Executive Summary for December 6th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including German pilots refusing to fly Afghan deportees, a plan to move displaced Nigerians into heavily guarded towns and South Sudan’s proposal for refugees to leave U.N. peacekeeping bases.

Published on Dec. 6, 2017 Read time Approx. 3 minutes

German Pilots Refuse to Fly 222 Afghan Deportation Flights

German pilots refusing to fly rejected Afghan asylum seekers have stopped at least 222 flights this year, according to government statistics.

Germany has stepped up the deportation of failed asylum seekers after receiving record asylum applications in 2015. The country’s return of Afghans has become politically contentious due to increasing violence in parts of Afghanistan, and was briefly halted after the German embassy in Kabul was damaged in a bomb attack in May.

In response to an information request, the German government disclosed figures on pilots who have chosen not to fly asylum seekers back to Afghanistan. Pilots with German airline Lufthansa and its subsidiary Eurowings refused to fly 85 times this year. Most of the canceled deportations, 140, were set to depart Frankfurt Airport.

Germany is increasing cash incentives for asylum seekers to go home voluntarily. Under a new program, families will be offered up to $3,570 (3,000 euros) to return before the end of February.

Nigeria Plans to Move Displaced Into ‘Garrison Towns’

Nigerians displaced by Boko Haram violence are unlikely to return to their villages under a new plan to move displaced populations into garrison towns guarded by security forces, Reuters reports.

Nearly 2 million people have fled their homes in northeast Nigeria amid the years-long insurgency and are sheltering in camps and crowded buildings.

Nigerian officials say the war with Boko Haram is over, but, while much depleted in force and territory, the extremist militants still conduct regular attacks, including a recent suicide bombing on a mosque that killed 50 people.

The new plan for the return of the displaced populations will be piloted in Bama, a town still in ruins after it was captured by Boko Haram in 2014. The government plans to build 3,000 homes and says Nigerian security forces will patrol a 3-mile (5km) radius around the town to allow people to farm.

“There’s beauty in numbers, there’s security in numbers. So our target is to congregate all the people in five major urban settlements and provide them with means of livelihood, education, healthcare and, of course, security,” said Kashim Shettima, the governor of Borno state. “It’s a long-term solution, certainly.”

Some refugees and aid workers are concerned about the integration and freedom of the returnees. “You’re imprisoned, but you’re safe,” a senior relief worker told Reuters.

“I don’t want to stay in Bama because I will still be a stranger there, just as I am in Maiduguri now,” said Tijja Modu Alhaji, referring to the capital of Borno state, to which he has fled. “I want to go home, not to somebody else’s land.”

South Sudan Proposes Incentives to Close U.N.-Run Camps

South Sudan’s government will offer incentives for displaced people who have been sheltering in U.N. peacekeeping bases for years to leave the makeshift camps, the Associated Press reports.

More than 200,000 people still live in seven U.N. bases to which people flocked for safety when a brutal civil war broke out in 2013. The so-called Protection of Civilians (PoC) sites remain a refuge from the ethnic violence that is still tearing the country apart.

The South Sudanese government is pressing for their closure and has proposed a “resettlement package” of farming tools, seeds and other basics in order to go home.

Many refugees are deeply wary of leaving the sites. People continue to report rape and violence by security forces if they leave the camp perimeters to look for firewood. “I can’t go out unless there’s a peace agreement,” said 34-year-old Charles Riek, who lives in the Juba PoC. “I’m displaced in my own country.”

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