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Refugees and Migrants

    January 18, 2018

    The Norwegian parliament’s decision today to reject a proposal to place a temporary halt on returning people to Afghanistan is a devastating blow to Afghan asylum-seekers in Norway, and demonstrates a disturbing disregard for the lives of people fleeing war and persecution, Amnesty International said today.

    The parliament also rejected a proposal that would mean more criteria have to be met before an asylum seeker can be sent back to the country they fled from. This proposal would have brought Norwegian law closer in line with international standards.

    “This is awful news for Afghans in Norway, and a sad indication that politicians in one of the wealthiest countries in the world have lost their compassion. Life in Afghanistan is fraught with dangers including bombing, kidnapping, and persecution, and it is cruel and immoral to send people there,” said Charmain Mohamed, Head of Refugee and Migrant Rights at Amnesty International.

    January 16, 2018

    Responding to an announcement by the Bangladeshi Foreign Ministry that it will aim to repatriate all Rohingya refugees within two years, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “With memories of rape, killing and torture still fresh in the minds of Rohingya refugees, plans for their return to Myanmar are alarmingly premature. The timeframe announced today was made without any consultation with the Rohingya themselves, and offers no assurances that people will be able to return voluntarily.

    “The most recent campaign of violence against the Rohingya was preceded by years of entrenched discrimination and abuse and for most of the 650,000 refugees who fled Myanmar last year, returning so soon will be a terrifying prospect. The obfuscation and denials of the Myanmar authorities give no reason to hope that the rights of returning Rohingya would be protected, or that the reasons for their original flight no longer exist.

    January 08, 2018

    WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Department of Homeland Security announced the end of Temporary Protected Status (TPS) designation to El Salvador. Over 250,000 people from El Salvador in the United States are protected by TPS, including mothers and fathers of U.S. citizens. If forced to leave the country, they could face grave danger in El Salvador.

    Marselha Gonçalves Margerin, advocacy director for the Americas at Amnesty International USA, issued this statement:

    “The end of TPS for El Salvador is a devastating betrayal for thousands of families who arrived at the United States seeking safety as well as their U.S. citizen children. If forced to return to El Salvador, mothers, fathers, and children could face extortion, kidnapping, coerced service to gangs, and sexual violence. By returning TPS recipients to El Salvador, the United States could be sending people to their deaths.”

    December 20, 2017

    Reacting to the news that the Myanmar authorities have denied access to UN Special Rapporteur Yanghee Lee, James Gomez, Amnesty International’s Director for Southeast Asia and the Pacific, said:

    “The Myanmar government’s decision to bar the Special Rapporteur from accessing the country is outrageous. It is a further indication that authorities will do anything they can to avoid international scrutiny of their human rights record.

    “At a time when the security forces stand accused of crimes against humanity during their vicious campaign against the Rohingya, accountability for human rights violations are crucially important. The international community must urge the authorities to allow Yanghee Lee access. It is the ordinary people and victims of human rights abuses who continue to suffer.

    “The Myanmar military claim they have done nothing wrong during the past months. If so, the authorities should have nothing to hide – why are they denying access for independent and impartial investigators?”

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    December 18, 2017
    International Migrants Day   New research by Amnesty International has exposed how the Nepali government’s failure to crack down on recruitment agencies which charge illegal fees for jobs abroad is leaving migrant workers trapped in a vicious cycle of debt and exploitation.   The organization found that almost two-thirds of Nepali migrant workers who responded to a survey, carried out in Nepal and Malaysia and published today, had paid excessive, illegal recruitment fees.   “Nepali migrant workers are being systematically and mercilessly set up. Forced to take out loans to pay the huge fees recruitment agencies charge them to work abroad, they are left so indebted that they have no choice but to stay in jobs which often turn out to be low-paid or dangerous,” said James Lynch, Deputy Director of Amnesty International's Global Issues Programme.  
    December 12, 2017

    European governments are knowingly complicit in the torture and abuse of tens of thousands of refugees and migrants detained by Libyan immigration authorities in appalling conditions in Libya, said Amnesty International in a report published today, in the wake of global outrage over the sale of migrants in Libya.

    ‘Libya’s dark web of collusion’ details how European governments are actively supporting a sophisticated system of abuse and exploitation of refugees and migrants by the Libyan Coast Guard, detention authorities and smugglers in order to prevent people from crossing the Mediterranean.

    “Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants trapped in Libya are at the mercy of Libyan authorities, militias, armed groups and smugglers often working seamlessly together for financial gain. Tens of thousands are kept indefinitely in overcrowded detention centres where they are subjected to systematic abuse,” said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International’s Europe Director.

    December 11, 2017

    New virtual reality film Forced to Flee drives home dire situation of Rohingya refugees

    December 05, 2017

    Responding to the failed attempt by China, Philippines and Burundi to vote down a UN Human Rights Council resolution on the situation of the Rohingya and other minorities in Myanmar, Nicholas Bequelin, East Asia Director at Amnesty International, said:

    “The adoption of today’s resolution demonstrates the broad international concern about the hundreds of thousands of Rohingya people so brutally impacted by the ongoing crimes against humanity in Myanmar’s Rakhine State. By voting against it, China and others showed how woefully out of step they are with world opinion on the crisis.

    “China has the diplomatic, humanitarian and economic resources to make a real difference in the lives of the Rohingya. But its current maneuvering simply seeks to intervene only to preserve impunity for horrific crimes.

    November 29, 2017
    No Life for a Child

    On 6 November 2017, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale released new directions aimed to keep children out of Canada's immigration detention system.

    “The key objective of the Ministerial Direction is to – as much as humanly possible – keep children out of detention, and keep families together. The Ministerial Direction makes it clear that the Best Interests of the Child must be given primary consideration. This will be achieved by actively and continuously seeking alternatives to detention when unconditional release is inappropriate.”

    The directive is welcome; detention is never in the best interests of children and it is shocking that children are detained for immigration purposes in Canada, even for short periods of time.

    Amnesty International and many other human rights groups in Canada have actively campaigned to keep children out of immigration detention. Several thousand Amnesty International members and supporters signed petitions and called on the Minister to stop detaining children for immigration purposes.

    November 23, 2017

    Responding to the news that the Papua New Guinea authorities have sent in immigration officials armed with sticks and knives into the Lombrum refugee detention centre at around 8.00am on Thursday 23 November on Manus Island, Papua New Guinea, Amnesty International said:

    “The risks of serious injury if the authorities use force now is completely foreseeable. The government is knowingly placing the refugees at risk,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher who has just returned from Manus.

    “There is no justification for this action. International law and standards demand that refugees enjoy international protection. The country where they sought refuge – Australia - has violated their rights at every turn. PNG has aided and enabled Australia’s policy of cruelty and degradation of the refugees. Now the PNG authorities are putting their lives at risk.”

    November 22, 2017

    An AI USA Release

    Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called the sustained and systemic attacks on the Rohingya population by the Myanmar military “ethnic cleansing” today in an acknowledgment of the nature of the humanitarian crisis. He also called for an independent probe into north Rakhine State. The announcement comes a week after promising an additional $47 million in humanitarian aid.

    “As our own researchers have documented on the ground, the Myanmar military has been brutally murdering, raping, and burning the Rohingya for months. Secretary Tillerson’s acknowledgement of ethnic cleansing and call for an investigation sets an example for how the world can respond to this crisis. The time for outrage and condemnation has passed. The international community must impose a comprehensive arms embargo and targeted financial sanctions against senior Myanmar military officials responsible for crimes against humanity,” said Joanne Lin, national director of advocacy and government relations for Amnesty International USA.

    November 07, 2017

    Responding to the attack on the Pashto-language Shamshad TV station – a partner of the BBC – in Kabul by armed gunmen, Amnesty International’s Deputy South Asia Director, Omar Waraich, said:

    “The attack on Shamshad TV is a horrific crime that tragically demonstrates the risks Afghanistan’s journalists face for their legitimate work. The Afghan authorities must do what they can to protect the country’s media, allowing them to work freely and without fear. The perpetrators must be brought to justice through fair trials without recourse to the death penalty. Impunity for attacks on journalists must end.

    “This latest attack also underscores the grim fact that Kabul continues to be one of the most hazardous places in the country. European countries, which continue to forcibly return people to Afghanistan, must confront this reality and dispense with the dangerous fiction that Afghanistan and its capital are safe. By sending asylum-seekers back to Afghanistan, they are putting them in harm’s way.”

     

    November 07, 2017

    How can Bangladesh cope with the influx of 600,000 Rohingya?

    Published from the The Washington Post

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/democracy-post/wp/2017/11/06/one-of-the-worlds-poorest-countries-confronts-a-genocide-on-its-doorstep/?utm_term=.c2570b32bff9

    Omar Waraich is deputy South Asia director at Amnesty International

    COX’S BAZAR, Bangladesh — They may be out of harm’s way, for now, but their ordeal continues. Over the past two months, more than 600,000 Rohingya refugees have crossed the border from Myanmar, also known as Burma, to seek shelter in Bangladesh. Not since the Rwandan genocide has a humanitarian crisis unfolded so fast and on such a scale. If one counts the hundreds of thousands who were already based here, driven out by earlier waves of violence in Rakhine state, there are now more than a million Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh.

    November 07, 2017
    The current situation on Manus Island amounts to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment Lives are at risk unless PNG authorities restore essential services As Australia continues to flout international law, all refugees and vulnerable persons should be resettled to third countries

    Critical services - including food, water and medical treatment - must be restored to the more than 600 refugees and vulnerable men inside the Lombrum detention centre on Manus Island before a major tragedy occurs, Amnesty International said today as researchers returned from Manus Island.

    Refugees and vulnerable men should not be forcibly relocated until such time as their dignity and safety can be guaranteed.

    “Today, Papua New Guinea’s Supreme Court rejected a last ditch attempt by refugees to have these essential services restored and their rights protected. The decision is an abhorrent attack on the right to life,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.

    October 31, 2017

    The Norwegian government will be putting a teenage girl and her family at grave risk of serious human rights violations if it goes ahead with plans to return them to Afghanistan, Amnesty International said today.

    Eighteen-year-old Taibeh Abbasi, who has never even visited Afghanistan, is in danger of being returned at any moment along with her mother and two brothers. Amnesty International is backing a grassroots campaign to stop their return, led by classmates at Taibeh’s school in Trondheim.

    “Taibeh Abbasi is a popular, well-integrated teenager who dreams of becoming a doctor. But her life could be about to change forever. Like thousands of other Afghans who have found safe homes in European countries, she now faces being uprooted and sent to a war zone,” said Charmain Mohamed, Head of Refugees and Migrants Rights at Amnesty International.

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