Migrants in Bosnia Face Horrific Conditions as Winter Descends

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE WEATHER CHANNEL)

 

Migrants in Bosnia Face Horrific Conditions as Winter Descends (PHOTOS)

By Nicole Bonaccorso

6 days ago

weather.com

A migrant walks amid tents during snowfall at the Vucjak refugee camp outside Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. Despite calls for their relocation before winter, hundreds of migrants remain stuck in a make-shift tent camp in northwestern Bosnia as a spate of snowy and cold weather hit the region. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)
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A migrant walks amid tents during snowfall at the Vucjak refugee camp outside Bihac, northwestern Bosnia, Monday, Dec. 2, 2019. Despite calls for their relocation before winter, hundreds of migrants remain stuck in a make-shift tent camp in northwestern Bosnia as a spate of snowy and cold weather hit the region. (AP Photo/Darko Bandic)

Several hundred migrants refused food and water on Tuesday to protest the horrible conditions in the makeshift camp in which they are living in northwestern Bosnia. The Vucjak camp houses about 600 migrants fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, and according to Reuters, the camp lacks running water and electricity and is located on a former landfill near a mine field leftover from the war in the early 1990s.

Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights Dunja Mijatovic is urging the immediate closure of Vucjak as the region experiences freezing weather and the first snowfall of the season. Aid agencies have long advised the closure of the camp, which is located about 5 miles from the Croatian border.

“Vucjak must be shut down today,” Mijatovic said. “Otherwise people here will start dying.”

Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia have closed their borders to undocumented immigration, leaving Bosnia with an upsurge in immigrants attempting to cross into the EU, while Bosnian authorities struggle to find a place for them. A new facility near Sarajevo won’t be ready to accommodate people for another 20 days, the Associated Press reported.

Fazil Rahman, one of the camp’s occupants from Afghanistan, told the Associated Press that migrants “don’t want the food… They don’t want it for lunch, they didn’t want it in the morning, they don’t want it at nighttime. People are asking just one question: to cross the border.”

Meanwhile, tents collapse under heavy snow, and some lack warm clothing and appropriate footwear for winter. In photos, migrants are seen walking in the snow in sandals, wrapping themselves in blankets in a futile attempt to keep warm.

“It should be closed as we speak,” Mijatovic said, according to BalkanInsight. “This is not a place for human beings.”

The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.

Saudi: Ship With 151 Migrants Rescued off Libya Docks in Sicily

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Ship With 151 Migrants Rescued off Libya Docks in Sicily

Sunday, 3 November, 2019 – 12:30
A migrant hugs a rescuer aboard the Alan Kurdi rescue ship, before stepping into the port of Taranto, Italy, Sunday, Nov. 3, 2019. AP
Asharq Al-Awsat
An Italian offshore supply vessel has brought 151 migrants to Sicily after rescuing them in waters off Libya a day earlier.

The Asso Trenta docked Sunday at Pozzallo with the migrants.

It wasn’t immediately known if they would stay in Italy or be distributed among other European Union countries, the Associated Press reported.

Hours earlier, a German charity’s rescue boat, Alan Kurdi, had disembarked 88 migrants at Taranto on the Italian mainland.

Under an EU-brokered deal, 67 of them will go to four other countries, while the others will stay in Italy.

A Taranto official, Gabriella Ficocelli, told the Italian news agency ANSA the migrants included five unaccompanied minors who were “tired and tried by the voyage.”

They disembarked eight days after being rescued in the Mediterranean Sea from Libya-based traffickers’ un-seaworthy vessels.

Malta Takes Some Migrants from Ocean Viking, but Leaves Others Onboard

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Malta Takes Some Migrants from Ocean Viking, but Leaves Others Onboard

Saturday, 21 September, 2019 – 11:30
The Ocean Viking rescue ship just off the coast of the island of Lampedusa in the Mediterranean Sea on September 15, 2019. (AFP)
Asharq Al-Awsat
A group of 265 migrants were brought to Malta on Saturday, including 36 from the rescue ship Ocean Viking, but the operators of the ship complained that more than 180 other migrants on board had been refused disembarkation by the island.

The Maltese armed forces said 229 migrants among Saturday’s arrivals were rescued from three boats in distress in Malta’s search and rescue zone, reported Reuters.

Another 36 were transferred to a Maltese patrol boat from the Ocean Viking, which had rescued them in Malta’s zone.

The arrivals were the fourth group to arrive on the Mediterranean island in a week.

But Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF), which operates Ocean Viking, said in a tweet that 182 survivors from other rescues, including a newborn, children and a pregnant woman, remained stranded on board.

This, it said, “demonstrates the discriminatory, arbitrary and inhumane nature of a system which continues to prioritize political game-play above human lives and dignity”.

Malta argued that those people were picked up outside its rescue zone.

The island took more than 300 migrants from the Ocean Viking in August on condition that they would be shared among other EU countries, but most are still on the island, stretching its limited reception facilities.

The plight of the Ocean Viking, run by MSF and another French charity, SOS Méditerranée, has exposed Europe’s failure to come up with a coherent policy to deal with migration from Africa through Libya.

EU states have been at loggerheads over how to handle refugees and migrants reaching its shores since a 2015 spike in Mediterranean arrivals of people fleeing conflicts and poverty in the Middle East and Africa.

On Monday Malta will host an EU home affairs ministers meeting which will discuss migration and how EU states may share arrivals.

Saudi’s: Erdogan Threatens to Open Gates for Syria Refugees to Go West

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Erdogan Threatens to Open Gates for Syria Refugees to Go West

Thursday, 5 September, 2019 – 10:15
FILE PHOTO: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan makes a speech during the new judicial year’s opening ceremony in Ankara, Turkey, September 2, 2019. Murat Cetinmuhurdar/Presidential Press Office/Handout via REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to allow Syrian refugees to leave Turkey for Western countries unless the safe zone inside Syria is established soon.

Erdogan made the threat in a speech to his ruling party officials on Thursday. He also said Turkey was determined to create the safe zone and would do it alone if there’s no deal with the US by the end of the month.

He said Turkey aims to resettle about 1 million out of the 3.65 million Syrian refugees in the safe zone.

Ankara controls parts of north Syria where it says 350,000 Syrians have already returned.

Erdogan said: “We will be forced to open the gates. We cannot be forced to handle the burden alone.”

He also added that Turkey “did not receive the support needed from the world” to help it cope with Syrian refugees.

Under a deal agreed between the EU and Turkey in March 2016, Ankara agreed to stem the flow of migrants into Europe in return for billions of euros in aid.

Saudi: Boat with 356 Migrants Docks in Malta 6 Countries Accept to Welcome them

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Boat with 356 Migrants Docks in Malta as 6 Countries Accept to Welcome them

Friday, 23 August, 2019 – 12:00
Rescued migrants rest aboard the Ocean Viking ship at the Mediterranean Sea, August 21, 2019 in this still image taken from a social media video. MSF via REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat
France said Friday it will take 150 of the 356 migrants disembarking from a humanitarian ship in the Mediterranean Sea after six European countries agreed to accept all of them.

French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner tweeted that the 150 will be welcomed in France “in the coming days.”

He added: “Together, we managed to build a European solution.”

The Norwegian-flagged rescue ship Ocean Viking, with a stated passenger capacity of around 200, picked up the people in four rescue efforts off Libya from Aug. 9-12.

The migrants are being disembarked in Malta from the vessel and distributed to France, Germany, Ireland, Luxembourg, Portugal and Romania.

Requests for a safe port were previously denied by Malta and ignored by Italy, according to Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and SOS Mediterranee, the two charities running the ship.

MSF welcomed Malta’s decision to take ashore the migrants rescued. But the group also questioned why it took so long, calling for permanent European solutions.

Jay Berger, operations manager for Doctors Without Borders on board the Ocean Viking, said: “We are relieved that the long ordeal for the 356 people on board with us if finally over but was it necessary to keep them waiting for two weeks of torment?”

In a statement, he added: “This is about people who have fled desperate conditions in their homelands and have survived the horrific violence in Libya.”

He said once the rescued migrants have left the ship, the Ocean Viking will continue with its mission after restocking supplies and refueling.

The European Union also welcomed Malta’s decision and the pledges made by the European countries to welcome the migrants.

EU Migration Commissioner Dmitris Avramopoulos said in a statement that “these commitments must now be honored and materialized swiftly.”

The EU’s border and asylum agencies will help screen people before they are relocated.

Saudi: Richard Gere Visits Migrants Stuck in Mediterranean

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Richard Gere Visits Migrants Stuck in Mediterranean

Friday, 9 August, 2019 – 11:45
Actor Richard Gere, right, talks with migrants aboard the Open Arms Spanish humanitarian boat as it cruises in the Mediterranean Sea, Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (AP Photo/Valerio Nicolosi)
Asharq Al-Awsat
Actor Richard Gere visited on Friday rescued migrants on board a humanitarian ship that has been stuck in the Mediterranean Sea for over a week.

The Hollywood star took food and supplies by boat to 121 people aboard the ship of Barcelona-based Open Arms charity.

The ship has been floating in international waters near the Italian island of Lampedusa after being blocked from entering ports in Italy and Malta.

The 69-year-old actor carried fruit boxes on board and spoke to several migrants who had fled war-torn Libya on un-seaworthy smuggling boats before being rescued.

Gere urged the world to “please support us here on Open Arms and help these people, our brothers and sisters.”

Other European countries have yet to respond to the aid group’s request for a solution to the impasse over the rescue ship.

The European Commission should help the migrants, European Parliament speaker David Sassoli said in a letter on Thursday to the EU executive’s president, Jean-Claude Juncker.

Charity rescue boats have largely disappeared from the Mediterranean over the last year as governments have tightened controls and those that have rescued migrants have faced lengthy standoffs trying to disembark them.

Turkey: 6,000 Unregistered Migrants Arrested in Istanbul

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

6,000 Unregistered Migrants Arrested in Istanbul

Wednesday, 24 July, 2019 – 09:45
FILE PHOTO: Migrants in a dinghy paddle their way on the Mediterranean Sea to attempt crossing to the Greek island of Kos, as a Turkish Coast Guard ship patrols off the shores off Bodrum, Turkey, September 19, 2015. REUTERS/Umit Bektas/File Photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
A crackdown on unregistered migrants in Istanbul has seen 6,000 arrests, including Afghans and Syrians, in the past two weeks, Turkey’s interior minister said Wednesday.

“We have been carrying out an operation since July 12… We have caught 6,122 people in Istanbul, including 2,600 Afghans,” Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu told TV station NTV.

He said Syrians were part of the group, without giving numbers.

There has been concern in recent days over reports that hundreds of Syrian refugees have been sent back to Syria, after being forced to sign consent forms in Turkish that they do not understand.

Soylu denied the claims.

“When we catch Syrians who are not registered, we send them to refugee camps,” he said, citing a camp in the Turkish border province of Hatay.

However, Agence France Presse quoted him as saying that some Syrians were choosing to go back to their home country “voluntarily” to areas where fighting has abated.

Turkey has more than 3.5 million Syrian refugees — the highest number in the world.

Most have “temporary protection” permits but these restrict them to the province in which they were registered. The current crackdown is aimed at those who live in Istanbul without a permit to stay in the city.

A coalition of Syrian NGOs said Monday that more than 600 Syrians — mostly with protection permits issued in other provinces — were arrested in Istanbul last week and deported back to Syria, rather than to their assigned provinces.

A survey published this month by Kadir Has University in Istanbul showed growing hostility towards Syrians, rising from 54.5 percent of respondents in 2017 to 67.7 percent in 2019.

JEWISH, IMMIGRANT ACTIVISTS BLOCK ICE HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON D.C.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF NEWS WEEK)

 

JEWISH, IMMIGRANT ACTIVISTS BLOCK ICE HEADQUARTERS IN WASHINGTON D.C. TO PROTEST IMMIGRATION POLICY

Protesters blocked access to the headquarters of Immigration and Customs Enforcement in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, calling for the agency to be shut down. The Jewish and immigrant demonstrators invoked the treatment of Jews during the Holocaust, railing against the conditions of migrants detained at the border while calling for legislators to establish “permanent protection, dignity and respect for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S.”

The protests were organized by Never Again Action and Cosecha Movement, two groups that have staged demonstrations across the country since holding an event at the privately operated Elizabeth Detention Center in New Jersey on June 30. The protest in Washington, D.C., is the fourteenth event calling for the dissolution of ICE and drawing attention to the conditions of migrants at the border, according to the website of Never Again Action. More events are planned in subsequent weeks.

Protesters occupied the front lobby of the ICE headquarters building and barricaded entrances and exits, Sophie Ellman-Golan, a spokesperson for Never Again Action, told Newsweek. She said that 12 people had been arrested inside the building and estimated that 1,000 people had attended the demonstration. The Metropolitan Police Department told Newsweek that the protesters had been arrested by the Federal Protective Service, which is part of the the Department of Homeland Security. DHS did not immediately respond when contacted by Newsweek. 

The president’s immigration policy, which court documents indicate has caused the separation of at least 2,654 children from their families, continues to generate public outcry. While many critics have focused attention on Republicans, Never Again Action and Cosecha Movement have also criticized Democrats, who they say have not acted forcefully enough to challenge the administration’s immigrant policy.

“While Republicans are stoking the flames of white nationalism, Democrats are letting them do it,” Brandon Mond, an organizer, told Newsweek at the action in Elizabeth last month. “We want to hold Democrats accountable — people who say in their words that they’re for immigrants but time and time again throw the 11 million undocumented people that already live in this country under the bus.”

Protesters at the D.C. event created a large banner, which said “Pelosi, never again is now.”

Embedded video

✡️ Never Again Action ✡️@NeverAgainActn

BREAKING: , @CosechaMovement, immigrants and allies have been ARRESTED for blocking the entrances to @ICEgov HQ. We MUST in the way of business as usual, because

Join us: http://neveragainaction.com/campaign-call 

219 people are talking about this

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has faced backlash since last month for capitulating on a bill to send $4.6 billion in aid to the southern border. The measure sparked dissent within the Democratic Party. She had previously pushed for more protections for migrants seeking refuge.

“In this moment of public reckoning, it’s time to put forward a new vision on immigration that recognizes the dignity of all immigrants,” Cata Santiago, a spokesperson for Cosecha Movement, said in a press release. “We won’t sit back and allow the decades long bipartisan attack on immigrants to continue. We are charting a new path forward and demanding those politicians who claim to be with us to join in the fight for dignity for all immigrants.”

julia reinstein 🚡

@juliareinstein

Hundreds of Jews, immigrants, and all sorts of allies are marching from the National Mall to protest ICE.

“Never again means close the camps.”

View image on TwitterView image on Twitter

julia reinstein 🚡

@juliareinstein

The protest has marched all the way to ICE headquarters, and several protestors are already blocking the doors to the building

Embedded video

223 people are talking about this

Cosecha Movement, an immigrant rights organization, last week announced a platform calling for the Democratic Party to end all detention and deportation, reunify families that have been separated and offer “immediate legalization” for all undocumented immigrants in country.

ICE
Protesters march to offices of the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement on July 13 in Chicago, Illinois.NUCCIO DINUZZO/GETTY IMAGES

Russia Expresses Serious Concern over Decline in Number of Refugees Leaving Rukban

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Russia Expresses Serious Concern over Decline in Number of Refugees Leaving Rukban

Thursday, 11 July, 2019 – 11:30
Humanitarian aid is prepared to be delivered to Syria, in the town of Ramtha, Jordan, July 2, 2018. (File Photo: Reuters)
Moscow – Raed Jabr
Russia has renewed its accusation of the US hindering the exit of refugees from al-Rukban camp in southern Syria, and expressed serious concern about the humanitarian situation in the region.

The Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria issued a statement strongly criticizing Washington’s actions in the region, accusing it of turning a blind eye to militants in Rukban using civilians as “human shields”, a move that aggravates the humanitarian situation.

The Center also expressed “serious concern about a decline in the number of refugees leaving the Rukban camp, due to the desire of militants controlled by the United States to keep them as human shields.”

It explained that militants have constantly increased the financial cost of allowing people to move from al-Tanf zone to the Jleb checkpoint, which falls under the control of the Syrian government.

“We draw to the attention of the international community that further retention by the United States and its allies of Syrian territories, the Rukban and al-Hol refugee camps only delays the end of the conflict in Syria, aggravates the criminal situation, hampers the repatriation of Syrians,” the statement added.

Rukban is located within a 55-km so-called deconfliction zone established by the Pentagon with the aim of shielding the Tanf garrison from attacks.

Moscow has repeatedly called for removing the displaced from the camp and announced with the Syrian authorities the establishment of two crossings for refugee exit, but they failed to convince the displaced to go to areas under regime control.

Washington is ignoring the situation, said Chief of the Russian Reconciliation Center for Syria Major General Viktor Kupchishin, adding that refugees abstain from leaving the camp because of the fuel crisis in the region and the increase in crossing fees imposed by US-affiliated militants.

Washington, in turn, accuses the Russians of blocking access of UN humanitarian aid to the region.

As of June 10, 2019, 13,539 refugees have left the Rukban camp, including 2,842 men, 3,817 women and 6,880 children, according to Russian estimates.

On the other hand, a number of Russian military and security experts believe it is time for the Russian tankers to replace Iranian tankers to cover oil shortage to Syria.

Recently, Vladimir Mukhin wrote in Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper saying escalation by Washington and its allies against Damascus and Tehran by trapping oil tankers will have major repercussions if Moscow does not intervene quickly to settle this issue.

Mukhin viewed the seizure of an Iranian tanker by the British Royal Marines as a plan “carefully organized in Washington and London,” recalling a statement by White House national security adviser John Bolton in which he welcomed Britain’s seizure of the tanker loaded with Iranian oil bound for Syria.

The expert said Moscow is currently facing in Syria a new phase of war against the Syrian regime and Iranian leadership.

He added that aside from the blockade on transferring goods to Syria, the United States has unofficially imposed a ban on the purchase of oil produced in Syrian territories occupied by the US forces, which is an attempt to further stifle the Syrian economy.

Nezavisimaya Gazeta reported that last month, five underwater pipelines in Syrian coastal waters from Tartus to Banias were targeted, resulting in a huge oil spill.

The experts agreed that this was a “sabotage act” carried out by militants close to “one of the major military forces hostile to the Assad regime.”

The newspaper believes Moscow should deal with current developments because it reflects an attempt to intensify the pressure on Damascus and block Russian efforts to normalize the situation in Syria.

Refugees Constitute 41% of Palestinian Population: Report

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Refugees Constitute 41% of Palestinian Population: Report

Friday, 21 June, 2019 – 08:15
A Palestinian girl stands amid the ruins of destroyed houses on the outskirts of Jabalia refugee camp in the northern Gaza Strip on January 19 | AFP
Ramallah- Asharq Al-Awsat
The population of refugees reached about 41 percent of total Palestinians residing in the State of Palestine at the end of 2018, revealed a report by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) published on Thursday.

The total of persons aged less than 15 years reached 39 percent (refugees and non-refugees) at the end of 2018, while that of elderly people aged 60 years and above (refugees and non-refugees) was about 5 percent.

UNRWA records indicated that the number of registered Palestinian refugees in 2018 amounted to about 6 million. PCBS said Palestinian refugees in the West Bank who are registered with UNRWA as in 2018 accounted up to 17 percent of the total refugees registered with UNRWA against 25 percent in Gaza Strip.

In neighboring Arab countries, the percentage of Palestinian refugees registered with UNRWA reached about 39 of the total Palestinian refugees in Jordan, 9 in Lebanon, and 11 in Syria.

It said the poverty rate among the refugees was about 39% during 2017 according to monthly consumption patterns. This means that the monthly consumption of their households is below the poverty line which is NIS2,470 for a Palestinian household of 5 (2 adults and 3 children) while the percentage among the non-refugees was 22.

The poverty percentage among refugees was 15.7 in the West Bank and 54.1 in the Gaza Strip.

Data indicated a clear difference in the level of the unemployment rate among refugees and non-refugees, with the former reaching about 40% and the latter 24%. This is due to high unemployment rates in the Gaza Strip, where the unemployment rate among refugees in the West Bank is 19% compared to about 54% among refugees in Gaza Strip.

Meanwhile, PCBS said the results of the Labor Force Survey in 2018 showed that the labor force participation for individuals aged 15 years and above among refugees was about 47 percent compared to about 46 percent for non-refugees.

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