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UN seeks urgent support for refugees after deadly Burkina Faso attack

UN seeks urgent support for refugees after deadly Burkina Faso attack

THE U.N. refugee agency (UNHCR) called for urgent support to some 16,000 newly displaced people who fled one of Burkina Faso's deadliest militant attacks last weekend that left at least 100 people dead. Soldiers have recovered 86 bodies since the attack on Saturday night in the northern province of Seno, the government said, although sources told Reuters that at least 100 people had died and possibly many more. The government said in a statement it was investigating whether some bodies had been taken away or buried by families. It was the deadliest attack in at least a year in the…
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Taking stock of Rwanda as a host for refugees

Taking stock of Rwanda as a host for refugees

THE UK and Rwanda have announced a deal in which the UK will send some people claiming asylum to the East African nation where their cases will be processed. If they are granted asylum, they will be encouraged to remain in Rwanda for at least five years. Refugee expert, Evan Easton-Calabria, provides key insights into Rwanda as a refugee host. Could you give us a picture of Rwanda’s refugee operations? Rwanda hosts about 127,585 refugees, the overwhelming majority of whom come from just two countries: the Democratic Republic of Congo (about 77,288) and Burundi (about 49,827). This is a significant…
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Refugees battle digital divide to stay documented in South Africa

Refugees battle digital divide to stay documented in South Africa

KIM HARRISBERG WHEN her refugee permit expired in June last year, Congolese nurse Marseline Buhoro started getting calls from her bank in Johannesburg saying her account would be frozen. Then her children's university told her they would not be able to graduate because her family was technically undocumented. Buhoro pleaded for a grace period, explaining she had finally figured out how to apply for a renewal using the government's new online system but had been waiting months for confirmation that her application went through. "It's like a second trauma," said the 53-year-old nurse who came to South Africa in 2005…
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South Africa’s COVID relief measures mostly excluded refugees: a neglect of duty

South Africa’s COVID relief measures mostly excluded refugees: a neglect of duty

THE early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in South Africa saw the government impose a lockdown in a bid to save lives. It introduced several interventions to cushion the impact of the crisis caused by the shutdown of economic activities on citizens. Among the measures were food aid as well as unemployment and debt relief. Refugees and asylum seekers expected similar protection. Their expectations flowed from the fact that the South African government has a responsibility to protect them according to the Refugees Act 130 of 1998. Author CALLIXTE KAVURO, Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Public Law, Stellenbosch University The act…
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Spillover from Tigray conflict adds to pressure on Sudan

Spillover from Tigray conflict adds to pressure on Sudan

KHALID ABDELAZIZ, ALI MIRGHANI and NAFISA ELTAHIR CLASHES along Sudan's eastern border and the influx of tens of thousands of refugees from neighbouring Ethiopia have added to the challenges faced by a country already navigating a fraught political transition and protracted economic crisis. Internal conflict in Ethiopia has driven more than 50,000 refugees into Sudan in just over a month, triggering a complex aid operation in an impoverished region of Sudan. And fears of unrest in Ethiopia's northern Tigray region spilling into Sudan were fuelled when several Sudanese soldiers were killed on Tuesday, in what Khartoum called an "ambush" by…
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Study sheds light on how South Africa can best tackle prejudice against migrants

Study sheds light on how South Africa can best tackle prejudice against migrants

STEVEN GORDON, Senior research specialist, Human Sciences Research Council XENOPHOBIA is a serious problem in South Africa. Cross-border migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in the country face harassment and discrimination. Hundreds of incidents of anti-immigrant hate crime have been reported in the past decade alone. To address this, the government launched the National Action Plan to Combat Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance in March 2019. The plan recognises that without quality data the government will struggle to design effective policies to change public attitudes towards foreigners. Targeted communication campaigns can be very effective in expanding tolerance between groups…
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Gabriel Hertis: The sun has set on an amazing life

Gabriel Hertis: The sun has set on an amazing life

ABDUL-KARIM G ELGONI THE African Diaspora Forum (ADF) lost one of its hard-working leaders, Gabriel Hertis, a staunch activist for the rights of migrants, refugees and asylum seekers in South Africa.  Gabriel Hertis Gabriel, as we used to call him, succumbed to a short illness on Friday, July 2. His untimely death robbed our community of one of its pillars, whose leadership and dedication to working with and for migrants was the driving force behind the ADF.  During his time with the organization, Gabriel worked with the founding leaders of the ADF in building a strong organization that has become…
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Locked out by COVID, refugees’ lives on hold

Locked out by COVID, refugees’ lives on hold

EDWARD MCALLISTER WHEN Michelle Alfaro left her office at the United Nations in Geneva on March 13, her job finding homes for the world’s most vulnerable refugees was under control. Four days later, the new coronavirus had knocked it into chaos. Governments across the world announced border closures, lockdowns and flight cancellations. The United Nations was forced to suspend the programme. “Everything collapsed that week,” said Alfaro, who manages resettlements for the U.N. refugee agency, UNHCR. Millions of people have been thrown into limbo by the new coronavirus. Those Alfaro works with had been promised escape from war, violence, conflict…
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Eritrean refugees protest in camps

Eritrean refugees protest in camps

DAWIT ENDESHAW and AYENAT MERSIE HUNDREDS of Eritrean refugees protested in the Ethiopian capital on Thursday, calling on the United Nations refugee agency to relocate friends and family who they say are trapped in two refugee camps by fighting in the Tigray region. Clashes between armed groups have escalated in and around the camps - Mai Aini and Adi Harush - and two refugees have been killed this month, the UNHCR said this week. The agency said it lost access to the camps on July 14. The United States said on Tuesday it was deeply concerned about the fate of…
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COVID-19 hits migrants hard

COVID-19 hits migrants hard

ANASTASIA MOLONEY FROM Australia to Egypt, migrants and refugees have been especially hard hit by job losses and economic pain during the coronavirus pandemic, with many struggling to access healthcare and state aid, a survey showed on Tuesday. The survey, published in a report by the Red Cross Red Crescent (RCRC) Global Migration Lab, included 3,250 interviews with migrants in eight countries - Australia, Colombia, Egypt, Ethiopia, the Philippines, Sudan, Sweden and Britain. Migrant workers are over-represented in hard-hit sectors such as food production and hospitality, meaning they have been disproportionately affected by layoffs and wage losses linked to COVID-19, the…
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