Executive Summary for November 8th

We review the latest refugee-related issues, including the release of U.N. data on the vulnerability of Rohingya in Bangladesh, China’s arrest of North Korean refugees and the International Labor Organization closing a complaint on migrant labor exploitation in Qatar.

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

UNHCR: One-Third of Rohingya Families Vulnerable in Bangladesh

The U.N. refugee agency (UNHCRgathered data on around half a million refugees and said around one-third of Rohingya refugee families in Bangladesh are classified as “vulnerable.”

UNHCR and Bangladesh’s refugee agency are collecting information from Rohingya refugees in the country. More than 600,000 people have fled a military crackdown in Myanmar since August. Fieldworkers have registered some 520,000 people so far, 72 percent of whom came during the recent exodus.

They found around 14 percent of families are headed by single mothers. Many others had health problems or disabilities. About 52 percent of the refugees are female and 54 percent are children.

China Arrests Group Fleeing North Korea

Ten people trying to escape North Korea were detained in China before they could reach South Korea, Reuters reported.

China has recently stepped up the arrest and deportation of North Koreans fleeing the repressive state and does not recognize them as refugees, according to Human Rights Watch. The crackdown coincided with preparations for the Chinese Communist Party’s congress last month.

Human Rights Watch urged China not to return the group to North Korea, warning that escapees face torture, forced labor and possible execution. South Korea said it was making diplomatic efforts to prevent their repatriation.

According to Reuters, the group includes seven women and a 4-year-old child. China’s foreign ministry said it was unaware of the case.

ILO Ends Investigation Into Migrant Labor in Qatar

The International Labor Organization closed a complaint against Qatar for its treatment of migrant workers.

The investigation began in 2014 over the exploitation of migrant workers in the country, including forced labor and dire working conditions for migrants building the country’s 2022 World Cup facilities.

The Qatari government last month committed to abolishing the sponsorship or kafala system that binds workers to a specific employer, as well as introducing a minimum wage and outlawing passport confiscations.

Leticia Ishibashi, an analyst at Focus on Labor Exploitation, cautioned that Qatar has promised to reform the sponsorship system in the past, but it resulted in little improvement for migrant workers. He called for “clear and accessible enforcement mechanisms” of the reforms.

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