Migration and refugees
LATEST UPDATE: September 19, 2019 - 8:51am
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September 19, 2019

Qatar is not fulfilling all its promises to improve the conditions of migrant workers in the country in the run-up to the 2022 World Cup, Amnesty International says.

In a report entitled "All Work, No Pay", the rights group said: "Despite the significant promises of reform which Qatar has made ahead of the 2022 World Cup, it remains a playground for unscrupulous employers."

The report comes ahead of a meeting in Paris on Thursday between President Emmanuel Macron and Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani. — AFP

September 16, 2019

Around 600,000 Rohingya Muslims remaining in Myanmar face a "serious risk of genocide," UN investigators say, warning the repatriation of a million of the minority already driven out of the country by the army remains "impossible."

"Myanmar continues to harbor genocidal intent and the Rohingya remain under serious risk of genocide," the United Nations fact-finding mission to Myanmar says in a report due to be presented to the body's Human Rights Council Tuesday. — AFP

September 7, 2019

Spain is struggling to accommodate thousands of young migrants who over the years have arrived alone on rickety boats or hidden in trucks, some of whom have ended up on the streets or even become involved in crime.

There are currently around 14,000 unaccompanied young migrants in Spain, according to the government, up from just around 4,000 in 2016.

In regions like Catalonia in Spain's northeast, which has a large Moroccan community that attracts the youngsters after they arrive in the south, reception centres are overwhelmed. — AFP

September 5, 2019

South Africa says it has closed its diplomatic missions in the Nigerian cities of Abuja and Lagos following violence against South African businesses in reprisal for attacks on foreign-owned stores in Johannesburg.

"After receiving reports and threats from some of the Nigerians we decided to temporarily close while we are assessing the situation," foreign ministry spokesman Lunga Ngqengelele says, adding the missions were shut on Wednesday.

September 3, 2019

President Cyril Ramaphosa condemns a wave of xenophobic violence unfurling in several parts of South Africa.   

Attacks on businesses run by "foreign nationals is something totally unacceptable, something that we cannot allow to happen in South Africa," Ramaphosa says in a video address diffused on Twitter.

August 6, 2019

The UN voices concern over a law approved by Italy's parliament that imposes stiffer penalties on NGO migrant rescue boats in the Mediterranean, demanding humanitarian work "not be criminalized or stigmatized."

The European Union also says it planned to "analyze" the legislation's consistency with European law. 

The text adopted by Italian lawmakers gives far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini more authority to block ships carrying rescued migrants from entering Italian waters.

August 4, 2019

Malta says it has authorized 40 migrants aboard a rescue ship run by German NGO Sea-Eye to disembark following an agreement reached among several EU countries to take them in.

The deal was announced after the migrants on the Alan Kurdi ship, rescued on Wednesday off Libya, had been barred from landing in Italy.

Italy's far-right Interior Minister Matteo Salvini has taken a hard line against migrants entering the country.

July 25, 2019

The European Union takes Hungary to the EU's highest court over controversial legislation against assisting migrants, known as the "Stop Soros" laws.

The European Commission, the EU's executive arm, decides to refer Hungary to the Luxembourg-based court over "legislation that criminalizes activities in support of asylum applications and further restricts the right to request asylum," a statement says.

The commission has clashed repeatedly with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government, especially since the migration crisis of 2015.

July 21, 2019

Humanitarian group SOS Mediterranee says it has relaunched migrant rescue operations off Libya, seven months after it was forced to abandon efforts using its ship Aquarius.

SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders (MSF) "are back at sea with a new vessel, the Ocean Viking, to conduct search and rescue activities in the central Mediterranean," it says.

"As people are still fleeing Libya on one of the most perilous sea crossings in the world, and with almost no available rescue assets present in the central Mediterranean, it has been an imperative for both SOS Mediterranee and MSF to return at sea following the ending of their operations with the Aquarius in December 2018." — AFP

July 15, 2019

The new Greek government underscores its intention to reinforce the country's borders, as a visiting EU official notes an uptick in the number of refugees crossing from Turkey.

"Our plan involves better use of European Frontex (border) forces, reinforced coast guard patrols with upgraded equipment, and better, more transparent management of European funds," a government statement says.

July 10, 2019

Court document shows two US Marines have been arrested for smuggling undocumented Mexican migrants into the United States in exchange for money.

Byron Darnell Law II and David Javier Salazar-Quintero were arrested on July 3 along the Mexican border in Jacumba, California, the document says.

They were charged with having transported three undocumented migrants about six miles (10 kilometers) over the border.

The three Mexican nationals seated in the back of the Marines' vehicle were prepared to pay $8,000 "to be smuggled into the United States," although it is unclear to whom they would have paid the money. — AFP

July 9, 2019

The US Department of Homeland Security requested 1,000 additional soldiers to help manage the migrant crisis in Texas, the Pentagon says, amid growing outcry over conditions in migrant detention facilities.

In a statement, the Pentagon says they had been asked to authorize the Texas National Guard to lend support to Customs and Border Protection officials, who say they are overwhelmed by the numbers of refugees crossing the southern US border.

Thousands of active duty and National Guard troops have already been deployed for months along the US-Mexico border to support immigration officials.

July 6, 2019

Officials say Mexican authorities rescued 24 Central American migrants, including nine children, who had been held hostage for nearly three weeks in the crime-ridden state of Guanajuato.

The migrants were held for 20 days in the town of Celaya, about 210 kilometres (130 miles) from Mexico City, says Secretary of State Security Juan Jose Gonzalez.

They told officials that their relatives had been making payments to their captors during that time, Gonzalez says.

The victims were receiving medical attention after their ordeal, he adds. — AFP

July 5, 2019

Human Rights Watch condemns Lebanon's order for Syrian refugees to demolish their hard shelters as tantamount to "illegitimate pressure" on them to return to their war-torn country.

Lebanon, a country of some four million people, says it hosts at least 1.5 million Syrians on its soil after they fled the eight-year civil war next door, many living in informal settlements in the country's east.

Nearly a million are registered as refugees with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.

To discourage any permanent settlement, Lebanese authorities gave Syrians living in the region of Arsal until July 1 to demolish shelters made of anything but timber and plastic sheeting. — AFP

July 5, 2019

A charity says a sailboat belonging to Italian charity Mediterranea has rescued 54 people including pregnant women and children in distress off the Libyan coast.

"All 54 survivors have been rescued and are now aboard," Mediterranea, which is made up of left-wing activists, tweets.

"Among them 11 women (three pregnant) and 4 children.... Happy to have rescued 54 lives from the hell of Libya. Now we need a safe port." — AFP

June 27, 2019

President Donald Trump says he hated seeing a traumatic picture taken of a migrant father and infant daughter who drowned during an attempt to enter the United States across the Mexican border.

"I hate it," Trump says of the photo of the Salvadoran man and the two-year-old girl in the Rio Grande river.

"That father... was probably a wonderful guy," Trump says, insisting that opposition Democrats' refusals to back his tough border policies are to blame for deaths of illegal migrants. — AFP

June 19, 2019

More than 70 million people were listed as migrants or refugees at the end of 2018, a record that underestimates the real number of people displaced from their homes, the UN says. 

In its annual global trends report, the United Nations refugee agency described the figure of 70.8 million as "conservative," particularly because the number of people who fled Venezuela's devastating crisis is undercounted. ?

— AFP

Updates on the global refugee crisis and issues surrounding migration.

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