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By Kristy Siegfried  | 3 September, 2019


Italy seizes German rescue ship. More than 100 people who had been stranded at sea for over a week aboard the German rescue ship Eleonore disembarked in Sicily on Monday. In defiance of a decree signed last week by outgoing interior minister Matteo Salvini, which banned the Eleonore from entering Italian waters, the ship’s captain had earlier set a course for the port of Pozzallo, citing an emergency because of bad weather. Mission Lifeline, the German charity which operates the ship, told Reuters people on board were soaked and at risk of hypothermia. Italian police confiscated the ship shortly after it arrived. Another rescue ship, the Mare Jonio, docked in Lampedusa with 31 people on board, also in spite of a ban, while a third vessel, the Alan Kurdi, was reportedly sailing between Malta and Italy with 13 rescued people aboard. Euractiv reports that Italy’s Prime Minister designate, Giuseppe Conte, who is in talks to form a new government, wrote on Facebook that he wants to resume negotiations with the EU to reform the Dublin Regulation and achieve “a European management system” for processing asylum-seekers.

Bangladesh bans mobile phone access in Rohingya camps. Telecommunications operators in Bangladesh have been given seven days to shut down mobile phone services in camps in the country’s south-east, which are home to nearly one million Rohingya refugees. A spokesperson for the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission told AFP the decision was made on “security grounds”. While Bangladesh officially banned mobile phones in the camps in 2017, Al Jazeera reports that mobile phones and SIM cards remained easily available in the camps. Refugees rely on the technology to communicate with relatives living in Myanmar and in other camps.


Iraq’s Yazidi survivors fight to start over. More than half of the thousands of Yazidis kidnapped by ISIS have now returned to northern Iraq, but The New Humanitarian reports that they are struggling to rebuild their broken lives with little assistance. While some psychological assistance is available at Kadia camp near Dohuk, where most survivors are initially taken, many soon leave to live with extended family members in cities and towns around northern Iraq, where returning Yazidis say government help has been insufficient. Aid groups that were helping to address the gaps are increasingly struggling to muster funding.

Housing programme in Lebanon brings some relief to Syrian refugees. A scheme that offers Lebanese landlords cash to upgrade their properties in exchange for housing refugees rent-free is helping Syrian families get by, at least in the short term, according to researchers with the American University of Beirut and Save the Children. They surveyed 1,284 refugees receiving housing through the NGO-run “Occupancy Free of Charge” scheme in three communities. They found that families were able to allocate their limited money to other priorities, such as school and health-care fees, during their 12 rent-free months, but that many fell back into financial difficulties once their time in the programme ended.

PNG ends contracts with firms running services on Manus Island. Papua New Guinea’s Ministry for Immigration and Border Security announced on Monday it was ending a contract with Paladin Holdings to provide security and other services to refugees and asylum-seekers living on Manus Island under Australia’s off-shore asylum processing system. The ministry described ending the contract as “the most significant milestone to date in ending regional processing in Manus Province”. The ministry said that 64 refugees remaining on Manus would be transferred to Port Moresby or found homes in other countries and that a local company would be contracted to provide services in the interim.

Trauma of Europe’s refugees – in pictures. Their journeys may be over, but many refugees and asylum-seekers living in Europe still find themselves struggling with mental-health issues caused by past traumas and current states of limbo. This series of portraits by photographer Christian Sinibaldi, published by The Guardian, features refugees battling anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder. Many have received no psychological help to process the violence they witnessed or experienced back home and are now facing further anxiety and stress as they wait for their asylum claims to be processed. Seven people – and the therapists working with them – shared their stories with The Guardian.


Last year, Fahed was working 10 hours a day at a vegetable store in Beirut, the Lebanese capital, to help support his family. Now the 10-year-old Syrian refugee spends his days learning Arabic, English and maths at a learning centre run by the Borderless NGO. Set up by two Lebanese friends in an underpriviledge neighbourhood of Beirut, the centre is giving 150 Syrian children the basic learning they need to eventually enter government-run schools.


More than half of Syrian refugee children in Lebanon are not enrolled in formal education.