[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 Development (COVID)
IOM Launches COVID-19 Vaccination Campaign for Migrants in Yemen
The UN Migration Agency (IOM) announced that it aims to vaccinate 7,500 migrants stranded in Yemen at its Migrant Response Points in Aden and Ma’rib. The agency estimates that there are 36,000 migrants stranded in the country due to pandemic disruptions. Migrants in Yemen represent a vulnerable population because many stay in overcrowded and unsanitary housing where the virus can easily spread.
COVID-19 and vaccination in Libya: An assessment of migrants’ knowledge, attitudes and practices
IOM published an assessment of migrants’ knowledge and actions regarding the COVID-19 pandemic in order to inform risk communication and community engagement (RCCE) activities in Libya. Despite high levels of pandemic awareness, many migrants do not follow preventative measures. The report found that migrants’ faced the greatest barriers to healthcare due to fear of detention, discrimination, and financial insecurity. Additionally, about 40% of migrants are concerned about the effects of the COVID-19 vaccine.
Governments pledge over US$1 billion to support UN Refugee Agency’s work for 2022
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) announced that donor governments contributed USD 1.054 billion to support the agency’s operations in 2022, and USD 808 million to support its operations in 2023 and beyond. However, these funds only represent a fraction of the USD 8.994 billion budget. Half of that budget directly provides emergency services to forcibly displaced persons. Despite this setback, progress has been achieved. UNHCR documented an increase in the numbers of refugee resettlement places made available by states and a reopening of pathways for work, study and family reunification in 2021.
WFP provides immediate food assistance to flood victims in Iraq
برنامج الأغذية العالمي يوفر معونة غذائية عاجلة لضحايا السيول في العراق
In response to the flash floods that hit northern Iraq last week, the UN World Food Programme (WFP) and its partner World Vision International (WVI) provided 235 flood-affected Syrian refugee families in Qushtapa camp in Erbil with emergency ready-to-eat food assistance. In this heavy hit camp, approximately 1,400 Syrian refugees’ dwellings suffered rain damage.
Iraq: Second Phase of the Return of Remains of Yazidi Victims of ISIL Concludes
لم شمل رفات ضحايا تنظيم داعش من الأيزيديين مع عائلاتهم في كوجو
According to the UN Investigative Team to Promote Accountability for Crimes Committed by Da’esh/ISIL (UNITAD), in partnership with the Iraqi Government, it returned the remains of 41 Yazidi victims recovered from mass grave sites in Kojo, Iraq. An official burial ceremony took place on December 9 and was attended by local officials, UN officials, and Yazidi community leaders and members who were displaced and fled the country during the conflict.
'Back to me in a coffin' - bodies of migrants drowned in Channel reach Iraq
Reuters reported that at least 16 of 27 Iraqis who drowned in the English Channel in November were returned to Kurdistan Iraq on December 26. The November tragedy marked the largest ever amount of migrant deaths in the English Channel. For the past decade, hundreds of thousands of migrants from the Middle East and Africa have migrated into and across European borders in search of better lives. Smuggling across major waterways is dangerous and widespread.
Two children die and another two still missing in deadly shipwrecks off Libya’s coast
وفاة طفلين في حين لا يزال طفلان آخران مفقودين بعد تحطّم سفن قبالة الساحل الليبي
UNICEF reported on three shipwrecks off of Libya’s coast the last week of December 2021. Agency officials claim that at least 70 people drowned and 100 remain missing. Two of the dead are children. Additionally, two drowned children were found off the Libyan shore that week. Casualties from this perilous journey were up 25% in 2021 compared to 2020.
Libya: Violence erupts outside UNHCR center where hundreds of migrants are protesting
InfoMigrants reported that on December 12, violence broke out in front of the UNHCR Center in Tripoli. Hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers have been camping out at the site since early October to demand their evacuation from Libya. UNHCR closed its doors around that time due to overcrowding and limited capacity. On Sunday, UNHCR published on social media that a rally among the asylum seekers resulted in a fire, and participants in the protests claim that the authorities beat them. UNHCR condemned all violence at their operations.
Charity boat with 440 migrants to dock in Italy
Reuters reported that German search vessel Sea Watch 3 rescued 400 migrants, including 200 mostly unaccompanied minors, who had attempted to cross the Mediterranean to Europe. The vessel aims to land in the Italian port of Pozzallo, Sicily. Earlier this month, the Italian government permitted 550 migrants and asylum seekers from a different boat to land in Augusta.
2021 in review: Migration and forced displacement
The New Humanitarian posted its annual review of global mobility and forced displacement on December 22 2021. Although cross-border travel remained below pre-pandemic levels, forced internal displacement and migration numbers rose from 82.4 million at the end of 2020 to more than 84 million by June 2021. As vulnerable people attempted to migrate to more wealthy countries with access to peace, healthcare and economic opportunities, many of these countries strengthened their prevention efforts against asylum seekers, like the Iraqi and Afghan migrants in Belarus.
Lebanon: Syrian Refugee Children Blocked from School
Human Rights Watch (HRW) urged Lebanon’s Education Ministry to extend the December 4, 2021 school registration deadline for Syrian children and end policies that are blocking Syrian refugee children’s access to education. Students are not automatically enrolled each year, and Syrian refugee families are largely prevented from obtaining the proper paperwork for their childrens’ education. One such document includes a Lebanese birth certificate, which 70% of Syrian refugee children lack in the country. And if families succeed in submitting these documents, their children are widely placed in “second shift” schools, which prioritize Lebanese students. These barriers threaten to leave a generation of Syrians behind in education and opportunities.
Conflict and climate change collide: Why northeast Syria is running dry
The New Humanitarian published an article on the consequences of rising water wars along the Euphrates in Turkey, Syria, and Iraq. As temperatures rise and precipitation patterns become more extreme, water becomes more scarce in these regions. Syrians accuse Turkey of creating water station stoppages at Alouk on the southern Turkish border, which contributes to the water crisis in Syria. More than 4 million people are affected by the water shortage, and local farmers and displaced persons are some of the hardest hit communities.
Israel sets goal of doubling number of Jewish settlers on Golan Heights
Reuters reported that the Israeli government announced plans as of December 26 to double the number of Jewish settlers in Golan Heights within five years. The current blueprint outlines the construction of 7,500 additional housing units in the main settlement of Katzrin. The state captured Golan Heights in the 1967 war, but has not interfered with the territory as widely as the West Bank due to its remote location.
UN urges Belarus, Poland to address refugees’ ‘dire conditions’
Reuters reported that the UN Human Rights office seeks for Belarus and Poland to "ensure that refugees' and migrants' human rights are at the centre of their actions" in regards to the migrant crisis at their borders. The thousands of migrants, mostly from Iraq and Afghanistan, have been left with little clean water, food, or shelter as neither government has claimed responsibility over them and have blocked humanitarian groups from entering the territory.
Iraq: Flash Floods - Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA)
The International Federation of the Red Cross and Red Crescent societies (IFRC) published a report to support those affected by flash floods this month in the provinces of Erbil & Kirkuk, Iraq. Over 7,500 individuals have lost property, been displaced, or are missing. In partnership with local and international authorities, IFRC is assisting in rescue efforts, relocation of survivors, flood metrics, and a response plan for the long term.
Summary of Multi-Sector Study for IDPs in Yemen "Baseline Study"
دراسة متعددة القطاعات عن النازحيــن في اليمــن
This report from the internationally recognized government of Yemen follows displacement trends from the beginnings of the Houthi invasion of Sana’a in 2004 through 2021. It claims that over 4 million and 100 thousand Yemenis have been displaced due to the conflict with the Houthis. The report contains statistics of IDP accomediations and other housing needs as well, and calls for transparency and collaboration with international humanitarian actors in order to more effectively address this crisis.
IDP Shelter Situation in Syria - Winter 2021
This Global Shelter Cluster report investigates shelter conditions across the whole of Syria as part of the UN’s Humanitarian Needs Assessment Program (HMAP). It explores shelter types, settlement types, shelter damages, issues reported in shelters, hazards, evictions, occupancy status and rental conditions. This report found that 72% of IDP households reside in apartments or finished homes, but 27% of IDPs in the north remain in tent camps. Additionally, 43% of IDPs report not having sufficient funds for necessary home repairs.
Crossroads: the Syrian children’s rights and the Global Refugee Forum
Based on a World Vision’s desk analysis of child protection and education pledges at the 2019 Global Refugee Forum (GRF), this briefing highlights the failure of key Syria actors to address the protection needs of Syrian children. For the millions of Syrian refugee children, returning to their country is not a viable option in the short term. So, World Vision calls on all actors and world leaders gathering at the High-Level Officials Meeting to ensure the soaring needs of Syrian children, in Syria and in host communities, are addressed.
Legal Identity and Housing, Land and Property Rights of Syrian Refugees from a Durable Solutions Perspective: Challenges and Opportunities
UNHCR and the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) published this report on challenges that Syrian refugees in Jordan, Lebanon, and the Kurdistan Iraq face in accessing civil documentation and Housing, Land, and Property (HLP) rights from a durable solutions perspective, including in the context of returns to Syria. Specifically, it focuses on issues related to death registration, civil registration for families with missing relatives, and the link between a lack of civil documentation and the enjoyment of HLP rights, which are particularly significant issues during conflict and displacement.
Assessing and Monitoring the Impact of COVID-19 on Food Security and Livelihoods of Migrant Groups and Libyans (November 2021)
The World Food Program (WFP) investigated the impact of the pandemic on the food and job security of migrants and host communities in Libya. All surveyed migrants noted an increase in food insecurity, and 25% are reportedly food insecure, and 46% are food insufficient. One in four migrants also report facing job insecurity, as the major form of employment for the population is daily casual labor, which is unstable by nature. WFP found that more recently arrived migrants face greater levels of instability due to the lack of a social safety net yet.
Unsafe and Undignified: The forced expulsion of migrants from Libya
In response to the Global Compact for Safe, Orderly and Regular Migration (GCM), the UN Human Rights agency published a report that identifies, documents and analyzes human rights violations and abuses as well as protection gaps impacting migrants in Libya. Major problem areas include: lack of due process and procedural safeguards; the use of arbitrary arrest and detention to enforce returns; dangerous and undignified forced return journeys; and lack of access to justice. The report presents recommendations to relevant governments and other stakeholders, aimed at ensuring compliance with international human rights law and standards.
Migrant Workers’ Rights and Women’s Rights – Women Migrant Domestic Workers in Lebanon: A Gender Perspective
UN Women published a report arguing that gender equity cannot be achieved in Lebanon without dismantling the kafala system. Women make up 99% of domestic migrant workers in the country. The report demonstrates the need for solutions to issues of sexual and reproductive health rights and access, sexual and gender-based violence, racialized and gendered economic inequality, maternal rights and child custody issues, and gender discrimination in legislative and administrative procedures governing migrant women’s lives.
Lebanon’s Deepening Crisis: The Case for a Sustainable Aid Response
Refugee International argued that Lebanon’s deepening economic, political, and humanitarian crisis requires the government and other stakeholders to foremost protect the most vulnerable segments of the population, primarily refugees. However, the report recommends that propagated humanitarian aid is not sustainable to upright the crises, especially in the face of donor fatigue. In order to achieve long term pillars of stability, stakeholders should prioritize alleviating refugee hardship, create an inclusive COVID response, improve government accountability, and empower local Lebanese NGOs, entrepreneurs, and farmers.
Unlocking Learning: The implementation and effectiveness of digital learning for Syrian refugees in Lebanon
UNICEF provided a guideline for its partnership with the Akelius Foundation to implement digital courses on tablets and mobile phones for language learning of Syrian refugees in Lebanon. The report investigates the digital course’s use in a blended learning environment where it was used on tablets by students as part of traditional face-to-face classroom instruction with teachers. The analysis examines the transition to remote learning where the course was used on devices owned by the household, supported by teachers remotely. This type of learning showed positive results for language and art competencies in an August–November 2020 study.