Executive Summary for September 29th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the capsizing of a Rohingya boat making for Bangladesh, the Libyan navy’s latest warning to migrant rescue vessels, and growing pressure on Burundians to return home.

Published on Sep. 29, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

More Than 60 Dead or Missing After Rohingya Boat Capsizes

At least 23 people drowned and 40 others were missing after a boat carrying dozens of Rohingya refugees to Cox’s Bazaar in Bangladesh capsized on Thursday.

Several women and children were among the dead, survivors said. The passengers had been at sea for two days without food. Their boat was destroyed by torrential rains and wind close to the shore, said Joel Millman, spokesman for the International Organization for Migration.

The mass exodus of Rohingya from Myanmar has rapidly developed into the “world’s fastest developing refugee emergency” according to United Nations secretary general Antonio Guterres.

More than 500,000 people have fled their homes since late August, when Myanmar’s military forces began operations against the Rohingya population, with around 2,000 refugees arriving in Bangladesh over the last 48 hours.

“We have received bone-chilling accounts from those who fled – mainly women, children and the elderly,” Guterres said, demanding unrestricted access to deliver humanitarian aid to the region.

Libya Threatens to Seize NGO Migrant Rescue Boats

The Libyan navy has threatened to seize rescue boats run by NGOs and activists if they enter the country’s waters.

“These NGOs must respect our authority and our sovereignty,” navy spokesman Gen. Ayub Kacem said. “Our patience has reached its limit.”

His warning follows an altercation this week in which Libyans boarded a rescue ship run by German charity Mission Lifeline and demanded that the crew hand over dozens of rescued migrants. They refused.

Amnesty: Burundi Refugees Pressed to Return to Repressive State

Burundian refugees are under increasing pressure to return home despite continuing atrocities in the country, a report by Amnesty International said.

Since violence broke out in April 2015, more than 400,000 people have fled Burundi. But both Tanzania and and Uganda stopped automatically granting refugee status to Burundian asylum seekers this year, and Burundi’s president, Pierre Nkurunziza, says that the situation is stable and refugees should return.

“While the Burundian government says all is well and urges refugees to return, more Burundians continue to flee the country due to repression and insecurity,” said Rachel Nicholson, AI’s Burundi researcher.

“Let’s be clear: Burundi has not yet returned to normality and the government’s attempts to deny the horrific abuses still taking place within the country should not be given credence.”

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