By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried | 1 February, 2018
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Aid blocked to displaced Yemenis in Aden. Three days of clashes between southern separatists and government forces in the port of Aden subsided on Wednesday following mediation by the Saudi-led coalition. But Aden’s airport and sea port remained closed and humanitarian cargo at the port has not been released. Since fighting began at the weekend, UNHCR has not been able to distribute aid to the more than 40,000 displacedYemenis in the city. At least 38 people have been killed by the fighting and more than 200 wounded, according to the International Committee of the Red Cross.
UNHCR releases ‘zero draft’ of global compact on refugees.The UN Refugee Agency released a first draft of the global compact on refugees ahead of consultations with member states due to begin on 13 February. The compact aims to transform the way the international community responds to refugee crises, primarily by addressing the need to ease the burden on major host states through more responsibility-sharing among states and across all sectors of society. The expected outcome of the consultations, which will conclude in July, is a non-binding document that will be presented to the UN General Assembly for adoption at the end of 2018.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Pakistan extends Afghan refugees’ stay for 60 days. On Wednesday, the day that Afghans’ legal right to remain in the country was due to expire, a government ministry recommended extending their legal status by five months on “humanitarian grounds” after a request by the Afghan authorities and UNHCR. “It isn’t possible humanely to ask over one million people to leave at once,” a government spokesperson told Reuters. But on Thursday, the cabinet announced it would grant only a two-month extension.
US extends protection for Syrians. The US administration has granted permission for nearly 7,000 Syrians to live and work in the country for at least another 18 months . Homeland security secretary Kirstjen Nielson made the announcement on Wednesday, stating that “it is clear that the conditions upon which Syria’s [Temporary Protected Status] designation was based continue to exist”. However, the extension will not apply to Syrians who arrived in the US after 1 August 2016. The Syrians covered by TPS make up only a fraction of the 90,000 Syrians living in the US, most whom arrived as refugees or by other legal means.
The impossible choice facing asylum-seekers in Israel. According to plans announced by the Israeli government in early January, asylum-seekers (most of them Sudanese and Eritrean) will have to start choosing between indefinite detention or “voluntary deportation” to a country in Africa on 1 April. Knowing that Israel has granted refugee status to only a handful of people since 2009, many had never bothered to apply for asylum in the country. Now they are first in line for deportation . IRIN’s Annie Slemrod talks to some of the asylum-seekers who are trying to fight the new policy.
Returning Mosul families haunted by trauma and loss. Families have begun returning to what is left of Mosul’s Old City following its liberation from ISIS. They shared harrowing stories with The Guardian, of life under occupation and the family members killed during the long battle to retake the city. “I’m still haunted by what happened,” says one man whose wife and two daughters were killed as they tried to flee the city. “I can’t stop buying toys for my daughters, as if they were still alive.”
Multiple accounts of Rohingya mass graves in Myanmar. More than two dozen Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh camps have shared cell phone footage and detailed accounts of mass graves discovered while searching for relatives in the wake of attacks on their villages in Myanmar. Their chilling testimony to AP reporters suggests that the attackers attempted to hide what they had done by digging pits for the bodies and pouring acid on them so they could not be identified.
British celebrities including Eddie Izzard, Martin Bell and Olivia Coleman helped make this 60-second video as part of a UNICEF campaign to convince the UK government to expand refugee family reunion rules to include siblings and grandparents. Currently, only spouses and children under 18 can apply to join refugees already living in the UK.
DID YOU KNOW?
Ten per cent of all Yemenis have been displaced in the last 30 months.