Executive Summary for July 5th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the arrests of 38 suspected migrant smugglers in Italy, a report on Syrian refugees struggling to integrate in Canada and the call for a referendum on migration in Hungary.

Published on July 5, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Italian Authorities Charge 38 With Migrant Smuggling and Organ Trafficking

Authorities in Italy arrested 38 suspected migrant smugglers on Monday.

Those arrested included 25 Eritreans, 12 Ethiopians and one Italian, allegedly part of a transnational network involved in people smuggling, drug trafficking, money laundering and organ trafficking, reported RT.

The testimony of a former member led police on June 13 to the network’s financial headquarters in a perfume shop in Rome, reported Reuters. They seized 526,000 euros ($586,700) and $25,000 in cash, in addition to a “master book, filled with names and phone numbers,” according to the Associated Press.

Police said the former member had “for the first time in Italy, given a complete reconstruction of the criminal activity of one of the most ruthless international migrant-trafficking bands operating in North Africa and in Italy.”

He also told authorities that migrants who are unable to pay for their journey across the Mediterranean “are given to Egyptians who kill them to take their organs and sell them in Egypt for $15,000,” reported the Italian news agency ANSA. The Egyptian traffickers “come equipped to remove the organ and transport it in insulated bags,” he added.

Italian interior minister Angelino Alfano described the crackdown as a “harsh blow” to the criminal network.

Syrian Refugees in Canada Face Problems With Integration

The Canadian government must provide more resources to Syrian refugees to address their “financial, mental health and educational needs,” says the Senate committee on human rights.

The committee is studying the integration of newly arrived Syrian refugees and is scheduled to release a full report in the fall, according to CBC News. After hearing testimonies from refugee advocates and refugees, however, the committee issued an interim report on Monday urging the government to act now.

“Canada has welcomed thousands of Syrian refugees with fine words and open arms. These alone are not sufficient to address the very real and very urgent problems that lie ahead,” committee chair Senator Jim Munson said in the report.

The committee included six preliminary recommendations in its report. Most of the recommendations address the financial burdens and hardships that refugees deal with upon arrival. Munson told the Huffington Post that access to therapy for post-traumatic stress disorder should be a top priority.

Hungary to Hold Referendum on E.U. Migration Plan

Hungary’s president announced on Tuesday a referendum will be held on October 2 on whether to accept any future E.U. quota system for relocating migrants across member states, reported Reuters.

The country’s right-wing government opposes the E.U. migrant scheme to relocate 120,000 refugees across member states and has launched a court challenge against the E.U., according to the BBC.

Motivated by the U.K.’s referendum to exit the E.U., Prime Minister Viktor Orban has moved ahead with his own referendum on migration.

In a statement posted on his office’s website, President Ader said voters will be asked the question: “Do you want the European Union to be entitled to prescribe the mandatory settlement of non-Hungarian citizens in Hungary without the consent of Parliament?”

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