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Refugees and Migrants

    July 31, 2017
      By James Lynch, Deputy head of Global Issues at Amnesty International   The Gulf crisis that erupted in early June, with Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Bahrain announcing an immediate restriction of relations with Qatar, more recently has turned into a very public war of words, with political arguments being played out through satellite TV channels and newspaper opinion pages.   The restrictions imposed have seen families from across the Gulf separated, students thrown off courses and governments ordering their citizens to return home. The measures have drawn widespread censure for violating people’s rights from Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.     But one of the most striking shifts generated by the crisis is the sudden interest governments and institutions from across the region have developed in the welfare of migrant workers in Qatar.  
    July 31, 2017
      ·         Spokespeople available on the ground   Proposals to send warships to police Libyan territorial waters are a shameful attempt by the Italian authorities to circumvent their duty to rescue refugees and migrants at sea and to offer protection to those who need it, said Amnesty International, ahead of a vote in the Italian parliament tomorrow.   Under the plan up to six vessels would be deployed to support the Libyan coastguard in the interception and return of refugees and migrants to Libya, where they would face horrific abuses and human rights violations. Italian military personnel are likely to be authorized to use force against smugglers and traffickers, and the plan could also result in refugees and migrants being caught in the crossfire.   “Rather than sending ships to help save lives and offer protection to desperate refugees and migrants, Italy is planning to deploy warships to push them back to Libya,” said Amnesty International’s Europe Director John Dalhuisen.  
    July 28, 2017

    United Nations peacekeepers in South Sudan (UNMISS) must shore up efforts to protect civilians, Amnesty International said ahead of a 31 July to 2 August country visit by the UN Under-Secretary-General for Peacekeeping Operations Jean-Pierre Lacroix. 

    According to UNMISS, Lacroix will meet with political leaders, humanitarian actors, and internally displaced people (IDPs) – including those sheltering in UNMISS-run sites in Malakal and Bentiu. 

    July 21, 2017
      Refugees, Greek islanders and activists today called on European leaders to heed their plight in a flash mob on a beach on the island of Lesvos symbolising the spirit of “refugees welcome”, organized by Amnesty International and Lesvos Solidarity.   The #ActionLesvos flash mob wrapped a giant fishing net with an EU flag on it around 60 refugees and activists to represent the situation of refugees and migrants trapped on the Greek islands by the EU-Turkey deal.   The flash mob comes after a week of protests in the nearby Moria camp and 10 days before the majority of the EU emergency funding for NGOs supporting refugees in Greece runs out.   “This is a protest against the EU-Turkey deal, which has been trapping people on Lesvos since 2016. Refugees are not criminals. We fled our countries because of hate and came to Europe to seek our freedom, but now we are stuck on the island. We have no option and no hope,” said Hamid Hamid, a refugee activist from Ghana, currently living in Greece, who is one of the activists taking part in the camp and came up with the concept.
    July 20, 2017
      ‘GIVE A HOME’ GIGS TO SHOW SOLIDARITY WITH OVER 22 MILLION REFUGEES   SHEERAN WILL BE AMONG 1,000 MUSICIANS PLAYING AT AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL AND SOFAR SOUNDS EVENTS GLOBALLY 0N 20 SEPTEMBER     With just two months to go, Amnesty International and Sofar Sounds have announced that Ed Sheeran is delighted to play in their global concert series Give a Home. Taking place in cities all over the world on 20 September 2017, Sheeran’s announcement comes just ahead of the next bulk of additional major artists to be announced in early August.  
    July 19, 2017
      Following the Supreme Court’s decision to partially stay a Hawaii court’s ruling on the refugee ban, Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA senior director of campaigns, released the following statement:    “This ruling jeopardizes the safety of thousands of people across the world including vulnerable families fleeing war and violence. On top of that, this prolonged legal battle is creating further distress and confusion for ordinary people who need to visit the U.S. to get medical attention, reunite with family or get an education. No part of this cruel and discriminatory ban is reasonable. Congress must intervene and end the ban once and for all.”
    July 14, 2017
      As thousands of refugees trapped on Lesvos continue to face appalling conditions and uncertainty over their future, local and international activists will join refugee activists for a week of events and training from 15-23 July to demand action by the EU.   The “action camp”, organized by Amnesty International and Lesvos Solidarity, brings activists from eight European countries together with more than ten local campaigners and refugee activists and will include a stunt in Mytilini on 21 July.   “This camp aims to shine a spotlight on the dire situation facing refugees trapped on Lesvos due to the EU-Turkey Deal. The rise in the number of arrivals and the uncertainty about their future has been accompanied by risks to funding and poor reception conditions,” said Amnesty International Campaigner, Daniel Valls.   “By coming together we also demonstrate that islanders from Lesvos as well as people from across Europe are eager to welcome refugees and do not feel represented by EU governments’ inhumane policies.” said Efi Latsoudi, one of the founders of Lesvos Solidarity.
    July 14, 2017

    A federal judge in Hawaii has enjoined the Trump administration from including grandparents and other family members in the travel ban, as well as refugees with formal commitments from refugee organizations in the United States to resettle here. Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA senior director of campaigns, released the following statement:

    “This decision is another rejection of the Trump administration’s cruel and discriminatory policy. It is welcome but temporary relief for the thousands of refugees and family members who remain uncertain of their future. They cannot wait for another drawn-out legal battle; Congress must step in now and end this cruel and discriminatory ban once and for all.”

    July 13, 2017
      On July 12, 2017, after resettling 50,000 refugees this year, the United States hit the cap in refugee admissions set by President Trump’s March 6 executive order. This is the lowest number of refugee admissions ever set by the executive branch. Naureen Shah, senior director of campaigns at Amnesty International USA, released the following statement.   “As a result of the Trump administration’s cruel agenda to ban refugees from entering the country, thousands of vulnerable people fleeing war and violence from all over the world are in heightened danger. Many of the 26,000 refugees who have already undergone vetting and been approved to come to the U.S. to live could be left stranded because of the administration’s narrow interpretation of the Supreme Court’s recent decision on the ban. The United States is turning its back on people who are fleeing some of the world’s most desperate situations.  
    July 12, 2017
      Leaked Document Would tie Non-Governmental Organisations’ Hands   Thousands more refugees and migrants could be at risk of dying at sea if a flawed code of conduct for nongovernmental organisations (NGOs) conducting search and rescue in the central Mediterranean is put into practice, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch said today after reviewing a leaked draft of the document. 

    “Perversely, the proposed code of conduct for NGOs saving lives in the Mediterranean could put lives at risk. Attempts to restrict life-saving NGO search and rescue operations risk endangering thousands of lives by impeding rescue boats from accessing the perilous waters near Libya,” said Iverna McGowan, Director of Amnesty International’s European Institutions Office. The code of conduct, drafted by Italy, was first proposed at an informal meeting of the European Justice and Home Affairs Council meeting on July 6, 2017.  

    The draft pact would curtail the work of NGOs carrying out search and rescue operations on the central Mediterranean by:
    July 07, 2017
      Following a federal judge’s decision denial of a motion regarding the Trump administration's planned implementation of the Muslim and refugee ban, Naureen Shah, Amnesty International USA senior director of campaigns, released the following statement:   “The Trump administration's plans to implement the refugee and Muslim ban are cruel to families and puts thousands of lives at risk. With this ban the U.S. is turning its back on the world’s most vulnerable people including families and others fleeing war, violence and torture. It also allows a policy built on bigotry and discrimination to stand. No part of this ban is reasonable and it must be stopped. Congress must step in now and end this cruel and discriminatory ban once and for all.”
    July 05, 2017

    Cynical deals with Libya consign thousands to risk of drowning, rape and torture

    2017 set to become the deadliest year for the deadliest migration route in the world as death-rate increases threefold since 2015

    The soaring death toll in the central Mediterranean and the horrific abuses faced by thousands of refugees and migrants in Libyan detention centres are clearly linked to failing EU policies, said Amnesty International in a report published today.

    A perfect storm: The failure of European policies in the Central Mediterranean finds that by ceding the lion’s share of responsibility for search and rescue to NGOs and by increasing cooperation with the Libyan coastguard, European governments are failing to prevent drownings and turning a blind eye to abuse, including torture and rape.

    EU Ministers meeting in Tallinn today are set to discuss new proposals that will make a dire situation worse.

    July 04, 2017
    ·         Close to one million people forcibly displaced in Equatoria region, fuelling world’s fastest-growing refugee crisis ·         Civilians shot, hacked to death with machetes and burnt in their homes ·         Women and girls abducted and gang-raped   A new frontline in South Sudan’s conflict has forced hundreds of thousands of people to flee the country’s fertile Equatoria region over the past year, creating ongoing atrocities, starvation and fear, according to a new Amnesty International briefing published today. The organization’s researchers visited the region in June, documenting how mainly government but also opposition forces in the southern region have committed crimes under international law and other serious human rights violations and abuses – including war crimes – against civilians. 

    June 30, 2017
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

    June 29, 2017   NEW YORK – The State Department today said that the Trump administration may not recognize refugee resettlement agencies as having “bona fide relationship” for purposes of its refugee ban implementation. The decision by the administration means tens of thousands of refugees from countries all over the world who were in the process of being resettled in the United States may not be able to come this fiscal year. Amnesty International USA’s senior director of campaigns Naureen Shah issued the following statement:   “This policy is effectively a ban on many refugees and will have devastating effects for people in the process of being resettled. It will jeopardize the lives of the world’s most vulnerable people including people and families fleeing war, violence and torture.  
    June 28, 2017
    No Ban No Wall

    AI USA provides the following information for those impacted by the Executive Order barring entry into the United States for people from six Muslim majority countries; Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen. Canadian citizens or dual nationals of these countries should not be affected by this ban, but permanent residents of Canada may encounter difficulties obtaining a visa to travel to the United States. Those facing difficulty at the US border will find the following information helpful.

    Naureen Shah, AIUSA Senior Director of Campaigns

    The Muslim and refugee ban will partially go back into effect, following the June 26, 2017 Supreme Court decision. The court partially lifted an injunction on the ban that’s been in place since days after President Trump issued it in late January.

    There are 180 million nationals from the six banned countries; several tens of millions of them will be banned for 90 days, and so too will many refugees — for at least 120 days, and maybe longer.

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