Media Listing March 2017


UNHCR underscores humanitarian imperative for refugees as new U.S. rules announced: UNHCR issues a statement in response to new rules issued by the US regarding refugee resettlement. “The imperative remains to provide protection for people fleeing deadly violence, and we are concerned that this decision, though temporary, may compound the anguish for those it affects,” said the UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi. (UNHCR – 06/03/2017)

'A gift to human traffickers': report warns of dangers of Trump immigration policy: A report by Verisk Maplecroft, global risk analysts, warns that the hard-line approach by US president on immigration is a “gift to human traffickers” noting that stricter deportation and border regulations will push undocumented migrants workers underground, putting them at a greater risk of slavery and human rights abuses. (The Guardian – 10/03/2017)

Myths of migration much of what we think we know is wrong: In this article, the author attempts to examine eight myths of migration that feature prominently in both the left-wing and right-wing narratives and debates on migration. (Spiegel Online – 21/03/2017)

Why denying refugees the right to work is a catastrophic error: In this article, the authors argue in favour of a shift in focus from viewing refugees as passive victims of humanitarian disasters towards recognizing (and building) their capacities as potential agents of development. The authors examines various approaches including a pathway to autonomy, return or integration elsewhere. (The Guardian – 22/03/2017) 

Human rights violations in DRC up 30 percent in one year: The Human Rights Council holds a meeting to discuss the situation of human rights in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) and note that there was an increase of about 30% of human rights violations in 2016 compared to 2015. (ReliefWeb – 22/03/2017)

Fearing deportation, undocumented immigrants wary of reporting crimes: According to activists and law enforcement officials in the US, undocumented migrants are increasingly wary of reporting crimes or testifying in courts, for fear that they could be detained or deported. This follows the signing of an executive order by the president which prioritises most undocumented immigrants for documentation. (The Guardian – 23/03/2017)

Why camps are the wrong way to help today’s refugees: In this article, the author calls for development agencies and governments to scale-up and integrate the new mechanisms for generating jobs for refugees with those for speeding post-conflict recovery as a workable way of helping refugees. (The Spectator – 25/03/2017)

A new agenda for facilitating human mobility after the UN summits on refugees and migrants: In this article, the author argues for regular migration channels for refugees and much needed low-wage migrants instead of repressive / prohibitive policies which only entrench smuggling operations and underground labour markets further. (Open Democracy – 24/03/2017)

Gaps in global advocacy for the protection of migrants’ rights: This article reviews the international advocacy infrastructure around migrants’ rights, existing gaps in the framework and recommends creating a new convention to strengthen migrants’ rights advocacy at the international level. (Open Democracy – 26/03/2017)

Can resettlement prevent irregular migration?: This article reviews the feasibility of resettlement programmes in curbing irregular migration from the Horn of Africa region to Europe. The article argues for recognition and development of safe and legal pathways such as resettlement programmes to prevent migrants and asylum seekers from taking irregular options to Europe. (Al Jazeera – 26/03/2017)


EU should pay more to return African migrants home from Libya, Malta says: The EU makes a proposal for increased funding to the United Nation’s migration agency to facilitate the return of migrants stranded in Libya to their home countries further south in Africa. (EurActiv – 01/03/2017)

European countries have carried out 8% of promised refugee relocations: The European Union warn it will “accept no more excuses” after it emerged that member states have accepted less than 10% of the 160,000 refugees they promised to move to safety from unsanitary and cramped camps in Italy and Greece. Only two countries, Malta and Finland, have met their resettling obligations under the scheme. (The Guardian – 02/03/2017)

UNHCR deeply concerned by Hungary plans to detain all asylum seekers: UNHCR expresses concern over a new law passed by the Hungarian parliament which provides for mandatory detention of all asylum seekers, including children, for the entire length of the asylum procedure. (UNHCR – 07/03/2017)

EU court says member states don't have to issue humanitarian visas: The European Court of Justice (ECJ) rules that EU states do not have to admit people on humanitarian grounds, even if they are at risk of torture or inhumane treatment, cutting off a possible channel for asylum seekers into the block. (Reuters – 07/03/2017)

Italy looks to Niger for deal on Libya migration: The Italian government is reportedly seeking to seal a deal with Niger aimed at stemming migration from Sub-Saharan Africa through Libya to Europe. “After the deal with Libya, the Italian government is now focusing on reaching a deal with Niger – the southern neighbouring country of Libya, and the main transit country for migrants coming from the Horn of Africa,” said Italian Foreign Minister Angelino Alfano. (Libyan Herald – 08/03/2017)

People smuggling in Europe comparable to the illegal drugs market, warns report: According to a report released by EU’s law enforcement agency, Europol, criminal networks facilitating migrant smuggling with the EU have become a “large profitable and sophisticated criminal market, comparable to the Europe drug market.” Migrant smuggling / human trafficking networks generated between EUR 4.7 to 5.7 billion at the height of the refugee crisis in 2015. (The Independent – 09/03/2017)

Greece: Reject EU Pressure on Asylum Seekers: Human rights organizations appeal to the Greek Parliament to resist external pressure from the EU and reject any amendments to a Greek law based on EU-Turkey migrant deal, which will reportedly worsen the situation of people seeking safety and a better life in Europe. (Human Rights Watch – 10/03/2017)

U.K. aid for migration crisis has unintended consequences, watchdog group says: The Independent Commission for Aid Impact (ICAI) expresses concern over UK’s initiatives aimed at stemming migration across the Mediterranean Sea, noting that such programs are capable of causing unintended harm to vulnerable migrants, particularly in difficult contexts such as Libya. (Humanosphere – 13/03/2017)

Erdogan threatens to scrap EU-Turkey migrant deal: According to this article, Turkish President Recep Erdogan threatens to tear up the EU-Turkey migrant deal adding that EU had broken its promise of granting visa-free travel to Turks. This comes after Germany, the Netherlands and other European countries decided to block Turks officials from holding political rallies in their countries. (BBC – 16/03/2017)

E.U. deal with Turkey legitimizes far right in Europe: Christopoulos: In this media interview, Dimitris Christopoulos, the head of the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), reviews the impact of the EU-Turkey migrant deal aimed at halting refugee flows across the Aegean. (Refugees Deeply – 17/03/2017)

Hungary approves controversial law allowing automatic detention of asylum seekers: The Hungarian parliament approves a new law under which asylum seekers will be automatically detained in camps at the borders. The new law declares inadmissible anyone who entered Hungary from Serbia or a “safe third country” and limits the period of appeal to three days. (ECRE – 17/03/2017)

EU refugee policy unsustainable, says Council of Europe Commissioner: The Council of Europe’s human rights commissioner, Nils Muiznieks, cautions that Europe's refugee policy is not sustainable urging the European Union to move fast to change it. "The system is unjust on the frontline countries, especially Greece and Italy […] it puts unsustainable burdens on the frontline states, I don't think it can work for a long term," said Nils. (US News – 23/03/2017)

EU worried migrants will shop around for best return deal: The EU warns that the assistance offered to asylum seekers and migrants, (cash and in-kind) to voluntarily return to their origin countries has created perverse incentives as migrants “shop” around for the best deal. Most EU countries have adopted this approach however the payments vary considerably across the EU. (Politico – 27/03/2017) 

Aid groups deny rescue ships in Mediterranean are abetting migrant smugglers: Aid groups operating rescue ships in the Mediterranean reject suspicions raised by an Italian prosecutor that by saving tens of thousands of migrants they are effectively aiding Libyan-based people smugglers. More than 23,000 migrants have been rescued this year alone, 60% more than in the same period last year. (Reuters – 28/03/2017)

UNICEF hails new Italian law to protect unaccompanied refugee and migrant children as model for Europe: The Italian parliament passes a new law, Zampa, the first comprehensive act targeting unaccompanied migrant children in Italy. The new law will boost support and protection for the record numbers of foreign unaccompanied and separated children arriving in Italy via the Mediterranean crossings. (ReliefWeb – 29/03/2017)


398 illegal migrants prevented from entering Egypt in recent weeks: Army: Egyptian authorities report that they have prevented the illegal entry of nearly 400 people into Egypt through its southern and western borders between 21 February and 13 March 2017. (Ahram Online – 15/03/2017)

Egyptian court jails 56 over migrant boat shipwreck: An Egyptian court sentences 56 people to up to 14 years over the capsizing of a boat off the Egyptian coast on 21 September 2016, in which more than 200 people died while crossing the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. (The Sydney Morning Herald – 28/03/2017)


Malawi and Ethiopia in joint collaboration to foster infrastructure development and curb irregular migration: According to this article, governments of Ethiopia and Malawi enter into a bilateral agreement dubbed “Malawi/Ethiopia Joint Permanent Commission for Cooperation” to foster cooperation in a range of areas including infrastructure development, agriculture and curbing human trafficking and irregular migration of Ethiopians through Malawi. (Nyasa Times – 07/03/2017) 

IOM provides transport, access to aid for Eritrean refugees in Ethiopia: According to this article, IOM has begun providing emergency transportation assistance for Eritrean refugees to access humanitarian services in refugee camps in the Tigray region of Ethiopia. This follows a spike since the beginning of the year of refugees crossing the Eritrea-Ethiopia border and in urgent need of humanitarian assistance. (ReliefWeb – 14/03/2017)

Letter on Ethiopia to the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs / Vice-President of the European Commission Mogherini: Human Rights Watch expresses concern over the recent visit by EU delegation to Ethiopia noting that the EU did not publicly condemn Ethiopia’s widespread human rights violations against its citizen. According to the human rights organization, violations of human rights in the country is producing refugees and asylum seekers seeking safety in neighbouring countries and beyond. (Human Rights Watch – 24/03/2017)

Ethiopia: Martial law extended 4 more months: The Ethiopian parliament votes unanimously to extend by four months, the duration of the state emergency that was due to end on April 9, 2017. Ethiopia imposed a martial law last October following series of violent anti-government protests in the Amhara and Oromia regional states. (World Bulletin - 30/03/2017)


Kenya: Protect Somalis facing conflict, abuses, and drought: Ahead of the IGAD Summit held in Nairobi to discuss the protracted situation of Somali refugees, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch issue a joint statement urging Kenya to protect and assist Somali refugees and asylum seekers facing on-going conflict and a humanitarian crisis in Somalia. (Human Rights Watch – 23/03/2017)


People-smugglers kill 22 African migrants for refusing to board a boat from Libya in bad weather: According to this article, at least 22 African migrants are reportedly killed by smugglers after refusing to board a boat to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy or Malta due to bad weather. Their bodies were recovered buried at the beach in Sabratah, 45 miles west of Tripoli. (Mail Online – 08/03/2017)

UN "gravely concerned" at serious rights violations across Libya: The Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) and Head of United Nations Support Mission in Libya (UNSMIL), Martin Kobler, expresses concern over continued and persistent reports of serious violations of international humanitarian and human rights law being perpetrated across Libya. (ReliefWeb - 22/03/2017)

More than 200 migrants feared drowned in Mediterranean: More than 200 migrants are feared dead after five bodies were discovered floating near two capsized boats off the Libyan coast. According to a Spanish aid organisation, the boats could each hold more than 100 people. (BBC – 24/03/2017)

Libyan court suspends deal struck with Italy aiming to reduce refugee boat crossings over Mediterranean Sea: According to this article, a Libyan court suspends an agreement struck with Italy aiming to stem the flow of migrants across the Mediterranean to Europe. A statement released by the Justice Ministry of the UN-backed Government of National Accord (GNA) did not provide a reason for the move. (The Independent – 25/03/2017)

Nearly 1,200 migrants picked up off Libya, heading to Italy: Humanitarian ships rescue nearly 1,200 migrants off the coast of Libya as they attempted to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Italy. An estimated 22,000 migrants, mainly African, have been rescued heading to Italy this year alone while more than 500 have reportedly died trying to make the crossing. (Reuters – 27/03/2017)

Saudi Arabia

90-day amnesty period allows illegal workers to return to Saudi Arabia: According to this article, Saudi Arabia issues a 90-day grace period for undocumented immigrants to correct their residency status starting March 29, 2017. All undocumented immigrants who take advantage of this amnesty will be exempt from any fines or penalties linked to violating Saudi’s residency, labour or border security laws. (Arab News – 21/03/2017)


UNHCR Special Envoy appeals for urgent action to stabilize Somalia: During the IGAD Summit on Somali refugees held in Nairobi, UNHCR appealed for urgent action to stabilize Somalia and create conditions that are conducive to safe and sustainable voluntary return. In addition, the agency appealed to refugee hosting countries to consider liberalizing legal pathways to facilitate the local integration of Somali refugees. (UNHCR - 24/03/2017)

Hungry and desperate, thousands of Somalis trek to Ethiopia: According to this article by UNHCR, thousands of Somalis are seeking refuge in neighbouring Ethiopia owing to a worsening drought situation in Somalia. More than 4,300 Somali refugees have reportedly entered Ethiopia since the beginning of the year. (UNHCR – 25/03/2017)

Over 3,000 people a day fleeing drought in Somalia: According to this article, the worsening drought situation in Somalia is pushing thousands of Somalis to abandon their homes in search of food and water. An estimated 438,000 people have been displaced since November 2016, with two-thirds of those displaced coming from Mudug, Bay, Shabelle and Sool regions. (ReliefWeb – 29/03/2017)


Sudan, Ethiopia hold military talks on border security and human trafficking: According to this article, senior security officials from Sudan and Ethiopia hold a forum dubbed ‘Sudanese-Ethiopian Strategic Forum’ in Khartoum, Sudan to discuss areas of cooperation including border security, combating human trafficking and migrant smuggling. (Sudan Tribune – 29/03/2017)

South Africa

South Africa proposes sweeping immigration policy changes: South Africa is set to update its immigration policy with a number of changes proposed including creation of centers for asylum seekers along South Africa’s border, end of automatic path for long-term residency to citizenship and introduction of a points-based system intended to attract highly skilled immigrants. (VOA – 17/03/2017)


Tanzania: Humanitarian response in refugee camps still falling behind: Humanitarian organisations express concern over the increasing flow of refugees from Burundi into Tanzanian refugee camps calling for the establishment of a fourth refugee camp to ease pressure on existing overcrowded camps. (ReliefWeb – 01/03/2017) 


‘Breaking Point’ imminent: Government of Uganda, UNHCR say help for South Sudan refugee inflow urgently needed: The government of Uganda and UNHCR jointly appeal to the international community for urgent and massive support for the thousands of South Sudan refugees arriving in Uganda daily, fleeing brutal conflict in South Sudan. More than 800,000 South Sudanese refugees are hosted in Uganda. (ReliefWeb – 23/03/2017)


U.N. seeks inquiry into deadly assault on migrant boat near Yemen: The United Nations calls for an inquiry into an incident in which at least 42 people died after a military helicopter opened fire on a boat carrying about 145 migrants off Yemen’s Red Sea coast. “We call on all parties to the conflict to make proper inquiries to ensure accountability and to prevent this from happening again,” read the UN statement. (The New York Times – 20/03/2017)

Millions in Yemen knowingly pushed to the brink of famine-Oxfam: Humanitarian agency, Oxfam, warn that fighters in the Yemen war and their international backers are wilfully pushing the country to the brink of famine. The agency calls for an immediate resumption of the peace process and for donors to scale-up the funding needed for the humanitarian response. (ReliefWeb – 22/03/2017)

Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O'Brien - Statement on Yemen: The Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, Stephen O’Brien, issues a statement on the situation in Yemen, warning that the country is on the brink of famine as a result of the on-going conflict. Over two-thirds of the population are in need of humanitarian assistance while seven million Yemenis face starvation. (ReliefWeb – 26/03/2017)

Yemen: Attack on refugee boat likely war crime: Following a recent incident on the Red Sea in which at least 42 people lost their lives after a military helicopter opened gunfire on a migrant boat, the Human Rights Watch calls for accountability noting that under the laws of war, attacks against civilians that are deliberate or reckless are war crimes. “The coalition’s apparent firing on a boat filled with fleeing refugees is only the latest likely war crime in Yemen’s two-year-long war,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. (Human Rights Watch – 26/03/2017)

Humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Jamie McGoldrick statement on the humanitarian situation in Yemen two years into the escalation of the conflict: This statement issued by Jamie McGoldrick, Humanitarian Coordinator for Yemen, expresses concern over the deteriorating situation in Yemen, calling on the warring parties to return to the negotiating table and end the fighting. (ReliefWeb – 28/03/2017)

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