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Executive Summary for June 6th

We review the most recent issues related to refugees, including Germany speeding up refugee returns to Turkey, Iraqi civilians drowning as they attempt to flee anti-ISIS operations in Fallujah and more than 130 migrant bodies washing up on Libya’s shores.

Published on June 6, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Germany Speeding up Refugee Returns to Turkey

Germany is expected to speed up the deportation of refugees by the end of the year, according to a leaked report from its interior ministry.

The report said the interior ministry was unhappy with the rate at which refugees were being returned so far this year, but expected deportations to rise by 4,500. The ministry expected that a total of 27,000 refugees would be deported by the end of 2016 and that there would be an increase of almost 50 percent in the number of refugees who leave voluntarily – bringing this figure from 37,500 to 61,000, German newspaper Bild reported.

Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said in the report that most German states were “only now developing the political will to implement the residency law.” He chalked this up to “very poor staffing.”

But deportations have already begun to increase in certain German states. In Bavaria, government officials hope to create 750 additional jobs in the deportation sector to help speed up the process.

“In Bavaria the deportations have risen significantly,” Stephan Dünnwald of the Bavarian Refugee Council told Deutsche-Welle. “The Bavarian interior minister is trying to force through at least one deportation flight a week.”

Some 219,000 migrants were expected to be deported from Germany in 2016, but 168,000 of them have already been issued tolerance permits and have been allowed to stay, according to Deutsche-Welle.

Iraqi Civilians Drown Fleeing Fighting in Fallujah

At least four Iraqi civilians were killed on Saturday while attempting to flee renewed fighting in Fallujah.

A mother, her two children and a man drowned after their boat sank in the Euphrates River. They were attempting to flee fighting in the city that began last week, when the Iraqi army, along with Shiite militias and U.S.-led coalition forces, began an operation in Fallujah to clear out militants from the so-called Islamic State group.

Abu Tabarak, a resident of Fallujah who did not get a place on the boat, saw his wife and children drown in the Euphrates. They were among 13 people on board the vessel, nine of whom are still missing according to Reuters.

“I’ve seen with my own eyes my family disappear under the water,” Abu Tabarak told Reuters. “There was no place for me on the departing boat, so I had waited with my second daughter for the next one.”

The route his wife and children took is one of several “safe corridors” provided by the Iraqi army to help civilians flee the fighting in Fallujah, according to Al Jazeera.

Some 50,000 civilians are stranded in Fallujah as Iraqi and U.S. forces encircle the area, hoping to clear out ISIS militants, who have controlled the city since 2014. About 12,000 people have been able to flee the city since May 23, when the operation was announced, according to UNHCR, the United Nations refugee agency.

The sunken boat was en route to the government-held city of Amiriyat al-Fallujah, but Iraqi Kurdistan is also expecting an influx of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) as a result of the renewed fighting.

As of last week, fighting in Fallujah had already forced some 3,700 people to flee to Erbil, the capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). But KRG officials said they expect those numbers to rise to somewhere between 200,000 and 900,000 once door-to-door combat begins in the city.

Drowned Migrants Wash up on Libya’s Shore

The bodies of more than 130 migrants have washed up on Libya’s shores in recent days.

At least 133 bodies were found on the shores of the Libyan city of Zuwara, including at least five children and nearly 100 women, Libyan Red Crescent spokesman Al-Khamis al-Bosaifi told Reuters. The migrants were aboard one of the ships that capsized last week en route to Italy from the Libyan port city of Sabratha.

More than 2,000 people have died attempting to cross the central Mediterranean this year.

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