Dave Smith
Weekly Roundup of Refugee News wb 8.3.21

Asylum / refugees / immigration (UK)

Guardian: Home Office housed asylum seekers in barracks 'despite knowing Covid risk'

The Home Office knew that housing asylum seekers in dormitories at military barracks posed a risk of Covid-19 outbreaks but went ahead with the plan anyway, according to internal documents seen by the Guardian.

Nearly 200 people at the Napier barracks in Kent have tested positive for coronavirus, fuelling criticism of conditions at former military sites used to accommodate asylum seekers since mid-September.

Guardian: Home Office delays leave Sri Lankan man in immigration limbo

A man who came to the UK to train as an accountant almost 40 years ago has been left homeless after a catalogue of Home Office delays. Ponnampalam Jothibala, 69, a Sri Lankan Tamil, came to the UK in 1983.  

He was granted periods of temporary leave to remain by the Home Office in the 1980s but halted his studies after  an arson attack in which three people died. He survived the fire by jumping out of a first-floor window.


Huff Post: I Came Here As An Unaccompanied Child Refugee. Now Britain Has Abandoned Others Like Me

When I was 12 years old, I had to flee my home country in East Africa because of civil war and the threat of ISIS. To escape danger, I had to go on a difficult journey to safety. I just kept going, trying to get somewhere safe. Everywhere I went, there were threats from terrorist groups. I had to get far away from danger and make sure I wasn’t caught and sent back or killed.


Liverpool Echo: Merseyside council to take in 25 asylum seekers who helped British troops

Sefton Council has pledged to take in 25 Afghan asylum seekers who helped British troops during the war. During the UK’s involvement in Afghanistan, British forces were supported by some 7,000 locally employed civilians (LECs), most of whom acted as interpreters for the British army and are now being persecuted for being “traitors”.

There is a broad consensus, the Home Office says, that the UK owes them a great “debt of gratitude”


Asylum / refugees / immigration (international)

Guardian: Refugee rescuers charged in Italy with complicity in people smuggling

After an investigation lasting almost four years, Italian prosecutors have charged dozens of rescuers, from charities including Save the Children and Médecins Sans Frontières, who were accused of collaborating with people smugglers after saving thousands of people from drowning in the Mediterranean. They face potential prison sentences of up to 20 years.


Independent: Greek ‘pushbacks’ brought to European court after child refugees ‘towed out to sea and abandoned in raft’

Two child asylum seekers were removed from a refugee camp in Greece, taken out to sea on a coastguard vessel and left alone to drift on a motor-less rubber dinghy, a legal complaint against Athens lodged in the European Court of Human Rights has alleged. Their case marks the latest report of asylum seekers who have come ashore in search of sanctuary only to be allegedly placed back into boats and left adrift in the sea.


Daily Mail: Denmark becomes the first European nation to tell Syrian refugees they must return home, saying the country is now safe

Denmark has become the first European nation to tell Syrian migrants they must return to their home country, saying it is now safe for them there. It has stripped 94 Syrian refugees of their residency permits after it determined Damascus and the surrounding area as being safe.



AlJazeera: The Uighur and Syrian refugees making a home together in Turkey

In the quiet streets of a suburb of the historic central Anatolian city of Kayseri, a group of children play football. They are Uighurs and Syrians. The community is still mostly populated by Uighur Muslims who fled the Chinese authorities in Xinjiang. But over the past few years, dozens of Syrian families have arrived.


Independent: US gives hope to previously denied asylum seekers in camp

In a camp at the U.S.-Mexico border, some asylum seekers were told by officials that the U.S. government may reopen their cases and they would eventually be able to enter the U.S. to wait out the asylum process.

The new opening for people previously denied came as Mexican authorities worked to close the improvised camp along the banks of the Rio Grande that has housed thousands of asylum seekers over the more than two years it existed. -watch-rio-grande-twitter-b1813498.html


Relevant world news 

Guardian: Young men take up arms in northern Ethiopia as atrocities fuel insurgency

Ethiopian troops and their allies in the restive northern province of Tigray face a growing insurgency fuelled by a series of massacres and other violence targeting civilians. The country’s prime minister, Abiy Ahmed, launched a military offensive four months ago to “restore the rule of law” by ousting the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), the political party in power in the province, following rising tensions and a surprise attack on a federal army base.


Guardian: On the ground in Yemen: ‘A place of wonder overshadowed by conflict’

Yemen, and very dear Yemeni friends, hold a special place in my heart. But every visit is a bittersweet experience; even memories of the nicest afternoon can end up enveloped in sadness.