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Refugees and Migrants

    December 10, 2018

    By Alex Neve and Aditya Rao. Published on Ipolitics Dec 10, 2018 10:34am

    'Some countries under pressure from anti-immigrant and anti-refugee groups are choosing not to endorse the agreement. How disheartening to hear similar sentiments in Canada.'

    The UN headquarters in New York. (Neptuul/Wikimedia Commons photo)

    December 07, 2018

    Responding to news from MSF and SOS Mediterranée that the Aquarius search and rescue vessel has been forced to end operations, Amnesty International’s Secretary General said:

    “Today, we received some very sad news. Médecins Sans Frontières and its partner SOS Méditerranée have been forced to terminate operations by the search and rescue ship, Aquarius.

    “Over the last two years the Aquarius and her crew have rescued nearly 30,000 people in the Mediterranean. Yet, more than 2,100 people have drowned this year. The vast majority were fleeing violence, torture and arbitrary detention in Libya.

    “During this time, not only have European governments failed to provide search and rescue capacity, they have instead supported the Libyan coastguard to return people to Libya, and actively obstructed life-saving activities like Aquarius was carrying out.

    “In doing this, European leaders have shown where their true priorities lie: the closure of the central Mediterranean route for refugees and migrants, even at the cost of a soaring death toll at sea.

    December 04, 2018

    Responding to the release on bail of volunteers and staff who provided life-saving assistance to refugees, Kondylia Gougou, Amnesty International’s Greece Researcher said:

    “Whilst we welcome the news that these dedicated humanitarians will be back with their families tonight after more than 100 days behind bars, the fact that they still face absurd charges and potentially long prison sentences is an outrage.

    “This case is just the latest example of how authorities are mis-using anti-smuggling laws to target activists and criminalize rescue. To detain dedicated volunteer humanitarians who helped people in need defies logic. People who selfless act in these ways should be lauded not imprisoned. These baseless charges should be dropped.”

    Background

    Four humanitarian workers were released on bail today.

    November 27, 2018

    Unlawful US border policies are leaving thousands of asylum seekers stranded in Mexico, where they are facing threats of deportation to their countries of origin, where they potentially face serious harm, Amnesty International said today following a research mission last week. Conditions could only worsen under a reported deal between both countries that, if agreed, would force asylum-seekers to remain in Mexico while their claims are processed, rather than allow them to enter the United States.

    November 15, 2018

    Since August 2017, more than 720,000 Rohingya have fled a vicious campaign of violence by the Myanmar security forces and sought refuge in neighbouring Bangladesh.

    This week some refugees could be returned from Bangladesh to Myanmar under an agreement reached earlier between the two governments that sidestepped safeguards mandated under international law.

    Here, Amnesty International explains how this situation has come about and why the forcible return of Rohingya refugees to Myanmar is unlawful, being premature, and putting their lives, liberty and other key human rights at risk.

    Who are the Rohingya people?

    The Rohingya are a predominantly Muslim ethnic minority in Myanmar. Until recently, more than a million lived mostly in Rakhine State, in the west of the country, on the border with Bangladesh.

    November 14, 2018

    Bangladesh and Myanmar authorities must immediately halt plans to send Rohingya refugees back to Rakhine State, Amnesty International said today.

    A first wave of organized returns could begin as soon as 15 November, following the announcement of a bilateral agreement between Bangladesh and Myanmar last month which falls short of international obligations.

    “This is a reckless move which puts lives at risk,” said Nicholas Bequelin, Amnesty International’s Regional Director for East and Southeast Asia.

    “These women, men and children would be sent back into the Myanmar military’s grasp with no protection guarantees, to live alongside those who torched their homes and whose bullets they fled.”

    High risk of forced returns

    On 30 October, representatives of the Bangladesh and Myanmar governments announced they had agreed to start repatriation of some of the more than 720,000 Rohingya refugees who have fled to Bangladesh from Myanmar since August 2017.

    November 02, 2018

    Amnesty International USA Media Release

    In response to President Trump’s plans to implement restrictive policies to limit the rights of migrants, refugees, and people seeking asylum from Central America, Amnesty International’s Secretary General Kumi Naidoo issued this statement:

    “Seeking asylum is a fundamental human right. I would like to remind President Trump that US law states very clearly that it does not matter where or how people seeking safe haven enter the country – they are allowed to apply for asylum. His intentions to limit the rights of those seeking asylum are against those laws and the USA’s international obligations.

    “Right now, mothers, fathers, and children are enduring a terrible and arduous journey because they urgently need to find safe haven from violence and persecution. Instead of demonizing them, I urge President Trump to think about why anyone would leave their home and embark on such a journey, if they were not afraid for their lives.

    October 26, 2018

    In response to reports that President Trump plans to take executive action blocking refugees and people seeking asylum from Central America from entering the United States to request protection, Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas director at Amnesty International, said:

    “The Trump administration is defying international law and manufacturing a crisis at the border by proposing policies that would cause catastrophic and irreparable harm to thousands of families who had no choice but to leave home in order to keep their children safe from harm.”

    “President Trump has shown callous disregard for the plight of those making this dangerous journey from Honduras and other Central American countries. His administration must stop waging a deliberate campaign of human rights violations against people seeking safety and immediately recognize that everyone has the right, under US and international law, to seek protection.”

    Amnesty International USA executive director Margaret Huang added:

    October 22, 2018

    Mexican authorities must guarantee that no one at risk of danger in Honduras is deported and that caravan members are informed of their right to seek asylum, said Amnesty International today in response to news that several members of the caravan were transferred to a migration detention center rather than to a shelter.

    “Mexican authorities must at all times avoid detaining children and separating families; they should also attend to the urgent humanitarian needs, avoid using force at all costs and identify those people who are fleeing violence and are in need of international protection,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International.

    Thousands of members of a caravan of people from Honduras and Central America began to cross the bridge that divides Guatemala and Mexico yesterday. Several people were wounded during the crossing and tear gas was briefly used by federal police. Thousands of people spent the night on the bridge without proper shelter, food or protection. Several caravan members were transported to a detention center in the city of Tapachula, which is commonly the place where deportation buses depart from.

    October 18, 2018

    With the critical situation on Nauru deteriorating even further, Amnesty International is calling on the Australian government to show leadership, and urgently bring all refugees and asylum-seekers to Australia.

    Dr Graham Thom, Amnesty International Australia’s Refugee Coordinator, said:

    “The Australian chief medical officer has reportedly been deported, which will only compound the dire health situation for people on Nauru, including the more than 80 children who have suffered for over five years.

    "Continuity of care is crucial for such a large number of refugees, including children with such complex health needs, but that’s clearly impossible in such a volatile situation.

    “These children desperately need our help. Prime Minister Scott Morrison cannot stall any longer with his calls for so-called ‘back-door’ legislation, especially as the New Zealand government reiterated its concern only yesterday that such legislation would create ‘second-class citizens’.

    October 18, 2018

    The Mexican government must listen to the individual stories of those fleeing Honduras and inform them of their right to seek asylum, said Amnesty International today in response to news that the Mexican government deployed its federal police chief to its southern border to await the arrival of a caravan of over 1,600 people from Honduras, including dozens of families and children. 

    “Mexican authorities should not take a Trump approach treating people like a security threat. These families deserve dignity and respect to ensure that no one is illegally returned to situations where they could risk serious harm due to violence,” said Erika Guevara-Rosas, Americas Director at Amnesty International. 

    October 15, 2018

    Amnesty International will challenge in court the constitutionality of Hungary’s controversial law that criminalizes with up to one year in prison, individuals and organizations working on migration, the organization announced today.

    The law, which came into effect earlier this year, is a threat to the freedoms of expression, association and peaceful assembly.

    “The Hungarian authorities’ are persistently intimidating those who challenge their xenophobic policies. This law takes this intimidation campaign a step further by criminalizing their legitimate work to protect the rights of migrants, asylum seekers and refugees” said Clare Algar, Europe Director at Amnesty International.

    The complaint, which was submitted to the Constitutional Court today on behalf of Amnesty International Hungary, argues that the deliberately vague and ambiguous wording of the legislation leaves it wide open to abuse by the Hungarian authorities and risks discouraging dissent and lawful activities.

    October 11, 2018

    In response to the urgent call made by Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) today for all refugees and asylum seekers to be immediately evacuated from Nauru, Roshika Deo, Pacific Researcher at Amnesty International said:

    “Today the world learned first-hand, from medical experts, exactly how wretched the situation is for Nauru’s refugees and vulnerable people. Australian and Nauruan governments were repeatedly warned of the escalating health crisis resulting from a cruel and broken offshore detention system – they can no longer pretend otherwise.

    “The Nauru government’s decision to end MSF’s health programme with only 24 hours’ notice was callous and disgraceful. As MSF doctors say, it is medically irresponsible. The Australian government must act now before more lives are lost due to these cruel policies. It is all the more urgent now that these populations have been robbed of a lifeline.”

    Background

    October 04, 2018
     Amnesty Secretary General Kumi Naidoo in Lesvos as situation on islands reaches crisis point Refugee women raise their voices for change and set out ten demands for European leaders

    Female refugees and asylum seekers are coming together to fight against horrific abuses, including sexual violence, and to demand a better life in Europe, Amnesty International reveals in a new report published today.

    I want to decide my future: Uprooted women in Greece speak out, reveals the perilous journeys made by women and girls and the terrible conditions and dangers they face when they finally arrive on the Greek islands or mainland. It also highlights the tremendous resilience and strength these women have shown in overcoming adversity.

    “The abject failure of European governments to open safe and legal routes to refugees fleeing war is putting women and girls at increased risk of harrowing abuses,” said Kumi Naidoo, Secretary General of Amnesty International.

    September 10, 2018

    Amnesty International UK Press Release

    “Some guards treat us like animals” a man held in the Rio Canario police cells

    People fleeing to the Dutch Caribbean island of Curaçao following the spiralling crisis, rising violence, and unrest in Venezuela are facing “appalling” conditions, detention and deportation, a new report from Amnesty International said today (9 September).

    The 52-page report - Detained and Deported: Venezuelans denied protection in Curaçao - shows how refugees and asylum-seekers have been unable to apply for international protection in Curaçao since July 2017, and instead have been detained or deported from the island.

    Curaçao is part of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, the “active removal strategy”, implemented by the government last year has led to the deportation of over 1,200 Venezuelans in 2017 and almost 400 between January and April this year.

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