[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 email@example.com.]
Latest Developments: COVID-19
UNHCR warns of dire consequences for refugees from COVID-19 underfunding
المفوضية تحذر من عواقب وخيمة تطال اللاجئين نتيجة لنقص التمويل الموجه لمكافحة فيروس كورونا
UNHCR’s Chief of Public Health Section, Ann Burton, announced that only one-third of the agency’s COVID budget requirements have been fulfilled, putting it in the top 10 underfunded initiatives for 2021. Specifically, the agency has fallen short on cash assistance, primary health care, primary education, and services for people with specific needs to combat the pandemic.
As Vaccines Roll Out in Egypt, Refugees Are Not Left Behind
اللاجئون وطالبو اللجوء یحصلون على اللقاح في مصر
UNHCR announced that some of the first 500 refugees in Egypt have received a COVID vaccine as the country begins its vaccination rollout. Refugees and asylum seekers are eligible to receive assistance and healthcare under Egypt’s national pandemic response plan.
Yemeni humanitarian organization wins 2021 UNHCR Nansen Refugee Award
UNHCR announced that the Jeel Albena Association for Humanitarian Development won this year’s Nansen Refugee Award for its unwavering support of displaced Yemenis throughout the tumultuous conflict. Jeel Albena operates around 18,000 emergency shelters for IDPs living outside of refugee camps in the Hudaydah and Hajjah provinces, as well as supports women's rights and education initiatives.
Thousands of Stranded Migrants in Yemen Need Extra Support to Return Home
In early September, IOM announced that the 300 migrants are scheduled to depart Aden for Addis Ababa as part of its Voluntary Humanitarian Return (VHR) program. Thus far in 2021, around 580 of the 5,000 Ethiopian migrants stranded in Yemen have participated in the program. VHR aims to operate two flights each week from now until the end of 2021. IOM estimates that 32,000 total migrants are stranded in Yemen.
Syrian Refugees in Lebanon Struggle to Survive Amid Worst Socioeconomic Crisis in Decades
الـلاجـئون الـسوریـون فـي لـبنان یـكافـحون مـن أجـل الـبقاء عـلى قـید الـحیاة وسـط أسـوأ أزمة اجتماعیة واقتصادیة تشھدھا البلاد منذ عقود
UNHCR, UNICEF, and WFP voiced concern over the rapid deterioration of living conditions for Syrian refugees in Lebanon over the past several years. The agencies announced that, according to their latest study, 9 out of 10 Syrian refugees live in extreme poverty in Lebanon. These conditions forced them to adopt negative survival strategies, such as begging, borrowing money, not sending their children to school, avoiding healthcare expenses or not paying rent, which threatens refugees’ wellbeing and their children’s futures.
Palestinian refugee women in Lebanon take prominent roles in resolving conflict
UN Women highlighted Palestinian refugee women’s contributions towards conflict prevention and management in the Ein El Helweh camp in Lebanon. The agency recently completed a program for women to train in conflict mediation in the camp and many of its graduates now work in legal support units that train armed personnel in Palestinian camps on international human rights and humanitarian law.
Lebanon: General security must suspend the imminent expulsion of six Syrians
Amnesty International released a press release urging Lebanese security authorities to suspend the deportation of 6 Syrian men and for the Syrian Embassy to return these people’s passports immediately. Lebanese authorities arrested the men due to illegal entry into the country via an “irregular situation,” which the Lebanese government does not recognize as a valid request for asylum.
Libya: Medical care resumes in Tripoli detention centres
MSF announced that after 3 months of suspended medical activities, the organization resumed its work in 3 migrant detention centers in Tripoli, Libya on September 15. These operations include mobile clinics, which recommenced their physical health and psychosocial support services to migrants and refugees in detention centers. Within the first week, MSF examined and treated 404 patients.
Libya: Security forces kill migrant, detain 4,000 others in one day
The Euro-Med Monitor reported that Libyan authorities arrested and detained thousands in a large-scale security campaign in Gargaresh, a western part of the capital Tripoli. The Ghout al-Shaal detention center received 4,000 African migrants and refugees on October 1, including women and children. Libyan authorities claim that these migrants all reside illegally in the country, despite evidence that some of the detainees held UN official papers.
Libya: Hundreds of Moroccan migrants held in inhumane conditions
The Euro-Med Monitor reported that Libyan authorities have illegally and unwarrantly detained hundreds of Moroccans in the west of the country, including the Al-Daraj detention center, and the Ain Zara and Ghout al-Shaal prisons. These detention centers fail to provide adequate healthcare, especially against COVID-19, sufficient quantities of food, and clean water.
Minister of Migration and Displaced and UNDP Iraq Resident Representative sign MoU on community reintegration at Anbar Interfaith Religious Conference
UNDP Iraq announced that it signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Iraqi Ministry of Migration and Displaced (MOMD) on September 8. Through the agreement, the two parties will facilitate joint programs and technical support for the return and reintegration of displaced Iraqs over the next 3 years. 84 Iraqi religious leaders convened to witness the signing in the Governorate of Anbar.
German funding helps WFP avert food assistance cuts to refugees in Jordan
WFP announced that its largest partner in Jordan, the German government, contributed €17 million to help the agency avert additional planned cuts in food assistance for 110,000 Syrian and Palestinian refugees in October 2021. Funding restraints forced WFP to stop food assistance to 21,000 refugees in July, so this contribution is extremely timely.
Palestine refugee students in Jordan go back to school after months of distant learning
UNRWA announced that Palestinian refugee students finally returned to in-person classes for the 2021-2022 school year in Jordan. The agency’s programming supports over 119,000 children across 161 schools in the country. In order to mediate the spread of COVID-19, the schools are implementing a single-shift system for schools in the Amman New Camp to allow students full access to education amenities.
Climate Action Good Practice, Azraq and Zaatari, Jordan
UNHCR released a statement on the Azraq and Zaatari camps’ leadership in energy sustainability for refugee settlements. These camps are pioneering clean energy efficiency projects such as solar powered street lighting and other electricity needs, and aims to continue to reduce the camps’ carbon footprint while maintaining reasonable consumption and equitable access.
Syria Water Crisis: Up to 40% less drinking water after 10 years of war
ICRC published an article revealing that only 50% of water and sanitation systems are currently functional in Syria, which minimizes Syrians access to safe and potable water by 40%. Utility technician staff numbers are still down, and years of understaffing has prevented upgrading water systems. Furthermore, electricity shortages inhibit the functioning of water supply infrastructure. At least 700,000 Syrians in the northeastern Hassakeh governorate currently suffer from water shortages.
Syria/Jordan: UN-led return operation will put refugees at risk of abuses in Syria
عملية عودة اللاجئين التي تقودها الأمم المتحدة تعرضهم لخطر الانتهاكات في سوريا
Amnesty International argued that the UN return of Syrian refugees in the Jordanian Rukban camp puts these vulnerable people at risk of arbitrary detention, enforced disappearance, and torture under Syrian authorities, who have accessed residents of the informal settlement of terrorism. Around 10,000 Syrians currently live in Rukban.
Greece says Migration Crisis Over; Refugees Beg to Differ
The New Humanitarian reported that although Greek authorities claim that their country is no longer experiencing a migrant crisis, lower numbers of arriving migrants and housed asylum seekers do not tell the whole story. The agency emphasized that Greek authorities have been systematically preventing migrants’ from arriving on Greece territory, and pushing asylum seekers out of Greek borders. Many of these rejected refugees seek to re-apply for asylum in other EU countries, but this process is not guaranteed.
Migrants on new route to Europe get trapped between borders
AP News reported that Syrian migrants and asylum seekers are increasingly attempting to enter Europe via Belarus. However, domestic political instability, in addition to conflict between Belarus and its EU member neighbors, is preventing migrants from gaining asylum status in Europe. Because of this dilemma, thousands of refugees are trapped between two borders.
Rescue vessel docks in Italy, disembarks 60 migrants
AP News reported that the Geo Barents, a MSF rescue vessel, successfully docked in Italy on September 29 and disembarked 60 African migrants and asylum seekers. This effort was the third rescue mission for Geo Barents this year, which has rescued 792 migrants since June.
Gaza to begin rebuilding homes destroyed in May conflict
Reuters reported that reconstruction on Palestinian homes damaged in the Israeli-Gaza conflict in May 2021 will finally begin this October using the first of USD 70 million in aid from Qatar. Israeli strikes destroyed 2,200 homes and damaged an additional 37,000 others. This first round of reconstruction will rehabilitate 1,800 of these homes.
Lebanon at risk of complete blackout by end-Sept, state power firm says
In late September, Lebanon’s state electricity company warned of a countrywide black out by the end of the month due to dwindling fuel supplies, according to Reuters. Over the past couple of months, most Lebanese residents have depended on private generators for power.
The economic impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on Sri Lankan migrants in Qatar
Comparative Migration Studies published an article on the pandemic’s financial implications for a range of Sri Lankan migrants in Qatar and the Sri Lankan economy. The study found that, in general, all Sri Lankan migrant workers’ financial situations improved by September 2021 due to loosening restrictions, but migrants have not been able to send regular remittances back to Sri Lanka, so many migrants are considering returning home in order to get these funds to their families.
Shaheen: Tropical cyclone batters Oman and Iran, killing 13
BBC News reported that over 5,000 people in Oman and Iran were moved into some 80 shelters because of Cyclone Shaheen, which hit the Omani coast on October 3. Omani armed forces continue to rescue people from floodwaters and repair infrastructure. The heavy rains and 93 mph winds are incommon for the region, signaling the effects of climate change.
Housing, Land and Property rights in Iraq - An assessment of progress towards durable solutions in line with the Pinheiro Principles
IOM released a report on housing, land and property (HLP) challenges faced in Iraq throughout waves of conflict and displacements since the 1960s. In 2021, 4 years after the Iraqi government claimed victory over ISIS, 1.2 million Iraqis remain displaced and the country faces issues reintegrating 4.9 million returnees who arrived at their places of origin. This report utilizes the “Pinheiro Principles” – the global tool used to monitor HLP IDP issues – to determine progress gaps and strategies.
Iraq: SWEDO presence and drivers of crisis in Iraq Marshlands
SWEDO and WFP published detailed maps of the Iraqi Marshlands since the 1960s to showcase the main stressors and consequences of drought on the region. Internal displacement and overcrowding in cities are driving environmental degradation of the sites. This crisis further prompts water-induced displacement and conflict over livelihood and resources.
Impact of work permits on decent work for Syrians in Jordan (September, 2021)
أثر تصاريح العمل على شروط العمل الالئق للسوريين في الأردن
ILO published a study on the impact of work permit regulations and procedures governing Syrian refugees’ access to the labor market in Jordan. The study found that in manufacturing, construction, and agriculture sectors, Syrian worker permits improve their access to stable, quality work, and over time, they experience more equal work standards to Jordanian workers as they assimilate into society.
2021 Progress Report - Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan in Response to the Syria Crisis (September 2021)
The UN published its 2021 Regional Refugee and Resilience Plan (3RP) for the Syrian crisis, reviewing its targeted support of 4.8 million Syrian refugees across Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, and Turkey. Despite progress in strategy planning, conditions have deteriorated across the board in the first half of 2021. Compounded health and financial crises across these host countries have exacerbated unemployment, food insecurity, and access to health and social protections.
Study on Identifying Cash for Work Opportunities for Women in Za’atari Refugee Camp
Oxfam and the Sustainable Researchand Development Center published a study on how to improve efforts to engage women in economic and environmental activities in the Za’atari refugee camp in Jordan, including identifying and removing barriers based on data collected in 2018.
The Impact of Climate Change on Access to Water for the Most Vulnerable Communities in Southern West Bank
OCHA published a report on water shortages in Palestinian communities in Bethlehem and Hebron governorates, where over 300,000 people receive less than 50 litres/capita/day, and over 30,000 households are not connected to water network services. These areas are the most severely affected in the West Bank due to Israeli restrictions, limited Palestinian say over water resources, and inadequate technical and financial capacities of water service providers. Because of these challenges, over 75% of community members depend on rainwater as a primary or secondary resource, but this solution is not sustainable as rainfall rates decrease.
Outward and upward mobility How Afghan and Syrian refugees can use mobility to improve their prospects
Transnational Figurations of Displacement published a report on mobilization methods that Syrian and Afghan refugees utilize in Jordan and Pakistan in order to gain social upward mobility. The study found that freedom of movement within a host country enables refugees to better identify employment opportunities and maintain their social networks, which contributes to their overall stability.