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Refugees and Migrants

    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.  
    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.”

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