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Refugees and Migrants

    May 06, 2016

    An upcoming UN plan for addressing the unprecedented global refugee crisis could be a game-changer if governments back it up with concrete and long-term commitments, said Amnesty International today.

    UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will publish a report on 9 May proposing a “Global Compact on responsibility-sharing” to create a more predictable and equitable way of responding to large movements of refugees. As part of the “Global Compact”, it will also call on governments to resettle at least 10% of the global refugee population (which currently stands at 19.5 million) annually.

    “The UN plan could be a game-changer, if it manages to deliver a clear, coordinated system that will ensure that the world’s wealthiest and most powerful countries pull their weight and collectively protect people fleeing war and persecution. But its success will hinge on governments agreeing a permanent system for sharing the responsibility to host and assist refugees ahead of the UN Refugee Summit in September. The ball is in their court,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, ‎Deputy Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    April 29, 2016

    The death of another refugee in an Australian-run detention centre on Nauru demonstrates the fatal flaws of a system that must be brought to an end, Amnesty International said today.

    “The desperate actions of this refugee underscore the perilous circumstances found in offshore processing centres run by the Australian government. As Amnesty International has been stressing for several years now, the current system is cruel, inhuman and needs to end,” said Champa Patel, Amnesty International’s Senior Research Adviser for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    A 23-year-old Iranian man known as Omid died in hospital in Brisbane, Australian officials confirmed, after reportedly being held for three years at the Australian-run facility on the Pacific island of Nauru. Omid had been granted refugee status. 

    “We have received reports of rape, sexual harassment and physical and psychological abuse at these centres, and this most recent death is another sad example of how Australia is letting down some of the world’s most vulnerable people,” said Champa Patel.

    April 17, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT+1 on Monday 18 April 2016

    With all eyes focused on the implementation of the recently agreed EU-Turkey deal, the plight of more than 46,000 refugees and migrants stuck in squalid conditions across mainland Greece, is in danger of being forgotten, said Amnesty International in a report released today.

    The report, Trapped in Greece: an avoidable refugee crisis, examines the situation of refugees and migrants – the majority women and children –trapped on mainland Greece, following the complete closure of the Macedonian border on 7 March.

    “The decision to close the Western Balkans route has left more than 46,000 refugees and migrants in appalling conditions and in a state of constant fear and uncertainty,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Director for Europe and Central Asia.

    April 15, 2016

    Today is the 104th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic.  On this day in 1912, some 1,514 people perished in the frigid waters of the Atlantic.  That is tragedy enough but 468 of those 1,514 people drowned entirely needlessly.  There were exactly 468 empty seats in the lifeboats launched from the Titanic.

    Perhaps it is not so easy to count the avoidable deaths in today’s refugee crisis.  But a clear analogy can be drawn.  The wealthy States of 2016 represent a lifeboat for the forcibly displaced.  How many lives are lost every day, as a result of States’ failure to respond adequately to the current refugee crisis?  Many States have the capacity, but lack the leadership to accept and protect more refugees, leaving empty seats in the lifeboats.  The developing world shoulders a disproportionate share of the responsibility to protect refugees.  Wealthier states can and must do more.

    April 14, 2016
    Released 8:30 EDT / 13:30 BST 14 April 2016   FIFA President Gianni Infantino cannot afford to continue the organization’s indifference to human rights abuses in Qatar, said Amnesty International today, following the publication of a report identifying major shortcomings in FIFA’s policies and practices.   FIFA hired John Ruggie, a professor at Harvard’s Kennedy School, to review and report on the organization’s business practices in December 2015. While the report sets out broad organizational human rights reforms, it does not specifically tackle the human rights crisis in Qatar, where thousands of World Cup workers are at risk of abuse.   “FIFA has had its head in the sand about the abuses in Qatar for more than five years, telling itself and the world that the Qatari authorities will fix things. That has not happened, and now only concerted FIFA action to prevent abuses on World Cup sites will save the soul of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar,” said Mustafa Qadri, Gulf Migrants’ Rights Researcher at Amnesty International.
    April 13, 2016

    We're still celebrating the release of scores of prisoners of conscience in Myanmar, including student leader Phyoe Phyoe Aung, on April 8!

    And now we get to take a moment to reflect on how amazing March was for human rights – activists were released, unfair laws were changed, and people who committed serious human rights abuses were brought to justice. We’ve picked out 15 successes, wins and pieces of good news, and they were all made possible thanks to your support.

    >> For the latest good news stories, click here!

     

    April 02, 2016

    Amnesty International will send a delegation to Lesvos and Chios in the coming days to monitor the situation as the EU-Turkey refugee deal is set to be implemented, including the expected mass returns of those who attempt to cross the Aegean Sea.

    Amnesty International has called the deal “a historic blow to human rights” and has researched and campaigned extensively on its broad human rights implications in both Greece and Turkey. The returns in particular are a flagrant violation of EU and international law, making a mockery of the global Refugee Convention.

    The delegation will visit Lesvos on 4-5 April and Chios on 6-7 April, and will include the organization’s Deputy Director for Europe Gauri van Gulik and Amnesty International Greece Director Giorgos Kosmopoulos. They will be available for media interviews on the ground.

     

    For futher information contact John Tackaberry, Media Relations
    (613)744-7667 3236 jtackaberry@amnesty.ca

    March 31, 2016
         Sherihan from Syria, resettled in Norway with her husband and son     They said: ‘We have a gift for you. You can come to Norway!’. We didn’t know anything about Norway, but we were so happy.

     

    Over one million people reached Europe last year in fragile, overcrowded boats.

    Why did such a staggering number of refugees and asylum-seekers pay smugglers thousands of dollars to risk their lives? It’s simple: Because they had no other option. With borders slammed shut, few can hope to reach another country safely and legally.

    No one should have to gamble their life on a dangerous journey to get the protection they’re entitled to. And governments could quite easily stop this happening.

    How? By offering people alternatives.

    Canada, for example, has opened its doors to 25,000 Syrian refugees since last November. Every single one reached their new home country in the only obvious way: by plane. They were able to do so because of a solution called resettlement.

     

    March 21, 2016
    Garnotte - Refugee 'choices'

    Take the Refugees Welcome Here Pledge! 

    March 07, 2016

     

    “You have to understand that no one puts their children in a boat unless the water is safer than the land,” writes Warsan Shire, a Somali-British poet. 

     

    On Friday, March 4, 2016, a Turkish court sentenced two Syrian nationals found guilty in the smuggling of 3 year old Alan Kurdi and his family.  The photograph of Alan’s lifeless body on a beach in Turkey became the catalyst for an outpouring of sympathy for Syrian refugees in Canada and beyond.  Alan’s father, Abdullah must live with the devastating result of joining his family on a tiny boat in the hope they would all find safety.  His wife and two sons, as well as two other people, perished on that journey.  Far from abating, the number of refugees attempting dangerous maritime crossings continues to grow.

     

    Refugees are fleeing desperate situations and will do whatever they must to save their lives.  Often they have no choice but to turn to smugglers to help them escape.

     

    February 27, 2016

    The worsening humanitarian conditions at the Greece-Macedonia border crossing of Idomeni have reached crisis point as an increasing number of refugees and asylum-seekers are stuck in dire conditions after Macedonia and Serbia closed their borders to Afghanis, said Amnesty International experts on the border.

    The discriminatory measures have exacerbated a humanitarian bottleneck in Idomeni and set a dangerous precedent as refugees and asylum-seekers attempt to cross through the Balkans.

    “With the Greek asylum and reception systems under strain, the humanitarian situation here is only getting worse as entire families are sleeping rough, without access to adequate reception conditions,” said Giorgos Kosmopoulos, Director of Amnesty International Greece.

    “EU member states need to immediately step up and share responsibility in responding to this crisis. The situation in Idomeni is at breaking point and EU leaders hold the lives of thousands of asylum-seekers in the balance.”

    February 05, 2016

    Tens of thousands of people displaced by joint Russian and Syrian government attacks in the north of Syria must be allowed to cross the border to safety in Turkey, Amnesty International said today amid reports that thousands of people are waiting at border gates that remain closed.

    Reports suggest that between 40,000 and 70,000 people are on the move after fleeing heavy fighting near the city of Aleppo. More than 20,000 are already waiting at the Bab al-Salam (Syrian) side of Öncüpınar border gate in Kilis Province on the Turkey/Syria border, which is currently closed.

    “Turkey has allowed in huge numbers of people fleeing the horrors of war and humanitarian catastrophe. It must not close its doors to people in desperate need of safety,” said Sherif Elsayed-Ali, Deputy Director of Global Issues at Amnesty International.

    “These people have fled air strikes and heavy fighting; they are likely to be traumatised and exhausted. Turkey must allow them to enter its territory and the international community must do all it can to ensure adequate support is given to the country.”

    February 04, 2016

    An international coalition of over 30 non-governmental organisations today welcomed the ambition demonstrated at the ‘Supporting Syria And the Region’ donor conference in London to increase the scale and scope of the humanitarian response to the Syria crisis, but said that overall pledges for 2016 fell more than $3 billion short of what was urgently needed. The NGOs, including Oxfam, Sawa Aid and Development, and Islamic Relief, applauded the generosity of some donors while encouraging others also to pledge their fair share. They also warned that many Syrians would continue to suffer unless more was done to ensure their protection inside and outside the country, and an end to the violence in Syria.

    February 02, 2016

    Posted at 0001hrs GMT 3 February 2016

    World leaders in London this week for a high-level conference on Syria must commit to an ambitious and transformational new multi-billion dollar deal for Syrian refugees and the countries hosting them in the region, a global coalition of more than ninety humanitarian and human rights groups said today.

    The coalition, representing organisations such as the Malala Fund, Oxfam and Amnesty International, said that to be a success, the conference - co-hosted by the UK, Germany, Norway, Kuwait and the UN - must deliver a bold new plan for Syrian refugees and the communities hosting them.

    As the crisis enters its sixth year and ongoing suffering reaches historic proportions in scale and intensity, warring parties continue to commit war crimes, including besiegement and targeting of civilians. 13.5 million people inside Syria are in need of emergency relief and on average, 50 Syrian families have been uprooted from their homes every hour of every day since the conflict began in 2011.

    December 18, 2015

    Jordan must not deport the approximately 800 Sudanese asylum-seekers currently being held near Queen Ali International Airport in Amman, Amnesty International said today. The asylum-seekers were taken from outside UNHCR’s office in the capital Amman in the early hours of Wednesday morning and transferred to an industrial area by the airport.

    “It is an absolute disgrace that Jordan is about to deport these asylum-seekers back to a country where they will be at real risk of human rights violations and their lives will potentially be in danger,” said Francesca Pizzutelli, Researcher in Amnesty International’s Refugee and Migrants Rights Team.

    “Most of these people have fled from Darfur, where they would face a real risk of persecution, brutal repression and other human right violations by the Sudanese government in the region.

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