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Executive Summary for August 3rd

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including accusations by rights groups that Australia is ignoring asylum abuse to deter migration, a report that finds 1 million Syrian children out of school and the Czech president calling for no refugees.

Published on Aug. 3, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Australia Turns ‘Deliberate Blind Eye’ to Refugee Abuse

Australia has been accused of tolerating the abuse of asylum seekers in order to deter future refugees.

Human rights groups interviewed refugees and asylum seekers at the remote Pacific island detention center on Nauru, where Australia detains those who try to reach the country by boat.

Researchers from Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International found inmates were suffering from severe anxiety, depression and short-term memory loss. Both adults and children said they wanted to kill themselves.

“Australia’s policy of exiling asylum seekers who arrive by boat is cruel in the extreme,” said Anna Neistat from Amnesty International. “Few other countries go to such lengths to deliberately inflict suffering on people seeking safety and freedom.”

Under Australia’s “Pacific Solution,” the country refuses to accept any asylum seekers who attempt to reach its shores by boat. It pays Nauru and the island nation of Papua New Guinea to detain them, sometimes for years.

Human rights groups have long denounced Australia’s offshore detention, calling it a violation of the country’s international human rights obligations.

One Million Syrian Children Out of School

One million Syrian children are not in school, according to an international children’s charity. Kevin Watkins, from Theirworld, the author of the report, said donors had “broken their promises” and pointed to a $1 billion dollar educational funding shortfall.

Some 2.5 million Syrian children are living as refugees. A quarter of a million Syrian children are out of school in neighboring Lebanon, where the school system has been overrun. Many families have been forced to put their children to work in order to survive.

Even those children who do go to school are often struggling with trauma as well as foreign curriculums and drop out.

“The schools accept Syrian refugees but the children don’t adapt. They register but then they drop out,” Najah Kherallah Jomaa, a refugee from Syria’s Aleppo living in a settlement in Lebanon, told the AP.

Czech President Calls for Total Refugee Bar

The Czech president, Milos Zeman, has warned that taking in 80 Syrian refugees could lead to “barbaric attacks.”

The outspoken president, who has used his largely ceremonial role to become the country’s most outspoken opponent of migration, said the resettlement would “create fertile ground for barbaric attacks.”

The Czech Republic is part of a vanguard of central and eastern European countries opposed to an E.U. quota system for resettling refugees. It has so far stopped short of joining Slovakia and Hungary in challenging the system in the courts.

Germany’s European commissioner, Guenther Oettinger, criticized Zeman’s remarks: “A president who so defames European legislation weakens Europe as a whole.”

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