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By Kate Bond  | 20 September, 2019


Refugees at risk amid xenophobic attacks in South Africa. UNHCR has said it is deeply concerned about recurring violence against foreign nationals, including refugees and asylum-seekers, in South Africa. At least 12 people, including both foreign nationals and South Africans, are thought to have been killed since the onset of the recent violence, and UNHCR is deploying additional staff and resources in response. At least 1,500 foreign nationals, predominantly migrants but also refugees and asylum-seekers, have been forced to flee their homes. According to UNHCR, many refugees are now too afraid to go to work or carry out their daily activities, despite having no alternative sources of income. Their situation is often worsened by a lack of documentation, leaving them struggling to access health care, education and other public services. An article in Foreign Policy highlights research that shows there is a net economic benefit that refugees and migrants bring to South Africa, and goes on to suggest that the country’s reputation as a “shining example of international solidarity is almost in tatters” as a result of the violence.

In Europe, calls to redistribute rescued asylum-seekers. The BBC reports that France and Italy are calling for a new system to automatically redistribute rescued asylum-seekers across participating EU member states. The news comes as more men, women and children arrived in Italy this week, many travelling by boat from Libya. “The European Union hasn’t shown enough solidarity with countries handling first arrivals,” French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday. Last week, UNHCR evacuated 98 refugees out of Libya to Italy, in its third humanitarian evacuation to Italy so far this year. With Libya continuing to endure conflict, such evacuations are a lifeline for the most vulnerable refugees living in detention centres and urban areas, who are in dire need of safety and protection.


At least 28 displaced people killed in northern Congo. The UN stabilizing mission in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (MONUSCO) has said that at least 28 people have been killed in a north-eastern province. According to a statement, people in displacement camps and villages across Ituri province were attacked. Since early June, violence has killed over 200 people and displaced another 300,000.

Report: Asylum approvals almost always right. German officials reviewing some 62,000 past asylum applications have found “nearly all” decisions to grant refugees and migrants asylum in Germany were justified. According to Deutsche Welle, the review shows that only around 330 people, or about half of 1 per cent, lost their asylum status due to dishonesty.

Medic helps Afghans find mobility and new lives after losing limbs. Alberto Cairo, a physiotherapist who provides prosthetic limbs and helps find jobs for injured Afghans, was announced this week as the regional winner for Asia of UNHCR’s Nansen Refugee Award, a prestigious annual prize that honours those who go to extraordinary lengths to support refugees and displaced people. The overall winner of the award will be announced on 2 October.


In Jordan’s Za’atari refugee camp, the largest in the Middle East, living conditions remain rudimentary. But thanks to football, tens of thousands of children who fled the war in Syria are starting to find hope again.


As a result of rising violence this month, some 800 people, mostly from Mozambique, Malawi and Zimbabwe, have sought safety in community halls in South Africa.