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Executive Summary for April 26th

We review the latest refugee-related issues, including the U.K.’s decision to turn away 3,000 child refugees already in Europe, Norway’s financial incentives for asylum seekers to leave and Queen Rania of Jordan’s visit to Lesbos.

Published on April 26, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

U.K. Votes Against Accepting 3,000 Child Refugees

The British government has voted by 294 votes to 276 against a plan for the country to accept 3,000 Syrian child refugees already in Europe.

The immigration bill amendment, proposed by opposition Labour M.P. Lord Dubs – a World War II refugee to Britain from the former Czechoslovakia – was largely rejected by Conservative Members of Parliament (M.P.s), the BBC reports.

Despite the defeat, Dubs told the Guardian that he had received many messages of support from members of the public concerned about the plight of lone refugee children stranded in Europe. He has now tabled an alternative proposal, to be debated in the Lords.

Labour immigration minister Keir Starmer vowed that “the fight will go on,” according to the Guardian. “We can’t turn our backs on these vulnerable children in Europe, and history will judge us for that,” he said.

Norway Offers Refugees Monetary Incentive to Leave the Country

Norway has offered asylum seekers a payment of 10,000 kroner ($1,200) if they agree to leave the country voluntarily.

According to the Independent, Norway’s immigration department has said that the bonus is a cheaper alternative than covering immigration center accommodation costs. The offer is expected to run for six weeks, beginning yesterday.

Norway first started offering financial incentives for refugees to return home in December last year, the Telegraph reports.

As the Middle East Monitor says, there are 25,861 asylum seekers waiting in asylum centers in Norway, largely from Somalia, Eritrea and Syria. The media outlet quotes one refugee as saying, “the authorities are kind of begging us to leave the country.”

The move comes as other Scandinavian countries, including Denmark, tighten their policies against refugees.

Jordan’s Queen Rania Visits Lesbos, Calls for Stronger Response

Queen Rania of Jordan has visited refugees on the Greek island of Lesbos, stopping at the Kara Tepe camp, Reuters reports. She was traveling with the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

“This is a crisis about human beings, not about borders and barriers,” Rania said. “It is a crisis about human dignity, not about deals.

“It’s absolutely crucial for us to look for legal alternatives [for refugees] and more safe and effective pathways to Europe and areas of safety,” she added, according to Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Jordan has accepted more than 630,000 refugees from Syria, although many of them are living among the local population outside of refugee camps.

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