Executive Summary for October 11th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including France’s resettlement of refugees in Chad and Niger, the U.K. Supreme Court’s ruling on the detention of torture survivors and Australia’s effort to move refugees in order to close an offshore detention center.

Published on Oct. 11, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

France to Begin Resettlement From Niger and Chad

France will begin resettling refugees directly from Niger and Chad in the coming weeks, in an effort to provide an alternative to the deadly Central Mediterranean route.

President Emmanuel Macron said France would take in 10,000 refugees by 2019, including 3,000 currently in the two African countries and the remainder mainly from the Middle East.

Migrants and refugees from many poverty-stricken and violent nations pass through Niger or Chad on their way to North Africa to take boats to Europe.

In August, France, Germany, Italy and Spain agreed to establish “protection missions” to bring asylum seekers vetted by the U.N. refugee agency to Europe directly.

Macron also pledged more financial aid to help migrants and refugees trapped in Libya.

U.K. Supreme Court Rules on Torture Survivors in Immigration Detention

The U.K. Supreme Court ruled that the government has unlawfully held torture survivors in immigration detention.

Seven survivors brought the case against the British government after being detained under new policy guidelines in September 2016, which restricted the definition of torture to only that carried out by official state agents.

That left people like them – including a man kidnapped by the Taliban and a Nigerian tortured because of his sexuality – outside the definition and thus eligible for detention. The Supreme Court found the redefinition lacked “rational or evidence base.”

The policy was suspended after a court challenge in late 2016, but the U.K.’s Home Office found that at least 226 people who had been tortured were in detention at that time. The Supreme Court ruling is likely to bring dozens more cases by survivors.

Australia Offers Refugees Held on Manus a Move to Nauru

Australian authorities, facing a deadline to close the country’s offshore detention center on Papua New Guinea’s island of Manus, offered refugees a move to its other facility on Nauru.

After a ruling by PNG’s Supreme Court, Australia committed to close the center by October 31. Authorities earlier tried to move the refugees to another location on Manus, but they refused to go, fearing threats from the local community.

Now refugees who are in the process of resettlement to the U.S. under an Obama-era deal can transfer to Nauru by October 23. But they are wary of the offer, with Iranian filmmaker and refugee Behrouz Boochani calling it the “latest political trick.”

Boochani told the Guardian, “The refugees are saying they don’t want to go to Nauru and they don’t trust in this government.” He added, “It’s completely unacceptable that after more than four years the Australian government still refuses to solve the problem by taking the refugees to a safe place and instead is trying to send them to another hell.”

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