Ascension Island. Moldova. Morocco. Papua New Guinea. St. Helena. These are some of the far-flung destinations where the British government have considered sending asylum seekers once they have arrived in the UK or have been intercepted on their way here.

Such proposals are emblematic of externalization, a migration management strategy that has won increasing favour among countries in the Global North, denoting measures taken by states beyond their borders to obstruct or deter the arrival of foreign nationals lacking permission to enter their intended destination country.

The interception of asylum seekers travelling by boat, before detaining and processing them in offshore locations, is perhaps the most common form of this strategy.…  Seguir leyendo »

Refugee, artist and musician Farhad Bandesh has been held in immigration detention by Australia for seven years.

Years ago, during one of those hot Manus Island days, a few Australian guards entered the refugee prison camp. They snatched a broken guitar from the hands of a young musician and exited with an air of invincibility and sense of victory. The young man followed them for a whole 100m stretch in the prison and begged them to return his guitar. But every time he asked one of the officers they replied in absolute terms that he should forget about his guitar. In response to the question of why the guard was taking his guitar, he received the reply: “Having a musical instrument in prison is prohibited because you might hang yourself by using the strings.”…  Seguir leyendo »

Ask yourself: how would you survive in your home country if you had no proof of citizenship or even of your existence? How would your children grow up with minimal access to a school or even a hospital? What would you do if one day, after years of discrimination, your home village was attacked by gunmen? Your neighbors killed as their children looked on? Homes burned to the ground? If you’re Rohingya, you grab your children, take what possessions you can carry, and you run for your life.

Three years ago this week, that is exactly what hundreds of thousands of traumatized Rohingya had to do.…  Seguir leyendo »

Para el Día Mundial de los Refugiados, conmemorado el mes pasado, la Agencia de las Naciones Unidas para los Refugiados (ACNUR) lanzó su campaña “Toda acción cuenta” para recalcar que todas las contribuciones para crear un mundo más inclusivo y humano marcan una diferencia. Todos, incluidos los refugiados, podemos generar un efecto potente en la sociedad. Pero mientras celebramos la valentía y las contribuciones de los refugiados (como la lucha por la justicia racial y estar en la primera línea de la pandemia de COVID-19) debemos reconocer los retos a los que se enfrentan y ofrecerles los resguardos que se merecen.…  Seguir leyendo »

Miembro de los equipos de respuesta a los elefantes del proyecto de la IUCN en tareas de reforestación. Faqrul I Chowdhury, Author provided

Ya sabemos que la degradación forestal, particularmente en ambientes tropicales, facilita que los virus salten de su anfitrión habitual (murciélagos o cualquier otro animal) a los humanos. Ponerle remedio es muy difícil porque los habitantes de esas zonas dependen de los recursos forestales para comer.

¿Cómo reconciliar la conservación de la naturaleza con la actividad económica? Hoy hablaremos de un proyecto en particular: el que se está llevando en el campo de refugiados más grande del mundo, en Bazar de Cox.

Rohinyás y Bazar de Cox

Los rohinyás constituyen un grupo étnico musulmán que vivía principalmente en Birmania hasta que el ejército de ese país empezó en el año 2017 una operación que la ONU calificó de “limpieza étnica”.…  Seguir leyendo »

Venezolanos vuelven a su país desde Colombia en mayo de 2020. Credit Federico Rios para The New York Times

En la era de la inmovilidad, el estigma más obvio lo carga el que se mueve. El migrante es la encarnación del movimiento, de todo eso que nos dicen que ahora no se puede hacer. Su protección debería ser más urgente que nunca en plena crisis sanitaria, pero ya hay indicios de que perderán más derechos.

Las personas no deben moverse, pero los Estados sí las pueden mover. Donald Trump siguió deportando a centroamericanos a sus países de origen en medio de la pandemia de la COVID-19: en Estados Unidos tienen miedo a que traigan el coronavirus; en Guatemala, Honduras o El Salvador, una vez sus ciudadanos vuelven, también.…  Seguir leyendo »

Flooding in a Rohingya refugee camp in Cox's Bazar on Thursday as a result of Cyclone Amphan. (Mayyu Ali)

Cox’s Bazar — In what is often described as the world’s largest refugee settlement, Rohingya refugees who have fled genocide in Myanmar are enduring one disaster after another.

On March 24, Bangladesh confirmed the first covid-19 case in the city of Cox’s Bazar. Since then, the government imposed a lockdown in the area, including for the camps where more than 1 million Rohingya refugees — myself included — are surviving. On May 14, Bangladesh reported the first two confirmed cases within the camps itself — a Rohingya refugee and a local Bangladeshi person.

The nightmare of what we and the world have feared for months had finally arrived at our doorsteps — and it couldn’t have come at a worse time.…  Seguir leyendo »

On a cold afternoon in mid-February, I huddled into a borrowed office on the Greek island of Lesbos with about 12 other volunteers for a workshop with a child psychologist. She had come to teach us about trauma and the human brain. We all worked at the nearby Moria refugee camp. I had been there about three weeks.

“Intimacy can’t wait,” the psychologist said. I looked up sharply from my notebook, unsure whether I’d heard her correctly. I had. The rules of all the Greek military-run refugee camps prohibit staff members — including volunteers — from touching the minors who live there.…  Seguir leyendo »

An Iraqi refugee carries her child as she walks around in a camp in al-Hol, Syria, 13 March 2017. AFP/DELIL SOULEIMAN

When someone dies at al-Hol, a detention camp in north-eastern Syria that holds mostly women and children related to ISIS militants, the blame turns rapidly to COVID-19. Fears are mounting about the illness, even though there are no confirmed cases, and even though untimely death is already common, due to harsh living conditions and other infectious diseases that kill dozens of people on average each month.

Scary rumours started spreading in al-Hol early in March, when a three-year-old child and a seventy-five-year old woman, both Russian citizens, died. It was definitely COVID-19, some women maintained. Others said the child had died of tuberculosis and the woman of a heart attack.…  Seguir leyendo »

Par ces temps si troubles, où l’immunité grégaire obtenue par la vaccination généralisée est détournée en immunisation de troupeau résultante de l’exposition de tous et toutes au Covid-19 – ce qui ne manquera pas d’entraîner l’élimination des plus vulnérables –, par ces temps de détresse où les médecins en Italie, en Espagne et même en France sont sommés de faire le tri entre ceux à qui ils donneront une chance d’être sauvés et les autres qu’on laissera mourir,

par ces temps si obscurs où les demandeurs d’asile aux frontières de l’Europe sont traités comme des ennemis à repousser et, si besoin, à abattre, tandis que ceux qui réussissent à passer en Grèce sont traités comme des criminels de droit commun, étant condamnés à des peines de prison ferme,

il y a une partie de la population qui est condamnée à la contagion généralisée : en premier lieu, les réfugiés et les migrants vivant partout en Europe et surtout en Grèce dans des conditions sanitaires déplorables dans des «hotspots», ou bien détenus dans de centres de rétention administrative (CRA), puis les sans-abri et enfin les personnes incarcérées.…  Seguir leyendo »

Rohingya refugees walk in a market area in Kutupalong refugee camp in Bangladesh on March 24. (Suzauddin Rubel/AFP via Getty Images)

The coronavirus has unleashed so many problems around the world that it’s almost impossible to keep track of them all. Even so, it’s worth taking a moment to consider the situation facing one of the planet’s most vulnerable groups. They’ve been persecuted, maligned and terrorized — and now they’re preparing to confront the virus with minimal protection.

In the summer and fall of 2017, the Myanmar military launched a campaign of terror against the ethnic group known as the Rohingya, driving some 700,000 of them across the border into neighboring Bangladesh. Myanmar’s predominantly Buddhist ruling elite has long discriminated against the Muslim Rohingya, treating them as a nefarious alien presence in the country’s midst even though most have lived there for generations.…  Seguir leyendo »

The word Corona written in the sand on the beach in Lebanon's southern city of Saida. amid the spread of coronavirus in the country. Photo by MAHMOUD ZAYYAT/AFP via Getty Images.

As Lebanon strains to contain COVID-19, it is not clear which governmental public health policies apply to refugees. The government announced free testing for coronavirus in the public Rafiq Hariri University Hospital in Beirut but has not mentioned if refugees are eligible.

Lebanon’s coronavirus containment strategy is based on self-reporting and, given incidents of forced deportation and harassment of Syrian refugees from both the authorities and local communities, it is certainly less likely refugees would present themselves to the health authorities for fear of deportation.

Despite agreeing a Lebanon Crisis Response Plan with the UN for refugees, different ministries were left to implement it without coordination, just as Lebanese politicians from all sides started trying to rally popular support for ridding Lebanon from refugees – in particular from Syria, who Lebanese leaders say are causing a strain on the country’s already weak infrastructure.…  Seguir leyendo »

Migrants wait to board a ferry in the port of Mytilene, on the island of Lesbos, Greece, on March 20. (Vangelis Papantonis/AP)

In the midst of Europe’s coronavirus problem, a new border crisis has flared up. On Feb. 29, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared Turkey would open its European borders. Thousands of migrants from Syria and Afghanistan soon gathered near the Greek border and along the Turkish coast.

What has provoked the current migration crisis and what will happen now?

Buses from Istanbul transported Syrian and Afghan migrants to the no man’s land between Greece and Turkey — but Greek border guards violently repelled them with tear gas and stun grenades. On March 2, 22-year-old Aleppo-born Mohamed El-Arab died after being hit by a rubber bullet.…  Seguir leyendo »

Des migrants font face à la police grecque, le 3 mars, sur l'île de Lesbos. Photo Angelos Tzortzinis. AFP

Voilà que ça recommence. Une nouvelle fois, l’Europe s’égare dans une pente sombre et honteuse, emmenant les Européens avec elle. Cette Europe qui nous repasse en boucle les images insoutenables des pratiques inhumaines qu’elle déploie à ses frontières. Des bateaux – plus précisément des canots – sont la cible de tirs de gardes-côtes. Des gaz lacrymogènes sont utilisés contre des mères qui tiennent leurs bébés dans les bras. Une petite fille est morte noyée alors que l’embarcation sur laquelle elle se trouvait a chaviré. C’est tragique et c’était évitable.

Au lieu de compassion, c’est de nouveau en langage de guerre que parlent nos dirigeants.…  Seguir leyendo »

Migrants and refugees walk near the border with Greece in Edirne, Turkey, on Monday. (Tolga Bozoglu/EPA-EFE/Shutterstock)

In recent months, the Syrian government has stepped up its assault on Idlib province, the last rebel-held area in the country. Turkey and Russia have implemented a fragile cease-fire, but the onslaught has already displaced nearly 1 million Syrians toward the Turkish border. As many as 3 million people are at risk of further displacement should the violence resume. While the latest battle makes it clear that the war is far from over, the Syrian government’s gains raise a pressing question: What is next for the 5.6 million Syrian refugees already in neighboring countries?

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has periodically issued plans for “durable solutions” to the Syrian refugee crisis since at least 2017.…  Seguir leyendo »

Nick Paleologos/SOOC An improvised stove pipe in the shanty town of Vial refugee camp, Chios, Greece, February 9, 2020

Chios, Greece—Framed on both sides by squat stone walls, a narrow road leads to Vial, a refugee camp on Chios, a Greek island in the northern Aegean that is, at its nearest point, just four miles off the coast of Turkey. The pothole-pocked path bisects the village of Chalkio, passing an EKO petrol station and a scatter of shops, a couple of Byzantine churches, and the ruins of half-collapsed pre-Byzantine towers that once belonged to local grandees.

The closer you get to the camp, the more you see signs of the disarray that is driving up tensions on many of the Greek islands that have become holding sites for more than 42,000 refugees and migrants.…  Seguir leyendo »

En esta foto del 14 de abril de 2019, venezolanos caminan hacia Colombia próximos al puente internacional Simón Bolivar, cerca de Cucuta, Colombia. (Fernando Vergara, Archivo/AP Photo)

Colombia se encuentra frente a uno de los desafíos humanitarios más graves que el hemisferio occidental haya visto en la era moderna: la crisis de refugiados venezolanos. Esta crisis en la puerta de los Estados Unidos debe ser manejada con mayor urgencia antes de que la situación se salga de control. Necesitamos un compromiso más fuerte para obtener más fondos y recursos por parte de la comunidad internacional. Colombia no puede hacerlo sola.

El colapso económico y el caos político en Venezuela han generado una crisis de migrantes y refugiados tan grande como ninguna otra en el mundo de hoy. Vemos de primera mano cómo el caos y el colapso en lo que alguna vez fue una de las naciones más ricas de América Latina —una nación con las mayores reservas de petróleo del mundo— está destruyendo las vidas de millones de ciudadanos venezolanos inocentes.…  Seguir leyendo »

L’inaction aussi a son prix et il est plus que temps d’en sortir car… Rappelons l’enchaînement qui a conduit au chaos qui s’installe aux frontières de l’Europe. En Syrie, malgré la France, Barack Obama n’avait pas voulu faire respecter les lignes rouges qu’il avait lui-même tracées à Bachar Al-Assad. Son successeur s’est ensuite largement retiré du Proche-Orient pendant que l’Europe décidait de ne pas agir seule. La Russie s’est engouffrée dans ce vide pour reprendre pied dans la région aux côtés des régimes de Damas et de Téhéran.

La Russie est redevenue acteur mondial pendant que les démocraties occidentales se repliaient et Vladimir Poutine a alors décidé d’en finir avec le conflit syrien.…  Seguir leyendo »

A woman crosses illegally into Colombia from Venezuela on May 1, 2019. (Fernando Vergara/AP)

Colombia is on the front lines of the most serious humanitarian challenge the Western Hemisphere has seen in the modern era: the Venezuelan refugee crisis. This ongoing crisis on America’s doorstep must be met with greater urgency before the situation spirals out of control. We need a stronger commitment for more funds and resources from the international community. Colombia cannot do it alone.

Economic collapse and political chaos in Venezuela have spawned a migrant and refugee crisis as great as any other in the world today. We see firsthand how chaos and collapse in what was once one of Latin America’s wealthiest nations — a nation with the largest proven oil reserves in the world — is destroying the lives of millions of innocent Venezuelan citizens.…  Seguir leyendo »

Displaced Syrian children wait in line to receive humanitarian aid supplied by Humanitarian Relief Foundation's on Feb. 20 in Idlib, Syria. (Burak Kara/AFP/Getty Images)

You may not realize it from the news coverage, but we are witnessing one of the worst humanitarian crises in modern history. Resurgent fighting and violence around Idlib, Syria, have produced the largest wave of human displacement in Syria’s nine-year civil war. But with the rapidly emerging global crisis related to the uncontrolled spread of the lethal new coronavirus, as well as the 2020 presidential election, these refugees and displaced civilians are simply not getting the attention this humanitarian catastrophe deserves.

All of this means more misery and danger for children who have been living under chronic instability and persistent disruption for close to a decade.…  Seguir leyendo »