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The Refugee Brief – 26 Apr 2018

By Annie Hylton @hyltonanne  |  26 April, 2018


US investigates alleged atrocities against Rohingya. The US State Department has been leading an investigation into alleged atrocities against Rohingya Muslims. US officials told Reuters that a team of 20 investigators had carried out interviews with more than 1,000 Rohingya refugees in settlements in Bangladesh and that findings from the interviews could be used to prosecute Myanmar’s military for crimes against humanity. A UN Security Council delegation plans to visit Rakhine State next week, in what would be the highest-profile UN visit since the crackdown on the Rohingya began last August. AFP reports that a previous request by the Security Council to visit Rakhine in February was turned down by Myanmar’s government, but notes that this visit has been approved.

Donors pledge US$4.4 billion for Syria. Delegates to a donor conference in Brussels pledged US$4.4 billion in aid for Syrians displaced by the war and their host countries in the region on Wednesday. A further $3.4 billion was pledged for 2019 and 2020. The amount for 2018 fell short of the $7 to $8 billion the UN had said was needed to assist 5.6 million Syrian refugees and 13 million people in need inside Syria. Thirty-six donors at the conference made pledges, including Britain, Germany and France. The United States had not yet submitted a pledge, noted UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Mark Lowcock at a press conference. “In an ideal world, we would have liked to raise even more money and we do expect to receive additional funding this year,” he said. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi also invited countries present at the conference to expand resettlement programmes for Syrian refugees. “We need to stay the course and show continued support and solidarity with the Syrian people but also the host communities,” he said.


Human rights groups critical of Greek government’s move to overturn court ruling. Twenty-one human rights and humanitarian organizations yesterday said the government’s actions to overturn a 17 April court ruling – a ruling that would have made it easier for asylum-seekers arriving on the Greek islands to move to the mainland – raised “rule of law concerns”. An administrative order reinstated the ban on movement on 20 April, and lawmakers are now discussing legislation that would turn the policy into law.

Floods displace Kenyans and refugees. Flooding that has displaced more than 200,000 people across Kenya and killed 72 people has also affected hundreds of refugees at Dadaab camp. According to UNHCR, residents have been forced to take shelter in schools, and pit latrines are overflowing, raising concerns about outbreaks of waterborne diseases. The heavy rains have also destroyed hundreds of shelters, leaving many refugees homeless.

German court to rule on medical age tests for refugee minors. Germany’s Federal Administrative Court will decide today if a medical exam can be used routinely to help determine the age of an unaccompanied minor. Currently, such tests are only used when there is considerable doubt about a refugee’s age following an interview with a youth welfare officer. Deutsche Welle reports that the tests, which include x-rays and physical exams, have a considerable margin of error and raise ethical and legal concerns.

Webby Awards recognize refugee activism and photography. This year’s Webby Award for activism went to Refugees Welcome, a project designed to bring refugees and non-refugees around a table “to break bread and break barriers”.Searching for Syria, UNHCR’s collaboration with Google and R/GA, won the award for best use of photography.


Yara, a Syrian refugee who lives in Belgium, built up her catering business by approaching other Syrian women she found on the street, in trams or in supermarkets and asking them to work with her. Now the business, called ‘From Syria With Love’, feeds up to 800 people at a time from its permanent site in Antwerp. UNHCR and the OECD, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, this week launched an action plan to expand employment opportunities for refugees.


13.1 million people in Syria are in need of humanitarian assistance, and up to 80 percent of Syrian refugees live below the poverty line in some countries.

The Refugee Brief – 25 Apr 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  25 April, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Potential for “humanitarian disaster” in Syria’s Idlib, says UN. During the first day of a donor conference for Syria, several top UN officials warned of a humanitarian catastrophe in the...

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The Refugee Brief – 24 Apr 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  24 April, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Brussels conference aims to close funding gap for Syrians. A two-day UN and EU conference aimed at securing new pledges of humanitarian funding for Syrians gets underway in Brussels today with...

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The Refugee Brief – 23 Apr 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  23 April, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW French assembly approves bill to tighten asylum rules. After 61 hours of debate, France’s lower house approved legislation on Sunday that would tighten the rules around asylum. The bill seeks...

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The Refugee Brief – 20 Apr 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  20 April, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Heavy downpours in Bangladesh expose monsoon risks for Rohingya. The first signs of the coming monsoon season are being felt in south-eastern Bangladesh, where more than 150,000 Rohingya...

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The Refugee Brief – 19 Apr 2018

By Annie Hylton @hyltonanne   |  19 April, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Hundreds of refugees return from Lebanon to Syria. On Wednesday, buses carried some 500 Syrian refugees from Chebaa, in southern Lebanon, to the Beit Jinn district in south-western Syria. Lebanese...

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The Refugee Brief – 18 Apr 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  18 April, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Horrific conditions for refugees and migrants arriving in Yemen. Despite the ongoing conflict in Yemen, more than 87,000 refugees and migrants arrived there from the Horn of Africa last year....

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The Refugee Brief – 17 Apr 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  17 April, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Mali violence drives thousands to Burkina Faso. Clashes between the Dogon and Peul communities in central Mali’s Mopti region pushed some 3,000 people to flee across the border into Burkina...

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The Refugee Brief – 16 Apr 2018

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  16 April, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW Bangladesh and UNHCR agree on framework for Rohingya returns. UN High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi and Bangladesh’s foreign secretary signed a memorandum of understanding in Geneva...

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The Refugee Brief – 13 Apr 2018

By Annie Hylton @hyltonannie   | 13 April, 2018 WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW More Syrians evacuated from Eastern Ghouta. The Russian military said on Thursday that Syrian government forces had taken control of the last rebel-held area in Eastern Ghouta. News Deeply reported...

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