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The Refugee Brief – 23 Feb 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 23 February, 2018


Diarrhoea kills 26 Congolese refugees in Uganda. Twenty-six refugees from the Democratic Republic of the Congo have died from acute watery diarrhoea at a camp in western Uganda where more than 400 other cases have been registered. Most of the deaths occurred between 15 and 18 February in Kyangwali settlement. UNHCR spokesperson Duniya Aslam Khan said the diarrhoea had been brought across the border from eastern DRC. Uganda has received more than 27,000 refugees fleeing inter-ethnic violence in eastern Congo’s Ituri region since the beginning of the year. UNHCR has been transferring new arrivals from the shores of Lake Albert to Kyangwali.

Five refugees killed in Rwanda food protest. Hundreds of Congolese refugees from Kiziba refugee camp have been protesting food ration cuts outside the UNHCR office in Karongi, in western Rwanda, since Tuesday. After the protests turned violent on Thursday, police first used teargas and then fired shots, killing five of the refugees and injuring 20 others. According to Reuters, seven policemen were also injured. UNHCR had issued a statement on Thursday calling for calm and restraint. In a second statement on Friday, the agency said, “This tragedy should have been avoided and disproportionate use of force against desperate refugees is not acceptable.” The refugees were protesting a 25 per cent cut to their food rations implemented last month due to funding shortages.


Satellite images show the recent destruction of Rohingya villages. A time series of satellite imagery released by Human Rights Watch and the Associated Press on Friday shows the demolition of at least 55 Rohingya villages in Rakhine State near Maungdaw town between January and February. Most of the villages had already been completely or partially destroyed by fire during violence last August, but according to HRW, some were undamaged before being levelled by bulldozers. HRW said many of the villages were scenes of atrocities against the Rohingya and should be preserved until a UN fact-finding mission is given access to carry out investigations. Myanmar officials have claimed that the bulldozing of villages is part of a plan to rebuild villages to a higher standard, but advocates for the Rohingya argue that the razing of their villages will make it even harder for refugees to return and reclaim their land.

Child trampled by an elephant in Bangladesh camp. An elephant rampaged through Kutupalong camp on Thursday, killing a child and injuring dozens of people. Video of the episode, captured by documentary filmmaker Shafiur Rahman, shows refugees scrambling out of the elephant’s path as it runs through the narrow streets of the camp. Kutupalong is surrounded by forested areas which are home to the endangered Asian elephant. The clearing of vegetation to make way for the camp has led to several reports of trampling deaths. UNHCR is now working to create safe corridors for the elephants.

Fewer Venezuelans crossing into Colombia in wake of border controls. Daily entry into Colombia by Venezuelans has fallen by 30 per cent in the two weeks since Colombia announced stricter controls, including suspending the issuance of daily entry cards. The figures were released by Colombia’s migration agency on Thursday and don’t include the thousands of Venezuelans estimated to enter the country illegally each day to buy food or permanently escape their country’s severe economic crisis and increasingly authoritarian government.

Forced Migration Review marks the seventh anniversary of Syria conflict. The latest issue of FMR, which is published by Oxford University’s Refugee Studies Centre, contains 27 articles on ‘Syrians in displacement’. They range from refugee-led humanitarianism in Lebanon to lessons learned from the Jordan Compact and perspectives on the return of Syrian refugees. As the editors point out in their introduction, much can be learned from responses to Syria’s massive displacement crisis and applied to crises elsewhere.


This week, the UK announced that it was more than halfway towards meeting a commitment made in 2015 to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Syrian refugees by 2020. This short film follows single mother Maisaa and two children, Esraa and Yahya, as they learn that they’ve been selected for resettlement from Lebanon to Northern Ireland.


This Sunday marks six months since nearly 700,000 Rohingya refugees began fleeing violence in Myanmar into Bangladesh. Around half a million of them crossed the border in just two months after 25 August.

The Refugee Brief – 22 Feb 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 22 February, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Congolese refugees in Rwanda protest food ration cuts.Several thousand Congolese refugees have been camped outside a UNHCR office in western Rwanda since Tuesday night to protest cuts to...

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The Refugee Brief – 21 Feb 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 21 February, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Situation in Eastern Ghouta “catastrophic”. Amid what observers are describing as the worst violence in the Eastern Ghouta area near Damascus since a chemical weapons attack in 2013, at...

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The Refugee Brief – 20 Feb 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 20 February, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW DRC plunges further into violence. A humanitarian disaster “of extraordinary proportions” is predicted in the southeastern part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), as the province...

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The Refugee Brief – 19 Feb 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 19 February, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Bangladesh hands over initial repatriation list to Myanmar.Home Affairs Minister Asaduzzaman Khan gave the list of more than 8,000 Rohingya refugees to his Myanmar counterpart at a meeting in...

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The Refugee Brief – 16 Feb 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 16 February, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW As Congo crisis worsens, relief agencies “underfunded and overwhelmed”. As violent clashes between armed groups fuel one of the world’s largest displacement crises, the Norwegian Refugee...

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The Refugee Brief – 15 Feb 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 15 February, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW At least 19 killed as truck overturns in Libya. The truck carrying 190 refugees and migrants in its cargo containers overturned in north-western Libya, near the town of Bani Walid, a known...

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The Refugee Brief – 14 Feb 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 14 February, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Solutions to Rohingya crisis lie in Myanmar, Security Council told. Restoring rights to the more than 688,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled Myanmar to Bangladesh since late August is key to...

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The Refugee Brief – 13 Feb 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 13 February, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Congolese refugees drown trying to reach Uganda. Four refugees drowned when their small canoe, overloaded with luggage and fishing nets, capsized Sunday amid high waves on Lake Albert. Last...

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The Refugee Brief – 12 Feb 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 12 February, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Boats carrying Congolese refugees arriving in Uganda.UNHCR teams on the shores of Lake Albert, which marks the border between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda, have received...

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