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Refugees and Migrants

    March 12, 2018

    Responding to the news that UN officials have called for nearly $1bn (USD) in assistance for the nearly one million Rohingya refugees living in Bangladesh’s Cox’s Bazar District, Amnesty International’s South Asia Director, Biraj Patnaik, said:

    “The money is urgently needed to help the Rohingya refugees to be able to live in safe and adequate living conditions in the camps in Bangladesh. This is not a short-term crisis and there is little prospect of them being able to return to their homes in Rakhine State any time soon.

    “As the monsoon season looms, there is a great risk of landslides and floods striking the camps. The threat of diseases, such as diphtheria, measles and cholera, has to be aggressively combated with mass vaccinations and appropriate sanitation. The refugees also need food, clean water and healthcare. The needs of the local host communities, which have been severely affected, must also be carefully considered.

    March 07, 2018
    Taibeh Abbasi with her younger brother Ehsan.

    By Maria Serrano, Campaigner on Refugee and Migrants Rights

    Would you go to Afghanistan tomorrow? If you follow the news at all, the answer is probably no. Maybe you read about the truck bomb that killed at least 150 people last May, or the gunmen who stormed the offices of the charity Save the Children in January, killing four people. Perhaps you wondered how anyone could ever feel safe in Kabul after an ambulance packed with explosives blew up in a crowded street. Over 100 people died and at least 235 were injured.

    If you are in Europe, it’s likely that your government would also advise you against travelling to Afghanistan, citing the high threat of kidnapping, indiscriminate attacks and clashes between armed groups.

    February 14, 2018

    Traumatized, exhausted, Rohingya refugees in Bangladesh are living out another chapter in their painful history as an unwanted people. Amnesty’s Deputy South Asia Director, Omar Waraich, joined a research mission to document their experiences in Cox’s Bazar, a district shaped by the sufferings of Rohingya people over centuries.

    February 07, 2018

    Released : 00:01 in Yangon on 08 February 2018 (12:31 EST on 07 February 2018)
    The Myanmar security forces’ devastating campaign against the Rohingya population in northern Rakhine State is far from over, Amnesty International said today, as it published new evidence of ongoing violations that have forced hundreds more people to flee in recent weeks.
    In late January 2018, the organization interviewed 19 newly arrived Rohingya men and women in Bangladesh, who described how forced starvation, abductions and looting of property drove them to flee. Humanitarian agencies have documented thousands of new arrivals over the course of December and January, and many days still see scores of people streaming across the border.
    “Shielded by official denials and lies, and a concerted effort to deny access to independent investigators, Myanmar’s military continues to get away with crimes against humanity,” said Matthew Wells, Senior Crisis Advisor at Amnesty International, who has just returned from the organization’s latest research trip to Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh.

    February 02, 2018

    Taibeh Abbasi is a teenage girl that was born in Iran to Afghan parents and fled to Norway with her mother and brothers in 2012. The Norwegian government will be putting her and her family at grave risk of serious human rights violations if it goes ahead with plans to return them to Afghanistan, a country that she has never even visited.

    Taibeh goes to school and dreams of becoming a doctor. If she is forced to return to Afghanistan her aspirations will be completely destroyed. The Norwegian government has justified the family’s deportation by claiming that Afghanistan is safe for returns – but it is not.

    However Taibeh is not alone, her classmates at school in Trondheim, led a campaign to stop their return. There was massive support from over 1,000 high school students that protested against the government’s threat to deport one of their classmates. Now Amnesty youth activists in Canada and from around the world are speaking out for Taibeh and her family. 

    February 01, 2018
    New facilities unsafe and do not meet refugees’ basic needs Refugees say they live with constant fear of violence Australia must policy of cruelty and neglect

    The Australian government has abandoned hundreds of refugees and asylum seekers, leaving them in a situation that more closely resembles punishment instead of protection in Papua New Guinea, Amnesty International said in a new report today.

    Punishment not protection: Australia’s treatment of refugees and asylum seekers in Papua New Guinea documents how, since refugees were forcibly evicted from a transit centre on Manus Island in November 2017, they have been moved to newer but inadequate facilities where violence from the local community remains a constant threat.

    “Moving refugees and asylum seekers from one hellish situation to another is not a solution, it is just prolonging these desperate men’s suffering. The new centres on Manus Island are not just a safety risk but also leave those who live there without basic services,” said Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher.

    January 29, 2018
    Fatima Khatun, 60, lies on her hospital bed in Bangladesh in October 2017

    The Myanmar Army must end its campaign of violence in Rakhine State and put an end to crimes against humanity.

    Systematic, organized and ruthless attacks against the Rohingya people in Rakhine State have amounted to ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity. The Myanmar military killed Rohingya women, men and children; raped Rohingya women and girls; and burnt entire Rohingya villages to the ground. More than a half million Rohingya have fled to Bangladesh. Those who stayed behind are still at risk. Myanmar’s authorities are restricting their access to lifesaving humanitarian aid and assistance. The Rohingya continue to live under a system of institutionalized discrimination and segregation which amounts to apartheid.

    No one has been held to account for these atrocities. The Myanmar authorities are trying to stop the world from seeing what’s actually happening on the ground. These crimes against humanity must end and the system of apartheid must be dismantled.

    Call on Chrystia Freeland, Minister of Foreign Affairs to demand an end to the human rights atrocities in Myanmar.

    January 26, 2018

    Responding to reports that at least 30 Somali and Ethiopian refugees and migrants drowned after leaving the coast of south-western Yemen to flee back to Africa, Lynn Maalouf, Director of Research for the Middle East at Amnesty International, said:

    “This heart-breaking tragedy underscores, yet again, just how devastating Yemen’s conflict continues to be for civilians. Amid ongoing hostilities and crushing restrictions imposed by the Saudi Arabia-led coalition, many people who came to Yemen to flee conflict and repression elsewhere are now being forced yet again to flee in search of safety. Some are dying in the process.

    January 26, 2018

    Responding to news that an asylum-seeker being treated at a hospital in Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea (PNG), for a serious medical condition, has been restrained for three days and is being force-fed by hospital staff after he went on hunger strike for 20 days, Kate Schuetze, Amnesty International’s Pacific Researcher said:

    “Forcing medical treatment and feeding a patient without his consent, unless it is medically necessary, may violate the right to health and the right to be protected from torture and other cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment. He has gone on hunger strike to protest the poor medical treatment he has received in PNG and his need for further medical treatment, which cannot be provided in the country.

    “The Papua New Guinea and Australian authorities must address the underlying concerns raised by the asylum-seeker, and must transfer him to a hospital in Australia where he can receive the appropriate treatment he urgently needs.”

    Background

    January 23, 2018

    Mexican migration authorities are routinely turning back thousands of people from Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala to their countries without considering the risk to their life and security upon return, in many cases violating international and domestic law by doing so, Amnesty International said in a new report.

    Based on a survey that captured 500 experiences of Central Americans travelling through Mexico, Amnesty International found that the National Institute of Migration (INM) is systematically violating the non-refoulement principle, a binding pillar of international and Mexican law that prohibits the return of people to a real risk of persecution or other serious human rights violations. This serious failure by the Mexican government can cost, in many cases, the lives or safety of those returned to the country from which they fled. 

    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.  

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