By Kristy Siegfried | 12 November, 2019
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Displaced people in eastern DR Congo exposed to daily human rights abuses. Some 300,000 people displaced by a wave of brutal attacks earlier this year in the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s Ituri and North Kivu provinces are living in dire conditions, exposed to “extreme human rights violations on a daily basis”, UNHCR warned today. Killings, sexual violence and abductions have continued five months on from the June attacks, and many of the displaced are sleeping in the open or in overcrowded public spaces, further exposing them to risks of harassment and assault. In October alone, UNHCR staff recorded 1,000 human rights violations in the two eastern provinces. Spokesperson Babar Baloch said UNHCR had stepped up its response to the growing crisis by deploying additional staff and building emergency family shelters to help keep displaced people safe but needs additional resources. So far, only 57 per cent of the US$150 million the agency needs to respond has been received.
Xenophobia targeting asylum-seekers on the rise in Greece. Xenophobic incidents directed at asylum-seekers during their transfers to mainland Greece from the islands are on the rise, according to a Greek monitoring group, the Racist Violence Recording Network (RVRN). The government pledged in October to move thousands of asylum-seekers from overcrowded reception centres on the Greek Aegean islands to the mainland before the end of the year, but protests against the arrivals of asylum-seekers have been held in several towns in northern Greece in recent weeks. In the northern town of Nea Vrasna last month, buses carrying asylum-seekers were blocked by locals who hurled stones. RVRN said it was concerned by the organized nature of such incidents. In a statement on Monday, it urged the government to inform and support local communities receiving asylum-seekers, adding that “any concerns of local communities should not be allowed to be exploited by organized racist groups”.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Over a dozen companies oppose US asylum work permit slowdown. More than a dozen companies, including Airbnb, Chobani, Western Union and Uniqlo, have urged the US administration to withdraw a proposal that would lift the 30-day deadline for immigration officers to process work permit requests by asylum-seekers. In a letter to US Citizenship and Immigration Services on Friday, the companies said they were concerned the proposed rule would “hurt our ability to attract and retain talent”. Asylum-seekers can apply for a work permit 150 days after making an asylum claim, but the administration has argued that the requirement for a quick turnaround monopolizes resources that could be used elsewhere.
Asylum-seekers describe conditions inside Hungary’s “transit zone”. Under legislative amendments passed last year, Hungary has been automatically rejecting asylum claims from applicants who have passed through a “safe transit country”, often neighbouring Serbia. AFP reports on the experience of one Afghan family who waited two years to be admitted to Hungary from Serbia, only to be returned there four months later in the middle of the night. They spent their time in Hungary confined to a transit camp next to the border, where the husband was reportedly denied food for three days after their asylum application was rejected. The Hungarian Helsinki Committee, a local NGO, has documented 15 cases of food deprivation since August 2018, and the European Commission has warned that conditions in Hungarian transit zones violate the bloc’s rights legislation.
Cartel violence drives surge of Mexican asylum-seekers to border towns. Six As cartel violence in the south of Mexico intensifies, thousands of Mexican asylum-seekers have arrived in Tijuana and other towns along Mexico’s border with the United States. There are now approximately 6,500 to 7,000 Mexicans in Tijuana waiting to make initial asylum claims, according to Al Otro Lado, which provides free legal services to migrants. Volunteers and NGOs estimate that another 3,000 are in camps and shelters in Juárez. In August, Mexico overtook Central American countries as the top-sending country of people crossing the US southern border.
This Sunday Supper Club was started in Dallas, Texas, in 2016 as a way of connecting local people with recently resettled refugees. Refugee families cook the food and all profits from ticket sales go directly to them. “It’s a win-win-win concept,” says Olga Pope, one of the co-founders of the club.
DID YOU KNOW?
Some 4.3 million people are internally displaced across the Democratic Republic of the Congo, accounting for roughly one in every 10 internally displaced people worldwide.