By Kristy Siegfried | 4 September, 2019
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
South Africa’s president condemns “anti-foreigner violence”. Police in South Africa are struggling to contain an outbreak of violence against foreigners in major cities that has already claimed five lives and destroyed dozens of foreign-owned businesses. President Cyril Ramaphosa condemned the violence on Tuesday, saying there could be “no justification for any South African to attack people from other countries”. The violence started in central Johannesburg on Sunday and spread to the nearby city of Pretoria on Monday. Clashes between armed police and crowds of people looting and attacking shops continued in the northern Johannesburg township of Alexandria on Tuesday. Several African governments have issued warnings to their citizens over the violence.
Cameroon’s conflict keeps schools shut. The BBC reports that schoolchildren have become pawns in the conflict between government forces and separatists in Cameroon’s North-West and South-West regions. Some 80 percent of schools in the two regions have been closed for three years, leaving more than 700,000 children out of school. The government launched a back-to-school campaign over the summer and schools were due to reopen this week. Instead, parents, children and teachers fearful of an escalation in the conflict continue to flee from their homes in the thousands. In the days leading up to a lockdown ordered by separatists in the city of Bameda last week, thousands of people reportedly fled for safer areas.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Waning welcome for Venezuelans, report finds. A report released today by the Mixed Migration Centre finds that most people now leaving Venezuela are poor, and often with medical conditions and other vulnerabilities. The recent introduction of stricter immigration requirements by several countries in the region has seen more Venezuelans relying on smugglers to cross borders irregularly. Their lack of legal status obstructs their access to many services and exposes them to an increased risk of exploitation. The report concludes that there is currently no sign the exodus from Venezuela will ease any time soon, making long-term planning by countries receiving them essential.
More Cubans seek asylum in Mexico amid lack of legal paths to US. The Guardian reports that a growing number of Cubans are turning to the Mexican asylum system amid a clampdown on legal routes to the United States. In the first seven months of the year, 4,604 Cubans applied for asylum in Mexico, compared to 218 in all of 2018. In 2017, a policy that treated all Cubans arriving in the US as political refugees was revoked and since then, Cubans have had to go through the same lengthy asylum process as other nationalities. Thousands now find themselves waiting in line to present their asylum cases in border cities in northern Mexico. Many others remain in southern Mexico since a humanitarian visa, which allowed certain nationalities, including Cubans, to traverse Mexico legally, was revoked in early 2019.
EU countries agree to take in Eleonore passengers. Five EU Member States (Germany, France, Ireland, Portugal and Luxembourg) agreed on Tuesday to receive the 104 people brought ashore from the Eleonore rescue ship in Sicily the day before. The European Commission said it would support Italy in organizing the relocation process. Deutsche Welle reports that the EU plans to hold a special meeting at the end of September to discuss a voluntary distribution mechanism for rescued refugees and migrants as a temporary measure until the bloc can agree on reform of the EU asylum system. Another NGO rescue boat, the Mare Jonio, was seized by Italian authorities and fined €300,000 on Tuesday for entering the port of Lampedusa in breach of a ban.
Gift had to drop out of school when war broke out in his native South Sudan. Now he’s top of his class at the school he attends in Biringi refugee settlement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, despite having to learn French from scratch and having to make his own solar lamp so he could study at night. “My wish is for every child to go to school like me,” he says.
DID YOU KNOW?
Only 35 per cent of South Sudanese refugee children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have access even to primary education, while only 8 per cent of secondary-age children are in school.