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Executive Summary for April 22nd

We review the latest developments related to refugee issues, including the Japanese government assisting IDPs in Nigeria, NATO reporting a fall in Aegean crossings while warning about changing sea routes, and the U.K. agreeing to take in 3,000 child refugees.

Published on April 22, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Japan Offers a ‘Generous’ Aid Package for IDPs in Nigeria

Japan has offered a $4.5 million grant package to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) to assist victims of conflict in the northeastern part of Nigeria, a country with more than 215,000 internally displaced people (IDPs), according to estimates from December 2015.

The Boko Haram insurgency that started in 2009 with an armed rebellion by the militant Boko Haram group against the government of Nigeria has led to large-scale displacement in the northeast. The violence inflamed longstanding hostilities between Christians and Muslims in the country. Boko Haram has often been called the world’s “deadliest terrorist group.”

The Japanese Embassy in Abuja stated on Thursday that the funding will provide “life-saving emergency work” for people affected and displaced by the conflict.

“The grant will cover assistance in the provision of water, sanitation and hygiene facilities; health, nutrition and child protection services and education … with special attention given to populations trying to return to where they lived before they were forced to flee the violence.”

Extended and chronic conflict, especially in the states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa, has caused massive human suffering, “with children and women bearing the brunt of the difficulties,” said the Japanese embassy officials.

In 2015, the Japanese government helped UNICEF and its partners provide more than 65,000 people with clean water and more than 25,000 people with access to safe sanitation.

The same funds “have been able to provide primary health care services in 108 health facilities in many parts of Nigeria most affected by the conflict,” said a report by the Guardian.

NATO Warns of Changing Routes While Touting ‘Successful’ E.U.-Turkey Plan

While reporting the apparent success of the current E.U.–Turkey deal, given a sharp decline in the number of migrants and refugees crossing the Aegean Sea, the NATO patrol mission has also warned that human smugglers may be changing sea routes and that “security efforts” must be maintained.

“Based on information NATO has provided, Turkey is taking action to break the business model of human traffickers, and figures from different international organizations confirm that numbers of migrants and refugees crossing the Aegean Sea is now going significantly down,” NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg told Reuters.

The International Organization for Migration reported that Greece has seen fewer than 70 arrivals per day in the past 10 days, down from nearly 1,500 arrivals per day before the deal was struck, according to AP.

Under the current agreement, migrants and refugees who crossed after March 20 this year will be sent back in large groups.

In an exclusive interview for Turkish news outlet Hürriyet, Stoltenberg added that the mission is “able to be there without prejudicing any of the sensitive issues … in relations between Turkey and Greece in this area,” referring to the lack of a bilateral agreement between Athens and Ankara.

U.K. to Take in 3,000 Child Refugees Ahead of Key Vote in Parliament

The U.K. Home Office has announced that they will take in “up to 3,000 Syrian and other child refugees from camps in the Middle East and North Africa over the next four years,” according to latest media reports.

Britain’s new “children at risk” scheme will support the government’s existing resettlement program that offer places to 20,000 Syrian refugees by 2020.

However, the intake will be slow, as only “several hundred” child refugees will be offered resettlement in the first year, and this number will not include the minors stranded in informal camps in Calais, Idomeni and other European locations.

Critics of the plan, which the government has hailed as the “largest resettlement program for children in the world,” point out that thousands of lone refugee children who have made it to Europe and are at risk of trafficking and abuse will not be helped.

The announcement by the immigration minister, James Brokenshire, has been timed with an important vote to take place in the House of Commons next week, on the issue of unaccompanied minors.

Speaking to the BBC, the Liberal Democrat party leader Tim Farron suggested that the move was a “cynical” attempt to “buy off” Conservative votes ahead of the Commons vote.

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