Executive Summary for October 4th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including an Amnesty International report calling on wealthy nations to take their ‘fair share’ of refugees, Texas withdrawing from the federal refugee resettlement program, and the rescue of more than 6,000 migrants in the Mediterranean in one day.

Published on Oct. 4, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Disproportionate Refugee Distribution ‘at the Root’ of Global Crisis

The current distribution of refugees – with over half of the world’s 21 million refugees living in only 10 countries – is “inherently unsustainable,” Amnesty International said in a report published Tuesday, calling on wealthy nations to host their “fair share.”

“The problem is not the global number of refugees; it is that many of the world’s wealthiest nations host the fewest and do the least,” Amnesty’s secretary-general Salil Shetty said in a statement, adding that this “unequal sharing of responsibility is at the root of the global refugee crisis.”

According to the UNHCR, low- and middle-income countries host about 86 percent of the world’s refugees but cannot sufficiently provide for them.

“Children are not getting education; people are not getting sufficient, adequate food,” Audrey Gaughran, Amnesty’s director for global issues, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. Facing dire living conditions, many refugees are risking the dangerous journeys to Europe and Australia.

“If every one of the wealthiest countries in the world were to take in refugees in proportion to their size, wealth and unemployment rate, finding a home for more of the world’s refugees would be an eminently solvable challenge,” Shetty said.

Texas Withdraws from Federal Refugee Resettlement Program

Texas will no longer participate in the federal refugee resettlement program in order to “continue to prioritize the safety of all Texans,” Gov. Greg Abbott announced September 30. The move will take effect in January 2017.

The withdrawal will not stop refugees from resettling in Texas, but the state will no longer act “as the middleman between federal dollars and local resettlement agencies,” Abbott said.

A spokesperson for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services said the office was disappointed by Texas’ withdrawal but reassured that “refugees will continue to be resettled in Texas” after “extensive screenings” by security officials.

Resettlement organizations will now have to find an alternative solution with the federal government, “with federal monies being channeled to the state programs through a nonprofit structure instead of through the state.”

Kansas and New Jersey have already pulled out from the federal resettlement program.

Over 6,000 Migrants Rescued in the Mediterranean

More than 6,000 migrants and refugees were rescued from 40 vessels off the coast of Libya on Monday, making it one of the biggest single-day rescue operations since the beginning of the migrant crisis.

Around 39 rescue operations were coordinated between 10 ships from the coast guard, the navy and humanitarian organizations, the Associated Press reported.

Some 725 migrants were rescued from a single vessel, according to the Italian coast guard.

Twenty-two migrants were found dead, including a 23-year-old pregnant woman, Doctors Without Borders said.

Italian and Libyan officials said the recent return of calmer weather in the Mediterranean likely contributed to such high numbers of migrants trying to reach Europe.

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