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Refugees and Migrants

    June 30, 2016

    Horrifying accounts of sexual violence, killings, torture and religious persecution collected by Amnesty International reveal the shocking range of abuses along the smuggling routes to and through Libya. The organization spoke to at least 90 refugees and migrants at reception centres in Puglia and Sicily, who had made the journey across the Mediterranean from Libya to southern Italy in the past few months, and who were abused by people smugglers, traffickers, organized criminal gangs and armed groups.

    “From being abducted, incarcerated underground for months and sexually abused by members of armed groups, to being beaten, exploited or shot at by people smugglers, traffickers or criminal gangs - refugees and migrants have described in harrowing detail the horrors they were forced to endure in Libya,” said Magdalena Mughrabi, Interim Deputy Director of the Middle East and North Africa Programme at Amnesty International.

    “Their experiences paint a terrifying picture of the conditions many of those who come to Europe are so desperate to escape.”

    June 27, 2016

    The European Union (EU) is set to open a dark chapter in its history unless it rejects the European Commission’s proposal on migration, a coalition of more than 100 NGOs warned on Monday. Shifting towards a foreign policy that serves the single objective of curbing migration, the EU and its member states risk further undermining their credibility and authority in the defence of human rights, the organizations say. They call on European leaders to reject the Commission proposal that would cement this approach, making deterrence and return of people the main objective of the EU’s relationship with third countries.

    June 24, 2016

    ---Media Advisory---

    June 24, 2016 - Ahead of the North American Leaders’ Summit, Amnesty International has called for the leaders of Canada, the United States and Mexico to adopt a robust human rights agenda in an Open Letter outlining continental human rights recommendations.  At a press conference on June 27th, the heads of Amnesty International Canada, Mexico and United States will call for action on the concerns outlined in the Open Letter, including:

    Migrant and refugee rights, particularly the practice in all three countries of holding migrant and refugee children in detention facilities; and Violence and discrimination against Women and Girls, particularly Indigenous women and girls.  

    Other recommendations deal with the Inter-American human rights system, Trade and Investment, Indigenous peoples, national and public security, climate change and human rights defenders.

    Event:                   Press conference

    June 22, 2016

    The “iron fist” security response pledged by Jordanian authorities in the wake of Tuesday’s car bombing of a military outpost along the border with Syria must not descend into closing the border and denying humanitarian aid to tens of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing armed conflict, Amnesty International said today.

    No group has yet claimed responsibility for the apparently well-coordinated attack, which killed six army border guards and injured several others. 

    More than 70,000 people are stranded in the desert area known as “the berm”, which is a raised barrier of sand marking the Jordanian limit of the Jordan-Syria border near Rukban and Hadalat crossings. A total closure of the border and denial of humanitarian aid to the area would inevitably lead to extreme hardship among those unable to find refuge and put their lives at risk.

    June 20, 2016
    Written by Amnesty Canada Refugee Coordinator, Gloria Nafziger @refugeescanada  Champions. Prevention. Solidarity. Rights. Empowerment

    I’m not at home, I’m a refugee. I left my rights behind.

    In the world today we need to ensure that no rights are ever left behind. 

    June 20, 2016

    On World Refugee Day, we talk to Ghias Aljundi, who fled to the UK from Syria 18 years ago. He is one of thousands volunteering to help refugees arriving in Greece since last year. But he’d never expected that one day he’d rescue his own family from a rubber boat.

    Only after the rescue did Ghias realise that this little girl is his three-year-old niece, Sirin. © Private

    June 17, 2016
             UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) on the scene but denied access          Aceh authorities undermine Indonesian Vice President          Nine children and a heavily pregnant woman among 44 people at risk

    The Indonesian authorities in Aceh are endangering lives of a group of more than 40 Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers by firing warning shots and threatening to push them back out to sea in flagrant violation of international law, Amnesty International said today.

    “Instead of deploying these crude intimidation tactics that could put the lives of men, women and children at risk, the Indonesian authorities should come together to allow them to disembark safely so the UN Refugee Agency can interview them,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Director of Campaigns for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    June 15, 2016

    The Indonesian central government should allow dozens of Sri Lankan Tamil asylum seekers, including a pregnant woman and nine children, who have reached the coast of Lhoknga, Aceh, to disembark and meet UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) officials, Amnesty International said today.

    “These people have endured a long and difficult journey already. Now that they have reached land in Aceh, they should be allowed to disembark and meet UNHCR officials,” said Josef Benedict, Amnesty International’s Director of Campaigns for South East Asia and the Pacific.

    The organization fears that the Indonesian authorities may push the boat - reportedly carrying 44 people - back into international waters.

    The Aceh fishermen discovered the boat off the coast of Aceh province on 11 June. They subsequently reported the boat to the Indonesian navy who have not allowed the boat to disembark and the people on it to apply for asylum, arguing the asylum-seekers lack the proper documentation.

    June 02, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT 3 June 2016

    The European Union (EU) must immediately halt plans to return asylum-seekers to Turkey on the false pretence that it is a “safe country” for refugees, said Amnesty International in a briefing published today.

    The briefing, No safe refuge: Asylum-seekers and refugees denied effective protection in Turkey, (attached) details the short-comings in Turkey’s asylum system and the hardships refugees face there that would render their return under the EU-Turkey Agreement of 18 March illegal – and unconscionable.

    The briefing shows that Turkey’s asylum system is struggling to cope with more than three million asylum-seekers and refugees. As a result, asylum-seekers face years waiting for their cases to be dealt with, during which time they receive little or no support to find shelter and sustenance for themselves and their families, with children as young as nine working to support families.

    May 27, 2016

    Released 00:01 GMT, 28 May 2016

           Rohingya refugees are being kept in indefinite detention        Failure to properly investigate criminal gangs responsible for abuse

    Hundreds of refugees who survived the 2015 boat crisis in South East Asia have been locked up in poor conditions in Malaysia ever since, Amnesty International said, following a visit to the country to investigate the fate of people one year on.

     

    After harrowing footage of desperate refugees and migrants stranded at sea was beamed around the world last May, Malaysia agreed to accept 1,100 people. Almost 400 of those were identified as Rohingya refugees – people fleeing persecution in Myanmar. One year on, the majority of the Rohingya remain in Malaysia’s Belantik detention centre.

     

    May 20, 2016

    Sixty-six percent (66%) of Canadian respondents say our government should do more to help refugees fleeing war or persecution.  Younger Canadians are much more likely to think that their government should do more to help refugees (76% agree).  This is the arresting result of an international survey, the Canadian portion of which was conducted from March 7 to 24, 2016, only days after the Government of Canada met its objective to welcome 25,000 Syrian refugees between November 2015 and the end of February 2016.  The survey was carried out by internationally renowned strategy consultancy GlobeScan and polled more than 27,000 people in 27 countries.

     

     

    Has Canada done enough?

    May 17, 2016

    Yesterday, the Canadian Border Services Agency, (CBSA) announced that a 24-year-old-man, detained under the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act at the Edmonton Remand Centre, had passed away. 

    “We are saddened by the news of a third death in CBSA’s custody in 2016,” said Alex Neve, Secretary General of Amnesty International, Canada.

    “It is unconscionable that immigration detainees can die in custody and that there is no independent agency with a mandate to step in and ensure human rights obligations have been met.”

    On March 8, Amnesty International joined other human rights organizations across Canada, calling for an independent oversight of CBSA.  Clearly, it is now ever more urgent that the Government of Canada explore alternatives to immigration detention and mandate an independent agency to oversee CBSA.

    Click here for our response to the death of a person held for immigration related reasons at the Toronto East Detention Centre, on March 7.

    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.

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