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Refugees and Migrants

    April 26, 2018

    On Thursday 26 April, Amnesty International raised a billboard at the San Ysidro Port of Entry (POE) on the US–Mexico border in Tijuana, with a message reminding US and Mexican authorities of their obligations to facilitate asylum claims and to respect the universal human right of all people to seek asylum in other countries. 

    The billboard also invites asylum seekers to report to Amnesty International if authorities turn them away or otherwise violate their human right to seek asylum.

    As hundreds of people who have traveled in caravan from Central America prepare to claim asylum over the weekend at the San Ysidro POE, an Amnesty International delegation will be on the ground to monitor the conduct of authorities in the reception and facilitation of their asylum claims. 

    April 24, 2018

    Responding to the Israeli government’s declaration to the High Court that it will stop forcible deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to “third countries”, Amnesty International’s Deputy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Magdalena Mughrabi said:

    “While the Israeli government’s declaration to the High Court that it will stop forcible deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers to “third countries” is welcome, there is still deep cause for concern.

    “Israel is still conducting what it calls “voluntary” deportations, though in reality there is nothing voluntary about them. Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers agree to them under pressure. Israel remains under the obligation not to transfer anyone to a country where they would be at real risk of serious human rights violations, or where they would not be protected against such transfer.

    “Amnesty International will keep monitoring Israel’s deportations of Eritrean and Sudanese asylum-seekers closely.”

     

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    April 24, 2018

    US and Mexican authorities must stop demonizing participants of the caravan from Central America and respect their fundamental right to seek asylum, said Amnesty International today, ahead of their expected arrival at the border between both countries later this week.

    “Seeking asylum is not a crime in the USA or anywhere. The efforts of US officials to tarnish asylum seekers as criminals are cynical fabrications that ring hollow,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    “Threatening to indefinitely detain, prosecute, and deport these asylum seekers is a cruel effort to stigmatize, terrify and push away traumatized people, many of whom have already given up everything to flee desperate circumstances in their home countries.”

    Amnesty International has received reports that in recent days Mexican immigration officials have detained and sought to deport Central American families from the caravan who planned to claim asylum in the USA.

    April 23, 2018

    Trinidad and Tobago must guarantee and protect the rights of all asylum seekers and refugees, said Amnesty International in an open letter to Prime Minister Keith Rowley today, following the deportation of 82 people from Venezuela on 21 April.

    “Millions of Venezuelans are fleeing an unprecedented human crisis in their country. They need a life jacket, not to be sent back to a country where they may face torture or other grave human rights violations,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International.

    The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said that the group included registered asylum-seekers and individuals who had declared an intention to apply for refugee status.

    Mass deportations are prohibited under international law, as is the violation of the principles of non-penalization, non-refoulement, and confidentiality, and the rights to due process and judicial protection.

    April 23, 2018

    Responding to the passing of an asylum and immigration bill that will tighten asylum rules, Cécile Coudriou, President of Amnesty International France, declares:

    “This bill, and the discussions around its text, fails to address the difficulties faced by migrants and asylum seekers in France and the need to fully respect their rights. Those drafting this bill missed numerous opportunities including putting an end to the detention of children and providing dignified protection for those fleeing war or persecution.

    “The majority of parliamentarians were aware that the ‘offence of solidarity’ could be wrongfully used to prosecute people providing voluntary assistance to asylum seekers. Yet the final draft of the bill remains unaligned with international law.

    “The new list of immunities and the conditions for not being prosecuted leaves the sword of Damocles dangling over the heads of activists, citizens and organizations that act to protect human rights.

    March 19, 2018

    Following yesterday’s seizure of a Spanish NGO rescue boat by the Italian authorities and the investigation of its crew for "criminal conspiracy aimed at facilitating illegal immigration” after they refused to hand over to the Libyan Coast Guard refugees and migrants rescued in international waters over 70 nautical miles off the Libyan coast, Amnesty International’s Campaigns Director for Europe, Fotis Filippou said:

    “By requesting the Libyan coastguard to coordinate rescue and then impounding the NGO ship that refused to hand over the refugees and migrants, the Italian authorities have shown a reckless disregard for common decency. Rather than being criminalized for trying to save refugees and migrants who have fled horrific detention conditions and systematic human rights abuses in Libya, NGOs saving lives at seashould be supported.

    “The Italian authorities are once more revealing where their true priorities lie: namely shutting off the central Mediterranean route, with scant regard to the suffering caused. This appears to mark yet another step towards the outsourcing to the Libyan Coast Guard of the patrolling of the central Mediterranean.

    March 14, 2018

    By Rebecca Ma, Associate Campaigner, Amnesty International USA

    For the past three years, fourteen-year-old Astrid and her father Arturo were living an ordinary life in Easton, Pennsylvania. She was in the eighth grade, studying at Easton Area Middle School, where her favorite subject is Math.

    Less than a month before the much anticipated quinceañera celebration of her fifteenth birthday, life as Astrid knew it was turned upside down.

    On February 20, at approximately 5:00 AM, Astrid was asleep in her room when she was awoken by six male Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) armed agents standing before her bed and yelling: “IMMIGRATION — GET UP!” They ordered everyone in the house into a room and asked them for identification. The ICE agents did not show a warrant or say why they were there.

    March 14, 2018

    The UN Mission in South Sudan (UNMISS) must boost efforts to protect civilians against the senseless violence that has plagued the country for over four years, and publicly report on the human rights situation, Amnesty International said today.

    The UN Mission, whose mandate is set to be extended tomorrow, has a crucial role to play in providing much-needed civilian protection, and timely public reporting on the human rights situation in the country.

    “With the continuing conflict and associated human rights violations in South Sudan, the possibility of civilians returning to their homes or being resettled remains remote. The Protection of Civilians (POC) sites are truly life-saving for hundreds of ousands of people in desperate need of protection,” said Dr. Joan Nyanyuki, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East Africa, the Horn and the Great Lakes.

    March 14, 2018

    Leaders of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and Australia must take a strong stand against ongoing crimes against humanity targeting Rohingya in Myanmar as they meet this weekend, Amnesty International said.

    Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s State Counsellor and de facto political leader, is expected to attend the first ever ASEAN-Australia Summit, taking place in Sydney on 17-18 March.

    “The orchestrated campaign to drive Rohingya out of Myanmar and ensure they cannot return must end. Even if the violence has subsided, ethnic cleansing continues – authorities are starving Rohingya and erecting security force bases on their lands in a bid to force them out,” said James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific.

    “The human rights crisis in Rakhine State, and Myanmar as a whole, must be top of the agenda this weekend in Sydney. ASEAN has been shamefully silent on what is happening in one of its member states so far. It is high time for the organisation to take meaningful action, and to call an emergency ASEAN Summit to address the issue.”

    March 12, 2018

    Responding to the news that UN officials have called for nearly $1bn (USD) in assistance for the nearly one million Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, Biraj Patnaik, said:

    “The money is urgently needed to help the Rohingya refugees to be able to live in safe and adequate living conditions in the camps in Bangladesh. This is not a short-term crisis and there is little prospect of them being able to return to their homes in Rakhine State any time soon.

    “As the monsoon season looms, there is a great risk of landslides and floods striking the camps. The threat of diseases, such as diphtheria, measles and cholera, has to be aggressively combated with mass vaccinations and appropriate sanitation. The refugees also need food, clean water and healthcare. The needs of the local host communities, which have been severely affected, must also be carefully considered.

    March 07, 2018
    Taibeh Abbasi with her younger brother Ehsan.

    By Maria Serrano, Campaigner on Refugee and Migrants Rights

    Would you go to Afghanistan tomorrow? If you follow the news at all, the answer is probably no. Maybe you read about the truck bomb that killed at least 150 people last May, or the gunmen who stormed the offices of the charity Save the Children in January, killing four people. Perhaps you wondered how anyone could ever feel safe in Kabul after an ambulance packed with explosives blew up in a crowded street. Over 100 people died and at least 235 were injured.

    If you are in Europe, it’s likely that your government would also advise you against travelling to Afghanistan, citing the high threat of kidnapping, indiscriminate attacks and clashes between armed groups.

    February 14, 2018

    Traumatized, exhausted, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are living out another chapter in their painful history as an unwanted people. Amnesty’s Deputy South Asia Director, Omar Waraich, joined a research mission to document their experiences in Cox’s Bazar, a district shaped by the sufferings of Rohingya people over centuries.

    February 07, 2018

    Released : 00:01 in Yangon on 08 February 2018 (12:31 EST on 07 February 2018)
    The Myanmar security forces’ devastating campaign against the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State is far from over, Amnesty International said today, as it published new evidence of ongoing violations that have forced hundreds more people to flee in recent weeks.
    In late January 2018, the organization interviewed 19 newly arrived Rohingya men and women in Bangladesh, who described how forced starvation, abductions and looting of property drove them to flee. Humanitarian agencies have documented thousands of new arrivals over the course of December and January, and many days still see scores of people streaming across the border.
    “Shielded by official denials and lies, and a concerted effort to deny access to independent investigators, Myanmar’s military continues to get away with crimes against humanity,” said Matthew Wells, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International, who has just returned from the organization’s latest research trip to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

    February 02, 2018

    Taibeh Abbasi is a teenage girl that was born in Iran to Afghan parents and fled to Norway with her mother and brothers in 2012. The Norwegian government will be putting her and her family at grave risk of serious human rights violations if it goes ahead with plans to return them to Afghanistan, a country that she has never even visited.

    Taibeh goes to school and dreams of becoming a doctor. If she is forced to return to Afghanistan her aspirations will be completely destroyed. The Norwegian government has justified the family’s deportation by claiming that Afghanistan is safe for returns – but it is not.

    However Taibeh is not alone, her classmates at school in Trondheim, led a campaign to stop their return. There was massive support from over 1,000 high school students that protested against the government’s threat to deport one of their classmates. Now Amnesty youth activists in Canada and from around the world are speaking out for Taibeh and her family. 

    February 01, 2018
    New facilities unsafe and do not meet refugees’ basic needs Refugees say they live with constant fear of violence Australia must policy of cruelty and neglect

    The Australian government has abandoned hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers, leaving them in a situation that more closely resembles punishment instead of protection in Papua New Guinea, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Punishment not protection: Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea documents how, since refugees were forcibly evicted from a transit centre on Manus Island in November 2017, they have been moved to newer but inadequate facilities where violence from the local community remains a constant threat.

    “Moving refugees and asylum seekers from one hellish situation to another is not a solution, it is just prolonging these desperate men’s suffering. The new centres on Manus Island are not just a safety risk but also leave those who live there without basic services,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.

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