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By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  29 January, 2018


At least 30 refugees and migrants drown off coast of Yemen.Reports emerged on Friday that an overcrowded boat packed with 152 Somalis and Ethiopians departed from Aden in southern Yemen on Tuesday for Djibouti. The boat capsized during a clash with smugglers who were trying to extort money and opened fire on their passengers, according to a joint statement by UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration. Despite the ongoing war in Yemen, more than 87,000 refugees and migrants arrived there by boat from the Horn of Africa in 2017. Most reported deaths in recent years have involved boats bound for Yemen, but last week’s incident suggests that conditions in Yemen are now pushing some African refugees and migrants to attempt to return home.

Fearing US rejection, asylum-seekers flee to Canada.Canada released figures on Friday revealing that more than 20,000 asylum-seekers crossed into the country irregularly from the United States in 2017. That’s up from about 2,500 people who made the crossing the previous year. With rejections and arrests of asylum-seekers on the increase in the US, and temporary protected status set to end for over 300,000 foreign nationals in the US, Canada is bracing for 2018 to be another challenging year. Authorities are already trying to deal with abacklog of nearly 35,000 asylum claims. PBS reports from both sides of the border about what is driving people to give up on asylum claims in the US and seek protection in Canada.


Refugees battle extreme weather to reach France.Photographer Antonio Masiello followed a group of African refugees and migrants as they set off from Bardonecchia railway station and attempted the treacherous crossing into France via the Colle della Scala in the Italian Alps. Many are poorly equipped and have to be rescued by volunteers. Those that do make it to France are often picked up by police and returned to Bardonecchia.

Refugees in Indonesia fear there is no way out. Indonesia used to be a transit point for asylum-seekers trying to reach Australia by boat, but since Australia adopted stricter measures to discourage sea arrivals, resettlement has become the only hope for those stranded there. With major resettlement destinations like the United States now adopting more stringent immigration policies and Indonesia unwilling to integrate refugees, the New York Times reports on the plight of those stranded there.

For traumatised Rohingya, the healing process has just begun. The initial response to the sudden influx of Rohingya refugees to Bangladesh focused on addressing their physical needs. Now, there’s an increasing emphasis on addressing their enormous mental health needs. With countless refugees having witnessed killings and many of the women having been raped, PBS reports on the work of UNHCR’s small team of psychologists.

Mapping the journeys of Syrian artists. Eliza Griswold has mapped the journeys of 100 Syrian artists. She found that many had ended up in Paris and Berlin, while only a scant few remained in the Middle East. She shares the stories of several of them in the New Yorker.


Marwan Mousa was not a painter back home in Syria; his art was born in flight. Now resettled to Northern Ireland with his family, he uses painting to express the things he can’t express in words.


Canada received nearly 50,000 asylum claims in 2017, including those made inland and at legal border crossings. That’s the highest number in at least two decades.