Welcome to the Weekly News Roundup 24 September 2018

National News
International News


A. Dastyari and D. Ghezelbash, ‘European plans for refugee ‘floating reception centres’ will endanger lives’, ABC, 20 September 2018

D. Cave, ‘How Scott Morrison’s boat trophy came into view – and why it matters’, New York Times, 19 September 2018

C. Woolard, ‘Egypt plays the migration game’, ECRE, 21 September 2018

G. Kouvaras, ‘EU leaders cannot continue to let populism win on migration’, Thompson Reuters Foundation, 21 September 2018

A. Neier, ‘Which nation is 'most generous' to refugees? Certainly not the US’, The Guardian, 22 September 2018

A. Missbach and W. Palmer, ‘Indonesia: A Country Grappling with Migrant Protection at Home and Abroad’, Migration Policy Institute, 19 September 2018

T. Gardos, ‘Misery Deepens for Trapped Asylum Seekers in Greece’, Human Rights Watch, 20 September 2018


'Refugee Diplomacy: Negotiating protection in a changing world'

Keynote speaker: Anne C Richard

Ms Richard served as US Assistant Secretary of State for Population, Refugees and Migration in the Obama Administration (2012-17). In this role she led US diplomacy on refugee and humanitarian issues, and negotiated with Australia regarding resettlement of refugees from Manus Island and Nauru. She is currently a Centennial Fellow at the Walsh School of Foreign Service, Georgetown University and is affiliated with its Institute for the Study of International Migration.

Book your tickets to hear the unique insights of Ms Richard and others.

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A new paper by members of the Foundation for European Progressive Studies Global Migration Group.

National News


Asylum seekers and refugees in Australia


A detainee at the Yongah Hill detention centre is said to have been penalised by detention centre authorities after he reported being sexually assaulted by a guard. Rapper MIA has urged Australian airlines not to participate in forced deportations of asylum seekers. The Coalition government is considering outsourcing Australia’s visa processing to a private consortium, but Labor has raised concerns about national security and privacy implications and will seek to examine the plan in Senate Estimates next month. The Australian has reported on the resettlement of Karen refugees in Bendigo, while The Guardian has reported on Australia’s community sponsorship scheme.




Last week the Australian Medical Association wrote a letter to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison warning of a humanitarian emergency on Nauru that required ‘urgent intervention’. The Prime Minister rejected the call to bring asylum seeker and refugee children from Nauru to Australia. Meanwhile The Saturday Paper has reported on the Nauruan government’s practice of ‘blacklisting’ people from obtaining employment with government employers or Australian contractors. The Human Rights Law Centre has presented their concerns about the plight of asylum seeker and refugee children to the Human Rights Council in Geneva.


Manus Island


A further eight men have been transferred from Manus Island to the United States, under the U.S – Australia resettlement deal. Meanwhile an Iraqi refugee who was hospitalised a week ago after swallowing razor blades is reportedly still in hospital.


International News




Warring parties in South Sudan have signed the Revitalised Peace Agreement. UNHCR has ex-pressed support for the move, describing it as a crucial milestone towards permanent ceasefire and lasting peace in South Sudan.




In a move criticised by human rights groups, the Trump administration has capped the USA’s refugee acceptance in 2019 at 30,000, the lowest annual intake since the State Department imple-mented its refugee program in 1980.

A congressional investigation has revealed that the USA is unable to account for the whereabouts of nearly 1,500 migrant children who illegally entered the country alone this year and were placed with sponsors after leaving federal shelters. This has raised concerns amongst some that the children could end up with human traffickers or be used as laborers by people posing as relatives. Legislation into the Senate this week aimed at clarify the Department of Health and Human Services’ responsibility for ensuring the safety of migrant children, even when they were no longer in its custody. Meanwhile, the USA has begun pursuing and deporting would-be sponsors for undocumented migrant children who are themselves undocumented immigrants. Previous longstanding policy had been not to consider the adult’s immigration status when deciding whether to release a child to a sponsor.

US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions has moved to refer more immigration decisions to himself. Critics describe this as the latest in a series of moves to limit the discretion of immigration judges. Sessions is currently inviting submissions from interested members of the public on whether he should overturn a 2005 Board of Immigration Appeals decision, The Matter of M-G-G, that found that immigrants who pass the first interview threshold to pursue the right to stay in the US under asylum law are entitled to bond hearings and potential re-lease from custody.

UNHCR and the UN Migration Agency have announced the appointment of Mr Eduardo Stein as a Joint Special Representative for Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the region. Mr Stein will be promoting a coherent and harmonized regional approach to the Venezuela situation in coordination with national governments, international organizations and other relevant stakeholders.




Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan pledged on Sunday to grant citizenship and passports to 1.5 million Afghan refugees who have lived on the margins of Pakistan’s society for decades, a statement that was welcomed by UNHCR. However, following political backlash Khan later said that no decision had been made on the matter.

A Turkish lawyer has filed a criminal complaint against several Myanmar officials on charges of committing genocide against Rohingya Muslims and crimes against humanity in Myanmar's Rakhine State. The complaint gave details about the timeline about the crimes against humanity committed in Rakhine state and cited a report of the United Nations Human Rights Council (OHCHR) and a ruling of the International Criminal Court (ICC). 

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has confirmed that New Zealand’s annual refugee quota will rise from 1000 to 1500 in July 2020. Ardern said that there are logistical details to sort out, but raising the quota was ‘the right thing to do’.




A Greek government spokesperson has confirmed that the migrant reception center at Moria on Lesvos is at its limits. The facility currently houses 9000 immigrants in a facility built for 3100, and its conditions have come under criticism from a range of NGOs. UNHCR has reported that there is one toilet for every 190 people, while Medecins Sans Frontiers has raised attention about suicide and suicidal thoughts amongst children and has called for the evacuation of vulnerable people from the facility. The Greek government has responded by beginning to transfer asylum seekers from Lesvos to the mainland, with plans to transfer 3000 people over the next two weeks. The Migration Minister has also pledged to improve conditions in the camps.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said that the European Union is striving to reach migration deals with northern African countries similar to the one it has with Turkey. At a recent EU leaders’ meeting in Salzburg leaders agreed to expand dialogue with countries such as Egypt, Tunisia, Morocco and Libya, to stem migration across the Mediterranean.

The migrant rescue ship Aquarius has been denied entry to Italy after refusing to return 11 migrants off the Libyan coast to Libya. The Aquarius said it had contacted Italy, Malta and Tunisia asking for help. Italy informed the Libyan coastguard, who asked for the migrants to be handed over. The Aquarius crew responded that they could not legally comply as Libyan ports were not considered places of safety. The Aquarius is currently registered in Panama, but following the incident Panama has announced it will revoke its flag from the vessel due to "non-respect" of "international legal procedures" relating to the rescue of migrants in the Mediterranean.

The founder of Emergency Response Centre International, a Greek NGO involved in rescuing migrants at sea, is facing accusations of running a criminal network and aiding migrant smugglers. So far around 30 past and current rescue activists have been accused of various charges, including smuggling refugees from Turkey into Greece, money laundering, espionage, violating state secrets and counterfeiting.


Middle East and North Africa


UNHCR has ended its registration of asylum seekers in Turkey. All asylum seekers will now be registered directly with Turkish authorities, as is already the case for Syrian refugees applying under Turkey’s temporary protection regime.

The International Organization for Migration (IOM) has provided food and potable water to about 434 migrants at the Abu Salim migration shelter, which has been affected by recent clashes in Tripoli.


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