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By Kristy Siegfried | 11 November, 2019


Upsurge in violence in Syria’s Idlib. Air strikes on Sunday killed seven civilians, including three children, in north-western Syria’s Idlib province. The strikes on the village of Kafr Ruma followed a week of increased air- and ground-based strikes in southern and western Idlib after a lull in hostilities during October. A spokesperson for the UN Office for Human Rights said on Friday that the recent upsurge in violence had included at least four attacks on medical facilities. According to OHCHR, 61 health facilities have been hit by strikes since the escalation of hostilities in Idlib in late April. UN agencies also warned on Friday that a serious funding shortfall risked leaving hundreds of thousands of vulnerable and displaced Syrians without assistance as winter weather sets in.

Dozens dead and millions displaced as Cyclone Bulbul hits India and Bangladesh. Twenty people have died and more than 2 million others spent a night huddled in storm shelters after Cyclone Bulbul hit the coasts of India and Bangladesh late on Saturday. In Bangladesh, fierce gales and torrential rains damaged some 4,000 houses, mostly built from mud and tin, and damaged large areas of crops in coastal areas. Ahead of the cyclone making landfall, Bangladeshi authorities moved 2.1 million people to emergency shelters while India evacuated around 125,000 coastal residents. Officials said no major damage was reported in camps in south-east Bangladesh housing nearly a million Rohingya refugees. UNHCR and other aid agencies have made preparedness for monsoons and cyclones in the camps a priority through engineering works and the relocation of refugees from high-risk areas. Emergency teams remain on alert as the storm continues to bring heavy rain.


Young refugees and migrants who arrived in Italy alone need more support. Some 60,000 young refugees and migrants who arrived in Italy as unaccompanied or separated children between 2014 and 2018, are lacking the ongoing support they need as they transition to adulthood, according to a report released by UNHCR, IOM and UNICEF on Friday. The report highlights the difficult transition young refugees face as they move from adolescence to adulthood and from living in one country to another, often while dealing with the trauma they experienced during their journeys to Europe. The report includes recommendations to Italian authorities and the EU, including improving access to education, employment and safe housing and adopting a national strategy to increase social inclusion of young refugees and migrants.

Asylum-seeker describe “conditions designed to torture” inside Port Moresby detention centre. The Guardian reports that after nine weeks at a detention centre in Port Moresby, an Iranian asylum-seeker who had previously spent six years on Manus Island under Australia’s off-shore asylum system has signed up to return home. The man was among 52 asylum-seekers deemed not to be refugees who were arrested by PNG authorities in August and transferred to Bomana immigration centre, an Australian-funded facility annexed to a Port Moresby prison. He said they were given meagre food rations, had no access to legal support or contact with their families, and were kept in stifling hot cells.

Central American countries commit to address forced displacement. Six Central American countries and Mexico adopted a declaration on Friday that aims to strengthen joint efforts to address and prevent forced displacement in a region where violence and persecution are driving growing numbers of people from their homes. The declaration was adopted in Mexico City during the second annual meeting of the Comprehensive Regional Protection and Solutions Framework, a regional version of the Global Compact on Refugees. The participating countries agreed to promote coordinated responses and to strengthen national asylum systems.

Two former refugees win city council seats in US. The Guardian profiles two young Somali-American women elected to US city council seats in local elections last week. Safiya Khalid, 23, moved to Lewiston, Maine, with her family when she was seven years old.Nadia Mohamed, also 23, won a seat on the city council in St Louis Park, Minnesota. The two women talk about what motivated them to run for office.


Polish politician Marcin Święcicki was arguing in a TV debate that refugees should be accepted when a journalist asked if he would be willing to host them in his own home. Without pausing, he said “yes”. Soon after, an NGO linked him up with a refugee family from Tajikistan. Święcicki and his wife have now been sharing their home with the family for nearly a year.


So far in 2019, 53,000 new asylum applications have been submitted worldwide by citizens of countries in northern Central America, an 86 per cent increase from the same period in 2018.