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Executive Summary for August 30th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including thousands fleeing a surge of violence in Myanmar, an Israeli court ruling against indefinite detention of migrants, and flooding in Sudan displacing thousands of refugees and IDPs.

Published on Aug. 30, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

IOM: 18,500 Rohingya Flee Myanmar Into Bangladesh

Some 18,500 Rohingya Muslims have fled Myanmar’s Rakhine state and entered Bangladesh since violence erupted six days ago, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) says.

In addition, thousands have massed at the border with Bangladesh, which hosts around 400,000 Rohingya refugees and has vowed not to allow any more to enter.

“We also know there are people stuck at the border but we do not know how many,” IOM’s Chris Lom told Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Some refugees tried to swim or take small boats across a river at the border, and the bodies of two Rohingya women and two children washed up on Bangladeshi soil on August 30, a local official told AFP.

Smaller numbers of Buddhists have fled to the Rakhine state capital.

The latest violence began when militants attacked police posts and an army base on August 24, prompting a military crackdown some fear could reprise the brutal response to attacks last October.

Israel’s Indefinite Detention of Migrants Ruled Unconstitutional

Israel’s High Court ruled that the government cannot hold migrants and asylum seekers in indefinite detention if they do not agree to “voluntarily” leave for third countries.

The court called the indefinite detention policy unconstitutional, saying authorities can hold migrants for only 60 days before releasing them.

There are over 46,000 African migrants, mostly from Sudan and Eritrea, in Israel, where less than 1 percent of asylum applications are successful, according to the African Refugee Development Center.

The Israeli government had built a wall on its southern border, locked up migrants and agreed deals with two unnamed countries – widely known to be Rwanda and Uganda – to take in people who are afraid to return to their own countries. Many arrived there to find little support and fled again.

The High Court upheld the “voluntary departure” policy, but Israeli officials fear that without indefinite detention they may not be able to get people to leave. After the court ruling, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately vowed to introduce new legislation to enable the enforcement of departures.

Thousands Displaced by Flooding in Sudan

Severe flooding in Sudan has destroyed the homes of thousands of internally displaced people (IDPs) and South Sudanese refugees.

Some 900 people were displaced from a North Darfur IDP camp and heavy rains damaged an additional 1,500 shelters and five schools in Central Darfur in July, according to the Swiss-based research institution Assessment Capacities Project (ACAPS).

In August, thousands of South Sudanese refugees in al-Fatasha camp in Sudan’s Omdurman city were displaced due to torrential rains.

Additionally, flooding destroyed the shelters of at least 80 families in four IDP camps in Central Darfur’s Nierteti. Hundreds were also displaced in West Darfur, North Darfur and South Darfur in August.

Water levels in the Blue Nile reached “their highest within the past 100 years, exceeding 17 meters [55ft] near the Ethiopian border,” the Sudanese government warned last week.

Flooding has made it difficult to deliver basic services to IDPs and refugees, putting them at risk of food shortages and health crises.

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