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Executive Summary for September 8th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including an appeals court ruling on exemptions from the Trump travel ban, a cholera outbreak in Nigerian displacement camps and an open letter to E.U. leaders from the head of Medecins sans Frontieres.

Published on Sep. 8, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

U.S. Court: Refugees Preparing for Resettlement Exempt from Travel Ban

A United States federal appeals court ruled that refugees who are preparing for resettlement in the U.S. should be exempt from the Trump administration’s travel ban.

Around 24,000 refugees expected to come to the U.S. were left in limbo when the Supreme Court allowed the executive order to be partially implemented in June, excluding those with bona fide relationships to people or entities in the U.S.

The government restricted the bona fide relationship to immediate relatives – and not refugees working with a U.S. resettlement agency. A federal judge in Hawaii challenged this interpretation, which was upheld by the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, in Seattle, on Sept. 7.

“It is hard to see how a grandparent, grandchild, aunt, uncle, niece, nephew, sibling-in-law, or cousin can be considered to have no bona fide relationship with their relative in the U.S.,” the court said.

Preparation and expenditure by U.S. resettlement agencies “supports the district court’s determination that a bona fide relationship with the refugee exists,” the court added.

The decision will take effect in five days; the Justice Department pledged to appeal.

Cholera Outbreak Threatens 1 Million in Nigerian Camps

An outbreak of cholera in northeast Nigeria’s displacement camps puts more than 1 million people sheltering from Boko Haram at risk from the deadly disease, the United Nations children’s fund said.

The outbreak was identified in Muna Garage camp in Maiduguri last week. An estimated 28 people have died and 837 are infected, including 145 children under the age of five, UNICEF said.

The agency said at least 1.4 million live in “cholera hot spots” in the area. The disease, which is spread by contaminated food and drinking water, can kill within hours if untreated.

MSF Head Slams E.U. ‘Cynical Complicity’ over Abuse in Libya

In an open letter to European leaders, the head of Medecins sans Frontieres (MSF) warned that European Union policies curbing refugee boats from Libya are “feeding a criminal system of abuse.”

The fact that officials are lauding the policy as as a success “demonstrates, at best, pure hypocrisy and at worst, a cynical complicity in the organised business of reducing human beings to merchandise in human traffickers’ hands,” wrote MSF international president Joanne Liu.

Addressing the clampdown and accusations leveled against NGOs running search-and-rescue operations in the Mediterranean, including MSF, Liu accused politicians of hiding behind “unfounded accusations.”

“Who is colluding with criminals here? Those seeking to rescue people, or those enabling people to be treated like a commodity to be packed and sold?” she wrote.

Liu recently visited official detention centers in Libya where she described guards beating back people so she could get inside a cell. “They are packed into dark, filthy rooms with no ventilation, living on top of one another,” she said.

“Men told us how groups of them are forced to run naked in the courtyard until they collapse from exhaustion. Women are raped and then made to call their families back home asking for money to be freed,” Liu wrote.

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