By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried | 29 May, 2018
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Humanitarian crisis in Central African Republic intensifies. A growing number of Central Africans are taking refuge from violence in increasingly remote locations where aid agencies struggle to reach them, according to Najat Rochdi, the UN’s humanitarian coordinator for CAR. Speaking at a press conference in Geneva on Monday, she said the renewed violence was affecting previously relatively stable areas in the north and centre of the country where post-conflict recovery projects had started. Rochdi warned that severe acute malnutrition in six administrative regions was higher than 15 per cent of the population – the emergency threshold. “Unfortunately, the situation has worsened because we had in one year’s time an increase of 70 per cent of the internally displaced people,” she said. The worsening crisis comes at a time when the humanitarian response in CAR is facing severe funding shortages and food rations have had to be cut by a third in some cases.
Rise in attempted crossings to Italy and Spain. Humanitarian ships and Italy’s navy and coastguard vessels rescued more than 1,800 migrants and refugees from the central Mediterranean between Friday and Sunday, while Spain’s maritime rescue service rescued more than 500 people from 17 boats attempting to cross the Strait of Gibraltar over the weekend. Improved weather conditions were thought to be a factor behind the increase in attempted Mediterranean crossings, but a spokesperson for the Aquarius, a rescue ship run by SOS Mediterranée and Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF), said it was unclear why the Libyan coastguard “had not been so active” in recent days. A baby boy born on the Aquarius on Saturday was named Miracle. María Jesús Vega, a UNHCR spokesperson in Madrid, warned that Spain is facing “another challenging year,” with sea arrivals reaching 4,409 by early May and 217 people having died in the attempt. “Government action is more urgently needed than ever,” she told the Guardian. For the Mediterranean as a whole, the number of crossings this year is less than half the total during the first five months of 2017.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Child refugees go missing in UK after being trafficked from France. More than 120 child refugees believed to have been trafficked to the UK from northern France have gone missing, according to a report by the Child Trafficking Advice Centre (Ctac), a charity. Ctac works with the Refugee Youth Service, a Calais-based charity, to locate and safeguard children trafficked to the UK from France, but so far only 68 have been located, while 128 are still missing . The report alleges that some of the children are sexually abused, forced to take drugs and subjected to violence by their adult smugglers or traffickers.
Displaced families in Mali living under precarious conditions. More than 8,000 people who fled violence in Mali’s northern Ménaka region, near the border with Niger, urgently need food, water, medical and psychosocial support, according to a recent assessment by the Norwegian Refugee Council. The NRC said the families were living in makeshift shelters in remote areas and drinking stagnant rain water. After numerous attacks by armed groups, “they now live in anxiety and under psychosocial stress”, the NRC said in a statement.
Israel said to give 300 Sudanese asylum-seekers temporary residence. The government extended legal protection to the asylum-seekers from Sudan’s Darfur region in response to a High Court petition . Haaretz reports that the new status, to be granted within 30 days, would give the asylum-seekers the same rights to work and receive social benefits as refugees. Some 2,500 asylum-seekers from Sudan have been waiting for years for Israel to process their asylum claims, it said. The state’s latest decision follows two similar ones earlier this year giving legal status to 500 Sudanese.
Syrian refugees in Jordan to access university courses. Hundreds of Syrians living in refugee camps in Jordan will soon be given the chance to take university courses and receive vocational training thanks to a new project launched by the University for Refugees (UniRef), a Swiss nonprofit. Starting in early 2019, the university courses will be delivered by faculty members from Jordan’s Al-Isra University. Each student will be provided with a computer and will take intensive English language lessons in addition to their academic course work.
A project in Vienna is giving refugees the opportunity to learn an instrument from music students who gain credits for teaching them. Unisono is an initiative of the Vienna branch of Live Music Now, an international organization founded by violinist Yehudi Menuhin. The refugees and students recently played their first concert together at a pub in the city. One Afghan refugee, Wahid, said he had not only learned to play the guitar – he’d also met many Austrians.
DID YOU KNOW?
One in four people from the Central African Republic is either internally displaced or a refugee.