[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)
Worst wave yet of COVID-19 in northern Syria overwhelms health system
Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) announced a record high of 73,000 reported COVID-19 cases in northern Syria, which is almost twice as high as the previous record of 39,000. Only half of the 33 COVID-19 treatment centers are open and experience shortages in oxygen and ventilators during this spike. MSF urged for immediate protection of healthcare workers, increased oxygen supplies and the expansion of vaccination in the area.
The SRTF Approves a Second Phase of a Health Intervention Worth EUR 2.3 Million to Mitigate the Spread of COVID-19 in Northeast Syria
The Syrian Recovery Trust Fund (SRTF) announced that it is expanding its COVID-19 healthcare capabilities project in Deir Ez Zor to include cardiology, pediatric, hemodialysis, and outpatient services. During this 8 month phase, SRTF aims to rehabilitate health sites, procure equipment, and recruit staff in order to serve 7,176 beneficiaries.
اليونان: نقل 222 من المهاجرين القاصرين غير المصحوبين إلى مرافق "أكثر ملاءمة"
The Secretary of the Protection of Unaccompanied Minors at the Greek Ministry of Migration stated that the authorities are in the process of transferring 222 unaccompanied minor migrants to more appropriate facilities in Europe. Greece currently hosts 2,134 unaccompanied minors of whom 100 are scheduled to be transferred to other EU countries. The EU has already received 1,006 minors since April 2020.
Libya: Evidence crimes against humanity and war crimes committed since 2016, UN report finds
United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) Independent Fact-Finding Mission on Libya
outlined in a recent report that there are reasonable grounds for war crime accusations in Libya, including violence in prisons and against migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers. Evidence suggested that minority ethnic groups, such as the Tawerghas, the Tebus and the Alahali, continue facing severe abuses and forced displacement without any action from any governing entities.
IOM Resumes Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance Flights from Libya After Months of Suspension
The International Organization of Migration (IOM) announced that it received clearance to resume voluntary return flights for migrants, recommencing the program on October 22 with a 127-person flight to Gambia. More than 10,000 migrants are currently on the waitlist for a return flight on IOM’s Voluntary Humanitarian Return Assistance.
غرق مهاجرين اثنين وفقدان 40 آخرين.. واعتراض 650 مهاجراً قبالة ليبيا
Over the beginning of October, the Libyan Coast Guard carried out several interceptions in the Mediterranean. The UNHCR announced that two migrants drowned and 40 others were missing, while about 650 migrants were intercepted and returned. Most of the migrants were Sudanese, Somali, Bengali, and Syrian refugees who were all taken to detention centers. According to the United Nations, about 40,000 people reached European coasts from Tunisia and Libya in 2021.
UNHCR calls on Libya to urgently develop plan for asylum seekers and refugees, welcomes authorization to restart evacuations
UNHCR condemned the escalation of violent raids and arrests of refugees and asylum seekers around Tripoli, Libya. The agency found that these actions result in unwarranted deaths, detainments, and destitution for these vulnerable populations. Because of the security situation, the agency temporarily suspended its Community Day Center operations, limiting the vulnerable population’s access to medical and food assistance. Although over 1,000 refugees and asylum-seekers are currently prioritized for the recently recommerced humanitarian flights, UNHCR stressed that more change is necessary.
الأمم المتحدة تدعو ليبيا إلى حفظ كرامة اللاجئين والمهاجرين
The United Nations called on the Libyan authorities to respect the human rights and dignity of all people, including migrants and refugees. The organization expressed deep concern over the reported use of excessive force which killed one migrant and injured at least 15 others during a raid by Libyan security authorities on temporary homes and shelters. At least 4000 people were arrested during the raid including women and children.
Libya: IOM Condemns Killing of Six Migrants at Detention Centre in Tripoli
IOM reported on a violent confrontation at the Mabani detention center in Tripoli on October 9. Armed guards shot at the detainees during a riot and an attempted escape, ultimately killing 6 migrants and wounding 24. Prior to the shooting, the center held 3,400 migrants, many of whom authorities had detained over the past month. IOM assisted 15 of the wounded with medical care.
ألف مهاجر قضى وفقد في البحر المتوسط منذ عام 2013
Save the Children announced that more than 17,800 migrants have died or gone missing in the Mediterranean since 2013. The organization called on the EU to establish an effective search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean sea. Save the Children also called on the EU to build safe channels to enter the EU as well as a system that protects vulnerable groups, such as unaccompanied minors.
Nearly 400 people rescued from the Mediterranean need a place of safety
On October 26, MSF reported that its vessel, Geo Barents search and rescue (SAR) ship, rescued almost 400 migrants crossing the Central Mediterranean over the course of two days. Among the 367 people on board, 172 were minors and 134 of them were unaccompanied. MSF leadership stressed that the lack of proactive searches by European authorities is endangering the lives of thousands of people and that it’s unacceptable that NGOs are left to fill the gap.
World Mental Health Day 2021 – Palestine refugee youth helping heal their communities, one camp at a time - occupied Palestinian territory
UNRWA implemented a mental health and psychological support program to mitigate the mental health costs arising from the increased need for mental health support. Around 256 Palestinians were killed during the last 11-day assault on Gaza in May. Around 113,000 Gazans were displaced and many more impacted by the trauma of the ongoing blockade and assault. An alarming number of 600,000 Gazans including youth display symptoms of severe distress and are at risk of developing mental health conditions. The UNRWA’s program includes individual and group counseling, a hotline for mental health support and after school sessions.
UNHCR urges States to end stalemate at Belarus-EU border and avoid further loss of life
UNHCR announced the eighth reported death of an asylum seeker at the Belarus-EU border, which includes Latvia, Lithuania, Poland. At least 32 of those left in limbo, without humanitarian assistance, are Afghan. The agency has been denied access to assist these vulnerable people. These asylum seekers have been stranded at the border since mid-August, since the aforementioned EU member countries are denying their asylum requests.
تونس: إغلاق مركز إيواء للمهاجرين غير الشرعيين في جرجيس
Local and international associations and institutions in Tunisia have decided to close a shelter for illegal immigrants in Zarzis and move them to another location due to protests in the area. Around 100 illegal immigrants were moved first then followed by the other 210 a few days later. The center had exceeded its capacity of 100 people, mostly from Sudan, Somalia, and Eritrea. The UNHCR provided financial support of about an average of 250 dinars to some migrant families to help them rent apartments.
Thousands of People Forced to Flee Escalating Hostilities in Yemen’s Ma’rib
IOM reported that a record of at least 10,000 Yemenis were displaced in September due to conflict escalation in the Mar’ib province. Routes within and into Al Abdiyah district, in the south of the province, have reportedly been cut off, which is obstructing the movement of people and essential supplies. IOMi estimated that 4,000 IDPs remain stranded due to the blockade.
Lebanon: Planning Lapses Endanger School Year
According to Human Rights Watch, the education system in Lebanon is at risk of collapse with devastating consequences for children. The school year is threatened by a number of unresolved issues, mainly teacher’s strikes caused by low salaries. The Education Minister announced a new compensation package that will increase teacher’s salaries by 50%. Only private schools with available resources opened in time in September. Schools also lack the funds they need to operate while parents of students have been forced into poverty.
Yemen: 60% of children whose school came under attack have not returned to education
Save the Children announced major findings from its new report, asserting that conflict has forced 400,000 children out of school in Yemen over the past 5 years. Over 2,500 schools have been damaged, and 460 attacked. Consequently, 20% of all students reported facing a serious security incident on the way to or at school that put their lives at risk. These risks shape the decision of parents to not send their children to school.
زيادة عدد المهاجرين المحتجزين بطرابلس ثلاثة أضعاف في 5 أيام
Doctors Without Borders revealed that the Libyan authorities detained at least 5,000 migrants in five days as part of a security lockdown. The organization stated that many people are detained in overcrowded and unsanitary conditions without adequate food, water, shelter, or medical aid. The government launched a security campaign against drug dealers, alcohol smugglers, and illegal immigrants.
UN Habitat UNDP FAO to launch adaptation fund project to address climate change
UN Habitat announced that it plans to target a capacity building project to address climate change impacts in the municipalities of Al Mleiha, Zebdine, Deir El Assafir and Marj El Sultan in rural Damascus. The Adaptation Fund project aims to make communities more resilient to climate change, such as higher temperatures and drought. Plans include wastewater treatment and advanced irrigation methods.
UN: Syrian refugees in Lebanon struggle to survive amid worst socio-economic crisis in decades
UNHCR, the World Food Programme (WFP), and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) announced their alarm that nearly the entire Syrian refugee population in Lebanon cannot afford the survival minimal expenditure basket (SMEB). At least 90% of Syrian refugees live in extreme poverty there, and 60% reside in unsafe and overcrowded living situations. The agencies stressed that these issues are also impacting the Lebanese host community.
The Degrading Treatment of Migrant Children and Adults in Northern France | HRW
The Human Rights Watch released a report shedding light on the French government's policy of dealing with immigrants residing in Calais in Northern France. The report noted that the authorities executed at least 950 eviction orders in Calais in 2020. In the process they confiscated more than 5,000 tents and sleeping bags. The report found that the police prevented humanitarian aid which contains basic necessities from reaching migrants. The report concluded that the abusive practices by the French government are implementing distinctive immigration.
Israel OKs some 3,000 new settler homes, despite U.S. rebuke
AP News reported that Israel approved over 3,000 new settler structures in the Palestinian West Bank on October 27. The deciding committee was also supposed to approve 1,300 new homes for Palestinians under Israeli control, but this motion has yet to be passed. At its height in 2020, the Israeli government approved 12,000 new settlements. Opponents argued that these actions demonstrate that the new Israeli government and U.S. administration are continuing the legacy of their predecessors, despite rhetoric calling for better Palestinian relations.
Officials in Yemen: Houthi blockade restricts aid, movement
On October 17, AP News reported on the continuing 3 week-long Houthi blockade on the Mar’ib province of Abdiya, cutting off humanitarian aid and movement. Marib provincial Gov. Sheikh Sultan al-Aradah accused the Houthis of commiting genocide by denying residents of food, medicine and other essential needs. This escalation is part of the Houthi’s strategy to take over the regional capital of Mar’ib.
Iraq/Kurdistan Region: Former ISIS Suspects Stuck in Limbo
Human Rights Watch (HRW) reported that dozens of men, many of whom were trafficked child soldiers for ISIS, risk rearrest should they enter Baghdad-controlled territory to reunite with their families. Most of the men reside in a camp in the Kurdistan region, and they are not permitted to travel elsewhere in the region. Most plan to flee to Turkey if they can acquire the funds, as they see no plausible future in Iraq.
Capturing the Complexity of Lebanon’s Civil War and Its Legacies
Published in the Middle East Research and Information Project (MERIP), this article outlined how many of today’s crises can be traced to the aftermath of the 1975–1990 civil war, which solidified wartime structures into the political system. The article traces MERIP’s coverage of the conflict, including displacement and refugee populations, from the 1970s to the present.
Investing in refugee talent
The International Center for Refugee Policy Development reviews European efforts to recruit and host skilled refugees for labor market needs through targeted scholarships and community sponsorship programs. The article argues for an integrated approach that combines the humanitarian needs of refugees with the labor needs of host countries in Europe.
Greece: 3 girls, 1 woman die after migrant dinghy sinks
Published in AP News, Greek Coast Guard reported the death of 4 migrants on a sunken dinghy off the coast of Turkey. 22 migrants on the boat were rescued. 3 of the dead migrants were girls between the ages of 3 and 14. In reaction to the events, the Greek Migration Minister accused the Turkish government of failing to observe its 2016 agreement with the EU to try to keep asylum-seekers from embarking on the journey to Greece.
Impact of COVID-19 Movement Restrictions on Migrants along the Eastern Corridor (August 2021)
IOM published its periodical report on the effects of COVID-19 on global mobility and risks for vulnerable populations as of August 31. The report found that mobility restrictions in Djibouti, Ethiopia and Somalia remain in place, but Yemen opened 15 sea borders points and 3 land border points this summer. Migrant flows from the Horn of Africa to Yemen continue to decline overall, though August saw a 12% increase in migration to Yemen. Most migrants arrive in the Arabian Peninsula via Djibouti.
Our Lives Are Like Death: Syrian Refugee Returns from Lebanon and Jordan
HRW reported that Syrian returnees from Lebanon and Jordan are facing severe human rights abuses and persecution at the hands of the Syrian government and affiliated militias. Despite the lack of active conflict hostilities since 2018, the report concluded that Syria is not fit for safe return due to numerous cases of detention, state violence, property violations, and lack of access to basic needs. In line with the UNHCR decision not to begin the return of refugees, HRW is calling for host countries like Denmark and Lebanon to halt their return programs.
Moving Beyond Humanitarian Assistance: Supporting Jordan as a Refugee-hosting Country (September 2021)
The World Refugee & Migration Council released a report that analyzes the impact of Syrian refugees on Jordan’s economy and presents recommendations for the international community to best support these vulnerable populations. The report found that most Syrians in Jordan originate from rural areas, are generally less educated than their Jordanian peers, and are employed in the low wage, informal sector. Given the cost of providing public services for Syrian refugees and the predicted longevity of their Jordanian residency, the report recommends programs to facilitate the educational and economic inclusion of Syrian refugees.
Iraq: Protection Analysis Report: Right to identity and civil documentation
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) published a report on the challenges and solutions for Iraqi authorities to distribute identification documentation to IDPs and returnees, including birth certificates and “United ID Cards.” The report recommends for Iraqi authorities to provide more clarity on information about security clearance or tribal denunciation processes, allow IDPs to register in their location of displacement, and ease the process for female headed households to pass Iraqi citizenship to their children.
Realities of Climate-Induced Migration in Iraq’s Southern Cities
الحقائق الناجمة عن الهجرة بسبب تغيير املناخ في مدن جنوب العراق
IOM published a report on how environmental degradation, primarily water degradation and scarcity, over the past decade has damaged the local agricultural sector, which historically employed most of the rural population. The report found that climate migrants struggle to integrate into fragile urban environments due to lack of public services, formal job opportunities, and legal issues. Additionally, most IDPs in Basra, a major southern city, are currently climate migrants instead of IDPs fleeing conflict in the north.
Resilience in the West Bank: Impact evaluation of the ‘From Emergency Food Security to Durable Livelihoods: Building Resilience in the Occupied Palestinian Territory
القدرة على التحمل في الضفة الغربية
Oxfam conducted an effectiveness review of its project “From Emergency Food Security to Durable Livelihoods: Building Resilience in the Occupied Palestinian Territories,” which took place in the West Bank from 2015 to 2018. The project aimed to manage emergency humanitarian assistance to Bedouin communities. However, the report found that the project had little impact on access to veterinarian services, rehabilitation of protected lands, low participation in community-based legal protection mechanisms. The report recommends implementing stronger constant feedback and incorporating context-specific policies to more effectively implement change.