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By Kristy Siegfried  | 15 August, 2019


Court rules rescue ship can dock at Italian port. The Spanish NGO ship, the Open Arms, was anchored a short distance away from the island of Lampedusa this morning after a judge in Rome suspended a decree banning the vessel from entering Italian waters. The Open Arms, which has 147 people on board, many of whom were rescued nearly two weeks ago, was seeking shelter from 2.5 metre swells. While Interior Minister Matteo Salvini announced a swift appeal of the ruling, the founder of the Proactive Open Arms charity which operates the ship, Oscar Camps, said the ship was waiting to be assigned a port. Another NGO ship, the Ocean Viking, is still at sea with 356 rescued passengers on board.

Fighting triggers new displacement in South Sudan. Clashes between 31 July and 5 August in Maiwut town in South Sudan’s Upper Nile state forced an estimated 10,000 people from their homes, according to figures released by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs on Wednesday. Civilians have fled to nearby villages, some of which have been affected by recent flooding. Aid workers also had to be relocated, causing the suspension of much-needed humanitarian assistance. Maiwut and surrounding areas are host to a significant population of returned refugees and internally displaced people, many of whom could be displaced again if the fighting continues. South Sudan’s warring parties signed a peace deal last September to bring an end of six years of conflict, but the two sides missed a deadline to form a unity government in May. Civil society groups launched a campaign on Monday to pressure the ruling party and the opposition to stabilize the country and meet a new November deadline to form a government.


Hiring refugee women could boost global GDP by US$1.4 trillion. Refugee women often face even more hurdles to finding employment – let alone fair wages – than refugee men. Their participation in the labour market is as low as 6 per cent in Germany, Jordan and Lebanon, according to a report released last month by the Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace and Security and the International Rescue Committee. The study found that if refugee women were gainfully employed and paid the same as workers in the host population, they could add up to US$1.4 billion to the global GDP. Writing for CNN on Tuesday, the IRC’s CEO David Miliband described the findings as “a call to action” and called for the establishment of a Global Refugee Women and Work Commission to help countries integrate more women refugees into labour markets.

Former child refugee reunites with aid worker who gifted her a bike. Mevan Babakar’s search and reunion with the Dutch aid worker who gave her a bike when she was a five-year-old refugee have been reverberating through social media this week. The New York Times reports on the backstory behind Babakar’s decision to look for the man who, she said, had a lasting impact on her sense of self-worth. Just a day after posting a plea on Twitter showing a faded snapshot of the man, Babakar was meeting him and thanking him in person. “He was proud that I’d become a strong and brave woman,” she tweeted. “He said that was his wish for me when I was small.” In the days since she shared her story, other former refugees have shared their own recollections of how small acts of kindness changed their lives.

Hundreds of asylum-seekers living under threat of eviction in Glasgow. Al Jazeera reports that some 300 asylum-seekers living in social housing in the Scottish city of Glasgow have received letters warning that they face eviction after their asylum applications were denied. The letters were sent by Serco, a private company contracted by the British government to provide housing for asylum-seekers. Serco’s policy of changing locks on doors in order to evict asylum-seekers was first put into practice last year but was shelved until now after being widely condemned. The policy has reportedly already made three people homeless, and campaigners are working to reverse it. A Glasgow court has already temporarily suspended 50 evictions and the Scottish Human Rights Commission is to intervene as part of a legal challenge later this month.


Eat Offbeat came about when its founder, Manal Kahi, arrived in New York from Lebanon and couldn’t find good hummus anywhere. Today, the company employs resettled refugees from Syria, Iraq, Senegal, Afghanistan, Eritrea and beyond to cook the food they grew up with. “We hire talented home cooks who happen to be refugees by status, we train them to become professional chefs, then we deliver their food to groups of people all over the city,” Kahi told Salon.


Near 2 million people are internally displaced in South Sudan. Another 2.3 million are living as refugees in neighbouring countries.