Executive Summary for January 12th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including thousands fleeing a crackdown on Anglophone Cameroon, Japan’s grant to Myanmar for Rohingya repatriations and Canada’s effort to dissuade Salvadorans in the U.S. from crossing the border.

Published on Jan. 12, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Thousands of Cameroonians Flee to Nigeria

More than 15,000 people have fled a military crackdown on Anglophone separatists in Cameroon in recent months. They have taken shelter in neighboring Nigeria, a country already contending with massive internal displacement.

The United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) said it had registered more than 8,000 Cameroonians during a mission to several states of Nigeria, while Nigerian officials said 6,700 Cameroonians were sheltering in other states.

“They are still coming, and they are coming daily,” said the UNHCR representative in Nigeria, Antonio Jose Canhandula, at a briefing in Abuja. “It is a crisis.”

The Anglophone regions of Cameroon erupted in protest in 2016, calling for greater rights from the Francophone government. Last October, separatists declared an independent state, prompting a military clampdown, rebel attacks and the flight of refugees from the area.

Japan Gives $3 Million to Myanmar for Rohingya Returns

Japan announced a $3 million grant to Myanmar’s government to help repatriate Rohingya refugees, at the same time urging safe and voluntary returns and pledging to monitor the process.

Since late August about 650,000 people from the persecuted Rohingya minority have fled to Bangladesh to escape a brutal crackdown in Myanmar. The two countries agreed in November to facilitate the return of refugees but the timing, feasibility and safety remain unclear.

“We have decided to provide the aid in response to the agreement between Myanmar and Bangladesh to represent an international message of support so that the repatriation can be carried out promptly,” Japanese foreign ministry official Shinobu Yamaguchi said. “The money will be paid in a timely manner based on the progress of repatriation.”

The Japanese government will also provide a $20 million grant to Myanmar to improve humanitarian conditions and development in Rakhine state, where most aid agencies cannot reach and many Rohingya who did not flee languish in segregated camps.

Canada Tries to Dissuade Salvadorans From Crossing U.S. Border

Canada is seeking to dissuade Salvadorans in the United States from crossing its border to claim asylum, after the Trump administration announced their temporary protected status would end in 2019. The program, enabling them to live and work legally in the U.S., started in 2001 after a huge earthquake hit El Salvador.

Canadian Member of Parliament Pablo Rodriguez will visit California to brief officials and migrant organizations on his country’s immigration and asylum system. Canadian officials visited several migrant communities in the U.S. last year following a surge in unofficial border crossings in response to Donald Trump’s immigration clampdown.

As some 18,000 people crossed the U.S. border last year, the Canadian government sought to dispel myths about the ease of gaining asylum in the country.

Now some 200,000 Salvadorans in the U.S. face a deadline to leave and many are reluctant to return to their violence-wracked country. Many of them may have grounds to claim asylum in Canada, Toronto-based refugee lawyer Raoul Boulakia told Reuters.

The number of Salvadoran asylum seekers in Canada more than doubled last year, and about two-thirds received refugee status, according to official statistics.

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