Refugiados

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 »

Shadi Alnsoor/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images A Syrian refugee looking out of his makeshift tent dwelling in Amman, Jordan, December 12, 2013

The Haddad family have moved since I first visited them in Jordan last year in 2018: they’re still living in the same building in East Amman, but this time ten-year-old Saber led me past the door of the apartment I knew and up to the next floor. It was cosier, because it was smaller, and therefore cheaper—150 Jordanian dinars a month (about $210) rather than 250 dinars ($350) for the more spacious floor below. Spacious, yes, but the old one felt more desolate as a result. The furniture seemed sparse, if, on occasion, innovative. The baby’s cradle was a plastic vegetable crate, lined with blankets, hung from a water pipe in the ceiling, free to swing.…  Seguir leyendo »

One year ago, 181 nations gathered in Marrakech to sign the Global Refugee Compact, hailed at the time as a historic framework for a more equitable way for the world to support refugees. This week, world leaders are gathering in Geneva for the Global Refugee Forum to assess progress made since the signing.

The reality is that the gap between the needs of refugees and the support for them continues to grow. The number of refugees worldwide has grown to nearly 26 million, reflecting new waves of displacement from places like Venezuela, which have added to the toll of longer-term conflicts from Afghanistan to Syria and South Sudan.…  Seguir leyendo »

«Cuando hablamos de la migración debemos recordar que los primeros migrantes fueron los europeos. Cuando los europeos llegaron al continente africano se apoderaron de las personas y las materias primas de valor sin preocuparse del coste humano para la raza negra.

Ya en la Primera Guerra Mundial los europeos utilizaron a los africanos para liberar su continente. Por estas y otras muchas razones, tenemos derecho a venir a Europa y Europa no debería cerrarnos las puertas.

Europa se justifica diciendo que está en crisis, pero creo que esta crisis no justifica el dejar morir a la gente. Nada justifica dejar morir a la gente.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man serves customers at a shop in Nyahbiheke Refugee Camp, Rwanda. Energy access makes it possible for refugees to power and run businesses. Photo: Practical Action.

Mass human displacement crises like those in Syria, Democratic Republic of Congo and Myanmar do not dissipate within a year or two. The average age of a refugee camp globally is 18 and counting.

Meanwhile, the pressures on resources and services in neighbouring countries absorbing an influx of vulnerable people can be harsh. Imagine the overstressed schools and hospitals where intake has doubled in areas of Jordan and Lebanon, and the damage to ecosystems and elephant habitats (opens in new window) where camps have sprung up in Bangladesh.

The fallout from such crises is prompting new ways of working in the international humanitarian system.…  Seguir leyendo »

Cuando emigré a Perú tras huir de Venezuela con mi pareja, Zeus, en marzo de 2018, el país nos acogió con los brazos abiertos. El cariño de la gente, su interés por conocernos, y la instalación de mecanismos que las autoridades habían propuesto para permitir que nos quedáramos y pudiéramos trabajar nos hizo sentir alivio. Sin embargo, pocos meses después, las cosas comenzaron a cambiar.

Un discurso xenofóbico, que era usual escuchar desde el norte global, comenzó a sentirse en América Latina y el Caribe, donde se encuentran la gran mayoría de las 4.6 millones de personas venezolanas que hemos salido del país en los últimos años.…  Seguir leyendo »

Children stood behind the fence in the foreigners’ section at Al-Hol detention camp in Kurdish controlled northern Syria.

Children peer out from behind the bars into the light, scarred by intense trauma and uncertain of their future, terrified both of their prison and the outside world. The images and stories of these youngsters, robbed of their childhood by the extreme violence of life under the Islamic State, are harrowing. Many are unaccompanied, the large majority are under 12. They now find themselves abandoned in appalling conditions in rudimentary camps in Syria. Governments have to do better: This is not the way to treat children who are also victims of terrorism. Nor is it effective counterterrorism policy.

Tens of thousands of men, women and children with an alleged connection to the Islamic State are currently held in camps in northeastern Syria.…  Seguir leyendo »