[This is a roundup of news articles and other materials circulating on the topic of refugees, migrants, and IDPs and reflects a wide variety of opinions. It does not reflect the views of the Refugees and Migrants Page Editors or of Jadaliyya. It is updated monthly. You may send your own recommendations for inclusion in each month's roundup to firstname.lastname@example.org.]
Latest Developments: COVID-19
Yemen to get more COVID-19 vaccines by end of month
Reuters reported that Yemen will receive its second shipment of COVAX vaccines – 151,000 doses of the Johnson & Johnson – at the end of July. The country received 360,000 doses of AstraZeneca in March 2021, and is due to receive a total of 504,000 during the summer months. So far, vaccination campaigns have only occurred in territory controlled by the internationally recognized government. 10,000 vaccines were distributed to Houthi-controlled Yemen, but the Houthi authorities have not attempted to distribute them.
Health Workers Abandoned in Yemen’s Covid-19 Fight
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that healthcare workers in Houthi-controlled territory in Yemen face significant challenges acquiring and distributing COVID-19 vaccines due to the Houthi authority’s opposition to the vaccination campaign. HRW wrote that the Houthis refuse to advertise the vaccination services and demand patients give blood before receiving the shot.
Syria: An SRTF health project completes rehabilitation works for a COVID-19 ICU center in northern Aleppo
The Syrian Recovery Trust Fund (SRTF) announced that it completed construction for one of two COVID-19 ICU centers in northern Aleppo. The completed center holds 15 beds, is equipped with adequate ventilation and oxygen, and is expected to assist over 59,000 Syrians. Following this success, SRTF aims to equip X-ray rooms for the center and begin construction on the second center.
Iraq records 12,185 coronavirus cases in highest daily increase
According to Reuters, on July 27, the Iraqi government in Baghdad announced its highest daily increase in COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Reuters reports that the daily case rate has consistently risen since the Eid al-Adha holiday, which involves many social gatherings.
oPT- The Rebuilding of Gaza Amid Dire Conditions: Damage, Losses, and Needs [EN/AR]
According to UNESCO, the eleven days of hostilities in Gaza resulted in the loss of over 260 people, including 66 children and 41 women. They have also destroyed social, infrastructure, productive, and financial sectors, resulting in $380 million in physical damage and $190 in economic losses. Recovery is estimated at $485 million during the first 24 months.
QRCS supports health facilities in three Yemeni governorates [EN/AR]
The QRCS in partnership with the United Nations Population Fund launched a new project that aims to provide comprehensive healthcare services to vulnerable populations in Yemen. The project will support 10 different health facilities in Sanaa, Taiz, Al-Hudaya among other places. The project will cover a total of 541,000 medical consultations for Yemenis over the next 30 months.
Syria: Refugees International Welcomes Extension of Crucial Cross-Border Aid Despite Shortcomings
According to Refugees International, the United Nations Security Council extended the UN Cross-Border Resolution which will allow agencies to continue the delivery of needed humanitarian assistance from Turkey to northwest Syria. Refugees International is concerned about the ambiguity surrounding the resolution’s lifespan as well as the continued closure of two major humanitarian crossings. RI emphasizes that UN cross-border aid may no longer be a secure lifeline.
Yemen: Adequate Housing Project to rehabilitate 600 homes in Aden launched
UN-Habitat announced that, in partnership with the Saudi Development and Reconstruction Program for Yemen (SDRPY) and Alwaleed Philanthropies (AP), it successfully rehabilitated 600 homes for low-income families in Aden. The Adequate Housing Project aims to rehabilitate homes for vulnerable IDPs and returnees to the city. Overall, the project is expected to benefit 4,000 vulnerable people and create 1,600 new jobs.
Yemen: Nine out of ten displaced children struggle to have food, water, schooling
Save the Children reported that nine out of ten children in Yemen displacement camps lack access to clean water, enough food, and schooling. All the camps are located within five km of a front line, which makes the daily trek for safe drinking water and firewood extremely dangerous for children. According to the organization, 1.71 million children remain displaced in the country.
Germany supports WFP assistance in Syria as humanitarian needs reach unprecedented levels
The World Food Program (WFP) announced that the German Federal Foreign Office donated €109 million to its Syrian programs, which will support the basic food needs of 4.8 million Syrians including over 600,000 children through an emergency school feeding programme. WFP wrote that food insecurity is at its highest since the beginning of the conflict due to an economic downturn and rising food prices.
Northeast Syria: Repatriations show giving children a future is possible with political will
Save the Children applauded the repatriation of 26 children and a number of their mothers from camps in Northeast Syria to Belgium, Kosovo, Finland and North Macedonia in mid July. The organization claims that these actions will save young and innocent lives from the aftermath of the conflict.
Security Council Extends Use of Border Crossing for Humanitarian Aid into Syria, Unanimously Adopting Resolution 2585
The UN Security Council (UNSC) unanimously voted to extend the use of the Bab al-Hawa as a border crossing for Syrian humanitarian aid through the end of 2021 with an expected additional extension to July 2022. The extension will facilitate the shipment of COVID-19 vaccines into the country.
Qatar Charity lays foundation stone for Alamal City for displaced Syrians
On July 8, Qatar Charity announced that, in partnership with the Turkish IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation, it officially began the construction for Alamal City in northern Aleppo. The project aims to build 1,400 houses, in addition to providing basic services and education. It is expected to be the largest housing project for displaced Syrians in that region of Aleppo.
Six Children killed and scores injured in attacks on three villages south of Idlib, Syria
According to UNICEF, six children were killed on July the 3rd in several attacks on three villages, Iblin, Blashoun, Balyoun in the northwest of Syria. Three of the children were siblings and were killed with their parents while sleeping at home. Another two, who are children of humanitarian workers, were killed as well. Last year, around 512 children were killed in Syria.
Water supply systems on the verge of collapse in Lebanon: over 71% of people risk losing access to water
The United Nations International Children's Emergency Fund (UNICEF) reported that over four million people in Lebanon, including one million refugees, are at immediate risk of losing access to clean water. The economic crisis created more blackouts and a shortage of funding for and supply of chlorine and water infrastructure parts. Following current trends UNICEF estimates that the public water supply will breakdown by September 2021, leaving 71% of the Lebanese population without access to public water or the expensive private alternatives.
UNHCR Update Libya (23 July 2021)
The UN High Commissioner on Refugees (UNHCR) reported that the Libyan Coast Guard claims to have rescued, intercepted, and disembarked 15,690 refugees and migrants in 2021 as of 22 July. 87% of the disembarked were male migrants. UNHCR expresses most concern for migrants from Sudan (17%), Eritrea (3%), and Syria (2%). Internally, 223,949 Libyans remain displaced. During this reporting period, UNHCR and its partner the International Red Cross (IRC) have provided over 5,000 medical consultations, processed 106 asylum seekers for Refugee Status, and distributed essential supplies to Libyan IDPs.
oPT: West Bank demolitions and displacement (June 2021)
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) released an overview detailing increased Israeli demolitions of Palestinian homes in the West Bank in June. OCHA reported a sevenfold increase in the destruction and seizure of Palestinian owned-buildings compared to May. Thus far in 2021, the West Bank has suffered a 113% increase in the targeting of donor-funded structures compared to 2020, many of which take place in East Jerusalem and Area C.
oPT: United States announces additional support for Palestine refugees
On July 17, the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) announced that the U.S. contributed USD 135.8 million in addition to USD 183 million since April 2021. The U.S. officially recommenced its support for the agency in 2021. The additional funding will support the core of UNRWA’s educational, health, and emergency services.
oPT: UNRWA concludes the first round of summer camps for refugee children in East Jerusalem
UNRWA announced that it concluded the first rounds of in-person summer camp for Palestinian refugee children across 29 schools in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem. The programming targeted about 3,000 refugee students from the various refugee camps, focusing on those individuals suffering the greatest financial barriers and disabilities. UNRWA aims for these art and cultural camps to reacclimate children for in-person schooling in the fall after over a year of semi-isolation.
UN expert condemns Israel’s repeated demolition of Palestinian Bedouin property
UNHCR announced that the UN Special Reporter on human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories, Michael Lynk, condemned Israel’s demolition of the Palestinian Bedouin community of Humsa al-Baqai’a in the West Bank. Lynk reported that on July 7 the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) destroyed 27 residences and the belongings inside, and displaced 70 Palestinians in the process. Lynk reiterates that Israel is strictly forbidden from destroying Palestinian property unless absolutely required in active war. At the time of the publication, Israel had destroyed 421 Palestinian-owned structures, including 130 donor-funded, and displaced 592 people.
China provides US$ 1 Million for Food Assistance to Palestine Refugees in Gaza
UNRWA announced that China donated USD 1 million in food assistance to Palestinian refugees in Gaza as part of the agency’s 2021 Emergency Appeal. The funding will assist 50,000 food-insecure Palestinians. In 2021, China also contributed 200,000 COVID-19 vaccines for UNRWA’s regional operations.
United States Announces Nearly $155 Million in Additional Humanitarian Assistance for Iraq
The U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) announced that it and the US State Department will distribute USD 155 million in humanitarian aid to support vulnerable Iraqis in the country, Iraqi refugees abroad, and their host communities. The aid is expected to reach 1.2 million people and provide them with critical shelter, essential healthcare, food assistance, and water, sanitation, and hygiene services.
Iraq: Humanitarian Bulletin, June 2021
OCHA published its monthly Humanitarian Bulletin for Iraq, highlighting 185,000 Iraqi IDPs still in need of humanitarian services. While the Iraqi government in Baghdad has closed most of its IDP camps, the 25 camps in the Kurdish region remain open. In early June, a fire broke out in Duhok Governorate’s Shariya IDP camp in the Kurdish region and officials are still assessing the situation. Vulnerable Iraqis remain susceptible to COVID-19, as vaccines are not widespread and COVID-19 tests are prohibitively expensive for Iraqis at IQD 31,500 or USD 22.
ERC provides relief aid to people affected by fire at Shariya Camp in Iraqi Kurdistan
The Emirates Red Crescent (ERC) announced that it provided emergency assistance to Iraqi IDPs affected by the fire in the Shariya refugee camp in Dohuk, Kurdistan Region in early June. The agency provided food, medical supplies, clothes, cooking equipment and other necessities to the several thousand IDPs affected in the fire.
Over 29,500 internally displaced persons in camps in the Kurdistan Region of Iraq receive civil identification documents
UNHCR reported that the Kurdish Ministry of Interior processed 29,593 applications for documents, including Nationality Certificates and Civil Identity Cards, from 12 IDP camps in Duhok. The Ministry halted applications due to COVID, but resumed them earlier in 2021.
IOM Provides Over 1,300 Migrants with Emergency Shelter and Assistance on the Canary Islands
IOM announced that it provided shelter, protection services, medical, legal and other types of assistance to 1,361 migrants on the island of Tenerife. IOM has operated Las Canteras Emergency Reception Facility (ERF) in cooperation with the Spanish government since February 26 this year. Over 7,300 migrants have reached the Canary Islands thus far this year, which is double the amount at the same type of 2020.
Saudi Arabia: Response Capacities Stretched with Hasty Return of 40,000 Ethiopian Migrants
IOM is appealing for USD 3 million in funding to support 40,000 Ethiopian migrants returning from Saudi Arabia. Over 68% of the migrants arriving over the past two weeks originated from the Tigray and Amhara regions where the Ethiopian conflict has displaced over two million people. The returns of Ethiopian migrants follow a bilateral agreement between the governments of Ethiopia and KSA.
Yemen: Protecting Human Capital in Yemen: US$150 million in grants for health, nutrition, and water and sanitation services [EN/AR]
The World Bank approved $150 million in grants to increase access to basic health nutrition, water, and sanitation services in Yemen. The grant aims to help preserve the institutions and human capital in Yemen. Out of a population of 29 million, 20 million Yemenis are food insecure and are at risk of malnutrition. The project will provide essential health and nutrition services to 3.65 million Yemenis as well as water and sanitation services to 850,000 Yemenis. Programs against polio, and trachoma will also be carried out.
North Africa: Deaths on Maritime Migration Routes to Europe Soar in First Half of 2021
IOM reported that at least 1,146 migrants died en route to Europe in the first half of 2021, which is over double the number of deaths during the same period in 2020. Migration attempts from the coast of Tunisia increased 90% this year, and attempts off the coast of Libya increased by 33%.
Turkey rescues 37 people from sunken migrant boat
Reuters reported that the Turkish military rescued 45 migrants from a boat 161 miles off the southern coast on July 23. The government continued search and rescue operations despite poor weather.
إيطاليا: عضو حزب يميني يقتل مهاجرا بالرصاص
According to Infomigrants, Massimo Adriatici, a member of the right-wing “League” party is under house arrest after he shot and killed a Morrocan immigrant on July 20th. The immigrant, Younes El Boustaoui, was 38 years old. Surveillance camera footage shows the immigrant punching Adriatici. Adriatici responds by pulling a gun and shooting El Boustaoui. The head of the “League” released a statement saying that Adriatici was acting in self defense.
Water weaponisation and displacement in Northeast Syria
The Humanitarian Practice Network (HPN) published an article documenting water cuts from the Alouk Water Station in Turkey, which provides most of the potable water for Northeast Syria. Humanitarian organizations are accusing Turkey of weaponizing water against the Syrian government, which ultimately harms the vulnerable Syrian people. Continuous water cuts are forcing IDPs and refugees to seek unsafe water sources, which is contributing to outbreaks of diarrhea and hampers WASH campaigns against COVID.
Lebanon's Syrian refugees: The forgotten victims of the Beirut blast, and collateral damage in a national crisis
Local Peace Insight correspondent Abou-Zahr wrote about the continued impact of the August 2020 Beirut blast on the Syrian refugee community. She documents discrimination against Syrian refugees and migrants for receiving aid in Lebanon through highlighting Syrian individuals’ experiences. Although Lebanese authorities officially denounce racism against Syrians, the issue is systemic, she argues.
جمعيات الصليب والهلال الأحمر تنضم إلى طاقم عمل سفينة "أوشن فايكنغ" الإنسانية في المتوسط
According to Infomigrants, the International Federation of Red Cross and the Red Crescent Societies are participating together in rescue operations carried out by the “Ocean Viking” ship off of the coast of Libya. The organizations emphasized the need for the international community to fund rescue operations due to the large number of lives lost in the sea every year. Both of the organizations will provide both medical and psychological support on board the humanitarian ship. In the past two months, the “Ocean Viking” saved 572 refugees in the Mediterranean.
Improving flood response in Somalia through remote sensing
The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) documented its efforts to improve flood responses in Somalia, where thousands of people are displaced and/or lose their livelihoods due to flooding each year. FAO introduced an early warning system with designated individuals as reporters, remote sensing, and satellite imagery.
Turkey detains 133 migrants near Iranian border in two days
Reuters reported that Turkey detained 133 undocumented migrants, most from Afghanistan, between July 17 and 18 at the southern border. The number of Afghan migrants and refugees crossing the Arab countries to Turkey has risen in face of U.S. plans to withdraw and increased violence between the Taliban and Kabul government.
حقوقيون تونسيون يطالبون الحكومة بالتحرك بعد احتجاز 50 مهاجراً تونسياً في ليبيا
According to Infomigrants, a Tunisian human rights organization called on the President of the Republic of Tunisia and its Foreign Minister to take action to investigate the disappearance of 50 Tunisan migrants who had left Tunisia to Libya around two months ago. The organization stated that the Tunisian immigrants have been captured in Libya and that their families are distraught by the situation.
Israel to withhold $180 million in Palestinian funds over militant stipends
Reuters reported that Israel plans to withhold USD 180 million in annual tax revenue from the Palestinian Authority (PA), or 7% of its total tax revenue, to allegedly offset the PA’s stipends to Palestinians militants and their families.
U.S. Extends Temporary Protected Status for Yemeni immigrants
Reuters reported that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security is extending Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for 1,700 Yemeni immigrants in the country through March 2023, and allowing an additional 480 Yemenis to apply. The program provides deportation relief and work permits for eligible Yemenis.
لماذا لا يتلقى اللاجئون اللقاح ولا يستفيدون من حملة التطعيم في تركيا؟
According to Infomigrants, even though the vaccination campaign is progressing well in Turkey, refugees face great challenges that prevent them from getting vaccinated. A translator for hospitalized refugees in Turkey states that refugees face language barriers that prevent them from booking vaccination appointments. Another reason is that refugees wait to be vaccinated until they have reached the country that they intend to emigrate to.
Gaza: Apparent War Crimes During May Fighting
The Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that Israeli and Palestinian authorities committed apparent war crimes during fighting in the Gaza Strip in May 2021. HRW identified an Israeli missile strike that seemingly targeted civilian Palestinian infrastructure and killed 62 Palestinian civilians. The agency also identified over 4,000 unguided rockets and mortars from Gaza into Israel, which violates international law against indiscriminate attack of civilians. Israeli attacks killed 260 Palestinians and injured around 2,000.
Women rescued at sea reveal scale of alleged Libya abuses
The New Humanitarian published an article detailing the abusive experiences of women migrants rescued by Sea-Eye 4, a search and rescue vessel operated by a German NGO, this year. The vessel rescued 408 migrants from six boats thus far in 2021. Search and rescue NGOs estimate that 25-40% of rescued migrants from Libya are women, and that almost all have endured the horrors of Libyan detention centers.
مصرع 57 مهاجرا غرقا جراء انقلاب قارب يقلهم قبالة السواحل الليبية
According to the International Organization for Migration, a shipwreck off of the coast of Libya has claimed the lives of at least 57 refugees. According to coast guards and nearby fishermen, at least 20 women and two children died in the incident. Around 11,891 illegal immigrants were rescued off of the coast of Libya in 2020, according to the Libyan National Commission for Human Rights.
MSF is determined to return to sea to save lives after Geo Barents detained in Italy
Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) reports that its search and rescue ship, the Geo Barents, has been detained by Italian authorities along with four other of its vessels. Without the vessels in the Central Mediterranean, thousands of lives are being lost, said MSF. The organization accused the Italian government of using administrative procedures to advance its political agenda against African migrants.
Understanding Race and Migrant Domestic Labor in Lebanon
The Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP) published an article by Sumayya Kassamali that explores the intersectionality of challenges for female domestic workers under the kafala system in Lebanon, including exploitative labor practices, gender-based violence, and racism against sub-Saharan African and South Asian women.
WFP Yemen Country Brief (June 2021)
WFP reported that it reached 11.9 million Yemenis with food assistance in June 2021 in the form of direct food assistance, cash-based transfers and food vouchers. Military escalation in the Marib region led to the additional displacement of 22,000 people, creating a greater need for food assistance. During this time, WFP included an additional 20,500 IDPs into its monthly rations programming.
Post distribution monitoring for Winter Cash Assistance for Syrian Refugees (2020-2021)
UNHCR reported that it supported 200,000 Syrian refugee families in Lebanon last winter. The program distributed cash transfers to refugees in the beginning of the winter, as expenditures generally increase during winter months due to food, rent, and heating costs. Half of the recipients reported the amount of cash was not as much as they expected, yet 94% reported the aid distribution process as satisfactory.
Diaspora organizations and their humanitarian response in Somalia
This Danish Refugee Council (DRC) report tracked the activity of the Yemeni diaspora community towards its fellow countrymen suffering in Yemen. The report found that these diaspora communities are highly active in sending remittances, which increase significantly during times of severe crisis. Though most of this work is informal, the report documented 22 Yemeni organizations based on Europe and North America.
No One Will Look For You: Forcibly Returned From Sea To Abusive Detention In Libya
Amnesty International published a new report documenting the severe violations against migrants by the Libyan authorities with the complicity of European states. The report outlines how European states fund the Libyan government to run these detention centers, in which men, women, and children are regularly sexually abused, tortured, and forced into labor.
Hunger and COVID-19 in Libya - A joint approach examining the food security situation of migrants
IOM’s report documented migrants’ challenge of food insecurity during the COVID-19 pandemic. The report found that most migrants use coping mechanisms to mitigate food shortages due to a lack of social safety nets for them. The report also suggests that the stress of navigating food insecurity and other essential needs may hamper migrants’ ability to make money for themselves.
Mixed migration and migrant smuggling in Libya: the role of non-Libyan smuggler intermediaries
The Mixed Migration Center published a briefing paper on the influential role of non-Libyan smugglers in smuggling operations of migrants to, within, and out of Libya. While Libyan smugglers are more likely to control human trafficking routes, non-Libyan smugglers participate in daily operations, so there are limitations to non-Libyan smugglers’ power.
Barriers and Opportunities to Refugee Women Engaging in the Digital Economy in Jordan and Lebanon
The International Finance Group at the World Bank and The Netherlands collaborated on a report outlining how refugee women are being left behind in the digital transformation of the economy. Without the technology skills, they have few options for work in an increasingly digital economy in Jordan and Lebanon. Evidence suggests that training women on technology will enable them to provide more for their households and contribute to the local economy.
The Road from Conflict to Reconstruction, Recovery and Resilience in the MENA Region (November 2020)
The Islamic Development Bank Group in Jeddah launched its first “MENA Reconstruction, Recovery, and Resilience Report” which focuses on analyzing conflicts in the MENA region and emphasises the need to adopt new narratives and approaches to fight fragility across various social, political, economic, security, and environmental dimensions. The Bank envisions itself in the next ten-years as proactive to its Member countries' challenges. The report focuses on reconstruction, recovery, and resilience, while focusing on Iraq, Libya, Syria, Yemen, Jordan, and Lebanon.