Tag Archives: refugee

Chinese Uighur refugee fears deportation from Turkey

Chinese Uighur refugee fears deportation from TurkeyA Chinese Muslim refugee has told AFP he is terrified he may be sent back to China after being detained in a deportation centre near Istanbul for more than two months. The Uighur community in northwest China has faced an intense crackdown in recent years, with an estimated one million mostly Muslim ethnic minorities held in internment camps that Beijing calls “vocational education centres”. Turkey has been the only Muslim-majority nation to criticise China’s policies and offered refuge to tens of thousands of Uighur refugees.



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Libya fighting could trigger new refugee crisis, says EU, amid fears of civil war

Libya fighting could trigger new refugee crisis, says EU, amid fears of civil warForces loyal to Libya’s beleaguered UN-backed government carried out airstrikes on Saturday to try to stop rebel troops advancing on Tripoli, raising fears the country may be heading back to full-blown civil war.  As the army of Khalifa Haftar, a military strongman in control of eastern Libya, claimed to have seized control of Tripoli's airport, EU officials warned that instability could trigger a fresh flow of migrants and refugees heading towards Europe.  A meeting of G7 foreign ministers called on Gen Haftar to halt his offensive and even his traditional supporters Russia and Egypt expressed concern that his sudden advance would plunge Libya into chaos.  The 75-year-old general’s advance on Tripoli appears to be a power play designed to strengthen his negotiating position ahead of a UN-brokered conference on Libya’s future scheduled for later this month.  Since the fall of Gaddafi in 2011, the country has been fractured and its government divided. A UN-backed government controls Tripoli with the support of several militias from western Libya while Gen Haftar is in charge of most of the east.  Territorial control in Libya The UN hoped that the conference would pave the way for national elections but Gen Haftar decided to use military force against his western rivals.   “Haftar felt that Tripoli players had not submitted enough to him ahead of the national conference," said Jalel Harchaoui, research fellow at the Clingendael Institute. "So he chose military force to change the facts on the ground.” The UN’s envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, said he hoped the conference would still go ahead as planned.  Gen Haftar’s Libyan National Army (LNA) said Saturday they had seized control of Tripoli’s main airport, which has not been functional since large parts of it were destroyed in fighting in 2014.   Militia forces supporting the government carried out at least one airstrike south of Tripoli against his troops. No casualties were reported. The LNA said it would shoot down any aircraft over western Libya and target the airfields from which they took off.  Up to 1 million refugees and migrants are estimated to be in Libya, many being held in horrific conditions in militia-run detention centres. The EU has supported Libyan militia coastguards to stop migrants crossing the Mediterranean towards Europe.  The U.N. Envoy for Libya, Ghassan Salame, speaks during a news conference in Tripoli, Libya April 6, 2019.  Credit: REUTERS/Hani Amara Antonio Tajani, president of the European parliament, warned that fighting in Libya would “risk generating a new migratory crisis, with increased flows heading mainly towards Italy and other Mediterranean countries”. He called on the EU to “intervene immediately” to prevent a chaotic escalation.  The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) also raised concerns about the fate of migrants being held in detention centres if fullscale fighting broke out around them. “The safety of migrants in detention is especially concerning should there be an escalation in military action,” the IOM said.  G7 foreign ministers meeting in France called on Gen Haftar to “halt all military activity and movements towards Tripoli”. Jean-Yves Le Drian, the French foreign minister, said: ”There is a fundamental principle in Libya. There will be no military victory. The solution can only be a political solution.” The foreign ministers of Russia and Egypt, which have both backed the military strongman, met in Cairo on Saturday and also said there needed to be a political solution in Libya.  However, Russia also warned against efforts to blame Gen Haftar for the insecurity in the country.  While Gen Haftar’s troops have advanced rapidly over 48 hours, it is not clear they have the strength to defeat the coalition of militias supporting the government and seize control of Tripoli.  Nearly 150 of his soldiers and dozens of vehicles were captured by pro-government forces on Friday as they tried to join the offensive towards Tripoli.



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Children of Isil's caliphate left to toil in squalid refugee camps

Children of Isil's caliphate left to toil in squalid refugee campsEight-year-old Hamed cast a critical eye at the at tent peg, raised a hammer above his head and began thwacking it into the hard, stony ground. It is heavy work, and he would rather be in school. But he has little choice. “I get about 2,000 lira for putting up one tent,” he said, using the popular term here for Syrian pounds. “I can do three or four a day, so that is 8,000.” That, he said, is just about enough to feed himself, his mother, and her newborn baby twice a day. “But we can’t eat all the time,” he said. "My mother explained, we can't spend so much money on food because we need to buy stuff for the baby now." Hamed is one of about 41,000 children in al-Hol, the largest of three sprawling camps in north eastern Syria that houses former members, children, and prisoners of the Islamic State terrorist group. More than 40,000 children are living in al-Hol, the largest of three sprawing camps in north eastern Syria that houses former members, children, and prisoners of the Islamic State terrorist group Credit: Sam Tarling /The Telegraph The fate of the children who emerged from Isil's doomed caliphate is a matter of humanitarian urgency and critical to international security. And yet the lack of provision made by world governments, including Britain's, is striking. The Telegraph has seen dozens of malnourished infants as Isil families left Baghuz, Isil's last bastion, in the past two weeks. At least 108 children have already died en route to or soon after arriving at the camp, mostly from severe acute malnutrition, pneumonia, and dehydration, according to the International Rescue Committee. The vast majority of them were under five years old, and most of those babies younger than one.  Many are also carrying serious injuries from shrapnel. The fate of the children who emerged from Isil's doomed caliphate is a matter of humanitarian urgency Credit: Sam Tarling /The Telegraph The casualties included Jarrah Begum, Shamima Begum’s newborn son, who died of a lung infection last month. Unicef has described the living conditions for those children who reach the camp as "extremely dire." Hamed, who spoke to the Telegraph with the permission of his German mother and on condition of anonymity, said he bitterly misses his old life in Europe. “If there was a school, I’d go to it,” he said, as he took a pause in his tent work to speak to the Telegraph. "But there isn't one here." “When I was in Germany I was learning, then in Doula I learnt nothing,” he said, using the Arabic word for “State” – the term many Isil families use for the group. “They just teach like the Quran… and they teach you that you have to fight. But I said: ‘I don’t want to fight’. I don’t like to fight. I just want to be a normal one, I just want to live in a house and make my job. I don’t want to fight, I don’t want to be a warrior.” Unicef has described the living conditions for those children who reach the camp as 'extremely dire'   Credit: Sam Tarling /The Telegraph He said he had left Germany when he was five years old, and only emerged from the Islamic State two months ago. The camp, he said, is a miserable and filthy place. “Kids poop everywhere,” he said. “You have to watch where you walk. You can’t just sit anywhere, like you can in Germany.” It is not surprising. Adults in the section of the camp where Hamed lives told the Telegraph many of the young children have chronic diarrhoea.   “Play”, if there is such a thing, involves picking on one another or chucking rocks at moving cars.   “They call me a dog and things. They think it is a joke,” said Hamed, when asked about his friends. “My mother doesn't like me to be like the other children. She says maybe there is a little baby there, like three years old, and maybe you’ll hit him. Even though I don’t like to throw rocks,” he said. “It’s not a game. They come, they throw, the glass breaks,” he said. “In Germany it is not like this, you’re not hitting on cars. If you want to play you go to your friends, you have friends, they don’t call you anything, you play a bit.” The larger and more loosely regulated section of the camp reserved for Syrian and Iraqi citizens has a market which is run by Kurdish authorities in al-Hol Credit: Sam Tarling/The Telegraph Most children have little time for that though. Adults here told the Telegraph that almost every child from about the age of eight upwards is a low-paid labourer in the camp’s grey economy. “They’re already entrepreneurs. I think they wake up and the first thing they think is: who am I going to hit up for money today?” said Lorna Henri, a 54-year-old woman from the Seychelles who has become the de-facto guardian of two unaccompanied children in the camp. "I try to give them what I can." Ms Henri said boys generally sent by their mothers to run errands in the camp market, which children can access more easily than adults, and put up tents. Girls clean or offer to cook. The market, in the larger and more loosely regulated section of the camp for Syrian and Iraqi citizens, is crowded with small boys hauling hand carts for 200 Syrian pounds per errand. The market is crowded with small boys hauling hand carts for 200 Syrian pounds per errand Credit: Sam Tarling/The Telegraph Such Dickensian scenes are not unusual amidst humanitarian crisis. And across the Middle East, children are generally expected to pull their own weight at an earlier age than in the West. But the prospects for these children are bleak in more than one way. Radical Isil supporters continue to exert influence inside al-Hol, including by harassing women who want to remove their veils.  There have been reports of punishment tent-burnings by an underground “religious police”, and several women from different countries who the Telegraph spoke to complained about being labelled “infidels” by their fellow inmates. Without intervention, there is a good chance the children here will be brought up in the same poisonous ideology that turned many of their fathers into terrorists. Without intervention, there is a chance the camp's children here will be brought up in the same poisonous ideology that turned many of their fathers into terrorists The United Nations has expressed “alarm” at the situation. Last week  Henrietta Fore, the executive director of Unicef, urged member states “to take responsibility for children who are their citizens or born to their nationals, and to take measures to prevent children from becoming stateless.” Some governments have heeded the call. Last week, the French government said it had evacuated several children. But Kurdish officials have told the Telegraph that Britain has refused to take back British Isil members or their children in the camps on the grounds that it has full confidence in the legal and administrative system of Rojava, the unrecognised Kurdish proto-state in northern Syria. Jeremy Hunt, the Foreign Secretary, last week claimed that it would have been “too risky” to send British officials to save Jarrah Begum, although he remained a British citizen after his mother was stripped of her own citizenship. However, the al-Hol camp is run by the Syrian Democratic Forces, a Kurdish-led Western-backed armed group that Britain is allied to. Journalists, including from the Telegraph, and aid workers visit the camp on a regular basis, safely and without incident. Radical Isil supporters continue to exert influence inside al-Hol, including by harassing women who want to remove their veils Credit: Sam Tarling/The Telegraph Nor is it true, as Mr Hunt claimed, that journalists are afforded special protection unavailable to UK officials in Syria or in the camps. In al-Hol, the foreign women constantly exchange rumours about which governments might take Isil members back. For their children, who committed no crime, the only thing on the horizon is more arduous work. "I'd like to…sell stuff. Or you know, build houses," shrugged Hamed, when asked what he would like to do when he grows up. Those are the only careers on offer in al-Hol camp. He picked up his hammer, and went back to hitting the tent peg. His blows made little impact on the stony ground. Protect yourself and your family by learning more about Global Health Security



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Syrian refugee father and son laid to rest as New Zealand burials start

Syrian refugee father and son laid to rest as New Zealand burials startA Syrian refugee and his son who fled the chaos of their homeland only to meet tragedy in New Zealand were buried on Wednesday in the first funerals of those killed in the mosque massacres. Hundreds of mostly Muslim mourners gathered at a cemetery in the southern city of Christchurch to lay to rest Khalid Mustafa and his 15-year-old son Hamza, who were among 50 people slaughtered at two mosques by an Australian white supremacist. The pair had fled to New Zealand seeking sanctuary from the Syrian maelstrom but died in last Friday’s hail of bullets, a bitter irony that New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called “gutting”.



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Hero refugee chased gunman away from New Zealand mosque

Hero refugee chased gunman away from New Zealand mosqueWhen Afghan refugee Abdul Aziz saw a man brandishing a gun outside his mosque in Christchurch, he ran towards the attacker armed with the only weapon he could find — a hand-held credit card machine. Seven people were killed when a white supremacist stormed Linwood Masjid — the second mosque he attacked on Friday — as worshippers knelt to pray.



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UK teen who joined IS gives birth in Syrian refugee camp

UK teen who joined IS gives birth in Syrian refugee campA teenager who joined the Islamic State group in Syria but now wants to return to Britain on Sunday gave birth in a refugee camp, as European governments grapple with what to do with returning jihadists ahead of a US troop pullout. Shamima Begum, whose fate has stirred controversy ever since she and two friends fled London to join the terror network in 2015 aged just 15, told Sky News she had delivered a boy. “I just gave birth so I’m really tired,” the 19-year-old said as she made a renewed appeal to be allowed back to Britain with her newborn baby.



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Refugee footballer makes triumphant return to Australia

Refugee footballer makes triumphant return to AustraliaRefugee footballer Hakeem al-Araibi made a triumphant return to Australia Tuesday, ending a harrowing two months in Thai detention, as his supporters called for an investigation into why he was arrested in the first place. “I want to thank Australia,” said a smiling Araibi, ending an ordeal that saw him jailed during his honeymoon and threatened with extradition to his native Bahrain. “I don’t have citizenship yet, but my country is Australia.



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The Latest: Bahrain says it could still pursue refugee

The Latest: Bahrain says it could still pursue refugeeBANGKOK (AP) — The Latest on the release of Bahraini soccer player with refugee status in Australia who was released from Thai detention after extradition request was withdrawn (all times local):



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In case you missed it: Polar vortex descends upon Midwest, Northeast; Brutal cold kills dozens of children at Syrian refugee camp

In case you missed it: Polar vortex descends upon Midwest, Northeast; Brutal cold kills dozens of children at Syrian refugee campExtreme cold led to the deaths of at least 16 people across the U.S. this week, while frigid conditions killed babies and children at a refugee camp in Syria this week.



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'I did it': Saudi teen fleeing alleged family abuse arrives in Canada as an asylum refugee

'I did it': Saudi teen fleeing alleged family abuse arrives in Canada as an asylum refugeeThe 18-year-old barricaded herself in an airport hotel in Bangkok and took to Twitter when Thai authorities threatened to deport her.



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