Executive Summary for September 15th

We review the latest news on refugees, including the “unfit” aid agency that got half a million in British funding, UNHCR says nearly two-thirds of refugee children are not in school and a baby is born aboard a Mediterranean rescue boat.

Published on Sep. 15, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

British Funding of Unfit French Aid Agency Questioned

Britain has been criticized for handing $660,000 to an “unfit” French aid agency. Funding for France terre d’asile (FTDA) was questioned in Britain’s upper house.

The FTDA, which works with refugees and migrants in the so-called Calais Jungle, is meant to identify and provide support for victims of exploitation, as well as finding children with possible links to the U.K., and to start the reunification process.

FTDA is the only authority in the camp allowed to enter cases into the French asylum system, the first step to reunification cases in the U.K., said Liberal Democrat peer Baroness Sheehan.

However, peers in the House of Lords said there are not enough child protection guardians.

“Is it not the case that 66 of the 70 successful reunification cases to the U.K. have been completed by British NGOs and volunteers?” asked Baroness Sheehan.

“So why are the British taxpayers paying a French agency over half a million pounds to do a safeguarding job which it is patently unfit to carry out?”

Baroness Williams of Trafford, a home office minister, responded that it was a joint effort with French authorities: “We have funded over half a million pounds, but the staffing has been increased and hopefully that will see an improvement in performance.”

Nearly Two-Thirds of Child Refugees Out of School

The U.N.’s refugee agency said 62 percent of the children under its mandate have no schools to attend. More than 3.7 million school-age child refugees are not in an education system.

In a report entitled “Missing Out: Refugee Education in Crisis,” released ahead of next week’s General Assembly in New York, the UNHCR said education should be the top priority.

U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi told the Associated Press in an interview Tuesday, “Education is also a key contribution to keeping the hope of refugees, and in situations in which despair is so prevalent, going to school, learning, acquiring knowledge and skills, are fundamental.”

Baby Born Aboard Migrant Rescue Ship in Mediterranean

A Nigerian woman gave birth aboard a migrant rescue ship after being picked up in the Mediterranean. Mother and son were doing fine, doctors said after the ship docked in Italy.

The boy, named Newman Otas, was born aboard the Aquarius, which is operated by SOS Mediterranee and Doctors Without Borders. It had rescued about 140 migrants over the weekend.

The mother, Faith, who had been in labor for three days, gave birth on September 11. Sarah Giles from Doctors Without Borders said, “It was a pretty normal birth just under really extraordinary circumstances.”

The baby had the “good timing” to wait to arrive aboard the Aquarius since the dinghy they had been in was overcrowded and full of skin-burning seawater and diesel.

“It’s a good news story,” said Giles. “Unfortunately, we have many children who don’t get off with their families and who during their long journey have had parents die, or parents who had their children die.”

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