By Kristy Siegfried | 9 April, 2019
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
Libya fighting displaces thousands as battle reaches airport. Fighting continued to escalate on Monday as eastern forces closed in on Tripoli, the capital, and an air strike temporarily closed the city’s only functioning airport. The UN said some 3,400 civilians have fled the fighting since Thursday, while 1,400 refugees and migrants remain close to the frontlines in three detention centres. The Libyan National Army said it planned to transfer the refugees and migrants to a detention centre outside the capital, but on Monday the UN said the transfers have yet to take place. The UN has called for a temporary humanitarian truce to allow for the provision of emergency services and for civilians to leave the conflict areas.
Boko Haram attacks in Niger’s Diffa region affect locals and refugees. At a briefing in Geneva today, UNHCR expressed alarm at the upsurge in violence in south-east Niger, which in March alone claimed the lives of 88 civilians and displaced more than 18,000 people. The number of forcibly displaced people in the Diffa region has now risen to almost 250,000, according to UNHCR, which said almost half of them were refugees from Nigeria who had sought safety from similar attacks across the border. UNHCR said it was working with the government of Niger to move some 10,000 refugees from areas close to the border to the Sayam Forage refugee camp, some 45 kilometres away. The refugee agency also reported that the latest round of attacks has displaced people across the border into Nigeria.
WHAT’S ON OUR RADAR
US judge halts policy of returning asylum-seekers to Mexico. A US district judge in San Francisco ruled on Monday that the policy of sending Central American asylum-seekers back to Mexico to wait out their cases lacked a legal basis under current law as well as safeguards to protect asylum-seekers from threats to their lives or freedom. The ruling is due to take effect on Friday unless the government seeks a stay of the injunction while the appeals process runs it course. The Migrant Protection Protocols policy was introduced in January but has so far only been used to return a few hundred asylum-seekers to Mexico. The administration announced last week that it planned to expand the programme.
Explosion in Yemen warehouse kills at least 13. A large explosion at a warehouse in Sana’a, Yemen’s capital, killed at least 13 people on Sunday, including seven children, reports AP. The blast, whose cause is still unclear, injured over 100 people and damaged nearby schools. A protection worker with Save the Children described scenes of devastation at one school where five girls were injured by the blast, one of them fatally. The UN’s humanitarian coordinator in Yemen, Lise Grande, expressed her outrage at the “terrible, senseless deaths”.
Food and water running low on rescue ship. The German charity Sea-Eye said today that food and water is running low on its rescue vessel, now at sea for a sixth day with 64 refugees and migrants on board. Sea-Eye said it had informed Malta, the nearest port, of the situation. Meanwhile, the EU said it had begun talks with Member States to identify a port and countries to take in the rescued refugees and migrants, who include 12 women, a child and an infant. Sea-Eye said some of those rescued have told crew members they were tortured, raped and enslaved while in Libya.
Dutch firms to create 3,500 jobs for refugees. Sixteen Dutch companies, including Shell, Philips and ING, have agreed to create 3,500 permanent jobs for refugees in the Netherlands and abroad over the next two years. The firms have also agreed to start several initiatives aimed at helping a further 10,000 refugees improve their prospects of getting a job or starting their own businesses. The commitments were made at the Dutch Business Summit on Refugees, held in Utrecht on Monday. The event was organized by the Tent Partnership for Refugees, an initiative that aims to mobilize the private sector to improve the lives and livelihoods refugees.
Maria del Pilar Figueroa lives at one of the most difficult points along the route that thousands of desperate Venezuelans are taking through Colombia every day. After witnessing the procession of people passing through her town, she decided to turn her home into a shelter. With the help of her children, she provides food and shelter to some 150 people a day.
DID YOU KNOW?
Colombia is hosting the highest number of refugees and migrants from Venezuela, with over 1.1 million as of February.