By Kristy Siegfried | 7 June, 2019
Please note that there will be no newsletter on Monday due to a UN holiday in Geneva. The Refugee Brief will be back in your in-box on Tuesday.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Mexico to deploy armed forces to southern border. Mexican officials in Washington on Thursday pledged to deploy 6,000 members of a newly formed National Guard to Mexico’s border with Guatemala to stem the flow of migrants and asylum-seekers heading to the United States. The pledge came a day after Mexican immigration officials and soldiers blocked a caravan of some 300 Central Americans who had just crossed into Mexico. On Wednesday, police also arrested two members of the migrants’ rights organization, Pueblo Sin Fronteras, which coordinates caravans of Central Americans travelling through Mexico. The Washington Post reports that Mexico and the United States are discussing significant changes to asylum rules that would require Central American asylum-seekers to seek refuge in the first country they enter after leaving their homeland. A spokesperson with Mexico’s foreign ministry said on Thursday that no agreement had yet been reached. He added that “the US position is focused on migratory control measures. Ours is on development.”
Thousands displaced by flash floods in south-west Libya. More than 2,500 Libyans have had to flee their homes after heavy rainfall caused severe flooding in the town of Ghat, some 1,300 kilometres south-west of Tripoli, according to UNHCR. Rising floodwaters have already claimed the lives of four people, destroyed homes and crops, damaged roads, and flooded the town’s only hospital. All of Ghat’s 20,000 residents are in need of humanitarian aid, including food and shelter. Many have moved in with relatives while others are sheltering in schools and other communal buildings. UNHCR said that trucks loaded with aid are expected to arrive in Ghat later today.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
Germany passes new immigration laws. German lawmakers passed a bundle of new measures today aimed at making it easier both to integrate skilled migrants into the labour force and to deport rejected asylum-seekers. But DW News reports that experts worry the laws send a mixed message and may even be unconstitutional. Rejected asylum-seekers will see their welfare benefits cut off if they fail to cooperate with authorities and may be detained in regular prisons prior to deportation. The policy package also includes a law that will make it easier for skilled non-European foreigners to enter Germany’s labour market, including those who have applied for asylum.
Severe drought in Somalia fuelling displacement and hunger. More than 2 million Somalis could face starvation by July unless urgent efforts are made to ramp up the response to a prolonged drought and avert the risk of famine, Mark Lowcock, the UN’s humanitarian chief, warned on Wednesday. One of the driest rainy seasons on record in more than 35 years has already forced nearly 50,000 people to flee their homes in search of food, water, aid and work, including 7,000 last month alone, according to UNHCR. Lowcock and UNHCR this week warned of the urgent need for more funding to prevent a humanitarian crisis. Aid agencies are appealing for US$710 million to assist 4.5 million people affected by the drought.
Insurgents bring chaos and displacement to once stable Burkina Faso. In a turbulent region, Burkina Faso was once known for its stability. The Telegraph reports on how that has changed over the last two years as the country has been sucked into an Islamist insurgency that has swept across the Sahel region and broken down the social fabric that once held dozens of ethnic groups together. One ethnic group, the Fulanis, who are accused of collaborating with the jihadists, have been targeted by militias known as “Koglweogo”. The Telegraph met some of the Fulani people forced to flee militia attacks now living in a camp in Barsalogho, including a severely malnourished baby. They are among more than 170,000 people who have been uprooted from their homes, a three-fold increase since the start of the year, according to the UN.
DK’s Donuts has been serving up handmade donuts from a small shop in Los Angeles for almost 40 years. It was started by Chuong Lee and her husband, young refugees from Cambodia, and is now a 24-hour a day operation with 120 different varieties of donuts. Their daughter, Mayly Tao is now helping to carry on her family’s legacy. The National Geographic reports that former Cambodian refugees own the majority of LA’s donut shops. “I love that donuts can unite a community that no borders, race, or differences can take away,” says Tao.
DID YOU KNOW?
In Burkina Faso, violence has uprooted an average of 20,000 people from their homes every month since the start of this year.