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Executive Summary for April 21st

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including President Trump urging Italy to adopt a policy of refugee returns, an Australian minister being accused of misleading comments on Manus violence and a Canadian refugee support group attracting racist abuse.

Published on April 21, 2017 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Trump Urges Italy to Pursue Refugee Returns Policy

Donald Trump called for refugees arriving in Europe from Libya to be sent home. At a meeting with Italian prime minister Paolo Gentiloni in Washington he urged a policy of refugee returns.

Italy received praise from Trump for taking a leading role in efforts to bring stability to Libya – but no offers of assistance. Gentiloni, who took office in December, stressed the need for burden-sharing as Italy has become the main entry point for refugees and migrants trying to reach the European Union via the central Mediterranean.

President Trump, who campaigned on an anti-immigration platform, called on Italy to address the refugee crisis through a policy that “seeks the eventual return of refugees to their home countries so they can help to rebuild their own nations.”

He also dismissed any idea of United States involvement in Libya, telling a joint news conference: “I do not see a role in Libya. We have enough roles. We have a role everywhere.”

Australian Minister Panned for Misleading Comments on Manus Violence

Australia’s immigration minister, Peter Dutton, has been criticized for suggesting a child was behind an outbreak of violence at the Manus Island refugee detention center.

Shots were fired in unclear circumstances at the detention facility in Papua New Guinea on April 14.

Dutton raised the possibility that the incident had been sparked by asylum seekers taking a young boy into the camp. Authorities in Papua New Guinea said the only incident involving a child had come a week earlier and was in no way connected.

Dutton said there was “a lot of angst” in the community over a trio of asylum seekers bringing a child into the center – without specifying when it happened.

“A child about 10 years old was taken into the center and then was given some fruit,” Manus Province police commander David Yapu told local media. “Then Wilson Security [the private contractor operating the center] had to intervene and get him out from the center. That had nothing to do with the latest incident involving soldiers.”

Yapu confirmed the child was unharmed. He said the police investigation into the April 14 incident was ongoing but unrelated. “That’s a totally different issue altogether,” he said.

Hire a Refugee Group in Canada Attracts Racist Abuse

An online group helping refugees in Canada find work has been targeted by racists. Founders of Hire a Refugee reported that their Facebook group had attracted hateful abuse.

Bob Axworthy, a co-founder of the Winnipeg-based organization, said: “It’s been vile, it’s been mean and full of vitriol and I know that most Winnipeggers, Manitobans, citizens are not like that but it concerns us.”

Messages included: “How bout hire a Canadian or fck off.”

The group was launched in March, aiming to match new arrivals in the area with handyman-style jobs. It says it has managed to place 35 refugees in work so far.

“We’re there to help get people jobs, so they can get some money to get started to pay their rent, to buy some groceries and all those things,” said Axworthy.

“These are men, women and children who have come to Canada to escape war. They want a roof over their heads, their children in school and to have a job and contribute,” said co-founder Omar Rahimi, who came to Canada in 2001 as a refugee.

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