By Kristy Siegfried | 25 November, 2019
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
At least 20 feared dead after boat capsizes off Lampedusa. The boat capsized in rough weather on Saturday off the coast of the Italian island of Lampedusa with some 170 people on board. The Italian coast guard said it had rescued 149 of the passengers, but noted that seven bodies had been recovered and several people were still missing. Meanwhile, an NGO vessel, the Ocean Viking, was granted permission to dock in the port of Messina with 213 people rescued in three operations off the coast of Libya between Tuesday and Thursday. Deutsche Welle reports that Italy, Germany, France and Malta have agreed to take them in through a joint application to the European Commission – the first time such an application has been made since the four countries agreed to a basic protocol for distributing rescued refugees and migrants in Malta in late September. Two other NGO rescue ships, the Open Arms and the Aita Mari, were given permission to dock at Italian ports today. The Open Arms will disembark 62 people at the southern port of Taranto, and the Aita Mari will dock in Pozzallo with 78 people.
Greek PM announces scheme to protect unaccompanied minors. Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis on Sunday announced a new “No Child Alone” programme to support more than 5,000 unaccompanied child refugees and migrants living in the country. He pledged to quickly move unaccompanied minors living on the Aegean islands in “miserable conditions” to special accommodation facilities on the mainland and to provide legal assistance to help reunite them with relatives in other EU countries. A recent study found that three out of four unaccompanied minors in Greece do not have access to suitable accommodation. The government has also faced criticism over a new law passed last month under which unaccompanied minors over the age of 15 will no longer be treated as vulnerable and could be fast-tracked for deportation.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Bangladesh begins work fencing Rohingya refugee camps. Bangladesh Army Chief General Aziz Ahmed told reporters on Sunday that the process of erecting barbed-wire fences around camps for Rohingya refugees in Cox’s Bazar had begun. He said the government also planned to install fencing along 287 kilometres of the Bangladesh-Myanmar border. Bangladesh announced plans to fence the Rohingya camps in September as a security measure.
Refugees learn alongside local children in Rwanda. Photojournalist Paddy Dowling reports from Rwanda, where an inclusive education policy is providing a model for other countries working towards universal access to primary education. Children from local host communities share classrooms with refugee children at schools funded by the Education Above All Foundation (EAA) and UNHCR. The joint project has enabled the enrolment of nearly 13,000 children and trained over 1,000 teachers to work in 162 newly constructed classrooms.
Homeless asylum-seekers battle the cold in Madrid. The Guardian reports that central and local authorities in the Spanish capital are struggling to provide shelter and protection to newly arrived asylum-seekers as winter arrives. The number of people seeking asylum in the Madrid region has doubled over the past year from 20,700 to 41,000. More than a third of the applicants are Venezuelans, but there are also significant numbers from El Salvador, Honduras and Colombia. With the city’s emergency shelters overwhelmed, churches and neighbourhood volunteer networks are providing blankets and food and putting families up in hostels.
Australian law governing medical transfers of refugees faces repeal vote. Australia’s medevac laws, which give doctors more say in emergency medical transfers of offshore asylum-seekers and refugees to Australia, are expected to face a repeal vote in the Senate within days, reports SBS News. Refugee advocacy groups have reportedly stepped up lobbying efforts to save the laws, which have allowed doctors to recommend more than 150 asylum-seekers be transferred to Australia from Nauru and Papua New Guinea since they were passed in February. The government has claimed that the scheme weakens border protection.
Four years after arriving in Chicago, Venezuelan couple Andrea Andrade and Jose Navea are running their own restaurant selling arepas – a cornmeal pancake stuffed with various fillings which is a staple in their home country.
DID YOU KNOW?
A third of all women experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Women and girls fleeing their homes as refugees are particularly vulnerable to gender-based violence.