asylum

Whats next for the Rohingya

Published on Jan 16, 2017
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On The Stream: What’s next for the Rohingya? Tens of thousands have fled Myanmar amid a military crackdown.

Thumbnail: Myanmar’s Rohingya population struggles on May 24, 2015 after mass exodus. (GETTY/JONAS GRATZER/STRINGER)

Refugees brave rain surging river to flee teeming Idomeni camp

Defying E.U., Hundreds of Migrants Enter Macedonia From Greece

SKOPJE, Macedonia — Hundreds of migrants braved a fast-moving river to cross from Greece into Macedonia on Monday, defying efforts by European officials to stop people fleeing war and desperation from traveling through the Balkans to Germany and other destinations.

At least three people — two women and a man, all around 20 — drowned when trying to cross the border, and four people traveling with them were hospitalized, according to humanitarian groups in the area.

The border had been effectively sealed since last week, when Macedonia, along with Croatia, Serbia and Slovenia, said it would no longer allow migrants to pass through on their way north.

The result has been growing pressure at the Greek-Macedonian border, where an estimated 12,000 to 14,000 migrants have been stuck in increasingly desperate conditions, including an outbreak of hepatitis A.

On Monday, the border finally gave way, at least temporarily. Hundreds of asylum seekers marched west from a squalid camp near the Greek village of Idomeni and waded into the Suva Reka, forming human chains to pass infants and toddlers over the rushing river to Macedonia.

The three people who drowned were Afghans, humanitarian groups working in the area said. Although Afghanistan is a poor and war-ravaged country, many Afghans are considered to have only a slim chance of being granted asylum after the European Union categorized them last month as economic migrants. Syrians and many Iraqis who are fleeing civil war and the threat of Islamic extremists have an easier case for asylum in Europe.

European Union officials, determined to avoid a repeat of last year, when the asylum system all but collapsed, agreed to a political deal with Turkey last week to stop migrants from pouring into southeastern Europe.

Under the deal, Turkey would receive financial aid and political consideration in exchange for preventing migrants, mostly Syrian, from risking their lives to cross the Aegean Sea. European officials would assess the asylum applications of Syrian refugees — and directly resettle those whose applications are approved — from refugee camps in Turkey.

The terms of the deal are to be hashed out in Brussels this week.

The authorities in Skopje, the capital of Macedonia, did not provide an official comment on the situation Monday, but they were said to be considering forcing the migrants back to Idomeni, across the Greek border. Doing so could be politically damaging for Macedonia, a tiny country that was part of the former Yugoslavia and that has been trying since 2005 to join the European Union.

Assad War Crimes Syria

Assad regime war crimes in Syria

Bashar al-Assad regime crimes against humanity

Assad torture syrian civilians

Assad barrel bombing Syrian Civilians Syria

Assad war tribunal crimes against civilians syria

Assad war criminal torture civilians to death

Assad daily torture protestors

Assad syria war crimes against Syrian Children

Assad massacre civilians in Syria

Assad syria bombing innocent civilian men women children

Assad regime mafia war crimes

Article from: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/15/world/europe/european-refugee-crisis.html?smid=tw-nytimesworld&smtyp=cur&_r=0

Why Syrians are fleeing to Europe


15 Syrian refugees, including 18 months old baby, rescued by Turkish fishermen in the Aegean Files. Published on Oct 23, 2015

Why are so many more refugees undertaking the long journey to Europe? UNHCR’s Melissa Fleming explains

1. The war in Syria shows no signs of ending. People continue to flee, and refugees in neighbouring countries are now losing hope that they can return

Inside Syria, the situation has continued to worsen, with fighting intensifying in all regions and the economy and services in a state of general collapse. This is driving yet more people to leave, but is also having a profound impact on those who have already escaped to neighbouring countries.

When people flee from war, they usually do so hoping to return soon. So they move nearby, perhaps to family or friends in a nearby town, or just across the border, where they can keep an eye on their homes and livelihoods. But after more than five years of conflict, many Syrians have now abandoned that hope. Their homes have been devastated, their families torn apart, and there is little prospect for peace. With nothing left, and their places of exile under increasing strain, hundreds of thousands of people are now ready to travel much further to find the security they so desperately need.

2. Living as a refugee in neighbouring countries is untenable for many refugees, who are not permitted to work and are sliding deeper into poverty

For millions of Syrians, their first place of safety was a neighbouring country – like Lebanon, Jordan, Turkey, Egypt and Iraq. But few refugees can continue to pay rents at all, even on tiny and crowded rooms. Many refugees face eviction from their places of shelter.

In most countries, refugees are not allowed to enter the labour market formally and face sanctions if caught. In Jordan, for example, they risk being returned to the camps; in Lebanon, they are forced to sign a pledge not to work if they wish to renew their residency status.

Without income, people are forced, first, to spend their savings, and then to take on debt. Even worse options may then lie in store. After years of gruelling costs, many are simply no longer able to pay for rent, food or basic items.

3. There is not enough international aid to help refugees in the region

Normally, refugees might turn to aid agencies like UNHCR, which are running many programmes to help them survive. But the scale of the problem is so large, and it has been going on for so long, that donors are struggling to find the money to pay for these schemes. When the numbers of Syrian refugees arriving in Europe surged last month, UNHCR began to receive new donor pledges to increase aid in neighbouring countries. Even so, this year’s international appeal for Syrian refugees is just over half funded. Recently, World Food Programme vouchers were cut for thousands of refugees, forcing many into “negative coping strategies”, including begging and child labour.

In Jordan, many refugees have also lost free access to healthcare. Almost 60% of adults with chronic conditions are now forced to survive without medicine – up from 23% in 2014. Refugees in Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon and Egypt say cuts like these are the last straw, leaving them little choice but to leave.

4. Children are going too long without an education

Syrians prize education highly. But in Jordan, Egypt, Lebanon and Turkey there are simply not enough opportunities for Syrian children to be educated. In Jordan, 90,000 Syrian children are going without a formal education, and 20% of refugee children have abandoned school in order to work. Many girls are losing out after being forced into early marriage, another survival mechanism. Even in Lebanon, where education is free for Syrian children, transportation costs are prohibitive and many have to miss classes in order to support their families; 200,000 will be out of school this year, and young people looking for a university education have almost no options at all. If they are to get the skills to live a productive life, to go back home and rebuild after the war, parents of Syria’s refugee children arriving in Europe say education is crucial.

5. Countries in the region hosting four million refugees, without commensurate international support, have imposed new restrictions

Neighbouring countries have not been compensated for welcoming huge refugee populations, which has put an enormous strain on their infrastructures. In tiny Lebanon, host to well over one million Syrian refugees, the government has resorted to imposing new regulations making it harder for Syrian refugees to gain asylum. Most people fleeing Syria can only enter Lebanon if they show border guards an air or ferry ticket to Turkey. Refugees already in Lebanon must pay the equivalent of £130 per year to stay, as well as pledging not to work. In Jordan, the government requires all Syrians living outside of camps to get new identity documents to access services, but their cost (£27) is simply too high for many to afford.

6. The portrayal of a welcoming Europe on television and social media

Syrians inside and outside the country avidly follow the news. News stories of difficult journeys across the Mediterranean and through the Balkans end in Austria and Germany with scenes of refugees greeted with applause, flowers and teddy bears. For Syrians, the idea that they could seek asylum in a country offering the combination of safety, work prospects and education was worth the steep smugglers’ fees and the danger of getting there. Many also fear the gates will close soon and the only time to travel is now.

So what is the solution? Obviously, all countries with influence must step up efforts to end to the Syrian war. But until there is peace, the countries hosting four million refugees must receive the infrastructure and development support they need while fully funding UNHCR and partner organisations to provide for the basic needs for refugees. We continue to advocate for employment schemes to allow refugees to earn and contribute to local labour markets.

At the same time, refugees must be offered more legal avenues to reach safety in the world’s richer countries through increased resettlement quotas, more flexible family reunification schemes and humanitarian and student visas. Syrian refugees would certainly then think twice before leaving their region and risking their lives on a journey to Europe.

For more information:
http://data.unhcr.org/syrianrefugees/regional.php

WHY DOES THE WORLD IGNORE THE SYRIANS’ ORDEAL?

Published on Jul 17, 2015

WHY DOES THE WORLD IGNORE THE SYRIANS’ ORDEAL?

No one could have foreseen that the war in Syria would last this long or that it would have caused so much pain to so many people. 200,000 people have lost their lives, 9.5 million were forced to leave their homes, and 10.8 million are in need of humanitarian assistance inside Syria. The nation has been so thoroughly destroyed, it is hard to say that there is even the semblance of a country left; there is only rubble and clashing forces shooting at each other from amongst it.

Since the start of the war, some 1.6 million Syrians fled to Turkey and were welcomed with an admirable hospitality. In Turkey’s high-standard refugee camps, the pain-stricken Syrians found some relief. However, there was only so much a single country can do and the camps – and the funds – quickly became insufficient as the numbers of arrivals increased ever further. The camps were only designed for 220,000 people and the rest had no option but to make their way into metropolitan areas with hopes of finding some sort of shelter; these ‘urban refugees’ face immense difficulties everyday. Most of the time, these are families with vulnerable children and the elderly, and it doesn’t matter if they were wealthy, respected families or lived in affluent neighborhoods before: They are now homeless, jobless and without guidance. Many of them have turned to begging and it is not an uncommon sight to see Syrians with their babies clinging to them, begging for money on Turkish streets.

Turkey has spent $5.2 billion so far on Syrian refugees. Lebanon, Jordan and Iraq are also struggling to deal with the refugee influx. But, as these countries struggle with the consequences of Syrian war, what is the rest of the world doing? Not very much. The Gulf countries didn’t offer to take even a single refugee. Russia and China have also failed to offer any assistance. Except for Germany and Sweden, which accepted only 100,000 asylum applications, the EU has pledged to resettle only 0.17 percent of the total number of refugees.

And Yarmouk, already suffering due to an ongoing blockade by Assad’s forces, is facing even more pain after the capture of the area by IS. As a Palestinian refugee camp since 1957, the site had previously hosted 160,000 people, which dropped to 18,000. The area is completely blockaded by the Assad regime, leaving out much needed food and medical supplies. Scores of people, including babies, died of hunger and cold last year and the situation is called ‘beyond inhumane’ by the officials.
The UN Security Council urgently called for the evacuation of people and it is reported that 2,000 people have been already evacuated but there are still 16,000 people waiting and thousands of them are children. The world is once again being inexplicably indifferent to the ordeal of the innocent civilians.

But it wasn’t like this when other disasters hit: For example, $9 billion was raised for the Haiti earthquake, £19m has been donated by the British public for Syria, compared to £392m raised for the tsunami in Indonesia in 2004. Moreover, the UN recently decided to cut food aid for Syrians due to insufficient funds.

One can’t help but wonder; would the nations of the world be as indifferent if it were another country? Would people accept such apathy if it were they and their family running from bombs? Or if it was their baby that was crying for food? Or if it was their families wandering around in a foreign country, trying to find shelter, a warm place and some food?

As human beings, we have to open our minds and hearts and we have to remember that there are millions of innocent people, women, children and the elderly, suffering in every waking hour. Think about the difference one dollar a day from one million people could make for these people. They truly need our help and if we don’t do everything in our power to help them, more children, more women and more innocent people will continue to suffer and die needlessly.

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Malta: Syrian Refugees Dying at Europe’s Doorstep


Published on Dec 10, 2014

Angelina Jolie, our Special Envoy, travelled to Malta and met three people who risked everything to reach safety.

More people than ever before are risking their lives in search of safety – more than 207,000 people have crossed the Mediterranean since the start of January – almost three times the previous known high of about 70,000 in 2011, when the Libyan civil war was in full swing. For the first time, people from refugee-producing countries (mainly Syria and Eritrea) have in 2014 become a major component in this tragic flow, accounting for almost 50% of the total.

We have has received information of 4,272 reported deaths this year, this includes 3,419 on the Mediterranean – making it the deadliest route of all.

We are warning that the international community is losing its focus on saving lives amid confusion among coastal nations and regional blocs over how to respond to the growing number of people making risky sea journeys in search of asylum or migration.

Understand more: http://tracks.unhcr.org/2014/12/dange…

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UNHCR, the UN refugee agency, works to protect and assist those fleeing war and persecution. Since 1950, we have helped tens of millions of people find safety and rebuild their lives. With your support, we can restore hope for many more.

Rising death toll of Syrian Refugees in the Mediterranean sea

Thousands of Syrian children risk drowning in Mediterranean this summer to reach safety of Europe

In the first seven months of 2014, more than 16,000 Syrians washed up in Italy, half of them men and nearly 5,000 of them children.
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There were 27 people from my town who I knew on the boat that sank off the Libyan coast on 11th October 2013. One of them was my neighbour. They are all dead. Despite this, I wasn’t afraid to get on a boat and face the same fate. Death by death, we’ve tried new routes, because nobody wants Syrians anymore. Neither in Lebanon, nor Egypt nor Libya.” Abu Rabia, young refugee who survived the crossing.
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Mohammed, a 22-year old from Damascus, Syria, told Amnesty International: “When we left Libya, we were 400 people with maybe 100 more children. We had to go on rowing boats to reach the bigger boat. At first I could not see the big boat, but when I saw it, it was bad. I did not want to board it, but the smuggler threatened me with a firearm. It took two hours to board everybody. At about 2am I heard gunfire. [A boat with armed men] placed themselves in front of our boat. They kept trying to stop the boat for about four hours. They shot from many sides. When it dawned, they left. The damaged boat was swaying. We threw all our bags in the sea, including the life jackets – we wanted to live!”
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The UN High Commissioner for Refugees says more than 2,500 people have drowned or been reported lost at sea this year trying to cross the Mediterranean.

In one of the deadliest wrecks on record, a ship carrying some 500 migrants — including Syrians, Palestinians and Egyptians — was deliberately sunk by traffickers off Malta earlier this month, leaving just 10 known survivors.
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“No child forced to flee violence and persecution should then have to risk his or her life on this perilous sea crossing,” says Justin Forsyth, CEO of Save the Children.

syria_isis_assad_genocide_terrorism

Read more articles:
Thousands of Syrian children risk drowning in Mediterranean this summer to reach safety of Europe
http://www.savethechildren.org.uk/2014-06/thousands-syrian-children-risk-drowning-mediterranean#sthash.nsa07Yap.dpuf

Preparing for ‘a death trip’: the story of one Syrian refugee
http://www.middleeasteye.net/news/preparing-die-story-one-syrian-refugee-4972912#sthash.dQt5Lymb.dpuf

Syrian Bloody Civil War – 3 million refugees and counting

Almost three million people have fled across Syria’s borders to escape the bloody civil war that has engulfed the country. The daily flow of men, women and children has become one of the largest forced migrations since World War Two.

 Help Syrian Children – Donate now!

The Historic Scale of Syria’s Refugee Crisis

Read more articles:

How to help Syrian refugees
http://www.cnn.com/2013/09/06/world/iyw-how-to-help-syrian-refugees/

Syria’s refugee exodus
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-middle-east-24900116