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By Kristy Siegfried | 11 December, 2019


Bosnia moves migrants and refugees from controversial camp. Bosnian authorities on Tuesday said they had moved some 700 migrants and refugees from a freezing makeshift camp near the Croatian border to two temporary facilities outside the capital, Sarajevo. They will eventually be housed in a new centre under construction in a former army barracks. The Vucjak camp, a cluster of tents that lacked running water, electricity or proper toilets, was set up by local authorities in the Bihac region in June and immediately drew criticism for its location on top of a landfill in an area close to a former minefield. Its closure comes after a visit last week by Dunja Mijatovic, the Council of Europe’s Commissioner for Human Rights, who warned of potential deaths if the camp was not closed immediately.

Failure to register newborns leaving millions “invisible”. While the number of children whose births are officially registered has increased significantly, some 166 million children under five remain unregistered, while 237 million others lack birth certificates, leaving them vulnerable and “invisible”, the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) said today. A new report analysing data from 174 countries shows that the proportion of children registered globally is up around 20 per cent from a decade ago, but that one in four children are still unaccounted for and likely to miss out on education, health care and other vital services that require identity documents. UNICEF said global progress was largely driven by strides made in South Asia, while sub-Saharan African countries were lagging behind the rest of the world. The Economist reports on the problems facing African countries as they try to improve systems for registering births and issuing birth and identity documents. Without such documents, children are at a much higher risk of statelessness.


Six people die of cold near Greece-Turkey border. Four men and two women died of exposure to the cold in recent days in north-eastern Greece, near its land border with Turkey, a local coroner said on Tuesday. Winter temperatures in the area can drop well below freezing, especially overnight. The identities and nationalities of those who died is unknown. The bodies of the two women were found near the Evros River, which flows along much of the border. The men were found in hilly terrain. Although most refugees and migrants entering Greece this year have done so using the sea route to the islands, some 14,000 have used the land route.

Schools open path to university for refugee girls in Chad. Reuters reports from a remote camp in Chad that is home to about 25,000 Sudanese refugees. Until recently, most girls at the camp married young and spent their lives raising children and fetching water. That began to change five years ago when Chad began integrating its refugee schools into the national education system. Refugee students can now go on to attend higher education, including teacher training schools. The strategy has helped address the shortage of teachers in the region and boosted the number of refugee girls attending school.

Sporting world pledges support to refugees. More than 70 sports bodies, including international sporting federations, national associations and clubs, and national Olympic committees, have pledged to provide sporting opportunities to young refugees. In an announcement on Tuesday, UNHCR and the International Olympic Committee said the organizations had committed to be part of a global initiative that will aim to ensure refugees have access to sporting facilities, organized sports and sporting events and competitions. The President of the IOC, Thomas Bach, called for more organizations to join the coalition in the lead up to next week’s Global Refugee Forum.

Paris charity trains refugees as museum guides. The charity Sama for All on Tuesday won a share of a million-dollar prize for its work training refugees to work as guides at two of Paris’s top art galleries. Co-founder Saoud Nanaa, a Syrian refugee and businesswoman, told Reuters she wanted to promote cultural exchange. The scheme is one of a number of innovative, citizen-led projects aimed at getting refugees and migrants in France into work. The prize was awarded by the GRH Foundation, a US philanthropic organization that helps forcibly displaced people around the world.


Author and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Neil Gaiman recently asked his Twitter followers to tell him what reminded them of warmth. He received almost 1,000 responses and used them to compose his newest work – What You Need to Be Warm. The freeform poem will be used to launch UNHCR’s Winter Emergency Appeal for refugees across the Middle East.


Over 25,000 migrants and refugees passed through Bosnia and Herzegovina in the first 10 months of this year. An estimated 8,300 remain in the country, mainly in the north-west near the border with Croatia.