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Executive Summary for March 7th

We review the latest issues related to refugees, including the slow pace of resettlement of refugees evacuated from Libya, German anti-migrant parliamentarians visiting Syria, and the deportation of Congolese refugees from Angola.

Published on March 7, 2018 Read time Approx. 2 minutes

Resettlement Not Keeping Pace With Evacuation of Refugees From Libya

The U.N. has had to stop evacuating refugees from detention centers in Libya to Niger because of the slow rate of resettlement.

U.N. refugee agency UNHCR has brought 1,020 refugees from Libya to Niger, but only 25 of those have been resettled, all to France.

“We were advised that until more people leave Niger, we will no longer be able to evacuate additional cases from Libya,” UNHCR’s Karmen Sakhr told the European Parliament. “There is a need for the countries to come forward when it comes to accepting these cases.”

E.U. commission deputy director-general for migration, Simon Mordue, instead blamed the UNHCR for taking too long processing refugee cases in Niger. “They [E.U. states] can and are willing to resettle more but can also do with a bit of help in speeding up the processing of the individual claims by the UNHCR colleagues on the ground,” he said.

German Lawmakers Visit Syria to Build Case for Refugee Deportations

A group of lawmakers from Germany’s anti-immigrant Alternative for Germany (AfD) party visited Syria to build their case that Syrians should return to the country.

Shortly after becoming the largest opposition party in last year’s election, AfD declared it safe for Syrians to return and proposed deporting some half a million refugees from the country.

The lawmakers said they were now on a fact-finding mission to Syria to prove their case. “The experiences the MPs gain will enable them to rationally evaluate the situation in Syria regarding continuing discussions about classifying it as a safe country of origin, which would also affect the decision about halting deportations of rejected asylum seekers,” they said in a statement.

The seven politicians visited regime-controlled areas of Damascus and posted pictures of buildings and a swimming pool on Facebook with the comment “Normal daily life.” They met with Assad loyalist Grand Mufti Ahmed Badr al-Din Hassoun, saying he had called upon Syrian refugees to return home.

Just outside Damascus, 800 people have been killed in under a month, according to monitoring groups, as regime forces fight to recapture Eastern Ghouta.

U.N. ‘Deeply Concerned’ Over Angola Deportation of Refugees to DRC

More than 500 Congolese refugees were deported from Angola late last month despite continued hostilities in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the U.N. refugee agency said.

Some 900,000 people have been internally displaced by the fighting in DRC’s Kasai province, which borders Angola, since fighting erupted in 2016. Around 35,000 Congolese refugees fled over the border into Angola.

While the government has regained control of some areas, violence and ethnic tensions continue, and most displaced Congolese have been unable to return home.

UNHCR said it was not yet safe for Congolese to return and it was “deeply concerned” that 52 registered refugees and 480 unregistered refugees were deported between February 25 and 27. “UNHCR urges the Angolan authorities to refrain from further forcible returns of Congolese to their country,” a statement said.

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