Executive Summary for October 14th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including a German proposal to send rescued migrants back to north Africa, the flight from violence in Myanmar and a mass crossing over the Moroccan border into Spain.

Published on Oct. 14, 2016 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Germany: Rescued Migrants Should Be Sent Back to North Africa

Germany has proposed that migrants and refugees rescued at sea should be sent back to north Africa.

More than 140,000 people have crossed from Libya and Egypt to Italy this year, and around 3,500 people have died attempting to make the journey.

Germany’s Thomas de Maiziere said rescued migrants should be returned to north Africa and placed in “safe accommodation facilities” while their claims for asylum in Europe are examined.

His proposal, ahead of an E.U. meeting on curbing migrant flows from Africa, follows Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s suggestion of a “large refugee city” in Libya.

In response, Libya’s national unity government called on Europe “not to push their own problems on to Libya, especially in times when Libya is suffering more than the other countries.”

The fragile, internationally backed government is trying to extend its control over the country after years of fighting by rival groups.

Hundreds Scale Morocco-Spain Border Fence

Hundreds of people scaled the border fence between Morocco and Melilla, a Spanish enclave, in an effort to reach Europe.

Around 100 people managed to jump over the fence and celebrated with cheers before going to a reception center to claim asylum in Spain. Another 200 were forced back by Moroccan forces, who were overwhelmed by the surge, Spanish police said.

The heavily fortified fence marks one of only two land borders between Africa and Europe.

Spain has reinforced the barrier in recent years after an increase in attempts to cross the border by migrants from sub-Saharan Africa.

More than 4,600 refugees and migrants have entered Spain by land or sea this year.

Escalating Violence Creates Ghost Towns in Myanmar

A major military operation in Myanmar’s Rakhine state has left towns and villages empty due to fleeing residents.

Recent militant attacks on police border posts prompted a broad crackdown in the region, home to Myanmar’s persecuted Rohingya minority.

The violence stoked fears of a reprisal of the chaos in 2012, when tens of thousands of Rohingya fled an outbreak of communal violence.

Burmese officials said the latest clashes marked a new phase of armed conflict, blaming the attacks on an obscure group of Islamist-inspired Rohingya militants. Human rights groups claim that forces have shot and killed unarmed Rohingya in the streets in the ensuing crackdown.

Myanmar has airlifted around 180 teachers and workers from the area by helicopter, while Agence France-Presse journalists found families escaping on foot, carrying their possessions in bags and buckets, leaving deserted towns and villages in their wake.

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