Select Page

The Refugee Brief – 22 June 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 22 June, 2018


Mass drownings off Libya as Italy plans to impound NGO rescue boat. Accounts from survivors suggest that some 220 people have drowned off the coast of Libya in recent days while trying to reach Europe. Out of an estimated 100 passengers on a wooden boat that capsized on Tuesday, only five are reported to have survived. On the same day, a rubber dinghy with 130 passengers sank. Local fishermen managed to rescue 60 survivors. In yet another incident on Wednesday, 50 more refugees and migrants are thought to have drowned. The Libyan coast guard reported that it had picked up 762 people trying to reach Italy in the past two days. UNHCR has called for “urgent international action to strengthen rescue-at-sea efforts by all relevant and capable actors, including NGO and commercial vessels”. Italy’s new interior minister, Matteo Salvini, has pledged not to allow any NGO rescue boats carrying survivors to dock in Italy. On Thursday, a request by the Germany NGO Mission Lifeline to disembark some 224 rescued refugees and migrants at an Italian port was initially denied . Italy’s transport minister, Danilo Toninelli, later said the passengers would be transferred to Italian coast guard boats and the Lifeline’s ship escorted to an Italian port “to conduct a probe”.

World Cup row stokes tensions in Ugandan refugee camp, leaves four dead. A disagreement over a seat as South Sudanese refugees gathered to watch the World Cup on Sunday sparked a fight followed by a series of retaliatory attacks in a camp in Uganda’s north-west Arua region. By Wednesday, the violence had led to the deaths of four refugees, including a teenager. A further 19 have been injured. Rhino Camp, where the incidents took place, mainly hosts South Sudanese refugees of Dinka and Nuer ethnicity. A statement by UNHCR’s Uganda office said the attacks have created “a widening rift ” between the two groups, prompting the authorities to relocate some refugees to a primary school for their protection.


Reversal on separation of families deepens confusion over US border policy. President Donald Trump’s executive order on Wednesday ending the separation of families at the US-Mexico border led to further confusion on Thursday, according to several news reports. One senior US Customs and Border Protection official told the Washington Post the agency would stop referring parents for criminal prosecution , even as Justice Department officials insisted that a “zero tolerance” policy was still in force. The US military has reportedly been asked to assess several military bases to determine whether they could provide temporary accommodation for up to 20,000 unaccompanied migrant children.

Refugees fleeing Libya to limbo in Agadez. In recent years, the desert city of Agadez in Niger has been a hub for migrants and refugees travelling north to Libya, but a government crackdown on smugglers in Niger, deportations from Algeria and appalling conditions in Libya have seen increasing numbers of people arriving in Agadez in search of safety. UNHCR reports that 2,072 people, most of them from Sudan, arrived from Libya at the end of May seeking international protection . During a visit to Agadez this week, UNHCR chief Filippo Grandi appealed for more assistance for both the refugees and local people, many of whom have lost their livelihoods due to the crackdown.

Hundreds of thousands of civilians in Hudaydah at grave risk. A week after fighting began in the port city of Hudaydah, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for Yemen, Lise Grande, said the city’s civilians were at serious risk from malnutrition and the possibility of another cholera outbreak. “Even before the fighting began, conditions in Hudaydah were some of the worst in the country,” she said. “The level and degree of human suffering is heartbreaking.” Reuters reports that Houthi rebels have indicated they would be willing to hand over management of the port to the UN to avoid a battle that could put it out of service. The port is crucial to maintaining the flow of aid and essential goods to the country.

Migrants and refugees are good for economies, study finds. An analysis of 30 years of data from 15 countries in Western Europe finds that a few years following a spike in migration, host nations’ economies improve and unemployment rates drop. The study, which was published in Science Advances on Wednesday, discredits the notion that migrants and refugees place a financial burden on countries. The researchers looked separately at the effects of migrants and asylum-seekers from 1985 to 2015. They found that it took three to seven years for the beneficial impacts of an influx of asylum-seekers to transpire, with any increase in public spending more than compensated for by an increase in tax revenues.


The fact that Christophe and Armand had no spare bedroom in their small Paris flat did not deter them from contacting the charity Refugees Welcome with the offer to host a refugee. A young Malian refugee, Louis, has been sleeping on a foldaway bed in their living room ever since. Louis had received death threats for his work in the LGBT community in Mali and fled the country with nothing. He found friendship and support in Christophe and Armands’ home close to the Eiffel Tower. “From playing guest and host we’ve now become a family,” says Christophe.


The latest fatalities in the Central Mediterranean have pushed the death toll on this route to over 1,000 so far this year.

The Refugee Brief – 21 June 2018

By Annie Hylton @hyltonanne   | 21 June, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW President Trump signs executive order to end family separation. Amid growing reaction at home and abroad to the US administration’s practice of separating children from their parents at the US-Mexico...

read more

The Refugee Brief – 20 June 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 20 June, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW World Refugee Day messages focus on need for solidarity. At a time when worldwide forced displacement is at an all-time high, support for refugees is chronically underfunded and governments in...

read more

The Refugee Brief – 19 June 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 19 June, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Global forced displacement reaches new high. In its annual Global Trends report, released today, UNHCR said that conflict and persecution in countries including the Democratic Republic of the...

read more

The Refugee Brief – 18 June 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 18 June, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Rescued refugees and migrants turned away by Italy arrive in Spain. The 629 men, women and children arrived at the Spanish port of Valencia on Sunday morning, nine days after being rescued off...

read more

The Refugee Brief – 14 June 2018

By Annie Hylton @hyltonanne   |  14 June, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Civilians flee as assault on Hudaydah continues. Fierce fighting in the rebel-held Yemeni city of Hudaydah, a key port for aid supplies, continued for a second day as the UN Security Council prepared...

read more

The Refugee Brief – 13 June 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  13 June, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Assault on Yemen port city of Hudaydah begins. The BBC and Reuters report that rebel positions were being bombardedfrom the air and sea early this morning while troops massed south of the city....

read more

The Refugee Brief – 12 June 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  12 June, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Stranded refugees and migrants to be transferred from overloaded ship. The crew of a rescue boat loaded with 629 refugees and migrants has said that, with the weather deteriorating, the three to...

read more

The Refugee Brief – 11 June 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  11 June, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Spain offers safe harbour to rescue ship stuck at sea. The Aquarius, a ship run by Médecins Sans Frontières and SOS Méditerraneé, rescued 229 people from two rubber boats on Saturday night....

read more

The Refugee Brief – 8 June 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  8 June, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW UN Security Council imposes sanctions on six human traffickers in Libya. The six men – four Libyans and two Eritreans – head up criminal networks and militias that exploit mainly sub-Saharan...

read more