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Refugees and Migrants

    March 28, 2013

    Up to 600 Syrian refugees have reportedly been deported by the Turkish authorities in a move that would show a shocking disregard for their safety, Amnesty International said.

    Reports state that those forcibly returned had been accommodated in the Akcakale refugee camp in the Sanliurfa province that borders Syria. Others run the risk of the same treatment.

    "Any forcible return of Syrian refugees would represent a deplorable act in clear violation of international law and Turkey's own laws," said Andrew Gardner, Amnesty International's researcher on Turkey.

    Reports indicate that the returns occurred following violent protests at the camp.

    ”The Turkish authorities need to ensure that from now on no forcible returns occur and they must effectively investigate forced returns that are alleged to have taken place.

    ”In no circumstances whatsoever should the authorities forcibly return Syrians putting them at risk of persecution and serious human rights violations."

     

    March 21, 2013

    The Kuwaiti parliament's decision to grant citizenship to up to 4,000 "foreigners" is a step in the right direction but much more must be done to protect the rights of more than 100,000 Bidun in Kuwait, said Amnesty International. 

    Forty-three MPs voted in favour of a bill on Wednesday with only two abstentions. In order to take effect, the law must now be signed by the Amir of Kuwait. 

    "While this bill is a welcome step, the Kuwaiti government must intensify its efforts to find a lasting solution for all the Bidun in the country," said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Deputy Director for Amnesty International’s Middle East and North Africa Programme. 

    "The Bidun's human rights must be upheld without discrimination, in particular their rights to health, education and work.

    "The absence of policies to resolve the plight of the Bidun, rooted in human rights standards, is a stain on the country’s international reputation. It deprives thousands of Bidun families of their basic political, economic and social rights and bars them from contributing fully to Kuwaiti society." 

    March 20, 2013

    In a case highlighting the risks people take when fleeing conflict in their countries to seek refuge in Europe, the authorities of Lesvos continue their search for the bodies of asylum-seekers who had attempted to reach the Greek island.

    Since last Friday, they have found the bodies of six Syrian nationals including a 17-year-old pregnant woman and a mother with her young children. They are now searching for the bodies of three more Syrian nationals whose families had reported missing to the island authorities after the nine attempted to cross from Turkey on 6 March 2013.

    Lesvos is one of the main crossings for migrants and refugees trying to enter the European Union via Greece. Last December, 21 people (mostly Afghans) drowned close to the shores of the island, after the boat they were in capsized.  

    Since last summer, people fleeing the conflict in Syria have featured among those attempting the crossing, including many families with young children.

    March 12, 2013

    Routine abductions, sexual violence, forced recruitment into criminal gangs, people trafficking and murder of migrants are normal events in the lives of the tens of thousands of irregular migrants that cross Mexico every year and, according to Amnesty International, impunity for these grave abuses is the norm.

    The government of Enrique Peña Nieto, which last Sunday completed a hundred days in office, has not so far taken any steps to correct the abject failure of the previous administration to deal with this humanitarian crisis.

    “Once again, the fate of irregular migrants in Mexico appears to be reduced to a side issue,” said Rupert Knox, Amnesty International’s researcher on Mexico.

    “Yet migrants’ shelters and human rights defenders have told Amnesty International of an increasing flow of migrants and an escalation in attacks on them and those working for their rights.”

    February 09, 2013

    Authorities in Iraq must urgently investigate the attack against a camp of Iranian exiles that left several people dead and injred and ensure all those wounderiate medical care, said Amnesty International today.   

    The investigation should also look into the conduct of Iraqi security forces in the lead up and during the attack and whether they have failed to prevent any such attack.

    Several people reportedly died and have been injured as a result of the attack against Camp Liberty, home of some 3,000 Iranians in exile in Iraq, on 9 February.  

    “The attack against Camp Liberty is a despicable crime,” said Hassiba Hadj Sahraoui, Amnesty International Middle East and North Africa Programme's Deputy Director  

    “Authorities in Iraq must ensure not only that those responsible for this attack are brought to justice but that those living in the camp are protected.”  

    February 07, 2013

    Four Chinese migrant bus drivers could face up to a year in prison and steep fines for allegedly instigating a strike unless the Singapore authorities immediately drop the charges against them, Amnesty International said ahead of a pre-trial hearing for the men on 8 February.

    The drivers – He Jun Ling, 32, Gao Yue Qiang, 32, Liu Xiangying, 33, and Wang Xianjie, 39 – were charged with violating section 10(a) of the Criminal Protection (Temporary Provisions) Act and allege that they were ill-treated in custody. If the men are found guilty, besides jail time, they face possible fines of up to S$2,000 (US$1,615) each – nearly twice their monthly wage.

    The four men were among 171 Chinese migrant bus drivers who took part in a “strike action”, by refusing to go to work and staying inside their company-run living quarters on 26 November 2012. Along with 84 others they continued the work stoppage into the following day. The industrial action was the first in more than two decades in Singapore, where the law prohibits organizing a strike in essential sectors such as public transport without 14 days’ advance notice.

    January 18, 2013

    Preventing refugees from entering Jordan to escape the conflict in Syria would increase suffering and could lead to further bloodshed and human rights abuses, Amnesty International said today following the Jordanian Prime Minister’s announcement that the Jordanian authorities would close the border if Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government collapses.

    At a press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman on Thursday, Prime Minister Abdallah Ensour told reporters that his country would not allow the continued entry of refugees into its territory if al-Assad’s government falls or refugee numbers rise significantly, but would seek to keep them inside Syria.

    "At a time when people in Syria may need protection the most, Jordan is effectively threatening to close its borders, further exposing them to harm,” said Charlotte Phillips from Amnesty International’s refugee team.

    “Supporters of the al-Assad government, many from Syria’s minorities, are already facing human rights abuses by armed opposition forces.”

    January 17, 2013

    The murder of a Pakistani youth in Athens is a result of the Greek authorities’ continuing failure to take decisive action against racially-motivated violence, Amnesty International said today.

    Two people on a motorcycle stabbed the 27-year old Pakistani as he was riding his bicycle in Petralona, Athens on 16 January and he died later of his wounds. The police arrested two Greek nationals as suspects.

    Marek Marczynski, Europe and Central Asia Deputy Program Director at Amnesty International, said:  
    “This attack is not an isolated case. We have seen a dramatic escalation of   racially motivated attacks over the past year”.

    “Amnesty international has received testimonies and information for four more cases of Egyptian nationals who have been attacked and injured over the past two months in the areas of Pireus, Keratsini and Moschato.    

    January 10, 2013

    Any future transitional government in Syria should make the protection of minority groups its top priority, Amnesty International said today as an international conference in the UK planning for the Syrian government’s possible collapse drew to a close.

    Opposition leaders and worldwide Syria experts holding private talks in Sussex for a second day were urged to put human rights at the heart of all planning about the future of the country.

    Minority groups including Alawite Muslims, the community of the al-Assad family, are facing an increased risk of human rights abuses by armed opposition forces.

    "When the conflict eventually ends, a huge task will face those in power and it is vital that whoever is in charge puts human rights at the core of their policies and reforms," said Ann Harrison, Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Deputy Director.

    "Chief among those is ensuring the safety and security of minorities, especially those suspected of supporting the former government."

    There has been a recent rise in sectarian violence in Syria, particularly by those opposed to President Bashar al-Assad.

    December 20, 2012

    Kenya’s decision to place refugees and asylum seekers in camps away from urban centres is a discriminatory and unlawful restriction on freedom of movement, Amnesty International said.

    The government stated the policy is a reaction to security concerns in the country.

    “This restriction on freedom of movement is likely to lead to other serious human rights abuses in already overcrowded, insecure refugee camps,” said  Kathryn Achilles, Amnesty International’s East Africa expert.

    Thousands of refugees and asylum-seekers from Somalia living in urban centres including the capital,  Nairobi, will be required to move to the Dadaab refugee camp complex in north-eastern Kenya, while those from other countries will be required to move to the Kakuma camp.

    The Dadaab complex in particular is already extremely overcrowded, even without the additional influx of refugees required to move from urban areas.

    Overcrowding has placed a strain on the provision of essential services to asylum-seekers and refugees, including access to shelter, water and sanitation.

    November 13, 2012

    Undocumented foreign nationals in Libya are at risk of exploitation, arbitrary and indefinite detention, as well as tings, sometimes amounting to torture, Amnesty International said in a new briefing today.

    The briefing “We are foreigners, we have no rights” is based on fact-finding visits to Libya between May and September 2012, and examines the plight of refugees, asylum seekers and migrants in Libya.

    During Colonel Mu’ammar al-Gaddafi’s 42-year rule, foreign nationals – particularly those from Sub-Saharan Africa – lived with the uncertainty of shifting policies and fear of arbitrary arrest, indefinite detention, torture and other abuses.

    Following the 2011 conflict, their situation has worsened amid the general climate of lawlessness, with powerful armed militias continuing to act outside the law, and the failure of the authorities to tackle racism and xenophobia, further fuelled by the widespread belief amongst Libyans that “African mercenaries” had been used by the ousted government to crush the 2011 uprising.

    April 14, 2011

    Canadian Council for Refugees,  Amnesty International Canada, Harvard Immigration and Refugee Clinic
    Harvard International Human Rights Clinic, Vermont Immigration and Asylum Advocates 

    Decision by Inter-American Commission on Human Rights Finds that Canada Violated American Declaration on Human Rights by Summarily Returning Refugee Claimants to US

    A group of organizations today welcomed the final decision of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights upholding a complaint made concerning the forced return of three refugee claimants to the United States in 2003.
     
    The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) ruled that Canada violated its human rights obligations when it returned the three refugee claimants to the US without first providing individualized review of their asylum claims. The claimants were returned to the US under Canada’s ‘direct back’ policy.

    Released 1100 GMT+1 (1200 CEST), 30 September 2014

     A year on from the Lampedusa shipwrecks, which claimed more than 500 lives, a new report by Amnesty International highlights how the shameful inaction of European Union (EU) countries has contributed to a spiralling death toll with thousands of refugees and migrants losing their lives in a desperate bid to reach European shores.

    Amnesty International’s report, Lives adrift: Refugees and migrants in peril in the central Mediterranean, details the findings of recent visits to Italy and Malta, including a research trip on an Italian Navy vessel. Interviews with survivors of shipwrecks, experts and authorities expose the reality of the dangers faced by those fleeing war, persecution and poverty, and the pitiful response of most European states.

     

     

     

    We share our world, and we share responsibility for making it the kind of place in which we want to live. This includes responsibility for protecting each other’s human rights and freedom.

    by Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International Canada Follow Alex on Twitter @AlexNeveAmnesty

     

    CANADA: WELCOME
    SYRIAN REFUGEES

    Canada’s commitment to resettling refugees has been modest and processing rates painfully slow. Remind the Prime Minister and all party leaders that Canadians welcome refugees.

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