Select Page

By Kristy Siegfried @klsiegfried   | 9 January, 2019


President Trump addresses nation on border “crisis”. In a TV address to the nation from the Oval Office on Tuesday night, US President Donald Trump appealed for public support for US$5.7 billion to fund a border wall which he said would address “a growing humanitarian and security crisis” at the US-Mexico border. Democratic leaders, who have adamantly opposed the funding request, delivered a response from Capitol Hill accusing the president of “manufacturing a crisis”. “The fact is women and children at the border are not a security threat. They are a humanitarian challenge,” said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. The political impasse has led to a partial government shutdown, now in its third week.

Greek reception system failing to protect most vulnerable, says Oxfam. The report, published by the British-based NGO today, details how the system to identify and protect the most vulnerable asylum-seekers arriving on Greece’s Aegean islands has broken down due to flawed processes and chronic understaffing. According to Oxfam, vulnerability assessments have not taken place at the Moria reception centre on Lesvos since a government-appointed doctor resigned in November. As a result, Oxfam warned, “vulnerable people including survivors of torture and sexual violence are being housed in unsafe areas”. Athens-based UNHCR spokesperson Stella Nanou told the Guardian that despite intensified efforts to transfer people from Moria to the Greek mainland, the centre was still holding more than twice its capacity.


Stranded refugees and migrants to be brought to Malta. The 49 refugees and migrants stranded at sea on board two NGO vessels will be brought to Malta and then distributed among eight European Union countries, announced Maltese Prime Minister Joseph Muscat today. The eight countries are Germany, France, Portugal, Ireland, Romania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Italy. Another 131 of the 249 people rescued by Malta between Christmas and the New Year will also be distributed among EU states, Muscat said. The agreement breaks a stalemate that began on 22 December, when the Sea Watch 3 rescued 32 of the refugees and migrants. The other 17 were rescued by another NGO vessel on 29 December.

Refugees at high risk of kidnapping in Horn of Africa, research reveals. More than 15 per cent of refugees and migrants travelling north through the Horn of Africa were kidnapped during their journey last year, according to a survey conducted by the Mixed Migration Centre. Researchers from the centre, who conducted 11,150 interviews across 20 countries and seven migration routes, warned that kidnappings may be increasing and identified people travelling through the Horn of Africa as the most vulnerable. The research showed that some nationalities were more likely to be kidnapped than others, with one in five of Ethiopians interviewed saying they had been kidnapped compared to one in 25 Sudanese.

Germany to train refugees as train drivers. Politico reports that the German region of Baden-Württemberg has announced plans to train refugees to become train drivers. Under the programme due to start later this year, the state will co-finance training courses while railway companies will set up language courses incorporating sector-specific terminology. “The project could become a model for the qualification of refugees,” said Christian Rauch, director of the regional office of Germany’s Federal Employment Agency.


Nobel Prize winner Malala Yousafzai spoke to ABC News on Monday about her new book, “We Are Displaced ”, which tells the stories of displaced young women around the world as well as her own story of having to flee Taliban rule as a child and living as a displaced person in Pakistan. “We have a lot to learn from these young girls,” she said. “They’re courageous, they’re brave, they’re overcoming these difficulties.”


Nearly 15,000 refugees and migrants are currently living on Greece’s Aegean islands. The majority are from Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria.