Executive Summary for November 2nd

We review the latest news related to refugees, including Iraqi forces being accused of preventing displaced people returning home, industrial apprenticeships being offered to refugees in Germany and Myanmar’s leader Suu Kyi visiting conflict-zone state.

Published on Nov. 2, 2017 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

Some Iraqis Prevented From Returning Home, Others Forced to Do So

Iraqi forces are preventing displaced people returning home, a rights group alleges. Families trying to reach former homes have been accused of links to the so-called Islamic State.

Human Rights Watch said that Iraqis displaced from Anbar province, west of the capital, Baghdad, were being singled out for perceived connections to ISIS.

“While Iraqi forces confront serious security concerns, just being a family member of someone linked to ISIS or having lived under ISIS is not enough to represent a real threat,” said Sarah Leah Whitson from Human Rights Watch. “Authorities should allow those who aren’t an actual security risk who want to go home to do so in peace and respect the right of people who don’t feel safe to live where they wish.”

As well as imposing the block on some returnees, Iraqi authorities are evicting other families to try to force them back to their homes, even though some families fear their former home areas will be unsafe.

The alleged mistreatment of displaced people comes amid preparations for a fresh offensive against ISIS in western Anbar.

According to experts and a UNHCR report, Iraqi forces view most civilians who have remained in certain towns to be affiliated with ISIS.

Industrial Apprenticeships Given to Refugees in Germany

A heavyweight German industrial firm has given apprenticeships to refugees. Herrenknecht, a tunnel-boring company, named five refugees among its 56 new hires.

The refugees will be trained for occupations including mechatronics engineering, industrial, structural and machining mechanics, and industrial business administration.

“Training is both a challenge and an opportunity for integration at the same time,” said a spokesperson from the company. “At the express wish of the board of management, the young refugees came to Schwanau via the municipal employment program, the government employment agency, refugee aid and social workers at the vocational school in Lahr.”

The five apprentices are from Syria, Gambia and Guinea and arrived in Germany about two years ago, the firm said, and all speak some German.

“In their homelands the young men often only had incomplete schooling and kept their heads above water with odd jobs,” the spokesperson added.

Suu Kyi Visits State at Center of Refugee Crisis in Mynamar

Myanmar’s leader has made her first visit to the region at the center of a refugee crisis. Aung San Suu Kyi toured areas in which villages of the Rohingya minority have been destroyed.

Formerly feted as a living symbol of human rights, Suu Kyi has refused to denounce human rights abuses by the Myanmar military against Ronhingya. Some 600,000 of the Muslim minority group have fled across the border into Bangladesh since August.

Suu Kyi’s decades under house arrest by the military junta saw her win the Nobel Peace Prize. But she has been criticized for doing too little to combat the anti-Rohingya campaign that the U.N. has referred to as ethnic cleansing.

Her exact movements were not released due to security concerns but her presence in Rakhine was confirmed: “The state counselor just arrived but she is heading to Maungdaw, northern Rakhine, with the state officials,” said a deputy director of the Rakhine government, using Suu Kyi’s official title.

Suu Kyi’s defenders say that as civilian leader she has no authority over the military. Observers in Myanmar say that the Buddhist majority is supportive of a crackdown on the Rohingya, who are more frequently referred to in state media as Bengalis – a term meant to denote their foreign status in the country.

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