Executive Summary for October 11th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including an alleged crackdown against Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, a UNHCR request for Australia to end its offshore detention policy, and a report estimating that 100,000 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Sudan.

Published on Oct. 11, 2016 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Advocacy Groups Warn of Crackdown Against Rohingya in Myanmar

A military operation began in western Myanmar on Monday after nine police officers were killed in Rakhine state, as international Rohingya advocacy groups warned of a violent crackdown against the stateless Muslim minority group.

Armed men attacked three separate police outposts near the Myanmar-Bangladesh border Sunday. Nine officers were killed along with eight attackers.

A statement released Monday by Rohingya advocacy groups said that military and police forces were conducting “mass arrests” and had killed 10 more Rohingya following the attacks, while the New York Times reported seven deaths.

It is unclear who is behind the attacks, although state government authorities said the men yelled “Rohingya! Rohingya!” suggesting that the Rohingya Solidarity Organization (RSO) is responsible.

The RSO was an active armed organization during the 1980s and 1990s, but experts say its existence now is “a myth,” according to a report from Anadolu Agency.

In a statement, advocacy groups dismissed the government’s claims: “It appears some security or local government officials are privately briefing media that Rohingya people carried out the attack. There is no evidence for this. They may be doing so because the attack took place in Rohingya areas, or to use the attack as a pretext for a crackdown on Rohingya.”

UNHCR to Ask Australia to End Its Offshore Detention Policy

U.N. Refugee Agency officials and medical experts will meet Tuesday with Australian authorities to demand the end of the country’s offshore detention policy, as leaked U.N. reports reveal the systemic physical and sexual violence facing refugees on Nauru and Manus Island, reports the Guardian.

A U.N. report leaked by Australia’s Saturday Paper describes the cruel and inhumane conditions on Manus, calling it the “equivalent to a maximum security prison in Australia.”

Another report on Nauru warns: “It appears that PTSD and depression have reached epidemic proportions … UNHCR anticipates that mental illness, distress and suicide will continue to escalate in the immediate and foreseeable future.”

Labor senator Lisa Singh told the Guardian: “Leaked information regarding refugees detained on Nauru, including women and children, has revealed they are being subjected to physical, mental and sexual abuse and are self-harming. The government has a duty of care to protect refugees from harm, not cause them further harm through indefinite detention.”

Sudan Now Hosts Around 100,000 Syrian Refugees, Says U.N.

The Sudanese government has accepted 100,000 Syrian refugees since 2011, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said Monday.

According to OCHA, “UNHCR provides registered Syrian refugees with access to the same services and assistance as other registered refugees living in Khartoum, including targeted financial assistance issued through ATM cards for those who are identified as extremely vulnerable.”

By August 2016, however, only 5,515 refugees had been registered, raising concerns that those who remain unregistered face greater burdens related to “economic hardship, including accommodation and living costs, lack of access to income-generating opportunities, and lack of access to psychosocial support particularly for children.”

Sudan has an open-door policy in regard to Syrian nationals and does not require a visa for entry. Unofficial estimates claim that more than 250,000 Syrian refugees reside in the country.

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