Executive Summary for February 8th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the World Bank calling for a legal route for Afghan migrant workers to the Gulf, Africans protesting expulsions in Israel, and the U.N. finding 8,037 Syrians returned from Jordan in 2017.

Published on Feb. 8, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

World Bank Calls for Legal Migration for Afghans to Gulf States

The World Bank has called on Gulf states to offer work visas to Afghans. The call came as hundreds of thousands of Afghans are being returned from Pakistan and Iran.

The bank said that Afghanistan should sign bilateral deals with wealthy Gulf States that could create 75,000 jobs and treble remittances within 15 years.

“In the absence of sufficient jobs, a growing young, underemployed, and idle population represents both wasted human capital and a potential conflict risk,” the World Bank said in a report.

“Labour mobility represents an important opportunity for Afghan migrants, the Afghan economy, and recipient countries.”

Some reports suggest Afghanistan has received as many as 2 million Afghans back into the country since 2015, mainly from Iran and Pakistan but also from Europe, where many Afghan asylum seekers have been rejected.

Despite the impetus behind the returns, Afghanistan faces an internal displacement crisis and a powerful Taliban insurgency.

The World Bank report cites 400,000 Afghans entering the economy every year with “dim” prospects awaiting them. The report found that most Afghans were unskilled, with little formal education, and argued that legal pathways would help create skills.

The Norwegian Refugee Council found that nearly three out of every four Afghans returned to the country are forced to flee again.

Protests Against African Deportations at Rwandan Embassy in Israel

Thousands of African asylum seekers have protested in Israel against their deportation. The demonstration took place at the embassy of Rwanda, the country to which they are expected to be sent.

Israel has given thousands of African asylum seekers an April 1 deadline to leave the country or face jail. Israel has some 40,000 African immigrants, many of whom it says are economic migrants, not refugees.

The country has offered $3,500 to those willing to get on a flight to an unnamed African country – widely reported to be Rwanda. The protesters appealed to Rwanda’s president, Paul Kagame, not to cooperate.

“Kagame – We are not for sale,” said one banner seen by the Associated Press. “Prison or deportation? What would you choose?” and “Would you deport me if I was white?” said others.

The push for deportation or jail has drawn sharp criticism in Israel, where many people see it as a racist stain on Israel’s status as a refuge for Jewish refugees.

The Israeli government says it has taken steps to ensure that those who accept the plane ticket and cash will come to no harm and said the deportation order applies only to working-age men.

Syrian Returns From Jordan Remained Low at 8,000 in 2017

More than 8,000 Syrians returned to Syria from Jordan in 2017, the U.N. reported. The numbers are tiny compared to the estimated 1.3 million Syrians in Jordan.

The pace of the return slowed markedly in the final three months of the year.

Half of the 8,037 returnees departed after a July peace deal in southwest Syria.

“In absolute figures, we are still talking about very small numbers when compared to the total registered Syrian refugee population in Jordan [of] 656,692,” said Olga Sarrado Mur of the U.N. Refugee Agency.

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