Refugee news summary: Europe’s ‘shield’

Greek-Turkish border
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen used  the language of the far-right earlier this month when she called the Greek border Europe’s ‘shield.‘ Josep Borrell, EU foreign policy chief, told asylum seekers and migrants not to come to the border.

After Turkey ‘opened the doors to Europe‘, Greece suspended new asylum applications in violation of the 1951 Geneva Convention of Refugees.

President Erdogan took the action after 33 Turkish troops were killed in Idlib, and said the EU should keep its promises including to fund and resettle refugees in and from Turkey.

The UN Refugee Agency appealed for calm and for urgent action for the 950,000 internally displaced people in Syria.

On 12th March, the EU announced that it would pay 2,000 euros to migrants in Greek camps to return home. Seven EU countries – Croatia, Ireland, Finland, France, Germany, Luxembourg and Portugal – agreed to home 1,600 unaccompanied children. Conditions in the camps are dire.

The immigration health surcharge will increase from £400 to £624 per year. It will apply to all ‘surcharge liable’ non-EEA migrants (and dependents) from October and include  EEA migrants from January 2021. It will include people already paying tax and national insurance contributions, effectively double-charging them.

The Chief Security Advisor to the Hungarian Prime Minister drew a link between illegal immigrants and the coronavirus. Hungary suspended inbound travel from Italy, South Korea, Iran and China for non-Hungarians.

In January, Hungarian border patrol fired warning shots at people trying to cross the border.

The closure of camps in Mosul is leaving residents in limbo. 138,000 houses in Mosul have been destroyed and 1.4 million Iraqis remain displaced.

60,000 asylum seekers from Mexico have been sent back to Mexico by the United States while waiting for their claims to be heard. The Supreme Court ruled that the policy from the Trump administration could continue, despite over 1,000 reports of kidnappings, torture, rape and assaults of returned asylum-seekers.

The New Humanitarian reported on the problems caused by restricted communications  in Bangladesh.

Refugees from Somalia and Ethiopia are fleeing to Yemen, while 200,000 Yemenis have fled the country. 6,100 people have been killed and  22.2 million people need humanitarian aid, the world’s largest humanitarian crisis.

The Guardian reported on how Denmark is ghettoising migrant communities.

But a Danish patrol boat refused an order  to turn back refugees they’d rescued in the Aegean Sea. ‘Pushback’ of migrants is illegal under international law.

The UNHCR are appealing for 1.3 billion dollars to help refugees fleeing conflict in South Sudan. Africa’s biggest refugee population is from South Sudan.

Albion City FC will be wearing the names of ten refugees who are being held in Australia’s detention centres. Albion City’s executive director said, “our club believes in human rights, we have made a pledge to provide an environment of equal rights for all and this means standing up for those without a voice. Football, as the multicultural game, stands for equality among all people and no one deserves to spend seven years of their lives being deprived of freedom, and certainly not those fleeing persecution.”

Refugees who were moved from Manus Island to Port Moresby have reported being attacked by locals. The notorious Manus Island was officially closed last year.

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