By Kristy Siegfried | 14 November, 2019
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Auditors urge EU to step up action to ease migrant pressure on Greece and Italy. Auditors on Wednesday said that European Union measures aimed at easing migrant pressure on Greece and Italy have been only partially effective and need to be stepped up. A report by the European Court of Auditors found that targets on returns and relocations of asylum-seekers to other EU countries had not been met and that asylum procedures in both countries were still affected by long processing times and bottlenecks. In Italy, asylum applications lodged in 2015 took an average of four years to reach the final appeal stage, while asylum-seekers arriving on the Greek islands in late 2018 were given interview dates as late as 2023. As well as speeding up asylum processes, the auditors recommended improving accommodation on the Greek islands – particularly for unaccompanied minors. The Guardian reports that the auditors’ findings were echoed on Wednesday by the mayor of Samos, Georgios Stantzos, who warned of riots due to “primitive” living conditions.
Author and Manus Island refugee Behrouz Boochani leaves Papua New Guinea. Kurdish Iranian refugee and author Behrouz Boochani landed in New Zealand today and said he would not return to Papua New Guinea, where he spent six years on Manus Island under Australia’s offshore asylum regime. Boochani received a one-month visitor’s visa to travel to Christchurch and speak at a literary festival about his award-winning book, No Friend But the Mountains. During his detention on Manus Island, he regularly documented conditions there for The Guardian and other news outlets.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
A scramble for safety in flooded South Sudan town. Abnormally heavy rains that began in July have affected over 900,000 people in South Sudan, forcing 420,000 people from their homes and destroying crops, homes and livelihoods. The New Humanitarian reports from the eastern town of Pibor, one of the worst affected areas, where 10,000 households are crammed onto small patches of dry land separated from flood waters only by man-made mud walls. A health-care centre run by Médecins Sans Frontières has been totally submerged and rowboats are now the only way to move around the town. The floods come at a delicate moment for the country, with President Salva Kiir and opposition leader Riek Machar agreeing late last week to postpone the formation of a unity government for 100 days beyond a 12 November deadline.
Lives overturned as civilians bear brunt of battle for Tripoli. France24 reports from the outskirts of the Libyan capital, where more than 120,000 Libyans have been displaced since the fighting began seven months ago. Those who remain in their homes live in constant fear of being hit by bombs or mortar fire. Throughout Tripoli, roadsides are stacked with mountains of rubbish because violence has blocked access to the city’s main landfill. While some displaced families are sheltering in abandoned school buildings, others have flooded into the centre of the city, where Reuters reports that housing is becoming increasingly scarce and unaffordable.
Scottish court finds evictions of refused asylum-seekers lawful. Scotland’s highest court ruled on Wednesday that evictions of refused asylum-seekers in Glasgow by the housing provider Serco were lawful. The judgement by the Court of Sessions upholds an earlier ruling that Serco’s policy of changing the locks on homes of refused asylum-seekers did not contravene Scottish housing law or human rights legislation. The Scottish Refugee Council said the judgement left hundreds of people at immediate risk of homelessness in wintry conditions.
A fast-food chain, Sierra Nevada, is among a small but growing number of Colombian companies that have begun recruiting Venezuelan refugees and migrants, including those with specific needs like César Jiménez Martínez, who cannot hear. “We find that our Venezuelan workers are some of our best employees,” said the company’s human resources director, Marcela Covelli Escobar.
DID YOU KNOW?
More than 6,100 refugees and migrants are currently living on the Greek island of Samos, including 5,700 asylum-seekers staying at the Vathy reception centre – a facility built to house 640.