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Executive Summary for August 17th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including plans to close an Australian migrant detention center, Germany disputing Donald Trump’s immigration claims and young Afghans fleeing in record numbers.

Published on Aug. 17, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Papua New Guinea Says Australia Agreed to Close Manus Detention Center

Australia has agreed to close one of its controversial offshore detention centers for migrants and refugees, says Papua New Guinea’s prime minister Peter O’Neill.

The Australian-run facility on Papua New Guinea’s Manus Island holds around 900 people who are barred from settling in Australia because they tried to enter the country by boat.

Papua New Guinea’s supreme court ruled in April that the facility was illegal, leaving asylum seekers there in legal limbo.

Australia and Papua New Guinea are now exploring options for how to close the center, O’Neill said after meeting with Australian immigration minister Peter Dutton. In a statement, Dutton reiterated that the Manus detainees would not be allowed to come to Australia.

The announcement follows increased scrutiny of Australia’s offshore policies after the Guardian published more than 2,000 leaked incident reports from Australia’s other offshore migrant center on Nauru Island documenting widespread trauma and abuse.

More than 100 former employees of the two migrant detention centers signed a letter urging Australia to shut them down and allow the asylum seekers there into the country.

Germany Refutes Donald Trump’s Claim of Migrant Crime Wave

German officials disputed U.S. Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s claim that immigration has caused a massive crime increase in Germany.

Trump said his rival, Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, “wants to be America’s Angela Merkel,” referring to the German chancellor, in a speech on foreign policy and immigration on August 15.

Merkel took a strong stance welcoming migrants and refugees to Germany last year, and more than 1 million migrants came to the country in 2015.

Trump claimed her immigration policies had been a “disaster” for Germany. “Crime has risen to levels that no one thought they would ever see,” he said.

Yet German police statistics show crime levels essentially unchanged between 2014 and 2015. Crime data also shows that German nationals are more likely to engage in crime than the average migrant.

“I’m sorry that the Republican presidential candidate trumpets out things like that without any factual basis,” Germany’s European affairs minister Michael Roth told Reuters.

Young, Educated Afghans Leave Country in Record Numbers

Record numbers of young Afghans are fleeing violence and economic stagnation in their country, raising concerns that the brain-drain could hamper efforts to rebuild the war-ravaged nation.

Nearly one-fifth of the migrants and refugees who fled to Europe in 2015 were from Afghanistan. Half of those Afghans were young adults, the Washington Post reports.

The country has been hit by a resurgence of violence since most U.S. and international forces withdrew from the country in late 2014. Economic growth has lagged at around 2 percent and about one-fifth of the workforce is unemployed.

“I want to help out, and I want to participate in rebuilding [my country],” a 24-year-old Afghan women who fled to the U.S. told the newspaper. “But I want to make sure if I die, it won’t be in vain. And right now, I’m not sure it won’t be in vain.”

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