Executive Summary for November 7th

We review the latest refugee-related issues, including the PNG supreme court ruling against Manus Island asylum seekers, the Trump administration ending Nicaraguans’ temporary protected status, and a confrontation between the Libyan coastguard and an NGO rescue group.

Published on Nov. 7, 2017 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

PNG Court Rejects Petition to Restore Power to Manus Center

Papua New Guinea’s supreme court rejected a petition by asylum seekers to restore power, food and water to the Australian-run center on Manus Island that was closed last week.

Around 600 asylum seekers have refused to leave the facility, saying they did not feel safe moving to alternative accommodation on the island in light of a spate of attacks against refugees.

The court rejected the petition, Reuters reported, because power, food and water are available at the three “transit centers” to which the authorities want the asylum seekers to move. A U.N. representative said during a recent visit that some of these facilities appeared to still be under construction.

The asylum seekers vowed to stay at the center, but warned that conditions were deteriorating after several days, with only rainwater and food brought by local islanders available.

Kurdish journalist and Manus detainee Behrouz Boochani said 90 people had fallen sick, mostly with stomach problems after drinking dirty water.

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, who rejected a recent offer from New Zealand to take in some of the Manus detainees, said the transit centers were of “high quality” and blamed refugee advocates for encouraging the asylum seekers to barricade themselves in on Manus.

Trump Administration Ends TPS for Nicaraguans

The Trump administration will end Nicaraguans’ temporary protected status (TPS), which protects them from deportation. An estimated 5,000 Nicaraguans with TPS in the United States will have to leave by January 2019.

The administration deferred decisions on whether to extend the program for around 200,000 Salvadorans and 57,000 Hondurans with TPS until next year. TPS for around 50,000 Haitians in the country is also set to expire next January.

An anonymous Department of Homeland Security official told the Los Angeles Times that the administration would support Congress in finding a permanent solution for people in TPS programs, which began around 20 years ago to provide temporary relief from deportation for irregular migrants whose countries had been rocked by natural disasters or civil war.

Migrants Drown Amid NGO, Libyan Coast Guard Clash Over Rescue

A boat carrying 140 people capsized off the Libyan coast and several drowned after they tried to avoid being taken back to Libya by the coast guard.

A boat operated by German NGO Sea-Watch and a Libyan coast-guard vessel both responded to the capsizing of a migrant boat around 30 miles (50km) off the Libyan coast.

Both blamed the other for risking the migrants’ lives. Sea-Watch said the Libyan coast guard beat and threatened the passengers and took off at high speed with people still holding to the side of the boat. The Libyan coast guard blamed Sea-Watch for encouraging passengers to swim to their ship.

Sea-Watch said they took 58 people onboard. The Libyan coast guard brought 45 people back to Libya. A group of weeping survivors brought ashore in Tripoli told a Reuters reporter they had no idea what to do next.

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