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Executive Summary for September 7th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the U.N.’s expectation that Rohingya refugee arrivals will number 300,000 in Bangladesh, child refugees risking separation from their families under Brexit and Greek asylum workers striking over unpaid wages.

Published on Sep. 7, 2017 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Rohingya Refugee Surge Expected to See 300,000 Cross Into Bangladesh

The U.N. expects 300,000 Rohingya refugees to cross into Bangladesh from Myanmar. Nearly 150,000 people have crossed the border already, fleeing violence, in the past 12 days.

The World Food Program has warned that it faces shortfalls of supplies and funds. It said $13.3 million in additional funding would be needed in the next four months to provide high-energy biscuits and basic rice rations.

“They are coming in nutritionally deprived, they have been cut off from a normal flow of food for possibly more than a month,” Dipayan Bhattacharyya, the Bangladesh spokesman for the World Food Program, told Reuters. “They were definitely visibly hungry, traumatized.”

Refugees are now arriving by boat as well as through the land border. A boat capsized on September 6, drowning at least five people, in the Bay of Bengal. The refugee surge compounds the issue of supporting a large population of refugees who have fled previous rounds of violence.

Myanmar, which has faced international criticism for military operations against civilians in the northwestern state of Rakhine, says it is fighting terrorists. Aung San Suu Kyi, Myanmar’s leader and a Nobel Peace Prize winner, blamed “a huge iceberg of misinformation” from insurgents but made no mention of the Rohingya who have fled.

The U.N. and a host of international human rights groups have compiled dossiers of evidence of grisly crimes carried out by the Myanmar military against the Rohingya minority.

U.K. Called on to Protect Child Refugee Rights After Brexit

The U.K. government is under pressure to maintain the rights of child refugees after Brexit. Britain’s departure from the E.U. raises the prospect of lone children being unable to reunite with relatives in the U.K.

Under E.U. regulations, known as Dublin III, children fleeing war and persecution can be reunited with grandparents, uncles and aunts, siblings and other family members. U.K. immigration law covers only children and parents.

“I don’t think there can be any possible justification for reducing the rights of unaccompanied children given all of the dangers that they face,” said opposition Labour M.P. Andy Slaughter.

“And I think that the inevitable consequence of a diminution of their rights is a great likelihood of exploitation, sexual abuse, violence and everything else.”

The British government already faces criticism for closing down the Dubs scheme to resettle an unspecified number of unaccompanied minors from Europe. Only 480 were brought to the U.K. whereas campaigners had demanded 3,000.

Greek Asylum Workers Strike Over Unpaid Wages

Members of the Greek asylum service are on strike over unpaid wages. The two-day work stoppage comes after months of struggle over pay and contract delays.

Greece’s asylum service faces unprecedented numbers of applications after tens of thousands of refugees and migrants were stranded in the country from 2015.

Greece’s migration ministry has been roundly criticized for failing to build an effective organization despite significant support from the E.U.

The ministry insisted this week that delays were due to “technical bureaucratic difficulties, which, we would like to believe, will not emerge again.”

Although arrivals have decreased since March 2016, when an E.U. deal with Turkey reduced flows, the backlog from previous arrivals has still to be cleared.

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