Refugee Week 2019 – one year on



A year ago, I posted a summary of global news about refugees and migrants. It was a horribly depressing picture. On the eve of Refugee Week 2019, it feels like nothing has changed and a lot has got worse


2018: The Guardian published a list of 34,361 people who died trying to reach Europe over the past 25 years
2019: In the first five months of 2019,  1,089 migrants have died or gone missing globally; 555 of those in the Mediterranean region. A document calling for the EU to be prosecuted for the deaths of thousands of migrants has been submitted to the International Criminal Court

2018: Matteo Salvini wanted a census of the country’s Roma community
2019: The census hasn’t happened. But soldiers are stationed outside Romani camps and Salvini has not toned down his rhetoric

2018: Malta and Italy refused to accept a rescue boat carrying 226 people. Salvini called for the crew to be arrested
2019: We hear news of Malta and Italy – but also Spain and Holland – blocking rescue ships on a weekly basis. The UN has warned of a ‘sea of blood’ if rescue boats continue to be stopped. NGOs face their ships being confiscated or criminal charges. Pia Klemp is the latest humanitarian worker to face trial

2018: Horst Seehofer of Germany’s CSU agreed to wait for the results of an EU summit before imposing a new border regime against the wishes of Chancellor Angela Merkel
2019: Angela Merkel steps down in 2021. The EU agreed a deal to appoint 10,000 border guards by 2027. The EU has not withdrawn support for the Libyan coastguard which transports migrants to Libyan detention centres despite appalling conditions

2018: Three young Eritreans committed suicide in London following their traumatic experiences
2019: Children in Calais went on hunger strike while waiting for the Home Office to transfer them to the UK. One attempted suicide

2018: Hungary plans to tax NGOs who support refugees. Legislation to criminalise asylum seekers and human rights groups was passed on Wednesday
2019: The Council of Europe has reported a pattern of abuse of refugees in Hungary

2018: Batons and tear gas were used on refugees in Croatia
2019: Police violence against refugees continues

2018: The Windrush generation were celebrated at a service in Westminster Abbey, following a recent scandal of deportations
2019: Amber Rudd resigned over the scandal. Sajid Javid recently apologised to 49 more victims and a compensation fund has been set up.
David Olusaga has explored the 1948 seeds of the scandal

2018: UK national newspaper The Daily Mail published a xenophobic article labelling EU residents living in the UK ‘migrants’
2019: The NSPCC reported that children are whitening their skin to avoid being victims of racial hate crime

2018: UK Prime Minister Theresa May called the caging of children separated from their families at the Mexican border ‘disturbing,’ but said Trump’s visit to the country next month would still go ahead
2019: Five children have died in detention on the US-Mexican border since the end of last year. A teenage girl and her premature baby are among the children being held. Trump was invited to another, state visit, on which he called the Mayor of London Sadiq Khan a ‘stone cold loser’.
Theresa May steps down as Prime Minister next month. She is expected to be succeeded by Boris Johnson who defended his comments about Muslim women wearing the burqa  looking like ‘letter boxes’ as ‘speaking as we find’ and ‘direct speaking’

2018: The UK contributes large amounts to anti-migrant security in northern France; border guards in Calais have destroyed tents and belongings and assaulted refugees, and in the South of France have abused children
2019: Tom Ciotkowski faces five years in prison for documenting police violence in Calais

2018: 800 doctors signed a petition after Australia refused treatment to a dying refugee detained on Nauru
2019: There has been a spike in the number of attempted suicides on Manus Island and Nauru since the government’s re-election. The UN has called conditions ‘inhumane’

In December, after 221 people tried to cross the Channel since the start of the previous month, Sajid Javid declared a ‘major incident.’ In February, he questioned whether people who attempted the crossing were ‘genuine’ refugees. The Home Office reiterated his ‘belief’ that ‘they are involved in illegal migration’

More to follow

One thought on “Refugee Week 2019 – one year on

  1. Thanks for this great post, I really enjoyed reading it 🙂 I just wrote an article on my blog about Australia’s response to the refugee crisis, it would be great if you could read it and let me know what you think!


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