Media Listing May 2017


Open letter to Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz on Libya: Human Rights Watch publishes this open letter to Australia’s Foreign Minister Kurz, urging him to come up with a viable solution for migration and asylum procedures in Europe. This follows his earlier remarks that, “migrants rescued in the Mediterranean should not be guaranteed a ticket to Central Europe.” (Human Rights Watch – 03/05/2017)

UNHCR defends NGO charity groups over migrant rescues in Mediterranean: UNHCR defends private aid groups rescuing migrants and asylum seekers in the Mediterranean Sea saying that “this is a matter of life and death which appeals to our most basic sense of humanity and should not be called into question.” (DW News – 08/05/2017)

15 NGOs decry new policy limiting asylum seekers in exercising their right to appeal: 15 NGOs urge the Greek government to immediately reverse a recent policy excluding asylum-seekers on the Greek islands who appeal negative asylum decisions from participating in IOM’s Assisted Voluntary Return and Reintegration (AVRR) programme and forcing those who wish to participate to forego their right to appeal. (NRC – 10/05/2017)

Mozambique deports illegal Ethiopian, Bengal immigrants: Mozambique authorities reportedly deport 35 illegal migrants from Ethiopia and Bengal for illegal entry into the country and forgery of entry visas. (Journal du Cameroun – 10/05/2017)

Over 20,000 DRC refugees arrive in Angola: More than 20,000 refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo have arrived in Angola since early April 2017, fleeing insecurity and violence in their country. According to UNHCR, a steady stream of refugees continues to cross into Dundo in Lunda Norte Province and are being transported by the Angolan army to two reception centres in Cacanda and Moussunge. (ReliefWeb – 12/05/2017)

Global compact on migration should focus on harnessing its win-win benefits: The author of this opinion article argues that as the UN States develop a global compact on migration, there should be less of a focus on reducing complex migration phenomena to their ‘root causes’ and more on the potential of migration as a win-win. (EconoTimes – 12/05/2017)

Deportations of Africans rise, but still fall below other immigrant groups: According to this article, about 326 Somali nationals have been deported from the US since the beginning of 2017, making this the third year in a row that the number of Somalis removed from the US has increased. The deportation of African citizens represented less than 0.4% of all deportations from the US in 2016 and nearly 5,000 Somali nationals have received final orders of removal from the US by April 2017. (VOA News - 15/05/2017)

Migration conference: Experts call for investment to keep Africans home: Participants attending the Third Pan-African Forum on Migration held in Uganda appeal to African States to address key drivers of emigration from the continent and to take advantage of Africa’s bulging youth as a resource to spur economic growth. The forum brought together 250 delegates and experts from across the continent to discuss the global challenge of migrants and refugees. (NTV Uganda – 16/05/2017)

EU told to tackle causes, not consequences, of migration: African Union’s president: Addressing EU Parliament’s plenary in Strasbourg, African Union Commission’s President Moussa Mahamat called on the EU lawmakers to address the causes and not consequences of migration. “It is a deeper problem… by sending people away, building camps, building barriers, we will never solve these problems,” Moussa said. (New Europe – 16/05/2017)

Traffickers and smugglers exploit record rise in unaccompanied child refugees: According to a report by UNICEF, a record increase in the number of refugee and migrant children traveling alone has left many exposed to sexual abuse and exploitation at the hands of traffickers and opportunists. At least 300,000 unaccompanied and separated children were recorded in 80 countries in 2015-2016. (The Guardian – 17/05/2017)

Focus on refugees risks neglecting the internally displaced: This opinion article by Dr. Jeff Crisp argues that the current prominence of the refugee issue around the world has been matched by a neglect of those who are unable to leave their own countries and who are beyond the reach of aid agencies. (Chatham House – 18/05/2017)

Up to 6.6m migrants waiting to cross to Europe from Africa: report: According to a government report leaked to the media, there are about 6.6 million migrants and asylum seekers waiting in countries around the Mediterranean to cross into Europe. According to the report, more than 2.5 million migrants are waiting in North Africa, out of which 1 million in Libya and another 1 million in Egypt. (The Telegraph – 23/05/2017) 

IOM head: People smugglers make $35 billion a year on migrant crisis: According to the Head of IOM, human smugglers make about USD 35 billion a year worldwide and they are driving the tragedy of migrants who die trying to cross the Mediterranean Sea to reach Europe. "Migration is not an issue to be solved, it's a human reality that has to be managed or governed," stressed William Swing. (VOA News – 31/05/2017)

Debunking myths about why people migrate across the Mediterranean: In this opinion article, the author demystifies the myth that Europe is being ‘flooded’ with refugees and migrants arguing that many migrants do not intend to reach Europe when they leave their homes. That Europe is not a ‘pull factor’ for many migrants, the author notes that EU’s migrant deterrence strategies will not work. (Refugees Deeply – 31/05/2017)


Germany says Libya camps no solution to refugee crisis: Germany’s foreign minister Sigma Gabriel says that his government will not support a proposal to establish detention camps in Libya to hold migrants attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. Addressing a press conference in Addis Ababa, Gabriel noted that migrants lived in horrible conditions at current camps in Libya and building further settlements was not a solution. (EURACTIV – 03/05/2017)

Germany must lift border controls, EU executive says: The European Union directs Germany, Austria, Denmark and Norway to lift border controls within six months. This follows an announcement by the Swedish government to (partially) lift controls on the journeys from Denmark into Sweden. (Reuters – 02/05/2017)

Hungary and Slovakia challenge quotas at the EU's top court: Hungary and Slovakia challenge the EU’s decision to distribute asylum seekers across the Union on a mandatory quota basis arguing that the legislative procedure that led to the mandatory quota decision was unlawful. (EU Observer – 11/05/2017)

Italy investigating some migrant aid workers for people smuggling: An Italian prosecutor reports that he is investigating some members of humanitarian organisations rescuing migrants in the Mediterranean Sea on suspicion they may have cooperated with smugglers. Aid groups have strongly denied any ties to human smugglers. (Thomson Reuters Foundation – 10/05/2017)

Italy builds new detention centres to speed up migrant deportations: According to this article, Italy is set to open new detention centres across the country in coming months as part of its push to speed up deportation of irregular migrants, despite concerns that the centres are inhumane. (EURACTIV – 10/05/2017)

Germany, Italy float EU mission to stop migrants in southern Libya: German and Italy reportedly demand an EU mission along Libya’s southern desert to stop migrants trying to reach Europe. Both countries have said current efforts to stop human smuggling are not working. (DW – 14/05/2017)

EU to conduct border patrols in Libya to stop migrants reaching Europe: EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Federica Mogherini welcomes a proposal by Italy and Germany for EU patrols along Libya’s southern border adding that it is “only a good idea.”(The Independent – 15/05/2017)

Italian commission says more controls needed on aid groups rescuing migrants: An Italian parliamentary commission says that more controls need to be imposed on humanitarian organisations that are taking an increasingly significant role in rescuing migrants from the Mediterranean. (Reuters – 17/05/2017)

EU/Greece: Pressure to minimize numbers of migrants identified as ‘vulnerable’: Human Rights Watch expresses concern over EU’s and Greek government’s new approach to contain all asylum seekers on the Greek islands. Previously, people with disabilities and other at-risk groups identified as vulnerable were allowed to be transferred to the mainland to have their cases handled there. (Human Rights Watch – 31/05/2017)


Egyptian authorities arrest two human smugglers in Alexandria: Egyptian authorities arrest two suspected migrant smugglers for facilitating the smuggling of migrants across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe. Three fishing boats used by the smugglers were also seized. (Ahram News – 05/05/2017)

Passport to salvation: Egypt's human traffickers find new loophole: This article investigates a network of human smugglers operating in the city of Qaha, 25 kilometres north of Cairo in Egypt, who facilitate smuggling of migrants to Europe via Cairo Airport using original passports and residency permits. Migrants reportedly pay about USD 1,656 for an original Egyptian passport. (The New Arab – 19/05/2017)


Ethiopia: Hailemariam calls on Ethiopians in Saudi to leave country before amnesty deadline: Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Hailemariam calls on undocumented Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia to leave the country before the amnesty deadline that ends on June 29, 2017. "The government has allocated huge budget and hired more staff in our embassy in Riyadh and a Consulate General in Jeddah, opened new offices in areas where large Ethiopians are residing to create access for their safe repatriation to home," he said. (All Africa – 21/05/2017)

Ethiopia: Time is ticking fast, get back home: The Ethiopian government has urged undocumented Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia to take advantage of initiatives established by the government to facilitate safe and orderly repatriation of Ethiopians from the country. About 20,000 Ethiopians in Saudi Arabia have been issued with travel documents to facilitate their return to Ethiopia. (All Africa – 14/05/2017)


Israel forces asylum seekers to deposit 20% of pay as incentive to leave: Activists, asylum seekers and employers in Israel have criticised a new immigration law that require asylum seekers to deposit 20% of their salaries with the authorities to be repaid only when they leave the country. The new law which came into effect on 01/05/2017 also requires employers to deposit another 16% of such salaries into a state fund. (Middle East Monitor – 15/05/2017)

African asylum seekers leaving Israel for Canada, Europe:  In contrast to the popular notion that African migrants in Israel were returning to their countries of origin or going to Uganda and Rwanda, this article finds that the main destinations in the past year were other Western countries. Almost 1,400 African migrants left Israel in the past year for Canada, US, Sweden and Netherlands. Of this figure, about 882 were Eritreans. (Haaretz – 15/05/2017)


ICC prosecutor mulls inquiry on crimes against migrants in Libya: The International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor expresses concern over the inhumane detention of thousands of vulnerable migrants in Libya adding that her officer is “carefully examining the feasibility of opening an investigation into migrant-related crimes in Libya.” (Reuters – 08/05/2017)

Nearly 200 asylum seekers feared dead off Libya coast: According to UNHRC, nearly 200 people reportedly lost their lives or were missing after two boats carrying asylum seekers and migrants sank off the coast of Libya. Eleven bodies were recovered. (Al Jazeera – 08/05/2017)

Migrants in Libya forced by smugglers to kill sick or injured friends - by burying them alive: This article highlights the plight of migrants and asylum seekers held captive in squalid conditions in Libya by ruthless gangs of smugglers, traffickers or armed militia. (The Telegraph – 09/05/2017)

Libyan coastguard turns back nearly 500 migrants after altercation with NGO ship: Libyan coastguard intercept nearly 500 migrants packed onto a wooden boat and return them to Tripoli after warning off a rescue ship that was preparing to pick them up for passage to Europe. (Reuters – 10/05/2017)

Italy hands over four patrol boats to Libyan Navy: The Italian government hands over four patrol boats to Libya as part of cooperation in the fight against irregular migration towards Europe. Additional six patrol boats will be handed over to Libya in coming months. (Libyan Express – 16/05/2017)

5,000 refugees rescued on route to Italy from Libya: About 5,000 migrants and asylum seekers heading to Italy are rescued in the Mediterranean off the coast of Libya by Libyan and Italian coastguards within a duration of 48 hours. The rescued migrants indicated they were subjected to arbitrary detention, slavery and beatings in Libya. (Al Jazeera – 20/05/2017)

South Africa

South Africa deports 90 Nigerians for committing immigration-related offences: According to this article, a group of 90 Nigerians are deported from South Africa for committing immigration-related offenses including living in the country without valid documents. (Buzz South Africa – 20/05/2017)

South Sudan

More than one million children flee South Sudan violence: UNHCR expresses concern over the deteriorating security situation in South Sudan noting that children make up 62% of more than 1.8 million refugees uprooted by conflict in the country. (UNHCR – 08/05/2017)

Tens of thousands of women and children are fleeing from South Sudan to Sudan: Humanitarian agencies express concern over the humanitarian situation in Sudan following a spike in South Sudanese refugee arrivals. Nearly 137,000 South Sudanese nationals have crossed into Sudan since the beginning of 2017 and majority of the arrivals are women and children. (ReliefWeb – 30/05/2017)


Sudanese police rescue over 50 Libya-bound migrants held hostage by gunmen: Sudanese security forces rescue 56 people including women and children from a trafficking / smuggling gang that held them in captivity for over a month. According to the police, the gang demanded a ransom of USD 3,000 per person for their release. (Africa News – 02/05/2017)

Sudan, Ethiopia start operations to stop human trafficking, drug smuggling:  According to this article, a joint Sudanese-Ethiopian force has started operations to stop human trafficking and drug smuggling on the borders between the two countries. The joint force includes military troops and security forces. (Journal du Cameroun – 03/05/2017)


IOM warns of humanitarian impact of imminent military attack on Yemen’s Al Hudaydah Port, City: UN agencies express concern over the worsening humanitarian situation in Yemen warning that an imminent attack on Al Hudaydah port and city will likely lead to further loss of life, displacement and suffering of the Yemeni people. (ReliefWeb – 12/05/2017)

84 stranded migrants returned from Yemen: The UN Migration Agency (IOM), supported the repatriation of 84 migrants who were stranded in Yemen to Djibouti. Most of the migrants were of Ethiopian origin and had intended to transit Yemen to reach Saudi Arabia. (IOM Press – 23/05/2017)

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