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By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   |  11 October, 2018


Re-opened border with Ethiopia sees spike in Eritrean arrivals. One month after the re-opening of two border crossing points between Ethiopia and Eritrea, more than 10,000 Eritreanshave crossed into Ethiopia, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council. Most are women and children wanting to reunite with family members already in Ethiopia. UNHCR and the NRC said reception centres have become over-crowded as an average of 390 people arrive every day. Between 12 September and 2 October, nearly 7,000 of the new arrivals registered at the main reception centre in Endabaguna while a further 2,725 were awaiting relocation to Endabaguna, according to UNHCR. From Endabaguna, they are transferred to refugee camps, where UNHCR said the situation was critical and more resources are needed to rapidly scale up assistance. The Guardian reports that young Eritrean conscripts and their families are still waiting in hope that their government will announce an end to indefinite national service following the peace deal with Ethiopia. Eritreas compulsory national service has been one of the main reasons young people have fled the country in recent years.

Idlib buffer zone cleared of heavy weapons, says Turkey. The New York Times reports that Syrian rebel fighters have pulled the last of their heavy weapons from a planned buffer zone in north-western Idlib province, sparing the civilian population from a government offensive, at least in the short-term. The National Liberation Front, a grouping of roughly 20 rebel factions operating in Idlib, confirmed it had met Wednesday’s deadline. According to an agreement brokered last month by Russia and Turkey, a ceasefire in the 15-kilometre wide demilitarized zone will start on 15 October. The UN has warned that an attack on Idlib would create a humanitarian disaster in the region, which is home to nearly 3 million people, half of whom have been displaced from other regions of Syria.


EU states push ahead with deportations of Afghans, despite rising civilian deaths. Deutsche Welle reports on efforts by rights groups to convince EU member states to stop deportingfailed asylum-seekers back to Afghanistan where they point to rising civilian casualties resulting from conflict. Between January and September, 8,050 civilians died or were wounded, according to figures released by the UN Assistance Mission in Afghanistan on Wednesday, nearly as many as during all of 2017. Suicide attacks and improvised explosive devices were the leading causes of death. UNHCR recently issued updated guidelines advising against returns to Afghanistan for those who have fled from areas that continue to be affected by armed conflict.

Israel lifts protection from deportation for Congolese. Haaretz reports that the Population and Immigration Authority has lifted a ban that protected Congolese nationals from deportation and has given them 90 days to leave the country. Interior Minister Arye Dery said the policy change was based on a determination made by the Foreign Ministry. Congolese asylum-seekers have had “temporary protection” from deportation, including the right to live and work in Israel since 2003, due to fighting in their country. The Hotline for Refugees and Migrants claims the Population Authority had been dragging out the process of considering the asylum claims of 208 Congolese. According to UNHCR, over the years, seven Congolese asylum-seekers and their dependants have been granted refugee status.

The case for granting refugees access to formal labour markets. In this working paper from the Center for Global Development, the authors argue that granting refugees formal labour market access (LMA) has the potential to create substantial benefits for refugees and their hosts. Global businesses can also benefit and can help to shape government policy related to the rights of refugees to work and own businesses. Problems associated with increased competition for jobs tend to be more pronounced when refugees are pushed into small corners of the informal sector, according to the paper which previews the economic effects of granting formal LMA to refugees and the policies that can help maximise the benefits and avoid any potential costs.


Born with autism spectrum disorder, 10-year-old Samer lived an isolated existence in his home town of Mosul, Iraq’s second city, where there is a lack of specialized services for children with disabilities, even before armed groups took control in 2014. Samer fled with his family to Lebanon where he now takes part in free weekly classes for refugee children provided by NGO Caritas at a community centre in Beirut.


In the first nine months of this year 2,798 civilians were killed by the conflict in Afghanistan – the highest recorded number of fatalities since 2014.