Executive Summary for February 20th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including a fire at a displacement camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Somalis in Libya rejecting efforts for them to return home and ‘One Day Without Us’ rallies held in the U.K.

Published on Feb. 20, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Displacement Camp Fire Leaves Hundreds of IDPs Homeless in DRC

Several hundred homes were damaged in a fire at a displacement camp in the Democratic Republic of Congo, according to the International Organization for Migration.

The fire made around 300 families homeless, said Norwegian Refugee Council secretary-general Jan Egeland, who recently visited the camp. “They now are forced to live in crowded, improvised straw huts,” he said.

The Katanika camp shelters around 70,000 people internally displaced by inter-ethnic fighting in the DRC, which has escalated in recent months.

Some 3.9 million are displaced inside the country – the highest number in Africa – while a growing number are fleeing the country’s borders including on a risky boat journey to Uganda.

Somalis in Libya Tell Delegation They Have Suffered Too Much to Go Home Now

A Somali delegation visiting Libya to persuade Somali migrants to return found that many were reluctant to abandon their dream to reach Europe and say “they have nothing left to lose.”

There are an estimated 5,000 Somalis in Libya, among thousands of refugees and migrants hoping to take boats to Europe. European efforts saw boat crossings decrease last year, trapping more people in abusive conditions on land. Some 3,500 migrants have taken boats to Italy so far this year, a 62 percent drop on the same period last year.

The E.U. has also stepped up efforts to return migrants to their home countries. So far only 11 Somalis have volunteered to return from Libya, Voice of America reports.

After the horrors of their journey, many feel that they are at last close to Europe and reluctant to return at this stage, delegation member Mariam Yassin told Voice of America. “They say they have suffered enough and want to take the last chance.”

“I met this woman who said, I was here in Libya for less than two years, I spent $18,000, I’m not going back to my mum with nothing, I’m not going back,” Yassin said. She also noted that some unaccompanied children are lying about their ages so that U.N. agencies won’t contact their families and keep them from boarding boats to Europe.

‘One Day Without Us’ Rallies in U.K.

Britons held rallies around the U.K. in support of migrants for the second annual “One Day Without Us” campaign.

The idea was born in the wake of the Brexit vote in 2016, to highlight the value migrants bring to society and the economy through rallies and strikes. The U.S. held a similar “Day Without Migrants” in 2017.

Politicians and campaigners lauded the contribution of migrants to the country at the rally outside the British parliament in London, while other events were held in Birmingham and Edinburgh on February 17. “Every one of those people contributes to our society and that I think is clear despite the political messages we hear from elsewhere,” said the Green Party’s Jean Lambert.

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