave assurances that the estimated 350,000 Somali refugees in Dadaab would not, in fact, be forcibly sent back. (VOA -06/05/2015)

Kenya promises not to force refugees home: In an about-turn of the three month deadline issued by his deputy, President Uhuru Kenyatta has promised not to force Somali refugees back home. According to UNHCR chief Antonio Gueterres, “The government of Kenya has already clarified that return will take place within the context of the tri-partite agreement for voluntary return”. (Yahoo News – 06/05/2015)

UNHCR calls for enhance security for Dadaab refugee camp: On his visit to Kenya, the UNHCR chief made a request of the Kenyan government to bolster the security of the Dadaab refugee camp. “From experience, when GSU officers were deployed to the camps in the past, security improved and we request for the deployment of sufficient numbers of security personnel especially the GSU to Dadaab”, said Mr. Guterres. (The Standard – 06/05/2015)

720 Kenyans displaced in post-election violence return from Uganda: This article reports on the return to Kenya of a group of 720 Kenyans who had been living in Uganda as refugees after fleeing the 2007-08 post-election violence. (The Star – 06/05/2015)

Repatriation of Somali refugees from Dadaab camp set to continue:  According to Kenyan Commissioner for Refugee Affairs, Mr. Haron Komen, the voluntary repatriation of Somalia refugees from Dadaab refugee camp, which was suspended due to heavy rains, is set to resume. A reported 2,049 Somali refugees have been repatriated as of April 2015, when the exercise was put on hold. (Daily Nation – 25/05/2015)

 

Libya

Italy rescues 6,800 migrants stranded in the Mediterranean over a 48 hour period: The Italian coastguard coordinated one of its largest rescue operations to date, saving almost 6,800 people off the coast of Libya in 48 hours. The operation involving 13 vessels, including two cargo ships and two supply boats, was coordinated primarily by Italian authorities. In addition to this, a French vessel patrolling the Mediterranean as part of the EU’s Triton operation, saved 217 migrants from three boats and arrested two suspected people smugglers during the same period. (The Guardian – 03/05/2015)

Young African Migrants Caught in Trafficking Machine: This article covers recounts of young Eritrean migrants trapped in trafficking ring in Libya. According to the International Organization for Migration, there roughly 170,000 migrants arrived in Italy from Libya in 2013, of whom 13,000 were unaccompanied minors, and 3,394 were children.  (The New York Times – 05/05/2015)

Libya’s coast guard detains almost 600 African migrants: A Reuters report on the detention of almost 600 African migrants, of mixed nationalities including migrants from Somalia, Eritrea, Ghana and Mali. Among them were pregnant women and 18 children. (Yahoo News – 06/05/2015)

Libya rejects EU migrant plan, says not asked: According to the article, Libya’s ambassador to the United Nations is rejecting a European Union plan to put forward a militarily enforceable Security Council resolution to tackle the growing migrant crisis. Ambassador Dabbashi states that “the only way out” of the migrant crisis is to support and arm the “legitimate” government. (Ahram Online – 09/05/2015)

 

Saudi Arabia

Detained, Beaten, Deported: A Human Rights Watch report highlighting serious abuses by the Saudi government against migrant workers in a nationwide, systematic campaign of detention and deportation.(Human Rights Watch – 10/05/2015)

Saudi Arabia: Mass Expulsion of Migrant Workers: A Human Rights Watch report on  (Human Rights Watch – 10/05/2015)

Saudi resume airstrikes on Yemen following five-day humanitarian ceasefire: Air raids resumed in Yemen following the cessation of a five-day humanitarian ceasefire. This came as the UN envoy to Yemen called for an extension of the truce. ‘I call on all parties to renew their commitment to this truce for five more days at least’. (RT – 18/05/2015)

 

Somalia

Breakaway region of Somaliland refuse any more Somali refugees fleeing the war in Yemen: This article reports on the announcement by the autonomous region of Somaliland to no longer accept any refugees fleeing the war in Yemen. This announcement was later rescinded by the Government. (National Yemen – 25/05/2015)

Somalia unveils its first population estimates in decades: The Federal Government of Somalia issued data for a new Population Estimation Survey, paving the way for a country wide census in 2016. According to the survey, Somalia’s population is estimated at 12,316,895. This was the first such estimate in almost 30 years. (All Africa – 27/05/2015)

 

South Africa

Gigaba rolls up sleeves on immigration problems: The South African government has announced plans to set up a border management agency that will be responsible for policing South Africa’s borderline and ports of entry by 2017. Speaking on plans to initiate legislation to establish the body, Home Affairs Minister Malusi Gigaba said, “The border management agency will be one of the largest interventions we will make into immigration management. It will provide us with an effective way of regulating who comes into South Africa”.  (Business Day Live – 06/05/2015)

SA launches migrant awards: South Africa’s Home Affairs Minister launched the inaugural South African Migrants Awards on 10th May, aimed at nurturing tolerance and social cohesion. “The South African Migrants Awards honour and celebrate outstanding migrants who reside in South Africa, as we,, as South Africans working beyond the borders of the country, embodying the spirit of Ubuntu and dedicated to the development of the African continent through their work”, said Gigaba. . (ENCA – 10/05/2015)

Lawyers see detainees in South Africa ‘xenophobia’ storm: This article covers the Operation Fiela (sweep out dirt) campaign in South Africa, which was aimed at combatting crime but which appeared to be primarily targeting irregular migrants, and the action being taken by human rights lawyers to ensure the protection of detainee rights. More than 800 people were detained at the controversial Lindela Repatriation Centre in Johannesburg, among claims of overcrowding, staff brutality and lack of access to legal representation. (IRIN – 15/05/2015)

South Africa deports Mozambicans after anti-foreigner violence: Following a wave of xenophobic attacks and an immigration crackdown targeting undocumented migrant workers, South Africa deported more than 400 Mozambicans from its borders. According to the report, Mozambique’s government was surprised by the move. “We expected to hold talks with the South Africans to discuss the problem, but we just saw people being arrested”, says Foreign Minister Oldemiro Baloi. (BBC – 17/05/2015)

 

South Sudan

Number of South Sudanese refugees in Ethiopia passes 200,000 mark: The number of South Sudanese refugees who have fled to Ethiopia since fighting broke out in South Sudan in mid-December 2013 passed the 200,000 mark with more expected. UNHCR field staff observed a sharp increase in new South Sudanese arrivals from some 1,000 people a month in the first quarter of 2015 to more than 4,000 refugees registered in April 2015. (UN News Centre – 01/05/2015)

'Living risk to risk': the new wave of African migrants relocated from Israel: In this feature, an Eritrean asylum seeker in Juba described how promises of work contained in recent Israeli agreement with Rwanda failed to materialise – leaving him living in limbo in South Sudan. The Eritrean claimed that the Israeli government provided him 3 nights’ accommodation in Kigali before being told by a Rwandan official that he had to pay $150 (£98) to secure safe passage to Uganda and no work opportunities were ever discussed. He subsequently left Uganda for South Sudan with the intention of travelling on to North Africa with the hopes of getting to Europe via boat, in search of better economic opportunities. (The Guardian – 06/05/2015)

UN voices deep concern as deadly violence flares up across South Sudan: The United Nations issued strong condemnation amidst the outbreak of deadly violence and a deterioration of the security situation across the country, and particularly in oil-rich Unity State. According to the report, there is a pattern of “continuing and consistent reports” revealing a surge in kidnappings, rapes and general violence. A spokesman for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights termed the attacks as “clear violations of international and humanitarian law and international human rights law”. (UN News Centre – 12/05/2015)

 

Turkey

Turkey, Qatar to launch joint university for Syrian refugees: Turkish officials say planned university will primarily serve Syrian refugees and will also expand scientific and technological cooperation between Turkey and Qatar. (Anadolu Agency – 17/05/2015)

 

United States

Kerry pledges more aid to Somali refugees in Kenya: US Secretary of State John Kerry pledged an additional $45 million to United Nations refugee agency to support the refugees in Kenya. Mr. Kerry also called for Kenyans to be more patient in pulling out troops from Somalia. (Wall Street Journal – 04/05/2015)

Ellenwood couple in human trafficking case ordered to pay $365K to victim: An American couple from Ellenwood, Atlanta have been ordered to pay $365,000 in damages to a Swazi woman they held ‘as a virtual slave’ in their home for nearly two years. The lawyer for the victim stated, “Traffickers don’t seem to be deterred by jail. They are not concerned about their personal liberty…If you can hit traffickers with as army things as possible in your arsenal – jail time, restitution and civil damages – maybe you can make an impact and show this is wrong”. Daily Report – 06/05/2015)

 

Yemen

IOM Resumes Yemen Evacuation Flights: In this bulletin the International Organization for Migration notified of the resumption of evacuation flights from Sana’a, Yemen to Khartoum, Sudan, following a five-day humanitarian pause in the Yemen conflict. Mohammed Abdiker, Director of IOM’S Department of Operations and Emergencies, welcomed the pause, but strongly cautioned that “it does not come close to meeting the conditions that would allow the delivery of enough humanitarian aid to the millions who need it”. (IOM – 14/05/2015)

5-day Humanitarian cease-fire commences: A five-day ceasefire commenced on 12th May 2015 which provided humanitarian aid groups their first major opportunity to address shortages of food, fuel and medicine. Despite the announcement, Houthi militants continued to clash sporadically with Saudi-supported forces during the cease-fire, including in the southern cities of Aden and Taiz. (Wall Street Journal – 15/05/2015)

Yemen Cease-Fire expires: A 5-day cease-fire between the Saudi-led military coalition and Yemen’s Houthi militia expired on 17th May 2015, despite a plea for an additional 5-day extension from the United Nations’ envoy to Yemen. The expiration raised the possibility of more fighting on the ground. During the ceasefire, international agencies including the World Food Program, the International Committee of the Red Cross and international NGOs mobilised thousands of tons of food, fuel and medicine during the pause. Efforts had been largely successful, the groups said, though difficulties stemmed from a fuel shortage and continued clashes. (Wall Street Journal – 17/05/2015)

At least 5 refugees killed as Saudi Arabia shells international NGO office in Yemen:  Saudi shells hit an international humanitarian aid office in northern Yemen, killing 5 Ethiopian refugees and wounding 10. According to UNCHR, 1,849 people have been killed since the beginning of Saudi-led air strikes began in late March 2015.  (RT – 21/05/2015)

UN talks on Yemen conflict ‘postponed’: This Aljazeera article reports on indefinite postponement of UN-brokered talks that were scheduled for 28 May after the Houthis refused to indicate their commitment to implement UN Security Council resolution 2216, which calls on the Houthis to relinquish territory and weapons seized from the army and other state institutions. More than 545,000 people have been displaced thus far. (Aljazeera – 25/05/2015)

Syrians in Yemen- Back to ‘square one’: This article examines the plight of Syrian refugees in Yemen amidst the escalating conflict and insecurity, noting that the protracted Syrian conflict had brought about 100,000 Syrian refugees to Yemen, according to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) official estimates. With Yemen's main cities - Sanaa, Aden, and Taiz - reduced to ghost towns, Syrian refugees encountered challenges similar to those facing residents back in Syria: a lack of employment, security, fuel, water, food, and medical services.  The article further noted that Saudi officials offered Syrians the option to travel to leave Yemen through Saudi Arabia via the Jizan port, north of the border with Yemen. Those keen to take this route are asked to provide a letter of guarantee from a Saudi resident or a foreign resident with a valid Saudi visa that they would stay in the country no longer than 15 days. (Al-Jazeera – 26/05/2015)

 

 

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