By Kristy Siegfried | 12 September, 2019
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Supreme court clears way for US asylum restrictions to take effect. The US Supreme Court on Wednesday allowed the administration to begin barring asylum-seekers at the southern border who have travelled through Mexico or other countries without seeking protection there. The top court stayed a decision by a district judge on Monday that had blocked the new rule. By a vote of 7-2, the justices said the administration could enforce the rule, announced in July, while a legal challenge plays out in the courts. Under the policy, which acting director of Citizenship and Immigration Services, Kenneth Cuccinelli, said would be implemented “ASAP”, only individuals denied asylum in another country or victims of human trafficking will be permitted to apply in the US.
Calais evictions fuelling rise in crossings to UK, say charities. The UK’s Border Force intercepted 86 people arriving in Britain in small boats on Tuesday – the highest number in a single day, according to media reports. Two more boats containing 19 people were intercepted on Wednesday morning. The news comes as French authorities prepare to shut down a sports hall in Calais today where more than 600 refugees and migrants are staying. Charities told The Independent that asylum-seekers are making “urgent” attempts to cross the Channel before the evictions take place and ahead of the onset of winter weather. Clare Mosely, founder of charity Care4Calais, said that since a meeting between the UK’s home secretary and her French counterpart last month, there had been intensified security in the region and increased efforts to evict people from makeshift encampments.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Monsoon rains displace nearly 15,000 Rohingya in Bangladesh camps. Landslides and flooding triggered by heavy rain and winds since Saturday have displaced some 14,800 Rohingya refugees living in camps in south-east Bangladesh, according to aid agencies. The Inter Sector Coordination Group (ISCG), which includes UN agencies and NGOs, said that while no injuries had been reported in the camps, hundreds of shelters had been damaged or destroyed and more than 4,800 households had been affected by flooding. Aid agencies have been distributing food and shelter kits to families impacted by the storms. Marin Din Kajdomcaj, UNHCR Head of Office in Cox’s Bazar, said some 3,000 refugees had been trained to respond emergencies and reduce risks caused by disasters.
10 million new internal displacements in first half of 2019. Some 10.8 million new internal displacements were recorded between January and June this year, according a report released today by the Internal Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC). Of the total, 3.8 million were triggered by conflict and violence, with the majority taking place in Syria, Yemen, Libya and Afghanistan. Ongoing instability in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Ethiopia and Nigeria also drove large waves of new displacement. Alexandra Bilak, IDMC’s director, described the figures as “alarmingly high” and said they showed that “the causes of conflict and inequality are not being addressed”. Disasters, mainly extreme weather events, triggered a record seven million of the new displacements.
Violence and displacement continue to torment Syrians, finds UN report. A 21-page report released on Wednesday by the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria documents how, eight years into the conflict, ongoing fighting continues to impact the lives of civilians, causing further mass displacement. The report highlights “inhumane conditions” for some 70,000 people, most of them women and children, at Al Hol camp in north-east Syria, arbitrary arrests in government-controlled areas of the country, and intensifying violence in opposition-held north-west Syria, where a government offensive has forced almost half a million civilians to flee. The Commission estimates that over 13 million Syrians have now been displaced by the conflict.
Syrian refugees struggle in Jordan, but not ready to return. AP reports that Syrian refugees in Jordan are trapped in a cycle of worsening poverty and debt while straining the resources of a country already struggling to meet the needs of its own population. Donor fatigue has seen aid for the refugees dwindle and yet most are still not ready to return to Syria. Jordan re-opened its main border crossing with Syria last October for the first time in four years, but since then only 28,000 refugees have used it to go home, according to UNHCR. The agency’s spokesperson in Jordan told AP that its monthly intention surveys show that most refugees hope to return to Syria one day, but only a small portion plan to do so in the next 12 months. They cite safety concerns, fear of conscription and a lack of jobs and basic services as reasons.
Poet and UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Emi Mahmoud inspired the crowd at the Sziget Festival in Budapest last month with a rallying call for change. Festival-goers had a chance to meet Emi at a poetry workshop in the “Tent Without Borders”, where she encouraged refugees and others to share their stories.
DID YOU KNOW?
In the first half of 2019, about 804,000 new displacements caused by conflict were recorded in Syria, making it the country with the highest number of new conflict-related displacements.