[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)
The Government of the People’s Republic of China provides COVID-19 vaccines to help protect Palestine refugees
UNRWA expressed gratitude to the Chinese government for donating 200,000 Sinopharm COVID-19 vaccines to Palestinian refugees in Syria, Lebanon, and Jordan as a show of clear solidarity with Palestinian refugees. UNRWA administered the last of these doses in February 2022.
UN experts seek to verify mass graves of migrants in Libya
AP News reported that a UN investigation team is looking into claims of mass graves at a human trafficking center in northwest Libya. Chief investigator Mohamed Auajjar, a former Moroccan justice minister, and his team of 15 individuals work out of Tunis, Tunisia. They have gathered claims from 8 migrants, NGOs, and local authorities, and aim to publish their findings in June 2022.
استئناف عمليات ترحيل المهاجرين من إسبانيا إلى المغرب - مهاجر نيوز
According to Infomigrants, the Spanish authorities announced the resumption of deportations of Moroccan immigrants who arrived in the Canary Islands. The process of returning Moroccan migrants without legal residence in Spain has been suspended for nearly a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The first flight left at the end of March and carried 20 migrants from Gran Canaria airport to El-Ayoun airport in Morocco. Before Covid, up to 80 migrants per week were returned to Morocco.
Germany repatriates women, children from the Syrian camp
AP News reported that the German government repatriated 10 women and 27 children from a Syrian displacement camp, allegedly holding ISIS members. Some of the women were arrested upon landing in Germany, but the authorities insisted that the children would have the opportunity for a better future.
"أوكسفام" تطلق حملة تبرعات لمساعدة اللاجئين والنازحين في اليمن وسوريا وأوكرانيا ودول أخرى - مهاجر نيوز
Oxfam’s branch in Italy launched a fundraising campaign entitled “Save lives in Emergency” to ensure that necessities such as water, food, and shelter are accessible. This aid is directed at countries with the largest number of refugees and displaced people, such as Yemen, Syria, and Ukraine.
Germany won’t train the Libyan Coast Guard due to alleged abuse
AP News reported that the German military will stop conducting training with the Libyan Coast Guard due to allegations of the mistreatment of migrants and NGO workers. The announcement arrived at the same time Germany committed to another year in the European Union mission, Operation Irini, that aims to enforce the Libyan arms embargo.
في ذكرى اندلاع الاحتجاجات.. دعوة لعدم نسيان أطفال سوريا - مهاجر نيوز
Coinciding with the eleventh anniversary of the outbreak of demonstrations in Syria against Bashar Al-Assad, Save the Children stresses that all should be done to ensure that the children who are struggling in Syria are not forgotten. The organization states that children across Syria are living in appallingly unsafe conditions where they are exposed to hunger, disease, and malnutrition. Around 15 schools in northwest Syria were attacked in 2021 and around 2.4 million children dropped out of school that same year.
Syrians Watch Ukraine with Fear and Hope
Human Rights Watch (HRW) highlighted the inequitable response between Europe’s response toward Syrian refugees and Ukrainian refugees. Despite the double standard of media coverage and Western solidarity, Syrian refugees and activist groups have quickly committed to aiding Ukrainians and standing in solidarity against the Russian regime.
تونس: العثور على جثث أربعة مهاجرين وسط الصحراء - مهاجر نيوز
According to Infomigrants, Tunisian regional authorities announced that the bodies of four migrants from Sub-Saharan Africa were found in Eastern Tunisia near the border with Algeria. According to the regional health director, the people died on March 3rd due to cold and starvation and were found five days later. The migrants were all men and their ages ranged between 20 and 35.
IOM Assists More than 500 Nigerians Stranded in Libya Safely Return Home
IOM announced its fourth successful repatriation flight from Libya to Nigeria for Nigerian migrants thus far in 2022. Since the program began in 2017, IOM has assisted 19,452 Nigerians in returning home on 94 charter flights. The pandemic and conflict in Libya have made it difficult for many migrants to leave the country.
UNHCR ramps up aid to thousands displaced by Somalia’s drought
UNHCR published an overview of its efforts to assist Somalians in their country’s third consecutive failed rainy season. In the first week of March 2022, 17,000 Somalians were forced to leave their homes due to drought. The agency predicts that if this trend continues, over half a million Somalians will become displaced between the beginning of 2022 and the end of March. Thus far, UNHCR has supported humanitarian groups in distributing basic necessities and shelter to 36,000 IDPs.
غرق 25 مهاجرا على الأقل قبالة سواحل تونس - مهاجر نيوز
The International Organization for Migration announced that the bodies of 25 migrants, most of whom were Tunisian and Syrian, have been recovered off of the Tunisian shore near the city of Nabeul. The organization is searching for possible survivors since 70 migrants were on the boat that sank. The Mediterranean is one of the most dangerous migration routes as IOM estimates that 23,000 people have died since 2014.
أنجلينا تزور اليمن لـ"تسليط الضوء على الآثار الكارثية للحرب" - مهاجر نيوز
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees stated that Angelina Jolie arrived in Yemen on March 6th on a visit that aims to shed light on the catastrophic effects of the seven-year conflict. Jolie stated on her Instagram page that “[she] landed in Aden to meet displaced families and refugees in order to show [her] support of the Yemeni people.” Her visit includes a scheduled visit to the internationally recognized Yemeni government in Aden and officials in the Houthi government.
Libya, Italy, Malta: Place to safely disembark urgently needed for 111 people rescued from the Mediterranean Sea
Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) reported on March 11 that Italy and Malta denied MSF’s requests to disembark 111 survivors rescued by the Geo Barents vessel in early March. MSF reported that many of these survivors suffer psychological distress from previous crossing attempts and detentions by the Libyan Coast Guard.
أغلبهم مصريون.. غرق حوالي 19 مهاجرا بعد انقلاب قاربهم قبالة سواحل ليبيا - مهاجر نيوز
According to Infomigrants, the Libyan authorities stated that on March 11th a boat carrying twenty migrants of Egyptian and Syrian nationalities sank in the Mediterranean sea off the eastern Libyan shore near Ras Bayad beach. Bad weather has prevented good search efforts as only three people have been saved and one body recovered.
“We can do it”: Female empowerment & green initiatives at the women program association in Burj Barajneh camp
UNRWA interviewed the head of the Women Programme Association (WPA), a community-based organization in Burj Barajneh Camp, Lebanon about her organization’s efforts to focus on environmental health for Palestinian refugee women. Across eight camps, WPA conducts projects like rooftop gardens, recycling, composting, COVID awareness campaigns, and hygiene support.
جدل في الدنمارك بعد تسهيل لجوء الأوكرانيين والطلب من اللاجئين السوريين العودة إلى بلادهم - مهاجر نيوز
According to Infomigrants, controversy erupted in Denmark after activists accused the Danish government of hypocrisy for working on legislation on facilitating hosting Ukrainian refugees while demanding that Syrian refugees return home. The proposed legislation makes it easier for Ukrainians to obtain residence permits for them to begin enrolling in schools and working. One of the discrepancies in treatment is that Syrian and Afghani refugees were called immigrants until they obtained their refugee status while Ukrainians immediately obtained their refugee status. The Danish Minister of Immigration and Integration stated that all refugees are treated similarly and all have the same rights in the Danish asylum system.
Feeling the Heat: Adapting to Climate Change in the Middle East and Central Asia
The International Monetary Fund (IMF) published a paper that addresses climate change challenges and consequences in the Middle East. The paper addresses the connection between desertification, water stress, rising sea levels, and the consequent economic disruptions, food insecurity, inequality, displacement, and conflict. The paper recommends boosting climate resilience efforts in the region to mediate these challenges.
A Tale of Two Refugee Crises
The Inter Press Service, a news agency highlighting voices from the Global South, published an opinion piece on the ongoing different responses to Ukrainian refugees and refugees from the Global South – Syria, many parts of Africa, Afghanistan – in the European Union. The authors, who work at the Global Detention Project in Geneva, argue that generous accommodations given to Ukrainian refugees in the Russian Ukrainian conflict should extend to refugees from the Global South as a show of solidarity against discrimination and racism.
How Yemeni parents are banding together to keep their kids in school
The New Humanitarian reported on the informal trend across Houthi-held parts of Yemen that parents are banding together to pay teachers out of their own pockets to keep their children in school and prevent them from being recruited as Houthi child soldiers. This short-term solution puts considerable financial strain on Yemeni families and does not relieve teachers from deep poverty. Without the internationally-backed government to fund schools and lack of protections, many teachers are leaving these areas.
Egypt: Police Target Sudanese Refugee Activists
مصر: الشرطة تستهدف ناشطين لاجئين سودانيين
HRW found that Egyptian police arbitrarily arrested over 30 Sudanese refugees and asylum seekers during raids early in 2022 and tortured some of the detainees. The organization details the circumstances of many of these arrests, including those of activists who were protesting over issues of discrimination and racism in front of the UNHCR Cairo headquarters and the Sudanese embassy.
Russia’s Invasion of Ukraine Exacerbates Hunger in the Middle East, North Africa
الغزو الروسي لأوكرانيا يُفاقم الجوع في الشرق الأوسط وشمال أفريقيا
HRW raised the alarm that the Ukraine crisis is exacerbating food insecurity in the MENA region. Ukraine and Russia are leading agricultural exporters to the region, especially for the millions displaced who now depend on these food imports. Bread prices are already rising across the region in response to the fighting in eastern Ukraine, which produces a large proportion of wheat in the country. On March 9, Ukraine banned food exports to mediate the domestic humanitarian crisis.
COVID-19 and threats to irregular migrants in Kuwait and the Gulf
IOM published a report with Georgetown University on the experiences of 26 irregular migrants living in Kuwait during the pandemic. Irregular migrant status encompasses abscondment from an employer, overstaying visas, and deportation, among others. Many had depended on informal friends and relatives as essential support systems, especially as kafeels (sponsors) are frequently unwilling to support these migrants. However, the pandemic disrupted many of their informal support networks and the government is conducting deportations. The report advocates for a stronger Kuwaiti policy on the health and welfare of irregular migrants.
EU Engagement with Contested Refugee Returns in Lebanon: The Aftermath of Resilience
This study published in Geopolitics finds that the EU’s policy rhetoric and investments in Lebanon towards building “resilience” to displacement misalign with its return policy towards returning Syrian and Lebanon migrants from within the EU. So, the authors argue that this policy of “resilience” contributes to the formalization of the weak support mechanisms that prompt refugees to return prematurely to both Lebanon and Syria.
Refugees and migrants’ assistance needs and access to services in Libya
The Mixed Migration Center published a snapshot of migrants and refugees in Libya and their access to needed humanitarian assistance in early 2021. Overall, the snapshot found that 73% of refugee and migrant respondents had severe or extreme multi-sectoral needs and that only 8% had received humanitarian assistance in the past 6 months. The study attributes some of these conditions to mass arrests and eviction campaigns targeting refugees and migrants.
منظمة تونسية: البطالة وقمع الحريات وتردي الأوضاع الاقتصادية عوامل ساهمت في زيادة الهجرة - مهاجر نيوز
The Tunisian Forum for Economic and Social Rights affirmed in its annual report that there has been an increase in migration caused by a rise in unemployment, COVID-19, violation of freedoms, deterioration of the economic situation, and the suppression of protests. The report found that the number of Tunisian minors who arrived in Italy in 2021 is four times that of 2017 which is a new record. Around 6,844 minors have arrived in Italy in the past five years.
Refugee Law and Refugee Lives
The TemPro research project released a podcast series exploring the temporal terms of asylum in Europe and globally. Notable episodes concerning migration and displacement in the Arab World include (a) one Syrian’s exploration of the meaning of “protection” based on his experience as a refugee in Jordan and in Norway, and (b) temporary protection status for Syrian refugees in Turkey.